From exciting outdoor escapades to delicious culinary adventures, your summer in Ottawa, Ontario, is going to be anything but boring. Here are the top five activities you have to try in the city this year. Add these cool pursuits to your bucket list and discover them all before the season ends.
Make a Splash at Calypso Waterpark
Beat the heat this summer at Canada's biggest aquatic attraction. Calypso Waterpark is home to the largest wave pool in the country, and you'll find this awesome activity just 20 minutes east of Ottawa. If you have young children in the family, even better. This park caters to thrill seekers — and it's kid-friendly, too.
Start with the Summit Tower. It touts 10 different slides, all within one fantastic structure. Float down the Kongo Expedition and discover a mystery at the end of this lazy river feature. With a total of 35 slides, 100 water games, and play areas for the youngsters, you can plan to while away the whole day at Calypso Waterpark. Thanks to its nine restaurants, you don't need to pack a lunch either. You can fill up on mouth-watering options from healthy food and bistro fare to fast food and candy.
- Location: 2015 Calypso St., Limoges.
- Hours: July 1 through August 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and August 15 to September 5 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Paddle Around Dows Lake
Escape to Dows Lake for a daycation full of fun in the sun. Start this summer adventure off right at the Dow Lake Marina. You'll find it along the Rideau Canal system, and it's the best place to rent a watercraft for the day. Try out a variety of options, such as pedal boats, stand-up paddleboards, canoes, and both one- and two-person kayaks.
Paddling your way around Dows Lake is a terrific way to take in the sights and sounds around you. All the equipment, including paddles and lifejackets, are part of the rental rate, and boats are available to hire between May and early October.
If kayaking isn't your thing, stop by the Dows Lake Pavilion. This favorite local destination offers another way to enjoy the summer lakeside. There's plenty of parking for your new Chevrolet, and it provides easy access to all the options for recreational activities along the shore. Then, relax and enjoy a bite to eat at Lago, Mexie's, or the Umbrella Bar.
- Location: 1001 Queen Elizabeth Drive, Ottawa.
- Summer season: Mid-June through Labour Day weekend.
- Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Chill Out at Moo Shu Ice Cream
We think one of the best summer activities in Ottawa is devouring a frozen treat from Moo Shu Ice Cream & Kitchen. This modern parlour sells small batches of ice cream made with only the best local cream. Have a scoop or two in a scratch-made cone. Its creative menu features unique Asian flavours inspired by the owner's Hong Kong origin, such as:
- Hong Kong Milk Tea.
- White Rabbit.
- Lime Leaf and Fresh Mint.
- Ginger and Groundcherry.
- Calico Chocolate.
- Blueberry Amaretto.
- Lemon Elderflower and Blackberry.
You can even order vegan options at Moo Shu, including chocolate, dalgona coffee, mango and pineapple, and strawberry shortcake. If you need a bit more, you can also find a rotating menu of snacks here. Save some time and order your favorite pre-packaged flavors online.
- Location: 477 Bank St., Ottawa.
- Hours: 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and noon to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Take a Dip at the Petrie Island Beaches
Ditch the city and enjoy Ottawa's beautiful scenery with a voyage to Petrie Island. It's just 25 minutes from the city, and day parking is quite affordable at just $2 for five hours. This stunning destination's three sandy beaches are the perfect place to spend the summer.
These 12,000-year-old islands span a length of 2 kilometres, and there's plenty to do here. Take advantage of the surrounding nature trails, and go for a hike or relax on the sand. North Beach and River Beach are large public spots on the island's northeast corner, while East Bay Beach faces downriver.
Launch your rented stand-up paddleboard and go exploring, or get a group together and play a volleyball game. Remember to pack a lunch. There's a terrific, well-maintained picnic area that offers a bit of shade and a supervised beach for the kids. The City of Ottawa monitors water quality daily, so you can feel confident swimming at the park. We recommend you stay late and catch a stunning sunset.
- Location: 727 Trim Road, Orléans.
- Season: Between Victoria Day weekend and the third week of August.
- Lifeguard hours: Noon to 7 p.m. daily.
Go Skating at the Jim Tubman Rink
Did you know that Jim Tubman founded more than an outstanding Chevrolet dealership? The Jim Tubman Rink is the result of a partnership with the City of Ottawa and the Canterbury Community Association. These organizations established this outdoor rink in 2017 in the Canterbury Recreation complex's Alta Vista neighbourhood.
This rink is a unique facility with authentic hockey boards. While it's true artificial ice covers the surface during the winter months, the Jim Tubman Rink is also open for summer drop-in programs and seasonal community events. The open space is completely covered, so residents can enjoy the rink in rain or shine. Its schedule of great summer activities for the child, youth, and adult age groups includes:
- Roller hockey.
- Ball hockey.
Unsupervised public skating is a leisurely session for all ages and abilities. However, skaters under 11 must wear a CSA-certified hockey helmet. Staff also allow wheelchairs and strollers on the rink. Parking is always free at the rink, too.
- Location: 2185 Arch St., Ottawa.
- Hours: Between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., depending on the scheduled activities.
Well, there you go. Jim Tubman Chevrolet shared our five favourite ways to spend summer in Ottawa, Ontario. What did you think of the activities we suggested? Did we miss a favourite pursuit of yours — one we'll love? If we did, let us know. Drop us a line so we can share your ideas with other Ontario locals.