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August 25, 2010

Guest blog: Being a tourist in your own town

This morning's guest blog is from Ken Mellon, resident of Barrhaven, father of two girls, and a Personal Financial Advisor for Alterna Savings & Credit Union. He took all the photos here too.
The family and I just returned from a six day road trip. We went to visit the in-laws, took the kids to Niagara Falls, did some shopping in New York state and came home Friday evening. As we travelled, my wife and I talked about where we had been on previous trips, places we’ve toured, and the sites we’ve seen.

I realized as we talked, only a handful of the places toured and the sites we’ve seen are in and around the Ottawa area. Since becoming a city in 1855, Ottawa has grown leaps and bounds. Take a look at a bit of the city’s history:
  • Ottawa became a city on January 1, 1855, after changing the original town name of Bytown (which had previously been incorporated as a town in 1850).
  • Ottawa became the capital of Canada (Canada at that time being known as the “Province of Canada”) on December 31, 1857.
  • Ottawa has grown to be the fourth largest metropolitan area in Canada.
  • It is the home of notable celebrities such as Rich Little, Sandra Oh, Paul Anka, and Alanis Morisette.
  • Based on average January temperature, it is the third coldest capital in the world.
After reading that bit of Ottawa’s history, the question is, what’s to see in and around Ottawa? As the city has grown and evolved, a number of great tourist spots have grown and evolved as well.

My family and I went to Parliament Hill a few years back over Christmas. We got to tour around Centre Block, take a look at the Christmas lights and see the decorations.

We’ve been to the Governor General’s residence to watch the changing of the guard.

We’ve been out to Pinhey’s Point to celebrate Father’s Day.

We’ve been out to Papanack Zoo.

We’ve seen both the day...

...and night versions of the downtown Santa Claus Parade.

And most recently, we’ve been to the new water park, Calypso.

I’ve heard that there will be another major water park built in the Barrhaven area by 2012. Definitely something I’m looking forward too. It’s being built by a local company, Proslide Technology Inc.

If you watch hockey, you’ll know Ottawa is the home two great teams: the Ottawa 67's and the Ottawa Senators. It’s also the home to the largest skating rink in the world, the Rideau Canal and home to some great festivals: Bluesfest, the Tulip Festival, and Winterlude.

I’ll be doing my best to take my kids to a lot of these sites over the next few years. Ottawa has lots to offer a tourist, even if that tourist already lives here.
Related: Ottawa Travel & Tourism Guide

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