Living in Ottawa brings with it a newfound sense of discovery — nothing is more exhilarating than exploring new surroundings and experiencing what this splendid city has to offer. That being said, it’s never been easier to become so enamoured by the cultural and historic charm of the city, particularly during Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations. Here are some of Ottawa’s most beautiful natural retreats, some of which you might not have discovered yet.
Dick Bell Park And Andrew Haydon Park
Situated along Carling Avenue northwest of Bayshore Shopping Centre in Nepean, these two shoreline gems merge together at Graham Bay, offering breathtaking riverside views and long stretches of verdant greenery. Particular highlights of the area include the winding paths, water features, and public recreation areas of Andrew Haydon Park, as well as Nepean Sailing Club and the sight of many boaters who take to the waters in a variety of beautiful nautical craft. The standout feature, however, is the man-made peninsula forming the northern boundary of Dick Bell Park, which effortlessly stretches out into the Ottawa River. A pedestrian path follows the spine of this verdant peninsula, reaching all the way to Dick Bell Lighthouse at the end of the point. This is a beautiful location for a waterside picnic or sightseeing. Be sure to visit this area at least once to discover the seafaring charm and character it oozes with.
Rideau Falls Park, Stanley Park, And Green Island
Home to Ottawa’s Old City Hall and several breathtaking memorials, Rideau Falls Park and Green Island are vibrant patches of verdant greenery and natural wonder. Located just off of iconic Sussex Drive near the neighbourhood of New Edinburgh, this charming and idyllic area boasts stunning views of the Ottawa River and much of the city itself. One can’t help but be allured by the majesty of Rideau Falls, which form the natural northern border of Green Island and Rideau Falls Park. Linked by several bridges and pedestrian walkways, visitors are one with nature here as they socialize and frolic along the tree-lined edge of the massive, roaring falls. For history aficionados, be sure to visit the National Artillery Monument, the Ottawa Memorial, the Mackenzie-Papineau Monument to Canadian veterans of the Spanish Civil War, and the sculpture of Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.
In the heart of the city, just due west of The Glebe and Lansdowne Park, you’ll discover the shimmering beauty of Dow’s Lake. Surrounded by floral and verdant brilliance, the shores of this lake are popular amongst those seeking serenity and peace amongst nature. Home to several lush birch, willow, and maple trees as well as winding pathways that caress meticulously tended gardens and plazas, this ring of greenery surrounding Dow’s Lake comprises of Commissioners Park, Dominion Arboretum, and Fletcher Wildlife Garden makes the entire area a wonderful recreational retreat. The annual Ottawa Tulip Festival is extremely popular in this area, as hundreds of species of the beloved flower are grown and displayed here in particular, bringing with them food and drink vendors, musicians, and street artists that draw large crowds of nature lovers. The area boasts the highest concentration of tulips in the region during the festivities — as many as 300,000. Nearby, you’ll also find the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, as well as the Ornamental Gardens.
Ottawa is far from a city without soul. In fact, there are brilliant pockets of tranquil greenery throughout its many neighbourhoods. If you’re willing to do a little searching or travelling in the city, it’s never been easier to find the ideal natural retreat for you to call your second home.