Cara asks “What do you like most about Ottawa?”
I’ve lived my whole adult life, as well as portions of my childhood, in Ottawa. The resulting sense of familiarity is intimately tied into everything I like about Ottawa, as well as everything I don’t like.
I like that whenever I walk around Centretown, I am entertained by a lifetime of memories. I spent a lot of time on McLeod Street, Lisgar Street, and Bank Street. I stayed up all night playing board games in a little apartment on Bronson, I partied in Dundonald Park, I met my son’s father in the alley behind Hartman’s, I lost my virginity on Park Avenue. I remember when Irene’s Pub was Cap’n Pinky’s, CCOC was the Alex Hotel, Roger’s was The Gilmour, Bridgehead was the Voyageur Restaurant and Venus Envy was my laundromat. There’s not a street in Centretown that doesn’t stir up memories.
But apart from Ottawa being home to my own personal history, here are some of the other things I like about it.
One of the things I’ve always liked is that it’s easy to get out of Ottawa. It doesn’t go on and on forever like Toronto does. In half an hour you can be up in the Gatineau Hills, hiking a trail, or in a little village in the Ottawa Valley, eating ice cream. Even if you can’t get out of the city, there are plenty of places you can pretend you’re not in the city: the Experimental Farm, the Arboretum, Mud Lake, Mer Bleue, the Rideau River, the Ottawa River, Shirleys Bay, Stony Swamp, etc.
What else? I love the cat sanctuary on Parliament Hill, the National Art Gallery, all the little galleries, the Great Glebe Garage Sale, Art in the Park, and Canada Geese. I’m not crazy about the weather, but I love the way our seasons change so dramatically. I like that we all kind of hibernate in the winter and emerge in the spring. I love all the music, art, culture and festivals that we cram into every summer. I like that you can get by in this city without a car. I like that the crime rate is low and I feel pretty safe.
Thank you for your question, Cara. I’m probably going to keep remembering things I love about Ottawa, which should make for a pretty happy day.
Let’s fill up the comments with things we love about Ottawa. Then we can meet back here in February, when Ottawa sucks, and cheer ourselves up.