I have an extreme fondness for Ottawa, particularly in May/June and September when the weather is impeccably gorgeous and the best time to enjoy the city. I lived there while attending Carleton University and still try to make it back once a year to enjoy it in different seasons.
Canadians impressions of Ottawa is as a boring city that all wear suits and go to sleep by 10pm. The reality of Ottawa is that it is a fantastic place for people who enjoy nature and the absence of smog. The number of clear blue sky days in Ottawa are amazing and I notice my lungs breathe a little deeper when I’m here.
People are definitely urbanites, yet still enjoy the well-preserved integration of nature with concrete. In any season (yes even winter) it’s easy to find activities to get involved in and stay active.
One of my favourite bike friendly spots in Ottawa is the Colonel By Bike Trail. You can rent a bike from beside the Canal downtown, across from Chateau Laurier, and ride all the way south well past Carleton University, to Hog’s Back Falls . The path is completely separate from the roadway, surrounded by gorgeous trees on one side and the well, not so great smelling but nice to look at Rideau Canal.
Not only is this path separated, they also close the road to cars every Sunday morning for people to enjoy, a great weekly Ottawa ritual. For more info: http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/bins/ncc_web_content_page.asp?cid=16297-16299-9970&lang=1
A great way to spend an afternoon whether you prefer walking, running, cycling or even paddling along the canal (boat rentals at Dow’s Lake: http://www.dowslake.com/rental_eq_summer.htm ).
When travelling, I like to balance a bit of active adventure with some essential relaxation. Bring a picnic lunch in your basket/backpack, sprawl out and enjoy the slow moving waters of the Canal.