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The charms of Canada’s capital

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There’s plenty to see and do in Ottawa. Try the 90-minute Original Haunted Walk of Ottawa, which features scary stories about the Bytown Museum and other locations.

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There’s plenty to see and do in Ottawa. Try the 90-minute Original Haunted Walk of Ottawa, which features scary stories about the Bytown Museum and other locations. Photo Store

Ottawa has a history steeped in folklore and ghostly tales. The Haunted Walk offers ghost tours led by lantern-carrying storytellers cloaked in black. The 90-minute Original Haunted Walk of Ottawa features spooky stories about the Bytown Museum, Grant House, Lisgar Collegiate, and Ottawa’s most renowned hotel: The Fairmont Château Laurier.

Today, the Château is reminiscent of days gone by. The tradition of afternoon tea at Zoe’s Lounge, one of Ottawa’s most stylish and elegant salons, is a popular pastime serving up flavourful teas, dainty open-faced sandwiches, and fresh-baked scones and pastries.  

ByWard Market — one of Canada’s oldest and largest public markets — was established in 1826 by Lt-Col. John By, the builder of Ottawa’s Rideau Canal. It’s the premier destination for dining, shopping, and entertainment, and the place to find unique eats like BeaverTails pastry and lobster poutine.

One of the best views of Parliament Hill is from across the river in Gatineau. Walk, run or bike along the Ottawa River Pathway — part of the Trans Canada Trail System — and cross one of the bridges into Quebec, and back again. This seven-kilometre loop is just a taste of the more than 300 kilometers of bike paths in Canada’s Capital Region.

Ottawa also has dozens of fascinating museums, and I was given a personal tour of the Canadian War Museum by my 11-year-old nephew Ethan. It’s his favourite place and he knows the exhibits inside and out. I found it very powerful in the way it attached human faces and stories to the horrors of war.

Hotel Indigo is within walking distance of many popular attractions, and is built inside a century-old red brick building. The boutique hotel boasts a modern style that is bright and spacious, and simple yet sophisticated. Guest rooms feature unique floor-to-ceiling murals, and this prairie girl felt right at home in the wheat field room.

Which, much to my relief, was ghost-free.

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