Let’s play a quick game of word association.
Parliament Hill ------------> Ottawa
Museum of Civilization ------> Ottawa
Bytown Museum -----------> Ottawa
Pirate Adventure -----------> Caribbean. WRONG-O! It’s Ottawa!
It’s true. You can find true pirate adventure in Ottawa! Just last week, my family and I had the opportunity to board the Grey Ghost, a pirate vessel in Mooney’s Bay and we were temporarily transformed into Cutthroat Candace, Billy the Squid, Abominable Ava and Captain Morgan. Don’t mess with this pirate family, me hardy! Aaaargh!
First, let me say, what a hoot we had. All of us. These pirates have it all figured out! The hour and fifteen minute adventure on the high seas...er bay, had just the right amount of story, action, and interaction to amuse everyone. My girls, at first reluctant to go, walked away all giggles and proclamations of “THAT WAS SOOO MUCH FUN!”
Our shipmates for the journey consisted of Captain Gulliver, Deadeye and Porthole. As expected, any pirate trip wouldn’t be complete unless you were looking for treasure, and if you didn’t have a mutiny on board, courtesy of Pirate Pete in this case. There was also a sword fight, and a dance off. Wait, a dance off? You betcha. This is a very modern pirate ship after all. There are also water cannons, a good old fashioned plank walk and a map in a floating bottle. Put it all together and it’s just plain F-U-N.
When we arrived, a day camp full of kids was just pulling back in. Our journey was filled with moms, dads, grandparents and of course, kids. I couldn’t help but think what a great birthday party this would be. These wise pirates thought of it before me, because they do that, as well as field trips and corporate events. Talk about a break from the mundane!
If you’re in Ottawa, and you haven’t done the Pirate Adventure in Mooney’s Bay yet, I highly recommend it. You can make it a full day by hanging out at the beach and heading over to Hog’s Back to view the falls. If you’re coming from out of town, make sure you make time for this in your itinerary. Your kids will be amazed that they swash buckled in the Nation’s Capital.
To book, visit PIRATEADVENTURES.CA I for one, have continued on with one small part of our day. You may now refer to me at Cutthroat Candace.
Check out more of our pictures from our great day aboard the Grey Ghost!
Loving pirate stories
Porthole holds the treasure map retrieved from the bay
Blasting Pirate Pete with the water cannons
Pirate Pete stages a mutiny
A swordfight between Pirate Pete and Deadeye
Pirate Pete in the bay after walking the plank
Sorting through the booty
Thanks to Ottawa Tourism for giving us the opportunity to participate in this Pirate Adventure!
If you’re like most people, you are always planning your next getaway to some place far, far away from where you live. The unfortunate thing about this philosophy is we very often miss the amazing attractions in our own backyard. I know this because I have been a resident of Ottawa for 12 years now and while I’m one of the proudest Ottawans you’ll ever meet, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve taken advantage of very little this city has to offer.
This summer, my family decided that instead of racing away to other destinations, we’d stay put and see our own city through the eyes of a tourist. Since I often proclaim Ottawa to be the best city in Canada to visit, I figured it was time to put some weight behind that. Instead of telling people they should go visit this place or that place, maybe I should heed my own advice and go there myself.
So without further ado, may I present a perfect tourist day in downtown Ottawa.
One of the most wonderful things about Canada is the accessibility of our government. Nowhere is this more apparent than on Parliament Hill, the centre of it all. Yes, yes, there are historic buildings, lessons in Parliamentary process and just the right amount of pomp and circumstance, but there’s also a cat sanctuary, bronze statues your children can climb on and yoga on the front lawn every Wednesday led by Lululemon. If you’re Canadian you can’t help but swell with pride standing here. If you’re visiting, you’ll wonder why we’re so humble.
Must dos: You really can’t miss the Changing of the Guard which runs daily from late June to the end of August. Also make sure you take a guided tour of Centre Block. Tours run daily from 9am to 7:20 and weekends 9 to 4:20 during the summer.
Quick Tip: Plan to be on Parliament Hill around 9:45am to see the soldiers march in for the Changing of the Guard. If you can, send someone in your group to the tent around 10:15 to get free tickets for guided tours of Centre Block. You’ll beat the rush afterwards.
Double Decker Bus Tour
Once you’ve toured Parliament’s Centre Block, walk across the street to Elgin & Sparks and hop on a double decker tour bus. This is a hop on /hop off tour so you can choose to get off at great places such as the Canadian War Museum, Rideau Hall or the Royal Canadian Mint. Buses run every hour so it gives you enough time to explore before moving on.
Must dos: Rideau Hall is the official residence of Canada’s Governor General. It’s also the largest residence in Ottawa and is open to the public. Heads of State and royalty stay at Rideau Hall during visits, including most recently Prince William and Kate.
Quick Tip: This is a popular tour and seating is limited up top obviously. Plan to arrive at least 20-minutes ahead of time to get a good seat. Also, try to do your tour early in the day to avoid rush hour traffic. Also, hold on to your hat. I speak from experience.
The Château Laurier is one of the jewels in the Fairmont chain of hotels. Named after Canada’s first French Prime Minister, Wilfrid Laurier, and located steps from Parliament Hill, this elegant hotel is reminiscent of a French château. Stop here when you return from your bus tour and take a break in Zoé's Lounge. Named after Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s beloved wife Zoé, the lounge is a perfect way to rest your weary feet and rejuvenate with a light meal and exquisite tea.
Must dos: If you have little girls with a penchant for tea parties, you really don’t want to miss this.
Quick Tip: Sugar in a square shape looks like candy and has a powerful magnetic pull on children. Keep your eyes on the sugar cubes unless you want your children bouncing off the walls. I speak from experience.
The Bytown Museum is a little gem of a museum located right beside the Chateau Laurier. Charming and loaded with history, this museum explores the stories of an evolving city and its residents from its early days as Bytown to present day Ottawa. Great family friendly activities running all summer.
Must Dos: Dress up! On the third floor of the museum there is a fantastic little play space for kids that has period costumes to try on. SO. MUCH. FUN. Also, have your kids collect all seven Bytown Gazettes as you explore the museum. They’ll have so much fun, they won’t even realize they’re learning.
Quick Tip: If you’re looking for it at street level, you’ll walk forever. I speak from experience. The museum is located down the hill, beside the Chateau, at the end of the locks. You can see it if you look over the bridge.
If you’re coming from afar, this itinerary is the perfect way to acquaint yourself with Ottawa. If you’re local this is a great way to reacquaint yourself with it.
This is the first in a series of blogs I’ll be writing about Ottawa and all the wonderful things there are to see and do here. Special thanks to Ottawa Tourism for their help with pulling this together. Looking forward to sharing our next adventure with you.
Last night, I collapsed into bed after a day of my head bobbing while in the car (passenger), on my Dad’s boat, sitting on the couch and working at my computer. Any time that I was not standing or moving, was a cue for my body to shut down. This has become an all too frequent occurrence. August, in particular, is a busy month for me and I not only look like the walking dead but I feel like it. I am completely and utterly exhausted with too much on my plate and not enough hours in the day to fit it all in. It also doesn’t help that I have to a tendency to look for things to add to my plate. It’s a sickness. A sickness that I share with millions of women and mothers around the globe.
So, back to my original point. I collapsed into bed and slept. Hard. I didn’t hear my husband come to bed, my youngest daughter didn’t wake me up in the middle of the night crawling in with us, my dog didn’t wake me, even my dreams, which are normally quite vivid and interrupting by nature, stayed quiet. It was a slumber for the record books. When I woke up, my body felt like it had the release you have after a really good cry. I felt serene and calm. The to-do list hadn’t got any shorter overnight, but I felt better equipped to deal with it all. Like I might get more done.
Then it hit me. I don’t get enough sleep. D’uh, right?
As stupid as this sounds, it was like an epiphany to me. I am really sleep deprived. So much so that I’ve found myself getting sleepy making a fifteen minute drive in the city. So, not only am I not very bright, I’m also very dangerous. I’m not going to lie, I’ve felt my head bob while at the wheel. Since the birth of my first daughter almost 9 years ago, I have been running a sleep deficit that has finally caught up with me. A very modern epidemic has risen up to bite me in the ass. So I’m making a commitment to myself that I will get my full 40 winks and see what kind of difference it makes in my productivity.
So here’s the plan.
Bedtime is 11:00.
No computer time after 10:00. This will allow my body to wind down before bedtime. This by the way will be the BIGGEST hurdle of all. If you see me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc. after ten, kick me off. I’m just going to have to find a way to have my fun on these social media sites earlier or not at all *sob sob*.
Keep an “off my mind journal”. Spend a few minutes between 10 and 11 writing down every single thing I need to do. This can be groceries, working, blogging, children, volunteering, working out, or calling friends. Also this will be a good place to put my worries or stresses for the evening. I can always pick them up the next day when I review but I may feel differently about it in the morning.
Wake up at the same time every day. Even on the weekends. Next to no social media after ten, I’d say this one sucks the most. I relish a little sleep in time on the weekend. It makes me happy. I do know though that it messes with my sleep for the rest of the week when I do this. So I’ll defer to the experts on this one and get up at 6:30 on Saturday. For the record, I do this begrudgingly and under duress. I do not like being the early bird. I just felt the need to note this somewhere. Not really relevant to the blog, but somehow makes me feel better.
So there you have it. My little four step plan to getting more sleep. I’m interested to see if this will increase my productivity or decrease it. I’m curious to see if I can reduce the size of the bags under my eyes. Most of all, I’m curious to see if I can stick to it? Can I really give sleep a top priority position in my life?
What about you? Do you get enough shut eye or are you running on empty? Could you make getting enough sleep a priority?