After graduating university, I moved home for a year to save up some money to successfully make it on my own. It’s not an easy task to do, that’s for sure, but in just under a year I had more than enough to move my life 10 hours from home to the spectacular city of Ottawa, Ontario.
Well, it’s a bit of a funny story. Not too long after moving home, Brit and I began talking about how we both longed to move away to a better – and bigger – city. The conversation eventually turned from musings to actual plans as we decided we would make great roommates… the only thing missing was the proper location.
We wanted a city which felt big enough to have options but wasn’t overwhelming. We also knew we wanted to live in Ontario still, so we began to look at Eastern and Southern Ontario. Our final criterion in choosing where we would call home was that the city had to have ties to history. All of these combined led us to Canada’s capital.
Originally, Canada had four cities which were used as capitals on a rotating basis. Eventually, Queen Victoria was requested to choose which city should be the true capital. After deliberating with her cabinet members, she selected Ottawa.
After moving here, I realized this city is perfect for me. It feels big without ever feeling too crowded (though I certainly don’t count city buses in that same grouping), and there is enough of a balance in what to do for entertainment that I find there is almost always something going on.
Since Ottawa is my permanent home base (at least for the next several years), I thought I would periodically include posts about the city and events within the city throughout my usual travel-related blog posts. Without further ado, here are several events I attended in 2013.
Despite its deceptive name, Bluesfest is not a festival of only blues music. Instead, it is a two-week long festival of an array of artists. For an example of what to expect – since the line up is usually released only a few months before the annual summer event – here are the line ups for 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Tickets for Bluesfest can be purchased in several ways. You can get a wrist band to cover the entire festival, a 3-day wristband, a 5-day wristband, or individual day passes. The trick with the 3-day and 5-day wristbands is that you have to choose your dates at the time of purchase and cannot change them after. This means if the band you want to see suddenly changes days, you might be out of luck.
For Brit and I, we chose the 3-day wristband option, and used it to see Tegan & Sara and Fun. one night, Mother Mother another night, and Great Big Sea a third night. I don’t recall the exact cost of the wristband, and I’m sure prices have increased since 2013, but I will say I know it was an excellent deal. We saw four concerts for the price of – at most – two.
I recommend Bluesfest for anyone who enjoys a wide variety of music at a quite reasonable cost. The major downside for out of town visitors is that – as far as I know – there is no camping on site. There are plenty of hotels in the downtown area, which is located just a short bus ride away.
If I had to choose the coolest event I have attended since moving to Ottawa, Nature Nocturne would be fairly high on the list. Naturne Nocturne is a 19+ event that is special in several ways. It’s held on the last Friday of every month from October to May, and each event is themed separately. Tickets are available for roughly $25, and include entry plus one food ticket (you can purchase more if you choose to). The best aspect of the entire event, however, is that it takes place in the Museum of Nature. Although you are not permitted to bring your drinks and food into the galleries with you, you have free reign of the museum throughout the night.
The night we went was themed “let your inner animal out”, so I went as my favorite – a cheetah.
We had an absolute blast. Not only was dressing up incredibly fun, but spending a night roaming through one of my favorite museums was perfect. We challenged each other to get a picture with someone dressed up as a character or animal we loved, and we spent plenty of time goofing off in the galleries. If the Museum of Nature has piqued your curiosity at all, never fear – sometime in the somewhat near future, I’ll have a post all about the museums I’ve been to in Ottawa!
I recommend Nature Nocturne for anyone who enjoys museums, dressing up in costume, and a slightly more sophisticated club experience. Beware – the bars are cash ONLY and the ATM lines can be long, so be sure to take money out ahead of time. The Museum of Nature is located relatively close to the downtown area, and is very available by bus.
If you’ve been to a Comic-Con, you’ve basically been to a Pop Expo. 2013 was Ottawa’s Pop Expo’s inaugural year, and the event was essentially created based on the fact that Norman Reedus couldn’t make it to their May Comic-Con event. I was so excited I decided to go all out and purchased the VIP ticket, which would give me an hour early entry and prime line up position for photo ops with celebs.
I hold no shame in saying the main actors I showed up for were Norman Reedus and Tom Felton with the bonus of several other actors and actresses I like. The same sort of events that happen at Comic-Con – autograph signings, photo ops, panels, etc. – were present and it was honestly my first-ever experience like this.
The best thing my glasses ever did for me was creating such a bad glare over my eyes in the first picture with Norman Reedus that the lady called me back for another one. They email you a version of the printed picture as well, so I ended up getting the crappier one in an email as well. Bonus!
That’s it for now, but if you want more Ottawa posts, stay tuned! I plan to periodically post Ottawa-related content as I continue to write about my past travels. I hope you all are having a very happy 2016 so far!