The summer of 2015’s arrival brought with it the chance for a mini-reunion. Erika, a girl I became friends with on my volunteer group trip to South Africa & Swaziland, spent a long weekend with me. At this point in time, it had been just over a year since we had last seen each other, and though we only live about 5 1/2 hours (driving) apart, we hadn’t had a chance to meet up again – until now!
Erika’s visit gave me the opportunity to do a few things that were on my Ottawa activity bucket list – check out Rideau Hall, and rent kayaks on Dow’s Lake.
Up first – Dow’s Lake!
Rentals at Dow’s Lake aren’t just limited to kayaks. They have a colorful array of canoes, stand up paddle boards, and pedal boats as well. At some point this summer, it is my goal to try stand up paddle boarding.
Their prices make for an excellent afternoon outing at a reasonable cost. You can stay in the relatively large area of Dow’s Lake, or you can take one of the passages that leads either to Hartwell Locks or to the Ottawa Locks at the downtown end of the Rideau Canal.
Between accidentally choosing the wrong passage and Erika’s kayak listing to the right, we didn’t make it as far as I would have liked. Fortunately, we still had an absolute blast.
Kayaking along Dow’s Lake was great exercise, and it was nice to do something different for a change.
Our next stop was Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General of Canada. Currently, David Johnston holds the position.
For anyone wondering what exactly the Governor General title means, they are the Queen’s representative. Canada is part of a constitutional monarchy, which means that although we have our own Prime Minister, the Queen is our official Head of State. Since the Queen is not present in Canada the majority of the time, she is represented by the Governor General.
Rideau Hall’s stunning grounds alone are worth a visit, even without the free guided tour. Flowers, trees, fountains, and benches are in abundant supply, and it’s a pleasant spot to pass an afternoon.
Tours inside Rideau Hall last approximately 45 minutes, and are free of charge. You will need to sign up ahead of time for a tour, however.
Unfortunately photos are not allowed inside, but Google has plenty of shots from the few times pictures were authorized!
Each tour guide shifts the tour narrative slightly, depending on what appeals to them. Our guide was interested in womens’ roles throughout Canada’s history, so the information she passed on was geared towards that.
Our afternoon at Rideau hall was even better than I thought. We passed time pleasantly on the grounds while waiting for our tour, and then became immersed in the history and impressive rooms within the estate. Plus, it was all free, which is always appreciated in my eyes!
Have you been to Rideau Hall? Have you kayaked on a lake?