As the leaves began to slip into their autumnal shades in September of 1988, Ottawa’s artists won a years-long battle to secure their city a municipal art gallery of its very own. Built with the hopes of showcasing the unique energy and voices of the local artistic scene, the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) has, in the two decades since its founding, upheld its advocacy and celebration of municipal talent with an ever-changing roster of exhibits. An ongoing lineup of interactive programs and events cultivates a community of art lovers and sparks cultural discussions. Meanwhile, kids' art camps bolster the creativity of local youngsters and the egos of any cryogenically defrosted Monets in attendance. The OAG also houses the Firestone Collection of Canadian Art, a compendium of upward of 1,600 homegrown masterpieces from the modern period featuring celebrated artists including Emily Carr, Jack Shadbolt, and Paul-Émile Borduas.
Hips start swiveling with grace at White Sands Golf Course & Practice Centre, where golfers hone their form at a nine-hole executive course, extensive practice facilities, and academy classes. On the 1,477-yard course designed by Graham Cooke, golfers can choose from three tee options and finish rounds in less than two hours. To gear up for the water hazards and serpentine sand bunkers that stud the fairways, players can sharpen their technique at the extensive White Sands practice facility. Here, 30 fibre mats and 42 grass tees await along the driving range, and players can work on their victory half smiles after chipping out of the practice sand trap onto a green.
White Sands Golf Course & Practice Centre is also the site of the Graham Gunn Golf Advantage School, whose head is a member of the European Senior Tour and spent a decade as head professional at the Carleton Golf & Yacht Club. Gunn teaches clinics and offers private coaching for students who don’t want to be overheard asking how long you have to sit on a golf ball before it hatches.
From dawn to dusk, Oziles’ rental boats kick up waves around Petrie Island and Grandmaitre Ecological Reserve. The shop’s rental watercrafts, which require no boat operator’s card to use, exemplify the outfitter’s mission to empower Ottawans to explore and conserve their surrounding waterways. Before passengers embark on their trips, the crew familiarizes them with their boats and fishing gear, and teaches hand signals for passing by ducks before bidding them bon voyage. The crew also repairs, cleans, and winterizes private boats and furnishes captains with year-round boat storage at the marina. In addition to boats, Oziles rents ice huts with stoves and scenic picture windows, from which groups of up to six can watch the ice fishing holes outside.
Draped in a black cloak, a figure holds a lantern to light the way along a weathered stone wall. As the tour group follows, the cloaked leader recounts a story, perhaps a tale about Canada’s last working gallows, or perhaps about the riots that once overtook the streets. Though Haunted Walk’s guides are well known for their theatrical flair, the tales they tell are not so well known. As they lead walking tours of Kingston, Ottawa, and Toronto, the guides unveil fascinating yet rarely told tales of each city’s dark side. Narrations may include ghost stories backed by eye-witness accounts, or the underpinnings of a nefarious political plot, such as a plan to draw moustaches on every image of the queen. Private tours are also available.
Dedicated to fostering imaginative playtime for children, Midway Family Fun Park’s 50,000-square-foot space bustles with young adventurers climbing, jumping, and riding on a slew of indoor attractions. Kids get a taste of grown-up life by piloting bumper cars or boats and discussing tree-house mortgage rates with fellow drivers. Well-trained employees oversee the indoor kiddie train and helm the 25-foot rock-climbing wall to ensure the safety of all scalers; young sprouts can also hone flexibility and balance amid the jungle gym’s ball pit and slides. Outfitted with a number of entertaining and challenging obstacles, the nine-hole mini-golf course grants clubbers a chance to show off their putting prowess on scaled-down greens.
Guests also have access to the bustling arcade, which requires tokens for play, or can stop for sustenance such as a speciality pizza or samosa at Olive Green Restaurant. Midway Family Fun Park also offers full-service party planning for birthdays and other special events. Staff swoop in to take care of everything from set-up and activities to cake and goodie bags, allowing parents to shoot home movies and stage bloopers for the DVD extras.
All 30 of Walkley Bowl five-pin lanes boast computerized scoring and on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings, the alley’s cosmic lighting system kicks in, working in tandem with lively music during rock ‘n’ bowl sessions. Walkley Bowl also keeps the cosmic party rolling on Sunday afternoons, allowing children with early bed times to participate. League bowling is available for children, seniors, and adults. In addition, the alley hosts an on-site pub that keeps its doors open in an effort to draw in of-age patrons with the aroma of specialty beers on tap and glow of hockey games playing on LCD screens.