In the days when nuclear weapons were deemed an imminent threat, when Cold War tensions were running high and morale was running low, the Canadian government braced itself for the worst-case scenario. If an atomic bomb were to be launched toward North America, Canadian government officials would burrow deep underground, hibernate, play a few hands of poker, and regroup. The bunker built to receive them—whose chambers and tunnels lurk four storeys deep in the earth and stretch over more than 100,000 square feet—was named Diefenbunker.
Today, Diefenbunker’s 1960s-era cryptographic areas, computer room, Emergency Government Situation Centre, and living quarters ask visitors to muse on what could have been had a humanity-uniting alien invasion not brought an end to the Cold War. Guests walk the chilly hallways on their own or follow a tour guide, listening to echoes bounce off the ribbed steel of a cylindrical blast tunnel, wending their way through the prime minister’s personal quarters and the Bank of Canada vault, and gazing at a CBC radio studio, whose signals never needed to take over the airwaves.
The nuclear-shelter-cum-museum uses educational programming and events, such as a children’s spy camp, to educate those who remember the Cold War and those for whom it is as distant in history as the day George Washington announced that curlers were not just for women. Visitors to the national historic site can take a piece of their experience home by stopping in at The Cold War Store, where they can pick up nuclear-protest buttons, spy toys, and Cold War–era military-surplus items such as ration packs.
Arthur Murray Dance Studio has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and the Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife Kathryn were hosting their own highly popular TV show, the The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years.
Today, Arthur Murray's instructors prepare students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts across the world. At the Ottawa studio, Vadim Safonov, Alina Safonova, and Marilisa Granzotto?all members of the World Professional Dance Teachers Association?team up to bring Arthur Murray's specialized dance programs to Ontario's budding toe-tappers. They teach pairs or single students to confidently twirl through Latin and ballroom dances.
Clients who arrive for lessons alone will be paired up with other classmates, and the instructors will assess their current skill level and make recommendations on the most appropriate program. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles including the Viennese waltz, the Argentine tango, swing, and the bunny hop, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
Golfers encounter ponds, streams, and diverse marshland throughout the grounds at The Meadows Golf and Country Club, which provide a sense of scenic continuity to its sprawling 36-hole golf complex. The four nine-hole courses can be played interchangeably for a variety of 18-hole combinations, all of which weave fairways through rows of mature willow trees on their way to large, bent-grass greens. Golfers can warm up for rounds at the full-length driving range or head to the 40-yard short-game range to work on approach shots, such as chipping, pitching, or threatening to replace underachieving sandwedges with flagsticks.
In addition, golfers can seek out inventive ways to improve their swings with lessons from The Meadows’ staff of CPGA instructors or decorate their golf bag at the pro shop full of rental clubs and equipment from top brands including FootJoy and Top-Flite. The Meadows Golf and Country Club also offers a club card complete with special perks and savings for frequent visitors.
A tiny creek flows over a bed of rocks smoothed over by its stream, casting tranquil sounds into guests' ears as they line up putts across Mini Golf Gardens’ two 18-hole courses. The more traditional of the two layouts, the blue course takes putters over green carpets that pass low brick rails and, on certain holes, between stone walls that rise above most players' heads, undermining their ability to experiment with new plot lines for their Godzilla-on-the-golf-course script. The red course more closely resembles an actual golf course, favouring open greens hemmed by shaggy rough and dotted with sand traps and water hazards. At Mini Golf Gardens' umbrella-shaded patio, guests can bring their own barbecue for corporate outings, birthday parties, or seances for groups hoping to channel the spirit of a runaway pet rock.
Each fall, as leaves begin to fly south for the winter, Oktoberfest Ottawa celebrates German heritage and tradition with a full weekend of authentic music, as well as culinary and cultural specialties. A keg-tapping ceremony kicks off the event, followed by three days full of music, dancing, eating, and stein raising. Traditional oompah bands keep a steady beat along with local rock and blues musicians, and servers clad in traditional Bavarian fashions dish out beers, pretzels, and schnitzel. Fest kegs carry locally crafted ales by Hogsback Brewing Company, and platters hold schnitzel from the Rocky Mountain House picked at the peak of freshness. In addition, George Wendt of Cheers fame will be on the premises to sign autographs and take pictures. Parking shuttles will also be available from various offsite lots.
Natural ponds shimmer and streams burble throughout the 18-hole, 6,339-yard layout at Glen Mar Golf, drawing both wildlife and errant golf balls into their watery depths. The waterways come into play on 10 holes during a round—five holes on both the front and back nine—adding to a challenging layout that also features tree-lined fairways and contoured greens. Before rounds, golfers can warm up at a driving range or stock up on balls at a full-service pro shop. A diner with patio seating awaits golfers once they've concluded their par-hunting adventure.
Course at a Glance: