For more than 45 years, Koyman Galleries’ custom-framing team has corralled fine art, photos, diplomas, and other keepsakes within the confines of custom-made frames. The subjects of 8”x10” ($60), 11”x14” ($95), or 16”x20” ($110) family portraits beam proudly from inside a sturdy wood frame and enjoy protection from the sun's moustache doodles with an upgrade to nonglare glass ($77+). Premium frames ($119+) treat art pieces to meticulously applied matting and enlarge dimensions up to 22”x26”. Art consultants stand by to offer framing suggestions and spot-on impressions of the Mona Lisa smile.
Reflecting on this childhood, Chris Keating sometimes feels as if he didn't exist. His parents' divorce left him with very little tangible evidence of his formative years, so he's spent his adult life as a photographer making sure children can look back fondly at warm family memories. Chris Keating and his Calgary staff have made this a reality for more than 3,000 families since opening the doors to Towne Photography in 2006. There, the professional photographic crew shoots posed and candid shots of families, children, couples, and babies at picturesque parks or against their studio backdrops, and they also snap triumphant graduate portraits, intimate prenatal shots, and provocative passport pics that make border crossing a breeze. Their ironclad guarantee allows unsatisfied clients to request reshoots, reprints, or resizing on all photographs, and they vow to remake or recapture any artwork that sustains damage over the years. Chris also takes his photographic knowledge on the road to conduct Betterphoto Workshops across the United States and Canada, teaching novice photographers how to artistically preserve their most precious memories.
Familiar places such as Gatineau, the Ottawa River, and the Hull Casino shrink as the R44 helicopter speeds up to 180 km/h above the Ottawa area. Pilots and their headset-clad passengers peer out the aircraft’s large, panoramic windows during such year-round flights that range from 10 minutes to an hour. Héli-Tremblant's personalized tours whisk passengers away to special events, and aerial photography and filming sessions accommodate homeowners and real estate agents craving overhead shots of their backyard polar bear tank. In addition to sightseers, pilots escort jetsetters on chartered flights anywhere in Canada and offer transfer flights between Ottawa and Montreal.
Sundance Balloons' vibrant hot-air balloons float adventurous passengers over scenic landscapes at sunrise and sunset. Each one-hour journey commences as sojourners greet their flight crew at a pre-determined location, receive a briefing on what to expect during the excursion, and observe their balloon as it swells to more than 10 storeys in height. Morning flight teams convene 30 minutes before sunrise.
The woven gondolas glide 1,000 feet above the ground but can sometimes gently skim treetops or cornfields when wandering over the countryside. Since balloons drift with prevailing winds, there is no wind chill and travellers feel only a slight sensation of movement. As is tradition for ballooning, explorers of the appropriate age end their flight with a champagne toast to tranquility, beauty, and neighbourhoods that appear as giant smiley faces only visible from the air.
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.
Little Ray's Reptile Zoo is a grand hotel for cold-blooded critters overseen by animal enthusiasts Paul "Little Ray" Goulet and his wife Sheri Goulet. At their new location in Hamilton, they host the largest sanctuary in eastern Ontario for unwanted reptiles. Meanwhile, the renovated Ottawa location features 25 permanent exhibits, a nature centre, and a hands-on room. Born from the joy Little Ray experienced sharing his personal collection of reptiles with school children, the zoo now encompasses a variety of exhibits and daily feeding demonstrations showcasing more than 150 animals. The expert staff—which has trained keepers at other animal facilities on proper husbandry and correct presentation—safely introduces visitors to the animals which include 300-pound alligators, giant snakes, tarantulas, and more. The zoo is open daily for corporate groups, birthday parties, and everyday animal lovers tour the reptile environs and educational displays. The reptile zoo hosts large private-party and function rooms and a jungle spa where pythons receive hydrating wraps to combat scaly skin.