Fall In Love With Free Things To Do in Ottawa by Shelley Rolland-Poruks

For our readers outside of Canada, you may not know that we are celebrating a special birthday this year.  Canada turns 150 and to celebrate Canadians have chosen to mark the milestone with special events across the country including some spectacular parties on July 1.  Notably many Canadians chose to spend the summer exploring this great country: from the mountains out west, to the vast prairies and Lake Winnipeg to bustling city centres like Toronto and Montreal (celebrating 350 years!), to the rolling hills of Quebec and the picturesque provinces that comprise the east coast, Canada’s landscape is as diverse as its people. We have asked guest contributor, Shelley Rolland-Porkus, based in our nation’s capital to share some of her favourite places to explore on a budget should you find yourself in Ottawa some time in the near future.


Well, not sure what summer was like in your neck of the woods, but here in Ottawa our weather wasn’t quite so summer-like. This luckily didn’t get in the way of having tons of fun with the many #Ottawa2017 and #Canada150 events that took place. But don’t think just `cause we’re trading in our flip-flops for flats that it’s time to stop having fun! There are plenty of free things to do here in the nation’s capital this fall that will keep your heart hopping and your wallet happy.

MosaïCanada 150 – Now until October 15, 2017 experience a horticultural kaleidoscope of tall living exhibitions depicting life and fiction from across Canada. Tall sculptures made of plants, trees and flowers will delight all ages. Did you go already this summer? I recommend going back again to see how the exhibitions have changed with the changing of the season.

Sundays at Lansdowne – I love me a farmer’s market. There are plenty here in the Ottawa Gatineau area, but my favourite is the one is at Lansdowne Park at TD Place. Not only can you pick up some great fruit and veggies, you can walk around and talk to vendors and hear live music. The great part about this market being at TD Place however is that there is also a park with climbing equipment, basketball courts and a splash pad that is perfect for little people who don’t want to talk carrots all day.

Central Experimental Farm – This farm is a gem in the heart of our city! It’s actually both an agricultural research facility and a national historic site. The Arboretum and Ornamental Gardens located on the property are free and open to the public from dawn to dusk (there is also free parking!). A real bonus is that most areas are also accessible for people with physical limitations and can be explored with wheelchairs and walkers. This is a great spot to capture some Instagram worthy shots!

Museums – Ottawa is home to some really awesome world-class museums. Many of these museums hold national permanent collections. What’s really great about these museums is that many of them offer free admission to these permanent collections!

  1. Canadian Museum of History: All visitors are admitted free after 5 p.m. on Thursdays
  2. Museum of Nature: Free admission to permanent galleries Thursday evenings: 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
  3. Canadian War Museum: Free general admission every Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. and on November 11
  4. Canada’s Museums of Science & Technology: Admission is free daily between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.
  5. The National [Art] Gallery of Canada: Free admission to the National Collection every Thursday from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Gatineau Park – Imagine living in the city but having access to a big beautiful national park?! Gatineau Park has many ways to experience a big park while living in the city. There are hiking, walking and biking trails for all experience levels. Why not pack a picnic and head to the woods!

Rideau Canal – Known as the world’s largest skating rink, in the fall the canal is a beautiful place to walk, roller-blade or ride a bike. There are still some flowers in bloom and the trees are just starting to change. Depending on where you are along the Canal, you can stop in and explore many of Ottawa’s oldest neighbourhoods; including Centretown, the Golden Horseshoe, the Glebe, and Old Ottawa South.

Rockcliffe Park – Located just east of downtown Ottawa, this park is a popular location for outdoor weddings. It hosts many spectacular lookouts of the Ottawa River. Another great place to get some fresh air and capture some new pics to impress your pals!

Looking forward to seeing you out and about! I’ll be the one at the market with the knit sweater, cute scarf and pumpkin spiced latte. Yep…I’m that person. Happy fall!

Shelley Rolland-Poruks is a public servant, volunteer, wife and friend to many. A communications and public affairs wiz living in Ottawa, she’s newish to the blogosphere. Plenty more of Shelley here and here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *