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Itinerary help with teenagers

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Winnipeg, Canada
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Itinerary help with teenagers


We are very excited to make our first visit to ottawa. I'm not sure where the summer has gone but we leave this Friday. It will be my husband and I and our 17 year old daughter and 14 year old son. Our definate plans right now are the parliament buildings tour, changing of the guard and light show. As well, we are planning to go to the war museum. The other things we are thinking of but would like input on are calypso waterpark, Gatineau park, boat tour of either rideau canal or ottawa river, biking (not sure what route), fireworks competition show Saturday night (sound of light I think it's called). Also was wondering if anyone knows anything about white water rafting. Thanks for any input or other ideas you can give. By the way, we will be there until Wednesday.

Guelph, Canada
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1. Re: Itinerary help with teenagers

The Museum of Civilization is worth a visit.

Ottawa ON
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2. Re: Itinerary help with teenagers

I first visited Ottawa when I was 12 with my parents and sisters (15 & 16). It was amazing to me then and still is (I've lived here 10 years now). I'm confident you'll all have a great trip. Enjoy!

Will you have a car? If so, Gatineau Park is close by and great to visit. Go to the MacKenzie King Estate for an enjoyable afternoon. As mentioned, the Museum of Civilization is good. At a rapid pace both the War Museum and the Museum of Civilization can easily take half a day each. Walking, shopping and eating in the Byward Market is another great way to spend an afternoon. I've only done the boat tour of the Ottawa River, not the one that goes along the canal and it was enjoyable. I chose the River cruise since it went places I hadn't been to. You can walk along the canal and see the same sights as the boat but people enjoy both.

Personally, I wouldn't bother with Calypso Water Park or going white water rafting. In both cases you are going to end up spending an entire day doing that and when you only have 5 days in Ottawa, I suggest staying closer to the city where you'll find lots to see and do (not entirely sure but think it would take about 1.5 - 2 hours driving each way to get to the closest ww rafting but maybe someone else knows).

Have a great visit!

Ottawa, Canada
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3. Re: Itinerary help with teenagers

Well, with a couple of teenagers, white water rafting might just be something al little different from museums and buildings all day. There's certainly nothing like it near Winnipeg (I know... I grew up there ;) I would avoid Saturday and Sunday as it can be crowded. But if the weather looks good (hotter the better :), I've found it a GREAT way to spend a day... and your kids are just the right ages for it.

All rafting companies are in the same area about 1.5 hours from Downtown... Nice enough drive too..

Reservations would be essential. Wilderness Tours and Owl are the 2 most established outfits... but a google search will bring up a couple of smaller ones.

With regards to other suggestions.... I'd suggest taking the Ottawa river boat tour... and renting bikes and ride up and down the Rideau Canal.

Happy Trails :)

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Itinerary help with teenagers

I second the War museum.....find some great poutine in Gatineau....

Winnipeg, Canada
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5. Re: Itinerary help with teenagers

Thank you so much for all the replies. We will certainly make the war museum a priority and will try to fit in the museum of civilization. We will have a car and would love to see Gatineau Park. Our daughter (and I) loves to shop so we will definately go to the Byward Market. Any other great shopping places?

I do think something a little some active with our teenagers would be really good to break things up, which is why we are considering either white water rafting or calypso waterpark. Can anyone comment on the waterpark? White water rafting may be a bit out of the budget but sounds like a lot of fun.

My kids love poutine and we definately want to fit that in. Any suggestions as to where? Any other good but not too expensive food ideas would also be great.

Thanks again. Getting excited!!

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6. Re: Itinerary help with teenagers

The Rideau Centre, the mall adjacent to the Byward Market, is becoming more upscale so you may find some attractive brands there. Rideau Street, near the Byward Market, has some ethnic restaurants that may not be common in Winnipeg. You could walk east down Rideau Street from the Byward Market and see if anything catches your fancy.

One active option within Gatineau Park is the Camp Fortune Aerial Experience. It is close to the walking trails in the park. campfortune.com/summer/aerial-experience/

Winnipeg, Canada
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7. Re: Itinerary help with teenagers

So I came up with a tentative schedule. Any input would be awesome. Thanks again to everyone who replied.

Friday, August 9

Arrive, check into hotel

Walk to Byward Market and have supper, shop

9:30 Sound and Light Show

Saturday, August 10

Changing of the Guard

Tour of Parliament Hill and Peace Tower

7:00 Sound of Light

Sunday, August 11

Canadian War Museum 9:30-6:00

Bikes along Rideau Canal

Ottawa River Tour

Monday, August 12

Adventure day - still to be determined

Tuesday, August 13

Gatineau Park

Museum of Civilization?

Wednesday, August 14


Ottawa, Canada
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8. Re: Itinerary help with teenagers


I think your Friday sounds good, not too much crammed in.

I would suggest that you pick-up your tickets for your tour of Parliament before going to Changing of the Guard. They are available across the street from Parliament at 90 Wellington (short grey building at the corner of Metcalfe). Having recently done this, I can tell you that, depending when your tour starts you will likely be done early afternoon. Also, be sure to visit the Memorial Chamber.

The War Museum is one of my favourites, in the museum, the tombstone of the Unknown Soldier is in its own room.

Biking on the Canal is a great idea, all the way to Dow's lake is a great ride.

I haven't yet been to Calypso, but I have heard great things about it. I have been whitewater rafting, and it is definitely a thrill. Also, Camp Fortune, about 20 minutes from downtown, has an aerial experience (zip lining - tree top).

Gatineau Park is beautiful to walk through, and you'll find the Mackenzie King Estate there as well. The Museum of Civilization is worth a visit.

Athens, Ontario
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9. Re: Itinerary help with teenagers

You may have enough time to visit the Museum of Civilization on Saturday so look up the town of Wakefield, Quebec and see if you might be interested in visiting there on the day you are visiting Gatineau Park.

For biking I would at least bike to Hog's Back Falls and back. Or you could bike to the Falls and switch over to the Rideau River path and take that back downtown. If you are still feeling energetic the paths east and west out of downtown are nice.

Ottawa, Canada
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10. Re: Itinerary help with teenagers

"shopping" in the Byward Market is somewhat limited. There are some vendors around the main market building, but other than that, mostly restaurants/bars. The Rideau Center will have lots of traditional shopping options. A walk along Sussex Drive from Rideau Street heading North (toward Byward market) will have you passing a few unique stores and galleries. I'd suggest this route on your way to dinner in the market.

You may want to consider an area called the Glebe. Bank Street, South from downtown roughly around Fifth Ave. (easy to get a city bus down Bank Street). A few more independent stores/shops and some pubs, coffee shops and restaurants with patios. I find it's a bit more of a mix than the Byward Market.

One other thought - a drive by the Prime Minister's residence and maybe a visit to the Governor General's (right across the road) would be worthwhile. The GG's has tours of the residence and gardens; nothing spectacular, but certainly a little piece of history and a truly Ottawa experience. Your teens are the right age to appreciate what they are seeing. Enjoy!