Another year has come and gone. With less than 30 days to go until 2018 now is the perfect chance to look back on the year that we have had here in Ottawa. This year has honestly been completely insane thanks to the Canada 150 events. Across Canada there were hundreds of events to commemorate Canada's 150th and Ottawa did not disappoint. This year so many new shops opened and so many cool things happened to make Ottawa actually seem trendy.
The bad reputation that Ottawa has for being a government city is slowly being questioned and I am loving it. So many people complain about being bored and not having anything to do and if you said that once this year then shame on you cause there were so many things happening almost every week! Now I can't sit here and say the year went by without any complications. Of course, Ottawa is known for failing even while trying to do something trendy and cool. From gas leaks to traffic jams, not everything ran smoothly this year. But in my opinion, focusing on the positive the most important part of the year.
There were bests and worsts for every month of this year. Some months suffered more than others when it comes to worsts, but there was always good things happening no matter what!
For Best & Worst Of January/February 2017, Click "NEXT"
Chipotle finally opening in Ottawa
We opened the year with a bang with Chipotle opening up. Honestly this was a blessing for all burrito lovers in Ottawa. After waiting years for a Chipotle to open, this year Rideau Centre did not disappoint us at all. The lines when it opened were absolutely insane but now they've pretty much died down. I think we are all pretty grateful that Chipotle is finally available in our city.
The unreal deal to stay at Château Vieux-Montréal
This stunning castle is in Old Montreal making it only a two and a half hour drive from Ottawa. Château Vieux-Montréal translates to Old Montreal Castle and it's absolutely amazing. The deal meant paying only $499 per night for the Castle Suit! Hopefully they do this same deal again this year because it was such a bargain.
Embassy of Switzerland treating us to Raclette for free
In January the Embassy of Switzerland in Canada is gave out free cheese and potatoes at Rideau Hall. This year at Winter Celebration 13 other countries took part to showcase traditional foods. The Embassy of Switzerland gave away free Raclette. Raclette is swiss cheese made from semi-firm cows milk. It's formed into a wheel, then cut and heated so you can scrape off the melted part. Raclette paired with potatoes is a famous swiss dish.
Discovering the perfection that is J'adore Beauty Bar & Lounge
This nail salon doubles as a bar and it is heaven. Here you can sip on your drink of choice while getting the complete pampering that you deserve. This beauty bar is a great place to go with your BFFs to socialize and unwind. They serve up a variety of drinks from cotton candy martinis to a glass of rosé, J'adore Beauty Bar & Lounge was a great discovery this year.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone playing again in theatres
On January 7th Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone returned to the big screen and we loved it. Ottawa Family Cinema played the first of eight Harry Potter films to kick off the beginning of the year. To make this special occasion better, the movie only costed $6 each!
The Winter Brewfest that was every beer lovers dream
At the Winter Brewfest Ottawa served up a variety of beers from Ontario and Quebec. The festival took place at Lansdowne Park for the third year in a row. After having the event four times now, the Winter Brewfest will likely return and you should not miss it if you love your beers. With over 100 different options for beer, all of your beer desires will be fulfilled.
Constant traffic because of the Confederation Line construction
Whether you were on the highway in Orleans or on the roads Downtown, there was always constant traffic alllll year round. Seriously, this wasn't specifically a worst for January, but the traffic has been never-ending since the Confederation Line construction began. The light rail opens next year and I think we all agree we can't wait for the construction to end.
Rideau Canal Skate Way closing after 25 days
Anyone that looks forward to skating through the Rideau Canal during January and February were super disappointed after it closed only after 25 days! The ice this year continued to melt making it unsafe to skate on. Last year we only got 18 days so I guess we can't complain that much, but when you compare it to stats from two winters ago it's crazy. Two winters ago skaters had 59 days to skate on the ice!
For Best & Worst Of March/April 2017, Click "NEXT"
Uji Café opening and serving us all things matcha
Matcha lovers are all super grateful for this cafe opening in Ottawa. From matcha cakes to matcha lattes to matcha crepes this cafe serves up everything and anything matcha. If you still haven't visited this unreal cafe you have to check it out ASAP.
The 46th Annual JUNO Award show in Ottawa
This year Ottawa held an insane amount of events and the JUNO Awards was one of them! So many incredible artists performed some include Buffy Sainte-Marie, Zedd, Sarah McLachlan, Alessia Cara, A Tribe Called Red, and Shawn Mendes. Seriously this show was incredible and so many talented artists performed.
Ottawa's annual PoutineFest
What's better than a freshly made poutine?! From the warm gravy to the melted cheese curds, poutine is one of the best guilt pleasure foods ever. PoutineFest is a huge event that happens every year in Ottawa. Three blocks along Sparks Street from Bank Street to Elgin Street get completely blocked off for the main purpose to serve up some amazing poutine.
Finding this incredible Treehouse that can be rented just outside of Ottawa
A perfect way to getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. This treehouse was discovered this year and I have added it to my bucket list. The treehouse is in Saint-Faustin–Lac-Carré, which is about a two hour drive from Ottawa. Whatever season you decide to stay you will have the most unreal time. Surrounded by 2000 scres of regional park the treehouse is a complete escape.
Red Bull Crashed Ice event
This was absolutely insane. The Ottawa Locks were fully transformed into a crazy skate way for the Red Bull Crashed Ice event. Even though it was freezing outside everyone had an unbelievable time watching the epic event! Ottawa hosted the Ice Cross Downhill Championship and it was quite the spectacle.
Madelaine Petsch coming to Ottawa Comicon
Yep, you may not even know but THE Cheryl Blossom was in Ottawa this year. Ottawa's Comicon also welcomed so many other iconic actors including Mathew Lewis (Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter) and Adam West from Batman! I bet there are so many Riverdale fans regretting not going to comicon this year, not to worry there is always 2018!
New OC Transpo route numbers
Everything was perfect, we knew which bus to take, when to take it, where to take it from (not that it always came on time). But after this route number change so many busses and their numbers changed. If people weren't aware of the change they were left confused the next day when the 92 suddenly switched to a 62. These are all changes for the future Confederation Line so I would expect some more switches before 2018.
Rideau High School closing down
This news surprised and upset many Rideau High School students. All students that were attending Rideau High School are to go to Gloucester High School and a possible name change may take place now that students at Gloucester High School will be from both Gloucester and Rideau.
For Best & Worst Of May/June 2017, Click "NEXT"
The discovery of Morrison's Quarry
This hidden swimming hole became not so hidden this summer. This gem is only a half hour drive from Ottawa and quickly became a popular summer hang out spot this year. This site is usually used for scuba diving training and as the highest bungee jump in Canada, but during the summer Morrison's Quarry transforms into a perfect place to BBQ and chill out for the day.
Opening of Tavern On The Hill
In June Ottawa welcomed a brand new summer patio spot called Tavern On The Hill. This patio bar was the perfect hang out spot during the summer and will hopefully open again next season. From the incredible views of Parliament Hill to the yummy gourmet hot dogs, Tavern On The Hill was welcomed into Ottawa with open arms.
DessertFest that satisfied everyone with a sweet tooth
In June, Ottawa held the most unreal dessert festival ever. From donuts to cupcakes to macarons, this festival had every dessert imaginable. This was the ultimate cheat day and it was absolutely amazing. The event was at Lansdowne's Aberdeen Pavilion and will probably happen again next year so keep your eyes open for the next event.
A purrfect cat cafe opened called Feline Café
Every cat lover was super excited about this cute cat cafe opening up here in Ottawa. The cafe helps improve lives of the rescue cats, while serving the community with a chill spot to hang out. Everything on their menu is vegan and their food is all local. If you still haven't made your way to this cat cafe, during the winter months is the best time to check it out!
The Unicorn Frappuccino hype
Sure they were totally cute and Insta worthy, but the hype was tooooooo extra. Seriously, people were lining up outside to get their hands on these colourful drinks. Some people stood in lines for hours with the goal of getting an Instagram picture?! To make this hype even more extra, everyone I spoke to that tried it said it wasn't even that good.
Terrible flooding that happened across Ottawa
In early May many Ottawans were affected by the rising levels of the Ottawa River. This event left many homes damanged as a result of the water levels. Cumberland, Constance Bay, Fitzroy Harbour, Dunrobin, MacLarens Landing and Britannia all experienced the terrible effects of the flooding.
Zaphod Beeblebrox closing down
This year we said goodbye to Zaphod's and boy do we miss it. Zaphod's was known for being a 'hipster' club and was always the best place to be in the ByWard Market. Zaphod's had so many different artists perform some include Alanis Morissette, Brendan Canning, Nickelback, Rheostatics, and Swervedriver.
Downtown Ottawa's gas leak
If you were Downtown on May 2nd you know the maddness that came from this gas leak. Many work buildings were evacuated and insane road closures caused a huuuuuge traffic back up making everyone's trip home 100 times worse. The leak was at the intersection of Queen and O'Connor streets. The leak occurred as a result of construction for Ottawa's LRT system (throwback to the sinkhole of 2016).
For Best & Worst Of July/August 2017, Click "NEXT"
La Machine's epic arrival in Ottawa
Honestly, this has to be one of my personal favourite events that happened this year. Yes people were annoyed at all of the Instagram posts and traffic delays, but if you saw these machines you will agree that it was incredible. Long Ma and Kumo battled across Downtown Ottawa. From the National Gallery of Canada to the Supreme Court of Canada, these two creatures roamed the streets and ended with an epic battle.
Ottawa ranked the best place to live in Canada
Woohoooooo! For the second year in a row Ottawa was named the best city in Canada to live in. Sure Ottawa has a bad rep for being super boring, but hey clearly we're dong something right! MoneySense ranked Ottawa number 1 out of 400+ cities, towns, and villages in Canada.
Giant polar bears roamed Ottawa's streets
This was an unforgettable and hilarious experience. The Canadian Museum of Nature released wild polar bears Downtown Ottawa to promote their Arctic exhibition at the museum. On July 12th these cute polar bears made everyone's day!
Little Jo Berry's insane watermelon soft serves
A combination of two of the best summer treats was created this summer. Little Jo Berry's killed it with their vegan watermelon soft serves. Watermelon soft serve was initially only available in New York and Tokyo, but Ottawa was pretty on point with the trends this year! These soft serves were a hit this year and I hope Little Jo Berry's brings them back again in 2018.
The Bluesfest lineup
Now don't get be wrong, some great artists came... but let's compare this to the year they got Kanye West! Seriously, since 2015 I feel like the lineup's have just been disappointment after disappointment. Let's all hope that the 2018 lineup will be better!
70% of summer was rainy
Honestly, I feel like we were lucky to get a solid week of sun this summer! It rained so much that making plans to go to Calyspo or go for a picnic were never solid. They were always a 'maybe' or 'depending on the weather'. Considering we're basically inside all day during the winter being outside during the summer is super important for so many of us! Oh mother nature please give us a better summer next year.
The insanely long line to get to Parliament on Canada Day
If you went Downtown on Canada Day hats off to ya. I went for a couple of hours then left because of how absolutely crazy it was. This year was the 150th Birthday Bash and boy did people not want to miss the event. The lines were insane and took some people FIVE hours to get in. Now this was understandable considering it was for safety, but hey, we can still complain about how long the lines were!
Predictions about the snowy winter ahead of us
Yep. With summer just ending we were already beginning to here predictions of the winter that is now upon us. According to AccuWeather, Ottawa will be hit with 'above normal' snowfall during the winter of 2017-2018. The sound of this sends shivers down my spine. Seriously, a snowy winter means more slush, more mess, and more time spent bundling up before going outside... ugh.
For Best & Worst Of September/October/November 2017, Click "NEXT"
The underground light show Kontinuum
This was an absolutely unreal experience and it was exclusively made for Ottawa 2017 events. The light show was completely free and went on for three full months. The creators of the show wanted to stimulate everyone's senses and to get Ottawans excited for the LRT launch in 2018.
Pumpkinferno pumpkin festival
This was the perfect event to go to during the Halloween season. Upper Canada Village completely transformed into a spooky pumpkin world with over 150 pumpkin themed displays. Pumpkinferno is an award winning festival because of it's stunning displays and if you missed it last year I'm sure it will return in 2018.
When Pop's Chock'lit Diner came to Ottawa
Any Riverdale watcher knows that Pop's Chock'lit Diner is one of, if not the, most important locations in the town. From being the place Archie's father was shot by the Black Hood, to always being a hang out spot for the squad, Pop's Chock'lit Diner is iconic. This year Zak's Diner completely transformed into the iconic diner in Riverdale and we loved it.
The Canada Science And Technology Museum re-opening
After closing in September 2014 the museum's renovation has finally been completed after 3 years. The museum's new design is super modern but still has the classics we loved as kids. The Crazy Kitchen lives on and so do the many trains we loved while going on field trips.
Redblacks not making it to the Grey Cup
The Redblacks killed the season last year and brought the Grey Cup to Ottawa. But this year it was a major disappointment that the Reblacks weren't competing for the cup on home soil. We were all hoping that they would succeed and play for the win here in Ottawa, but sadly they didn't make it. Hopefully next year!
Algonquin and La Cite College Strike
Last month all Ontario colleges went on strike and it really sucked. In November the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) announced that the contract faculty at 24 Ontario public colleges will officially be going on strike. After weeks of negotiations the two sides were unable to reach a mutually acceptable compromise. This left all college students out of school. To make it worse, students now only have a week of the Holiday break to make up for lost time.
The weather at the Grey Cup
I guess the predictions were right, cause this year at the Grey Cup the weather was suuuuper snowy. The snow went on through the whole game and I'm sure watching the game outside in the snow wasn't the most fun. Shania Twain came out to perform during the halftime show on sled being pulled by dogs, which is by far one of the most Canadian things I've seen.
The University of Ottawa's strike scare
Almost a week after Ontario Colleges went on strike, students at UOttawa were bombarded with emails about the possibility of a strike. If the university and the union didn't come to an agreement before October 30th, then all part-time professors were to go on strike. Thankfully, we all got an email (a couple hours past the deadline) that said an agreement was reached.