May wakes up the best in Ottawa: songbirds, pollinators, flowers (especially tulips!), and enchanting trees (especially pink-and-white crabapple blossoms).
Home to lush green space, accessible wilderness, and a thriving festival scene, Ottawa is the perfect place for a spring fling. Our May-June festival guide plays cultural matchmaker — whether you fancy world-class music, dance, puppetry or live theatre. It all starts with the cultural-and-floral rainbows found at the Canadian Tulip Festival (p. 14), and ends with the seductive, siren sounds of the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival (p. 15).
Feeling nostalgic about the winter? Stay cool year-round at the new Canada Goose Arctic Gallery (opening June 21) at the Canadian Museum of Nature (p. 44). Meanwhile, Canadian art lovers will get passionate about the National Gallery’s re-imagined Canadian and Indigenous Galleries (opening June 15, see p. 12).
Heed nature’s call in our Great Outdoors guide (p. 18), which explores Gatineau Park’s top trails, the city’s unexpected sports (from mountain biking to kite surfing), and Rideau Canal adventures. An urban oasis awaits at the Central Experimental Farm and the adjoining splendour of The Arboretum, home to thousands of tree species from around the world — not to mention crabapple trees that cast their seasonal spell.
For a national birthday present, the multidisciplinary Canada Scene showcases Canada’s best creators in honour of the country’s 150th (p. 17). For true patriot shoppers, visit the city’s tried and true shops (p. 22). All that shopping and patriotism could make you hungry. Eat at one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s favourite restaurants (p. 28), or go green with our guide to vegetarian and vegan restaurants (p. 29). For a neighbourhood with Old World charms, and modern entertainment and boutiques, explore Little Italy’s best-kept secrets (p. 46).
With a spring in your step, get ready to fall in love with Ottawa. Your fling may well turn into a full-blown romance.
Follow our own Ottawa passions @whereottawa on Twitter and Instagram.