Travel postcard: 48 hours in wintry Ottawa

Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:10am EST
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters Life!) - Canada's compact capital is ideal for those who enjoy an active winter break with their families, particularly when the world's longest groomed outdoor skating rink opens for business in mid-January.

The city's charm lies in its small size, which makes a pleasant contrast to Toronto and Montreal. You can explore most of Ottawa by foot and the more far-flung attractions are usually no more than 15 or 20 minutes away by taxi.

Two words of warning: although temperatures no longer routinely sink down to minus 40 Celsius (minus 40 Fahrenheit) in winter, Ottawa is still one of the world's coldest capitals. Dress warmly

* Canadians are generally law-abiding but have a mysterious habit of running red lights. Check carefully before crossing roads or pulling out into traffic.


Ottawa was an obscure logging town when Britain's Queen Victoria chose it to be the Canadian capital in 1857 and it has stayed relatively small. So put on your boots and start walking.

5 p.m. - After you've checked in to your hotel stroll toward the ByWard Market, which was once home to brothels, rowdy taverns and packs of aggressive loggers. Now it is one of the city's best shopping, dining and entertainment centers.

7:30 p.m. - Enjoy a leisurely dinner at Domus Cafe (87 Murray Street, 613 241-6007), rightly one of the best-known restaurants in town. Chef John Taylor specializes in using local ingredients   Continued...

<p>A worker cleans away snow around the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill in Ottawa November 21, 2007. REUTERS/Christopher Pike</p>