The Road Ahead : December January 2008
42 DEC 07/JAN 08 the Rideau, including Merrickville (founded 1791), with historic homes, inns, galleries and distinctive shops. Tr y Mrs McGarrigle's Fine Food Shop for its famous mustards and handmade truffles. And there's plenty more in Merrickville for shoppers and histor y buffs. Historic Sam Jakes Inn (circa 1861) is a good place for a quiet drink, a meal or a bed. From Merrickville, you can drive to the nation's capital, Ottawa, in about 45 minutes. Home to 1.1 million people and the national parliament, a lot of French is spoken here, as the city borders on Quebec. There is plenty of histor y and plenty to do. As far as the Rideau is concerned, Ottawa is home to the 'king' of all lock stations -- a flight of eight locks linking the canal and the Ottawa River. In winter, the Ottawa end of the Rideau is transformed into the world's largest ice skating rink, stretching for 8 km. Like most cities, the best way to get a feel for Ottawa is to walk the streets. Star t on the hill where the Parliament buildings overlook the Ottawa River. During summer and autumn, watch the changing of the guard during the day and a sound and light show at night. Wander around the buildings and parkland, then head east past the lock station to the National Galler y of Canada (there are many galleries and museums in Ottawa). Open daily, the galler y is impressive. Check out the giant spider sculpture out the front, then head inside to explore the galleries and exhibitions. There are good displays of works by the 'Group of Seven' (seven famous Canadian ar tists) and first nations ar tists, for example, as well as outstanding Inuit sculptures. Audio-guides are available. The bookshop is wor th a visit too. Admission costs around A$7 for adults and A$14 for families. Also consider a visit to the Byward Market, one of the oldest and largest farmers' markets in Canada. It's a busy, colour ful place, located downtown, with lots of intricately displayed fresh food and flowers. With ar t, crafts, food and fashion, there is something for ever yone here, including the obligator y cheap T-shir ts. Byward Market is Ottawa's enter tainment district, with many restaurants, cafes and clubs on offer. Just taking in these sites only scratches the sur face of Ottawa. You could easily spen a week here -- after leisurely cruising up the Rideau Canal, of course. You'll be able to read part 2 of our eastern Canada series (Toronto and Niagara Falls) in the February 2008 edition. EATING OUT Westport - Foley's Pub Great location. Next door to Foley's Inn and overlooking the Upper Rideau. Good range of meals, reasonably priced, friendly ser vice. Sit on the water front patio. Merrickville - Sam Jakes Inn The restaurant in Sam Jakes is classy. Quality, well- crafted food. Mainly local produce. First class ser vice. Themed menus on selected nights (around A$70). Elegant surroundings. Ottawa - Social Restaurant Modern, elegant atmosphere. Great food. Sensible ser vings. Modern menu. Lunch mains A$10-$17. Big lounge area. Jazz and blues on the weekend. Big Daddy's Crab Shack and Oyster Bar Cajun cuisine, with an emphasis on steak and seafood. Big lounge area. Bustling place, popular, good fun. Don't plan on having a quiet conversation. Extensive menu. Lots of choice with fresh fish and oysters. Cajun red schnapper was excellent. RACQ CAN HELP RACQ Travel can arrange holidays to Ontario and other par ts of Canada, including air travel, accommodation and tours. Contact an RACQ Travel consultant on 1300 888 449 if you're interested in booking a trip. SOME TIPS • Exchange rate at the time of writing: A$1 = C$0.87. • 6 percent GST and 8 percent provisional tax apply. • Tipping: 15-20 percent is common for many ser vices. STAYING IN Jones Falls - Shangri-La Lodge Jones Falls is a shor t drive from Kingston or Ottawa. Shangri- La Lodge is on Whitefish Lake. Modern cabins (one to three bedrooms). Big lounge areas. Self-contained. Fairly basic but comfor table. The restaurant and bar are supremely located, overlooking the lake. Hear ty dinners and massive breakfasts are ser ved here. Cabins A$85 per person. Westport - Foley House Historic Inn & Pub Westpor t, on Upper Rideau Lake, is 120 km by road from Ottawa. Foley House was built in 1867. Beautiful building conver ted to house six airconditioned bedrooms. Two share a bathroom, the others have ensuites. Stunning furniture. The parlour has the original 1867 wallpaper and ar tefacts given to the original owner by guest and first Canadian prime minister Sir John Macdonald. Scenic location on the lake. Well prepared breakfast. Room rates (B&B) average A$170. Merrickville - Sam Jakes Inn A grand 1860s' building. Tastefully renovated. Three luxur y suites, 33 guest rooms. Big rooms, furniture in keeping with historic grandeur. Comfor table beds, feather duvets and king- size pillows. Individual airconditioning. Spa ser vices available. Rooms A$100 per person, including breakfast. Ottawa - ARC The.Hotel Arc has 112 rooms, including some bigger suites. Ver y modern hotel. Good city location. Rooms a good size, distinctively designed. Well equipped and furnished. Comfor table beds. High-speed internet. Free coffee station downstairs. Good ser vice. Rooms A$215. Ottawa lock system.
October November 2007
February March 2008