Be one with nature in the nation's capital
Tuesday, July 17, 2018, 6:00 AM - Summer is about halfway done. Time to cash in those vacation hours you’ve been saving up and travel somewhere new and exciting, and we have the perfect place for you to visit.
Canada’s capital is a wonderful place to visit this summer, because there is a little something there for everyone! For the adventurer and festival lover, Ottawa has plenty of festivals this summer. For the more laid back members of the family, Ottawa is the perfect place to visit to become one with nature.
Here are a few of our top picks for places to really connect with the environment around you.
This 6,000-hectare conservation area is a nature lover’s dream. Located in eastern Ottawa, Mer Bleue’s raised dome peat bog represents an ecosystem “more typical of Canada’s northern boreal forest,” according to the National Capital Commission (NCC), and has been internationally recognized under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of ecological importance.
The NCC helps to protect species at risk living in Mer Bleue by studying them carefully, monitoring, protecting, and restoring their habitats. It conducts an annual biodiversity review on key indicator species like frogs, turtles and birds, with biologists spending countless hours in Mer Bleue from late April to mid- August.
Image: National Capital Commission
Mer Bleue is a fantastic place to hike along boardwalks, stroll through forests, take photographs, and watch for all sorts of animals.
Planning on visiting Parliament Hill? Gatineau Park is just 15 minutes from Parliament and provides a beautiful place to relax or get active! An environmentally friendly option, the park’s extensive trails and varied terrain suit everything from a placid stroll to gruelling athletic training.
View from King Mountain Trail in Gatineau Park. Photo: Brandon Drayton
Gatineau Park is in an area where the Canadian Shield meets the St. Lawrence Lowlands, and where the Gatineau River meets the Ottawa River.
The park offers over 300 campsites in the summer, numerous lakes, 165 kilometers of hiking trails, and 50 kilometers of paved trails for cyclists. It is also home to over 100 species of plants and animals that are at risk. Park staff work tirelessly to help these species by protecting milkweed for monarch butterflies to feed on, monitoring populations of Blanding’s turtles, protecting Peregrine falcon nesting sites, and installing bat houses, among several other conservation efforts.
Following a very successful exhibit last summer for Canada’s 150th anniversary, Mosaïculture is back for round two! You can find this spectacular exhibit in Jacques Cartier Park in Gatineau, Quebec, right across the river from the National Gallery of Canada (only about a 20 minute walk via the Alexandra Bridge). Opening on June 22nd and closing on October 15th, 2018, Mosaïculture brings 5.5 million plants to life with topiary art.
Since 2000, Mosaïcultures Internationales Montreal has held five international mosaiculture competitions and six major exhibitions. Building these sculptures requires a team of landscape architects, engineers, horticultural mosaic artists, and sculptor-welders. The Mosaïculture website states: “The result mixes beauty, feelings, textures, and volumes with plants and flowers to create the unique and magnificent living works known as Mosaiculture.”
Tickets to this year’s exhibition range from $5 to $20, with a season pass available for $40. More information can be found on their website.