HOMEFRONT - Summer 2009


Kylie McKenzie 0000-00-00 00:00:00

Afavourite spot for business travellers during the week, ARC The Hotel offers weekend getawayers a boutique alternative to Ottawa’s well-known, larger hotels. ARC was designed a few years ago by Yabu Pushelberg so we’re not surprised to find tasteful décor with soft, muted colours, dark woods and unique fabric wall art. Along with the friendly staff, the stylish hotel prides itself on offering executive concierge services to personalize any stay. Whether it’s simple valet parking, an assistant for the day or a fur coat for the evening, a click of the fingers and it’s all taken care of. Even the room service the night we arrive is fast, well-presented and a notch or two above what we were expecting. Oh Canada… From ARC’s central location on Slater Street, it’s an easy walk to Canada’s parliament buildings, a premier example of neo-Gothic architecture. First constructed in the late 1800s, most of the structure burned to the ground in 1916. Today, four gargoyles gaze down from the sides of the central Peace Tower, which rises over 300 feet and gives a spectacular panoramic view of the city and the majestic Ottawa River. Participating in one of parliament’s daily free guided tours, the star attraction—aside from the politicians sparring during question period—is without a doubt the world famous Library of Parliament. Currently undergoing a multi-million dollar restoration, this impressive building is home to over 17 km of material. Gold and old Just a short stroll away, the Royal Canadian Mint manufactures the purest gold in the world—99.999 percent pure. We watch money in the making, see what $1 million in gold looks like and have a chance hold a solid gold bar. The word “Rideau” figures prominently in Ottawa’s lexicon. It’s the name of a river, a canal, a street, a downtown shopping centre and an exclusive club to mention just a few. In 2007, the Rideau Canal was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ottawa’s 7.8 km-long portion of the famous canal freezes over each winter to become the world’s largest naturally frozen skating rink. Watch your step! Delight the senses Just north of the city’s much loved ByWard Market in the historic lower town, a vibrant culinary Mecca has sprouted which the locals call “Gastro Alley.” Anchored by the Empire Grill, a hot spot for power brokers, the area has given birth to a delightful clutch of small bistros and cafés. Think local, organic and creative and you’ll get the picture. Navarra combines northern Spanish and new Basque cuisine, while the chef at Murray Street is all back-to-the-basics and authentically Canadian. Sweet Art, Domus Café and E18hteen are also noteworthy spots. And lest we forget, Ottawa is home to the National War Memorial. It is worth a thought-provoking few minutes to pay our respects to those brave Canadians who have served our country.

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