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Christmas and New Year’s in Ottawa

 

So maybe you’re planning a visit to Ottawa over the holiday season… or maybe you live here and are looking for some suggestions of what to see and do. This is a starting guide of what awaits — watch for updates as December progresses!

FREE STUFF

Christmas Lights Across CanadaChristmas Lights Across Canada - last year's launch on Parliament Hill Everybody loves free stuff, especially when there are so many other demands on your wallet! Be sure to wander the downtown Ottawa and Gatineau streets between December 2, 2010 and January 7, 2011 and admire the Christmas Lights Across Canadaprogram — more than 300,000 coloured lights decorate Parliament Hill, the National War Memorial and other scenic sites.

It doesn’t cost anything to window shop — and some of the best can be done in the ByWard Market neighbourhood. For the three weekends before Christmas (Dec. 4-19; 12-4pm), you can also get in the spirit by singing Christmas carols (songsheets are provided) on a free horse-drawn carriage ride through the Market’s streets. Other choirs have been invited to sing during the same times at the corner of George Street and ByWard Market Square — donations are welcome.

 You can celebrate the Winter Solstice at the Canada Science and Technology Museum on Tuesday, December 21 with a FREE stargazing party — but dress warmly because the event is only outdoors (7pm).

 

WHAT’S OPEN ON CHRISTMAS DAY?

Most people have Christmas Day off as a holiday, but there are a few things you can do: stroll the grounds of Parliament Hill, enjoy some excitement at the Casino du Lac-Leamy, watch reunions at the Ottawa International Airport, go tobogganing in a local park (weather permitting), or grab a drink or a snack at a local hotel.

A few examples:

Grill 41 in the Lord Elgin Hotel offers a plated Christmas dinner table d’hôte (4 courses) for $49 on both December 24 and 25 — and a plated New Year’s Eve dinner table d’hôte (5 courses) for $69 on December 31.

Lane’s Restaurant in the Holiday Inn & Suites is open on December 25 and on Boxing Day (December 26) as of 11:00am, as well as on December 31 and January 1.

101 Café (in the Crowne Plaza Ottawa offers a five-course meal with holiday entertainment and dancing on December 31 and a January 1 New Year’s Day breakfast buffet.

As I mentioned, this is a first post — watch for more info as we get closer to the holidays! Or post your own suggestions below!

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