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Ottawa & Toronto- A December Vacation to Remember

I recently got home from a trip to Ontario, Canada.  I journeyed up to for a few NHL hockey games.  Specifically, the NHL 100 Classic in Ottawa, and Next Century Game in Toronto.  While there, I made sure to take the time to experience both cities, exploring new spots and taking advantage of the festivities going on for the Holidays & Canada 150.

Canadian Museum of Nature

Canadian Museum of Nature

On my first day, I spent some time in the National Gallery of Canada & Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa.  At the National Gallery, I explored Canadian & Indigenous galleries, as well as exhibits from the Canadian Photography Institute.  There were works of art in all media, a Canadian Biennial exhibit, and a fascinating view of the US-Mexican border called Frontera.  The Museum of Nature contains exhibits of Botany, Zoology, Paleontology & Mineralogy in collection of galleries such as the Earth Gallery & Water Gallery.  Many of the displays are interactive & educational, and would be a great way to spend the day with kids.


Despite the cold, there were many activities taking place on Parliament Hill.  The Canada 150 Rink provided free ice skating to the public, and also hosted several hockey games.  While here I also stopped by the NHL fan fest, Centennial flame, and stopped by the Tim Horton truck for some free coffee.  Before my trip was complete, I made sure to catch the nightly multimedia show part of Christmas Lights Across Canada.  It was worth braving a cold night to view this fairy tail projected onto Parliament Hill's Centre Block!


I did a little shopping in both Ottawa & Toronto.  I love markets, and I made sure to stop by the Byward Market in Ottawa while I was in town to grab a few last minute Christmas gifts.  In Toronto, I always stop by the St. Lawrence Market for breakfast & coffee! In addition, Toronto's Distillery District was hosting a Christmas Market.  The Market is free during the week, but charges admission on the weekends.  It's a popular destination, and includes food & beverage vendors, a beer garden, and other holiday activities.

Toronto Christmas Market

Toronto Christmas Market

Next Century Game

Next Century Game

Of course, my original purpose for this trip was for hockey.  I'm a huge hockey fan, and wanted to celebrate the NHL's 100th anniversary in style.  The NHL 100 Classic took place outdoors at Ottawa's TD Place Stadium.  It was a fabulous game, despite the frigid temps- fans were treated to pregame festivities at Lansdowne Park, the home team Ottawa Senators beat the Montreal Canadians, and Bryan Adams played between periods.  A few days later, I attended the Next Century Game to mark 100 years of hockey in Toronto.  I truly enjoy watching hockey with Toronto fans, and this game was a fantastic way to close out my trip.

I've been lucky enough to enjoy several trips to Canada this year.  While my travel to-do list is long, I wanted to spend lots of time here to celebrate Canada 150.  I have no regrets.  It's been a wonderful year of travel for me, and I'm looking forward to 2018!


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