Spring in the capital means fresh air, colourful gardens, patios, and the beginning of warmer days before the dog days of summer. Grab your family and friends and get ready for sweet adventures in the city’s springtime glow and the lush green space surrounding.
Here are 30 things to do during spring in Ottawa:
**Please follow all health regulations and do not travel to other regions if prohibited during COVID-19.**
1. Have a sweet time at the Sugar Shack
Feed your sweet tooth with the Sugar Shack’s seasonal sugar menu. You’ll taste all things maple glazed to perfection and can take a walk through the forests that pumps out the sweet syrup each year. Bring your coziest attire and get ready to leave feeling that sugar high.
- Through April 30 @ Fulton’s Pancake House, 399 Sugar Bush Rd., Pakenham
- Through April 18 @ Proulx Maple & Berry Farm, 1865 O’Toole Rd, Ottawa
- Through April 18 @ Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm, 2452 York’s Corners Road, Edwards
2. Frolic in the Tulips at the Canadian Tulip Festival
Check out the beautiful tulips at Dow’s Lake. Established to celebrate the historic royal gift of tulips from the Dutch to Canadians following the Second World War as a symbol of international friendship, this festival is an Ottawa springtime staple. Bask in the beautiful colours and soak up some springtime sun!
- May 14 to 24, 2021
3. Take a walk along the Canal
Famous for its winter skating, the Canal also comes to life in the spring. Watch as ducks and birds swim their way through the winding Canal and see as the spring trees bud with new life. You can explore a total of 7.8km, stopping at the many urban pockets of the city on the way.
4. Catch some rays on a patio
Embrace the warmer weather by celebrating with good food outside. Find a restaurant patio from this list and pair that with some good company (household during COVID-19); you’ve got yourself a perfect springtime evening after exploring downtown Ottawa.
5. Take a City Bike Tour
Go on guided fun and leisurely bike tour that shows you the best of Ottawa in less time. Pedal your way around on super comfortable bikes on scenic and safe waterfront bicycle pathways and on backroads of quaint neighbourhoods.
- April 1 to November 8, 2021 @ 65 Sparks St., Ottawa
6. Checkout the new Tiki Hut Boat Tour
Take a relaxing tour up and down the Ottawa River on a Hawaiian style Tiki Hut with you and a bunch of your Peeps! Whether it’s just hanging with friends for a fun time, taking a romantic cruise, this is one of the coolest ways to get out on the water.
- May 21 to October 31, 2021 | 10:30 AM to 9:00 PM @ Ottawa River Pathway, Ottawa
7. Pick up some fresh produce at the Ottawa Farmers Market
Spring in Ottawa also means the beauty of farmers’ markets and fresh veggies and fruit. Head to the Lansdowne Farmers Market in the heart of Ottawa to support local farmers and small businesses. Enjoy the warm, social atmosphere while filling up your basket with springtime goodies!
- Sundays, 10am-3pm @ 1000 Exhibition Way, Ottawa
8. Explore Some Waterfalls
Spring melt brings thunderous falls. Check out some of Ontario’s most stunning waterfalls located in and around Ottawa this spring.
9. Take a stroll around Major’s Hill Park
Major’s Hill Park is an urban must-see. It boasts impeccable views of the Ottawa river and the city beyond, with lush gardens filled with colourful flowers; this is a spring sunset dream. Watch as the trees come to life as the lush green paints the horizon and the cityscape.
- Mackenzie Ave, Ottawa
10. Breathe in the wildflowers at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden
One of Ottawa’s most picturesque parks and wildlife reserves and a paradise for both new and seasoned birders. Watch as the springtime nests chirp with baby birds and the wildflowers colour the forest floor; remember to bring your binoculars and your love for nature.
- 865 Prince of Wales Dr., Ottawa
11. Walk the boardwalks at Mer Bleue Bog
Explore this beautiful boreal-like hidden gem of Ottawa. Also known for its birding, this trail is bustling with new life in the springtime. Situated on an ancient part of the Ottawa River, this 33.43km of protected land will be sure to have you breathing in the fresh spring air while exploring this hidden gem.
Ridge Rd., Ottawa
12. Watch the cherry blossoms and magnolias bloom at Dominion Arboretum
A section of the Experimental Farm, the Arboretum turns into a cherry blossom wonderland in the spring. Breathe in the sweet-smelling aromas of these pink beauties. Remember to act fast; cherry blossoms only stick around for the spring, so you don’t want to miss this!
13. Grab some rhubarb from the Millers Farm Market
Spring fan favourites include rhubarb and asparagus, and with more options such as springtime perennials and wildflowers, you won’t leave empty-handed. With no admission charge, this affordable, family-friendly outing helps support local farms in kicking off the produce season!
Open weekdays, weekends, and holidays: 8 am-5 pm @ 6158 Rideau Valley Dr. N, Manotick
14. Watch the sunset over the Ottawa Locks
With the days getting longer, there’s no doubt that the sunsets get better. Head to the Ottawa locks at Parliament Hill to watch the sky turn into a mosaic of orange, pink, and purple over the Ottawa River as the day comes to an end.
15. Look for the beavers on the Sarsaparilla Trail
A short 0.8km hike that overlooks a beautiful beaver dam, this easy trail will have you listening for baby birds and rejoicing in the beauty of the springtime. Stand on the lookout and watch as the ducks and other pond critters swim around in their springtime glee.
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16. See furry friends at the Log Farm
The Log farm is well known for showcasing their spring fur-babies, including piglets, lambs, bunnies, goats’ kids, baby alpacas, and more, depending on the year. They make announcements on their social media, so be sure to check there for any specific babies you’re hoping to see!
670 Cedarview Rd., Nepean
17. Learn about springtime Agriculture at the Experimental Farm
Another great place to find furry friends is Ottawa’s urban agricultural museum’s experimental farm. They feature many newborn fur-babies such as calves, piglets, chicks, lambs, fawns, and more in the spring.
960 Carling Ave, Ottawa
Hours: Thursday to Sunday: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm (during COVID-19)
Cost: Adult: $12.25, Senior/Student: $10.25, Youth: $10.25, Child: free, Family: $34
18. Immerse yourself in the Larose Forest
A beautiful coniferous forest with 11,000 hectares of trees, you’ll feel small amongst the towering pines and cedars. More than 18 million trees have been planted in Larose Forest, qualifying it as the second-largest community forest in Ontario. Rejoice as the warm spring air brings aromas of spruce and pine as you hike on through.
19. Bog walk-in Stony Swamp
There is no shortage of beauty on the Stony Swamp trails. With over 700 species of plants, 251 rare bird species, and a vast diversity in landscapes, Stony Swamp is a springtime vision. Explore wetland boardwalks and interpretive signage throughout the park to keep you up to date on all the wildlife beauties.
20. Sip on some vino at Kin Vineyards
Put on your favourite wine tasting attire, grab some friends and head out to Kin Vineyards. Their tasting room offers packages to complement the wines with charcuterie and various pallet cleansing additions. See the vineyard and smell the sweet scents of grapevines in the spring in the lush vineyards.
- 2225 Craig’s Side Rd., Carp
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21. Pick Your Own Tulips
Visit Green Corners Farm and pick your own tulips this May. A general admission ticket is required so that you can walk the rows of tulips and pick out the flowers you want for your bouquet. You can also get extra tulips for purchase at the field.
- In May @ 1259 Yorks Corners Road, Ottawa
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22. Enjoy April showers in the Sky
Get ready to see the annual Lyrid meteor shower in April. Check the dark sky finder, and find a reasonably dark conservation area or provincial park located in places coloured green, blue, grey, and black near you and enjoy the shower.
23. Find Ottawa Ripper
If you like scavenger hunt games, then put your sleuthing skills to find Ottawa Ripper who is on the loose in the city. Can your team of detectives scramble across town, solve the clues and crack the case before The Ripper strikes again?
- May 22, 2021 | 9 AM – 5 PM
24. Drive Long Sault Parkway to Upper Canada Bird Sanctuary
Start from Ottawa, drive the Long Sault Parkway, a 10-kilometre long road that connects a collection of eleven islands on the St. Lawrence River. The parkway is visually beautiful and has significant history surrounding it. Then get to Upper Canada Bird Sanctuary to see migratory birds.
25. Checkout the Lilacs
The quaint hamlet of Franktown in Beckwith Township is known as the Lilac Capital of Ontario, as many homes and fields in the village include these beautiful, fragrant bushes. Visit the Lilac Lane (if health restrictions allow) in late May (lilacs typically bloom 2 weeks in late May) and enjoy the sweet smell of lilacs.
- Lilac Lane, Beckwith
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26. See birds at Cooper Marsh
Cooper Marsh Conservation Area is one of the most significant wetlands in all of Ontario that will delight you if are interested in watching spring migration. Walk the boardwalk, climb the viewing platforms to enjoy more than 130 species of birds that call Cooper Marsh their home including the Osprey, American Bittern, Virginia Rail, Sora, Green Heron, Wood Duck, Pied Billed Grebe, Black-Crowned Night Heron, Sandhill Cranes and the rare Least Bittern and more!
27. See spring colouring Ottawa Region from up above
What better time of the year than spring to explore nature and enjoy the many scenic lookouts around Ottawa? Hike to the lookouts in and around Ottawa and Gatineau area where you can enjoy panoramic views and both hidden gems and well-known spots in the outdoors.
28. Zip across provincial borders
Fly across 1st ever interprovincial zip line in Canada this Spring. Opening late spring, zoom from Chaudière Island in Ottawa, enjoying the views of Ottawa from 120-foot high launch site to Gatineau.
Check-in at 50 Jos-Montferrand Street, Gatineau
29. Book your campgrounds
This is technically not an outdoor activity, but if you have plans to go camping this summer or late spring, do book your spot as soon as you can. Parks Canada is opening the reservations in April for 2021 summer season and reservations at Ontario parks are already open. Summer camping season begins in May at most of the Ontario parks.
- 25 of the Best Provincial Parks to Go Camping This Summer in Ontario
- Camping if you going boating on Trent Severn Waterway
30. Welcome summer with a trip to see thousands of wild orchids
Have you ever dreamed of surrounding yourself with thousands of wild stunning Orchids? Now you can, with an exciting day at Purdon Conservation Area! Each Spring some 16,000- 18,000 Orchids blossom, inviting guests to explore this unique wetland, native particular to the large Showy Lady Slipper Orchids. A site of such size is rare to come by in Canada and it is regarded as the largest in the country.
- Early to Mid June @ Purdon Conservation Area (Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority), Lanark County.