72 Hours in Ottawa

Now that my boyfriend and I are coming to the end of the long-distance part of our long-distance relationship, I’m starting to learn to appreciate the perks of it a little more. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy that the train trips, scheduled weekends and countdowns between visits will soon end. But there is a certain romanticism – even fun – that only seeing each other once every couple of weekends brings.

Take this weekend, for example. Because of Ontario’s Family Day long weekend (thank you, Dalton McGuinty!), I was able to spend an extra day in Ottawa, and it was a fantastic 72 hours. But…what do you do when you’re visiting your long-distance boyfriend for a longer stretch than normal?

Friday Night: The fun began when I arrived, to this…

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As a (very nice and highly unexpected) surprise, I was treated to freshly shucked oysters, my favourite non-meal meal of charcuterie and cheese, and a nice bottle (ok, two) of wine. Plus, he had made a playlist for the occasion – one thing everyone needs to know about me is that I’m a sucker for a good playlist (I’m not nearly as devoted to them as John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity, but I get his obsession).

Saturday: Ottawa has an incredible attraction that nothing in Toronto can ever match – the Rideau. Whether you’re one for skating and winter activities (or not), it’s a gorgeous part of the city, a little haven that just lights up on clear winter days.

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This weekend happened to be Winterlude, so there were lots of activities, kids, ice sculptures and skates all over the place.

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As I’d mentioned before, there are many good places to eat in Ottawa, and Saturday night, we tried a new one that (almost) makes the list. We went to Navarra Restaurant in the Market – a tapas-style, highly rated, but tiny restaurant. Dinner overall was good – we shared a foie gras appetizer, something called a “Mexican Bricklayer Dip” (kind of a spicy guac, with cactus in it!), and then shared mains of duck belly and an interesting take on penne carbonara (with crispy pork belly in place of bacon). Dessert was kind of a miss for me (with a spicy chocolate panna cotta) and a total win for him (citrus-infused creme brulee), and the wine/cocktails we had were great. The service wasn’t stellar (we awkwardly waited around in the doorway for a few minutes while our table was getting ready), which made it sadly less than perfect.


My favourite part of most long weekends is the implied approval at being totally lazy – while we went out to watch a movie, we spent most of the time inside (aka away from the cold), just hanging out. Pizza for dinner, apartment hunting online, another movie…the works! And these are the moments that I always look forward to when visiting and that I miss most when we’re apart. It’s nice to be able to just span time with someone (a la Vincent Gallo in “Buffalo ’66”).

All this is to say – I had a really good weekend (even though it already feels like it was eons ago…).