Rideau Centre’s New Expansion

The Rideau Centre has always been “Ottawa’s mall”, with it being right in the heart of downtown and all. But it was starting to get a little dated, and in much need of a refresh. I stopped going, because it wasn’t particularly special. But in the past couple of years, there have been a LOT of changes, including the new Nordstrom, stores like Kate Spade and Ted Baker, and now H&M, Simons, and Anthropologie!

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All of the pictures from this post are from Simons, because it is definitely the biggest addition to the mall. I definitely got lost.

This cafe inside of Simons has the most spectacular view of Ottawa. And we were safe from the rain on that particular day, too. It’s tucked into the corner with the home goods section, and all of the natural light is seriously to die for. I’ll probably go back to buy a latte just to take a picture of it. Sounds like me, right?

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Anyway, I’m not sure why I’m blogging about the mall, because I am not a fashion blogger, but the new expansion was really pretty. I liked it, so I took pictures of it.

I’ve been writing about a lot of things I’ve seen and food I’ve eaten around Ottawa. Is this interesting? Should I write more about thoughts about life? I have been writing about the notion of home, too. I appreciate any and all feedback :)

CF Rideau Centre | 50 Rideau Street, Ottawa
http://www.cfshops.com/rideau-centre.html

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August

Wow, I can’t believe that August is already over.. does that mean summer is over, too? August is probably my favourite month. And it might have a little something to do with friends, food, ice cream, and a birthday.

I did a lot of touristy things in August because we had some friends visiting.

I also watched some killer fireworks. Like, so good. Maybe not the best I’ve ever seen (Disney is up there), but this fireworks festival kills it every year.

I celebrated my 24th birthday with food, naturally.

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I showed off some new Simply Steph Ko cards at the Ottawa Makers Market. I’m now preparing for the Etsy show, which will be the biggest show I’ve done. Eep! Wish me luck.

And I ate a lot of ice cream. I think I might have a problem. Just kidding, there’s no such thing as too much ice cream (says the public health kid.. shh). Everything in moderation, right?

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I also said goodbye to my work friends, who finished their summer work terms. Au revoir, lunch buddies!

And now I’m off to enjoy September!

xo,

stephkoanie

P.S. Some posts from August:

Sound of Light Fireworks Show

Every year, the international fireworks competition, Sound of Light, takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays in August. They are way more impressive than Canada Day fireworks, and are also shot right over the Ottawa river.

IMG_20160813_211808-01This was the first time I’ve been to the Quebec side, since they moved from the Casino du Lac-Leamy to the Museum of History. It is a much better venue, with a much clearer view with less trees in the way, and a stunning view of Ottawa.

I have in the past couple of years watched from downtown Ottawa, by the river. Some good spots to watch from are: behind Supreme Court, by the Canal Locks, or near the Art Gallery. You can also stream the music from Majic 100.3 if you want to listen to the music along with the fireworks.

Anyway, I could keep talking, or I could just share pictures.

It’s over now, but you should come check them out next summer!

Sound of Light | August 6-20, 2016
http://www.feux.qc.ca/home/

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Sweet Jesus

I was very very excited about Sweet Jesus coming to Ottawa. In case you haven’t guessed, I like ice cream, a lot. And Sweet Jesus has been taking over Instagram with all of their crazy pimped out ice cream cones that look just oh so good!

They opened in the Byward Market area mid-August, but every time I walked by, the line was out the door and onto the street, so I decided to wait out the craze a little.

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We finally returned on a rainy Sunday afternoon, and figured the line wouldn’t be as long.. and it wasn’t! Hoorah! Talk about patience..

Something that Jethro and I didn’t figure out until we were already inside the shop (and a line started forming behind us), is that the flavours are not up on the wall as you might have expected. They are listed on a menu that you need to grab before getting inside. We didn’t do this, so we held up the line a little bit. We somewhat hastily chose the “Sweet Baby Jesus” in a cone, because we figured that must be a signature flavour. It had caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, and nuts. Tasted a bit like a Drumstick, if you ask me.

After trying it, I was a little underwhelmed. The ice cream was good, and the toppings were good. But it’s just not for me. I’m glad I went, but I don’t know if I will be back.

Sweet Jesus | 97 Clarence Street, Ottawa
http://www.sweetjesus4life.com/

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Ottawa as a tourist

I grew up in Ottawa, and don’t often visit the tourist spots unless I have an out-of-town friend visiting. I do however LOVE playing tour guide. I’m full of random fun facts that I love to spew whenever I have the chance to. Over the August long weekend, I got to play tour guide to both visiting friends AND Ottawa natives who had never really explored downtown before!

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Our tired smiles after a 2-hour walking tour of Downtown Ottawa

We started our tour from Centretown, and walked down Sparks Street (a street that is closed to vehicle traffic all year round), where the annual Buskers Festival was happening (no photos, sorry!). I always forget how incredibly talented buskers can be! We saw short bits of a couple acts, and stayed longer for one guy who was hilarious. He did a lot of typical busker type acts, engaging the audience, juggling, miming, fire, etc.

We walked past the Rideau Canal locks (one of my favourite places in Ottawa!), pointed out the place where the Rideau sinkhole was a couple months ago. Did you know that a truck fell into the sinkhole and because it was too dangerous to get it out, they cemented around it? That means it’s still in the ground!

We then made our way through Major Hills’ Park — great green space, by the way. Ottawa is full of green spaces throughout the city. We made it past the American Embassy on our way to the National Art Gallery to see the giant spider sculpture (Maman). You can see the marble eggs in the spider’s sac. It’s a little eerie, but also an awesome fixture in Ottawa.

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One of my favourite views, with Bourgeois’ Maman sculpture framing the National Art Gallery

Turning around, and heading back South, we weaved our way through Byward Market, pointing out local pubs as well as fruit and vegetable vendors. I also found the location of Sweet Jesus (an ice cream shop) for the first time, and I CAN’T WAIT to try it! It wasn’t yet open, but you’ll be sure to see a review once I go.

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On our way back to Centretown (where we left the car), we finally went to Parliament Hill to end our tour with the most famous tourist attraction. We didn’t have the foresight to nab any tour tickets of Parliament, but I think our feet were tired enough at this point. So we just called it a day.

On day 2, we went for a short hike around Pink Lake at Gatineau Park. If you’re looking for an easy hike, this is it. It’s the closest to Ottawa (only ~30 minutes away), and the shortest/easiest trail. Lots of families with young kids were on the trail while we were there. Since we were so tired from our 7km tour the previous day, this was a good trail for us.

Did you know that the lake is blue in the spring, and green in the summer? It’s because of the algae content. It’s never pink, but the lake is called Pink lake after the Pink family who settled in the area in the 1800s.

We also toured Old Chelsea a bit and went to the Visitor’s Centre to learn more about Gatineau Park as a whole. It is very large, and there are so many things that you can do – hike, bike, swim, boat, camp, beach, etc.

And because we all know how big of an ice cream fanatic I am, I wanted to go to La Cigale, but my company didn’t. So I guess I’ll just have to go back another day. That’s okay!

Then we decided to tour Embassy-land, and drive past the Prime Minister’s residence at 24 Sussex Drive on our way to Rideau Hall, the Governor General’s residence.

We didn’t go inside, but we wandered the grounds (another beautiful garden and green space!). We visited the ceremonial guards at the entrance of the grounds, and wondered how they were managing the heat in their elaborate uniforms. Sorry I really didn’t think to take photos since I was tour guide-ing, not tourist-ing!

And with that, our tour ended.

Anyway, I love Ottawa. And it’s a great place to visit. You can usually hit all the major spots in a day or a weekend. If you stay longer, I would recommend the museums as well. Ottawa has some pretty great museums – my favourites being the War Museum, and Nature Museum, the National Art Gallery, and the Mint.