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GRAND: Parliament Hill’s grand view of town

A bit like darts for lumberjacks, you’re taking it in turns to hurl deadly instruments at painted targets on a picket board 15ft away. Then you cross your fingers and hope they get someplace close to the bullseye.

This eccentric pastime is nice enjoyable and, like numerous issues within the Canadian capital, spectacularly bigger than life.

Take the towering totem poles – apparently the world’s largest indoor assortment – within the metropolis’s Museum of History.

Carved from entire tree trunks and every telling tales of the nation’s indigenous “First People”, a number of are 65ft excessive. They’re the tallest they might squeeze into the constructing.

We are on what’s billed as a “Sip, Axe and Relax” tour, organised by an outfit referred to as Brew Donkey.

A yellow faculty bus with an indication saying “Be nice to the driver” takes us to Stray Dog, one of many new craft breweries bobbing up serving British-style ales.

“A bit like darts for lumberjacks, you’re taking it in turns to hurl deadly instruments at painted targets ”

Mal Tattersall

Then, after a glass of the naughty-sounding Shaggin’ Wagon beer, we head for the Battle Axe Throwing League HQ.

Perhaps ingesting first will not be a good suggestion. But a green-haired lady referred to as Finn takes us via a stringent security drill earlier than exhibiting us how one can maintain the chopper with two arms, dangle it behind our backs after which sling it over our heads as exhausting as we will.

It’s not as simple because it seems.

But when the blade does embed itself into the goal, it makes a satisfying thud, sending picket splinters flying.

Exhausted by all that bodily effort, we clamber aboard the Brew Donkey bus to the close by Vimy brewery for but extra craft ale.

Female axe-throwerMal Tattersall

TOUGH STUFF: Girl hurls an axe with all her would possibly

Oddly for a capital metropolis, Ottawa by no means appears to have drawn the identical variety of vacationers as another Canadian locations.

But after celebrating the nation’s 150th anniversary final 12 months, it is making a valiant try to catch up.

And with a variety of sights – from the National Gallery with its indigenous artwork collections, to the mountainous Gatine-Gatineau Park wilderness after which again to the cool bars and eating places of Byward Market – it is value testing.

We stayed on the extraordinarily comfy, centrally located Westin Hotel, looking over Parliament Hill and the House of Commons, which seems remarkably like ours again residence.

Down the street are the National Gallery and the Canadian Museum of Nature, the place even the dinosaurs are dwarfed by a 65ft skeleton of a blue whale hanging from the ceiling.

Stroll a bit of additional and there is the War Museum, the place Hitler’s armour-plated Mercedes automotive is a part of a show of tanks, weapons and planes heralding the nation’s navy exploits from early Indian conflicts via two world wars to the current day.

Just a 15-minute drive away, on the other facet of the Ottawa River, sprawls Gatineau Park.

But this 90,000-acre outside playground may very well be 1,000,000 miles away from town.

There are glacial lakes for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle-boarding and swimming, greater than 100 miles of climbing trails, mountain bike tracks, rock-climbing faces and fairly seashores to calm down on.

The river is nice for whitewater rafting in summer time – and frozen in winter for skating, whereas many roads, as soon as the snow comes, develop into ski slopes.

Dinosaurs in Canadian Museum of NatureMal Tattersal

ROARSOME: Dinosaurs on the Canadian Museum of Nature

Venture into the inside and you could possibly glimpse brown bears or wolves. But they usually steer effectively clear of individuals.

Paul Prouix, of Tours Expedition, who not solely present you spherical but additionally present a tasty lunch, reckons ticks and mosquitoes are a much bigger hazard.

Later, indulge your self on the close by Nordi-Spa Nature, an unlimited cluster of open air swimming pools and log cabins with completely different Finnish sauna or steam tub therapies, which claims to be the most important spa in North America.

Sweat it out within the sauna, earlier than shortly cooling down by rubbing a handful of snow from a bucket by the door over your physique.

Then heat up once more in one of many heated outside swimming pools or scorching tubs whereas summoning the waiter to fetch a cocktail.

No journey to Ottawa, although, can be full with out visiting the Canadian Tire Centre to see the native Senators ice hockey crew.

We watched them lose in a “shoot-out” to the Detroit Red Wings.

We had been in Ottawa for Thanksgiving Day, a nationwide vacation and glorified Harvest Festival celebration.

That meant a conventional meal of pumpkin brioche, roast turkey and sticky date pudding within the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel, the place the Queen, Princess Diana and Winston Churchill all dined. But you do not have to push the boat out to eat like royalty.

Try the oysters, mussels and jumbo shrimps on the Metropolitan Brasserie, modelled on the grand Parisian consuming homes of the 1920s, or head for the stylish Sidedoor, with a menu impressed by Asian road meals.

Then there’s the Craft Beer Market, the place they boast greater than 100 ales and lagers on faucet and display British soccer video games on the telly.

Or for a fast snack, seize a Beaver’s Tail for just a few from one of many road stalls.

These dollops of fried dough coated with cinnamon and sugar are a favorite of former US president Barack Obama.

FACT FILE

Getting there: Air Canada gives extra every day flights from the UK to Canada than every other airline. From Heathrow, the airline operates the one every day direct service to Ottawa, with return economic system flights ranging from £555.77 (together with taxes). Find out extra at aircanada.com or name reservations on 0871 220 1111.

Where to remain: For room reservations at The Westin Ottawa go to westin.com/Ottawa. For extra info on Destination Canada see keepexploring.ca; For info on Ottawa Tourism see ottawatourism.ca

Useful web sites: Canadian Museum of Nature: nature.ca

Canadian War Museum: warmuseum.ca, National Gallery of Canada: gallery.ca, Canadian Museum of History: historymuseum.ca Tours Expedition: teottawa.ca, Ottawa Senators: senators.com, Brew Donkey: brewdonkey.ca Nordik Spa-Nature: lenordik.com, Sidedoor Restaurant: sidedoorrestaurant.com, Fairmont Laurier Hotel: fairmont.com/laurier, Craft Beer Market: craftbeermarket.ca/ottawa

Canada Travel: Ottawa guarantees the whole lot LARGE as metropolis boasts spectacular sights by: Farah Grimm published:

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