Summer has officially ended. It is now time for apple-picking and leaf-crunching, Sunday football night, indoor soccer games, cinnamon-dusted hot chocolates, my 26th birthday, and the return to school to finish my masters’ degree. On that last Friday, I defiantly wore my white dress, knowing it would be the last time for a few months before I could go again. I forced my friends to build my couch for me. I gorged on pizza and orange crush. Summer was over. But summer was absolutely fabulous.
Ottawa may be one of the most underrated cities in Canada. It is considered dull; grey; boring; government-centered and generally un-fun. But this summer was one of the best summers I’ve ever had without going anywhere spectacular and having a summer fling. Apart from a few weekends in Toronto and quick jaunt to Halifax, most of my time was spent exploring, eating, drinking and dancing around Ottawa-Gatineau.
The above-picture was taken at Fox and Feather, which in my mind, has one of the best patios in Ottawa.
Summer started with the excitement of a hockey playoff in our city. The Ottawa Senators pulled off the impossible- they had to win 80% of their games to be even considered in the playoffs and they made it. This underdog story catapulted the city into a crazy fan city and this girl who hates hockey even got into it! Nights at the bar, parties on Elgin street, enjoying the fanfare that comes with such a success story. It was so exciting, I almost bought a jersey!
Toronto weekend with the boys introduced me to the excitement of the Blue Jays – who, at this moment- are enjoying a successful streak and made it to the playoffs!! The best part about only having one MLB team in the entire country is that all of Canada stands behind this team (even if it’s Toronto – it’s the only Toronto team we support) and the energy is palpable when a game is on.
My best friend’s brother had a baby and watching my best friend become an aunt is really touching. Then, the big thing. The FIFA Women’s World Cup! There is really no more words I can say. I was beyond excited and humbled to welcome these teams to Ottawa; to give my friends and family free tickets and to meet some wonderful volunteers. Our search for tacos brought us to food trucks at the Glebe Garage Sale where we picked up that pretentious France painting and to watch an Ottawa Fury game.
My nephews took diving lessons; my friends played softball of which me and the dogs were frequent spectators and we took in another Ottawa Fury game. We hit up Festi-Biere in Jacques Cartier park where we sampled far too many beers and danced on the grass. We hit up a house party on Canada day, met a past flame and walked around Elgin street to head to the fireworks. Canada Day in Ottawa is the very best way to ring in the Canadian holiday. And then the other big thing. Taylor Swift in concert in Ottawa! This just took my breath away.
I took my nephew and niece paddle-boarding with my mom and brother and fell even more in love with the sport; countless soccer games and nights at the bar, pubs and clubs; dancing our night away. Then the third big thing! WAYHOME MUSIC FESTIVAL! My brother and I found out Hozier was playing and we immediately knew we had to go. We would have gone to British Columbia to see him but Oro-Medonte was slightly closer. This festival. Oh my god. I wish I could say more. But mostly this. Sometimes I am amazed by how much fun lying in the grass, dancing, talking, drinking and trying to tell the guy you’ve had a crush on that you have a crush on him while you’re both struggling to stay standing and singing John Lennon’s Imagine with a hundred other concert-goers while being forced out of the concert grounds.
Another Toronto trip to visit R; another Jay’s game; another few nights of clubs and bar and pubs and finally going to Drake Hotel, a place R had been dying to take us for weeks. We went! It was wonderful. Don’t tell R.
Some more Parliament Hill Yoga; a five kilometer Color Vibe race with my youngest nephew; and watching two wonderful people marry each other in a beautiful outdoor ceremony in a nearby park. Dom and Steph were simply radiating love and it was so sweet to watch. We stayed up until three a.m. chatting about things that make no sense, yet have such importance at that crucial moment. It was such a romantic experience that had me thinking I would love to find someone that would look at me that way Dom looked at Steph.
Some more nights at the bar; eating our way around Ottawa before jumping on a plane to head to Halifax taking my goddaughter on her very first trip! We walked around the Pier, eating our way through restaurants along the water and taking a boat ride. We drove out to a few beaches then hit up Lunenburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site before driving to Peggy’s Cove. My niece enjoyed herself by jumping from rock to rock while I scrabbled after her to help her along.
The weekend after was spent, as per usual, walking from place to place, eating our way through Ottawa. We spent a full Sunday brunch hour settled in to a wonderful little restaurant and talking about Dom’s honeymoon, R’s cycling hobby and our dream to open a bar. Because let’s face it, what 20-something year old hasn’t said that?
Then the final weekend of wedding festivities; to watch my cousin Jenni marry the love of her life. The wedding was stunning; the extended family I hardly see were hilarious, and the night was spectacular. I couldn’t wish her and Kevin a happier lifetime together.
And then the last weekend. Where I made me friends help me move. Where I hung up with my summer outfits and rolled out the autumn ones. And reminisced about my summer. Looking back; I feel exhausted and my wallet feels a little empty.
But wow. What a summer. I feel infinitely blessed that I have such wonderful friends and family; people who are up for anything; and people who brighten my life constantly. While personally this summer has been super fun (I couldn’t think of any other way to write it!), professionally they have been extremely difficult.
So here’s to a wonderful city in the most underrated city in Canada. Ottawa, you were a slice.