Ottawa Local Custom Tips by janika
Ottawa Local Customs: 68 reviews and 99 photos
Every year, in June there is a big Dragon-boat race taking place on the Rideau River. An ancient Chinese tradition makes this a fun and exciting event. If you happen to be in Ottawa and on a budget, come down to Moonies Bay because it is totally FREE! The event is sponsored by large companies and usually takes place during the weekend, spreading out from Saturday to Sunday. You see these long, wooden boats racing up and down the river with many people in them. At times they get real loud as they encourage one another to paddling. There is a person sitting at the front of the boat with a drum in front of her/him and there is another person at the end of the boat, who navigates and steers the boat. The drum is being used to dictate the rhythm of the movements. The front of the boat looks like a dragon, colored with bright tones and decor.
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Busy downtown street
This is Ottawa downtown with many people and many cars on the road. Ottawa is a metropolitan city and this is visible in downtown. You can see many tall office buildings and hotels, tons of cars and all sort of people. Sometimes all you have to do is sit-down on a bench and just look at the people coming and going. Parking can be difficult and expensive from Monday to Friday. Downtown Ottawa is flooded with office workers and most of them drive. The large majority of these folks are form the other side of the river, and they just work in Ottawa, but on the weekends it is nice and quiet and you can see more tourists around the city.
Decorated front yard
You can tell when someone is celebrating an anniversary or birthday in Canada because of the front yard decorations. You see cows, piggies and all kinds of plastic animals on the lawn. Not all parties have this but this is a local custom here in Canada when the family members want to surprise the person with the birthday or anniversary. When they come home from work or school, they can see their front yard full of little animals and signs saying happy birthday, anniversary or just welcome home dad or mom. Very considerate and thoughtful gestures.
Concert on Canada Day, July 01 / 04
Celebrate the Confederation, official birthday of Canada on July first. There is a huge party in Ottawa every year. The entire country is celebrating this day in different cities and their own unique way. In Ottawa, the biggest party is in downtown with many concerts, entertainers. Face painting for children, clowns, decorations all over the place. You see people’s face and hair is painted red & white. Many folks carry Canadian flags with them or just have the symbols of our country on their clothes, like T-shirts, hats, etc. Tons of vendors are at the side of the streets selling food, drinks, souvenirs, décor, flags, toys, clothes and all kinds of cool gadgets that kids love. When it gets dark on July 01, people have illuminated tubes around their neck or arm. Even earrings. At 10:00 PM there is a huge firework and most parties end with that. Especially with children. Some folks just continue the party untill the next morning.
Couple of warnings:
On July 01 watch out for drunk drivers, Forget about parking in downtown Ottawa. Many roads are closed and there are no spots for your car, unless you pay some ridiculous price for some private property space. Have cell phone with you. A walkie talkie will do also. This is to keep in touch. Many kids and adults get lost in the crowd or just accidentally wonder away from one an other. This way at least you can call the others to let them know where you are when lost. Bring a sweater for night. Umbrella is a good idea too if staying out all day. Almost every July first there is rain. Even if it’s for a short period. Protect your and your children’s skin with sunscreen. Do not leave your purse, camera or any valuable items un-attended.
Just have fun with us. Happy birthday Canada! :) Written on July 02 / 2004
Front yard of a Canadian, residential bungalow.
Cultural tip: Try respecting people's yards. Canadians take very good care of their front yards. They artistically landscape them and decorate them with small dwarfs, angels, statues, fountains and animals. They work very hard to keep their neighbourhood looking like a big botanical park.
They also decorate their homes. Especially around Christmas time with many beautiful lights, Santa Claus, Rain deers, etc. There are no fences around people's properties. This doesn't mean that we can jump on their lawn freely.
Another local custom. This is also enforced by law. If you have a dog and it desides to poop on the street, you have to pick up the dog poo and carry it with you to the trash in a plastic bag. You see people walking their pet with plastic gloves on their hands. Now you know why.
Ps: Please enlarge images to see a more clear picture.
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