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The pandemic of COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the summer vacation plans of many. Fortunately, throughout these unprecedented times, we have learned to appreciate what we have and enjoy the space around us for entertainment and exercise. Many people have taken up biking, rollerblading, and outdoor running to keep active and enjoy a change of scenery while feeling safe and remaining physically distanced. But as summer befalls us, many of us have been left with cancelled plans and open calendar dates, feeling eager to take a break from the day-to-day routine and enjoy this beautiful weather before it dissipates. 

 

While the province has begun its Stage 2 of reopening in many different regions, making sure to take the proper safety measures to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19 should be of ongoing mindfulness. Many of us are feeling ready to dip our toes back into the water of our previous “normal”, but there will be many restrictions in place throughout the summer months to ensure the curve continues to flatten, and to eliminate a resurgence, or minimize the second wave of the virus. With it being unlikely that non-essential air travel will be easy, staying close to home is the favoured solution to our summertime vacation woes. 

 

To ensure you are able to enjoy your holidays in the sun, we have created a list of different “staycation” ideas to keep you close to home and having fun experiencing more of what our city and province have to offer.

 

Exploring Your Own Backyard. 

Keep your activity to a maximum and take advantage of the warm weather here in Ottawa. You can walk, hike or bike many of the trails the city has to offer. This is a great time to explore the National Capital Greenbelt which highlights 150 kilometers of trails with diverse landscapes and ecological sites that include fields, forests, and sand dunes. If you want to expand your trip, the City of Ottawa has temporarily closed certain parkways to motor vehicle traffic to allow for more space and scenery for foot and bike travellers. 

Escape Bicycle Tours and Rentals, and RentABike offer rental bikes, household cycling tours, and route planning to enjoy the city on two wheels. 

 

Picnics and Campfires

Nothing says summer like picnics in the park or campfires at night, toasting marshmallows and making smores with your family. Luckily, the province-wide fire ban put in place during the early days of COVID-19 has been lifted, and we are now allowed to mingle with a circle of ten. 

If you are lacking firepit availability on your home front, Saunders Farm in West Ottawa is renting them out as part of their physically distanced programming, making it easy to enjoy a night next to the campfire with your COVID-19 social circle. 

 

Camping and Fishing

Ontario Parks were given the okay to work towards reopening last month, and as of this week, people can begin making reservations to take part in some socially distanced camping. What a great way to relax and connect with nature! Enjoy hiking, campfires, and swimming while taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the big city. 

If you decide to cast a rod and reel while enjoying the fresh air and the great outdoors, be sure to get your outdoors card and fishing licence first.


Self-Care Retreat

While many of us have been off work, or working from home, it has definitely not been a “Vacation”, and may have even left you in need of some good, quality rest. Trying to juggle life and work is hard enough, and when you add children to the mix, some downtime could be just as essential to recharge. 

Get a babysitter and plan a weekend away to do all the things you are missing out on while taking care of everything and everyone else. Book an AirB&B or a hotel to relax, unwind, read, sleep, take an uninterrupted bubble bath, or binge a new series on Netflix. Sometimes we are so busy caring for others that we forget to take care of ourselves. 

 

 


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