No matter how good a family trip is, there’s something so sweet about coming home to familiar surroundings. Today is Day #2 of being home after our month-long trip to London and Paris. The combination of slight jet lag and gorgeous, Sunday weather dictated that we do something relaxing outdoors – so we headed out to Brewer Park in Ottawa.
While this is not a new destination for us – we’ve been visiting on occasion for years – the lovely time we spent there as a family today left me feeling compelled to write about it. If you’re new to Ottawa – or perhaps visiting and looking for a public park where you can let the kids burn off some steam – this is an absolute gem.
First of all, Brewer Park in the summer is a playground paradise. There are multiple play areas spread over a huge green space, with structures that cater to both small and tall. A large toddler area features a play structure that’s shaped like a red fire engine, while the ‘big kid’ area has different types of swings, high monkey bars and a zipline for kids who have the height to reach it and the strength to hang on. Kids of all ages will find an area to keep them occupied for at least a couple of hours.
If the weather’s hot, don’t forget your swimsuit – or at least bring towels and a change of clothes (there are public washrooms on site). The dual-level splash pad – complete with a decent-sized waterslide and sprayers – is the perfect way for kids to cool down on a hot, humid summer’s day. As a parent, I was impressed to see several permanent wooden lounge-style chairs on the upper level near the waterslide – which would facilitate a few minutes of near-horizontal relaxation if the stars aligned.
Just this past May, the Ottawa Farmer’s Market moved to Brewer Park due to the redevelopment project taking place at Lansdowne Park. So every Sunday till the end of October – from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. – patrons of Brewer Park can also enjoy fresh produce, locally-farmed meats, baked goods, craft items and more. With hot food booths, it’s also the perfect place to buy an inexpensive lunch. We didn’t come as prepared as some families – who had picnic blankets and coolers with them – so we bought bratwurst and sauerkraut and found room at one of the picnic tables set up in the grass.
After lunch, we treated the girls to some delicious popsicles from a vendor called Karumba! specializing in snack products made with local, organic ingredients. Enjoying a natural snack that supports a local small business was a sweet way to end a relaxing, local excursion.