Beat the heat, without breaking the bank

Great ideas to keep cool in Ottawa this summer

frugal-parenting-summer2013It’s a fact – summer in Ottawa can be extremely hot. But your family can still make the most of the holidays and find relief from the sweltering heat, without spending a fortune.

When both temperature and humidity are high, as is often the case in this city, it’s hard to cool down. If you’re living airconditioner – free, or just want to get out of the house for some comfortable fun, the city offers plenty of cooling-off options.

Try some of these inexpensive suggestions:

Enjoy one of the City of Ottawa pools, splash pads, wading pools or beaches – or even skating rinks (yes, there are a few indoor rinks open for family skating in the summer). When a heat alert or warning is in effect, your local City of Ottawa pool will convert all lane swims to leisure swims. For daily beach swimming advisories, call 613-580-2424, ext. 13219.

Visit one of the 33 Ottawa Public Library branches. Read a good book or magazine in the air-conditioned comfort of the Ottawa Public Libraries, or take part in one of the many family activities running throughout the summer. Call 613-580-2940 for branch locations and hours of operation or visit

Note: Fitzroy Harbour, Greely, Metcalfe, and Vernon branches are not air-conditioned locations.

Visit City Hall or one of the city’s other Client-Service Centres. You will find artwork and lots of information on what the city has to offer. City Hall is located at 110 Laurier Ave. W.

Take in a movie at Rainbow Cinemas. When a heat warning is in effect, Rainbow Cinemas at the St. Laurent Shopping Centre offers affordable movie tickets for a variety of new films. Rainbow prices are very reasonable to begin with, from $5-$6 per person, and Tuesday/matinee rates of $2.50 and $3.

Take a walk inside the new IKEA on Iris Street. Leisurely browse the furniture and home accessories, let your kids play in the controlled access playrooms, and enjoy a fairly inexpensive meal at the restaurant, which offers children’s specials, baby food and a play area.

Check out a museum. Ottawa boasts plenty of federal and local museums to while away the hours and the soaring temperatures. The Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum, for example, is a huge, four-storey bunker, buried deep underground — nice and cool.

The underground bunker, just 30 km from downtown Ottawa in Carp, was first built as a was first built as a top-secret location to protect the Canadian government from a nuclear attack, but is now a museum and one of Canada’s National Historic Sites.

Drop into any Ottawa community centre such as Dovercourt, which offers core programs – including fitness, aquatics, dance, pottery, sports and more – for people of all ages and stages, from prenatal, through infant and toddler, preschool & school age, to youth, adult and seniors. Dovercourt, as with many other Ottawa community centres, also features an indoor pool and outdoor wading pool.

Bring the kids for hours of fun with laser tag, jungle gyms, bumper cars and more at any of Ottawa’s many indoor playgrounds.

Indulge in an ice cream or gelato treat. Head out for a scoop of classic ice cream or try the lighter, creamier tasting gelato, a low-fat, low-sugar treat.

Unlike ice cream, gelato is only made with milk. Because the churning process is different, gelato seems more decadent and creamy, but is actually low in fat.

With a wide variety of mouthwatering flavours to choose from, try it at Truffle Treasures (, Stella Luna Gelato Café ( or Piccolo Grande (


By OPT Staff