My husband went out on Friday night and the kid was feeling restless. I wanted to just lie down and read my book, but she wanted to do this or that. Finally at around 6:30 pm I started googling and I decided we would go on an adventure, the kid and me. I picked out some warmer clothes for her and didn’t tell her anything, just to bring her iPad and headphones.
There are almost always things going on in Ottawa. We are the capital of the country, after all, and this year the 150th has brought a whole bunch of celebrations to our sleepy little city. I considered Mosaicanada, which closes on October 15, but we didn’t have time to get there before it shut down for the day. I considered Mìwàte, the illumination at Chaudiere Falls, which just started this weekend, but I wasn’t convinced I wouldn’t get lost trying to find a parking spot.
And then one of the lists of things to do I subscribe to reminded me of Pumpkinferno at Upper Canada Village.
Pumpkinferno is a glorious display of carved pumpkins, lit up in all colours. I knew it would be beautiful, and I hoped the kid would think it was magical.
Unfortunately, our adventure turned into a bit of a debacle, and I will now offer advice to anyone going to Pumpkinferno at Upper Canada Village:
1) Buy your tickets online in advance (there were two lines and the one for ticket holders was much, much faster)
2) Get there early. It took us about 30 minutes 2 km down Upper Canada Rd. And then we had to find parking, walk to the front, find the end of the ticket line and wait again. I think if we had gotten there before the 7 pm start it all would have been much smoother.
3)Bring provisions. I would have brought more water and snacks if I had realized just how long we would be out.
4) Bring entertainment for the kids. If she hadn’t had her iPad during that crawl to the finish line things would have gotten ugly.
Overall, Pumpkinferno was very cool and Joe said the kid was 80 per cent positive when she told him all about it the next morning. But seeing a Chinese dragon carved our of I don’t know how many pumpkins, walking through a pumpkin forest, seeing the classics and looking into space, was pretty freaking magical.
Still, the debacle – which is a great word, by the way – made me hungry to experience a little more hometown tourism. I have heard so many things about Mosaicanada that I didn’t want to miss it, but I also hadn’t taken the opportunity to just go at any point during the summer. We were going to be downtown adjacent this weekend, so I decided that’s what we would do Monday morning, since we celebrate Thanksgiving on Sunday.
And then we woke up and it was raining. But I said screw it, we won’t get another chance, let’s get dressed appropriately, get down there and see what the weather is like.
The weather, it turned out, was very wet. But when what you’re looking at is a bunch of floral art, wet is pretty much okay.
Both of these little day trips were a little bit about Canada, a little bit about Indigenous peoples, a little bit about art and celebration. Two very different mediums used to make magical things.
I get the feeling we should not miss some more can’t miss things in this great little city of ours.