Summer survey 2014 results: The best place in Ottawa for a picnic

We asked you to share your favourite summertime activities and destinations with us, and you have spoken!  Sharing a meal outdoors is a great way to spend a warm evening, especially if your home isn’t equipped with central air conditioning. Grab a big blanket, pack up a meal (or order take out for your favourite place) and get going to the best places to have a picnic as voted by our readers:

1 ) Brewer Park
(100 Brewer Way)
Pro tip: time your visit to coincide with the Farmer’s Market that takes place there every Sunday for super fresh picnic items!

2) Mooney’s Bay
(2926 Riverside Dr.)
Lots of trees and a big stretch of grass make this a super spot to have a picnic. Hit the beach or buy a treat at the cantina afterwards.

3) Petrie Island
(727 Trim Rd.)
Petrie Island has a unique eco-system, making it a pretty neat destination for families. (Hint: there are plenty of frogs and turtles to be spotted there.) Check out the Friends of Petrie Island website for summer events and activities.

Summer survey 2014 results: favourite place to indulge a sweet tooth

We asked you to share your favourite summertime activities and destinations with us, and you have spoken! These are the top three places to indulge a sweet tooth in Ottawa!

1) Bulk Barn
With locations across the city, and bins full of assorted treats, Bulk Barn came out at the top of the pack. We like that we only buy what we need (or just enough to eat in the car on the way home). 

2) Art-is-in Bakery
Art-is-in is located at an unassuming location near Preston Street, at 250 City Centre Ave., Unit 112. It’s a fantastic place to grab lunch, fresh baked breads, and all kinds of freshly baked sweet treats (cookies, pastries, macarons, and more)! Pro tip: they make a mean brunch too. 

3) Cupcake Lounge
It’s hard to pick a favourite cupcake at the Cupcake Lounge. Daily flavours include red velvet, maple cinnamon, and Oreo, but there’s a special menu that rotates weekly and gives us a reason to visit more frequently. (HELLO white chocolate macadamia!) Gluten-free flavours are also available. Locations in Westboro and downtown. 

Also tied for third place: Suzy Q! Suzy Q’s Gourmet Doughnuts is a Hintonburg success story, and now that the word is out about the super fresh goods, folks are flocking over from far and wide. The menu changes, but popular standards include maple bacon, salty caramel, and London fog.

Pinterest roundup: it's all about cars

It's Monday! And that means we're sharing some of our favourite pins from our Pinterest boards. This week we're sorting through bins of Hot Wheels and other assorted small vehicles and thinking about new ways to play with them. Pro tip: don't assume that only little boys will want to play with toy cars. Little sisters will likely want to join in the fun too. 

Are you following Capital Parent on Pinterest? Follow us for family crafts, great kid-friendly activities, recipes and more. You can read all of our past Pinterest round-ups right here.

OPL top book picks for kids this summer

Looking for something new to read? This summer book list was compiled by Jessica Desilets of the Emerald Plaza branch of the Ottawa Public Library. The theme: summer shenanigans! What are your kids reading this summer? Let us know in the comments below. 

Rattletrap Car, by Phyllis Root (illustrated by Jill Barton)
Ages 2-6

Disaster is averted when Junie, Jakie and the baby repair their falling-apart car using some peculiar parts, including a beach ball and a toy boat.  Wonderful rhyming and onomatopoeia make this book a delight.

One-Dog Canoe, by Mary Casanova (illustrated by Ard Hoyt)
Ages 2-6

In this cumulative tale, a trip around the lake will end with a splash as the forest animals climb into a one-dog canoe.  How many can fit before the canoe tips?  Beautifully expressive illustrations.

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking and Other Natural Disasters, by Lenore Look
Ages 6-9

Second grader Alvin Ho gets scared, a lot. An upcoming camping trip with Dad is filling him with even more anxiety.  Will nature be as dangerous as it seems on TV?  Spot-on humour and great illustrations.

The Penderwicks, by Jeanne Birdsall
Ages 7-12

Vacationing at a summer cottage on a very large estate, the four Penderwick sisters explore beyond the hedge and meet the son of the manor house.  Adventure follows in this witty and heartwarming tale.  Sequels:  Penderwicks on Gardam Street; Penderwicks at Point Mouette

Ernest & Rebecca: Grandpa Bug & The Land of the Walking Stones, by Guillaume Bianco & Antonello Dalena
All Ages

Rebecca’s best friend Ernest is a microbe – the strongest germ in the world – and he’s a fitting partner in crime for a spunky pink-haired girl. Follow Rebecca and her family during summer vacation in this slice-of-life graphic novel. Also available in French.

Summer survey 2014 results: best playground in Ottawa

We asked you to share your favourite summertime activities and destinations with us, and you have spoken! These are the top three playgrounds in Ottawa, according to our readers.

Sometimes checking out a new playground is an adventure in itself, making this an attractive option for younger children. Look at a map together, pack some snacks, and make a family outing out of it. 

1) Brewer Park (100 Brewer Way)
Brewer offers a wide variety of activities for kids of different ages. Pack the bathing suits if you decide to visit, as it won top spot in our “splash pad” category too. 

2) Dovercourt Recreation Centre (411 Dovercourt Ave.)
Dovercourt won a close second in this category, but families who haven’t been by in awhile should know that a sizable construction project on the main building has resulted in the temporary closing of the toddler part of the playground.

3) Andrew Hayden (3127 Carling Ave.)
Andrew Hayden, located slightly east of Britannia Beach, has a lot to offer. The main play structure includes integrated water features, so bring a towel and a change of clothes. There are lots of pretty shaded walking trails nearby too.


Pinterest roundup: sand castles

It's Monday! And that means we're sharing some ideas and inspiration from our Pinterest boards. This week we've had sand castles on the brain. (Maybe it's all that time we've been spending at the best Ottawa beaches?) Here are a few pins we thought were worth sharing:

Are you following Capital Parent on Pinterest yet? Follow us for family crafts, great kid-friendly activities, recipes and more. You can read all of our past Pinterest round-ups right here.

Summer survey 2014 results: best frozen treats in Ottawa

We asked you to share your favourite summertime activities and destinations with us, and you have spoken! These are the top three places Capital Parents like to buy frozen treats. Maybe this should be the summer we explore all of these locations? ;)

1) Dairy Queen
DQ reigned supreme in last year’s summer survey as well. With locations across the city and budget-friendly options, it’s no wonder it’s the favourite!

2) Piccolo Grande
Piccolo Grande is worth the trip downtown. Their gelato is made from fresh ingredients and comes in a great selection of flavours. Whether you’re a chocoholic or have a hankering for something light and fruity, you will certainly find something that makes your mouth happy. For a sampling of their menu, go to piccologrande.ca.

3) Truffle Treasures, the new Yogurty's in Westboro, and Stella Luna all tied for third place!