a peek inside the fishbowl

11 May, 2011

I think I left my brain outdoors

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Ottawa for kids|Ottawa

The girls and I went on an outing down to Britannia Beach. We did this mostly because it was sunny, and partly because we had energy to burn and I like exploring places in the off-season.

Once upon a time this place was considered to be really out in the sticks, but it’s only about a 15-minute drive from Parliament Hill. Did you know that the village of Britannia became popular at the turn of the century because the Ottawa Gas and Electric company extended the trolley line and created an amusement park there? It was a popular daytrip from downtown Ottawa, and a thriving cottage and beach community grew up there as a result. (via Wikipedia)

You can still see remnants the cottage industry there today, in a rather eclectic mix of housing. But hey, if you ask me, that only adds to the charm.

Britannia Beach is one of our favourite destinations in the summer. The parking is free, there are washrooms and change rooms, a canteen, and plenty of picnic tables and barbecue grills (which we have yet to make use of, but we will!).

I’m pasting in a custom Google map in here, because for some reason it’s rather hard to find this information online with a simple search. View it here. Park at the letter “E” on the map, near the Rob Kolbus Centre.

There are a lot of things to see and do at Britannia Beach – no matter the weather.

There are plenty of wide spaces to run, and things to climb, balance, and swing upon too:



It's all about balance

We walked out on the spit (or is it a breaker? what is this thing?) and were nearly blown over by the wind. Note to self, it’s usually 10 degrees cooler by the water:

sisters walking

We watched the boats and the kite-surfers for awhile, and we remembered that sometimes cool things can be seen underfoot too:

Strange markings!

It’s important to note that this place is just as good for relaxing as it is exploring:

my lovely girl

Next time we go we are going to make a bigger deal out of it… maybe buy a bag of charcoal and some lighter fluid (oh, I love that smell) and snag one of those outdoor grills and cook up a storm. It’s worth a longer visit for sure.

9 Responses to "I think I left my brain outdoors"

1 | Bob LeDrew

May 11th, 2011 at 11:46 am


That’s a breakwater, Andrea.

2 | andrea

May 11th, 2011 at 11:49 am


HAHA. You’re right. See? I left my brain in Britannia!

3 | RubyW

May 11th, 2011 at 12:20 pm


Yes, you’ll definitely have to bring a BBQ next time! That’s a beautiful picture of your daughter’s hair – it looks like something that should be framed or kept in a book of portraits.

4 | Sasha

May 11th, 2011 at 2:42 pm


I wonder if we crossed paths! We were out for a walk yesterday, from Andrew Haydon to Britannia and back. It was a lovely day for it. In fact as we got back to Andy Haydon I considered coming back for a picnic dinner.

5 | Wendy

May 12th, 2011 at 1:37 am


My parents used to frequent Brtitania in their youth.
Now my daughter brings her daughter there!

6 | Valerie

May 14th, 2011 at 10:40 pm


love the action shot of your dd on that slidy thing. We often kayak from the boat club to Britannia in the summer, taking a picnic supper or even hot dogs to roast before paddling back.

7 | The Ultimate Ottawa bucket list >> a peek inside the fishbowl

April 25th, 2012 at 7:10 am


[…] wet: Soak up some sun at our city beaches; Britannia, Westboro, Petrie Island, Mooney’s Bay. Just be alert for the water quality […]

8 | Valerie

May 11th, 2012 at 3:27 pm


we like to kayak from the Dick Bell marina over to Britannia – a nice distance and a great place to stop for a swim and picnic before heading back.

9 | Katherine Pollock

May 11th, 2012 at 5:22 pm


I remember renting the gasebo for my dd’s 1st birthday there. It was a wonderful time we BBQ and it was fabulous:)

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