a peek inside the fishbowl

15 Sep, 2016

A visit to Cabela’s (the time I drank dirty water and a huge thing smashed into me)

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life|Oh! Things!|Ottawa

So I was at a special media preview of Cabela’s the other night. Cabela’s is a massive hunting/fishing/outdoor superstore that is opening across from the Tanger Outlet in Kanata on September 22. I was curious to see what it was all about, so I went.

As I wound my way along a freshly tarred road filled with trucks and road crews I started to wonder if I was ever going to make it. Construction workers waved me on, but I rolled my window and pointed at the building: “THERE,” I said. “I WANT TO GO THERE.” One fellow told me to squeeze between the pylons (panic issue #1) and then, with a casual wave of his hand, told me to follow the roundabout thataway and into the lot (panic issue #2).

Er. No problem.

I did manage to squeeze between the pylons but his instructions eventually had me making a 65-point turn, on what may have been a one-way street, with more pylons on one end, and gravel shoulders with a downward slope that would definitely cause some problems for me and the Prius.

Sweating, I completed my 65-point turn and made my way without further issue or embarrassment to a very empty parking lot.

As it turns out, I was a little early. No prob. I mustered up my best self, and went inside.

Cabela's Ottawa

At this point onward it was smooth sailing.

To be honest, this is not exactly the kind of store I see myself shopping at regularly. Spoiler alert: Cabela’s carries a lot of camo and features prominent taxidermy and I’m neither a hunter nor a fisher. That being said, there was an extensive camping section, which I will definitely be checking out at a later date. I did see a product that was pretty cool, and that was the LifeStraw.

It was being demonstrated while I was there. It’s essentially a lightweight tube (it’s thicker than a straw) that cleans dirty and contaminated water as you drink it.


The demo was fun and interesting. We drank water that had been collected from a construction puddle just outside. (I’m pretty sure I drove through it on the way in.)

Lifestraw demo

Lifestraw demo

I can see how this tool could be a huge benefit for hikers and campers, but also travellers.

While I was at Cabela’s I tried my hand at fly fishing, checked out the decoys, and let loose a few arrows in a special area designated for their archery section. (Note to self: can I set up a mini archery range in our backyard?). There were a lot of other bloggers in attendance too, and it’s always good to connect. After I was all chatted out I was on my merry way home. As I stepped into the parking lot I wondered about the construction. Would I be able to make it out of here?

As I approached the car I was walloped by a mysterious thing that came out of nowhere. It did not BUZZ. It flapped. I immediately thought of a bat I once met in Jamaica.

It landed on the pavement, just under our car. I leaned in to take a closer look (and of course I had to obtain photographic evidence):

Parking lot praying mantis

I think this is only the second praying mantis I’ve seen in my entire life.

Just after I snapped this photo it leapt into the air and flapped around, gradually making its way to the other side of the car. I may have shrieked. (I hope no one was watching this whole transaction.)

It was a very unique way to conclude my visit to Cabela’s, wouldn’t you say?

2 Responses to "A visit to Cabela’s (the time I drank dirty water and a huge thing smashed into me)"

1 | Religieuse

September 15th, 2016 at 5:06 pm


Just saw one of those the other day. It landed on my arm as I was pumping gas in Merrickville. My daughter who is not fond of bugs let me put it on her arm. She was absolutely fascinated. Did u know…? Praying mantis heads can swivel side to side, up and down. So cool !

2 | Julie

September 15th, 2016 at 6:00 pm


Saw a green one last week on a door handle at Carlingwood Mall. Not sure if he wanted in, but I used the other door.

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  • andrea tomkins: I'm glad you find it restful Bonnie! I didn't on that day. :)
  • Bonnie Upton: I have a true love of this place. I drive to and from Ottawa from the NewmArket area to visit my sister snd now my son who attended uOttawa and has c
  • Amy: That sounds fantastic! As with most travelling, parts are much more comfortable when you're telling them afterwards, but they make a good story.
  • andrea tomkins: If I had to pick, Grundy wins! :)
  • Shawn: What did u like more, Restoule or Grundy? Thank you Shawn
  • andrea tomkins: Yes! I've seen the boiling water method! I never really bothered with it because I am a lazy baker. :) It is worth finding a recipe that uses less ye
  • Amy: I made a no-knead version that didn't use a Dutch oven (I don't have one and didn't feel like investing in one just for that). You put a small contai

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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