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Unusual things to do in Ottawa

The Cold War Museum

Also known as a Diefenbunker, this bunker is the largest of several built across Canada in case of a nuclear attack, to serve as emergency government headquarters. Visitors can tour the war cabinet room, CBC radio studio, a vault for the Bank of Canada and the prime minister's secret suite. On the third Tuesday of the month Cold War inspired films are screened.

An art gallery in someone's living room

Brenda Gale Warner holds exhibitions in her home, featuring her own work as well as that of local, Canadian and international artists. The wooden house dates back to the 1870s and used to be a Catholic convent. The owner also invites members of the public to draw and paint in her garden if they have telephoned in advance.

The annual Lawyer Play

This event raises funds for the Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC) and features legal professionals from Ottawa. Even Supreme Court justices and members of Parliament have been known to have small roles. The GCTC also puts on Canadian theatre productions between September and June.

Drag queen karaoke in Chinatown

The popular Shanghai Restaurant holds a no-cover karaoke night every Saturday from 9pm. The host, Drag queen China Doll, is said to be a singing phenomenon as well as an excellent chef. The restaurant was the first in Chinatown to serve Chinese food and is still run by the Kwan family.

Do-it-yourself arts and crafts

Bridget and Christina run the Workshop Studio & Boutique, which offers classes in crocheting, knitting, jewellery making and sewing. The workshop and its sister Flock Boutique also sell clothes, accessories, homeware and gifts made by independent local designers.

Spend the night in jail

The HI-Ottawa hostel offers guests the chance to    sleep in renovated jail cells within the former Carleton County Gaol and have a drink in the only jail bar in Ottawa, Mugshots. There is also a guided tour of the old jail, the Haunted Walk, which has earned it a place among the top 10 spookiest places in the world.

Outdoor yoga classes

In the summer months, free yoga classes are given on the grass in front of the Parliament buildings. Hundreds of people attend the weekly event, which is organised by the Ottawa Lululemon store. The store also puts on community events such as running clubs throughout the year.

Go on an Urban Quest

A great way to explore the city and learn about its history, this attraction allows tourists to solve clues which take them around Ottawa, eventually leading them to a mystery restaurant. Visitors can choose between several quests taking them around different areas of the city.

A farm in the middle of a city

The Central Experimental Farm is situated at the heart of the city and includes an Arboretum, a Tropical Greenhouse, Ornamental Gardens, an Agriculture Museum and a Wildlife Garden. It has been open to the public for over a century and is one the most visited attractions in Ottawa.

Post by Tony, on behalf of Cheapflights.co.uk where you can find great deals on flights to Canada.

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