Jan 15- Jan 21, 2011
Travel Ottawa

Ottawa has been described as one of the most beautiful capitals in the world. Less than an hour's drive from the American border, Ottawa enjoys the attributes of a major centre for visual and performing arts, as well as other big city attractions. Yet, it still maintains the accessibility, atmosphere and charm of a smaller city, in addition to spectacular parks and wilderness areas located within the city. Unique as a North American capital, the city is bilingual. English is the first language of a majority of the population, but French is the first language of a significant number too. The city is home to many of the world's cultures and has become one of the fastest growing cities in North America owing to the booming high-tech business sector. Explore the nation's capital as it was meant to be seen-up close and on foot. The Haunted Walk of Ottawa offers a variety of tours focusing on its infamous haunts and darker history. Hear tales of hauntings at some of the city's most well known locations, including the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Bytown Museum and the Ottawa Jail Hostel. Cloaked guides lead guests through the city streets by lantern light – the perfect atmosphere for a good ghost story. There are many national museums and galleries in Ottawa and neighbouring Gatineau . If you enjoy the outdoors, you should definitely visit Gatineau Park just across the river from Ottawa. Bicycles can be rented during the summer months at the northeast corner of the Chateau Laurier. Ottawa and the surrounding area boasts over 170km of public paved trails on which you can run, bike, walk or rollerblade. In winter, go skating on the largest outdoor skating rink in the world – the Rideau Canal. In early spring, when the daytime temperatures are above freezing and night temperatures are below freezing, consider visiting a sugar bush for fresh maple syrup. There are many to choose from in the region if you have a car to drive out of the city.

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Science Facts

Now that we are fully settled into the New Year, it is time to refresh our brains with another list of fascinating facts. These mini-facts are all science based and, should be news to most of you. Let's get the New Year off to a good start with some learning!

1. Raindrops are not shaped like a teardrop (as they are almost always depicted in drawings) – they areactually spherical.

2. When something "sublimes" it turns directly into a gas from a solid – bypassing the liquid state. This is what would happen if you throw dry-ice into a fire.

3. Gorillas sleep in nests – they weave together soft foliage and bent branches from trees. Males tend to like sleeping on the ground while females like to have their nests in trees.

4. Plastic bags are better than paper bags for the environment. The manufacturing process that makes paper bags requires far more energy than that which produces plastic. Recycling paper bags takes more energy than recycling plastic, and paper bags take up more space in a landfill. Because landfills are usually airtight beneath the surface, paper and plastic are equally bad at biodegrading.

5. When you hold a shell to your ear to hear the sea, the sound you hear is actually your own blood rushing through your veins! You can use any cup shaped object to hear this effect.

6. When you are alive, your brain is pink. When you die, it turns grey. While we describe the brain as 'gray matter' and 'white matter', this is not a true description of its colour.

7. Mercury, the fascinating liquid metal is not the only liquid metal. Gallium (Ga) is solid at room temperature but will melt if held in your hand, caesium (Cs), and francium (Fr) – the second rarest naturally occurring element, can also be liquid at or near room temperature.

8. Dolphins don't drink water – if they drank sea water it would make them ill and potentially kill them. They get all of their liquid needs through the foods they eat.

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