Wireless Internet in Ottawa
June 14, 2005 6:37 AM   Subscribe

Leaving for Ottawa in 3 hours, and I just realised the place I'm staying has dial-up access only. Does anyone know of places in the vicinity of the US Consulate (or anywhere else downtown, really) where I can get wireless internet access (free would be great, but not necessary)?

As a follow on, what can I do to kill a few hours in the area? I'll pick up a tourist guide, and don't mind walking. Anything I should definitely not miss? Any Ottawa residents know of hidden gems?
posted by darsh to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
Not hidden, really, but way out there and visible, and still the coolest thing in Ottawa by a long shot is the Museum of Civilization. A brilliantly curated set of changing exhibits and some outstanding permanent ones, as well. It's across the river in Hull, so can be a touch annoying to get to, but there are buses that go there.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:06 AM on June 14, 2005

As you'd expect these days downtown in a major city, you're never more than a block away from a wireless connection. Walk around, you'll undoubtedly find one.

The Museum of Civ is easy walking distance. Just on the Ottawa side of the same bridge is the National Gallery which would be a great place to kill a few hours if you're into visual art.
posted by sfenders at 7:34 AM on June 14, 2005

Sadly, I can't help you with the wireless as I've yet to wander around downtown Ottawa since getting my iBook. But I can give a couple answers for the More Inside...

I grew up in Ottawa so I should have tons of little haunts, but my favourite thing about the city is just a restaurant on Rideau Street (less than a half hour's walk from the Consulate) -- Horn of Africa. Their Vegetarian Platter is the best Ethiopian food I've ever had, and it's less than half of what I've paid for Ethiopian food anywhere else. $7-$8 and you'll stuff yourself on curries, veg and injera. (If you've never had Ethiopian food before -- do!) Lunch is fi-ine!

You should also visit the National Gallery, which is just a skip and a jump from the Consulate. Its extensive permanent exhibitions are free (I recommend the contemporary art, the Group of 7 ("Canadian") stuff, and the Inuit section in the basement). There's also a couple of lovely, meditative "courtyards", stone and glass and plants, inside. More importantly still, if the heat wave keeps up - the Gallery is very well air conditioned!
posted by Marquis at 7:39 AM on June 14, 2005

Telecom Ottawa offers wireless (802.11b) access at $4.95/$9.95 per hour/day, respectively. Of course, depending on the nature of your work, sfenders might have the right idea.
posted by bachelor#3 at 7:41 AM on June 14, 2005

Sadly, the National Gallery's permanent collection is no longer free (except on Thursday evenings).

Free wireless access can be had at Piccolo Grande, a gelato/coffee shop on Murray Street one block east of the U.S. embassy. The Market area east of the embassy is a nice place to kill a few hours.
posted by RibaldOne at 8:03 AM on June 14, 2005

There's also a company called Bold Street that does the wireless thing in a handful of places around downtown; Zak's is a decent place to hang out, have lunch and surf.
posted by lowlife at 8:04 AM on June 14, 2005

Last I saw the Second Cup chain of cafes had free WiFi as well - the closest one is on Clarence about a block or so from the US Consulate.
posted by mikel at 8:23 AM on June 14, 2005

Sadly, the National Gallery's permanent collection is no longer free

WHAT!? Good gracious, I am only very barely restraining myself from mucking up darsh's AskMe thread with an enormous and vituperative rant.

That clinches it - I'm never living in Ottawa again.

posted by Marquis at 8:54 AM on June 14, 2005

Second cup's wifi isn't free anymore, I don't think. The only free-access wifi in Ottawa I know of is at Piccolo Grande, the Bridgehead coffee shops, and at the Ottawa Flying Club cafe which is at the airport (and not even near the terminal).

There's a Bridgehead on Bank Street a couple blocks north of Catherine. That's far from the Byward Market but not that far from the office-block downtown. They also happen to have the best date squares in the world, and really good fair trade coffee.

(Of course, there are probably dozens of unprotected networks all over the place downtown and in the Market.)
posted by mendel at 9:04 AM on June 14, 2005

You're right mendel - I just checked the Second Cup website and they say the free trial ended in "mid-May" though there was no information about pricing etc.

Doesn't really matter though - Piccolo Grande is better anyhow!
posted by mikel at 9:18 AM on June 14, 2005

For attractions: It's a bus ride (or a very wet walk) from the market, but the brand-new War Museum looks promising. As for hidden gems, swing by Chapters on Sussex and Rideau and pick up Secret Ottawa. It's a bit old now unless there's a new edition out, but there's lots of neat stuff in there.
posted by mendel at 10:29 AM on June 14, 2005

Thank you! logged on at Chapters because the US embassy won't let you bring a laptop on the premises, but will check out Piccolo Grande tomorrow.
posted by darsh at 1:49 PM on June 15, 2005

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