I feel like I always get the best travel tips from other parents in hotel pools or jacuzzis. When we were in the hot tub at the Chateau Montebello , I met a mom from Ottawa, who told me that we had to check out Winterlude , a winter celebration in Ottawa that lasts a couple of weeks in February. She said the best part for kids was the Snowflake Kingdom , which had free ski lessons, ice slides, snow mazes, and ice fishing. We made sure to drive through Ottawa on our way home, just so we could check it out. It was so worth it.
(that's the ski lesson area)
(i don't know what is going on here--wrapping the trees with knitted scarves, but i like it.)
Of course we had to stop at the antique market in town, after running around in the snow...and we found a great mid-century shop, called Found Design, whose owner, Mike, was really sweet, and gave us a great lunch suggestion. He sent us to Murray Street , within the ByWard market (a four square block area that is one of the oldest (1826) and largest public markets in Canada), and we had a delicious duck club sandwich, mac and cheese, and charcuterie plate.
We are definitely going back, and will spend a weekend poking around. It has an amazing museum, the Canadian Museum of Civilization that has a genius kids museum within it.