For as long as I can remember, people in Orléans have been complaining that there’s nothing to do here – and I’ve been covering Orléans since 1989.
The first complaints were usually about the limited number of decent restaurants in the area and the complete lack of variety.
Back in those early days, there were no Thai or Vietnamese restaurants in Orléans. In fact, there was only one shawarma place and East Side Mario’s was the only Italian joint.
All that has changed in the last 10 years with the arrival of places like the Persis Grill, Cucina da Vito, Caravela Restaurante and OCCO Kitchen.
The other complaint was the lack of any live entertainment. But that too has changed, especially since the pandemic restrictions were lifted last spring. Now there are a number of live venues in Orléans which offer regular live music on a weekly basis including Taproom260, Moose McGuire’s, the Royal Oak, the Broadhead Brewery and the Stray Dog Brewing Company.
And if live bands aren’t your thing, places like the Orléans Brewing Co., Stray Dog and Moose McGuire’s also have trivia nights, karaoke nights and DJ parties.
I’ve been to a couple of shows now at Stray Dog, including a recent acoustic set by Matt Luloff and I’ve been blown away.
The much bigger Taproom260 is also a great place for live music and they have bands almost every Friday and Saturday night.
Orléans is no longer the suburb that fun forgot in the city that’s never been fun in the first place.
Speaking of having fun, the Orléans Craft Beer Festival is just around the corner. The must-attend event returns to the Centrum Festival Plaza on June 8, 9 and 10.
Last year’s festival was an absolute blast and this year’s event shouldn’t be any different. Besides being able to sample the latest offerings from 30 different craft brew-eries, two Ottawa-area distilleries and three cider houses, those in attendance will be able to enjoy some great live music.
Tragically Hip cover band Little Bones and Disco Inferno will be providing the music on the Friday night, while the always-entertaining East Coast Experience and the Honest Heart Collective will be on hand for the Saturday evening session.
Even if you can only make it to the Satur-day afternoon session, you can still enjoy the music of country singer-songwriter Damien Maze and the pop rock cover band Bytown Lights.
If you haven’t bought your ticket yet, you should do so soon before it sells out.
Looking further ahead, Orléans residents can look forward to the big Canada Day party on Petrie Island and the even bigger party on July 22 when Carivibe makes its long-awaited return to Petrie Island with music and food from the islands. It may not be Caribana, but it’s the next best thing and it’s happening right in our own backyard.
In between all the live music and festivals you can always visit one of the many outdoor patios in Orléans. A recent inquiry on the Orléans Foodies Facebook page asking for the best patio in town was met with a flurry of recommendations that included Jonny Canuck’s, Clocktower, Taproom260, the Royal Oak, the Bad Alibi, Connors Irish Pub, the Barley Mow, Delicious Steakhouse or, if you don’t mind the short drive, Maker Feed Co. in Cumberland Village.
I’m sure I’ve missed a couple, but they’re not hard to find.
Other things to do if you’re feeling a little bored this summer are a visit to the Domaine Perrault Winery in Navan or Vignoble Clos du Vully out towards Leonard. You can take a walk around the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum or spend a relaxing few hours on Petrie Island where you can rent a canoe, kayak or paddle board at the Oziles’ Marina.
If you are a golfer, you can practice your short game at either the White Sands course on St. Joseph Blvd. or the Mer Bleue Golf 9-hole Par-3 track on Navan Road. Both facilities have a driving range, but Mer Bleue also has a challenging mini-putt course.
So, as you can tell, there’s a lot to see, do and experience in Orléans during the summer. You just have to take advantage of it.
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