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Winter biking, South March Highlands

A winter’s getaway in West Carleton-March

Ottawa’s West Carleton-March ward has something for history lovers, beer connoisseurs, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Head north on Carp Road and soon enough, you’ll arrive in the Village of Carp. Founded in the mid-1800s, this rural village continues to act as a hub for the surrounding agricultural community, hosting the Carp Farmers Market from spring through fall and the famous Carp Fair in autumn.

Stop by The Cheshire Cat Pub for delicious pub fare, from fish & chips, to hot beef and Yorkie and yellow curry. Feeling like something more adventurous? Try the jambalaya or Cajun seafood pasta at The Juke Joint Soul Kitchen or enjoy an eclectic meal from The Swan on Falldown Lane. While you’re in the village, stop by The Hive, a multi-vendor shop that offers everything from fashion and jewelry to paint, mid-century modern furniture and more. After, pop into Alice’s Café for a coffee and selection of baked goods or a quick lunch. And don’t forget about the beautiful gift shop, The Carp Cabin. As well, make sure to check out Ridge Rock Brewing Company in the heart of the village – a craft brewery that is housed in a historic and iconic building built in 1893.

Of course, no visit to Carp is complete without a tour of Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum. Both a museum and an artifact, The Diefenbunker was commissioned by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in 1959 as part of his government’s reaction to escalating tensions in the Cold War. The purpose of the bunker was to house key members of the government and military in the event of a nuclear attack. The underground bunker is 100,000 square feet over four levels and today contains period artifacts that tell the story of the dangerous times during which it was built.

After re-emerging from underground, you’ll probably want to spend some time in the great outdoors – and Ottawa’s rural northwest doesn’t disappoint. West Carleton-March is home to many beautiful trails ideal for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snow biking. Shirley’s Bay conservation area along the Ottawa River is popular for cross country skiing and snowshoeing–and is a great spot for birdwatching. The grounds at Pinhey’s Point Historic Site near Dunrobin are open and accessible for outdoor recreation. And, if you’re a snowmobiler, the West Carleton Snowmobile Trails Association offers trails crisscrossing the entire area, passing by many rural villages.

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