A beautiful start to a summer long weekend in Ottawa

A group gets ready to go rafting in Ottawa this long weekend. Aug. 1, 2020. (Dave Charbonneau / CTV News Ottawa)

This long weekend began with a Saturday scorcher, enticing many to get out on the water at Dow's Lake.

Lines were long at Dow's Lake Rentals. Many people wanted to take advantage of the perfect weather, while staying safe at the same time.

"We’re taking our precautions of course," says Julie Fudge, who was renting a kayak. "We have our masks with us and they’ve had a really good setup here in terms of making sure that people are distancing. So we’re happy about that."

Will Guillaume Jasmin, a supervisor at Dows Lake Rentals, said they are making sure their customers are safe.

"Every boat that comes back, every paddle that comes back, every life jacket that comes back has to be sanitized," he said. "They also have to be taken out of rotation for 15 minutes or until they’re dry."

Some families chose to stay cool indoors at the Canadian Museum of History, which is now in its third weekend of being open to the public.

Others are enjoying Ottawa's beautiful bike paths all over the city.

People also packed the beaches on Saturday, including Britannia Beach where groups were preparing to do some white water rafting.

"We’re fully booked for this weekend," says Cat Langevin, the Operations Manager for Ottawa City Rafting. "We do a history tour of the river and a lot of people get to see parts of Ottawa that they never knew were there before. We have a few surprises on the river. Some cliff jumping. We have a lazy river that we go through, all nature made. It’s a really fun way to get out this summer and it's a safe way as well."

Staying safe is the number one priority for most people, and Ottawa City Rafting is no different.

"We’re doing bubble booking," says raft guide Ian McCullen. "You book with a bubble of your family or group of friends that you’re already bubbled with. Then, we leave two rows in the back that are empty so the guide stays six feet away from you. Then, of course, all equipment, helmets, life jackets and boats are sanitized before and after each trip."

Long weekends are different for everyone this year due to COVID-19, but enjoying them is still not impossible.

"Even though we do have this pandemic going on, a lot of people are just staying home and doing those staycations which is fantastic for this," Langevin says.