Sure it’s our country’s capital city and you can be forgiven for assuming it’s full to the brim with policy wonks and other people walking around downtown wearing grey suits. But Ottawa also has plenty of colour—and I don’t just mean the gorgeous tulips blooming everywhere you look in the spring. You’ll find plenty of fun things to do, from your best downward dog on Parliament Hill to paddling like a Voyageur along the famous Rideau Canal to taking the turn with the open mic at a beloved tavern.Have a laugh at the LaffLucky Ron takes the stage every Saturday afternoon at the Laff to sing the same songs in the same order, and delight the devoted crowd. [Jennifer Allford]The oldest tavern in Ottawa, the Chateau Lafayette, has been slinging beer for everyone from dignitaries to the down trodden since 1849. Locals flock to the Laff, as it’s known, for a couple of regular weekly musical events. On Tuesday nights, there’s an open mic event hosted by musician John Carroll (who has a regular gig Wednesday nights where he doesn’t have to share the tiny stage). Carroll hands out grand prizes like individual chocolate puddings and lots of encouragement to the brave who take their turn to perform.And on Saturday afternoons, it’s the Lucky Ron Show. Lucky Ron has been playing the exact same set of country standards in the exact same order every Saturday since 1999 and the (almost exact same) crowd has been shouting the exact same heckles for almost as long. The Lucky Ron Show has become Ottawa’s very own Rocky Horror Picture Show type event, with devoted regulars shouting out well-rehearsed comments at every turn. Lucky Ron, for his part, pretends he can’t hear any of them. The Lucky Ron show usually starts around 4 pm, but you may want to show up around 3 pm to make sure you get a good seat for heckling.You’ll find the Laff smack dab in the middle of the ByWard Market, named for the Royal Engineer who designed the four-block area. He also designed the Rideau Canal and its locks back in 1832. The 202- kilometre canal and locks have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. The market has been designated Ottawa’s must-see lively shopping area.Get some ghost storiesOn the Ghost and Gallows tour through downtown Ottawa your dramatic guide will tell you about murders, ghosts, and take you to a jail turned hostel. In 1868, Conservative MP Thomas D’Arcy McGee was shot dead as he walked into his rooming house on Sparks Street after a late night sitting of the House of Commons. Patrick Whelan was charged with the murder and convicted on some pretty flimsy evidence. Whelan was sentenced to death and hung at the old Ottawa Jail, a few blocks from where McGee died.You learn all this, plus hear about other gruesome stuff like a death row, on a fun-filled Ghost and Gallows tour through downtown Ottawa. You follow your guide, who is draped in a long black cape, as she takes you to the old jail and points out where prisoners are buried in the courtyard. The jail is a hostel now, the HI Ottawa Jail. Before they moved the locks to the inside of the big metal doors in the early 1970s, the small stone building had been running as a jail for about 130 years.Check out some bronze and other more flexible bodies on Parliament HillEvery Wednesday afternoon all summer long hundreds of people turn out to Parliament Hill for a yoga class. Play a little ‘name that statue’ on Parliament Hill, home to 20 or so monuments and statutes from Sir John A Macdonald to the Famous Five. Toss a loonie into the fountain that surrounds the Centennial Flame—you get a wish and every year a student with a disability gets about $5,000 from the cash collected from the fountain. And as you brush up on your Canadian history, enjoy the carillon bells ringing out from the Peace Tower every 15 minutes. The bells sound even better when you’re upside down doing yoga on summer Wednesday afternoons with 2,700 of your best yogi friends. All summer long (weather permitting), people throw their mats on the lawn and turn upside down in likely the biggest yoga class you’ve ever attended.Take a walk on the prime ministers’ side at Laurier HouseA recreated kitchen in Laurier House gives you an idea of what it was like feeding a family during the Second World War.  Laurier House is a Victorian era mansion that was home to two different Prime Ministers over the decades — Sir Wilfrid Laurier lived in the elegant house from 1897 until he died in 1919 and William Lyon Mackenzie King moved in to the mansion in 1921 and lived there until 1948. When he left, he bequeathed Laurier House to the people of Canada.When you go take a look at the house you own along with 36 million other people, you’ll find elegant rooms and you can feel the history in the walls. Among the curio on the third floor, you can check out the crystal ball that King would use to communicate with his mother on the, um, other side. The main floor kitchen gives you a sense of how your mother’s mother may have managed through the strict rations and recycling during the Second World War.Paddle like a voyageurA guide from Parks Canada will entertain you with stories as you paddle down the Rideau Canal. [Jennifer Allford]When you hop in a voyageur canoe with a Parks Canada guide and spend some time paddling down the historic Rideau Canal, you’ll learn about some wildlife, get a primer on the locks system that has been in use for nearly 200 years and hear more than a few stories about the people who used to live and work on the canal. Don’t miss the yarn about how the Stanley Cup ended up in the canal one night in 1905. Apparently the players on the winning team, the Ottawa Silver Seven, buoyed by their win, thought they could throw the trophy across the canal. While they were the best in the country at playing hockey, they weren’t very good at tossing the cup across the water. It landed with a splash.