One thing that is dramatically different between Calgary and Ottawa is how many different things are around.
Calgary’s settlement history (and much of western Canada) resulted in large farms and towns/cities that are far from each other. From Calgary, most of the activities are in K-country or Canmore/Banff. That’s a significant drive from the city. There just isn’t much to see and do north, east or south of the city. Despite living in Calgary we never found an excuse to visit Montana.
Eastern Canada was settled very differently and as a result there are lots of little towns and small farms. In all directions there are roads cris-crossing and interesting hidden gems to find.
Last weekend we drove down to Brockville. It was a nice drive along the St. Lawrence and we found what looks like it will be a great place to get away on the weekend. It hasn’t yet picked up for the summer season, but seems like it’ll be a cool place to go on hot summer days.
To the west there are pockets of towns with their own festivals and events, to the north there are big parks in Quebec. and to to east is more rivers and Montreal. So much yet to explore, and all within driving distance.