1. Start out early to score consignment finds at The Clothes Secret. “I like to pause and study the windows and imagine the second life the clothes might have. I’m a writer and my mother’s daughter, which makes me doubly economical. Used is good!” 1136 Bank St.
2. Go for a walk alongside the Rideau River. “There’s one spot in particular I love. It’s at the foot of Brighton Avenue, which leads straight to the leafy river, and it’s as if you’re in another world; it reminds me of The Wind in the Willows.” Brighton Ave. at Rideau River Dr.
3. Spend the afternoon with a novel at Mother Tongue Books. “Two feisty and optimistic women are at the helm. Little Laura, as I think of her, and hearty Evelyn. Their energy makes this small, independent bookstore a favourite spot for readers of every variety and for book launches by local writers.” 1067 Bank St.
4. Take in a movie at the Mayfair Theatre, one of Hay’s dearest destinations. (It’s no coincidence the characters in her Ottawa-based novel Garbo Laughs are besotted with old films.) “It’s been showing movies since 1932. The men who rescued it several years ago are local heroes. It makes me feel that I belong to a community with precious ties to the past.” 1074 Bank St.
5. Get a carb hit at the local chip wagon. “Once upon a time, when I had an iron stomach, I adored french fries. Now it’s a matter of nostalgia — recalling my excitement as a child, remembering my son’s appetite for poutine, enjoying the smell and look of something that warms up the street.” Bank St. at Sunnyside Ave.