Canada’s capital is located in a valley along the Ottawa River in the province of Ontario, close to the American border. Ottawa is the country’s fourth-largest city and attracts more than 7 million visitors each year.
Come to Ottawa to celebrate its quality of life, to explore its waterways and to enjoy its many cultural attractions. This modern centre for technology and science still has a deep appreciation for ceremony and history.
Often thought of as a winter destination, this city comes to life during the warmer months when locals enjoy the pop-up terraces on the waterfront and have outdoor meals in culinary districts such as Little Italy.
Go for a walk or a bike ride to explore the downtown area and follow the pathways along the Rideau Canal. It cuts the city in two and gradually makes its way down to the Ottawa River.
The 1827 Commissariat Building, now the Bytown Museum, is where Ottawa began. It was built as the depot for the British engineers who set out to construct the Ottawa locks, under the supervision of colonel John By.
Bytown became Ottawa in 1855 and was made the seat of government soon after. Come to Parliament Hill in summer to see the Changing of the Guard Ceremony when the clock of the Peace Tower strikes ten.
It’s a spectacle not to be missed! Cross the locks to see the National Gallery of Canada. Its exterior reflects the sky and its inner courts embrace nature. The gallery’s exhibits paint the story of Canada’s past.
Walk over to the nearby Notre Dame Basilica to take in its 19th-century Gothic Revival facade and ornate interior. A few blocks away, the ByWard Market is THE place to go for lunch, with its good selection of mouthwatering treats.
Don’t worry; the advertised beavertails are just a deep-fried pastry. Also try some of the delicious fruit, which comes straight from the farms in Quebec.
The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum is the living proof that this Green City loves fresh produce. Learn about growing your own food, meet the animals and check out the machinery in this working farm in the heart of the city.
The sky is the limit in the Canada Aviation And Space Museum, an airport hangar filled with vintage planes and modern spacecraft. Across the water in Quebec is the marvelous Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Step back in time in this recreation of Canada’s past to explore log cabins, shops and vehicles from a bygone time. Not far from the museum is the start of the huge conservation area called Gatineau Park.
After some close encounters in the visitor centre, hike to picturesque lakes and enjoy a few hours on the beach. Before you leave the park, have lunch in the Tearoom of the MacKenzie King Estate, the historic summer retreat of Canada’s longest serving prime minister.
As the second-largest country in the world, Canada has everything from snow capped mountains to lush valleys and more wilderness than you can explore in a lifetime. And as the capital of all of this, Ottawa offers just a taste of what is to come.