Ottawa is the national capital, home to dozens of museums (large and small) and countless historic sites. It is a city with renowned carnivals and events, first class dining and excellent shopping. This city was selected as the capital over Kingston and other contenders due to its strategic location. Queen Victoria also became enamoured with the city after seeing pictures of it. No doubt you will also love tis cultural and historic city.
Anyone who loves history, culture and heritage will love the city. It is not near as large as Toronto and while it does have excellent amenities culture and herniate is its main attraction
Top Attractions in Ottawa
Ottawa is known for its festivals such as the Winterlude Carnival which takes places on the Rideau Canal. This is a 10 day festival that celebrates winter and attracts thousands of tourists each year. Ice carvings, an ice hotel, skating on the frozen canal and activities for children and adults make this one of Canada’s premier winter carnivals.
Another important event is the annual tulip festival. The origins go back to the Second World War, and our aid to the Dutch Royal Family. During the occupation, the Dutch Royal Family came to Canada for safety. The Queen was pregnant, and was taken to a Canadian hospital to deliver her child in safety. In order for the child to be declared Dutch, The ward was declared Dutch Territory. Later, after Canada helped to liberate the Netherlands, the Dutch began a tradition of sending thousands of tulip bulbs to Ottawa as a gesture of appreciation. This act continued to this day, and the tulip gardens are definitely worth seeing.
Canadian War Museum
The War Museum celebrates the contribution and important role of Canadian forces (land, sea & air) during both World Wars, the Korean War and, more recently, to efforts in Afghanistan. The exhibits are meant to educate and instil appreciation. Part of the war museum is the National War Memorial and Cenotaph.
Museum of Civilization (aka Museum of Man)
Located across the Quebec-Ontario border in Gatineau, the Museum of Civilization is the story of Canadian (and human) society. There are permanent exhibits on a variety of subjects, and visiting (temporary) displays. In addition to the regular exhibits, it also includes an interactive children’s museum and an IMAX theatre. The IMAX features educational and fascinating films about history, culture and our world.
If you’re looking for a fun family outing, this is definitely an excellent choice. Saunder’s farm features huge labyrinths (the largest in North America), corn fields a pirate ship, gardens and more! During the fall they hold harvest activities and the farm is known to become ‘haunted’ come Hallowe’en. This is a full day attraction, so be prepared to be entertained and have fun.
Houses of Parliament & Federal Buildings Tour
Ottawa is the capital of Canada, and therefore the location of the federal parliament building. Guided tours are available of the parliament buildings on Capitol Hill and of the national Library and Archives within the building. A true look at Canada’s democracy in action.
Mont Cascades Waterpark
On hot summer days, head over to the water park with your family for wet and wild fun. This large water park has excellent water activities such as slides and a splash pool for younger kids. When you get hungry there’s a food court to grab a snack.
National Capital Greenbelt
This is the place to go for fresh air and verdant, lush scenery. There are hiking and walking trails of varying lengths and difficulty, camping sites, boat launches and other amenities for all types of outdoor activities. The Greenbelt is a protected area and home to diverse wildlife. It’s the perfect day trip to get away from a busy city or a place to immerse yourself in natural splendour.
Haunted Walk (Upper Canada Village)
For a different and more atmospheric (and mature) walking tour, the famous haunted walk is the way to go. The haunted walk takes you around the historic buildings of Upper Canada Village, and gives you a first-person look at the lives of Ottawa’s pioneers.
Ottawa has several spa facilities where you can go to relax and rejuvenate from your stressful life. Some spas are within Ottawa proper, while others are short drives away. No matter which one you select, you are bound to come out feeling refreshed.
Pick the time right!
Tourists visit Ottawa in Summer
If you are going for a festival, you’ll obviously need to go during that time (February for Winterlude, for examples). Early May is the time to see the tulips and other flowers blossoming. Summer is tourist season and the time when most events run. It is also the most expensive time because of the high demand for accommodations. To save money, fall or spring (the shoulder seasons) are recommended.
Getting to and around
Ottawa has its own international airport located within the city limits. Buses, taxis and shuttles run to and from this hub on regular schedules. City transit is the best way to get around as it covers all areas of the city at minimal prices. Walking and biking are also practical as the city has routes for these alternatives. Taxis are available but can be expensive. Car rental (or driving your own car) is also a practical option. The city is reasonably easy to navigate (compared to some larger places) and hotel concierges can direct you to where you need to go.