What to Do in Ottawa: The Ultimate Travel Guide

What to Do in Ottawa: The Ultimate Travel Guide

by admin June 20, 2017
Ottawa Attractions


Last Updated June 14th, 2020

Ottawa Attractions | Planning A Vacation to Ottawa

Canada’s national capital with its government buildings and host of museums may seem like a staid city. But Ottawa is anything but staid. Vibrant, bilingual, cosmopolitan, young, clean, kid-friendly, laid-back and outdoorsy are the words that locals and tourists alike use to describe it.

Once it was the center of politics. But tourists are quickly becoming aware of its numerous boutique hotels, highly successful art shows and fresh produce made available by its 1200 plus farms.

When the city beat Montreal and Toronto to become the nation’s capital back in 1857, the then Governor General was afraid that Ottawa was too isolated, perched as it was on the Ottawa River and surrounded by a few lumber mills, to be anything more than an ‘exile’.

But since then, the capital has continued to grow and is currently the fourth largest city in Canada. It is also one of the most culturally diverse of Canada’s metropolitan areas with several vibrant suburban districts around downtown.


Travel Guide to Ottawa


What does this mean for travelers to the city?

Tourists can expect a good healthy dose of world class museums that are architectural highlights in themselves, excellent world cuisine, a varied nightlife and plenty of outdoor summer and winter recreation in Ottawa’s canals.




Plan Your Trip: Getting In and Around

Getting in

    • By car: There are several ways you can enter the city from other parts of Canada or North America. You can drive in from Toronto in 4.5 hours or from Montreal in 2 hours.
    • By plane: Ottawa’s main airport is the Macdonald-Cartier International Airport. It hosts regular flights to most of the major Canadian cities and some North American cities as well. There are also some daily flights to London and Frankfurt. From the airport, you can reach downtown via taxi or bus.
    • By train: VIA Rail runs a daily passenger train service to Montreal and Toronto from Ottawa Station. The city’s second station, Fallowfield Station, is located in the suburb of Barrhaven to the west.
    • By bus: If you’re coming from Montreal, Toronto or some North American cities, you can also take the Greyhound/Voyageur bus service, which has a terminal located conveniently in downtown.

Getting Around Town

Taxis are easy to find and plentiful. There is also plenty of parking space available at the major attractions, so you can drive in without worry. The city’s public transit run by OC Transpo includes the O-Train light rail and the Transitway bus rapid transit systems.


Discovering Canada Capital City


Downtown is also very compact, so it’s easy to walk around in. Streets are pedestrian friendly and most attractions are located close to one another. You can also rent a bicycle and ride along the city’s over 170 km bicycle-friendly paths.

The O-Train and the buses also allow you to carry your bicycle onboard.


Discovering Canada Capital City


Orientate Yourself

Parliament Hill is where it all began. The rolling emerald lawns of Parliament Hill are open and free to visit. This is a good place to acquaint yourself with the neo-Gothic federal government building and the House of Commons. You can also ride 300 feet up the elevator to the top of the Peace Tower for a view of the downtown below, the confluence of three rivers on the other side and Quebec beyond it with its Gatineau Hills.

What are the top attractions to visit in Ottawa?

Parliament Hill’s ornate Gothic turrets and sleek granite government buildings are the biggest attractions. The grounds of the area are unfenced, a tour of the House of Commons is free and the Changing of the Guards is a spectacle that many tourists spend a morning on.


Parliament Hill and Buildings

Parliament is a place where politicians debate and make legislation on future issues of a country the world over. However, the Canadian parliament that sits atop Parliament Hill in Ottawa is more than a political symbol as it is also a major tourist attraction that you must consider including in your itinerary when you visit Canada. Every year, about 3 million visitors come to Parliament hill.

The largely gothic revival style inspired but gorgeous parliament buildings are in a strategic location on parliament hill along the 170 foot bluff that overlooks the Ottawa River.

Some of the offices that are housed at this home of the federal government of Ottawa include the House of Commons and the Senate as well as offices of the members of Parliament.



Historical Architecture

What are the most popular things to do in Ottawa with kids?

One of the points of attraction that have made parliament hill and buildings a major attraction is the architectural elements that are of national symbolic importance. This site was originally a military base before being developed into governmental precinct.

This development saw the introduction of extensions to the departmental and parliament buildings making it the center piece of the downtown landscape of Ottawa.

The visually striking and remarkable complex of buildings was referred to as Barracks Hill and served as residence for Rideau Canal engineers.



Gothic Revival Architecture Design

Parliament buildings comprise of three main blocks namely the West, East, Center and Peace Tower that open up to open grounds with monuments of some of the significant political figures that shaped Canada’s history.

Interestingly, the architects of this building were picked through a competition that saw numerous entries whose styles that fell in two distinct categories; Gothic Revival associated with the British Parliament and Neoclassical that was identified with American republicanism.

The picturesque Gothic Revival style was thought to be the best representation of Parliamentary democracy and was thus chosen. Consequently, the West and East blocks were awarded to Augustus Laver and Thomas Stent while Thomas Fuller was awarded the center block.

The center block was later rebuilt following destruction by fire. The buildings took their present form after the reconstruction of this block and completion of peace tower in 1927. It has been under renovation since 2002 and is expected to be complete in 2020.

To date, parliament buildings in Ottawa are one of the successful medieval style structures in 19th Century in Canada. These building are a reflection of the two branches of Victorian Gothic Revivalism even though it is interpreted to Canadian tastes by the eclectic choice of local materials and Gothic ornament.

Some of the Gothic elements that are reflected in all the blocks include lancet windows, tracery, rubble course stonework, spires with crockets and pointed arches. Even then, it is the Centre block that best epitomizes the High Victorian Gothic Revival.


Discovering Canada Capital City


What to See

What should I see in Ottawa?

Apart from the Gothic revival style, there is so much to see at parliament Hill and buildings. From the architectural beauty to the rich history, you can be sure to have a great time visiting parliament buildings. Here is what you can expect to see:

    • The East Block – This block was the nerve Centre of the Canadian government for the first hundred years. Today, it houses offices of Members of Parliament and Ministers. While here you can also see the office of the first Prime Minister of Canada Sir John A. MacDonald.The best time to visit the East Block is between July and Early September

      Consequently, tickets are available during this period only. You will get a chance to see the restored heritage rooms as well as explore the parliamentary life from the late 19th Century.

      On average, tours last between 30 and 40 minutes.You will do well to check the times when you can go on a tour as well as the routes beforehand even though this information is subject to change without notice.






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      • The Centre Block – This block houses the House of Commons and the Senate. There are also other many important offices here that include the office of the Prime Minister.The original Centre Block was destroyed by fire and was replaced by the current one between 1916 and 1927.
        Guided tours of this block let you discover history as well as the functions and art of the Parliament of Canada.

        The tours may last between 20 and 50 minutes but this is determined by the parliamentary activity. The schedule and routes vary and may also change without prior communication.

        Tickets are usually available at 90 Wellington Street between May 17 and September while you can find tickets at the visitor entrance at the base of the Peace Tower from September 2 to May 16.

      • The West Block – This block is highly picturesque and most complex with special features like iron cresting, copper roofs, Nepean sandstone as well as Gothic detailing. It has been under renovation having been vacated in 2011 as it had deteriorated.
        Committee rooms and parliamentary offices that are usually housed here have been temporarily moved to the Valour Building, Library and Wellington Building.

        However, the confederation room will per permanently moved to Sir John A. MacDonald building. Currently, it has two extensions with the Mackenzie tower being a distinguishing factor.

        This block is designated as a classified owing to its ties with historical and architectural positioning. It is also associated with the federal government’s administrative arm in the early years.The West block has a major influence on the character of Parliament Hill as well as the West end of Wellington street. It is expected to host parliamentary offices, House of Commons chamber, support space and committee rooms once it is completed.

    Apart from these three blocks, other things that you will see within Parliament Hill include the following:

      • A dozen statues – These include that of the Queen, various Prime Ministers as well as other historical figures. There are also plaques in from of the statues with the details of the statues.


    Ottawa Attractions


      • The Peace Tower – It is at the center and front of the Centre Block. This tower got its name as a way of honoring the Canadian men and women that sacrifices their lives during the World War I.
      • Centennial Flame – This right at Parliament Hill’s entrance hence you cannot miss it. It was first lit by Lester B. Pearson in January 1967 to make the celebration of Canada’s 100th anniversary.  
        It is surrounded by shields of Canadian territories and provinces. It is a symbol of the unity of the people of Canada from sea to sea. Residents and visitors come here to throw coins into the fountain before making a wish. 
        These coins are later directed towards funding research about Canadians living with disabilities.  
        The Centennial Flame only goes off twice a year for a week so that it can be cleaned.  
      • The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) that are seen between July and August. The Mounties are exciting and not to be missed as the officers are in their full red uniform.
    • The Cat Sanctuary is another attraction at Parliament Hill. As the name suggests, this is a shelter for the stray cats and is on the ground of the building’s West side. The sanctuary has been in existence since 1970 having been started by a volunteer who wanted to ensure stray cats eat.


    Special Events

    Is Ottawa boring?

    A couple of special events take place at Parliament Hill and Buildings at different times of the year. These events are usually exciting and worth looking out for. They include the following:

      • Changing the Guard Ceremony – This ceremony features the Ceremonial Guard of the Canadian Forces. It is mounted at the end of June through the end of August and it includes music and a military drill.


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      • Mosaika Sound and Light Show that is a truly breathtaking visual show of light and sound that is set against the parliament buildings. To catch this show you need to visit Parliament Hill in the evenings between July and September.
    • Christmas Lights Across Canada – The official illumination ceremony is usually held at Parliament Hill where hundreds of thousands of lights are lit. The confederation Boulevard and the Hill glisten throughout the month of December.


    This is usually a beautiful sight. You will do well to stroll here in the evening to enjoy the ambiance.


Christmas Time in Ottawa Canada - Sparks Street
Christmas In Ottawa


  • Canada Day
    – This is commemorated on the first day of July and people congregate at Parliament Hill and buildings to celebrate.


    Canada day Celebration in Ottawa

    Entertainment lasts for the entire day with the climax of this day being an amazing show of fireworks. Be sure to catch it.



    • Carillon Concerts – If you appreciate arts and particularly enjoy these concerts where you discover exquisite musical experience. The concert is held at the Peace Tower.

    In summary, parliament Hill and Buildings is not only a political symbol but historical as well. With so much to see and do here you will do well to consider planning your visit to coincide with some of the special events to ensure that you get to experience the place in its entirety.



    Ottawa’s Museums and Architecture

    What is the best museum in Ottawa?

    Ottawa is home to several state-of-the-art museums with stunning architecture, which are some of the city’s biggest tourist-draws.

    The Canadian Museum of Civilization in riverside Gatineau provides a look at the human history of Canada and its multicultural population. Exhibits include permanent galleries housing prehistoric tools, textiles and weapons of 16th century Ottawa as well as prominent Canadian public figures from its long history. It also hosts several special exhibitions from time to time.

    Other museums that are worth a visit include the Canadian War Museum, the Canadian Museum of Nature, Canadian Agricultural Museum and the Diefenbunker or Canada’s Cold War Museum.

    Visitors can take one of several guided walking tours available in the city for a closer and more personal look at the major attractions and some off-beat sights known to locals alone.

    Things to do in Ottawa Canada


    Notre Dame Cathedral Ottawa

    What attractions are near Notre Dame Basilica?

    A visit to Ottawa is not complete without going on a tour of the historic Notre Dame Cathedral that is tucked away across the street from the National Gallery of Canada. It borders the archbishop’s palace on the South side. Despite being a minor basilica, this magnificent building is one of the enduring symbols of this city as it has rich history spanning three centuries.

    In fact, this made it to be designated as a National Historic Site of Canada. One of the amazing things about this basilica is that its beauty and architecture attracts all and sundry hence even non church goers are drawn to it.

    The eclectic mix of Gothic Revival architecture and Canadian religious art are constantly a source of inspiration in this largest and oldest place of worship. The interior is a masterpiece of beauty as it is not only colorful but also uniquely finished.

    From the rich gothic adornments to sculptures of Biblical figures inspired by medieval traditions, original iconography, terraced galleries, soaring arches as well as stained glass windows, this structure is simply stunning. These are made from a wide range of materials that include gold, bronze, wood and valuable stones.

    Some of the major highlights of this cathedral include the altar that features a display of 32 bronze panels that represent life, birth and death. There is also a massive bell on the west tower that vibrates when rung. There is a wedding chapel “Chapelle du Sacre Coeur” at the back of the main hall that is popularly known as the wedding chapel while a 10-bell carillon is on the West tower.

    The stained glass windows that were installed in 1879 are also a work of art that is awe inspiring. They comprise of geometrical motifs that is painted in grisaille and are also embellished by light touches of vivid colors. However, some of these glasses have been replaced over the years.

    When is Notre Dame Basilica open?

    The Notre Dame Basilica can be accessed at any time of the day as it is always open for private prayer and mass. You can get public transport simply walk there if you are around the National Gallery of Canada and Parliament Hill.
    In fact, you can identify its gilded Madonna and twin spires from Parliament Hill. Even then, it is advisable that you time your visit between services in order to get the best of your tour.

    Do you need to book in advance to visit Notre Dame Basilica?

    There are tour guides on site to take you on guided tours that usually last between 30 and 45 minutes. There are not access charges as admission is free for all.

    The cathedral was last restored and renovated in the late 1990s through to 2000 after which it was reopened by the archbishop of Ottawa, most reverend Marcel A Gervais. This was largely facilitated by generous donations from the Ontario Government, Canada anonymous donors and the Canada millennium partnership program. In conclusion, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa is an exceptional attraction that is worth a visit for Christians and non-Christians alike because of its endless beauty.

    Therefore, make a point of visiting this basilica when you are in Ottawa.

    Outdoor Attractions

    Fall Getaway Ideas

    Fall is an amazing time, it is the season when leaves change to blue, golden, brown, scarlet ; and when you add a mix of a scenic back drop with golden streak of sunlight shining through the branches fall earns the undisputed title as “the romantic season of the year”. Canada’s capital city has a wide range of trees from Maple, Oak to birch with leaves that change to brilliant oranges, red and yellow in September through to October. These fall foliage tends to peak towards the end of September.


    Traveling to Canada


    We took the opportunity to the visit two great fall local attractions – the Gatineau Park and Mackenzie King Estate both are located in the Gatineau Park.

    Our drive started from downtown Ottawa, we drove about 15 minutes on the highway heading north west to a small town named Chelsea in the province of Quebec. From the center town we navigate to a huge parking lot where we grab our running shoe and off we when to a great adventure.

    “Wow”!! was the most common expression from the hundred of visitors to this national treasure: if you haven’t seen the leaves change color during the autumns’ months, then you’re missing out on a true Canadian experience. Species of trees transform into gold, red and everything in between it was absolutely beautiful.

  • The Mackenzie King Estate
  • Gatineau Park

    Mackenzie King Estate

    The Gatineau Park is home to Mackenzie King Estate, the beautiful country home of Canada’s 10th Prime Minister, William Lyon McKenzie King. The estate consists of a number of cottages, a tea house, farm house and main buildings and remains a colorful part of Canadian history.
    The estate had great English gardens, trails including my personal favorite the waterfall trails. You can learn about the famous ruins and even watch films on the life of Mackenzie King. This is great family getaway spot.


    Traveling to Canada


    Gatineau Park

    A Place for Discoveries

    When you close your eyes and think of a perfectly tranquil moment, what do you see?

    It most certainly would be a beautiful day in the country. In front of you lies a magnificent green valley, strewn with crop fields and abundant forests. A great river, at times rushing, at times calm and inviting, cascades down between the hills. In the distance, you can make out stretches of water by the thousands, like water droplets, having been dropped there for you by magic. Everywhere, in this enchanted place, you are heralded as a special guest.

    Now open your eyes.

    This place really does exist. The Gatineau Valley is the unspoiled countryside. Nature as you imagine it. Whether you are looking for nature in its purest form or simply a different kind of vacation, this region has everything to offer. But most of all, there are people in every town that are ready and willing to welcome you.

    Take the time to talk with them and you will discover not only an enchanting region with unexpected areas, but you will also have many new stories to tell. Because this is where discoveries are made.

    Visitors who love the outdoors can visit Gatineau Park across the river for a stroll, some rollerblading or a bicycle ride. Located 15 minutes across the Ottawa River in Gatineau is the Gatineau Park – The Park offers a whole range of attractions and activities. It is particularly beautiful in the fall, when the trees put on a splendid show of colour.


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    The park has 361 Kilometres of natural wilderness crisscrossed with forest, lakes, cycling, natural trails and stunning lookout which makes it a destination for romantic hangout.
    Some of these lookouts offer spectacular views, including Champlain Lookout a top the Eardely Escarpment, with amazing views of two major Canadian geological formations – the Canadian Shield and the St. Lawrence Lowlands.



    Some Unique Outdoor and Leisure Activities in Gatineau

    If your vacation dreams bring you into the great outdoors, look no further because you have found the right destination. With two Zecs, the La Vérendrye wildlife reserve, the Eagle Forest, in addition to all the lakes and all the municipal infrastructure to enjoy this generous nature, you will be running out of time. If you visited a lake a day in the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, it would take you almost nine years to go around it.

    It’s up to you to choose which one you start with.

    Water activities

    The Vallée-de-la-Gatineau is full of bodies of water and is now recognized as a destination of choice for lovers of nautical activities and white water sports. The Whitewater Festival, held every year at the end of August,
    attracts more and more followers from everywhere to excite on our majestic Gatineau River.

    Eco tourism and adventure tourism

    There is a wide range of outdoor activities. Come and experience thrills or moments of relaxation surrounded by grandiose landscapes characterized by the quality of its crystal clear waters and the generosity of its
    green spaces.

    Sports and leisures

    With four golf courses, the largest ski center in Outaouais, hundreds of kilometers of trails for walking, biking, quad biking, snowmobiling and infrastructure for practicing a multitude of sporting activities,
    those who wish to keep in shape and discover hidden corners will be pampered in the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau territory. All you need are good sneakers or good boots.

    Motor sports

    The most famous fishing and hunting stories all originate in the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau. It is therefore not surprising that there is an impressive number of outfitters. Whether to shoe a few walleyes,
    tease the trout, compete in the fiery bass, or even hunt the deer in the greatest deer ravage of continental Quebec, the moose, track down the black bear or simply hunt the partridge, only you are missing.

    Winter activities

    Winter is never boring in the Valley. Whether you are a fan of alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, our large white spaces are among the most beautiful in Quebec.
    The invigorating air and the sparkling landscape, discover all the splendor of our corner of the country when he puts on his soft white coat.

    Interpretation center

    Because of the millennial presence of the Algonquin people on the territory and the significant contribution of French and Irish immigrants, the Gatineau Valley is a broth where cultures make a happy marriage.
    Each village has its own history and is proud of its culture. Be sure to take a look at the churches, each one more beautiful and original than the other, and visit the many interpretation centers on the territory to bear witness to our history.

    Natural and historic sites

    Discover a country of pride and traditions with a past rich in events, characters and historic places. In a true historical odyssey, let yourself be amazed by our fabulous sites that have shaped the natural and human heritage of the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau.

    Accommodation Options

    Hospitality is part of the traditions in the Valley. After having crisscrossed the region in search of its treasures, it will be good to rest. With a long list of accommodation establishments available and willing to open their doors to you.

    From hostels to guesthouses, Gatineau has what it takes to provide you with the cozy nest you need. Why not rent a chalet on one of our many lakes if you want to stay longer.

    And in an outdoor region like the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau, camping sites are abundant. From the landscaped ground to sites in the middle of the forest, Gatineau have the ideal place for you to pitch your tent.

    Where to Eat in Gatineau

    Adventures add to your appetite, it’s well known. Whether you are looking for a table, a restaurant to enjoy a good meal with your family, or a menu worthy of the delicacy of your palate, the region have what it takes to satisfy your needs.


    Places to Eat in Gatineau Quebec


    Regional Products and Craftsmen

    Treasures are not always made of gold. Local products from the region will fill your basket with discoveries. Several farms in the region will allow you to discover the flavors of the Valley while our regional artists and craftsmen will amaze you!


    The some 200 farms in the Gatineau territory cover more than 7,500 hectares of crop. The vast majority of them are involved in beef production. The others are mainly specialized in dairy, maple,
    fish and horticultural.


    Discover local producers and tantalize your taste buds with delicious regional products from the Gatineau area. From the impressive harvest of cranberries to the picking of berries in hand, the whole family can enjoy the close contact between nature and what is on our plate.

    Shops and Art Galleries

    Fans of many artistic forms will be delighted by contemplating the works of the First Nations and our local artisans. You will find in the Valley shops and art galleries that are a real pleasure for the eyes.


    Admire the works of our craftsmen directly in their workshop and feel all the magic surrounding artistic creation. Initiation courses in painting and workshops for beginners are offered at several artisans, go see them, they will be so happy to receive you and share their secrets with you.



    Discover the Gatineau Valley

    Welcome to the Discovery Space!

    The discovery area is a huge playground of over 13,000 square kilometers with more than 3,200 lakes and hundreds of kilometers of trails for practicing your favorite outdoor activity. Although a predominantly natural and preserved territory, the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau is not to be outdone when it comes to offering choices of sports and leisure activities.

    The whole family can enjoy the many activities on offer. Renowned as the paradise for walleye, our corner of the country is the place par excellence for a stay in nature, outfitting or camping.

    Your outdoor destination in the Outaouais

    The region, which is one of the largest RCMs in Quebec (its area represents a third of Switzerland! ) Is a favorite place for fishermen, hunters, hikers and other lovers of nature. Our quad trails as well as our regional cycle path offer excursions through agricultural and forest land where you will suddenly get stuck on the hassles of everyday life.

    Located a few kilometers north of Gatineau and Ottawa, you can access the region from the south via highway 5 and route 105, then from the north, via routes 117 and 107.

    Live an experience of well-being, authenticity and harmony

    Treat yourself to a privileged moment of rest in one of our many rustic or landscaped campsites, with or without services, and each time experience an experience of total freedom in an enchanting natural setting.
    You find the perfect spot for your summer vacation in Gatineau.

    The tour of cities and municipalities

    The Vallée-de-la-Gatineau includes 17 municipalities, in addition to five unorganized territories and two Algonquin communities including Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, south of Maniwaki. Located in the heart of the Outaouais, the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau is positioned as the ultimate outdoor destination with an abundance of natural resources and an environment of exceptional quality.

    The population is approximately 20,000 from three cultural communities living in harmony: French, Algonquin and Irish. You can see all the beauties that the towns and villages have to offer and get away from it all in the Discovery Center!

    Discover With Us

    Go for it! Set off to explore our immense territory without ever losing your points of reference …

    List of All Our Events

    To get to know a region well, you have to meet its people. The Vallée-de-la-Gatineau is the setting for several festivals and events in which you are invited to participate. Whether it’s to break the winter or to celebrate the summer, this is the perfect opportunity to have fun in Gatineau.

    Business and conventions

    For meetings and conventions of all sizes, Vallée-de-la-Gatineau is your first choice to hold your event in an enchanting natural setting. With more than 110 4-star rooms in the city of Maniwaki alone, you will find in the Valley all the ingredients and services that will make your meeting or conference an assured success.

    Our distance from major centers and our wide choice of outdoor activities will make your event invaluable and unique.

    Transportation services

    There is wide selection of transportation services serving the Vallée-de-la-Gatineau. Whether you are visiting the region for the first time or want to rediscover it once again, everything you need to get around our spacious and bucolic territory.

    Emergency services

    The Vallée-de-la-Gatineau has all the necessary services to help you out or come to your aid during your stay. Regardless of the situation, if you are in an emergency situation and need assistance, call 911.
    You can find the telephone numbers of other emergency services on online. Valuable information to keep on hand if you are planning a day of adventure in our great outdoors.


    Highlights of the Rideau Canal

    • The Rideau Canal offers tourists boat rides with guided commentaries on the city’s sights and history.
    • A paved bicycle trail runs along the canal for more than 100 miles. Tourists can also enjoy the outdoors in winter.
    • The canal becomes the world’s longest skating rink when it freezes over. During this time, locals and recreational skaters use the canal as a transit way.


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    Rideau Canal is one of the must see places for tourists in Ottawa. This is because it consists of 47 lock stations as well as beautiful rivers and lakes that are connected to each other by canals. In addition, it offers a scenic view that has rightly earned it the title of a visitors’ paradise.

    Moreover, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Canadian Heritage River and National Historic Site of Canada.   This canal was built at a time when Canada was afraid of a potential attack from the United States and stretches over a distance of 125 miles from Ottawa to Kingston.

    You can visit this oldest canal in the history of North America by car, boat, on foot or by bicycle. Using a boat is perhaps the best option because it lets you get the entire ambiance of the entire region. Driving is also interesting because you get to go through numerous scenic roads that wind through the centre of Old Ontario.


    Traveling to Canada


    What is there to do at Rideau Canal?

    One of the notable things is that every lock is unique and well equipped with picnic facilities, overnight mooring facilities, washrooms, benches, barbecue grills and tables.

    These locks are opened for navigation in mid-May through to mid-October. Visitors coming through to the Rideau Canal during this time get to enjoy canoeing, cruises and kayaking.

    On the other hand, the canal often becomes as skate way during winter as it is the largest naturally skating rink in the world.

    The Rideau Canal is an excellent picnic site as there are nice grassy lawns complete with picnic tables. Moreover, lock watching can be quite interesting especially in the afternoon as there are different kinds of boats going up and down. Other locks have hiking trails that is also ideal for those that love outdoor activity.

    Lovers of wildlife are not left out as they too get to see different species of wildlife. Some of the common wildlife species that you will see here include loons, blue heron, osprey, turtles and frogs. Bird lovers will also spot various species like the hummingbirds, beaver and occasionally the muskrats.

    Visitors can also go on a fishing expedition on the rivers and lakes that make up the Rideau waterway. Among the common fish species that you can catch here include lake trout, northern pike, black crappie, small mouth bass, walleye and large mouth bass among others.

    If you are into history then you will do well to consider checking out a number of the museums at the Rideau Canal where you will get to see a rich blend of modern technology and historic artifacts.

    There are about ten museums with each offering something unique that will give you a glimpse into the history of the Canal and Canada as a whole.

    Other places and activities of interest include conservation parks, paddling, group tours, marinas, dinning out, shopping, cycling, golfing, skiing and snowmobiling among others.

    In summary, the Rideau Canal lives up to its title of being a true paradise for visitors and residents alike.


    Things to do in Ottawa


    The Wakefield Stream Train Adventure

    All Aboard for an unforgettable journey into the past on board of Canada’s last remaining authentic steam-powered trains. Relax in comfort in climate controlled cars and let the “clickety clack” of the wheels
    carry you back to a by-gone era.


    Wakefield Adventure Train


    Discover the enchanting landscape of the Outaouais region as we travel the banks of the Gatineau river along one of Canada’s most beautiful natural reserves, the Gatineau park.



    This memorable excursion with on-board tour guides and entertainers is sure to delight you!

    • The Hull-Chelsea-Wakefield Steam Train takes you from the bi-centennial city of Hull to the picturesque village of Wakefield Québec travelling one of eastren Canada’s most scenic railway.

    • The 64 km journey takes you along the banks of the sinuous Gatineau river which borders the beautiful Gatineau Park.

    • The complete five hour round trip consists of a two hour stop in Wakefield and travel time is of one and a half hour in each direction.

    • Bilingual tour guides accompany the passengers throughout the journey as they will share their knowledge of the region’s history as well as the steam locomotive’s remarkable past.

    • The Outaouais region’s folklore is discovered with the music of the train’s own strolling minstrels as they move about the coaches with lively tunes and tales.

    • The star of the show, steam engine no.909,a 1907 Swedish built type 2-8-0 locomotive is the only european train to travel on Canadian rails.

    • The nine air conditioned coaches were also built in Sweden in the 1940’s and can accommodate up to 528 guests in comfort. All are equipped with 2 washrooms and change tables. One car is also wheelchair accessible, the need for this service should be mentioned at the time of reservation.

    • The “Québec” coach houses a souvenir shop and a licensed snack-bar which is accessible throughout the excursion.

    • Once in Wakefield passengers get to witness the spectacular pivoting of the 93 ton steam locomotive on Canada’s only operating manual turntable. Get your camera ready for this one!

    • Take part of one of the many walking guided tours offered by our tour guides, visit the steam locomotive’s cabin with one of our engineers. Also, enjoy the unique arts & craft shops and take in one of the many restaurants of this charming village.

    • Our train musicians will also perform a medley of local folklore songs during the layover in Wakefield.

    • Here, comfortably seated you will discover the splendour of the Outaouais region in all of its colourful glory. Travellers from all corners of the globe gather on the steam train to admire the beautiful
    scenery during the autumn season. Reserve early for this very busy period.


    NB: – Last check the train service was temporary stopped – We will update our readers when things change




    Each year for the first three weekends in February the city of Ottawa celebrate Winterlude.


    Ottawa Winter Festivals

    Where is Winterlude located in Ottawa?

    Winterlude is a winter festival in the nation’s capital that features ice-skating on the world’s longest rink ( Rideau Canal ) , ice sculptures, a snow playground, concerts and many more events.


    Ottawa Winter Festivals


    Ottawa Winter Festivals


    So get out the winter gears, sing along and enjoy the festive season in Ottawa.


    Ottawa Winter Festivals



    Where are ice sculptures in Ottawa?

    Gatineau Park is one of most popular Winterlude spot – bussing with snow- shoeing, cross-country, nature walkers and downhill skiers with more than 250 kilometres of various trails winding through forests and along frozen lakes and river valleys, Gatineau Park boasts one of North America’s most popular trail networks.

    Cross country skiers currently have access to 56 kilometres of compacted and groomed trails including the Fortune Parkway, the Gatineau Parkway and the Champlain Parkway.


    Dining and Shopping

    Ottawa’s multicultural population is evident in its dining options. Little Italy and Chinatown have existed for a long time. Newer additions to the local dining scene include flavors from France, Africa, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and native Aboroginal. The areas with the biggest concentration of restaurants include the ByWard Market, Little Italy and Chinatown.

    What can I buy in Ottawa?

    Besides world cuisine, foodies often come to Ottawa for its local specialties as well as coffee houses which are located at almost all intersections.

    An Ottawa specialty that is usually available by the canal in winter is the Beaver Tail, a deep-fried doughy pastry topped with savory and sweet toppings.



    Is the ByWard market open today?

    One of the major shopping and dining attractions in the city is the **Byward Market. On summer mornings the market sells flowers and fresh produce which give way to pubs, restaurants and street performers in the night.

    The market is also open, though in a limited capacity, in winter. This is also the only market in the city which offers Beaver Tail in summer.

    Other shopping districts include:

  • Sparks Street where tourists can purchase postcards and antiques – located in the heart of of downtown ottawa, has a great open-air pedestrian mall with many jewelry, fine clothing and novelty gifts stores.
  • Downtown Rideau is another great place to find hundreds of ways to spend some cash. The 23 blocks surrounding Rideau Street are packed with retail outlets like as The Bay and Sears department stores and LCBO Vintages.
  • Westboro Village for several outdoor equipment shops and restaurants, and
  • For shopping with a more international flavor, try Preston Street, home of Ottawa’s Little Italy, or Chinatown in Somerset Heights. Somerset Village, with its quaint European atmosphere against the backdrop of Ottawa’s Centretown, offers many artisan studios and boutique shops housed in examples of excellent architectural craftsmanship.
  • Bank Street Promenade for its specialty shops and chain stores – for a great shopping experience, you can start out here, which has fifteen blocks of traditional shopping and entertainment outlets. There are hundreds of stores and restaurants along these streets, and nearby parking is free and widely available on weekends. They offer wares range from household linens to sporting goods. Also, in June and August, the area holds the city’s largest and longest outdoor sidewalk sale, with a long list of eclectic merchandise.

  • The city’s oldest farmer’s market still in operation is the **Byward Market , which also has many unique shops and eateries nearby. Over a hundred vendors hawk their fruits, vegetables, plants and hand-made crafts here. Many festivals, such as the Canadian Tulip Festival and Ottawa Bluesfest, are also held in the vicinity.
  • Bayshore Shopping Centre is a large mall on the outskirts of the city. It has three department stores the Bay, Winners many stores including several women’s clothing stores, shoes stores and so forth. They offer free wheelchairs, strollers and walkers.
    Also there is plenty of parking here or you can get there via OCTranspo.
  • Another excellent mall in Ottawa is The St.Laurent Centre. It has almost 200 stores and 4000 free in door and outdoor parking spaces. There is a great selection of stores here including ladies fashion stores, cosmetic stores,hair salons and so much more. It is a beautiful mall, very clean, bright it’s a wonderful way to spend a rainy day in Ottawa.
  • The Glebe is a fun place to shop all year round.

    The Glebe is located within minutes from downtown Ottawa, making this impressive shopping community easily accessible from most areas of the city. The Glebe has long earned its fine reputation from the variety of shops and merchants that reside within the heart of this luxurious neighborhood.

    At first glance one is quickly captivated by the multitude of storefront windows that come together to paint a colorful landscape along this well traveled avenue of Bank Street. Coffee shops and bakeries fill the air with a sweet smell that could satisfy many desires. A collection of stores, bare a stylish selection of clothing inspired by the latest fashion trend. Barbershops display their revolving stripes while hair salons and upscale spas offer the ultimate in relaxation.

    Family owned shops display an impressive variety of specialty products waiting to be discovered…Churches stand tall next to beautiful homes, many dating back to the early 1900’s. Parks and walkways provide a peaceful area for children and families to spend some quality time together.

    A well-timed visit brings amazement as local artists annually display their collections of art on the outdoor green of the Glebe’s Central Park. This wonderful community is also home to Lansdowne Park where thousands of people attend weekly tradeshow exhibits and recreational sporting events in search of fun, excitement and family entertainment.

    During the winter months we invite you to stop in to enjoy a beavertail after an energizing skate on the Rideau Canal, the world’s longest skating rink!

    The arrival of spring reveals a wealth of hidden treasures as bargain hunters flock to the streets to celebrate the rebirth of the annual Great Glebe Garage Sale.

    In a nutshell the Glebe is a great place to shop all year round. On behalf of Glebe merchants, neighborhood residents and us , we welcome you to a great Ottawa community.

  • If you are interested in antiquing in the Ottawa area, there are some great furniture stores in the city worth checking out.


    Ottawa Nightlife

    Ottawa’s National Arts Centre hosts some of the world’s best known theater, ballet and orchestral performances. The ByWard Market is also home to several live alternative music venues, pubs and wine bars which offer an exciting nightlife in the city.

    Getting Out for Day Trips

    Ottawa’s restaurants are supplied with fresh produce from the farms within the edges of the city. These farms can make for a refreshing and rustic day trip and weekend lunch in the midst of tall grasses and lush green trees.



    Where can I go at night in Ottawa?

    Tourists can also make day trips to Quebec’s charming artist town of Wakefield and participate in the several adventure activities that are available at Gatineau Park.


    Christmas in Ottawa, Canada ( Travel Stories )

    5 things I love about this time of the year

    So, it is December, one of my favourite months! The whole city is decorated with little lights, the air outside is cold, Christmas songs are on the radio and we had the first snow of the year. There were only some tiny snowflakes in the air, but hey, they still count!
    Today I want to share 5 things I love about this time of the year in the nation capital!

    1. The feel in the city: the historic centre of my city is decorated with little lights, and when it is dark, it gives the whole centre such a warm Christmas feeling!

    2. Hot chocolate! Oh yes, and even better: homemade hot chocolate. Warm and comforting and oh so sweet.
    3. The scent of the Christmas tree, spices and candles inside. Somehow, scents can make you remember everything so clearly!
    4. A warm plaid on the couch, a good book, a great movie or tv-show. Add some hot chocolate from number 3 in this list, and I am one happy girl!
    5. Family, friends, time for each other just enjoy each other!


    Santa Snow Man


    What do you love about December? I love to hear from you!


    Let It Snow, Let It Snow

    25 centimetres of blowing snow, -20 degrees below, freezing cold, most birds take wing south ,pretty sure the oxford dictionary would overwhelmingly define such conditions as hmmm winter! Did I say winter? Yes its winter! No doubt winter is here. So what are my choices: I could go south, turn the heat up or I could wish for better days?

    Or I could join in on one of the holidays season famous sing-along “let it snow, let it snow”. Are you singing along with me? I do hope you are

    Why not let it snow so I can build a snowman, get out my winter gears and get out and enjoy the fresh snow and cool fresh air – or I can sit around the fireplace enjoying the cracking sound of the wood fireplace while hugging a large cup of hot chocolate or a hot cup of apple cider – see winter isn’t that cold and boring as you think. So what do I do?

    Don’t hibernate…celebrate winter

    You can visit to the Canadian capital Ottawa and enjoy some of the city’s fine winter traditions such as:

    * Whether it’s skating along the Rideau Canal, visiting the outstanding museums or simply enjoying the comforts of your room. Ottawa offers a perfect start to your winter experience. The city is located in the province of Ontario close to the border with the province of Quebec.

    Most sites are in the nation’s capital and less than five minutes drive to the other winterlude actions, this winter wonderland location will exceed your expectations.

    **Grab a suitcase and your best friend(s) and take a road trip to this amazing getaway. With a list of shopping centres to explore – including Bayshore, Rideau and St Laurent. These shopping centres has more than 200 of the biggest names in retail – there is never a dull moment.

    You can visit the By Ward Market Square and enjoy the specialty and artisan boutiques or sit and take great pleasure in enjoying your favourite meal at the many first class restaurants in the city.



    Ottawa in Ontario Canada – What does this mean for travelers to the city? #MarketingStrategiesforVacationrentals #http://vacation-rentals-experts.business.site/ #VacationRentalManagement #HowtomarketVacationRentalProperty Tourists can expect a good healthy dose of world class museums that are architectural highlights in themselves, #HolidayHomes #PictureperfectHolidayhomes excellent world cuisine, a varied nightlife and plenty of outdoor summer and winter recreation in Ottawa’s canals. #VacationRentalMarketingPlan #BestvactionrentalAdvertising #VacationRentalListing There are several ways you can enter the city from other parts of Canada or North America. You can drive in from Toronto in 4.5 hours or from Montreal in 2 hours. #VacationrentalMarketingAgency #VacationRentalsExperts http://vacation-rentals-experts.business.site/

    A post shared by Angella Grey (@sellupgotravel) on






    Post by Angella Grey, the marketing manager at The Vacation Rentals Experts – an online and offline digital marketing agency that creates marketing solutions for vacation rentals, holiday homes and brands.

    Joint us on twitter, Pinterest, follow our LinkedIn company page to learn more and get great tips on market strategy and solutions for your holiday properties.

    If you enjoy and find this post informative please like this story and share it with a friend!

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