Spending a few days in the Canadian capital and want to put together an itinerary? Great, because in this article, you’ll find lots of suggestions for what to do in Ottawa! We’ve listed a few sights for you to visit and enjoy on your trip.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a real must-see. Connecting Ottawa with Canada’s former capital, Kingston, the canal covers 202 km of Ontario and is one of the most famous geographic features in the province. Along this length are 45 surgical locks that operate from May to October and are reminiscent of the canal’s original purpose of securing a safe route for British supply vessels in the 19th century. Today, the canal is mostly used by hikers, cyclists and boat enthusiasts who enjoy taking advantage of their beautiful landscape.
Snowbirds over Peace Tower
Located in the middle of the Canadian Parliament buildings is the Peace Tower; a national landmark in its own right. Its ornate stone curves and the clock’s face make the structure one of the most recognized symbols in Canada, also largely due to its appearance on the national twenty-dollar bill. An impressive view from ground level offers the tower’s observation deck unmatched 360-degree views of the city from 300 feet up.
National War Memorials
The National Monument is an impressive 70ft arch that commemorates all Canadian citizens killed in military action. In addition to its calm gray granite structure, the monument has bronze allegories of both peace and freedom. It has become known for its symbolism on the foundations of the Canadian nation. The memorial represents the center of the Ottawa Center and is a humble place to visit, especially given the violence in its recent history.
Canadian War Museum
It may be the newest of Ottawa’s fleet of museums, but since it opened in 2005, the Canadian War Museum has proved to be a valuable addition. The exhibition space covers all of Canada’s military history, from the very beginning of the country all the way to the most modern conflicts. A range of audiovisual aids complement the collection of weapons, tanks and aircraft and really help bring the story to life. The information is carefully presented in a way that uniquely focuses attention on the human experience of military conflict.
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica
This basilica is the oldest and largest church in Ottawa and currently serves as a bilingual place of worship with services conducted in both French and English. Its relatively modest structure hides a vibrant and brightly painted interior, with beautiful stained glass and Gothic iconography. The cathedral is open daily for guided and guided tours. It is also worth checking out online, as various concerts are often held sporadically throughout the year, which receive rave reviews.
The historic ByWard Market district is an urban area definitely worth a visit. A major tourist attraction, the area still retains its unique feel thanks to the range of eclectic shops and lively restaurants that run out through a series of interconnected streets. The market building is open all year round, and during the summer months houses Canada’s oldest farmer’s market where you can read a range of fresh produce and handicrafts. At night, the area is transformed into a hub of energy, filled with popular bars and nightclubs.
Some tourists may be anxious to avoid Canada’s freezing winter temperatures. But for the braver, the Ottawa Winterlude Festival is one of the city’s real highlights. On-site for three weekends in January to mid-February, North America’s largest winter festival attracts close to 600,000 visitors from around the world each year. The Rideau Canal is transformed into the world’s largest natural-shaped ice rink and forms a 7.8 km ice rink where visitors can put their skills to the test or watch the pros in several hockey tournaments. The festival also features an international ice-skating competition and the Snowflake Kingdom playground, complete with ice slides.
Have you ever been to Ottawa? We would love to know what were the places you’ve enjoyed the most; share them with us in the comment section below.