Canada’s capital Ottawa, is a city brimming with cultural and historical vigour. It may not be as sought-after as Toronto or Vancouver, but the metropolis is jam-packed with welcoming vibes, affable residents who articulate a harmonic blend of English and French.
If you intend to explore Ottawa, you can anticipate a veritable mix of urban streets filled with contemporary buildings and intrinsic waterways perfectly lined with lush greenery. The way Ottawa’s heritage has been prolonged is commendable.
You can do endless things in Ottawa, like a walking tour of Parliament and sightseeing the striking gems of the city. Ottawa has it all, whatever your notion of fun is! Whether you’re hiking through Canada or just passing through, your trip to Ottawa is sure to be memorable!
Discover why it is the prominent location to visit in Canada by reading our list of the top attractions of Canada’s Capital Ottawa.
Endearing Ottawa Attractions: Unmissable Places to Visit
Walking around Ottawa turns out to be luring as there is a great deal of must-visit places and to-do things.
The Rideau canal carves up Central Ottawa into two areas. The one located in the north of the canal is depicted as Lower Town, whereas the north division is named as Upper Town. Lower Town is quite popular for the National Gallery of Canada along with other roadstones, including Notre Dame Basilica and Byward Market. The voguish Upper Town stretches down Parliament Hill and comprehends the Bank of Canada building embracing a fountain-filled portico.
There are sundry streets, including Wellington Street, O’Connor Street, and Sparks Street pedestrian precinct. These are the busiest thoroughfares across Ottawa. Additionally, the presence of a slew of high-end department stores makes it the shopping mecca of Ottawa.
Stretched through 200 kilometres, the sparkling Rideau canal not only carves up Ottawa in Upper and Lower Town but also links Ottawa to Kingston. At first, it was a well-thought-out pathway between Lake Ontario and Montreal for military purposes. But not anymore! Now, it is crowned as the prominent attraction of Ottawa, especially, tourists prefer visiting this canal during day time.
To make your visit memorable, book a Rideau canal cruise beforehand. Don’t miss the chance of enjoying the panoramic view and soothing sound of calm flowing waters.
When the canal freezes, it becomes a popular place for organising festivals and ice skating, making it one of Ottawa’s most popular places for enjoying winter activities. One of the beautiful buildings along the canal banks is Château Laurier. It was erected in 1912 and had the look of a mediaeval castle.
National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada (Musée des Beaux-Arts du Canada) is one of the finest works presented by Moshe Safdie. It is an architectural wonder encompassing prism-like towers that reflect the lines of the surrounding Parliament Buildings.
Galleries present aboriginal art, traverse European Impressionism and host temporary exhibitions. It is one of North America’s major art museums. The Inuit art rooms are located on the lower level, beneath the Great Hall, which is encased in glass.
Well, that’s not it. A plethora of scenic places for sightseeing is available around the National Museum.
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica
Notre-Dame Cathedral, located across the National Gallery, is a majestic Catholic basilica that was consecrated in 1846. It is notable for Philippe Parizeau’s interior mahogany carvings and Louis-Philippe Hébert’s statues of the four evangelists, prophets, and apostles.
The spotlight of this majestic cathedral is stained-glass windows. The presence of 17 windows in the series escalates the overall beauty of this architectural masterpiece. The construction of this ancient structure began in 1841 and got its final accomplishment in 1880. It is the capital’s largest and prehistoric standing church.
Canada Aviation and Space Museum
The Canada Aviation and Space Museum is located at Rockcliffe Airport, on the outskirts of town. It perfectly narrates the storyline of Canadian civil aviation and military aviation.
The Silver Dart was the first flight that took off from Canada in 1909. Additionally, fighter planes from World War I and II, seaplanes, and other aircraft offer breathtaking views. If you have that patriotic feeling within or the history fascinates you, then this is a true gem spot for you.
Royal Canadian Mint
While Canada’s circulating coins are no longer produced by the Royal Canadian Mint, the Ottawa facility produces superbly designed medals, commemorative coins for collection purposes.
You will also get to grip a real gold ingot and view one of three gigantic gold loonies (Canadian dollar coins) crafted here. Because tour groups are small, you are supposed to reserve a perfect spot in advance.
The peace tower offers a crystal-clear view of Parliament Hill, the sparkling river, northern hills and the entire city. The observation deck is present on the top of the tower and is said to be Ottawa’s highest point. The bells of the tower may be seen from the elevator and there is a memorial area for Canadians who perished in WWI. It is also known as the “Tower of Victory and Peace”. If you want to see Ottawa’s wonders outright from one spot, nothing can be more favourable than the Peace Tower.
Parliament buildings embrace Victorian Gothic Winstone glory and offer quite an alluring sight to viewers. The Parliamentary Library is a masterpiece in itself. It is one of the quite few places that were set on fire in 1916. A guided tour of this historic centre block is accessible.
In the summer, personnel of the Canadian Mounted Police patrol the lush grassed area that is located in front of the Parliament buildings, dressed dashingly in scarlet uniform jackets, Stetsons and knee boots.
The ceremony starts at sharp 9:50 a.m., so you must arrive at least 15 minutes earlier to witness the picturesque view. The changing of the guard outside Parliament House together with Parliament tours are two of Ottawa’s most desirable free activities.
Canadian Tulip Festival
During the spring celebration, tulips blossom all around Canada’s capital Ottawa, indicating the end of winter. Thousands of tulips bloom in Major’s Hill Park, located southwest of the basilica. Fireworks and performances are also common occurrences. Definitely a perfect day out for nature lovers.
Since 1846, the Byward Market has been a vibrant part of Ottawa’s bustling Lower Town, located north of the Rideau Canal. In the summer, street-side fruits, delightful flowers and vegetable shops complement the true beauty of the place.
The area surrounding the market has been meticulously rebuilt and is now a neighborhood with restaurants and businesses.
Dows Lake Pavilion
Residents and tourists are highly attracted to this gem spot during the summer season. The pavilion also overlooks the docks, where paddleboats, kayaks and bicycles can be rented.
The lake is a well-known fishing spot. During the winter, skates and sleds can be rented, and the park holds events as part of the Winterlude festival.
Ottawa is one of those bustling yet charming cities that you may visit again and again and still discover something new. You will find a wealth of treasures far and wide across the city that you will not want to miss out on. So, plan your travel adequately and compile a list of hotel stays and eateries. Explore Ottawa to the fullest and enjoy every delight that Canada’s Capital Ottawa offers to the table.
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Ottawa has much to keep you occupied for an entire weekend, with plenty of history, gastronomy and culture to discover. Two days is all that is required to see the highlights of Ottawa with this suggested schedule. And if you forget something, you can always return to see or do it later.
For one individual, a one-week vacation to Ottawa costs roughly around CA$1,022. So, a one-week trip to Ottawa for two persons costs roughly CA$2,044. In Ottawa, a two-week trip for two people costs CA$4,088.
Enjoy breathtaking views of the Ottawa River, stroll along the Rideau Canal and visit notable institutions such as the National Gallery, the Canadian Museum of Nature and the Ottawa Art Gallery.
The famous dishes to try out in Ottawa are shawarma, beavertails, Obama cookies, gelato and macarons.
Ottawa is known for a plethora of things, including ByWard Market, the Canadian Museum and the Ottawa Little Theatre. It is a perfect amalgamation of outdoor as well as indoor lifestyles. No matter what you are fond of, Ottawa has something to satisfy your soul.