Ottawa Travel Guide

The capital of Canada and the country’s fourth largest city is more often than not overlooked by tourists altogether. Located in the southeast corner of the country, upon the banks of the River Ottawa, the city’s extreme weather reaches highs of 86°F in summer and lows of -22°F in winter. Its wide streets, parks and neo-Gothic parliament buildings make it a pleasant enough place, with the large Francophone population adding an interesting multicultural angle.

Primarily a business and convention destination, Ottawa struggles to attract tourists. However, beyond the highlight of Parliament Hill’s government buildings, the city boasts strong culture and heritage, with many national institutions and historic buildings. The Gothic-style architecture and Peace Tower of Centre Block in particular draw millions of tourists each year, but it is perhaps the capital’s annual festivals which attract the most interest.

The Greenbelt, one of the world’s largest urban parks offers golf, conservation areas and wetlands, while there are also an abundance of cultural activities to partake in. The National Arts Centre is a lively venue, as is the National Gallery of Canada, displaying works by Canadian artists. Byward Market is home to numerous smaller galleries as well as being a center for chic bars and restaurants at night. Alternatively, Elgin street offers everything from frappuccinos to sashimi as well as some nightclubs.


Canadian Museum of Civilization: gives an overview of Canadian history from the first Viking settlers to the present day.

Rideau Canal: is the world’s longest ice skating rink in winter and in summer, there are boating tours on offer.

Casino de Lac-Leamy: if you’re feeling lucky, head for the 64 gaming tables and 1,870 slot machines that this beautifully designed casino has to offer.

Spark Street Mall: lined with shops and cafés, this is Ottawa’s oldest pedestrian mall, perfect for a leisurely stroll.

Canadian War Museum: find out about Canada’s military history in this museum built to honour the country’s national war veterans.

Notre-Dame Cathedral: is the city’s oldest church and features neo-classic and neo-gothic designs, wood carvings as well as exquisite stained glass windows and statues of saints.

Rideau Centre: this is Ottawa’s new hip shopping and dining center, with 180 high-street names in fashion, food and services just one-block east of Parliament street.