Ottawa is Canada’s beautiful capital city, a destination filled with national sites and historic landmarks. Home to about 1.25 million people, Ottawa is located within easy driving distance of Montreal (1h 45min), Toronto (4hrs) and the US border (45min). There are countless sites to see in the capital, and many ways to see them. Boat tours on the Rideau Canada and the Ottawa River, bus tours on land, and amphibus tours on water, biplane and helicopter tours, cycling tours and a variety of themed walking tours. In fact, many of Ottawa’s most popular attractions and experiences can be found in its surprisingly compact and walkable downtown core.
To get you started, here’s a video by Ottawa Tourism highlighting the main tourist destinations for Ottawa visitors:
If you’re in town for CanUX and you have limited time at your disposal, we have compiled a list of attractions and restaurants in the area. Depending on how much time you have we’ve also included a few itineraries for those who have no time, a half day, a day or two days at their disposal.
1. NO TIME TO SPARE
If you’re flying in and out quickly, and have no time to spare, we recommend exploring the rest of our conference venue, the Canadian Museum of History. Home to the world’s largest indoor collection of totem poles, you can visit this stunning work of architecture and its exhibitions during conference breaks and during lunches. You can also step outside on the river walk and enjoy beautiful views of Parliament Hill over the river (recommended for sunset). This won’t take any extra time beyond the event schedule.
2. HALF A DAY
If you have half a day available, we recommend actually making your way to Parliament Hill via the Alexandria Bridge. You’ll enjoy beautiful views of the Canadian Museum of History, the National Gallery and the Canadian Parliament, and you’ll walk through Major’s Hill Park and the Ottawa Locks, and you’ll have a chance to admire the castle-like architecture of the Chateau Laurier and the National War Memorial monument (including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier). One way, the walk will take about 30 minutes (2.3 kilometers) which will give you ample time to explore the Parliament grounds. If you’re visiting during the day, you may book a tour of the buildings, and if you’re there at night, you may enjoy the beautiful 30 minute light shows from the Parliament’s expansive lawn.
3. ONE FULL DAY
If you have a full day at your disposal, you can do everything that is described in the half day tour and add a visit to National Gallery of Canada and the bustling Byward Market, Ottawa’s main dining and entertainment district. Situated just after crossing the Alexandria Bridge on the way to Parliament Hill from the conference venue, the National Gallery of Canada is home to country’s largest collection of Canadian and international art and can easily warrant a few hours of your time. It’s proximity to the Byward Market means that you’ll have excellent dining options for your museum sightseeing breaks.
4. TWO DAYS
Because Ottawa’s downtown core is quite compact, two days may be enough to enjoy all of the attractions on our recommended list. In addition, two other major museums are within walking distance of the downtown core. The Canadian Museum of Nature (nature.ca) is ideal if you’re visit with family as little ones will have countless of hours of entertainment in the museum’s interactive exhibitions and is situated on the opposite site of Elgin Street (another hotbed of dining options) from the National War Memorial monument. And despite its unfortunate name, the Canadian War Museum, situated alongside Wellington Street past the Supreme Court of Canada and the Library and Archives, pays dramatic homage to Canada’s military history.
So there you have it folks, if you need further recommendations, feel free to reach out to us at info AT canux DOT io and we will give you personalized recommendations from the locals.
See you in November!
*Image credit: Cornelius Rachieru