Ottawa was chosen by Queen Victoria in the mid-19th century to serve as the capital of Canada.
Located along the Ontario side of the Ottawa River, the waterway forms the natural boundary between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec; and the two are connected by several bridges.
This unique North American capital city is bilingual - the majority of people speak English and a significant number are French-speaking.
The cities of Montreal, Quebec and Toronto, Ontario are within an easy driving distance. Ottawa serves as a convenient base for an extended Canada vacation with its rich natural beauty and opportunites for adventure.
Boasting a magnificent downtown with renovated 19th and early 20th century buildings, rows of neat Victorian houses, and carpets of tulips and daffodils cloaking residences, Ottawa is an impressive Canadian city.
A magnet for houseboats and cabin cruisers in the summer and the world's largest ice-skating rink in the winter; the beautiful Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, cuts a swath through the middle of it all.
ADDITIONAL ONTARIO CITY PAGES:
- Ottawa is one of the nation's youngest cities with over 40% of the population under the age of 35.
- Ottawa visitors can stay at a guest hostel that was formerly a prison and the last place to host a public hanging in Canada!
- Ottawa hosts more than 35 major festivals per year - including the Tulip Festival, Bluesfest and Winterlude.
- Famous Ontario natives who hail from Ottawa include Alanis Morissette, Dan Aykroyd, Paul Anka, and Wayne Gretzky, to name a few.
Check out the following for some great things to do on an Ottawa, Ontario vacation:
- Rideau Canal
A must see for anyone visiting Ottawa, this 202 km (126 miles) waterway stretches from Kingston on Lake Ontario to Ottawa and encompasses a series of lakes and rivers, connected by canals. Opened in 1832 and built by hand, the Rideau Canal is one of Ottawa's oldest landmarks.
During warm summer days, a wide range of vessels glide along the waterway, including tour boats, while during winter time people flock to the Ottawa Reach, where the lock is lowered to create the World's Longest Skating Rink.
- Parliament Hill
One of the most significant heritage sites in Canadaand an attraction for everyone visiting Ottawa, Parliament Hill offers daily tours around its premises. Conveniently located in the middle of downtown Ottawa, the magnificent Gothic revival building houses the offices of the members of the Parliament, House of Commons and the Senate.
Tours allow inside views of the House of Commons, the Senate and the newly renovated Library of Parliament. Tours of the East Block are also available, with insights into the restored offices of some of the Fathers of Confederation.
- Canadian Museum of Civilization
This visually impressive museum designed by Canadian architect Douglas Cardinal is the nation's most popular museum. The exhibits within tell the history of Canada, beginning with the First Nations and their iconic totem poles and other artifacts, then moving on to the chronological depiction of Canada's history beginning with the arrival of the Vikings.
Discover interesting facts through replicas of fortified settlements, human-size models and intriguing tableaux of native and pioneer life. The museum is also home to the Canadian Children's Museum and the Canadian Postal Museum.
Early Morning along the Rideau Canal
Tulips from the Tulip Festival