Ottawa is the great capital city of Canada, and the historical and cultural hub of Ontario. If you are after a holiday to Canada with striking architecture, museums, historical sites and national events and festivals then Ottawa is definitely the place for you.
Include Ottawa in your fly-drive of Ontario or couple it in a twin-centre city break holiday with Toronto to show you the unique differences between the largest and most popular city, and the charming historic capital. Enjoy a relaxing cruise on the Rideau Canal or visit Byward Market where you can shop, eat, and socialise at one of Canada's oldest and most iconic public markets. Stop by in the evening and watch the market transform while lively pubs and local entertainment come alive in the summertime warmth.
Whatever style of holiday you enjoy, whether it’s a city break filled with shopping and sightseeing, or perhaps filling your days with historical sites and museums, or perhaps you like to hop from restaurant to restaurant indulging in local delicacies and fine cuisine... whatever you enjoy, Ottawa has it all!
If you are travelling to Ontario over Canada Day (1st July) then the ultimate place to join in the celebrations is in the capital. Every year thousands of people flock to Ottawa on holiday
Enjoy Ottawa as a chic city break destination, hop between the great cities of the east on the VIA Rail train, or add it in as a cultural stop to your eastern self-drive.
Things to do
A good start would be at one of the most popular attractions that the city has to offer, at the Canadian War Museum. The museum presents the whole country’s military past and how it has shaped the country into how it is today. The exhibit gives an insight into the people who spent their days on the battlefield as well as those that were at home, and it is extremely interesting and entertaining for all.
The Rideau Canal is one of the most iconic features of the city as it is filled with canal boats in the summer, but transforms into the “World’s longest ice rink” in the winter months as it freezes over. This is certainly an incredible sight to see, as people literally skate to work along the canal! You can enjoy many cruises that take you along the canal which are perfect in the summer allowing you to see more of the city and from a different perspective.
Byward Market is worth a stop whether it’s during the day or at night. Ottawa’s number one tourist attraction, people say that the market is where the city was born. The premier destination for shopping, eating and drinking, it is the perfect atmosphere for couples and families alike.
If you find yourself in Ottawa for Canada Day (1st July every year) then you are in for a treat, as the whole city comes together to celebrate with fireworks, music, dancing and great food, celebrating the incredible country that Canada has become.
Visiting Ottawa also puts you in a great position to explore some more of the major cities close by. Take the VIA Rail train to Toronto, Canada’s most populous city, or head to French-Canadian Montreal or Quebec to indulge in a chic city break holiday experience.
Popular things to do in Ottawa
At Canada’s most visited museum, visitors discover the events, experiences, people and objects that have shaped the nation’s history. Marvel at the world’s largest indoor collection of totem poles and explore the traditions and achievements of Canada’s First Peoples. Tour the many special and permanent exhibitions, be a kid again at the Children’s Museum and live the ultimate cinema experience at the IMAX® Theatre. Visitors can enhance the experience with a guided tour or with the free downloadable audio guide offered in English, French, German and Mandarin. The Canadian War Museum is more than a museum that is internationally renowned for its symbolic architecture; it is synonym for inspiring and touching stories. Canada's rich military history is showcased through personal stories, artwork, photographs and interactive presentations. Visitors tour the extensive permanent exhibitions the explore the conflicts that shaped Canada, Canadians and the world.
Departures: Daily (closed Dec 25 and Jan 8-12)
This guided walk showcases a great overview of the city and its colourful history. Included are stops at Parliament Hill, The National War Memorial, Sparks Street, Major’s Hill Park, The Fairmont Chateau Laurier, The Bank of Canada, The Rideau Canal, The Prime Minister’s offices and ByWard Market.
Duration: 2 hours
This tour provides an opportunity to see and experience the diversity of the city in a way that’s not possible by tour bus or on foot. Experience Ottawa’s most popular sights by bicycle including fantastic vistas of the Rideau Canal and Ottawa River, cycling over the Portage Bridge and the incredible views of Québec’s Gatineau Hills.
Departures: Daily May 5 to Oct 2, 2015
Duration: 2 hours
Float down the picturesque Rideau Canal and enjoy the majestic views of the Parliament Hill, Rideau Falls and many more sights along with interesting narrated commentary on the history of the cancel and the city.
Departures: May 12 to Oct 2
Duration: 1.5 hour