While the Canadian Rockies’ natural beauty and Toronto’s cosmopolitan charms are undeniably appealing, the Canadian capital city of Ottawa is often overlooked. Here are just a few reasons to have it on your must-visit list—especially in 2017 during Canada’s 150th anniversary year.
Ottawa is a very walkable city with plenty of green spaces to explore during all seasons of the year. Most notably, the Rideau Canal connects Lake Ontario with downtown Ottawa and is a central hub for city life. The waterway is an ideal spot to walk, bike, or picnic in the summertime. A fun fact: During the colder months, boaters and picnickers are replaced with ice skaters as the Rideau Canal turns into one of the world’s longest skating rinks.
Ottawa’s museum options run the gamut, with institutions dedicated to topics from war history and aviation to nature, art, and the history of native peoples. Our go-to recommendations? The Canadian War Museum and the National Gallery of Canada.
Ottawa has seen something of a culinary revitalization in recent years, offering new and diverse eateries throughout the city. The spot to start exploring your options? ByWard Market, at the heart of the city, which features outdoor farmers’ market stalls, specialty shops, global-inspired eateries, cafes, and maple-flavored goodies galore.
150th anniversary celebrations
This year’s Canada Day—July 1, 2017—marks the 150th anniversary of when the three colonies of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada unified into the Canada we know today. Parades, festivals, fireworks, and concerts mark the holiday across the country, especially in the capital city, where the celebrations will be in full swing up around the beautiful Gothic-style Parliament Hill. The celebrations will extend long past July 1, with events and festivals planned throughout the year. Check out Ottawa’s full calendar of 150th anniversary events here.
See what this welcoming city has to offer for yourself on our Ontario & Quebec tour.
Ever been to the Canadian capital? Share your Ottawa travel tips in the comments below!