Travel guide - Ottawa
The capital of Canada, Ottawa stands on the border of two regions, Ontario and Quebec, and mixes the genres and atmospheres of both. The incomparable charm of its natural and historical sites is matched only by its festive atmosphere.
To discover Ottawa, you first need to visit its Parliament. Standing on a hill, this Victorian building overlooks the city. When visiting this imposing monument, you can climb to the top of the Peace Tower, or attend a public session of parliament. And in summer, the changing of the guard is a must-see tradition. It takes place every day at 10.00 am, from late June to late August.
Any tour of the Canadian capital also involves a visit to the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The ideal place for a boat trip in summer, it turns into a giant ice rink in winter. Passing through Ottawa’s centre, you can also pass through the historic ByWard Market, born in 1826 from an idea of John By. This is the perfect place for a gourmet break to taste some regional products.
Major cultural centres occupy the streets of Ottawa. The first of these is the National Gallery of Canada. This modern building with its glass towers houses art works ranging from Aboriginal art to contemporary. There are many other museums to see in Ottawa as well such as the Museum of Nature and the National Archives.
Ottawa is also a city where you can party and enjoy its seasons and holidays. It hosts numerous celebrations throughout the year starting with the Tulip Festival in May. Following is the annual national holiday on July 1st: Canada Day. Celebrate with the locals by dressing in red and white and watch the parades and fireworks displays. Then the Fall Rhapsody in autumn, an opportunity to discover the beauty of Gatineau Park at this time of year and, if you come in February, the Winterlude Festival takes over. The festival offers many activities from admiring ice sculptures, to ice skating or indulging in the many culinary experiences and craft beers.
This festive spirit makes Ottawa a very lively city to enjoy. Canada’s capital offers a wide range of activities, very diverse, whatever the season.
For information on all your tourism needs, such as visas, healthcare and useful numbers, make sure to read our Practical Information guide before you go on holiday.Discover our practical information