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Visitor information - ottawa, canada

As Canada’s capital, Ottawa is the perfect place to experience some of the country’s best attractions, celebrations and flavours in one welcoming city. With its unique blend of urban and rural beauty, year-round outdoor activities, and vibrant neighbourhoods, the Ottawa region is best explored over three days or more.

 

Deep roots

The Ottawa region’s identity has been influenced by many cultures, including First Nations, French, English, Scottish and Irish. The city of Ottawa is located within the traditional Anishinàbeg Algonquin territory. Since several rivers meet here, the area was an active transportation corridor for an astounding diversity of Indigenous groups and travellers. In fact, the city’s name is derived from the Algonquin word “Odawa,” meaning “to trade.”

 

Walkable urban spaces

Around every corner on both the Ontario and Québec sides of the Ottawa River, you’ll find unique, safe and walkable neighbourhoods to explore.

 

Local flavours

The diverse culinary scene in Ottawa includes everything from food trucks to fine dining, as well as dozens of craft breweries, distilleries and wineries. Many local chefs trained at Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute (the famed school’s only official campus in North America) or in culinary programs at local colleges.

 

Accessible outdoors

Pristine outdoor spaces within the city and in the nearby countryside offer a wide variety of activities in all four seasons.

The region is framed by beautiful waterways, including the Ottawa River, the Rideau River and the Rideau Canal—a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Cycling enthusiasts of every level can explore over 800 kilometres (497 miles) of:

  • urban and rural pathways
  • mountain biking trails in the nearby hills, including Gatineau Park.

The Greenbelt surrounding the city’s core features hundreds of kilometres of eco-friendly, multi-use trails for walking and hiking through diverse landscapes, such as  forests, sand dunes and wetlands.

 

Rich culture

Ottawa is the perfect place to soak up national and regional cultures. Parliament Hill, the seat of Canada’s federal government, welcomes visitors on free tours of its historic buildings. Seven of Canada’s nine national museums immerse you in Canadian history, art, war, aviation, science and more:

  • National Gallery of Canada
  • Canadian Museum of History
  • Canada Science and Technology Museum
  • Canada Aviation and Space Museum
  • Canada Agriculture and Food Museum
  • Canadian Museum of Nature
  • Canadian War Museum

 

Year-round events

Ottawa hosts exciting annual events that attract international audiences. Celebrate spring’s beauty during the Canadian Tulip Festival, the largest event of its kind in the world. Enjoy concerts by famed international artists and up-and-coming local acts at music festivals in genres ranging from chamber and classical music to blues and EDM. Other fun events celebrate food, fireworks, hot air balloons, international cultures and animated films.

Live the ultimate authentic Canadian experience and create unforgettable memories in Ottawa, Canad