Exploring Canada's Capital: Ottawa

Sep 27, 2013
Welcome to Ottawa, the capital of Canada!

Originally called Bytown in 1826, the completion of the Rideau Canal in 1832 attracted more dwellers and the city was renamed as Ottawa in 1855. The city became Canada’s capital two years later after being selected by Queen Victoria for its defensive location being almost halfway between Toronto and Quebec City along the Ottawa River.

Today, Ottawa is a hub for heritage museums, national icons and a wealth of history including Parliament Hill, and the 202km/126mi 180 year old Rideau Canal, the world’s oldest operated canal system in North America and a UNESCO World Heritage site. In winter, the frozen canal doubles as the world’s the largest skating rink stretching almost 8km/5mi from the city centre and one of the focal points of the annual Winterlude Festival in February.

In the summer and fall (July-September), Ottawa showcases Mosaika; a 30-minute Sound and Light narrative show projected on the Parliament building tells the story of Canada’s cultural and physical history. Annually, Ottawa hosts the Canadian Tulip Festival in May where one million tulips are displayed across the city. In June, swanky tunes and cool rhythms overflow during the 10-day Ottawa International Jazz Festival.

Furthermore, there are plenty of places to visit in Canada’s capital city. So many, we can only list some of them:

Canadian War Museum: Trace Canada’s military history and involvement in worldwide conflicts dating as far back as the 18th Century. The museum’s impressive collection of armoured vehicles/trucks, tanks, ground artillery, and a fighter jet suspended from the ceiling in the LeBreton Gallery warrants a visit in itself.

Canadian Museum of Civilization: Home to the country’s largest collection of totem poles.

Byward Market: Home to the Obama cookie when the recently inaugurated President of the United States was hungry one afternoon.

National Gallery of Canada: Outside the entrance stands the iconic Maman statue – a large bronze cast sculpture of a spider created by Louise Bourgeois.

Canadian Museum of Nature: Recently reopened in 2010 after an extensive six year renovation, this family-friendly attraction inside the Victoria Memorial Museum Building features life-like displays of dinosaurs, caribou, polar bears, sea turtles, the blue whale and more.

Royal Canadian Mint: A brief walk from the National Gallery stands the mint that allows visitors to hold a solid gold bar and the world’s largest coin worth approximately $1 million. Reservations for guided tours are required.

National Arts Centre: Located downtown next to the shopping mall of the Rideau Centre, the NAC is the centre for music, dance, theatre and performing arts.

Canada Science and Technology Museum: Family-friendly interactivity is the focus at this attraction with hands-on experiences combining science with technology. Exhibits include astronomy, space, computer technology, telecommunications and more. A highlight is extracting electricity from an eel and running on a human-sized hamster wheel.

Want a quintessential Canadian food dish that’s not poutine and sweeter? Try BeaverTails in the Byward Market. Making its debut at a community fair in 1978, the first kiosk opened in Canada’s capital two years later. What is a BeaverTail? Imagine a stretched flattened donut, without the hole on the middle.

We have existing packages that visit Ottawa in summer and winter. If you would like to include Ottawa in a personalized itinerary, speak to one of our Vacation Planners on 1-877-791-5500 or through LiveChat and see what we can do for you.

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For more information on Ottawa, please visit here.
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