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Ottawa – Canada’s Capital City
The capital of Canada is a traveller’s dream: while there are countless ways to explore its populous downtown area, opportunities to traverse the city’s rugged outskirts abound too. During your visit, you can explore the Victorian architecture at Parliament Hill, or spend a day browsing through the exhibits at a leading museum. Sip one of the region’s exclusive craft beers, or taste test French delicacies. Catch a game played by one of the city’s four professional sports team. With Ottawa getaways, it’s all too easy to pack your itinerary full of everything the city has to offer.
Historic Sites to Explore
Development in Ottawa (originally named Bytown) began in the early 1800s as a result of the construction of the Rideau Canal project. The canal, which connects the city to Kingston, Ontario, is now an official historic site and has become a major tourist destination. During the winter months, a section of the canal becomes the world’s largest skating rink. Located at the centre of Downtown Ottawa is Parliament Hill, which acted as a military base during the 18th and early 19th centuries. After Queen Victoria declared the city the capital of Canada in 1859, developments were made to transition the area into a government precinct. Known as “The Hill” by locals, the area is still home to the Parliament of Canada and draws millions of tourists each year. At Parliament Hill, you can also find a number of Gothic revival buildings as well as the Peace Tower, a 55-metre bell and clock tower which was erected in 1922.
Sports fans will rejoice over the many ways to catch a game at one of city’s stadiums. First, there is the sport for which Canada is perhaps best known: hockey. The Ottawa Senators, an official team of the National Hockey League, play at the Canadian Tire Centre. For hockey lovers, there are a number of hotels within close proximity of the stadium, including a few that are less than two miles away. Both the Redblacks, Ottawa’s CFL football team, and the Ottawa Fury FC soccer team, play at the city’s TD Place Stadium. Finally, the Champions play baseball at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park, which is located on the east side of the city.
Those who like to eagerly partake in activities can enjoy the biking trails at Sir John A. MacDonald Parkway, or hike the Old Quarry Trail. Many of the trails that wind their way through the rural parts of Ottawa also double as cross country skiing routes – just be sure to arm yourself with a trail map before you go!
Museum lovers will have a difficult time choosing which of the city’s facilities they should visit first. The Canadian War Museum retells the history of Canada’s military, and features a vast array of objects on display ranging from armoured vehicles to uniforms. There are also hands-on exhibits and an extensive collection of war art. Art enthusiasts can spend hours browsing through the displays at the National Gallery of Canada, which primarily showcases the country’s native artwork, but also has works by European and American artists. It boasts an impressive line-up of contemporary work, including some of Andy Warhol’s best-known pieces. Next, you can tour Diefenbunker, a 100,000 square foot bunker that was constructed to protect government officials during the cold war. You can also take a glimpse at the blue whale skeleton and bird gallery on display at the Canadian Museum of Nature, or learn about the history of the country’s airway transportation at Canada Aviation and Space Museum.
Shopping & Dining
From eclectic boutiques to giant fashion and beauty retailers, the best shopping opportunities can be found in Downtown Ottawa. First, there’s CF Rideau Centre, a four-level shopping mall with 150 stores. Then, there’s ByWard Market, a district filled with craft shops and a large variety of fresh produce during the warmer months. You can also visit nearby Sparks Street, Ottawa’s oldest shopping district. The street mall is home to jewellers and small specialty goods stores, as well as restaurants, cafes, and pubs. Many of the city’s hotels have their own restaurants, but you can also find everything from quick, cheap eats to fine dining throughout the area. There are a number of upscale French restaurants nearby, many of which serve specialties like profiteroles, a pastry typically filled with a decadent cream. Plenty of area restaurants serve Canadian and American food as well, and the city is also known for a fantastic array of Italian and Chinese eateries. In Ottawa, Canada, there are countless dining options for visitors with every taste.