Ottawa’s Top 5 Travel Experiences

Tourist attractions are plentiful in the capital city; the problem is fitting them all in.

First time visitors will want to allow several days for exploring the many museums and historical sites. Make sure to save time for a skate on the Rideau Canal.

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ABOVE: The stunning glass structure of the National Gallery of Canada is most easily identified by the ‘Maman’ spider statue in front.

1. The National Gallery of Canada and The Canadian Mint are just northwest of the bustling restaurant and shopping district known as Byward Market. The gallery focuses on Canadian art featuring works by the Group of Seven, Emily Carr and Alex Colville, but also showcases an impressive display of American and European pieces. Pick up a newly minted or treasured souvenir after a tour at the Royal Canadian Mint.

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2. It’s hard to miss the castle-like structure that houses the Canadian Museum of Nature. Kids of every age will enjoy the natural disasters exhibits.

3. New skate chalets, found at varying intervals, make changing and resting much easier on the 7.8 km outdoor skating rink known as the Rideau Canal. After a brisk workout on the ice you’ll be able to enjoy (practically guilt free) an iconic Canadian pastry known as the beavertail. Best enjoyed with a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

4. Rideau Hall is home to the Governor General of Canada and, in turn, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II when she’s in town. It’s the only official residence open to the public and it’s worth a visit, especially if you’re prone to royal fever.

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5. On the edge of the Rideau Canal, in the downtown core, the National Arts Centre attracts prominent theatre including Broadway productions and notable performances in a variety of mediums. Annual tickets to shows like The Nutcracker or Handel’s Messiah are a family tradition for many local residents.

Welcome to Ottawa

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In Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, politics play a leading role. The parliament buildings take centre stage downtown while the Prime Minister and Governor Generals’ residences face off on Sussex Drive. For a small city, architecture makes a big statement and yet, it’s the capital’s natural setting that leaves a lasting impression on visitors.

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With four season offerings for the outdoor enthusiast Ottawa is a year-round destination. But none can deny the magical charms of winter in the capital. Christmas lights emblazen the downtown core as temperatures drop, turning the lively Rideau Canal into the world’s longest outdoor skating rink.

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The Fairmont Château Laurier

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A regal gem within walking distance of Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal, the Prime Minister’s residence and the Byward Market is the century old Fairmont Château Laurier. Visitors will appreciate the festive holiday décor provided by an annual fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Stop in for a warm drink and watch the snow fall.