Ontario is home to many famous landmarks that defines Canadian tourism, such as the mighty Niagara Falls, the CN Tower, and Algonquin Provincial Park. However, Ontario's capital of Ottawa should also be on every traveler's bucket list dying to visit Canada.
This city was originally referred to by the Algonquin people as "Odawa" which translates to "traders", due to the extensive trading hub in the area. Today, Ottawa is home to Canada's Parliament, alongside a vibrant foodie culture, bright neighborhoods, fun festivals, and many tourist attractions that make this city worth visiting, even if it's only for a couple of days.
Heading to Ottawa? Check out some of these fun and cool activities visitors can do while touring Ontario's capital city!
8 Take A Trip To Parliament Hill
Travelers who aren't interested in politics can still tour the grounds of Parliament Hill and appreciate its elegant architecture. Otherwise, guided tours are offered to explore the Parliament's House of Commons, Senate of Canada, and East Block. To see the Parliament in action, visitors have a chance to attend debates in the Senate or at the House of Commons. Just check out their yearly calendar to see when they'll debate next!
7 Walk Along The Rideau Canal
Also referred to as Rideau Waterway, The Rideau Canal was originally used as an integral mode of transport from Montreal to Kingston (the military stronghold for Upper Canada), during a time when the colony of Canada and the United States of America was at war. Being over 200 km long, The Rideau Canal spans from Lake Ontario to the capital of Ottawa. Visitors can enjoy this iconic landmark throughout the year, whether it's ice-skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway or soaking in the sights via Rideau Canal Cruises.
6 Learn About Canadian History In Any Of Ottawa's Museums
Ottawa is home to seven national museums, which include the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, the Canadian Science & Technology Museum, Canadian Agriculture & Food Museum, Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canadian Museum of History, Canadian War Museum, and the National Gallery of Canada. Tour the museums to learn more about the country's contributions to an array of human milestones, from the Canadarm to the game-changing discovery of insulin.
5 Marvel At The Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica
Built in 1847, the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica is the oldest church in Ottawa, crafted beautifully by a team of sculptors and artists. The cathedral emits a Gothic-style architecture, adorned with carefully crafted glass-stained windows, a tin roof, and two ornate organs. Typically, guided tours are offered from mid-May to mid-October, but visitors aren't allowed to roam the church during mass service.
4 Hike On The Hog's Back Park
Built around the 1950s, Hog's Back Park was the site of many dam projects in the city. Despite being an urban park, Hog's Back Park offers a picturesque view of a 60-feet, rushing waterfall that flows along the Rideau Canal. Due to the presence of these artificially constructed waterfalls, this site is popular among seasoned kayakers. Alternatively, the park also offers level and easy trails for all to enjoy. Winter is also a great time to visit Hog's Back Park, simply to see the waterfalls teeming with snow and little icicles.
3 Enjoy The Tulip's Festival at Commissioners Park
Ottawa barely runs out of things to do for the enthusiastic tourist, and that is partly because of the many festivals the city hosts throughout the year, especially The Tulip Festival! Since 1953, Canada's Tulip Festival is a symbol of friendship between the Dutch and Canadians, specifically after World War Two when Canadian forces liberated the Netherlands. The Commissioners Park is a popular site to soak in the sites of Ottawa's tulips, which are in full bloom during the month of May, and is known to grow around 250,000 bulbs! Otherwise, this park is great for a quick stroll around the city, peacefully overlooking Dow's Lake.
2 Enjoy Some of Ottawa's Vineyards
In Ottawa, many wineries grow and process Frontenac grapes, which can survive the harsh winters in Canada. The result is a robust and delicious wine produced in several wineries across Ontario's capital. Travelers looking for a more elegant and relaxed tour can visit a number of Ottawa's wineries which are spread throughout the city. For sparkling fruity wines, stop by Vergers Villeneuve, a family-owned winery that grows and harvests soft fruits such as blueberries, peaches, and raspberries. Alternatively, travelers staying close to Ottawa's downtown area can easily visit the Domaine Perrault Winery and sample some of their delicious arrays of white and red wines.
1 Learn To Ski On Mount Pakenham
Travelers who head to Canada during the cold months will surely appreciate the beauty of the country during the Winter season, especially when it comes to snow sports. That's why tourists who visit Ottawa should check out Mount Pakenham to enjoy a full day of skiing. Whether visitors are first-time skiers or experts at falling off bunny hills, Mount Pakenham offers ski hills suitable for every level of skiers. Not interested in lacing up ski shoes? No problem, this family-favorite Ottawa destination also offers snowboarding excursions as well.