Ottawa, Canada’s capital is a trendy tourist destination. There are many attractions, events, and activities to choose from. At the front is The Night-time panorama of Ottawa night and the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Ottawa is Canada’s fourth-largest city and capital. This region includes Gatineau, Quebec, the neighboring city. Home to about a 1.2million people, Ottawa is located in eastern Ontario, four hours northeast of Toronto. Two hours west of Montreal. One hour north of New York.
Ottawa experiences four distinct seasons. It has the warmest temperatures with high humidity in July, August and a temperate winter with spectacular fall colors.
There are direct flights from Canada to Ottawa. Ottawa is a major destination along the VIA Rail Windsor-Quebec City corridor. There are also bus services that link the city to other Canadian cities.
Highway 416 links Ottawa with Highway 401. The city is served by Highway 417. Autoroutes 5, 51, and 148 connect to the Quebec side.
The Rideau Canal was constructed between 1826-1832 by Lt. Col. John By, Royal Engineers, and thousands of mostly Irish laborers. The Canal runs 202 kilometers (126 miles), through eastern Ontario to reach the St. Lawrence River. It was built to protect the supply line from an American attack, which never happened, never used in military operations. Its 49 locks remain in operation today as they were when they were first built. In 2007 on the 175th Anniversary of its construction Canada’s Rideau Canal is the nominee listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In 1857, Queen Victoria proclaimed Ottawa to be the capital country of the new nation that would become Canada. Ottawa is also the capital. The Parliament Buildings are a landmark in Ottawa and a “must-see”. 24 Sussex Drive (the residence of the Prime Minister and not open to the public); Rideau Hall – home of the GovernorGeneral – offers guided tours of his residence and gardens. There are many high commissions around the world and embassies all over the world.
Laurier House, where Sir Wilfrid Laurier (and William Mackenzie King) were prime ministers respectively, and the Mackenzie King Estate, King’s summer home in Gatineau Park, are worth visiting.
The Canadian War Museum opened in May 2005. It is situated in a spectacular location, right next to the Ottawa River. Gatineau’s Canadian Museum of Civilization is Canada’s most visited museum. The National Gallery of Canada is home to the largest collection of Canadian artwork and American masters. Other cultural facilities include the Canada Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Canada Science and Technology Museum, and the Canada Agriculture Museum. The Royal Canadian Mint and the Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada are also available.
Other museums include the Bytown Museum, which tells Ottawa’s story, including the building of the Rideau Canal. Billings Estate Museum is about the history of a prominent local family. Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum, is a four-story underground bunker built in 1959 and 1961. It was the place where Canadian politicians and the military would escape the effects of nuclear war.
The Canadian Museum of Civilization was initially established in May 1856 by the Geological Survey of Canada. Later, it was the National Museum of Man, not long after transformed into the Canadian Museum of Civilization. It moved into its stunning Gatineau buildings three more years later; the museum became the National Museum of Canada. The museum continues to provide informative and entertaining exhibitions that appeal to a wide variety of interests.
Ottawa’s festival scene is intense all year. Winterlude is the largest winter festival and kicks off the year. In March, the Irish community celebrates Irish Week. And in March and April, the maple syrup harvest season brings forth a host of festivals and events to celebrate this delicious treat.
May is the Canadian Tulip Festival. This festival celebrates Ottawa’s favorite flower three weeks in a row. During World War II, the Dutch royals fled the country, and Princess Margriet was brought to Ottawa by their friends. Canadians played a significant role in liberating the Netherlands. The royal family returned home from war, after which they received thousands of tulip plants as a gesture and respect. The bulbs have followed the Dutch every year since, and today 3,000,000 tulips blossom in Canada’s Capital Region.
Canada’s largest race will be held as part of the Ottawa Race Weekend in late May. Festivals abound over the summer months. The Doors Open Ottawa heritage buildings showcase: the Ottawa Fringe Festival; The TD Canada Trust Ottawa International Jazz Festival; Nortel Ottawa Dragon Boat Race Festival. Cisco Systems Ottawa Bluesfest is Canada’s most significant; the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival is the world’s most extensive; the Sound of Light fireworks festival.
Two free activities on Parliament Hill during the summer include the 10:00 a.m. ceremony of changing the Guard and the evening Sound and Light Show.
Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival lights up the skies in the fall. La Vendemmia Harvest Festival is a delight for visitors. The Ottawa International Animation Festival brings together artists from all corners of the globe. At the same time, the Ottawa International Writers Festival encourages lively debates among authors. Fall Rhapsody is a celebration of the beautiful autumn colors.
Christmas Lights Across Canada helps to light up the capital in celebration of the holidays.
Many neighborhoods offer entertainment options in Ottawa. The ByWard Market is Ottawa’s oldest neighborhood. It also serves as Ottawa’s entertainment district. With over 100 food and beverage options, it covers just four blocks. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for fine dining, a casual bistro, or romantic cafes, “the Market” has it.
Elgin Street has a wide variety of bars, restaurants, cafes, and other nightlife options within a few blocks. Bank Street is home to three or four different areas along its length, including the Glebe. Westboro, which is located in the West end, offers an excellent option for dinner or drinks.
There are many other options available at Casino du Lac-Leamy. One can choose to enjoy the gaming thrills, the popular theatre, or a meal at Le Baccara’s five-diamond Restaurant. Signatures at Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa (one of only 11 in Canada) is the other five-diamond establishment.
The original Casino de Hull opened in 1996. It has since grown to be a major attraction in Canada’s Capital Region. The Casino celebrates with a variety of themed activities, including the 7 Lucky Days promotion. This promotion offers a different promotion for each day of the week.
Canada’s foremost performing arts center, the National Arts Centre, hosts English and French theatre performances as well as dance and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. You will also find many smaller theatres offering English and French performances, such as La Nouvelle Scene and Ottawa Little Theatre. There is also the Odyssey Theatre which offers outdoor performances close to the Rideau River. A Company of Fools and many other productions at Arts Court.
From May 18 to June 11, Cirque Du Soleil will bring Quidam, its production, to Ottawa. Canada Dance Festival occurs every two years (June 2-10th, 2006 in Ottawa). The Ottawa Fringe Festival, also in June, is one of Ottawa’s best venues to see new productions. In
The Centrepointe Theatre offers a wide variety of performances in the west end, as does the University of Ottawa or Carleton University.
Scotiabank Place and Ottawa Civic Centre usually host large events.
There are several great shopping centers in Ottawa. These centers carry the best of well-known brands.
For more unusual offerings, the ByWard Market Neighborhood offers fabulous fashions and housewares.
What are the outdoor and recreational opportunities available in Ottawa?
From a professional perspective, the Ottawa Senators are especially beloved by the Ottawans as they march to a Stanley Cup win! The Ontario Hockey League offers a glimpse into the lives of the Ottawa 67s. The Ottawa Renegades are a Canadian Football League team, and the Ottawa Lynx is a part of baseball’s International League. They’re the Triple-A farm team for Baltimore Orioles.
Ottawa is much more inclusive than that. Ottawans love to bike, inline skate, and hike hundreds of kilometers of recreational trails. There are incredible whitewater rafting opportunities on the Ottawa River and canoe or kayak adventures for the truly adventurous.
Gatineau Park, just north of Ottawa, has the highest bungee freefall anywhere in Canada. Gatineau Park provides outdoor enthusiasts with a variety of activities throughout the year. The Park is loved and appreciated by all who visit the region, be it for camping, canoeing/kayaking, hiking, mountain bicycling, swimming in summer, or snowshoeing/cross-country skiing during winter.
Ottawa is the only place where you can play beach volleyball and skate on the world’s largest skating track.
10. What kind of accommodations are there in Ottawa
Over 11,000 hotel rooms are available in Ottawa-Gatineau. All major chains are represented (Hilton and Fairmont, Westin, Marriott, Deltas Sheratons Novotel Holiday Inn, Best Western Holiday Inn, Comfort Inn) and unique offerings like the boutique ARC the hotel Brookstreet Resort.
Many of the major attractions are easily accessible from downtown locations. Several bed-and-breakfast providers also offer an alternative to hotels.
Ottawa BlackJacks Professional Basketball Club
July 10, 2021July 17, 2121July 26 2021August 4, 2020
Canada’s capital hosts professional basketball games and family-friendly entertainment. The Arena at TD Place at Lansdowne is a great place to watch fast breaks, big dunks, impressive blocks.
The Ottawa BlackJacks participate in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) and play against teams from all over the country between May and August. CEBL players are top NCAA and Canadian programs. They provide high-quality basketball action for sports fans.
Music and Beyond
July 4-17, 2021
This unique summer festival – which links classical music to visual arts, poetry, and science – draws audiences to performances in distinct venues across Canada’s capital.
Music and Beyond festivals present dozens upon dozens of concerts across Ottawa each July over two weeks. They feature orchestras and wind ensembles as well choirs and bands. Individual instrumental and vocal performers are also featured. The musical events will include theatre pieces, poetry, visual arts, poetry, yoga, acrobatics, and dance. The goal? To make classical music easily accessible to all audiences, students, seniors, and families.
The festival hosts several special performances throughout the calendar year.
July 24, 2021; August 14, 2021; August 28, 2021; September 4 & 5, 2021; September 25 & 2021; October 16, 2021; November 20, 2021
The 613flea is an Ottawa-based non-profit that hosts a massive once-a-month marketplace in the Aberdeen Pavilion in Lansdowne Park. The event is free and open to the public. It features an exciting (and constantly changing!) lineup of vendors. More than 140 vendors will be there selling unique goods, handcrafted treasures, vintage items, and one of the kinds. Bakers, makers, artists, and artisans. Also, you can find vintage clothing, comics, and records. 613flea opens one Saturday a month, except January and December.
Capital Ukrainian Festival
July 24, 2021
See the beauty, joy, and history of Ukrainian art and culture. Enjoy vibrant music, tasty cuisine, refreshing beverages, handcrafted crafts, and informative displays along the Rideau Canal’s scenic banks in Ottawa. Smachnoho (Bon Appetit!) Toast friends “Nazorovia!” (To your well-being!)
Canadian Stone Carving Festival
July 23-25, 2021
Stone carvers across Europe, America, and Canada will meet to showcase their creativity and skills. Participants will work with only hand tools and have to complete their pieces in 18 hours. Proceeds from the carvings go to local charities.
Caribe Ottawa Caribbean Carnival
July 23-25 and 25, 2021
Ottawa’s largest Caribbean Beach Bash welcomes thousands of people of all ages.
Capital Ribfest Ottawa
July 29 – August 3, 2021
Capital Ribfest has something for everyone. Festival Plaza (beside City Hall), is where the festival takes place in beautiful downtown Ottawa. You can enjoy free admission and live performances.
July 22 – August 4, 2021
Notice: The Chamberfest festival of 2021 will be available online. If there are restrictions, live programming is also available.
Each summer, the world’s most prominent chamber music festival hosts 120 concerts in Canada by international solo and ensemble performers.
Over two weeks, internationally acclaimed artists perform indoor and outdoor in some of the city’s most beautiful (and acoustically outstanding) churches, museums, and galleries. Chamberfringe’s late-night programming combines classical music and comedy, film, fantasies, and, sometimes, cannabis.
Quatuor Dael, Kune Adrianne Piczonka, Suzie LaBlanc, and Angela Hewitt were some of the festival’s top performers.
Ottawa Chamberfest also has special programming throughout the year. You can always get your chamber music fix!
August 4-7-2021; August 11-14-2021; August 21-23, 2021; August 23-27, 2021′ August 25-27, 2021; August 26-27th 2021; August 27-28th 2021; August 29-31st 2021
There are 350 craft beer options available. Do you feel hungry from all the tasting? Then visit the food trucks. More than a dozen vendors will have local foods on hand. Festibiere de Gatineau is a must-see event featuring live music and a children’s zone with many activities for both young and old.
Sheltered in place
Dates to Be Announced
Social distancing and isolation can lead people to look inwardly and outwardly towards their immediate communities or family bubbles. This group exhibition includes works by artists and self-portraits.
Twist Fibre Festival
August 13-15 2021
TWIST is a unique festival of fiber in Quebec, Canada. It brings together the top players in the sector.
Casino Lac Leamy Sound of Light
August 7 – 21, 2021
NoteThis event celebrates its 25th year in 2021. The celebration is more intimate and further away than usual. Instead of the 6 nights of fireworks that are usually held over three weeks, the 10-night firework displays will be held over 2 weeks. The fireworks will be launched from land and not the Ottawa River. This allows more people to experience the Sound of Light on the Canadian Museum of History grounds. The public will not be able to see the show outside the viewing area. Check out the website for current information and tickets. Find out more about regular programming by clicking the link below.
Each summer, be dazzled by spectacular fireworks displays exploding in shimmering waterfalls and blooms of color high above the Ottawa River, all set to thrilling musical scores.
The fireworks are launched from a platform at the Ottawa River on Wednesday and Saturday evenings during the first 3 weeks of August. This platform is directly below the Canadian Museum of History, Gatineau. Get tickets to one of the museum’s official events for the best pyromusical entertainment. The events range from simple outdoor access to gourmet evenings and everything in between.
There are other viewing options available, including those located across the Ottawa River. Relax and enjoy the international pyrotechnic designs created by international artists competing for top honors in the Casino Lac-Leamy Sound of Light fireworks display competition.
Russell Agricultural Fair
August 19, 22, 2021
Enjoy fantastic entertainment while you admire the agricultural heritage.
Queens from Egypt
June 2, 2021, to August 22, 2021
This summer, go back in time and visit the ancient Egypt of 3500 years ago. Here you’ll meet women of influence and power. This extensive exhibition features over 300 iconic objects, including sarcophagi and funerary objects, as well as jewelry. These objects are associated with famous queens such Nefertari, Nefertiti, Hatshepsut. This immersive, multisensory experience allows visitors to get a glimpse into one of the most important ancient civilizations in history.
TD Ottawa Jazz Festival
August 19-22, 2021
The festival will host a virtual journey full of sounds, visuals, and pop-up performances in 2021. Check below for the regular programming.
During this summer jazz festival, outdoor stages, theatres, galleries, restaurants, and clubs throughout downtown Ottawa buzz with fans enjoying every kind of jazz—from big band to avant-garde—and more.
The TD Ottawa Jazz Festival gives you a unique opportunity to enjoy intimate performances day and night in unique indoor and outdoor settings. Hundreds of big names and up-and-coming artists from jazz and related genres keep things swinging for almost two weeks, culminating in an all-day series of free shows on Canada Day (July 1).
Since its beginnings in 1981, the festival has attracted a wide range of Canadian and international musical greats to Canada’s capital, including Herbie Hancock, Dave Brubeck, Aretha Franklin, Toots Thielemans, Branford Marsalis, Norah Jones, Sonny Rollins, Diana Krall, Jane Siberry, Maynard Ferguson, and John Mayall.
August 2021: Dates to be announced
Enjoy a range of activities, live entertainment, and lots to eat for all ages.
August 28, 2021; September 5, 2021; September 20, 2021; September 22, 2021; September 28th & 29th, 2021; October 16, 2021; October 29, 2021; November 6, 2021
The Ottawa REDBLACKS are on your side from June through November. Ottawa’s Canadian Football League (CFL), the team, will play at the new TD Place Stadium on Lansdowne. Wear your favorite REDBLACKS shirt or paint your face black and join the cheering crowd as they play against other league competitors, such as the Toronto Argonauts or Montreal Alouettes.
2021 CKC Sprint National Championships
August 24 – 29, 2021
More than 1200 Canadians representing 40+ clubs will paddle down Mooney’s Bay, hoping to win national titles at Canoe Kayak Sprint National Championships or the Canadian Master’s Championships (CanMas).
August 22 – 29, 2021
Participate in diverse celebrations of Ottawa’s LGBTQ+ community on the third Monday of August every year. These events can be found in parks, streets, or clubs throughout the city.
Capital Pride is known for its sporting events, Rainbow Party, family picnics, and the Pride Parade. A dozen events will be featured, plus more than 50 community events. Many of them are free.
Festival Weekend: The intersection of Bank Street West & Somerset Street West transforms into an entertainment hub featuring live music, a community festival, and a beer garden.
Ottawa Kosher BBQ Festival
Dates for summer 2021 to be revealed
At this family-friendly, summertime festival, enjoy the rich flavors of Ottawa’s Jewish community. Admission is free
Ottawa Torah Centre and other organizations host the Ottawa Kosher BBQ Festival. This festival includes a BBQ competition as well as a live music stage, Kosher food courts, a local craft beer garden, and an area for children.
Rideau Lakes 50-50
June 1 – August 31, 2021
Ottawa Bicycle Club is celebrating the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour’s 50th Anniversary in 2021. They are asking riders to complete 50 of their best rides this summer. The rides will pass through or start in all of the towns and cities that typically make up the annual event.
Heating Up The Capital: Ottawa Hot Sauce Expo
September 4, 2021
Highlighted events include the Capital Hot Sauce Awards as well as pepper and spicy food eating competitions and a Guinness World Record attempt. Available for adults are ice cream, food trucks, and refreshments (with vegan- and gluten-free options).
Trillium Championships Show
September 1 – 5 2021
Trillium Hunter Jumper Association presents the largest equestrian festival in Ontario. This event takes place in a breathtaking setting with a world-class venue.
Escapade Music Festival
September 3 – 5, 2021
The escapade music festival is the first of its kind in the NCR. It’s a festival that promotes electronic music and the NCR. Escapade Music Festival has the goal of producing an unparalleled festival in Canada’s Canada Day period. They combine the most sought-after international talent with the best and most experienced local talent. Escapade Music Festival launched in 2010. The inaugural event featured sound, visual, and production like none other in the NCR. Deadmau5, an award-winning Canadian DJ and producer, was the star of the event. Escapade Music Fest 2011 was stronger thanks to Deadmau5, a Canadian artist who had never been to Ottawa before and who is now known as the greatest DJ in the entire world. TIESTO was there to entertain the crowd. They also saw two (2) international stars, Laidback Luke & Calvin Harris, who were both performing for the first time in Ottawa. There were six (6) DJs from the local and national areas. The event attracted almost five thousand people (5,000) in its second year of existence. DNA Presents relocated from the Toronto Stadium to accommodate the growing demand for this genre of music and event in NCR. 2012 saw 15,000 festival attendees, thanks to the presence of Eric Prydz as well as Avicii, Afrojack, and Eric Prydz. Escapade Music Festival grew rapidly to more than 20,000 over two days at RA Centre in 2013. Our 5th Anniversary saw us surpass a record 28,000 attendees at our newest venue, The Rideau Carleton Raceway. Finally, Escapade returned to Rideau Carleton Raceway in 2015 for two unforgettable days of music. It was headlined by Deadmau5, a Canadian-born DJ and producer who won the Grammy Award.
Rembrandt, Amsterdam: Creativity & Competition
July 23 to September 6, 2021
Rembrandt Amsterdam will place his paintings, drawings, and prints in dialogue with masterpieces created by friends, rivals, and followers. The exhibition will transport you into the lively Amsterdam art market of Rembrandt’s day, showing the stimulating and exhilarating atmosphere that inspired the young Leiden artist to become the internationally renowned master we all know today. This is the first Rembrandt exhibition in Canada and the first time it has been presented at Canada’s National Gallery.
Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival
September 2, 6, and 6, 2021
This massive event is held every year in August. It launches balloons from all shapes and sizes across the Ottawa-Gatineau Region.
Enjoy watching giant balloons rise from the festival grounds. You can also take a ride in one to drift over the Ottawa Gatineau region. Some balloons light up in the night when it is dark.
The festival hosts both live entertainment for adults and children and emerging and popular musical acts from Canada and Quebec. A carnival amusement park, fireworks, and buskers are just a few of the family-friendly activities on site.
Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival or Festival des montgolfieresde Gatineau is held in the Parc de la Baie. It is located in Gatineau, Quebec (less than 15 minutes drive from downtown Ottawa).
September 10-12, 2021
Celebrate pop culture, entertainment with stars, personalities, fans, and exhibitors from the comic book, sci-fi, fantasy, and movie worlds. You can also enjoy photo ops, collectibles as well as masquerade, and shopping.
September 8-12th, 2021
A festival celebrating textiles and fiber arts that features 90 vendors, demonstrations as well as exhibitions, fabric flea markets, tea rooms, and fabric flea markets.
Canada Army Runs
September 10 – 19, 2021
Canada Army Run has a unique format. Canada Army Run is military-inspired from the moment participants cross the finish line. It’s a weekend to remember with the inclusion of military bands and Army equipment, as well as a delicious pasta dinner that was prepared in the style of a military kitchen.
Asinabka Film and Media Arts Festival
September 15 – 19 2021
Canada’s capital offers Indigenous peoples the chance to tell their stories and display their rich and vibrant culture.
September 23-25 and 25, 2021
This event brings together thousands, both French-speaking and French-loving people, to the National Capital Region. Festival Franco-Ontarien is an event that welcomes and celebrates the summer with electrifying programming.
September 23-25, 2021
You can celebrate agriculture in Ottawa’s country with shows, exhibits, entertainment, and good old-fashioned fun!
Marvel, a musical harvest, is an offshoot of the CityFolk festival. Marvel shows may be seen online, and they are entirely free!