Posted on Jun 27, 2013 by
Les and I have just returned from four wonderful days in Canada`s capital, Ottawa. I`ve written about Ottawa before, so just want to pass on some thoughts on this terrific Canadian destination. Many travellers visit Toronto or Montreal and bypass Ottawa somehow. Ottawa is only a two hour drive from Montreal, and a four or five hour drive from Toronto - something to think about.
Although our capital has a smaller-town feel, there is so much to see and do. As we proved recently, it`s extremely easy to get around with a car, not like sightseeing in a much bigger place. There`s no subway system, but buses seem to be everywhere, and the city is compact. The main website for tourism is
We`d never done a cruise on the Rideal Canal before. We really enjoyed the slow cruise heading south down the canal
There`s a few different cruises one can take, throughout the day. A relaxing break for an hour or two after a lot of running around.
Most tourists end up at some point downtown in the Byward Market, where there are many lovely shops, cafes, museums, restaurants, and pubs. You can spend several hours just wandering around.
We were there in time for the annual jazz festival, and enjoyed outdoor concerts downtown in Confederation Park, as well as at the National Archives. Very soon, it`s time for the annual blues festival from July 8th - 19th. Ottawa has many festivals throughout the year.
Two of our favourite places in Ottawa are the National Gallery, with its soaring architecture, and beautiful Canadian and international art. and the Canadian War Museum. While there last week, we saw an absolutely fascinating temporary exhibit on Camouflage, which will be there for several months.
On Parliament Hill, there`s many things to see and do, including a sound and light show, a spectacular changing of the guard ceremony, and of course, tours.
The buildings are pretty spectacular, old and Gothic, with the river behind them.
Ottawa is blessed to have the gorgeous Gatineau Park, just a few minutes outside of town, across the river in the province of Quebec. You can hike, bike, cross-country ski, or just drive around and enjoy the scenery, and perhaps stop at a nearby town.
On this visit, we also had time to just walk around a few neighbourhoods, including The Glebe. It was fun to just stroll around a residential neighbourhood, looking at gardens, homes, and shops.
We had a wonderful, relaxing time in our nation`s capital, and urge other who`ve never travelled to Ottawa, to consider going. With its position just across the river from Quebec, and the fact that just about everybody speaks French, it has a sophisticated feel, in an easy to navigate place.