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Ottawa Mini Guide
Tell me About Ottawa
Ottawa is the capital of Canada and is located on the Ottawa River in Southern Ontario. It is a bi-lingual city with both French and English being spoken simultaneously.
How Would I get There?
Most major Canadian and American airports fly into there. From Europe you can fly from London Heathrow and Frankfurt to Ottawa. To get to the city from the airport you can take a taxi or book the Airporter Shuttle bus. Voyager and Greyhound have long distance coach services throughout Canada and North America or you can use the Via rail service. To get out and about in Ottawa, there is a bus and light rail system and the city centre is pedestrian friendly.
What can I see in Ottawa?
Take a guided walking tour to learn about the culture and the history of the city and get the most out of the experience. If you are feeling brave, take the Haunted Walk of Ottawa and explore the dark history and see infamous haunts. At Parliament Hill, you can take a tour or see the sound and light show, held every evening there. If history is your thing, you can visit the Canada War Museum or the Museum of Civilisation. There is also the National Gallery of Canada to explore and the Canada Agriculture Museum, the only working animal farm in the city.
What Else is There to do?
In summer, go for a bike ride in Gatineau Park just across the river from the city or in winter, visit the outdoor ice rink on the Rideau Canal. Shop at Byward market and see the best in local produce and eat there at night time when the café culture starts.
Where can I Stay?
Stay at the unique Ottawa Jail Hostel, where the old jail cells have been converted into rooms. It is downtown, near to all the attractions and has a bar and games room with free Wi-Fi. At the other end of the scale, stay at the famous Chateau Laurier a grand old city hotel with 5 star facilities.
What Should I eat?
Ottawa is famous for its ‘beaver tail’ which in fact is a fried dough with cinnamon and sugar and of course you must try the fresh maple syrup in season. The cuisine is very international, the city has its own Chinatown and Little Italy. Shawarma is pouplar here as a snack, try it at the Maroush Lebanese Restaurant or sample the street food from the ‘chip wagons’, you can have hot dogs, hamburgers and the classic Canadian dish of Poutine. For traditional dishes and variations on Poutine, head for Elgin Street Diner, a local favourite.
Are There any Special Events?
Winterlude is the largest festival in Canada, events include ice carving and snow sculpture. On July 1st, Canada Day is celebrated on Parliament Hill and is a grand occasion. The city is host to over 60 festivals and special events every year.
- Until the 3rd of September, the city's National Museum of Canada is hosting an exhibition of the works of Van Gogh. With some rarely seen pictures, the event promised to be a feast for art lovers.