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Ottawa Holidays Guide

In 1857, Queen Victoria chose Ottawa to be the capital of the province of Ontario. Located on the Ottawa River it is today a multicultural city with a population of approximately 1.4 million.

Ottawa is home to thousands of immigrants from a multitude of different countries. French is the main language spoken in both Ottawa and Ontario, although English is also widely spoken.

The city was originally a lumber town, but the construction of the Rideau Canal in 1827 ensured the economic growth of the area. The Canal has a total length of 202 kilometres and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Being close to the north pole, the winters in this part of Canada are extremely cold but summers are hot and humid.


Cycling is a very popular way of getting around the city. In addition to the numerous restaurants offering fine dining, Bywward Market, Chinatown and Little Italy plus numerous ethnic food outlets all offer a variety of cuisines to suit every palate. Visitors will find a good selection of Ottawa hotels to suit every budget.

Large flat rural areas with small agricultural towns and villages can be found to the east and south of Ottawa. Travel, tourism, the public service and the high-tech industry are the major sectors of the economy.

The city is renowned for its green spaces, bikeways and ski trails that are regularly used by residents and visitors, and like all Canadian cities there is an excellent transport network. There are several impressive museums and art galleries located throughout the city and although very few buildings from the past have survived, the city has followed the popular and varied architectural trends of the 20th century.

Ottawa Highlights

Ottawa Festivals Calendar: A calendar of what's on in Ottawa throughout the year

Parliament Hill: A very popular attraction and a great place to start your tour of Ottawa. Located on the Ottawa Rver, the building is in the Gothic revival style. Many guided tours are available.

Museum of Civilization, the Canadian Children's Museum and the Canadian Postal Museum:  There are four major galleries, the most popular permanent exhibition being Canada Hall which depicts the country's history. In addition there are international exhibitions, an IMAX theatre and the world's largest indoor collection of totem poles. An audio tour is also available.

Canadian War Museum: Located close to Parliament Hill, the museum exhibits a vast collection of artifacts, photography and a wealth of information regarding roles played by Canadians in international conflicts, the effect wars have had on Canada's development and the country's current involvement in NATO and UN operations.. Visit the Memorial Hall which contains the headstone of Canada's Unknown Soldier from the First World War

Supreme Court of Canada: This imposing building is situated west of the Parliament Buildings, high above the Ottawa River. It is a fine example of Art Deco architecture as well as having an impressive Marble Grant Entrance Hall. There are numerous statues located within the building and the grounds.

Canada Agriculture Museum: Located in the heart of the city is this working animal farm. Featuring displays depicting Canada's unique agricultural heritage, a museum, a modern dairy barn in operation and live animals, a playground and a picnic area it is a very popular attraction especially for children.

Bytown Museum: A small and impressive museum located in Ottawa's oldest stone building, the museum houses a collection of over 7,000 artifacts relating to the history of Bytown/Ottawa and stories of the regions first inhabitants from the early days as Bytown up to present day Ottawa.

Rideau Hall: One of Ottawa's favourite green spaces is this 88 acre estate of manicured parkland and woods. The elegant 19th century building is the official residence of Canada's Governor General. Guided tours of the building and parklands are available.

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