What to See
The seat of the Canadian Government is in downtown Ottawa on Wellington Street and is referred to as Parliament Hill. The parliament buildings, with their green copper roofs and Maple Leaf flags, dominate the Ottawa skyline.
Tours of the buildings completed in 1921 to replace the ones that burnt in the fire of 1916, are conducted daily. During the visit you'll get a chance to see the library, the Commons and Senate in addition to going up the Peace Tower for a great view of Ottawa and the Ottawa river basin.
To view the Canadian version of the changing of the guard, visit Parliament Hill in the morning in the summer.
The Rideau Canal was completed in 1831 spanning close to 200 kms to provide British Naval Ships with safe passage through the hostile parts of the St Lawrence seaway.
Today the Canal is a major focal point for the city for both the locals and tourists. Visitors can go on a boat tour, enjoy one of the many paths on foot or bicycle along the way, laze in parks. These activities are all restricted to the summer months. In the winter, the canal becomes the biggest ice rink in the world. Locals and visitors get a chance to skate along the canal on the natural ice provided by the Canadian winter.
This is the place to see a Mountie, or more officially, a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman (RCMP). Their colourful red uniforms are amongst the best recognised and admired in the world.
Sparks Street is near Parliament Hill and is a good spot if you are looking for some typically Canadian souvenirs, a bite to eat or a drink.
What to Do
If you visit in the dead of winter, try and get your hands on some skates or more appropriately, your feet in some skates and have a leisurely skate down the Rideau Canal, even if it is cold. It's the biggest skating rink in the world.
Visit the Museums
Ottawa has a number of excellent museums. The most famous of these are the Canadian Museum of Civilisation and the National Gallery of Canada.
Other museums of interest include the Bytown Museum for a historical perspective of Ottawa, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the War Museum and the National Aviation Museum.
Visit the town of Hull next door to Ottawa but in the Province of Quebec. The town has reputation for offering the nightlife Ottawa would like to have! Have a good time!
Arts & Entertainment
With major arts, theatre, concerts and sports teams in every major city in the country, Ottawa has a variety of cultural and sporting entertainment for everyone.
What to Eat
The big breakfast is popular in Canada and Ottawa as well. Enjoy your healthy variety with some fruit and oats or go for the full grease option and get the old eggs and bacon.
Canadian beer is good and quite strong so be careful if you're are planning to suck a few back. Try the Rickards Red.
Smoked salmon, poached salmon, it's all excellent in Canada so enjoy it.
Canada and food bring up the inevitable syrup of the maple tree. Enjoy it on pancakes or use a bit when frying up some bacon.
Canadian bacon is nice!
Where to Sleep
You can find excellent hotels in Ottawa. Many of the main hotel sites will have listings for you in Ottawa. Find Ottawa Hotels
There are a few hostels in Ottawa. Prices vary from hostel to hostel but are generally affordable. Search and book a hostel in Ottawa
Motels are a cheaper alternative to hotels. They can be found most everywhere and offer good value if you are just looking for a place to put your head down.
Bed & Breakfast
Family run Bed & Breakfasts are widely available around town.
How to Move
You can find more information on the International Airport of Ottawa at www.ottawa-airport.com
This is the easiest way around the capital.
The grid system of Ottawa is easy enough to navigate and a car is a good option to visit the city and surroundings.
Ottawa has an excellent Bus network. You can find information on the public transport system at www.octranspo.com
You can get a good feel for the city by walking around town and exploring at your own rate. Bring a good pair of shoes though!
English and French are both widely spoken in Ottawa.
Canadian Dollar split into 100 cents.