Ottawa is the beautiful capital of Canada. Although it is one of the largest cities in Canada it continues to maintain its charm. You will be able to enjoy fantastic museums, a great selection of restaurants and miles of great walking paths that take you to interesting places.
One of the first things you will notice about Ottawa is how the city maintains its streets and parks. If you only have time to visit one park make your way to the Gatineau Park. Interestingly enough you will need to cross the Ottawa River into the province of Qubec. Although you crossed a provincial border to get there, it is not far from Ottawas city center. The park is a great place for cross-country skiing in the winter and hiking and biking when the spring and summer months are at their prime.A good way to understand the layout of the city is to know that the Rideau Canal divides the city into two halves. One of the highlights found in the Upper Town are the beautiful Parliament buildings. Some of what the Lower Town has includes Sussex drive and the National Gallery. The Canal itself is filled with activity throughout the year. It is used for canoeing, biking and jogging. When the snow falls you can skate on it, making it one of the longest skating rinks in the world. The Canal also hosts a fantastic winter festival during the month of February called the Winterlude so bundle up and enjoy the activities. Another great event is the Canadian Tulip Festival, which is held in May. Even if flowers just are not your thing, you will be impressed with the three million tulips that are on display throughout the city. Ottawa hosts more than 60 festivals throughout the year so anytime is a great time to visit.
The Canadian Parliament is a stunning collection of buildings. Prince Edward first laid its foundation in 1860 and building was completed in 1867. Although Canada is considered a young country, the copper roofs and towers show its historic beginnings. There are three buildings - the center block contains the Peace tower and houses the 53-bell carillon, the Memorial Chamber and a great observation deck. There is also a beautiful statue created out of marble of a young Queen Victoria. The West block houses the parliamentary offices. As a note, this building is closed to the public but the East block is available for tours.
Canada's National War Memorial, located in Confederation Square, was dedicated in 1939 to commemorate World War I. Since then it continues to remember the fallen heroes who have fought in wars since then. It also features the Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and is a fantastic tribute to the soldiers who fought to protect their homeland. The worlds largest collection of Canadian art, as well as a great showing of European and American pieces can be found at the National Gallery of Canada, which was founded in 1880. If you have the time, explore more than 20 other museums found throughout the city.
For those interested in giving their wallets a workout, make your way to the Spark Street Mall and Rideau Centre. Or if you prefer going boutique-style, Sussex and Bank Street are right up your golden ally. Ottawa continues to showcase its local wares at the wonderful ByWard Market. Although a traditional farmers market, it is a great place to look for local foods and crafts. Spreading across two floors with more than 70 stalls, you will enjoy every inch of it. There are outlets to choose from as well so to sum it up the shopping opportunities in Ottawa are endless.
Ottawa is filled with fantastic restaurants that offer a wide range of culinary delights but dont freak out if someone offers you a beaver tail. This local dish is actually a whole-wheat pastry served up one of three ways - cinnamon, sugar and lemon, garlic, butter and cheese or all by itself with some jam. Whatever your taste buds are searching for, you will find it in Ottawa. When you are filled up to the brim, make your way to Elgin Street for a great night of music, clubs and pubs.
Whether you spend time at the many museums, explore the nature trails, find a great deal on the latest fashion trends or take part in one of its many festivals, Ottawa is a wonderful place to enjoy some of Canadas beauty and culture.