Ottawa is Canada’s capital, but it doesn’t have the best reputation for entertainment. However, we are lucky to live in this beautiful country, and I believe there are 7 great reasons to visit our capital as a Canadian. These reasons revolve around getting to know our roots through concrete visuals and explanations. Yes, we all had our history lessons, but nothing beats seeing and experiencing the real thing by visiting our nations’s various heritage institutions. Since the emblematic Parliament was closed during the pandemic, we had the chance to visit some fascinating museums and take in the sights! Below are our top picks!
As the lovers of arts that we are, we can’t help but put this at the top of our list. To begin with, the architecture of this museum is astonishing. Located just by the Rideau Canal, the huge windows overlook Ottawa’s parliament’s skyline which is quite a sight.
The exhibits are also word-class. We were able to see two exhibits. The first featured the works of contemporary Canadian photographer Moyra Davey, and the other, “Beautiful Monsters”, included drawings from Durer who is considered one of the best artists of his time. All of their exhibits tend to be worthwhile, so you don’t need to think twice about visiting them.
The permanent exhibits are also beautiful and definitely enjoyable. You don’t need to be an art enthusiast to be delighted by a visit to this wonderful place!
At first, we were a little skeptical of this museum as we tend to think that if we don’t like war, we won’t enjoy this museum! However, this could not have been less true. The fact is that war has molded and influenced us deeply as it affected so many types of industries and our society overall.
From gender roles to politics, and to strenghtening Canada’s alliances globally, wars are important subjects with a potential and real impact we should all be consciously aware of! This is a must-see for all Canadians at least once in their life, and another great reason to visit Ottawa.
To get here, you need to cross the bridge into Gatineau! After a short brisk walk and some stunning views, you get to enter the beautiful History Museum of Canada. First, you will be enchanted by the indigenous artwork and totem poles. The largest collection of its kind! Then, you will learn about Canada’s history through multiple visuals. It was absolutely fascinating to learn about the various regions of the country and how it all ties together. We feel so lucky to be Canadian, and this Museum gives you even more reasons to be a proud citizen.
Another interesting element is the stamp collection. Some stamps showcase many important milestones from our heritage while others showcase some lovely artwork from our fellow Canadians. Dont miss this section!
These three distinct museums include AVIATION, SPACE, AGRICULTURE, FOOD, SCIENCE, and TECHNOLOGY. They are in different locations, so you need to plan accordingly to visit them! In fact, did you know that you can visit these museums for FREE during the last hour of every day?!
We only had time to check out the aviation museum, which was visually stimulating and impressive. Seeing these airplanes all around you is unreal and truly makes you think of what it must have been like for the pilots!
We cant wait to visit the other Ingenium Museums.
Rideau Canal Stroll & ByWard Market
No website link is needed for these two favorites. I strongly suggest you take a stroll along the Rideau Canal to enjoy the skyline and city landscapes. It is a beautiful, lively and enjoyable activity. When you get to the corner of Rideau Street and Sussex Dr, you are right next to the Market, where there are tons of restaurants, shops, and local treats! You cannot go to Ottawa without enjoying the food, nightlife, and boutiques of the ByWard market area. Don’t miss your chance to grab a little something from the first BeaverTails vendor in the country!
This stunning hotel, which is part of the city’s most beautiful landscapes, features original Tiffany stained-glass windows and hand-molded plaster decorations dating back to 1912. It is perfectly located on the Rideau Canal next to Parliament and in the heart of the city. The views are splendid, and the sea salt pool with its original decor is a luxurious way to unwind after a long day of museum-going. Even though it looks like a real chateau, it has always been used as a hotel since its opening in 1912. If you are going to visit Ottawa, you might as well get the full experience and stay at this historic site!
If you love staying in a Fairmont Hotel with a history as we do, this is a great reason to visit Ottawa!
Visiting Parliament is an unforgettable experience even if this time we couldn’t do so as it was closed due to COVID. During these guided tours, you will learn a ton about our political system and gain real insights into what it looks and feels like when our country is making crucial decisions for all of us.
One last tip: you will be glad you added one stop to your trip to visit the beautiful Montebello, Qc which is less than an hour away from Ottawa – click here for all the information on this location.
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Founder/Editor-in-chief/Creative Director. Passionate about the city of Montreal, discovering its various cultural components as well as exploring foreign places. I am inspired by artists, innovative concepts, philanthropy, creative encounters, and cultural events. View all posts by Anne Jano
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