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Top Ottawa Attractions

See a list of the Top Ottawa Attractions and Highlights


Ottawa Basics | Ottawa Tulip Festival

The top Ottawa attractions are high caliber and include numerous museums, historical highlights and natural attractions.

1. Parliament Hill

The Centennial Flame at the foot of the central walk to the Parliament Building commemrates Canadas 100th anniversary of Confederation in 1967, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Brian Phillpotts/Photolibrary/Getty Images
Parliament Hill is a stunning group of buildings that house Canada's parliament. Free tours are offered throughout the year and the Hill is also the setting for national celebrations, like Canada Day - a holiday when Ottawa really comes to life.

2. ByWard Market

Photo courtesy Ottawa Tourism
The ByWard Market is an open-air market one block from Parliament Hill. This pedestrian friendly neighbourhood in Ottawa offers a year-round farmers' market plus dozens of arts and crafts vendors, charming boutiques and restaurants.

3. National Gallery of Canada

This grand glass and granite structure houses superb Canadian and international works of art and features important seasonal exhibitions. Kids will love the giant bronze spider sculpture, Louise Bourgeois's Maman, that greets visitors outside the gallery.

4. Chateau Laurier

Photo courtesy Fairmont Hotels
The Chateau Laurier is an Ottawa landmark set majestically in the heart of the city overlooking Parliament Hill, the ByWard Market, Congress Centre and the Ottawa River. Originally one of the historic Canadian Pacific Railway hotels, the Chateau Laurier features turrets and other architectural elements of a French château.

The hotel is still operational today, run under the Fairmont hotel name.

5. Museum of Civilization / Children's Museum

The Canadian Museum of Civilization is actually in Gatineau, Quebec, but only a five-minute drive away from downtown Ottawa and visible from Parliament Hill. The museum houses the Canadian Postal Museum, Canadian Children's Museum and IMAX theatre. Other exhibition space is devoted to Canada's First Peoples, Canada's history and history-makers.

The museum is spacious and architecturally intriguing. A great visit for families.

6. Canadian War Museum

The Canadian War Museum is a journey through the personal, national and international dimensions of Canada’s military history. The Museum’s collection includes medals, works of art, military artillery as well as a CF-Voodoo jet fighter. These artefacts convey the experiences of women, men and children who lived through the conflicts that have shaped Canada, Canadians and the world.

7. Rideau Canal

Photo courtesy City of Ottawa
The Rideau Canal is a chain of lakes and waterways that winds 202 km from Kingston, at the head of Lake Ontario, to Ottawa, Canada's capital city. The canal is a World Heritage Site that, in below freezing weather, turns into the the world's biggest skating rink

8. Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park - technically located in Quebec - is protected green space about 15 mins from Parliament Hill. Hundreds of kilometres of biking and hiking trails, forests containing more than fifty species of trees, abundant wildlife and numerous crystal-clear lakes typical of the hills of the Canadian Shield.

Year-round camping and overnight stays in cabins and the Wakefield Mill Inn & Spa are available.

9. Royal Canadian Mint

The Royal Canadian Mint and Currency Museum is in a central downtown Ottawa heritage building. Here, hand-crafted collector and commemorative coins, gold bullion coins, medals and medallions are created and where the master tooling is done to create the dies that strike coin designs for both circulation and commemorative issues.

10. Supreme Court of Canada

Photo © Scott McLean
Visit the country's highest court and learn about the operation of the Canadian judicial system from law student tour guides, who explain legal issues of public importance and the Supreme Court of Canada's.

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