PROFILE City OTTAWA Capital Choice
he seat of national government and Canada’s capital, Ottawa is a compact yet cosmopolitan
city that is fast gaining respect for its diverse food scene and exciting festivals.
Ottawa WHERE IS IT Situated in Ontario, on Canada’s eastern side, Ottawa is close to the provincial border with Québec and the bi-lingual signs add a unique character to the city. The Rideau Canal is the lifeblood of Ottawa – in the summer locals and tourists walk or bike the banks while in winter it becomes the world’s longest ice-rink, especially during the Winterlude festival when ice sculptures and wooden chalets line the frozen river. The city comes alive when the Canadian Tulip Festival is in full bloom and for the many year-round jazz, dance and folk festivals.
Ottawa WHAT'S THERE Ottawa’s main appeal lies in its easily accessible attractions: most of the top sights are clustered near the point
18 SPRING 2012 • SELLING CANADA
where the Ottawa River meets the Rideau Canal. Parliament Hill is home to the neo-Gothic Parliament Buildings and between late June and August there is a daily changing of the guard. From early July to September an impressive free sound and light show projects art and movies onto the side of the Victorian Parliament Buildings. Close to the Hill are the Ottawa
Locks – on summer weekends tourist boats take trips down the river, Close by is the Bytown Museum,
which tells the story of how Ottawa began life as a rough logging town and grew into a capital city. For other museums visit the vast art collection at the nearby National Gallery, explore military history at the Canadian War Museum, or find out more about science, civilization and agriculture at several other museums. Across the street from the Gallery
are the twin spires of Notre Dame Basilica, while royalists will enjoy visiting the home of the Governor General of Canada, the Queen’s representative, wandering around the gardens. Byward Market is a must-visit area
that is just a 10-minute walk from Parliament Hill. Established in 1826, it is one of Canada’s oldest and largest farmers’ markets. By day it’s the place to head for fresh food and by night it’s host to trendy bars and innovative restaurants. Visitors should eat a ‘Beaver Tail’ – a tasty local flat doughnut that’s popular with locals and tourists alike.
Ottawa WHERE TO STAY Accommodation ranges from hostel and budget options to B&Bs, inns and luxury hotels. Most iconic of the city centre hotels is the Fairmont Chateau Laurier – a 1920s fairy-tale castle-style building overlooking Ottawa Locks.
GETTING AROUND The international airport (YOW) is 15km south of the city centre, with Air Canada and Air Transat offering direct flights from the UK and British Airways connecting through Toronto and Montréal. Ottawa is an easy city to wander around by foot with buses available to take visitors further afield.
From left: Parliament Hill is a great vantage point for city views; time for a break from ice skating on the Rideau Canal; Mounties
Ottawa DID YOU KNOW? Rideau Falls (where the Rideau and Ottawa Rivers meet) was named after the French for ‘curtains’ by explorer Samuel de Champlain who thought it bore a likeness to them. Visitors can stay at a hostel in a
former prison, which was the site of Canada’s last public hanging. Every July Ottawa hosts the biggest
one-day beach volleyball tournament in the world.
Canadian Affair 0207 616 9184 www.canadianaffair.com
Offers a seven-night city break staying at the Capital Hill Hotel & Suites, a downtown hotel close to all the attractions. Priced from £549 for departures in May including international flights from Gatwick.
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