The Canadian capital is the epicentre of the country’s cultural heritage. Home to some of the nation’s best museums, finest galleries and most historic buildings, it is a great place to visit for any tourist making the trip to Canada. In this article we are going to take a look at the top attractions around the city that would make great stops for anyone taking a walking tour of Ottawa.
The Canadian Parliament building is one of the nation’s most impressive buildings and is a must see for anyone coming to Ottawa. Towering over parliament hill, on the banks of the Ottawa river, these Gothic style buildings see the day to running of the country as well as some of its most heated debates. Visiting the parliament is free but times and dates are very specific and you must book in advance if you like to join a tour. One of the real treats of Parliament hill is the incredible sound and light show that take place there nightly between July and September that tells the story of Canada’s physical, cultural and historical landscape.
Another famous historic, political landmark is Rideau Hall, it is the official residence of the Governor General of Canada and has been since 1867. This grand mansion and its splendid grounds are open to the public and, in the summer it hosts art tours, garden tours and outdoor concerts all guarded by the Governor Generals Footguard complete with red coats and busby helmets. Interesting fact, Rideau Hall is also the residence of the HRH The Queen when she visits Canada on official business; she last stayed whilst on her 2010 Canadian tour.
There are a number of world class galleries and museums in downtown Ottawa and each is interesting in it’s own unique way however, if we had to pick just two we would go for the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Civilisation. Dating from 1880 and one of Canada’s oldest cultural institutions, the National Gallery is home to some of the county’s most impressive national treasures including a nine metre tall bronze statue of a spider carrying a sack of pure white marble eggs under her belly known as Maman. The Canadian Museum of Civilisations is one of the nations most visited attractions and is home to collections of great cultural treasures from Canada and around the world including the world’s largest indoor collection of Totem Poles and, in the hall of Canada, an exhibition dedicated to the people whose decisions changed and shaped the nation throughout history.
Just outside central Ottawa you will find Upper Canada village, a living breathing recreation of a 19th Canadian village complete with historic buildings and costumed interpreters ready to show you around and answer any questions you may have. The two hour guided tour takes visitors through the woollen factory, flour mill, saw mill print shop, blacksmiths and the old school house as well as many other interesting spots all loving re-created to give visitors a taste of old Canada.
Visiting Canada’s capital is a must for any visitors coming to the country, getting here couldn’t be easier fly d from all over the world or come over land on the national rail services and with the great choice of hotels in Ottawa there is no lack of accommodation for visitors to choose from.
Are you planning a trip to Ottawa, what’s on your agenda?