48 Hours in Ottawa
By: Jim Bamboulis
Canada’s capital, generally speaking, remains under the radar when it comes to international attention. People don’t often book trips to Ottawa, unless the trip involves stopovers in Montreal or Toronto and of course those who live relatively close and consider it a weekend getaway.
But when you look closely, Ottawa represents very well. It’s a capital city that you should visit and appreciate. Here’s why.
It’s clean and compact, which makes walking around downtown very appealing. Parliament Hill, the Supreme Court of Canada, National War Memorial, Chateau Laurier, Byward Market and several museums are located within a few minutes walk from each other. Convenient, especially if you have limited time.
And speaking of museums, Ottawa is loaded with them. Again, many are located downtown and take only a few minutes to get to no matter where you are. Personally, I love the National Gallery of Canada, Royal Canadian Mint and Canadian Museum of History (across the river in Gatineau, QC). For an added bonus, walking into and exploring the Chateau Laurier (Historic Site of Canada) has been a personal favourite as well. Take your pic, you won’t be disappointed.
Being Canada, it goes out of its way to be greener than most, with a focus on natural beauty is the 202 km long Rideau canal which stretches from Ottawa to Kingston, Ontario. It’s the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America. A National Historic Site of Canada and UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s lined with pedestrian and bike trails. In winter, it becomes the worlds largest outdoor skating rink.
If you come in May, you can enjoy the Tulip Festival. Fields and fields of flowers springboard Ottawa into the spring season, making the city come alive with bright, beautiful colours.
Finally, Byward. An awesome outdoor market where you can find everything you want and need. Byward is to me the central location for everything food and drink. Bars and restaurants surround the market but if you’re looking for a food specialty that originated in these parts, try Beavertails. It’s fried dough pastry, hand-stretched to resemble a beavertail. You can choose to top the tail savoury items like ham and cheese or keep it sweet and go with chocolate or cinnamon. Either way, they’re delicious.
Been to Ottawa and want to share your tips and experiences?
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