Ottawa is a capital of Ontario
Ottawa-Hull the capital region, Canada
welcomes you warmly
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada's capital city is often referred to as the most beautiful capital in the world because it is attractively located on the south bank of the Ottawa River, where it joins the Rideau River. The picturesque Gatineau Hills extend visibly to the north. Ottawa is part of Canada's Capital Region, which stretches across two provinces (Ontario and Quebec) and two major cities (Ottawa and Hull).
More than five million visitors from around the world come to Ottawa annually. Ottawa is a travel destination that has something for everyone. More than 29 museums, art galleries and historical sites are waiting to be discovered by you. More than 60 festivals take place each year, including the internationally renowned Winterlude and the Canadian Tulip Festival. A wide range of leisure activities can be found in or on the outskirts of the city. Hikers and cyclists will find hiking trails with a total length of 150 kilometers and in winter the Rideau Canal turns into the longest ice rink in the world (7.8 km).
Ottawa has a mix of English and French culture; around half of all citizens are bilingual. Other ethnic groups such as Germans, Lebanese, Italians, Poles, Dutch, Portuguese and Asians contribute to the cosmopolitan melting pot. The European influence cannot be overlooked, which is reflected in outdoor cafes, listed stone buildings and Gothic architecture.
Hull, Quebec, is across the river and is as much the other half of Ottawa as it is a city in its own right. It has more to offer than just the Canadian Museum of Civilization. It is a culture and art center, offers wonderful nature in direct proximity to the center with Gatineau Park and at night with the Casino de Hull and its fine restaurants it casts a spell over locals and visitors alike. It is a mecca for nature lovers. Its varied hiking trails, parks and green spaces are of outstanding quality and are a popular destination in both summer and winter.
Ottawa and the capital region in numbers
Ottawa is the fourth largest city in Canada with a population of 1.081 million (2000).
The urban area of Ottawa-Hull covers a total of 5,686.45 square kilometers.
In winter, the Rideau Canal, in the heart of Ottawa, is 7.8 kilometers long and becomes the longest ice rink in the world.
In 1945 the Netherlands gave Canada 100,000 tulips in gratitude for giving shelter to the Dutch royal family during World War II.
The Corel Center has 18,500 seats for sports and recreational events such as NHL hockey, concerts, figure skating and others.
Experience the best of Canadian and international art, theater, music and dance performances at more than 50 galleries and theaters.
Ottawa is home to 70 large shopping centers.
The capital region is located 79 meters above sea level.
Ottawa's Macdonald-Cartier International Airport is just 20 minutes south of the city. The airport is served daily by many airlines and connects Ottawa with all major cities in Canada or the United States.
Train and bus stations are minutes from downtown Ottawa and have connections to other cities in Canada and the United States.
Travel within the capital region
The best way to get around downtown is definitely on foot. The city center is very compact and most of the attractions can be easily explored on foot.
Local public transport is in the hands of the Ottawa-Carleton Regional Transit Commission (OC Transpo), which has around 730 buses for scheduled traffic. There are routes to the airport and train station that run every 15 minutes for most of the day.
Further information is available on the Internet at http://www.octranspo.com/ or by calling 001 (613) 741-4390 (route information).
A romantic option is a boat trip along the Rideau Canal, the Rideau River or on the Ottawa River.
Parks and protected areas
Gatineau Park is a magnificent 36,000-acre wildlife sanctuary, 15 minutes north of Ottawa. The park is equipped with hundreds of kilometers of hiking trails and is home to over 60 different tree species, countless animal species and numerous crystal clear lakes that are typical of the mountains of the Canadian Shield. Visitors can take advantage of one of the many recreational opportunities or just enjoy the tranquility of this protected refuge.
Gatineau Park is considered one of the best ski networks in North America in winter. Almost 200 kilometers of hiking trails make Gatineau Park a paradise for cross-country skiers.
The charming Mackenzie King Estate, Canada's 10th summer residence and longest-serving premier, William Lyon Mackenzie King, is within the boundaries of Gatineau Park. The restored cottage, a collection of historical ruins, beautifully landscaped gardens and a tea room on the ground floor of Moorside Cottage are open to your viewing.
For more information, call 1-800-461-8020 or call 1-800-461-8020
National Capital Greenbelt
The green belt around the capital was created in 1949 by the French urban planner Jacques Gréber. Today, the green belt encompasses large parts of the cities of Ottawa, Gloucester and Nepean and is an ideal destination, minutes from Parliament Hill. There are many hiking and skiing trails, farms, wetlands and golf courses in the green belt.
The Rideau Canal
The Rideau Canal, a system of natural lakes and rivers, with a total length of more than 200 kilometers, connects Ottawa with Kingston and attracts residents and visitors alike. It is ideal for boating, canoeing and hiking. The banks are lined with small towns, parks, lakes and many picturesque squares. If you want to go from one end to the other, you have to go through a total of 47 locks.
The canal was built for military purposes 150 years ago, but has never been used for that purpose. The construction itself was truly backbreaking work, which was mastered with 4,000 men. The canal climbs 84 meters from Ottawa over the Canadian shield before dropping again 49 meters to Lake Ontario.
For more information, please call 001 (613) 239-5000
The Rideau Trail is a network of hiking trails with a total length of 400 kilometers. There are many protected areas, fields and historical sites along the way. The trail leads from Ottawa to Kingston and is suitable for day trips and multi-day hikes alike. There are plenty of places to camp between Kingston and Smiths Falls. The rest of the way, you'll have to rely on commercial accommodation.
The city is overflowing with museums, galleries, historical sites and monuments. There is no doubt that the capital region truly offers something for every taste. The biggest problem for visitors is usually what to look at first. Many of the attractions are on Confederation Boulevard, the link between Quebec and Ontario. Here are a few ideas:
The Canadian Museum of Nature
The Canadian Museum of Nature shows natural history in a vivid way. From dinosaurs formerly found in Alberta, to mammals and birds of the Canadian wilderness, to precious stones and minerals, you will find everything represented here. Six large exhibition halls, including a faithfully recreated gold mine with a wobbly elevator, make the museum well worth a visit. One department is specially tailored to children. The museum is an ideal destination for the whole family.
For more information, call 1-800-263-4433 or call 1-800-263-4433
The Écomusée is a place where you can learn more about environmental issues. You will be shown the birth of the solar system and the formation of the earth. As you step out of the museum, you take home a better understanding of how the ecosystem works. In addition, 4,000 of the most beautiful insects on earth are exhibited.
For more information, call 001 (819) 595-7790
The National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery is indeed a must for every visitor. It is Canada's flagship art gallery and features the world's largest collection of Canadian art. North American and European works are also exhibited. The gallery is located on Suxxex Drive, just a 15 minute walk from Parliament Hill. This unique gallery not only shows the history of Canadian art, but also the development of the country itself.
You can also visit the beautifully restored Rideau St. Chapel from 1888, which has been saved from deterioration a few blocks away. The Inuit Gallery is also at home in the striking building made of glass and pink granite.
For more information, please call 1-800-319-2787 or call 1-800-319-2787
Royal Canadian Mint
Canadian coins are no longer minted here, but commemorative coins are still produced for customers from all over the world. If you reserve in advance, you can book a sightseeing tour to see the complete process of minting coins. However, it is only open in summer.
For more information, please call 001 (613) 991-5853
Learn the history of money over a period of 2,500 years. The Money Museum is housed in the Bank of Canada at 245 Sparks St.
For more information, please call 001 (613) 782-8914
The Bytown Museum (Ottawa was formerly called Bytown) shows the regional history. The museum is located in Ottawa's oldest stone building, at the foot of the Rideau Lock. You can also visit an exhibition about the construction of the Rideau Canal.
For more information, call 001 (613) 234-4570
The Canadian Museum of Civilization
The Canadian Museum of Civilization provides information on the development of Canada from the Vikings to the present day. The museum is located on the Ottawa River and also offers a spectacular view of the Ottawa skyline. In the same building you will find the Children's Museum and the Postal Museum. The museum is the best-visited museum in all of Canada, with nearly 1.4 million visitors last year.
For more information, call 001 (819) 776-7000
The National Aviation Museum
A world-renowned collection of more than 100 Canadian and international aircraft can be found in the Aviation Museum. You can marvel at both military and civil aircraft, including the 1909 Silver Dart and the famous Spitfire. The museum is located at Rockcliffe Airport, northeast of downtown.
For more information, call 001 (613) 993-2010 or call 1-800-463-2038 toll free
In addition to being in the heart of Ottawa, Parliament Hill is the heart of the Canadian federal government. The buildings on Wellington St, near the canal, were built between 1859 and 1927 and offer some of the best views of the area. You can enjoy a unique panoramic view, especially from the observation platform of the Peace Tower. You can witness the House of Commons and Senate in session and visit the library in the Center Block. If you register in advance, you can take part in a free guided tour.
In summer you can watch the changing of the guard, which takes place every day at 10:00 a.m. This very colorful ceremony attracts many tourists.
On Canada Day (July 1), tens of thousands celebrate Canada's National Day on Parliament Hill and Confederation Boulevard.
For more information, call 001 (613) 996-0896
Rideau Hall was built in 1838 and is the official residence and workplace of the Governor General of Canada. The Rideau Hall is only a few minutes away from downtown and awaits with beautifully landscaped gardens, a total of 32 hectares. Guided tours are offered in Rideau Hall in winter. Please reserve in good time. The hall itself is open to visitors all year round.
By Ward Market
This historic weekly market dates back to around 1826 and is Canada's oldest continuously operating market of its kind. It was restored in 1998 and takes you back to the time when farmers and lumberjacks traded there in the 18th century. It has retained its old-world charm, but has also become a bustling hub of shopping, dining, and entertainment.
For more information, call 001 (613) 562-3325
Ride an old steam train along the Gatineau River in the quaint village of Wakefield. Various tours are offered. The starting point is just five minutes from Parliaments Hill.
For more information, please call 1-819) 778-7246 or toll-free 1-800-871-7246
Fireworks at the casino
An international fireworks competition with musical performances from around the world takes place in August. The Grands feux du Casino starts at the end of July and lasts until mid-August.
For more information, call 1-888-429-3389 or call 1-888-429-3389
Skiing on Mont Ste Marie
Mont Ste Marie consists of two mountains with 20 runs and two high-speed lifts, as well as a drag lift on the beginner's hill. Mont Ste. Marie is in the wonderful Gatineau Hills. You can reach the ski area from Ottawa on Highway 105 within an hour.
Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival
Located across the river from Ottawa, Gatineau is the largest and most populous city in the Outaouais region. The city has 105,000 inhabitants.
The Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival has been held annually since 1988, which has now become the most important balloon festival in Canada. Unique in the world is the fact that the Gatineau Festival will fly over Canada's capital in a balloon.
More than 150 balloonists from eight countries are expected. The event is expected to be watched by 225,000 visitors.
For more information, please call 1-800-668-8383 or visit http://www.ville.gatineau.qc.ca/festival/english
The restaurant scene in the capital region is as colorful as the ethnic diversity of the people who live here. There are many first class restaurants that have something for every taste. You will find African, Canadian, French, German, Greek, Mexican, Spanish, Thai or vegetarian cuisine here. Many restaurants are located in the city center. During the summer months, many restaurants at Byward Market offer tables on the outdoor terrace. To the west of the center you will find a small Chinatown with numerous restaurants. Preston Street is known as "Little Italy" and you are sure to find a suitable Italian restaurant here. Hull, on the other side of the river, is smaller but known for its good restaurants and late night nightlife.
The name Ottawa comes from the Indian word "Outaouak", which is the name of an Algonquin tribe that traded fur in the region.
In 1613, Samuel de Champlain was the first European to tour the region now known as Ottawa.
British troops established the first settlement called Bytown (now Ottawa) in 1826. The settlement was launched to build the Rideau Canal.
The construction of the Rideau Canal was completed in 1832. The 202-kilometer canal connects the Ottawa River with Lake Ontario and was built for military purposes.
Bytown was renamed Ottawa in 1855.
Queen Victoria made Ottawa the capital of the British provinces of Upper (now Ontario) and Lower Canada (now Quebec) in 1857.
In 1867 Ottawa becomes the capital of the Dominion of Canada and remains the seat of parliament.
The Great Fire began in Hull in 1900 and became an inferno at the sawmills and spread across the river to Ottawa.
The capital was ravaged by fire again in 1916, this time on Parliament Hill. The center block burned to the ground, only the library was spared from the fire.
The capital city law from 1958 officially defined the capital region. A cross-border area (Quebec and Ontario) of 4,600 square kilometers, including 27 parishes, two of which are the cities of Ottawa and Hull, will from now on be referred to as the Capital Region.
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