Finding Fun in Canada's Capital City
It’s no shock that Ottawa is one of Canada’s top tourist destinations, over 8 million people visit Ontario’s capital city each year. But what are Ottawa’s must-do stops? Andrew Van Der Hoeven, Chef Concierge at The Westin Ottawa, is a veritable encyclopedia of information on the city.
Ottawa’s Parliament Hill is the seat of Canada’s government. “Parliament Hill is a must do,” said Van Der Hoeven, “they do tours every day.” Guided tours are thankfully free; visitors can pick up tickets right across the street from Parliament Hill. Get up close and personal and see Parliament in action by watching live debates in the House of Commons and enjoy a spectacular view of Ottawa from the Peace Tower.
Canadian Museum of History
Just a 20-minute walk from The Westin Ottawa is the Canadian Museum of History, Canada’s most visited museum with over 1.2 million visitors each year. While the main focus is on their First People’s Hall that showcases Canada’s aboriginal history, the museum is known for their spectacular limited run exhibits. Find fantastic golden artifacts at the Gold Rush! exhibit, or see Napoleon’s quest to make Paris the capital of Europe in the riveting Napoleon and Paris exhibit, among other great installations.
Ottawa Blues Fest
Ottawa is also famous for its year round outdoor festivals, “All the outdoor music festivals,” said Van Der Hoeven, “Blues Fest, like every kind of music festival.” Perhaps the most popular of this festivals is the aforementioned Blues Fest, which takes places every summer in LeBreton Flats Park. Rocking a fantastic line up each year, Ottawa Blues Fest has been graced by household names including Lady Gaga, Tegan & Sara, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Killers.
Play Food & Wine
End the visit with a stop to one of Ottawa’s hottest restaurants, Play Food & Wine. “Definitely,” said Van Der Hoeven, “one of the places to be.” Play Food & Wine highlights small, ever-changing plates, so the food is always authentically Ottawa. “Always fresh, good people,” said Van Der Hoeven. Prepare to be blown away by their wine list, which has over 90 selections of everything from Shiraz to Icewine.
Van Der Hoeven encourages exploring by foot as much as possible, “get a good feel for the area and see everything.” From the festivals of the summer to the icy delights they have in the winter, Ottawa lives up to every expectation you’d have of a capital city. “It’s a one of a kind experience.”
-By Ettractions Digital Content Editor, SARAH LEITH
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