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Things to do in Ottawa

Catch a classical concert at the National Arts Centre

For culture vultures, Ottawa's NAC (tel: +1 613 947 7000; www.nac-cna.ca/en) is a must. Situated on the Rideau Canal, visitors can catch classical music, dance and both French and English theatre here. Performances are still running whilst the current Brutalist building undergoes a rejuvenation that will see a space as colourful, imaginative and exciting as the programme.

Glide down a UNESCO World Heritage Sight

With just one UNESCO World Heritage Site, you would forgive Ontario for wanting to do anything to preserve it. Instead, during winter the Rideau Canal, which connects Ottawa with Lake Ontario, is turned into the world's largest ice rink (tel: +1 613 239 5000; http://rcs.ncc-ccn.ca). With rental spots en route, ride from downtown to Dows Lake.

Make for the lakes for a spot of swimming

Ottawa may be hundreds of miles from the sea, but that doesn't stop locals lapping up some beach action. To the north of the city, Gatineau Park (http://www.ncc-ccn.gc.ca/places-to-visit/gatineau-park) boasts six beaches. Leamy Lake is particularly great for swimming, whilst Smith Beach allows camping for those that wish to extend their stay.

Slam down the best ski slopes in North America

Skiers are spoilt in Ottawa. Mont Tremblant (tel: +1 866 356 2233; http://www.tremblant.ca) is not only one of the best slopes in Québec but arguably in North America. Hosting over 95 trails and runs, there's no shortage of variety ramps, rails and jumps here to keep thrill seekers happy, and they even have an Olympic calibre super pipe.

Tackle the Ottawa River's white water

Hold on tight and try to enjoy the region's gorgeous scenery with a white water rafting trip. Owl Rafting (tel: +1 800 461 7238; www.owl-mkc.ca/owl) offers six-hour long and daylong excursions on the Ottawa River that are a must for adrenaline junkies. With tours available from May to September, paddlers can even up the ante with a two-person inflatable kayak.

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Econo Lodge Downtown

The Econo Lodge Downtown offers air-conditioned rooms, some of which feature fridges, microwaves and whirlpool baths. Free continental breakfasts and internet access are offered. The lodge itself is close to Parliament Hill, the Royal Canadian Mint, the National Arts Centre and the National Gallery of Canada.

Fairmont Château Laurier

Reminiscent of a French chateau exuding old world elegance and luxury, the historic Château Laurier is a favoured destination of dignitaries and celebrities. Ideally located next to the Parliament Buildings, the hotel has 426 newly renovated rooms filled with antiques, three restaurants, a business centre and a spectacular art deco swimming pool.

The Metcalfe Hotel

A serene oasis in the heart of the city, this brand new boutique hotel, formerly Hotel Indigo, features soaring skylights, cool colours, running water and scents that change with the season. Plush bedding, hardwood floors, spa-inspired showers, indoor pool, high-speed internet and an adjoining gourmet, fast and casual restaurant provide for every need.

Rideau Inn

This Edwardian home offers budget accommodation amid elegant surroundings. There are 10 classically furnished rooms, some of which have ensuite bathrooms; a smart dining area for breakfasts and a cute decked area for a drink in the summer. The inn is located in a leafy downtown residential neighbourhood known as the Golden Triangle close to lively Elgin Street, home to restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs.

Brookstreet

Nestled in Ottawa's Silicon Valley North, this boutique hotel overlooks the Marshes Golf Club, cross-country ski trails and jogging paths. Relax in spacious, sleekly elegant rooms, dine in two upscale contemporary restaurants or soak up the pampering at the Naturel Wellness Spa.

Avalon Bed and Breakfast

This simple but friendly B&B is located close to major attractions and bistros, cafes and restaurants. It offers three rooms plus a spacious, two-room suite on the third floor. Parking is available and a full breakfast is included.