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World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > Canada > Ontario > Ottawa

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Things to see in Ottawa

Tourist Offices

Ottawa Tourism

Address: , 90 Wellington Street, Ottawa, K1P 1A5
Telephone: +1 613 237 5150.
Opening times:

Mon-Sun 0900-1700

Website: http://www.ottawatourism.ca

The main tourist office provides information in both English and French.

Tourist passes

Museum Passports (www.museumspassport.ca) that last for three days offer discounts at six museums. You can buy the pass at any of the participating museums, which include the War Museum, National Gallery and Museum of History as well as at the Museum of Nature, Aviation and Space Museum and the Agriculture and Food Museum. Passes can also be purchased at the Capital Information Kiosk at 90 Wellington Street.

Attractions

Rideau Canal

This UNESCO-listed canal is cruised by boats in the summer but then transforms into the world's longest ice-skating rink in the winter, with a 7.8km (4.8-mile) channel of ice winding through downtown Ottawa. It extends over 200km (124 miles) from Ottawa to Kingston, and links the River Ottawa with Lake Ontario and the St Lawrence Seaway.

Address: , , Ottawa,
Telephone: +1 613 283 5170
Opening times:

Mon-Thurs 1000-1600, Fri-Sun 0900-1900 (May 20-Jun 26); Mon-Thurs 0900-1800, Fri-Sun 0900-1900 (Jun 27-Sept 5); Mon-Fri 1000-1600, Sat-Sun 0900-1700 (Sept 6-Oct 10).

Website: http://www.pc.gc.ca/rideau
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Parliament of Canada

Perched on a rise next to the fairytale Fairmont Chateau Laurier hotel, the neo-gothic Parliament of Canada overlooks the River Ottawa and neighbouring Québec and is one of the city's most distinctive landmarks. Sit in on question time at the Legislature, enjoy the sound and light show on the illuminated Parliament Hill or take a guided tour of Centre Block.

Address: Parliament Hill, Parliament of Canada, Ottawa, K1A 0A9
Telephone: +1 613 992 4793
Opening times:

See website for more details.

Website: http://www.parl.gc.ca
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

The ByWard Market

Established in 1826 by John By, the same engineer responsible for the Rideau Canal, the ByWard Market is one of the oldest and largest public markets in Canada. Home to over 500 established businesses and nearly 270 artisan stalls, this is Ottawa's ultimate outdoor retail mecca. Shop everything from beauty and fashion to furniture, food and art.

Address: ByWard Market, , Ottawa,
Telephone: +1 613 562 3325
Opening times: Website: http://www.byward-market.com
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

National Gallery of Canada

Located near the vibrant ByWard Market, the National Gallery is an architectural landmark with its striking glass towers, spacious galleries, quiet courtyards, a cloistered garden, glass-bottomed pool and a reconstructed 19th century chapel. It is the country's finest art museum, showcasing the world's largest collection of Canadian art.

Address: , 380 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, K1N 9N4
Telephone: +1 613 990 1985
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1800, Thurs 1000-2000 (May-Sept); Tues-Sun 1000-1700, Thurs 1000-2000 (Oct-Apr). Hours subject to change, check website before visiting.

Website: http://www.gallery.ca
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Canadian Museum of History

This museum boasts 20,000 years of human history, life-size totem poles overshadowing the magnificent Grand Hall, and a Cine+ 3D theatre with constantly changing features. Reconstructed buildings and other historical settings are included among the exhibits evoking a sense of different periods and different regions of the country. The museum itself is dramatic and inspired by nature.

Address: Gatineau, 100 Laurier Street, , K1A 0M8
Telephone: +1 819 776 700
Opening times:

Subject to change, see website for more details.

Website: http://www.historymuseum.ca
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica

The twin spires of Ottawa's Neo-Gothic cathedral are among the most recognisable features of the city skyline, and the largest and oldest standing church in the Canadian capital is as spectacular inside as it is out. Guided tours run during the summer months. Alternatively, attend one of the regular concerts to see the cathedral at its most romantic.

Address: , 375 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, K1N 1J9
Telephone: +1 613 241 7496
Opening times:

Mon 1130-1800, Tues-Fri 1000-1800, Saturday 1400-1800, Sunday 0800-2030 (Nov-Apr); Mon 1130-1800, Tues-Fri 0900-1800, Sat 0900-1800, Sun 0800-2030 (May-Oct).

Website: http://notredameottawa.com
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Gatineau Park

Just a 15-minute journey from downtown, this 90,000-acre green space is Ottawa's outdoor playground. Take part in adventurous activities such as wild swimming, biking, cross-country skiing and show-shoeing, or simply enjoy a gentle ramble around the park's heritage sites. The best time to visit is in autumn, when you'll be treated to a spectacular display of fall colours.

Address: , 33 Scott Road, Chelsea, J9B 1 RJ
Telephone: +1 819 827 2020
Opening times:

Park Visitor Centre: Mon-Fri 0900-1600, Sat-Sun 0900-1700.

Website: http://www.ncc-ccn.gc.ca
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

Visit a working farm in the heart of the capital city, where you'll have the chance to explore a line-up of interactive exhibitions as well as seeing different domesticated animals. There are interpretive activities for children, demonstrations, a fun outdoor play structure for kids to expend their energy on and rides in a horse-drawn wagon.

Address: , Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa, K2C 3K1
Telephone: +1 613 991 3044
Opening times:

Hours subject to change, see website for more details.

Website: http://cafmuseum.techno-science.ca
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Canadian War Museum

Poignant and interactive exhibits reveal Canada's military past, with a stunning collection of artefacts and airplanes from the world's major wars. Its vast collection, which spans around three million pieces, also includes military vehicles and artillery. The extensive permanent exhibition highlights key events and defining moments in Canada's military history via personal stories, photographs and interactive presentations.

Address: , 1 Vimy Place, Ottawa, K1A 0M8
Telephone: +1 819 776 8600
Opening times:

Hours subject to change, see website for further details.

Website: http://www.warmuseum.ca
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Diefenbunker Cold War Museum

Descend 27.5m (90ft) underground into Canada's once-secret Cold War bunker, now a museum after being decommissioned in 1997. Step back in time and see first hand 1960s-era government rooms, living quarters and cryptographic areas. Other highlights include the Prime Minister's suite, the War Cabinet Room, the CBC Radio studio and the Bank of Canada vault.

Address: Carp, 3911 Carp Road, Ottawa, K0A 1L0
Telephone: +1 613 839 0007
Opening times:

Daily 1100-1600 (Mar-Dec); Tues-Sun 1100-1600 (Jan-Feb).

Website: http://diefenbunker.ca
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No