Ottawa and Countryside

Canada’s capital and Ontario’s second largest city, Ottawa, is renowned for iconic Canadian charm. Ottawa is a refreshingly green city defined by two intersecting rivers, a heritage canal waterway, miles of trails, parks, green spaces and lookouts.  

Connect with a nation in one city. The stately Victorian buildings of Parliament Hill and collection of world-class museums hold the history, culture and soul of Canada, while its stellar culinary and local craft brew community give this city an organically grown cool factor. And so many selfie spots! 

Just east of the city, immerse yourself in Francophone culture and cuisine in Prescott-Russell, ‘Ottawa’s backyard’. Discover why it’s easy to fall in love with Ottawa and its countryside.

To learn more about all there is to see and do in the Ottawa area, scroll down or visit the region's tourism website.

Where is Ottawa & Countryside?

Located in southeastern Ontario, Ottawa is perched on the south shore of the Ottawa River, where it convergences with the Gatineau and Rideau water systems, directly across from Gatineau, Quebec. The United Counties of Prescott and Russell lie further east from downtown Ottawa, along the banks of the Ottawa River.  

Ottawa is well connected. The VIA Rail train station is only a 20 minute bus ride from the heart of the city, and Ottawa Central Station, the city’s bus terminus, is also just minutes away from downtown Ottawa. The Ottawa International Airport is approximately half an hour from the city core. 

Places to Visit in Ottawa and Countryside

Beyond Ottawa, key cities in Ottawa’s countryside include Limoges, Vankleek Hill and St-Albert. 

Things to Do in Ottawa and Countryside

Walk the hallowed halls of Parliament Hill, the seat of Canada's government and the setting for national celebrations year round. Take free guided tours of two sites that that are temporarily housing Parliamentary Chambers and witness the summer pageantry of the Changing of the Guard. 

Ottawa is a treasure trove of museums. The National Gallery of Canada presents the country's national art collection and outstanding international exhibitions. Or try the Canadian Museum of History that celebrates Canadian and world cultures and houses the world's largest indoor collection of totem poles. Visit the national historic Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum, an underground bunker that was built at the height of the Cold War. Delve into Ottawa’s murky past with Haunted Walks. A cloaked guide will regale you with spooky stories from the past as you’re led by lantern light to iconic haunted spots like the ByTown Museum and the Fairmont Château Laurier

There’s no shortage of locally proud, small batch craft breweries in and around Ottawa, that are also served at restaurants and pubs across the city. The ByWard Market is a hugely popular downtown landmark. One of the oldest and largest farmers’ markets in Canada, it features a selection of pubs, restaurants, bakeries and cafes, as well as one-of-a-kind boutique shops. Sample a BeaverTail, Canada’s answer to the doughnut. 

Ottawa is a green city with numerous parks, recreational waterways, paths and outdoor spaces. The most famous waterway is the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage site that meanders through downtown and ultimately weaves its way down to Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River. Kayak, canoe, SUP or cruise its waters in the summer, while in winter it transforms into the world’s largest ice skating rink. 

Over 800 km of smooth bicycle friendly pathways make it easy to tour Ottawa’s neighbourhoods and parks by bike. 

Visitors return year after year to Canada’s capital for its signature festivals Winterlude, the Canadian Tulip Festival, Bluesfest and most exciting of all, Canada Day celebration. 

Last updated: October 20, 2021

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