Learn more about this great destination and what it has to offer. Choose a section below for information on the area, including history and transportation details.
As capital cities go, Ottawa is arguably the most visitor-friendly capital in the world. Small enough that everything worth seeing is within a brisk walk or an inexpensive cab ride, the city is also large enough to have something to offer nearly every taste whether it be cultural, culinary, athletic or historic.
As Ottawa has grown, so has its cultural diversity. There are many theater companies including the
While Ottawa's downtown core is home to many of the city's major attractions including
One can also find many fine restaurants in the downtown core including
For a taste of Ottawa's nightlife, be sure to visit some of the nightclubs and restaurants along Elgin Street including
South of the Queensway running along both sides of Bank Street, is the Glebe. As a trendy arts and specialty shop district, the Glebe, attracts many suburban transplants looking for a little downtown living.
Sandy Hill and the Byward Market
Across from the downtown core on the eastern bank of the Rideau Canal is the University of Ottawa, which borders the stately Sandy Hill district where a majority of the city's embassies are located. Across Rideau Street to the north of Sandy Hill is the Byward Market where every sense can be satisfied.
The "Market" is a tourist Mecca attracting both vacationers and locals to its many special shops and restaurants during the day, while in the evenings the streets are filled with late night revelers touring the area's many bars and nightclubs including
Situated to the west of the downtown area is Somerset Heights, which was previously known as Chinatown before the age of political correctness and an influx of Vietnamese immigrants in the late 1970s. If it's Asian food you're interested in, then the Heights is the place to come. Along Somerset Street one can find some of the finest Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants in the city including the
About a 10-minute walk west down Rue Somerset from the Heights is Preston Street, the cultural center of Ottawa's Italian community. Every year during the last weekend in June the street overflows with people returning to their roots to celebrate
Running north and south along the eastern edge of the downtown core is the
Further east from Sandy Hill is Vanier. This small neighborhood is the last bastion of the francophone community in Ottawa and they maintain their heritage with immense pride.
To the north of Vanier is Rockcliffe Park where one can find some of the most expensive real estate in Canada including the multi-million dollar home of Corel founder Michael Cowpland. Rockcliffe is also the home of
Across the river from
Further to the west of the downtown core are the suburban neighborhoods of Bells Corners, Barrhaven and Kanata. While Barrhaven and Bells Corners are mostly bedroom communities with a smattering of restaurants and hotels, Kanata is the high tech center of Ottawa and home to many high tech giants such as Nortel, Mitel, Alcatel, Mosaid and Entrust. In Kanata, you can also find the
Ottawa gets its identity from two major sources—its geographic location at the confluence of the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers, and the fact that it is the seat of power for the entire nation. For centuries the area that overlooks the two rivers was the meeting grounds for the First Nations tribe the Algonquin Indians, who were indigenous to this part of central Canada.
The first European to set eyes on the area was Samuel de Champlain in 1613. In fact, a statue commemorating his discovery sits atop
In 1826 construction began on Ottawa's second most identifiable landmark besides
The new waterway made the shipment of lumber to markets south of the border much easier. As a result, several American lumber barons came to the area bringing with them a wave of immigration from Poland, Scotland and Ireland, all looking for work in the forests around the fledgling city.
By the late 1850s Ottawa had finally come into its own, although it still possessed a reputation as a remote and rather uncivilized place. In 1860 something completely unexpected and remarkable happened. While looking at a map of the colonies of Upper and Lower Canada, Queen Victoria decided to pick Ottawa as the new capital over both York, which is now Toronto and Montreal. The decision was very controversial, but appeased Lower Canada (mainly French) and Upper Canada (mainly English. Also, because of its proximity to the American border, the choice would change Ottawa's destiny forever.
Immediately after Queen Victoria had selected Ottawa as the colony's new capital, construction began on the neo-gothic
Completed that same year, the
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Canadian government concluded that if Ottawa were to be a worthy capital some planning was in order. A wholesale restructuring of the city ensued with the creation of several scenic boulevards, an extensive park system beginning with
In 1936, Prime Minister Mackenzie King commissioned French civil architect Jacques Gréber to provide a blueprint for a broad park and green space system that would encircle the city. Today Greber's creation is called the Greenbelt, which contains several natural trails as well as a number of working farms.
For most of the 20th century, Ottawa grew up as a government town—and an extremely conservative one at that. Small influxes of immigrants after both World Wars helped spice things up as a large number of people from Italy, Lebanon and China decided to call Ottawa home. Each immigrant community established neighbourhoods with names like Little Italy, where the annual
It was not until the 1970s and the birth of the high-tech sector that Ottawa began to slowly transform from a government town into something much greater. Ironically, the transformation was lead by a small cabal of former government computer scientists who started companies such as Digital, Mitel and Northern Telecom. Soon Ottawa was being called by another name—"Silicon Valley North"—and highly skilled workers from all over the world began to flock to the area. Today, Ottawa is one of the leading computer telecommunications centers of the world, with most of the industry located in the city's western suburb of Kanata.
By Air: Ottawa International Airport (+1 613 248 2000 / http://www.ottawa-airport.ca) offers transportation to destinations throughout the world. Its terminals house the following airlines:
Air Canada (+1 800 776 3000 / http://www.aircanada.ca )
American Airlines (+ 1 800 433 7300 / http://www.aa.com)
Bearskin Airlines (+1 800 465 5039 / http://www.bearskinairlines.com)
Canadian North (+1 800 661 1505 / http://www.canadiannorth.com)
CanJet Airlines (+1 800 809 7777 / http://www.canjet.com)
Delta (+1 800 221 1212 / http://www.delta.com )
First Air (+1 800 267 1247 / http://www.firstair.ca)
Jetsgo (+ 1 866 440 0441 / http://www.jetsgo.net)
QuickAir ( + 1 800 551 7845 / http://www.quikair.ca)
United (+1 800 241 6522 / http://www.ual.com )
US Airways (+1 800 428 4322 / http://www.usairways.com )
WestJet (+ 1 800 538 5696 / http://www.westjet.com)
Zoom Airlines Inc (+1 866 359 9666 / http://www.flyzoom.ca)
Ottawa's safe and reliable OC Transpo (+1 613-741-4390 / http://www.octranspo.com) provides an effective route for getting to and from the airport. Bus route 97 departs outside the Arrivals area and run frequently to points throughout the city.
Ottawa's light rail system, the O-train, also provides an effective means to travel the city.
Taxis generally cost about 25 Canadian dollars to downtown. Taxis can be easily located outside each terminal. You can also call +1 613 523 1234. Taxi Companies include:
Rental Car companies include:
Alamo (+1 800 327 9633 / http://www.alamo.com )
Avis (+1 800 831 2847 / http://www.avis.com )
Budget (+1 800 527 0700 / http://www.budget.com )
Hertz (+1 800 654 3131 / http://www.hertz.com
Ottawa is serviced by VIA Rail Canada (+1 888 842 7245/ http://www.viarail.ca). Multiple destinations can be reached along the Toronto-Kingston-Ottawa line and the Ottawa-Alexandria-Montreal line.
The Ottawa bus terminal (+1 613 238 5900) is located on the edge of downtown and offers convenient transportation to rural and urban areas throughout Canada.
Ottawa can be easily accessed by interstates 41, 5, and 50.
Ottawa is serviced by an extensive bus system, OC Transpo ( +1 614 714 4390 / http://www.octranspo.com) and the O-train (a light rail system) which seats up to 135 and has standing room for 150.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., is not responsible or liable for any errors or inaccuracies with respect to the information contained on this page.
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