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7 Squares and Parks in Ottawa to experience

7 squares & parks in ottawa

Are you planning a trip to Ottawa? It’s a beautiful city to visit in any season, for its architecture and its parks. While developing our Ottawa Tourist Scavenger Hunt, we identified many public squares and parks in Ottawa that bring charm and history to this city.

7 Squares and Parks in Ottawa

  1. Parc de la ConfédérationConfederation Park
    • Confederation Park opened in 1967 to commemorate the centennial of the Canadian Confederation. Other monuments can be found in this park, including one for Aboriginal veterans, as well as the fountain in honor of Colonel By, founder of ByTown which became Ottawa.
    • Confederation Park presents several monuments, sculptures, a totem, and a fountain. There are several festivals and events presented here each year.
  2. place de la confederation Confederation Place
    • This triangular park is at the intersection of Elgin on the east and west, and Wellington on the north. In the center is the Canadian War Memorial with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. King George VI dedicated this monument named Response in 1939.
    • It originally commemorated fallen Canadians from the Great War (1914-1918). In 1982, we further honored soldiers from the Second World War (1939-1945) and the Korean War (1950-1953). Then in 2014, we also honored those who participated in the Boer War (1899-1902) and in Afghanistan (2001-2014).
    • The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier appeared in 2000 in front of the memorial.
  3. Trans-Canadian Trail
    • It is a walking trail along the Ottawa River. In fact, this network of recreational trails is the longest in the world, covering 23,000 km joining the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans. It started in 1992, on the 125th anniversary of Canada.
  4. Samuel de ChamplainNapean Point
    • Napean Point is located on the Ontario point where the Alexandra Bridge runs from Ottawa to Gatineau, behind the National Arts Galery.
    • You can see here a few large art installations from the National Arts Galery.
    • Near the summit, you’ll find one of the original bronze border marker posts located on the 45th parallel between the Canada-United States border. New border markers are made of granite.
    • On the summit, the grand statue of Samuel de Champlain is unmistakable. He explored and mapped the Ottawa River to the site of Ottawa in 1613. It is located where Samuel de Champlain took his solar observations during his 1615 expedition.
  5. Canal Rideau Rideau Canal
    • The Rideau Canal’s construction began in 1832 under the direction of Colonel By, who simultaneously founded Ottawa, called Bytown then. It connects the Ottawa River in Ottawa to the St. Lawrence River in Kingston, 202 kilometers away. Its original purpose was to transport logs to Kingston for ship-building to prevent a war against the United States, which never happened.
    • Today it mainly serves pleasure boaters in the summer and ice-skaters in the winter. It is the oldest lock system, in continuous operation in North America.
  6. Manjor's Hill ParkMajor’s Hill Park
    • Major’s Hill Park is located behind the Chateau Laurier hotel, between the Rideau Canal and Mackenzie Avenue.
    • In this park, you’ll find statues of Colonel By, Major Bolton who succeeded him, after whom this park is named, and their successors in establishing this town.
    • At one end of the park, near the National Arts Gallery, is the Tavern on the Hill where you can have a drink on the terrace while enjoying the awesome view of Parliament Hill.
  7. Jacques-Cartier Park
    • Located in Gatineau, on the edge of the Ottawa River between the Alexandra and Macdonald-Cartier bridges, Jacques-Cartier Park presents the Mosaïcultures exhibition in 2018 – grand sculptures made with living plants.
    • Established in 1933, this park covers 22 hectares. On the grounds is House Charron, built in 1826. You can see the National Arts Gallery and Parliament Hill from it.

Try it

We invite you to try our Ottawa Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 2-hour self-guided walking tour of the downtown area that you do with your smartphone (how it works). It costs $35 for a group of 2 to 6 persons. You’ll come across most of these parks and plazas. Moreover, you’ll enjoy solving the various challenges at each step of the way while learning the history of Ottawa.

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14 iconic buildings in Ottawa you should see

14 iconic buildings to see in Ottawajpg

Are you planning a trip to Ottawa? It’s a beautiful city to visit in any season, for its architecture and its parks. While developing our Ottawa Tourist Scavenger Hunt, we identified many iconic buildings in Ottawa that sign the visual landscape of this city which we thought you should take time to admire.

14 iconic buildings in Ottawa

Gare Union station

  1. Government Conference Center

    • Built in the Beau-Arts style by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1912, the Government Conference Center by the Rideau Canal faces the Chateau Laurier hotel and is very close to Parliament Hill. It was originally Ottawa’s Union Station, the main rail hub.
    • Today, this building serves to host various conferences and political activities such as the G20 in 2001. A section of the Berlin Wall resided in its entrance from 1991 until 2011 when it moved to a museum.
  2. Lord Elgin Hotel

    Lord Elgin

    • The Lord Elgin Hotel was built in 1941 in the chateau style. It bears the name, like the road it is on, of James Bruce (1862-1863), 8th Earl of Elgin and first Governor General of United Canada. He was the official representative of the British Crown in this British province – before it became a country.
  3. The post office on Sparksbureau de poste

    • This beautiful château and art-deco style building was built in 1939 as a Post Office. It has been classified as a national landmark. Note the inscription at 59 Sparks, a reference to a prior institution.
  4. Confederation Building

    • The Confederation Building was erected in 1931 for the ministry of agriculture, in the Chateau style, like the Chateau Laurier hotel. Many MPs have their offices here today.
  5. Justice BuildingÉdifice de la Conféderation

    • Also built in the Château style, the Justice Building opened in 1938 for the RCMP – Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
    • Ian Fleming’s novel « For Your Eyes Only » (1960), which became a film in 1981 with Roger Moore, brought James Bond to meet the RCMP here. It accurately describes the building and its interior. However, none of the 24 films in this franchise has set foot in Canada.
  6. Supreme Court of Canadacour supreme du canada

    • This institution is the highest judicial level in the country, hearing 40 to 75 cases per year. Decisions from the 9 judges are final. No appeal is possible. The only possibility of overthrowing or changing one of their rulings is an Act of Parliament, which must be voted by the House of Commons, or lower house of the government.
    • The cornerstone of this building was laid in 1939 by Queen Elizabeth, Queen Elisabeth II’s mother and spouse to King George VI. You may know her best as the Queen Mother. It was completed in 1946. However, there’s an error in the date on the cornerstone. The Queen faced bad weather in her Atlantic crossing and was delayed by 1 day to the ceremony. As it was already engraved, it was laid as such.
  7. Canadian Children’s Museum

    • GatineauLocated in Hull, across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill, is the Canadian Children’s Museum.
  8. Canadian Museum of History

    • The national history museum is also located in Hull, next to the Children’s Museum. Its original name was the Canadian Civilisation Museum
    • Its goal is to collect and present objects that illustrate the human history of Canada and its cultural diversity.
  9. National Arts Gallery

    Manjor's Hill Park

    • This museum, founded in 1880 by the Governor General of the time who was married to Princess Louise, who was an artist. In 1882, the museum moved to Parliament Hill in the same building as the Supreme Court. It moved in 1911 to the Victoria Memorial Museum which later became the Canadian Museum of Nature. In 1962, it moved yet again to Elgin road near the British Embassy. Finally, it moved to its own new home in a large glass building on the northern point of Ottawa, in 1988.
  10. Canadian Parliament

    • Flamme du CentenaireThe Canadian Parliament was originally built between 1859 and 1878 in the Neogothic Style, similar to the Chateau Style. Inspired by French, English and Flemish architectural elements, its construction employed mostly wood.
    • In 1916, a great fire ravaged the central building. Only the library, at the back, escaped unscathed because of an employee’s quick reflexes in closing the firewall door connecting it to the central building. Stone comprises the bulk of the current building, completed in 1920. Keep in mind this construction occurred during World War One which ended in 1918.
    • The Parliament building houses the Senate, composed of 105 members, as well as the Chamber of House of Commons, composed of 338 representatives from all regions of Canada.
    • In the center, you can see the Peace Tower, built between 1919 and 1928, grander than the original Victoria Tower. The bell from the original tower stands exposed behind the parliament among other monuments. At its base is the Remembrance Chapel, dedicated to Canadians killed in armed conflict abroad.
    • The main entrance is Confederation Hall, commonly called the Rotunda.
  11. Château LaurierChateau Laurier

    • The Chateau Laurier hotel, today operated by Fairmont, opened in 1912. The Canadian Pacific Railway built it in tandem with Union Station across the street.
  12. Prime Minister’s Officebureau de premier ministre

    • The offices of the Prime Minister of Canada and the Privy Council are located to the front left of the Canadian Parliament Hill, on Wellington. It opened in 1889, built in the Second Empire style.
  13. United States Embassy to Canada

    • The American embassy in Canada is at 490 Sussex Promenade, next to Major’s Hill Park. It opened in 1999. The is the most important embassy in Ottawa, as well and the most impressive of American embassies around the world.
  14. Royal Canadian Mint

    • This museum is on the eastern edge of the downtown area. Learn how money gots designed and fabricated in Canada throughout its history. It stands next to the Ottawa River.

We invite you to try our Ottawa Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 2-hour self-guided walking tour of the downtown area that you do with your smartphone (how it works). It costs $35 for a group of 2 to 6 persons. You’ll come across most of these buildings and much more. Moreover, you’ll enjoy solving the various challenges at each step of the way while learning the history of Ottawa.

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11 museums in Ottawa to discover

13 museums in Ottawa

Are you planning a trip to Ottawa? It’s a beautiful city to visit in any season, for its architecture and its parks. While developing our Ottawa Tourist Scavenger Hunt, we identified several museums in Ottawa on a variety of subjects.

We’ve limited our list to the downtown core and close proximity, while there are many others further around the city. They include 11 museums in Ottawa and 2 in Gatineau.

11 museums in Ottawa to discover

  1. Musée des gardes du Gouverneur GénéralGovernor General’s Footguard Museum

    • This museum is located on the east side of Ottawa’s City Hall on Laurier Avenue. The Governor General’s Footguard Museum faces Confederation Park along the Rideau Canal.
    • The Governor General’s guards service started in Quebec City in 1861. This military unit followed the Government when it moved to Ottawa in 1865. The museum was established in 1950.
  2. Ottawa’s Insectarium

    • This educational entomology center presents insects and tarantulas from around the world.
  3. bank of canada museumBank of Canada Museum

    • This entirely renovated museum presents exhibits on the economy and the role of the Bank of Canada in the Canadian economy. The museum opens daily from 10 am to 5 pm and is free to visit.
  4. Manjor's Hill ParkNational Arts Gallery

    • This museum, founded in 1880 by the Governor General of the time who was married to Princess Louise, who was an artist. In 1882, the museum was installed on Parliament Hill in the same building as the Supreme Court. It was moved in 1911 to the Victoria Memorial Museum which today is the Canadian Museum of Nature. In 1962, it moved yet again to Elgin road near the British Embassy. Finally, it moved to its own new home in a large glass building on the northern point of Ottawa, in 1988.
  5. bytown museumBytown Museum

    • Located at the entrance of the Rideau Canal is the Bytown Museum. It bears the original name of this city and presents the history of Ottawa.
  6. Museum of Greco-Roman Antiquities

    • This museum, situated within the University of Ottawa, began in 1975. Its daily collection presents the daily life of people in the 7th century B.C. up to the 7th century A.D.
  7. Canadian Museum of Agriculture

    • This museum is open daily and presents interactive exhibits on agriculture and food in Canada.
    • It is located on Queen Elizabeth Dr along Rideau Canal at the intersection of Somerset W.
  8. Canadian Nature Museum

    • Located on McLeod at the intersection of Metcalfe, the Canadian Museum of Nature aligns perfectly with parliament hill.
    • You’ll find here exhibits on the natural history of Canada, its flora and its fauna.
  9. Canadian War Museum

    • The Canadian War Museum is west of the downtown area. You’ll learn here about Canada’s military history from French colonization to the Great War up to today.
  10. Royal Canadian Mint

    • This museum is on the eastern edge of the downtown area. Learn how money was designed and fabricated in Canada throughout its history. It stands next to the Ottawa River.
  11. Laurier House

    • This manor built in 1878 was at different times, the residence of 2 past Prime Ministers. Sir Wilfrid Laurier, 5th prime minister, lived here from 1897 until his death in 1919. The Right Honorable William Lyon Mackenzie King inherited this house from Laurier’s widow. He stayed here from 1923 until his death in 1950.
    • He, in turn, bequeathed it to the Canadian Government. It almost became the official residence of the prime minister, but Louis St. Laurent chose 24 Sussex Dr in its stead.
    • You can visit the manor for free at 335 Avenue Laurier, east of downtown.

2 museums to discover in Gatineau

  1. GatineauCanadian Children’s Museum

    • Located in Hull, across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill, is the Canadian Children’s Museum.
  2. Canadian Museum of History

    • The national history museum is also located in Hull, next to the Children’s Museum. Its original name was the Canadian Civilisation Museum
    • Its goal is to collect and present objects that illustrate the human history of Canada and its cultural diversity.

We invite you to try our Ottawa Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 2-hour self-guided walking tour of the downtown area that you do with your smartphone (how it works). It costs $35 for a group of 2 to 6 persons. You’ll come across most of these museums and much more. Moreover, you’ll enjoy solving the various challenges at each step of the way while learning the history of Ottawa.