Are you planning a visit to Ottawa? Our tourist treasure hunt will take you from Chateau Laurier to the Supreme Court and the Byward Market, passing by the Parliament Hill of course!
You will have to solve challenges at every step to discover your next destination and earn points. At each step, you will learn a little history as well as interesting facts about what surrounds you.
You Will See
- Rideau Canal
- Château Laurier
- ByWard Market
- Parliament Hill
- Canadian War Memorial
- National Arts Center
- Bank of Canada Museum
- Supreme Court of Canada
- US Embassy
- And much more!
We have visited Ottawa on several occasions since the 1990s. We tested this pedestrian tourist treasure hunt in June 2018.
- Starting Point: Government Conference Center, 2 Rideau Street, Ottawa, ON, K1N 8X5, across the street from Chateau Laurier.
- Distance: 3.4 km / 2.1 mi
- Duration: 2h – 2h30 – depending on your walking speed and solving time puzzles.
- Method: Walking is ideal
- A fully-charged smart phone with internet access (data plan).
- Google Maps and Wikipedia could also be helpful.
- Bottle of water (there are convenience stores along your road where you can buy some)
- A local road map or tourist map of the neighborhood could also be useful.
- The courage to ask questions of people here!
- Plus, pen and paper could also be useful for some challenges, unless you can take notes on another smart phone.
Ottawa is in Ontario, on the south shore of the Ottawa River, facing Gatineau, which is in Quebec.
The Outaouais nation occupied this region for a long time before the French arrived. The Algonquin (their language) term for this region is Odawa, where the name of the city comes from. The Ottawa River was called Kichi Sibi by the Algonquins, which means “big river”.
The first European settlement here is a farmer named Philemon Wright, from Massachusetts, dating back to 1800, on the Quebec side of the river. He hauled wood logs from Ottawa to Montreal on the river. This industry increased the number of settlers.
During the War of 1812, Lieutenant-Colonel John By settled on the hill overlooking the river to oversee the construction of the Rideau Canal. He built a hospital and several military barracks. In 1800, there were already about 1000 settlers, the village took the name of its founder. Bytown is fast becoming a center for the wood industry.
Ottawa was founded in 1826 during the construction of the Rideau Canal. In 1857, the site was chosen by Queen Victoria to host the new capital of the province of Canada (province of the British Empire at the time). It is mainly because it resides on the border of Upper and Lower Canada, and resolves the conflict between the cities of Montreal, Toronto, Quebec and Kingston that are vying for the permanent title.
In 1959, Ottawa becomes the capital of the Canadian Confederation, under the British Parliament and Monarchy. On July 1st, 1867, it became the capital of the sovereign country of Canada, which only has links to the British Monarchy, but no longer to the British Government. All of its principal federal institutions, including Parliament, the residences of the Governor General (British Crown’s representative), and the Prime Minister of Canada are located there.
In 1916, a major fire burned down most of the parliament, except for the library which is located at the back. Reconstruction was completed in 1920.
Ottawa now has more than 900,000 inhabitants and is the fourth largest city in Canada. Its metropolitan area has more than 1.2 million inhabitants, spread over Ontario and Quebec. 34% of the population is bilingual (French and English) in Ottawa.