Centred on meandering waterways and designed to incorporate lush green spaces, Ottawa is a beautiful metropolis. At the helm of Canada, and home to a thriving technology, business, tourism and convention industries and a high-standard of living, the city is a well-respected G8 capital.
Rich in culture and heritage, with national institutions, historical landmarks, academic centres and things to see and do aplenty, Ottawa makes for a great holiday destination no matter the season. Winter sees the city’s famous centrepiece, the Rideau Canal turn into the world’s longest ice skating rink; while the splendour the city’s parks and daily events like the Parliament Hill ‘Changing the Guard’ attract spectators throughout summer.
A multi-ethnic and cosmopolitan city, Ottawa is home to a varied and impressive dining scene. A number of neighbourhoods dot the Canadian capital, dishing up distinct flavours and lively food settings.
Many of the city’s most vibrant gastronomy hubs are located within the downtown area. Downtown Rideau caters to the city’s art and theatre crowd with acclaimed restaurants. Somerset Village features 19th Century buildings that house fine restaurants. Chinatown offers local dining experiences with unique Asian flavours. Little Italy’s, Preston Street enjoys a famous Italian heritage, and a variety of Italian restaurants and sidewalk cafes.
Ottawa’s most famous eating district, ByWard Market bustles morning, noon and night with great food experiences. The famous market covers four blocks with cafes, specialty food shops, restaurants, pubs, bars, and more than 260 local farmer and artisan stalls. Historic neighbourhood, The Glebe is also famous, fringing the city centre with cuisines of varying ethnic descriptions, served in variety of settings.
To the east of the city centre, the village-like neighbourhood of Quartier Vanier is a go-to for French flavours and culture. While the west is flanked by the villages of Wellington and Westboro, which both offers a unique mix restaurants, including some of the city’s most highly-ranked eateries.
Street food is becoming a burgeoning culture within Ottawa. The city boasts a growing mobile meal scene of more than 60 food trucks, serving everything from waffles to burgers and soul food to crepes.
For a taste of what has become Ottawa’s signature snack, visit one of the city’s BeaverTails (Queues de Castor) franchises, and try its namesake treat. Shaped like a beaver’s tail the sweet pastry is served hot and covered in cinnamon sugar and maple butter.
Ottawa has a shopping scene to match is capital city status. Large malls, exclusive boutiques and bustling markets speckle the city, catering to shoppers of all tastes and budgets.
The first port of call during an Ottawa shopping expedition should be the Rideau Centre. Located across from the Rideau Canal, the mall is Ottawa’s premier shopping destination, home to a mix of high-street and high-end fashion brands.
Shopping zone by day come thriving restaurant precinct at night, the nearby ByWard Market district hosts an eclectic mix of home and fashion retail, and is a go-to for Ottawa’s best range of hand-crafted gifts.
Ottawa’s commercial centre, Downtown Rideau boasts Canada's first pedestrian shopping mall, Sparks Street Pedestrian Mall, where retail enthusiast shop amongst historical architecture.
Other popular malls can be found fringing the downtown district, most prominently St. Laurent Shopping Centre and Place d'Orleans located to the east, and Bayshore Shopping Centre situated to the west.