Ottawa is Canada’s capital, in the southeastern province of Ontario, near the city of Montreal and the U.S. border. Sitting on the Ottawa River, it has at its centre Parliament Hill, with grand Victorian architecture and museums, like the National Gallery of Canada which includes noted collections of indigenous and other Canadian art.
The park-lined Rideau Canal is filled with boats in summer and ice-skaters in the winter.
By Public Transit
There are two city bus systems in Ottawa. OC Transpo operates in the Ontario side of the Ottawa River and the Société de Transport de l’Outaouais which operates on the Quebec side. You can transfer between these systems along Rideau and Wellingston Streets in Ottawa and around the Place d’accueil on Maisonneuve Boulevard in Gatineau. Both agencies offer convenient trip planning tools on their websites.
Ottawa has a broad range of cycling experiences for the recreational rider to the serious rider. The recreational pathway network has more than 170 km of pathways people can ride on free of traffic, and along some of the most interesting attractions in Ottawa. The loop of Gatineau Park is a more challenging route for experienced cyclists.
There are several car rental companies that operate from the Ottawa International Airport.
Many attractions in Ottawa can be reached by foot. Many of the city’s top attractions include Parliament Hill, Rideau Canal, one of Ottawa’s many National Museums, or the Byward Market Neighbourhood.
Ottawa is located in the Eastern Time Zone (UTC – 05:00).
Snow generally falls here at a rate of 93 inches (293 cm) per year from late November through to early April. By contrast, the short summers are very warm and humid, with temperatures often above 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29°C). The transition seasons of spring and fall are unpredictable so it is always good to plan ahead and expect varying conditions.
The standard electrical plug/outlet and voltage for Canada is as follows: Voltage: 110 – 120 volts; Primary socket type: North American Grounded; Multi-voltage appliances (laptops, etc.): Plug adaptor; 220 – 240V appliances: Plug adaptor + step-up transformer; 100V Japanese appliances: Japan to U.S. reducer transformer.
The currency used in Ottawa is the Canadian Dollar.
Visa and MasterCard are the most widely recognized credit cards in Canada. American Express is not as widely accepted. It is recommended to always carry some cash in the event that your card is not accepted. Be aware that most cards charge a transaction fee for foreign currency transactions.
You can exchange money for Canadian dollars at the Ottawa International Airport, where there are banks and exchange bureaus, and at banks in the city and at some hotels.
ATMs are widely available around Ottawa but ensure you inform your bank before travelling abroad, and be aware you may be charged for cash withdrawals. It is advisable to exchange some cash before arriving in Ottawa.
From large Ottawa malls to exclusive Ottawa shops and boutiques, to unique gift and souvenir stores, shopping in Ottawa is a favoured activity of visitors and resident alike. The downtown shopping provides a host of shopping opportunities, from the 150-store CF Rideau Centre to the boutiques and craft shops of the Byward Market, the Downtown Rideau district, and Sparks Street – the country’s oldest pedestrian shopping mall. West Ottawa includes great outdoor stores and a major Ottawa shopping centre – Bayshore Shopping Centre – while east Ottawa is home to two popular Ottawa malls – St. Laurent Shopping Centre and Place d’Orleans.
Tipping is seldom included in Canadian restaurants. It is customary to tip approximately 15 – 20% or 15 – 18% for larger groups.
Ottawa is considered to be the safest city in Canada.
In the event of a health, safety, or criminal emergency, dial 9-1-1.
It is also advised to know the location and contact number of your country’s embassy in the event that your travel documents are lost.
English and French are the main languages used in Ottawa.