Ottawa, the capital of Canada, is the fourth largest city in the country, situated on the Ottawa River, in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario. The capital city borders Gatineau, Quebec, and together both cities form Canada’s National Capital Region. Founded as Bytown in 1826 and incorporated as "Ottawa" in 1855, the city has evolved into a political and technological center. Originally a settlement of both Irish and French Christians, today Ottawa has become a multicultural city with a diverse and international population.
Must See: A visit to Ottawa would not be complete without a visit to Parliament Hill, the seat of Canada’s national government. The Parliament of Canada is both the centerpiece of Ottawa, as well as a showcase for the entire democratic government of the country. Every morning in summertime, Parliament Hill comes alive with patriotic music and precise drills with the ceremonial Changing the Guard. Another landmark, the Rideau Canal, is a shimmering, historic waterway that weaves through the downtown and has become a defining landmark in Ottawa.
Lodging: The landmark Fairmont Château Laurier Hotel is located in the heart of Canada's capital city next door to the Parliament Buildings. This magnificent limestone building boasts turrets and masonry reminiscent of a French château. Alternately, ARC The.Hotel was Ottawa’s first sophisticated boutique hotel and has been lauded for luxuriously appointed rooms in an intimate, high-end downtown setting.
Cuisine: The food of Ottawa reflects the vibrant culture and diversity of the city, as well as the country. The Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute (which features an open-to-the-public French bistro) is located within the city, and is the only Canadian campus of this world-renowned culinary training school. For a trendier, rising-star dining experience, Ottawa’s Supply and Demand Foods & Raw Bar is an establishment that was recently named as one of the top five restaurants in Canada.
Ground Transportation: After arriving in your private jet, there are plenty of transportation options such as airport shuttles, hotel transfers, car rentals and private ground transportation options to meet your needs. Ottawa is a major city, with all of the diverse and immediate conveniences ranging from private transportation services and individual drivers to taxis and wide-reaching public transportation.
Packing Tips: Ottawa has four distinct seasons and a continental climate with warm, humid summers and cold, icy winters. The conditions in spring and fall are variable, and prone to extremes in temperature. Therefore, it is essential to pack for the season, as it can be humid and hot, or bitterly cold depending upon the time of year. Ottawa, as the capital of Canada, is a cosmopolitan city. So business and dressier attire is appropriate for evening and social settings, while layered, comfortable active wear is acceptable for exploring the region.
Recommended Book: In The Big Shift: The Seismic Change in Canadian Politics, Business, and Culture and What It Means for Our Future, Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson argue that Canada, one of the world’s most consensual countries, is polarizing: with the west versus the east, suburban versus urban, immigrants versus old school, coffee drinkers versus consumers of energy drinks. The winners—in politics, in business, in life—will figure out where the people are and go there, too.
Currency: The Canadian dollar is the local currency.
Calling Code Canada: 1
Best Travel Dates: While there are appealing reasons to visit Ottawa all year, extremes in weather make the spring and fall months ideal times to enjoy the region. Because there are four distinct seasons, the setting truly evolves throughout the calendar year. The most popular, albeit the most trafficked, months to visit Ottawa are May through October.