Ottawa Travel Guide
Ottawa © Dennis Jarvis
The capital of Canada is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River, opposite the French-speaking city of Gatineau across the water in the neighbouring province of Quebec. It's location on the border puts it in the unique position of being truly multicultural and bilingual, with a harmonious blend of French and English culture.
Ottawa had humble beginnings as a small lumber town until Queen Victoria designated it the capital of Canada in 1857. Since then it has grown into a modern, cosmopolitan city, though it is often overlooked in comparison to its larger, more glamorous neighbours, Toronto and Montreal. Its main landmark is the 302ft (92m) high Peace Tower. The tower surmounts the imposing Parliament Buildings, which stand in Gothic splendour at the junction of the Ottawa, Rideau and Gatineau rivers.
The city has a network of waterways and canals that link it to Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay. The historic Rideau Canal is used for boating in summer, and for ice sculpting and skating in winter, by locals and visitors alike. The parliament buildings and other architectural sites have an old-world European charm, and Ottawa has numerous top class museums and galleries, and the National Arts Center, which houses an opera company, theatres, studios and restaurants.