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Ottawa, die Hauptstadt Kanadas, Bild: Facto Photo / shutterstock

Ottawa – Canada’s natural capital

In eastern Ontario lies the green capital of Canada: Ottawa. Home to more than 880,000 inhabitants, it is not only considered a political center of the country, but also an important and modern cultural city of Canada. In addition to the striking Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal is one of the most beautiful and important sights in the city.

Ottawa’s Parliament Hill

Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill, Image: Maurizio De Mattei / shutterstock

Ottawa’s famous landmark is Parliament Hill, the parliament hill on which the Canadian Parliament still meets today. Surrounded by Ottawa’s green nature, the neo-Gothic Parliament Building with the 91-metre-high Peace Tower towers over the cityscape. This extraordinary building complex of Parliament Hill is complemented by the Parliamentary Library from the late 19th century, which attracts attention in its ornate Victorian-neo-Gothic style. If you take a closer look around Parliament Hill, you can discover statues of historical and mythical figures, including effigies of Queen Elizabeth II, George-Étienne Cartier and the legendary Galahad from Arthurian legend. Together with the Rideau Canal, Parliament Hill is one of the most important sights in the Canadian capital.

Parks – The green lungs of Ottawa

Ottawa River
Ottawa River, Image: Randall Runtsch / shutterstock

Since 2007, Ottawa’s Rideau Canal has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1832, the man-made 202-kilometer-long canal opened for the first time, leading to the city of Kingston. Once built as a protective mechanism in the event of an American-Canadian war, today it offers an idyllic green scenery that invites you to take a tour and walk. In winter, the frozen canal even becomes a skateway into a well-frequented ice rink.

In addition to the partly green banks of the Rideau Canal, Ottawa presents itself as a park-rich city that is suitable for relaxing walks in the Canadian nature. Not far from the canal, for example, you can discover Major’s Hill Park, which is one of the green lungs in the heart of the city. The 20,000-hectare National Capital Greenbelt also nestles against the urban area with its forests, waters and farms, which presents itself as a colourful play of colours, especially in autumn. Also worth mentioning are Jacques Cartier Park, Central Park and Britannia Park including the beach.

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Ottawa’s Other Attractions

Cathedral Basilica Notre Dame Ottawa
Cathedral Basilica of Notre Dame, Image: anderm / shutterstock

Far away from Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal, the National War Memorial draws attention to itself as a significant attraction. The monument, unveiled in 1939 by King George VI, commemorates the fallen soldiers of the First World War with its artistic statues by the sculptor Vernon March and its triumphal arch. Within sight of the memorial, you can discover one of the city’s fascinating architectural buildings: the Central Chambers, built in the late 19th century in the striking Queen Anne style.

Galleries and museums for culture lovers

If you are interested in culture, there are many museums to discover in Ottawa. These include the famous National Gallery of Canada, with works by van Gogh, Rubens, Rembrandt, Césanne and Klimt on display. The most visited museum in the country, on the other hand, is Canada’s National Museum of History and Society, which has exhibits from the country’s history and archaeological research. If you are interested in military history, you can also visit the War Museum in Ottawa, the Canadian Museum of Nature deals with natural history and the Canada Science and Technology Museum deals with natural science. This museum-rich facet of Ottawa also makes the Canadian capital one of the country’s important cultural centres.

Trendy districts, nightlife and events in Ottawa

The ByWard Market and the Golden Triangle are considered the city’s central trendy and cultural districts. To the east of the district is the ByWard Market, whose history dates back to the early 19th century. Visitors to this entertainment and shopping district are greeted by restaurants, boutiques and nightclubs. The Golden Triangle is located in the heart of the city between the Rideau Canal and the central Elgin Street. It is also home to the National Arts Centre, arguably Ottawa’s premier cultural institution on the Performing Coast, where theatre and performances are regularly staged. The Canadian capital’s annual events and festivities are also worth a visit. Of course, Canada Day is also celebrated in a big way here, and those interested in music can visit the Ottawa International Jazz Festival or the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival in the city area. In the winter months, the annual Winterlude also takes place, celebrating the fourth season with art installations, music concerts and culinary specialties.

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Attractions around Ottawa

Ottawa is an attractive starting point for excursions due to its location not far from the border to Quebec and the USA . Not far from the city is the idyllic Gatineau Park, known for its forests, lakes and hills. The park area, which covers over 350 square kilometres, is home to over 200 species of birds and over 50 species of mammals. If you are also interested in animals and nature, you can visit the Parc Omega about 80 kilometers away. About 100 kilometers from Ottawa, on the border with the USA, lies the Boldt Castle. The well-visited attraction of the Thousand Islands presents an example of North American romantic architecture on a small leafy island. Kingston is one of Ottawa’s neighboring cities worth visiting.