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City Travel Guide - Ottawa
Rideau Canal in Ottawa Ontario Winter fun in Ottawa Parliament buildings in Ottawa, Ontario

"Home to many museums and heritage buildings, Ottawa is filled with cultural attractions."

Ottawa Tourism

Canada's capital is located on the majestic Ottawa River, which also forms the border between Ontario and Québec. With the completion of the Rideau Canal, Ottawa had become the centre of the nation's waterway systems, a vital network for trade and communication. The city grew up around the banks of the canal; the west side became known as 'Uppertown' and housed the buildings of Parliament, while the east side became 'Lowertown', a diverse, multicultural neighborhood.

Naturally, being the nation's capital, many of the residents are government employees and military, but most of the nation's high-tech companies have offices here, leading to the nickname 'Silicon Valley North'.

In the cold winter months, the Rideau becomes a skater's paradise. Boasting 7.8 kilometres of unobstructed canal, the Rideau Canal is officially the world's longest skating rink. Ottawa is famous for it's annual Winterlude celebrations, which attract hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. During the first 3 weeks of February the city is host to an unbelievable array of events that celebrate and embrace all things winter, from ice sculptures and elaborate snow parks, to musical concerts featuring top performers.

You'll find the summer months, however, as warm as anywhere in Canada, and the events calendar just as full. The highlight of the year is of course the Canada Day celebrations on July 1st. A lavish day-long spectacle that culminates in a traditional fireworks display on Capital Hill.