Tourist Attractions

The Most Popular Attractions of Ottawa. This is Lin again. There are too many attractions to practically list in here, but here are a few of the more popular ones. For additional ones a great site is This is the official Ottawa website. In addition to listing some of my personal favorites, I will share a story at the bottom of the page.

While Parliament Hill and the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica are the most common destinations for tourists interested in the early architectural styles of Ottawa, other popular attractions also draw visitors with their architecture, history, or sometimes both. One attraction that draws visitors with a blend of both is ByWard Market. One of Canada’s oldest and largest public markets, ByWard is the original site of the Bytown market, and the historic center of Ottawa. Five open air courtyards filled with flowers, park benches, fountains and sculptures can be found in the market, as well as shopping and dining during the day, and bars, clubs and entertainment in the evenings.

The ByWard Market

Another popular attraction with roots in the history of Ottawa is the Rideau Canal. Designed to provide a secure shipping route during the War of 1812, today the Canal provides 126 miles of pathways and waterways for recreation. During the winter, the Canal becomes the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s longest skating rink. Bigger than 90 Olympic sized hockey rinks, skating is free 24 hours a day. Food kiosks, restrooms and heated huts line the skateway, making it a popular winter destination for both locals and visitors. During the summer, the pathways become popular for cycling, running and walking, while the waterways fill with guided history cruises, canoes, paddleboats and kayaks. The Canadian Tulip Festival also occurs along the Canal in May, a celebration in honor of the 100,000 tulip bulbs gifted to Canada by the royal family of the Netherlands, in thanks for sheltering them during WWII.

The Rideau Canal taken from a friends drone

Other popular attractions Ottawa offers include the National Gallery, home of the world’s largest collection of Inuit works, the Canadian Museum of History with its totem poles from Haida Gwaii, and Winterlude, an annual winter themed celebration featuring ice carving, snow sculpting and music. And of course there are the professional sports; the Senators of the National Hockey League and the Redblacks of Canadian Football League both call Ottawa home. While Ottawa remembers its roots in the lumber industry and remains the government seat of Canada, it offers residents, visitors and tourists so much more.

So on a slightly different note, I mentioned on one of the other pages that when I first started my company, I rented northwest of Ottawa for a year in a small town called Chelsea. We were in an older, inexpensive, starter office at the time. Chelsea as a very nice quaint little town of older buildings, mostly well kept. But our small office building was one of the few in disrepair. It was actually an old house bordering on a district zoned for business. The owner was able to get a variance granted to rent his house out as office space. We got a great deal which is why we wound up here. But the house, like the septic system, was in disrepair. I love this area so much that I don’t like to see anything in poor condition. The vinyl siding (unusual in this part of Canada) was old and cracked.

I spoke to the landlord about fixing it, but he was inexperienced and had no idea where to begin, so I told him I would do the legwork for him. He said he’d look at whatever I could find. I talked to my friend Bob about this and he pointed me to a website of a company that specialized in vinyl, brick, stone, wood, and metal siding in Richmond, Va. I even called them and they were very helpful over the phone. The site gave me all kinds of ideas, so I looked locally here and made some calls, and was eventually able to narrow it down to the one I thought would do the best. I provided the landlord the contact info, but left that office space before anything was done. I really hope they were able to get that addressed. The building would be really pretty if it had nice new siding. Anyway, I am glad we are back in the city now.