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12 Cool Things Ottawa is Famous For

Most people are unfamiliar with Ottawa, Canada’s capital, yet it should not be underestimated! Ottawa isn’t only a metropolis for early-rising civil officials. It is, in fact, a bustling student city with a strong love for the arts. So, what makes Ottawa famous for?

An overview of the Capital of Canada

Ottawa is Canada’s capital city. It is situated in the southern part of the province of Ontario, near the junction of the Ottawa and Rideau rivers. Ottawa had a city population of 1,017,449 and a metropolitan population of 1,488,307 as of 2021, making it Canada’s fourth-largest city and fourth-largest metropolitan region.

Ottawa is Canada’s political capital and the federal government’s headquarters. Numerous foreign embassies, significant buildings, organizations, and institutions of Canada’s government, including the Parliament of Canada, the Supreme Court, the residence of Canada’s viceroy, and the Prime Minister’s Office, are located in the city.

12 Cool Things That Make Ottawa Well-Known

Parliament Hill


Ottawa is well-known for Parliament Hill, the country’s most visited political center. During Ottawa’s hot summer days, tourists and locals alike enjoy a good perspective of the city from the Peace Tower and relax on the Hill’s clean green grass.

Parliament Hill has recently provided a lovely path with a stunning view of the Ottawa River behind its buildings.

Interesting fact: Did you know that Parliament Hill has a fountain that never freezes, even in the dead of winter in Canada?

The Odawa

Locals will tell you that the name Ottawa is pronounced “Odawa.”

This is due to the indigenous group, the Odawa or Odawe, whose name means “traders” in the original Algonquin language. Until the introduction of English and French colonies, the region was solely occupied by Odawa bands and tribes. Today, approximately 15,000 Odawa people live in Ontario, Michigan, and Oklahoma.

Ottawa Famous For Art


Ottawa is regarded for possessing one of the world’s most architecturally unusual art galleries. The National Gallery of Canada’s exterior is comprised of glass windows and granite walls, designed by Moshe Safdie.

The National Institution of Canada has about 93,000 different artwork, the most photographed of which can be seen before entering the gallery. Visitors are greeted by a 30-foot-tall spider dubbed “Maman” by artist Louise Bourgeois.

A stroll through the streets of Ottawa and Gatineau will reveal a plethora of independent contemporary galleries showing the work of local artists, such as the Wall Space Gallery, Cube Gallery, Carleton University Art Gallery, and Axené07, to mention a few.


Ottawa is in southeastern Ontario, but it might also be considered part of Quebec. Gatineau, a neighboring city, is included in the National Capital Region.

Indeed, you can cross a bridge and find yourself in the French province of Quebec. Every day, many people commute from Quebec to Ottawa for employment. This implies that the bilingualism for which Ottawa is famous is deeply ingrained in the city’s culture.

When you walk into a store in Ottawa, you’ll be greeted with “bonjour, hi.” There will also be a lot of French spoken around the University of Ottawa, which is the world’s largest English-French bilingual university.

ByWard Market


It would be hard to visit Ottawa without visiting ByWard Market, also known as “The Market.”

This downtown quarter is loaded with produce stands, specialized stores, cafes, and restaurants that are open all year. This is where you’ll discover an infinite supply of maple syrup and BeaverTails, the famed national treat.

Ottawa Famous For Festivals of Music

Summer music festivals are well-known in Ottawa.

The Ottawa Bluesfest is North America’s second largest blues festival. Despite the moniker, the festival attracts world-renowned performers from nearly every genre under the sun. In my opinion, it should be called “Ottawa’s Annual Music Festival.”

The TD Ottawa Jazz Festival also features international artists on a variety of indoor and outdoor stages. Every summer, some of the most famous jazz musicians of today and yesterday perform for crowds of all ages at Confederation Park in downtown Toronto.

Escapade is a new and popular electronic music festival in Ottawa. The CityFolk Fest, held in Ottawa’s Landsdowne Park, is another popular folk festival.



Beavers are well-known in Canada. The beaver was at the heart of the global fur trade, which originated in Canada. Not only did this put Canada on the map, but it also made this wood-loving creature a national symbol. While some people have been known to consume beavers, the Beaver Tail is a far more harmless and popular delicacy.

Whole wheat dough is stretched and fashioned to resemble a beaver’s tail before being deep-fried and drizzled with hot butter and topped with your choice of sweet toppings. The traditional topping of cinnamon, sugar, and lemon is best eaten on a cold winter day, particularly after a long skate on the Rideau Canal.

Rideau Canal


The world’s largest outdoor ice skating rink is located in Ottawa. The Rideau Canal is the longest continually operating canal system in North America, stretching 202 kilometers (125 miles). The Ottawa River, the Saint Lawrence River, and Great Lake Ontario are all accessible via this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the summer, it’s a great area for a bike ride or a jog, but in the winter, it’s transformed into Ottawa’s notorious skating rink. The ice rink extends 7.8 kilometers (4.8 miles) from the Parliament buildings in Ottawa to Carleton University.

Some even skate to and from work, but most prefer a more leisurely skate down the canal. Many people prioritize the reward: a hot chocolate with silky and delectable BeaverTail. Just make sure you consume it before it freezes!

Tulip Festival in Canada


Ottawa is famous for its blooming tulips in the late spring. The Canadian Tulip Festival is the largest of its type, with over one million tulips blooming in a variety of hues and patterns. The flowers line the Rideau Canal and Dow’s Lake, attracting half a million people each year.

During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during WWII, Canada provided refuge to the future Dutch Queen Juliana. The Dutch Royal Family delivered 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa as a thank you. Tulips have been shown and cherished in the nation’s capital since that time.

Ottawa Famous For Winterlude

Every winter, Ottawa is recognized for its Winterlude snow and ice sculpture competition. Sculptors show off their work in downtown Confederation Park. Families, on the other hand, enjoy visiting the enormous ice slides right over the bridge in Gatineau.

Visitors should dress warmly for the three-week event, which takes place during Ottawa’s coldest month, February. Only when temperatures persistently hit -10°C (14°F) is the Rideau Canal open.



Poutine is a term that everyone has heard of. The delectable combination of French fries, cheese, and gravy is especially appealing when the weather is chilly. The meal was not originated in Ottawa, but it is certainly prepared to perfection in the capital.

If you develop a taste for poutine, which is easy to accomplish, you can easily make your own at home. Most stores sell poutine gravy mix or sauce, so all you have to do is cook the French fries and top them with the cheese curds and gravy. It might not taste as good as it did in Ottawa, but we’re confident you can prepare an authentic dish at home.

York Street

The Canadian capital comes alive after nightfall, especially in its more vibrant neighborhoods. York Street has the biggest concentration of hip bars, Irish pubs, and nightclubs in Ottawa. York Street runs virtually parallel to Byward Market Square, the city’s main shopping and dining district. Start with Liquor Store Party Bar with its warehouse-style club for liquor and a wonderful party environment. Vineyard’s Wine Bar Bistro, which frequently features live jazz, is a great place to spend a more casual evening sipping wines.

Some Travel Suggestions for Ottawa

  • Between March and May, when temperatures begin to increase and the city begins to bloom, is the greatest time to visit Ottawa.
  • Plan a nighttime visit to the exhibition hall Currency Exchange: The Canadian dollar, which is nearly equal to the US dollar, is Ottawa’s legal tender. In any case, you should plan to check the current conversion rate before you leave to avoid confusion when purchasing products and acclimating yourself to Canadian money.
  • Walking is the best way to move around Ottawa. The city boasts a vibrant nightlife that promises to provide an unforgettable experience anytime you visit.

The locals reveal the top things to do in Ottawa!

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Maris Lopez
Maris Lopezhttp:////
Hey there! I'm Maris, an American girl who is passionate about adventure, the outdoors and all things travel!


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