Ottawa is the capital city of Canada – *WAIT*, the capital isn’t TORONTO?? This is such a common mistake amongst visitors to Canada. Although I have been to Toronto four times before, I have never visited Ottawa, and so I thought it was right to travel two hours from Montreal to see what the capital of Canada could offer me. I must be honest, having done my usual Google search before travelling, I wasn’t particularly ‘wowed’ by the selection of sights. I must say, however, that I had an AMAZING day. Keep reading to see what I did in Ottawa in a day.
1. Parliament Hill
A definite must-visit, the Parliamentary building located downtown, has stark similarities to England’s Big Ben in London (also described as the shadow of Big Ben). I was able to get a tour around the Parliament and access to the top of the Peace Tower. Both these passes are available for free just opposite the Parliament building (on a first come, first serve basis)! I’d recommend going there first, obtaining a pass for a set time and returning later in the day. As you can see from the photos, it really was a glorious September day -<
I was able to walk around the Parliament freely and wander around the building. Unfortunately the lift wasn’t working so we climbed the stairs *first world problems*. The interior was really beautiful and it was clear intricate attention to detail was taken. There was a room called the Memorial Chamber, dedicated to those who lost their lived during the devastation of the First World War. We were told that the pages of the book of names located in the centre of the Chamber was turned once a day. This is done to ensure that every name gets to be displayed in the Chamber at least once a year. Family members are able to contact the Parliament and find out when the name of their respected family member would be on display, and plan to visit the Chamber on the respective day.
2. Brunch at Rosie’s Kitchen and Later Lunch at Cora’s
Located at Bank/Fifth, this cute brunch location is an absolute gem! Their selection of food was quite unique and extremely tasty. I got a blueberry cheese waffle – absolutely delicious and filling, LOVED it! Cora’s is a chain breakfast/lunch diner with a menu that never ends. I was absolutely blown away by the huge selection of food. I was told that every single dish was perfection, and let me tell you – I was NOT lied to!
3. Rideau Canal, Rideau Mall, and casual walking downtown
I mean, let’s be honest, planning can only go so far, some spontaneity is also fun and well appreciated. I walked past a memorial service for the guardsmen who were attacked in front of parliament last year. I also managed to find the location of the picture perfect shot that is commonly seen on the front of almost all Ottawa postcards.
4. Beaver Tails (and Byward Market)
So I hear Beaver Tail is only available in Ottawa (don’t quote me on this)! When told about it, I literally thought of edible beaver tails. Instead, I was met with a mouthwatering pastry topped with Nutella <3 Walking to this location also takes you through Byward Market, which is a cute market full of homemade produce (including Canada’s famous maple syrup).
Overall, I really enjoyed Ottawa and would most certainly return for more time! It reminded me of a little Toronto (street layout and traffic lights), but with hints of London through its architecture. There were so many other aspects of Ottawa that I was not able to fully appreciate and enjoy due to the constant 48 hour downpour. There are also a number of museums that I was unable to visit due to time restrictions.
Have you ever visited Ottawa? What did you love about it? Why does it seem like Ottawa is the underdog of Toronto?