The City of Ottawa is ready to reinspire. With meetings and events returning to live formats, Canada’s capital is eager to reintroduce planners to a destination packed with places to meet, connect, and engage.
“It’s a fresh start for live events,” says Lesley Mackay, Vice President, Meetings and Major Events with Ottawa Tourism. “There are a lot of groups out there itching to escape their screens to see each in person again, and we’re excited to welcome them here.”
There is much that makes the G7 capital a unique meeting spot, Mackay says. Among the biggest draws, however, is the city’s rich history and culture that has attracts groups of all sizes and backgrounds from around the globe.
“Our national venues and outstanding views—of the Rideau Canal, the Ottawa River, and more—have always been a big draw, but what really sticks with the people who visit here are the enriching and entertaining experiences they have access to outside of meeting hours,” adds Mackay.
Those experiences include:
National Museums: Ottawa is home to seven national museums and dozens of cultural institutions, each of which offers grand public spaces for unique off-site receptions, galas, and events. Here, planners can dine among totem poles at the Canadian Museum of History or next to dinosaurs at the Canadian Museum of Nature, take to the stage at the National Arts Centre, or network overlooking a UNESCO World Heritage Site (the Rideau Canal) at the award-winning Shaw Centre (aka “Canada’s Meeting Place” and recently named the best convention centre in the world). Other popular meeting and event spaces can be found at the Canada Science and Technology Museum, Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and Ottawa Art Gallery. Imagine hosting a corporate board meeting in the War Cabinet Room at the Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum!
Special exhibitions: A number of special exhibitions are waiting to be discovered in 2022. They include Canada and Impressionism (at the National Gallery of Canada), Forever Changed – Stories from the Second World War (at the Canadian War Museum), Imagine Monet (at the EY Centre), and both Banksy 360o and Van Gogh 360o at the Aberdeen Pavilion, among many others. (Read a full list here).
Foodie central: From local flavours and international cuisine in the ByWard Market neighbourhood, to intimate cafes in Wellington West, to dining halls in Centretown, Ottawa is home to a diverse culinary scene that will suit any taste. Sample a few of the options here.
Team building opportunities: Meetings are about making connections, and Ottawa boasts a wealth of entertaining and insightful ways for groups to come together. Here, planners can introduce groups to Indigenous arts and crafts through interactive Makatew Workshops, cook something special at Le Cordon Bleu culinary workshop, lead a city-wide scavenger hunt, take aim at an axe throwing venue, attempt an escape room, or discover any number of outdoor activities. And when it comes time to relax, look no further than Nordik Spa-Nature.
Ongoing events: No matter your arrival date, visitors to Ottawa can participate in a number of annual events. From outdoor markets to live concerts at the RBC Ottawa Bluesfest, sports events to art and floral expos like the Canadian Tulip Festival, Cubana fiestas to Italian festivals, the city always has something to celebrate.
It’s a combination of modern amenities, beautiful scenery, and one-of-a-kind cultural experiences that make Ottawa a go-to meeting place. Add a thriving tech scene and links to business leaders and leading academics to the mix, and it’s easy to see why groups make the return trip.