“Oh!” to “Ah!”: Work and play collide in Canada’s capital

Whether you’re visiting Ottawa to attend a conference, meet with government officials or simply explore everything from historic buildings and natural landmarks to some of the best restaurants in Canada, there is no shortage of things that will make you go both “Oh!” and “Ah!”

Ottawa, a city whose name actually begins with “Oh!” and ends with “Ah!” is one that begs visitors to come early to take in the grand Parliament buildings and over 800 km of trails and stay late to shop at the city’s legendary Byward Market and perhaps indulge in a meal from one of the top 100 restaurants in the country. Beautiful every season, Canada’s capital is one of the best places in the world to learn, network, sightsee and relax.

Here’s a look at what you don’t want to miss during your stay, whether you’re here for one night or seven.

Learn, network and make a difference

Since Ottawa is the home of Canada’s federal government, the city is no stranger to conferences and events that welcome tens of thousands of businesspeople and delegates from around the world. Anyone visiting Ottawa on business can visit the recently renamed and rejuvenated Shaw Centre–the top convention centre in the world. This award-winning four-level convention centre spans 192,000 square feet and offers visitors stunning views of the Rideau Canal and the bustling downtown core.

Also, staying just steps away from the Shaw Centre is easy, as the centrally located venue–which is set to host The Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CANSEC) 2024 conference with over 10,000 delegates later this month–is close to a range of comfortable hotels boasting 6,000 rooms combined.


Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff or a modern art aficionado, the city has everything you’re looking for. If you arrive a day or two before your event, you won’t want to miss the chance to see the Rideau Canal. This UNESCO World Heritage site spans over 200 kilometres and links the Ottawa River with the Cataraqui River and Lake Ontario in nearby Kingston. Fun fact: you can even skate on the canal in the winter!

The city is an active traveller’s paradise, offering about 800 kilometres (or 497 miles) of recreational pathways for cyclists, runners and rollerbladers.

Culture lovers will also feel right at home in the nation’s capital, as Ottawa is home to seven of Canada’s nine national museums. Some sites worth visiting include the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of History, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, the Canadian War Museum, and more. Truly adventurous travellers can let the team behind Lord of the Rings and Avatar teach them about one thing that scares and fascinates almost all of us–bugs! The interactive and create Bug Adventure exhibit, hosted by the Canadian Museum of Nature, is only on until October.

Also, no visit to Ottawa is complete without a stop at Parliament Hill. Home to Canada’s government, visitors can tour the House of Commons at West Block, the Senate of Canada Building and the East Block.


Whether you’re in the mood for high-end cuisine or something quick and tasty at the famous Byward Market, Ottawa offers a flourishing culinary scene. Most recently, six acclaimed restaurants made the prestigious list of the top 100 restaurants in Canada–something that came as little surprise to those who live and play in the city that’s home to the world-famous culinary arts institute, Le Cordon Bleu.

Many chefs are trained at the institution and the city is now known for offering everything from a delicious burger to a memorable French entree.

If you are looking to combine work with play, there’s no better place to be than one of Canada’s most vibrant–and significant–cities.

Learn more at the official website of Ottawa Tourism


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