Parliament Hill

Accessibility is key: a new era of public transit in Ottawa

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Whether by plane, train or automobile, it’s easy to get to Ottawa – and now it’s even easier to explore the city thanks to its state-of-the-art light rail transit (LRT) line. Since Ottawa launched Stage 1 of its major LRT project in September 2019, visitors and delegates are enjoying even more convenient and pleasant transportation throughout the city.

Canada’s capital is centrally located in the province of Ontario, in between Toronto and Montreal. The award-winning Ottawa International Airport (YOW) offers daily direct connections to over 30 Canadian, U.S. and European Centres, and access to downtown is a quick 20-minute transfer via public bus, taxi or ride-share. The city is also accessible by train or vehicle via a number of major highways.

Although Ottawa is known for its compact and walkable downtown, the recent Stage 1 launch of the LRT provides additional transit options – especially between conference venues, local hot spots and national sites. The Confederation Line runs 12.5 kilometres east-west through the city, and its 13 stations provide convenient connections to local bus routes. LRT stations are easy to find with their large red “O” branding and wayfinding markers stamped on sidewalks in strategic locations.

The three underground stations (Lyon, Parliament and Rideau) as well as the uOttawa station are particularly convenient for delegates. Although many sites are within walking distance, the LRT provides delegates with fast and comfortable connections between hotels, the Shaw Centre (conference centre), the adjacent Rideau Centre (the city’s largest shopping destination), off-site venues and several neighbourhoods.

All stations are connected to bus routes, and customers can transfer between buses and trains on the single fare for up to two hours in the evenings and on weekends. Fares are $3.50 for a single ticket at a fare machine, or $3.45 with a Presto card.

Easily accessible from street-level, all 13 stations have elevators and have been designed based on universal accessibility principles. And connectivity is never an issue since free Wi-Fi is available in the three underground stations, and eventually at all Confederation Line stops.

As a key piece of infrastructure, the light rail transit system will benefit tourism in Ottawa by providing visitors with easier access to attractions and sites of interest, including some located off the beaten path. Since countless buses have been replaced with electric trains running underground, strolling and cycling downtown is even more pleasant than before.

Ottawa is blessed to have infrastructure that reflects all stages of the city’s growth.  “From traditional Algonquin territory to the lumber industry to the G7 world capital of today, you can find the story of Canada writ large in Ottawa.” says Catherine Callary, Ottawa Tourism’s Vice President of Destination Development.

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