Parliament Hill

Off-agenda, on a new path

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“Where do we go from here?” It’s a common refrain raised at meetings and conventions around the world. For those lucky enough to meet at Shaw Centre in the heart of Ottawa, there’s no single correct answer. Because while Ottawa is an expansive city of one million people, its downtown core is a highly walkable mix of historic landmarks and sites, dining, shopping and more.

Consider the fact that a delegate can walk out Shaw Centre’s front door, cross scenic Colonel By Drive, stroll 30-seconds along the historic Rideau Canal, rent a bicycle, and roll directly onto Ottawa’s vast network of dedicated cycling and recreation pathways. It extends in all directions, passing national sites, scenic landscapes–and more than a few fine local craft beer establishments!

For delegates more into shopping than cycling, Shaw Centre is directly attached to Rideau Centre, a 200-store indoor shopping complex that’s home to some of the biggest names in retail. Right next door, the historic ByWard Market includes an outdoor farmers market and chic boutiques by day, and lively restaurants, pubs and patios by night. Delegates can also hop on the city’s new light rail transit system underground at Rideau Station and ride it 10 minutes to the trendy Little Italy, Hintonburg and Westboro Village districts just west of downtown. 

Arts and culture enthusiasts attending the conference will appreciate the fact that the spectacular new Ottawa Art Gallery is literally right across the street from Shaw Centre.  Not to mention the fact that the National Gallery of Canada is just a 5-minute walk up Colonel By Drive, and the Canadian Museum of History another 10 minutes from there across the historic Alexandria Bridge. Oh yeah, and Shaw Centre looks out on the National Arts Centre–Canada’s showcase of the performing arts–just across the Rideau Canal.

For those who simply want to see the capital’s many sights and landmarks, the choices are many–and most are not many steps away. Parliament Hill and the National War Memorial are just a block west of Shaw Centre, as is the starting point for hop-on hop-off bus tours. There are also a range of downtown walking tours available, and, for the nautically inclined, Rideau Canal boat cruises start just outside Shaw Centre, and Ottawa River cruises board about five minutes away.

For those who simply want to return to their hotel and relax after a long day of sessions and networking, they won't have far to go: six thousand hotel rooms are within easy walking distance of Shaw Centre–and many more are connected to it via the aforementioned new light rail transit system.

Ottawa’s compact downtown makes getting around, seeing the sights and travelling further afield easy and enjoyable off-agenda activities and pursuits.

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