Canada’s capital city is a beloved destination of those whose hearts belong to arts, history and culture as well as those who enjoy outdoor adventure and nature. While any season in Ottawa has its charm, winter adds an enchanting layer to the city’s allure. As conference attendees often extend their stay to explore the wonders this city has to offer, here are 20 must-do experiences to mix meetings with memories in Ottawa during the winter months.
1. Parliament Hill: Begin your journey in the heart of Canadian democracy. Explore the historic Parliament buildings and absorb the political pulse of the nation.
2. Rideau Canal Skateway: Glide across the world's largest outdoor rink, the Rideau Canal Skateway. This UNESCO World Heritage Site transforms into a magical winter wonderland, offering a unique perspective of the city.
3. Canadian Museum of History: Immerse yourself in the narrative of Canada, from its ancient roots to the contemporary era. The museum's exhibits vividly tell the stories that have shaped the nation.
4. Winterlude: Celebrate the essence of Canadian winter during this annual festival. From ice sculptures to outdoor concerts, Winterlude encapsulates the spirit of the season.
5. Mādahòkì Farm: Experience Indigenous culture at Mādahòkì Farm and meet the Ojibwe Spirit Horses. It's a unique opportunity to connect with the rich heritage of Canada's First Nations.
6. National Gallery of Canada: Lose yourself in the world of art at the National Gallery, featuring an extensive collection of Canadian, Indigenous and international masterpieces.
7. Canadian Museum of Nature: Wander through the captivating landscapes, flora and fauna of Canada. This museum offers a fascinating journey through the country's natural history.
8. Gatineau Park: Strap on snowshoes and escape to the winter wilderness of Gatineau Park. Its pristine beauty and tranquillity make it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.
9. Camp Fortune: Ski or snowboard down the slopes of Camp Fortune, with the added thrill of winter mountain biking for the adventurous souls.
10. Canada Science and Technology Museum: Delve into the innovative spirit of Canada at this museum, tracing the country's scientific and technological advancements over the years.
11. Cross Country Trails: Experience the serenity of cross-country skiing in the heart of the city or explore the trails in the picturesque Greenbelt.
12. Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum: Venture underground into this perfectly preserved Cold War Bunker, offering a glimpse into Canada's history during tense times.
13. Brew Donkey: Take a curated tour of Ottawa's vibrant craft breweries with Brew Donkey, sampling the diverse flavours of the local beer scene.
14. Canada Aviation and Space Museum: Soar through history at one of the world's finest collections of vintage aircraft, celebrating Canada's contributions to aviation and space exploration.
15. Casino du Lac-Leamy: Step into a world of glamour, gaming and entertainment at the Casino du Lac-Leamy, a perfect spot for a night of excitement.
16. Neighbourhoods: Explore the diverse districts of Ottawa, including Little Italy, the Glebe and Chinatown, each offering a unique cultural experience.
17. Canadian War Museum: Gain insight into Canada's military history and its impact on both the home front and conflicts abroad at this thought-provoking museum.
20. Mer Bleue Bog: Take a winter hike through Mer Bleue Bog, a unique natural area home to many rare birds and wildlife.
BONUS: Historic Towns & Villages: Venture beyond the downtown core and explore the historic towns and villages within the city, each with its distinctive character and stories to tell.
In Ottawa, winter is a canvas where the city beautifully weaves together its unique tapestry of history, culture and adventure. Whether you're passionate about art, fascinated by history or are an active adventurer, Ottawa unfolds its magical offerings during the winter months. Embrace the chill, bundle up and uncover the enchanting wonders that await in this Canadian winter wonderland.