With its many dog-friendly places and activities, Canada’s capital is the perfect destination for you and your pup. When it’s time to explore, you could join one of the walking tour companies which welcome dogs on their outdoor tours – like The Haunted Walk. But with so many sights and attractions within walking distance of downtown hotels, it’s also a breeze to explore on your own. When it’s time to go for a W.A.L.K. in downtown Ottawa, use the handy circuits below!
Route 1: Ottawa River, views and museums
- Visit the giant spider sculpture, Maman, in front of the beautiful National Gallery of Canada before walking behind the museum to explore exterior sculptures.
- Go up to Nepean Point for a close-up of the Samuel de Champlain statue and breathtaking views of the Ottawa River.
- Walk across the Alexandra Bridge, a beautiful metal structure that links the Ontario and Quebec sides of the Ottawa River.
- Make your way to the Canadian Museum of History and take in the most beautiful views of Parliament Hill from between its undulated buildings. (Tip: Look for the large statue of a canoe in one of the ponds. The creature in the boat may look like a dog, but it’s actually a wolf!)
- Go down the steps to the grassy grounds below and head to the Au Feel de l’Eau Aqua-Taxi Board one of these fully accessible electric boats which take passengers and pets on convenient and picturesque rides across the Ottawa River (seasonal).
- Disembark on the Ontario side at the dock next to the Ottawa Locks of the Rideau Canal. Have fun walking over the historic locks and watching boats travel through (seasonal).
- Finish the route by visiting the adjacent Bytown Museum, which is housed in Ottawa’s oldest stone building. Dogs are allowed on the ground floor of this attraction which covers the city’s history.
Route 2: ByWard Market neighbourhood to Parliament Hill
- Start in the vibrant ByWard Market neighbourhood where you’ll find the giant OTTAWA sign at the corner of York Street and Sussex Drive. A perfect photo opp with your pup!
- Check out the colourful art installation painted on the York Street steps (representing salmon leaping up a waterfall).
- Go up the steps and across Mackenzie Avenue to Major’s Hill Park. Follow the winding pathways through the peaceful park and loop back along the railings (plus enjoy the views).
- Follow the railing to the west side of the Fairmont Château Laurier, a historic castle-like hotel which opened in 1912. Make your way to Rideau Street and turn right.
- While on the Plaza Bridge, look north for one of the most popular Ottawa viewpoints: the Rideau Canal Locks as they connect with the majestic Ottawa River, with Parliament Hill and the Fairmont hotel perched above. A beautiful spot for sunsets!
- Continue walking west on Wellington Street to the ultimate Canadian icon, Parliament Hill. Walk to the Centennial Flame directly in front, gaze up at the Peace Tower and explore the monuments on the grounds (due to ongoing construction, some parts of the grounds may not be accessible and some statues may be relocated).
For other great ways to enjoy the city while walking your dog, bring them along while you explore Ottawa's vibrant urban arts scene.