Rideau Canal Locks

Ottawa Virtual Tours, Exhibitions, Activities and Performances

With options like livestreamed performances, virtual brewery tours and online exhibitions, there are countless ways to virtually experience Canada’s capital region. Here are some online options to explore Ottawa at a distance and get inspired to visit in the future.

Virtual tours

  • Parliament of Canada’s House of Commons to learn about Canada’s government while Centre Block undergoes several years of renovations;
  • Rideau Hall, the official residence and workplace of the governor general of Canada;
  • Take a video tour through the gardens and grounds of the National Gallery of Canada;
  • Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History, to learn about Canadian history and experience from coast to coast to coast;
  • Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum, the underground-bunker-turned-museum which was built to house senior members of government during the Cold War (be sure to check out their new Bunker Boutique!);
  • Bytown Museum, which tells the history of Ottawa from rough and tumble lumber town to the country’s modern capital;
  • Experience the Canadian Museum of Nature online by taking their 3D, 360-degree virtual tour, exhibition walkthroughs and more;
  • Take a virtual trip down the Rideau Canal with TVO’s program TRIPPING the Rideau Canal! This four hour, immersive “real-time” trip down the UNESCO World Heritage Site explores the beauty and history of the Rideau Canal as if you were sailing yourself;
  • Just south of Ottawa, Watson’s Mill in Manotick brings visitors back to the 1860s. Check out their virtual tour to learn about flour production and the start of the town;
  • See important works and objects from AY Jackson’s career in the Firestone Collection at the Ottawa Art Gallery’s virtual 3D tour;
  • The Supreme Court of Canada offers free remote tours with a guide-interpreter;
  • Take a video tour of the Beechwood Cemetery, Canada’s National Military Cemetery.

Online exhibitions and activities

Festivals and events

  • The annual Sound and Light Show – Northern LIghts on Parliament Hill—which is normally projected onto Centre Block with English and French audio—is virtual this year. There’s also an an activity kit!
  • The Music and Beyond festival (originally scheduled July 4-17, 2020) is releasing 100 original videos of musicians performing as well as visual artists, guest hosts other content. Half the videos are in French and half are in English.
  • Local tech company SportsStats offers a Physical Distancing 5K, inviting participants to register and run a course at its west-end headquarters anytime until September 2020.
  • The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend has cancelled its annual event scheduled for May 23-24, 2020 and is going virtual this year with a virtual race. Run Ottawa is working with Sportstats to create a shareable virtual finish line to allow participants to run or walk on their own between May 15 and September 7 while respecting and promoting all public health physical distancing guidelines.
  • Capital Pride is virtually hosting their annual celebration of the city’s 2SLGBTQ+ community, August 23-30, 2020
  • The Canada Army Run cancelled its annual race but encourages participants to participate in the Canada Army Run: Virtual (September 12-20, 2020).
  • The annual Ottawa International Animation Festival will be hosting an extended online version, September 23 to October 4, 2020.

Performances

  • The National Arts Centre, Canada’s home for performing arts located in downtown Ottawa, brings the arts online in a new way with their #CanadaPerforms series, highlighting Canadian artists during livestream concerts, offered most days.
    • Ottawa Bluesfest and the National Arts Centre both offer summer drive in concerts. #CanadaPerforms at RBC Bluesfest Drive-In celebrates Canadian musicians beginning July 31, 2020 on the Zibi site in Gatineau.
  • Support Ontario artists by watching living room concerts at Music Together, presented by Ontario Live.

Stay up to date

Stay up to date on upcoming events and ideas to plan your next trip to Ottawa with friends, family or on your own by signing up for the Ottawa Tourism Newsletter.