Whether you arrive by plane, train, bus or automobile, with so many travel options available, getting here is easy! Ottawa is one of the world’s most beautiful capital cities, nestled at the junction of three rolling rivers and bordering the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. Located a short two-hour drive west of Montreal and four-hour drive north-east of Toronto, Ottawa is an easy destination to get to at any time of year.
Convenient, comfortable and affordable, Canada’s passenger train service—VIA Rail—is a great travel choice that offers numerous daily departures to Ottawa from all major cities in southern Ontario and southern Quebec. Ottawa’s Central Station is just minutes east of downtown and a satellite VIA Rail station is located in the west end of the city at Fallowfield-Barrhaven.
Approximate travel times to Ottawa:
- Toronto – 4.5 hours
- Montreal – 2 hours
- Kingston – 2 hours
The major highways in the Ottawa area are the 417 (also known as the Queensway), 416, 174, 7, 16 and 31 in Ontario; and the 148, 50 and 5 in Quebec. When heading east on the 417, the point in which the lanes split into two directions, continue east (this is commonly known as ‘The Split’).
The speed limit on major highways (417, 416, 174) is 100 to 110 km/h (approximately 62 to 68 mph). The limit on other highways (7, 16, 31) and most rural areas is 80 km/h (50 mph). In the city, the speed limit is generally 50 km/h (30 mph) unless otherwise stated. The limit on the 148 in Quebec varies between 50, 70, and 90 km/h (between 30, 43 and 55 mph).
Many streets in Ottawa, especially downtown, are one-way. Be aware of signs that indicate a one-way street (a white arrow on a black background).
Some Ottawa streets have adopted second names. For example, Preston Street runs through Little Italy and is also known as Corso Italia, and Gladstone Avenue is also called Via Marconi.
In Ontario and Quebec (except Montreal), drivers are permitted to turn right on a red light unless otherwise stated.
Many major roadways (called the Transitway) in Ottawa are dedicated to public transit—OC Transpo—buses only. These are marked with a diamond in the lane and/or a sign above the lane. Do not drive in these lanes.
There is a three-hour parking limit on all City of Ottawa streets unless otherwise marked; overnight parking restrictions are in effect during winter months.
During rush hour (7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.), many downtown streets prohibit parking and stopping in order to improve traffic flow. Always check nearby signs for parking restrictions.
Vehicles are not allowed to idle for more than three minutes in a 60-minute period, except in extreme temperatures.
From November 15 to April 1, on-street parking is prohibited between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m. when seven or more centimeters of snow is forecast or falling. Visit the City of Ottawa website for the most current overnight parking bans.
Make sure you park in a location that offers parking for motorhomes as they aren't permitted to park in city parking lots. You can park your motorhome for free at:
- Rideau Carleton Raceway (no overnight parking available)
- Register at the casino
- Walmart, 3651 Strandherd Dr. (overnight parking is permitted)
- Confirm with the store manager during store hours
- Casino Du Lac-Leamy
- 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. only
City of Ottawa Traffic and Parking Branch
The City of Ottawa provides designated parking spaces for tour buses and coaches. These spaces are located close to destination points in Ottawa.
Approximate travel times to Ottawa
- Toronto – 4 ½ hours
- Montreal – 2 hours
- Kingston – 2 hours
- New York – 7 hours
How to Get Here – Google Map
Located just a 20-minute drive from downtown Ottawa, the state-of-the art Ottawa International Airport serves airlines offering flights to most major cities in Canada, the United States and Europe with seasonal services to the Caribbean and South America. It offers more than 110 daily non-stop flights to more than 40 domestic and international destinations.
Taxis, car services and car rentals are located just steps outside the airport. Full accessible public transit to downtown Ottawa is also available with OC Transpo bus route 97.