Students riding bikes along the Rideau Canal, cycling

Student groups

Canada’s #1 destination for students

More student groups visit Ottawa each year than any other Canadian city. It’s little wonder. For teachers, Canada’s capital offers a wealth of national historic sites, museums and monuments that immerse students in the story of our country’s past, present and future, and that are concentrated in the city’s safe and walkable downtown core. For students, Ottawa offers a diverse range of ways to blow off a little steam—from cycling on our vast network of paved pathways, to adventure experiences and skating on the world’s largest rink, to festivals, sports and entertainment. For tour operators, Ottawa is an experienced host city, with accommodations, hospitality and services on the ground directly geared to student groups.

Match your visit to your curriculum

If you’re teaching students about government and democracy, take them behind the scenes at the Parliament of Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada. For Canadian history, the choices are unparalleled, thanks to national museums devoted to just about every facet of Canada’s human, technological and natural history. Art teachers always include the National Gallery of Canada on their itineraries. Ottawa is home to numerous performing arts venues for student bands and choirs looking for a place to play. And if you’re looking for opportunities for students to practice a second language, Ottawa is one of the country’s most bilingual cities.

Reason to visit in any season

Ottawa is a year-round destination, offering special reasons to visit during all four seasons:

  • Fall – Explore the city while enjoying the dramatic backdrop of autumn colours, visit the Canadian War Museum and attend national Remembrance ceremonies in November.
  • Winter – Go on a group skate on the Rideau Canal — a UNESCO World Heritage Site that becomes the world’s largest outdoor skating rink in winter — and revel in the spirit of Winterlude, Canada’s winter celebration.
  • Spring – Explore the urban city or countryside by bike, and experience springtime festivals and celebrations, including maple syrup season and the Canadian Tulip Festival.
  • Summer – Enjoy the full Canadian capital experience on Parliament Hill, including a Tour of the Parliament Buildings, the Canada on the March concert, and the Sound & Light Show, and take a relaxing boat cruise on the Ottawa River.

Many of the abovementioned sites and events are free! For more budget-friendly Ottawa ideas, consult our webpages Free or nearly free Ottawa in spring, summer or fall, and Free or nearly free Ottawa in winter.

Tips for student trips

Curriculum in the city – Many national museums, attractions and experiences available in Ottawa offer extended and curriculum-based programs from July until the end of April each year.

Many places to perform – Ottawa offers student bands and choirs numerous performance venues, from stunning civic spaces, to museums and galleries, theatres, heritage churches—and the National Arts Centre!

Planning assistance – Ottawa Tourism assists student tour operators with information and resources for planning their group visit—including our Destination Planners Guide, maps, posters, images and more. Contact us for more information.

Travelling from the United States?

American students under the age of 19 travelling with a school group only need to present a birth certificate (original or copy), Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or naturalization certificate when crossing the border by land or sea.


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.