Ottawa – Canada’s Most Important City
Straggling on the south bank of the Ottawa River, the city of Ottawa serves as the capital of Canada and is among the most important cities in the country. The Census Metropolitan Areas in Ottawa is inhabited by 1,236,324, making it fourth-largest city in Canada fourth-largest city. The city is situated at an elevation of 70 meters above mean sea level and boasts of a multicultural diverse population. High standard of living, most educated city in Canada, Numbeo quality of life index and low unemployment are some of the attributes that the city is famous for. Founded by Bytown in 1826, the city was incorporated as Ottawa in 1856 and during that time it was a flourishing Irish and French Christian settlement. The city contains the mouth of Rideau River and Rideau Canal and houses 1 UNESCO Approved World Heritage Site. Ottawa is a bilingual city and English and French are the official co-languages. However, due to its diverse population Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Italian along with many other languages is also spoken.
While Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport is the primary airport serving the city, Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport and Ottawa/Carp Airport are the two regional airports in Ottawa. Most of the domestic as well as international flights land at the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport. Having a humid subtropical climate, Ottawa has 4 distinct seasons – winter from December to February when the average temperature dips to as low as −14.8 °C and snowfall is very common. From March onwards snow begins to thaw and spring blossoms in the city, making it a good time to visit. The city experiences summer season from June till August and temperatures range between 30 and 40 °C. This is the peak tourist season; hence it is advised that you book your hotels in advance. The tourist season continues during the autumn season from September to November as the weather is comfortable and the rates of the hotels starts to decline. Maple Sugar Festival in March, Ottawa International Children's Festival in June, Festival X in Sep-Oct, Canadian Tulip Festival (May, Canada Day in July, Winterlude in February, Victoria Day Festival in May, Canadian Folk Music Awards in November and Ottawa Marathon in May are the major festivals celebrated in Ottawa.
The splendorous Parliament Hill is the prime attraction of Ottawa, famed for its Victorian Gothic architecture and the Peace Tower which is noted for its many sculptures. Connecting Ottawa with Kingston, the 200 km long Rideau Canal serves as an active waterway during summer and in winters it becomes the a leisure spot for festivals and enjoying ice skating. Do not miss visiting the National Gallery of Canada which exhibits variety of displays related to the history and culture of Canada. Notre-Dame, Canadian War Museum and Major's Hill Park are located close to the museum.
Canadian War Museum (known for showcasing Canada's military past), Lower Town (the lower part of the city filled with markets, restaurants and shops), Upper Town (Ottawa's upscale area), Dows Lake Pavilion (at a picturesque location overlooking the lake), Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Canada's Cold War Museum, Canadian Museum of Nature, RCMP Musical Ride Centre and National Archives of Canada are the top rated attractions in Ottawa.
Eating and Shopping
When eating in Ottawa, it is customary that you pay 15-18% of the total bill as a tip to the waiting staff and $1-2 is expected by the bartenders for each drink at the pub. While there are numerous local food joints as well as restaurants of international repute, the city boasts of charming coffee shops that are scattered all over Ottawa. Beaver Tail, which is deep fried pastry dough indigenous to Ottawa, Obama Cookie, Poutine, Maple Syrup, Pasta, Corn on the Cob, German-Style Sausage, Pickerel, Wild Blueberries and Shawarma are some of the most popular dishes one should savor in Ottawa. While one can find pubs and nightclubs in any part of the city, ByWard Market, Wellington Avenue, Elgin Street, Centretown area and Bank Street are the most popular bar areas.
Be it large shopping malls, upscale boutiques, stores of luxurious brands or local markets and downtown shopping districts, in Ottawa, shopping is a wonderful activity that travellers of any budget can enjoy. Rideau Centre, St. Laurent Shopping Centre, Bayshore Shopping Centre, Place D'Orleans and Carlingwood Mall are among the largest malls in Ottawa where you can buy plenty of things. If you are shopping on a budget then visit ByWard Market, Sparks Street, Westboro Village and Bank Street Promenade which are pedestrian streets having a mix of stores. The Great Glebe Garage Sale held on the last Saturday in May is a major shipping event where locales sell variety of goods by setting up tables in their lawns or garages.
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