Originally named Colonel's Hill in honor of Colonel John By, the architect of the Canal Rideau, this park was renamed after By was replaced by a Major. The park offers a panoramic view of several major attractions, including Parliament Hill, the Ottawa River, the Museum of Civilization, the National Gallery and Notre-Dame Basilica. It's also the location of Colonel By's original home, or at least its foundation, as well as a statue of the city's founding father. The park is located along MacKenzie Avenue, directly behind the Chateau Laurier Hotel. Visitors can enjoy picnicking at the park's well maintained picnic areas. Taking a walk amidst the lush greenery is not a bad idea either! Escape the hustle bustle of the city and enjoy some tranquil moments at this beautiful park.
Perhaps Canada's greatest artifact of the Cold War, this 30 square kilometer (100,000 square foot) bunker is located less than an hour west of Ottawa in Carp. Diefenbunker was constructed at the height of nuclear tensions between 1959 and 1961, and named after then Prime Minister John Diefenbaker. Built on springs to absorb explosive shockwaves, the bunker can accommodate more than 500 people for 30 days. Presently a museum, this National Historic Site offers its visitors a peek inside the government rooms and living quarters.
Fresh flowers often grace the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, an unnamed Canadian victim of the First World War. Towering above are 22 figures frozen in bronze as they rush forward into battle. Nurses, pilots, soldiers and sailors all represent tales of self-sacrifice and courage. Though prominently located in the busy downtown core, National War Memorial becomes the center of attention every November 11 at 11a, when the country marks Remembrance Day in honor of the men and women who paid the ultimate price for freedom.
Located on the grounds of Central Experimental Farm is the Dominion Arboretum. It houses a wide array of shrubs and plants as old as 1889. The arboretum is home to over 1,700 varieties of trees and bushes. It spans over 64.24 acres (26 hectares) and is home to the Ornamental Gardens where there is an annual showcase of plants, flowers and hedges.
Lansdowne Park is one of the prime locations for live performances and trade shows in Ottawa. It is also the venue for the annual SuperEx. The main aim of this venue is to cater to all age groups and become a multi-purpose sports and entertainment center. Some of the facilities here include exhibition halls, an assembly hall and the Aberdeen Pavilion. These facilities are available for public events and can accommodate small and huge groups of people.
Parliament Hill is the political heart of Canada. Situated on a bluff overlooking the Ottawa River, it is actually a collection of three turn-of-the-century Gothic structures known as the East Block, Centre Block and West Block. The West Block and East Block contain the offices of Members of Parliament. The House of Commons and the Senate are located in the Centre Block, with its soaring Peace Tower.
An evening ghost walk is a fun way to learn more about Ottawa's history. Departing from D'Arcy McGee's Irish Pub on Sparks Street, the lantern-lit tour explores graveyards and old haunts during the 90-minute walk. Scary stories pertaining to historic landmarks are the only things that are going to jump out at you; there are no unexpected surprises en-route. The Haunted Walk is a great family night out. Wheelchairs are welcome, but some assistance getting over a few curbs may be necessary.
The Peace Tower dominates Parliament Hill, soaring over 90 meters (300 feet) high above Ottawa, while the Canadian flag unfurls gently over its topmost turret. A fine monument symbolic of the country's storied past, as well as a concrete tribute to lives lost in World War I, this Gothic Revival structure is iconic. It is within the tower's confines that the Memorial Chamber is housed, and at its cynosure is an impressive stone altar that holds the Book of Remembrance. The book features the names of the nearly 118,000 who succumbed to the war in an effort to serve the country. At the heart of the Peace Tower is a 53-bell carillon. The largest bell weighs over 10,000 kilograms (ten tons), while the smallest is only four kilograms (8.8 pounds)heavy. Etched onto the facade of the tower on all four sides, the fabled Peace Tower clock is yet another historic highlight, a friendly token gifted by the United Kingdom to Canada on the 60th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation.
Bytown Museum is situated beside the six locks that make up the entrance to the Canal Rideau. It takes 20-30 minutes to tour the small building, which houses artifacts from the 1830s construction of the canal. Through displays and panels, the museum tells the story of the canal's architect and city founding father Lieutenant Colonel John By. It is Ottawa's oldest stone building and dates from 1827.
The National Arts Centre showcases professional Canadian and international performances and is the home of the world renowned National Arts Centre Orchestra. Excellent seating and acoustics allow appreciation of fine musical, dance and theatrical performances. The center also has a fine restaurant where you can have a meal before or after performances. The atmosphere is upscale and people generally dress accordingly.