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Top Rated Attractions in Ottawa

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Canadian War Museum

This museum was established in May 2005, to commemorate the men and women of Canada's armed forces. The museum's mandate is to advance the study of Canada's military history, including the effects of war and conflict on the nation and its citizens. Within its walls are a number of artifacts and exhibits portraying Canada's military history from its earliest days along with Vimy House, the Museum's collections and research facility.

National War Memorial

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.

Dominion Arboretum

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.

Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica

Built between 1839 and 1885, this neo-Gothic cathedral situated on Sussex Drive on the edge of the Byward Market is one of the oldest surviving churches in Ottawa. Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica's twin spires and gilded Madonna are easily identifiable from nearby Parliament Hill and the surrounding area. The interior of Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica is brightly painted and decorated with carved features, exquisite stained glass windows and hundreds of statues of various religious figures. The church is open daily for guided tours and prayer.

Peace Tower

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.

National Gallery of Canada

Arguably one of the most beautiful structures in the nation's capital, the National Gallery of Canada is a striking mesh of fused glass and granite that is home to an impressive art collection. The entrance of the gallery is dominated by Louis Bourgeois' Maman, a gigantic arachnid sculpture that shelters its 26 marble eggs from prying eyes. Once inside the building, visitors proceed along a long, glass concourse with a vaulted ceiling that leads to the Great Hall. From the hall, visitors can access the gallery's many rooms, each associated with an artistic style or period. Home to nearly 40,000 works of art and an astounding collection of Canadian creations, the National Gallery of Canada is acknowledged as one of the most eminent institutions of fine art in the world. Some of the gallery's most soul-stirring and evocative pieces of art include the religious artwork of New France, the Group of Seven paintings, Inuit sculptures, and Andy Warhol's masterpieces, as well as paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Claude Monet.

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