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Culture

Top Rated Attractions in Ottawa

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Major's Hill Park

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.

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.

Diefenbunker Museum

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.

Parliament Hill

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.

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.

Rideau Canal

Built between 1827 and 1832 without the aid of powered machinery, the Rideau Canal is one of Ottawa's oldest landmarks. The canal runs from the Ottawa River near Parliament Hill to Hog's Back Falls on the south end of the city. During the summer months, a wide range of vessels, including tour boats, glide along the waterway. Come winter, the canal is transformed into the "World's Longest Skating Rink" and is a hub of activity during Ottawa's Winterlude festival.

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