Originally Laflèche Cave, Aventure Laflèche is North America's largest aerial park and boasts all kinds of attractions. From the Aerial Park to snowshoe hiking to their famous Laflèche cavern, there's hardly a dull moment. With only a half-hour drive's away from Ottawa, the wilderness has never been more accessible. Rates vary, reservations required. See website for more details.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Langevin Block is a federal building built in 1889, and houses the Prime Minister's Office and Privy Council Office of Canada. This landmark building has been awarded the status of National Historic Site of Canada. The building was constructed in 1884 and features a distinctive Second Empire style. It was completed five years later in 1889 when it became the first government building to be constructed outside of the city's Parliament Hill. This unique building was made from sandstone brought to Ottawa from New Brunswick.
Erected as a temporary monument in 1967, the Centennial Flame still stands today on popular support and demand in Parliament Hill of Ottawa. Installed to celebrate the glorious hundred years of Canada as a confederation, the structure also features the nation's twelve provinces and territories along with their shield. Unfortunately Nunavut, which was created in 1999, still remains missing from this list. The Centennial Flame is a part of a fountain that is considered lucky and gets coin-wishes from visitors to the Parliament Hill.
East Block is an elegant federal building located on the Parliament Hill of Ottawa. It is one of the classic examples of Victorian High Gothic style architecture and a popular landmark of the area. It currently houses parliament offices and confederation spaces. Tours of the building are available in July and August.
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.
Originally known as the Norlite Building, National Press Building was constructed in 1919 for accommodating government offices. It was then occupied by the press agencies which started feeling the space crunch and moved to a bigger facility. This beautiful Italian Renaissance style building is now the head office of Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery. It is still an elegant structure to look at.
Confederation Square is actually a triangle. At the heart of the square is Canada's National War Memorial. Immediately to the east of the square is the National Arts Centre. Further north and to the right is Rideau Street and the Rideau Shopping Centre, while across Wellington Street is the Fairmont Château Laurier and to the west of the memorial is the Sparks Street Mall. Finally, running south is Elgin Street, home to trendy restaurants and night spots.