With the spring thaw finally over and warm weather on the horizon, it's a great time to seek out fun by planning a trek to the nation's capital. But Ottawa is so much more than a just hike up Parliament Hill. The city offers ample choices for world-class events, amazing festivals and enthralling museums.
Here are six experiences and places you can't find anywhere else but in this fine metropolis. Ottawa Tourism can help you start planning your trip!
The National Gallery of Canada (380 Sussex Drive)
The National Gallery of Canada has an extremely impressive array of collections and exhibits to dazzle art lovers this summer. The Impressionist Treasures: The Ordrupgaard Collection is a must with works by Monet, Renoir and Manet among others, culled from the French masters. Over 75 pieces, including some from the Danish Golden Age, will be on display until September 9. While you're there, be sure to check out The Extended Moment: Fifty Years of Collecting Photographs and works by Canadian silversmith Laurent Amiot, too.
The Northern Lights Sound and Light Show (July 9 to September 3, Parliament Hill)
Over 300,000 people took in this dazzling display last year and it's sure to attract a similarly impressive crowd this time around. The Parliament buildings provide the backdrop for this elaborate, awe-inspiring mix of sound and light. And it's free! The start time in July is around 10 p.m. but begins slightly earlier during the summer months as the days (sigh) get shorter. Grab a BeaverTail and a blanket and stake out your spot to enjoy the show.
Canada Day (July 1)
Sure, everyone in the country celebrates Canada Day but it takes on a whole new meaning when taking it in from the historic Hill. With downtown streets closed off for the two-day festivities, thousands of spectators can freely walk towards Parliament Hill for the fireworks and live entertainment to celebrate our rich and diverse heritage. Arkells, Lights and The Beaches are slated to perform this year, along with many more.
Yoga on Parliament Hill (Wednesdays at noon, Parliament Hill)
Say namaste along with hundreds of your compatriots on Canada's biggest, and most popular, front lawn. The once-a-week free yoga sessions bring together everyone from expert to novice for a group stretch over the lunch hour on Wednesdays. It's a great way to relax and take in the scenery before setting off on a Parliamentary tour or visit to the Peace Tower.
Canadian Museum of History (June 8 to January 20, 100 Laurier Street)
A quick drive across the Alexandra Bridge will take you to Quebec — and the Canadian Museum of History (it's practically teleportation!). On loan from world-renowned British Museum, Medieval Europe - Power and Splendour is a must-see. The showcase of over 200 artifacts from Europe will take you back to the age of monarchs, knights and craftsmen, with exquisite relics of European art and innovation that paved the way for many aspects of modern cultures.
Mosaiculture Gatineau 2018 (June 22 to October 15, Jacques Cartier Park)
Over 5.5 million plants (oh yes, you read that right) come together in this ephemeral floral showcase of horticulture art. If that sounds like a mouthful, well prepare yourself to be tongue-tied! With 45 beautiful and bountiful large-scale sculptures to explore, a visit to Jacques Cartier Park is nothing short of majestic. From larger than life figures to gorgeous Canadiana lore, this is a one kilometre celebration of nature's splendour.
Ottawa combines the thrills of an urban adventure with the rich history of a capital city. Book your visit today and start planning a one-of-a-kind summer getaway.