Here are a couple of sources to look into, to enjoy historic, unique and wonderful elements “off track” options at the conference.
The timing is perfect for the famous Fall Colours peaking in the area; there are plenty of outdoor, natural and biking options as well.
The National Trust for Canada is headquartered in Ottawa – ask a Trust staffer at any time during the conference for directions or advice. APT Board Member and Conference Co-Chair Mark Thompson Brandt also makes his home in this city – here are some of his ideas for a self-guided walking tour, if you don’t have a lot of spare time:
*Foodies: Ottawa has more farmland within its borders than any city in North America – we were made for the “local food movement” and take it pretty seriously – local craft beers (http://beyondthepale.ca/our-beer/) and fresh foods of all kinds from parsnips to ostrich. Here’s one small video peek from outsiders visiting town:
Ottawa LCC Fave’s
Some of the Local Conference Committee’s favorite things to do in and around Ottawa:
Rent bicycles using VeloGo bike sharing (many locations, just use your credit card), and take a cycle along the Rideau Canal National Historic Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site to Lansdowne Park, Dow’s Lake, or Hog’s Back Falls if time permits! Make it a loop, and return downtown via the Rideau River multi-use pathway, passing through the New Edinburgh neighbourhood (see self-guided walking tour below), before returning to the Conference site via Sussex Drive. Alternatively, loop through the Central Experimental Farm National Historic Site and its Agriculture and Food Museum and ornamental gardens before re-joining the Canal for your return trip downtown — a favourite route among locals.
Ottawa River Waterfront – cool free stuff a short walk from conference hotels:
Mìwàte: Illumination of the Chaudière Falls
Immerse yourself in a vivid display of colourful lights and ethereal sounds that will elevate the natural beauty of the magnificent Chaudière Falls and pay tribute to the Algonquin peoples – free nightly shows looping every 30 minutes. Check website for times.
MosaiCanada: Horti-Sculptural Exhibit in Jacques Cartier Park
Take a lovely walk through the Chateau Laurier’s “back yard”, Majors Hill Park overlooking Parliament, grab some breath-taking views across the Alexandria Bridge boardwalk, to Parc Jacques-Cartier on the Gatineau side. Massive appeal of this exhibit, which is a stroll through the park looking at these huge growing sculptures is obvious: imaginative and delightful!
Confederation Boulevard: The Ultimate “Capital Loop Walk”
2 options: (A) If you have limited time (1 to 2 hours) but want to do the “Ottawa Essential Walk”, check out the Ottawa Quick Guide and Map, lovingly hand-crafted by your LCC!!
(B) More in-depth: Confederation Boulevard — This 7.5 km loop connects both sides of the Ottawa River, linking Ottawa and Gatineau — Ontario and Quebec. It follows several symbolically important streets while passing national landmarks and institutions including Canada’s Parliament, the Supreme Court of Canada, national museums and galleries, heritage sites, embassies and parks. The Boulevard is the focus for many national celebrations, a ceremonial route and a favourite among locals for noon-time walks.
Just 15 minutes’ drive from Parliament Hill, Gatineau Park is the Capital’s playground and a favourite destination for year-round natural, cultural and recreational activities. Lying in an area where the Canadian Shield meets the St. Lawrence Lowlands, the park covers 361 square kilometres. Launch the interactive map for a listing of the diversity of activities available in the park. Some of our favourites include a walk around Pink Lake, a visit and lunch at the historic MacKenzie King Estate, a drive or hike up the Champlain Lookout where you’ll enjoy a spectacular view over the Ottawa River Valley, or a two-hour hike to the “Carbide” Wilson Ruins from Parking Lot #11.
Need at time out? Spend a relaxing afternoon at the Spa Nature - Le Nordik, a Scandinavian-inspired spa located in picturesque Chelsea, Quebec. Enjoy an afternoon soaking in the thermal baths, floating in a salt water pool, or meditating in one of the relaxation pavilions. This is a seriously excellent outdoor-experience spa in the woods – enchanting!
“Fall Rhapsody” — Hop on a free shuttle to enjoy the spectacular fall colours on display in Gatineau Park. Extend your tour with a picnic or a short hike through a wooded trail. Shuttle departs from the ByWard Market in Ottawa, and travels to Champlain Lookout and back.
In-depth or Quick Parliament Tours
Parliament Hill — Print or download this guide to Parliament Hill – home of Canada’s democracy. The booklet provides a self-guided itinerary exploring the buildings, statues, memorials and other sites on Parliament Hill.
….or, just go up the Peace Tower in Parliament’s Centre Block to the observation deck and see it all at once!
Look up and listen for the carillon concert performed by the Dominion Carillonneur, from the Peace Tower Carillon, Parliament Hill. Weekdays from noon to 12:15 pm.
Check out some of our local food (and beverage) fave’s here:
As part of Canada 150 celebrations, the National Capital Commission adopted several buildings and sites for use as the Confederation Pavilions. These architectural gems are open to the public to enjoy special programming, exhibitions and events. Some of the themed pavilions include the Kabeshinân Minitig Pavilion on Victoria Island displaying archaeological artifacts as well as contemporary visual arts and fine crafts of the Pikwakanagan First Nation, the International Pavilion in the Byward Market, or the Global Pluralism Pavilion on Sussex Drive.
Take in the work of local artists and artisans at the unique Orange Art Gallery located in the historic CN Railroad Bank building and next door at Makerspace North, a collaborative workshop where you will find unique and locally-crafted goods. Fancy a bite to eat after perusing the art? Grab a bite from Art is In Bakery, and bring home some craft beer from Beyond the Pale, both located in the funky City Centre building just around the corner. Make a round trip of it, and return downtown with a stroll along the Ottawa River Pathway.
Looking to get out of downtown? Take a wander through Hintonburg and Wellington West neighbourhoods, where you’ll find some of Ottawa’s hippest stores and boutiques, restaurants and bars serving artisan foods, funky clothing shops, craft breweries, art galleries, farmer’s markets and more!
Satisfy your inner Royal with a visit to Rideau Hall, 1 of 2 official residences of the Governor General of Canada – the Queen’s representative in Canada. Guided tours available 7 days/wk.
Take a stroll through some of Ottawa/Gatineau’s architecturally rich and historically significant neighbourhoods and sites:
City Walks — Download the free app from GPSmyCity for access to 11 themed self-guided walking tours of sites in and around downtown Ottawa. Themes include Museums, Famous Churches, Ottawa Theatres, Bars and Pubs and an Ottawa Sampler. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed while on these walks.
Interested in the history of the Francophone community in Ottawa? Check out these self-guided tours of three historic neighbourhoods where Ottawa’s Francophone heritage resounds. Presented by the Réseau du patrimoine franco-ontarien, this easy to follow guide provides itineraries through Lowertown, Sainte-Anne Parish and Sandy Hill.
Downtown Gatineau “Cultural Trail” — Wander along this 3km walking tour and take in some recent and ongoing redevelopment of former industrial sites, including the waterworks -- now a brew pub where you can grab a refreshment. The trail is easy to find: once across the Alexandra Bridge, follow the painted red line on the sidewalk.
New Edinburgh Heritage Walking Trail — Ottawa’s New Edinburgh neighbourhood was founded in 1832 by Scottish stonemason and entrepreneur, Thomas McKay. Discover the fine houses and gardens, quaint lanes and parklands set against the banks of the pretty Rideau River. Most of the buildings featured in this self-guided tour are located within the original settlement of New Edinburgh.
Walk around Ottawa’s relaxed Glebe neighbourhood: once a streetcar suburb, today the Glebe is a leisure, shopping and restaurant destination. Encircled by the spectacular Rideau Canal, and bisected by the historic Bank Street, this neighbourhood boasts lovingly restored early 20th century homes, beautiful churches, parks and pathways.
This tour of Ottawa’s Civic Hospital Neighbourhood focuses on the original farm areas that stretched along either side of the neighbourhood’s central roadway — Parkdale Avenue. The itinerary also takes in the influences of the adjacent Central Experimental Farm on the development of the area, and the beautiful Dominion Observatory.
Ottawa’s Greenbelt — The Greenbelt is 20,000 hectares of green space, including farms, forests and wetlands. It was created in the 1950s to protect the rural land bordering the Capital from urban sprawl. It has since become the largest publicly-owned greenbelt in the world. Launch the interactive map to see a list of 15 natural and historic sites, including nature reserves with interpretive walking trails at Stony Swamp, Mer Bleue and Pine Grove.
*Free things to do in Ottawa: The National Holocaust Monument, Canada’s first and only national monument dedicated to the Holocaust, will be inaugurated on September 27, 2017 in a private ceremony at the site, then opened to the public for the first time on September 28. The Monument will honor the millions of innocent men, women and children who were murdered under the Nazi regime and recognize those survivors who were able to eventually make Canada their home. Further, the Monument will stand as a symbol of Canadian values and diversity and as a reminder of the dangers of state-sponsored hatred, racism and anti-Semitism while reaffirming respect for human dignity, courage and resilience.
Canada 150 comes with its own year-long additional festival of “bold and immersive events”. A great one in October is just a 20-minute evening stroll from the Château Laurier: Magnificence of Chaudière Falls - Discover one of our most important landmarks and immerse yourself in First Nations culture through a vivid display of colourful lights, elevating the natural beauty of the Falls, accompanied by a rich soundscape; evoking the culture of the Algonquin heritage of the region. In addition, interpretation panels will share the story of the Indigenous people. Produced by renowned Canadian production company Moment Factory, in collaboration with the local First Nations communities. http://www.ottawa2017.ca/magnificence-of-chaudiere-falls/
….and don’t miss MosaicCultureCanada, a mile’s walk through an amazing series of giant living sculptures, all made from plants, at Parc Jacques-Cartier, just a short walk across the Alexandria Bridge from Major’s Hill Park (the Chateau Laurier’s back yard) – a “horti-sculptural” delight! http://english.mosaicanada.ca/