If you're planning to visit Canada, a trip to the capital city, Ottawa, is essential. Situated in the province of Ontario, it boasts a wealth of incredible sights, from stunning parliamentary buildings and amazing museums to colourful markets and epic canals. To discover which top five places to put on your to-do list, read our guide.
Canada's fourth-largest city, Ottawa is also one of the most beautiful metropolises in the world. Bursting with incredible sites and a rich culture, it provides Canada's quintessentially warm welcome and the chance to see some of the nation's most important buildings.
Undoubtedly the city's most famous attraction, Parliament Hill represents Canada's seat of government. In addition to being a crucial point of political power, it is visually stunning, combining copper-topped towers with grand archways. Home to the city's tallest structure, the Peace Tower, it's a great place to admire from the outside - but you can also venture indoors to see a little more.
Indeed, the interior is well worth a look, with many points being as impressive as its grand exterior. The library, for example, is made with wrought iron and exquisite wood, while beautiful examples of hand-carved limestone can be seen elsewhere.
Another of Ottawa's most striking features is the Rideau Canal. This pretty waterway was opened in 1832, serving as protection from aggressive American forces. Since then it has been in continual use and remains an important part of the metropolis, with many of its original structures surviving today.
While it no longer stands to protect the city as it once did, it makes a fantastic attraction no matter what season you book your Canada holiday for. Head to Ottawa in the winter months and you'll be greeted by the world's longest ice rink, while a summer visit will give you the chance to enjoy a relaxing cruise along the water - a great way to see the destination from another perspective.
Keen to get involved in some local culture during your holiday to Canada? Make your way to Byward Market, which is packed with stalls selling everything from flowers and local farm produce to souvenirs and 'beavertails' - beavertail-shaped sweet pastries that are deep-fried and delicious. The sheer variety of stands here makes it a great place to shop - particularly if you're hoping to get lots of bits and bobs in one go.
Canadian Museum of Civilisation
Ottawa is home to huge wealth of museums, but there are a few as well known for their impressive exteriors as for their fascinating contents. The Canadian Museum of Civilisation is one such example, with a stone frontage smoothly sculpted into gently undulating waves. This unusual design is said to hark back to Aboriginal culture, which suspects that sharp corners are where dark spirits lurk. Heading inside, you'll be able to learn the story of Canada's rich history, while the attraction also provides amazing views over the famous Parliamentary buildings, which are situated across the river.
National Gallery of Canada
Another must-visit museum to add to your Canada holidays to-do list is the National Gallery of Canada. Contrasting with the Canadian Museum of Civilisation, this building is made from a distinctly modern combination of glass, pink granite and metal and is widely considered to be one of the city's most important contemporary buildings. Indeed, it's not hard to see why - particularly when confronted with its spectacular glass towers, which can be admired towards the back of the museum.
Of course, its interior too is full of wonderful things to see. In terms of its overall structure, you can expect to come across tranquil interior courtyards, as well as spacious, high-ceilinged galleries. Its exhibits form the world's greatest collection of Canadian and Inuit art - and the attraction also holds the honour of being the nation's largest art gallery.
Wherever you choose to a visit, a trip to Ottawa is a must on any Canadian itinerary. Its variety of attractions, welcoming atmosphere and beauty offer something to interest everyone, and it's a great place to soak up the nation's unique culture. Why not start planning your journey today?