Sally Watson

It’s home to the world’s sexiest Prime Minister, sublime architecture and in 2017 will be celebrating 150 years since confederation. There has never been a better time to visit Ottawa, the capital of Canada. Sexy is not a term that usually comes to mind when talking about the seat of national powers. Canada’s capital in Ottawa, Ontario has always been somewhat of an overlooked destination when compared to vibrant, cosmopolitan cities of nearby Toronto and Montreal. Yet Ottawa has earned its right as a sexy capital, largely because it is home to one of the world’s most intriguing men - JT. No I’m not talking about Justin Timberlake, I’m referring to the guy who’s bringing 'Sexy Back’ to politics – Justin Trudeau! Talking politics seems to be interesting and inspiring again and also makes Ottawa, JT’s home, a more fascinating destination! In fact, I was hanging out the front of Parliament House, just waiting for a mere glimpse of him. He’s certainly one guy I’d love to interview!

Aside from the PM, the city is quite sexy itself, especially if architecture floats your boat. Most of the buildings were constructed in the mid to late 1800’s and created in the Gothic Revival style. This followed the decision by Queen Victoria in 1857 to make Ottawa the permanent capital of Canada. It was a location mid way between French Quebec and the English provinces and also far enough away from the US border to be more protected from attack.

Walking down Wellington street, you’ll see some magnificent constructions: the Parliament of Canada, the Library and Archives Canada, St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Wellington building, Confederation building, Parliament Hill, East Block building and the prestigious hotel Fairmont Château Laurier. The buildings on this main street are just a scratch on the surface because all of Ottawa is pleasing to look at.

The Rideau Canal and waterway is a feature near downtown created initially by the British. At a time when they feared a US invasion, it served as a military route between Montreal and the naval base in Kingston. Later, it was an important trade route. Today, it is a tourist attraction with boats cruising the canal.

Leaving the south bank through the gardens of Major Hill’s Park and crossing over the Ottawa River via the Alexandra Bridge to Quebec’s Gatineau is a pleasurable walk and offers spectacular views of Ottawa. 

Now in Quebec, you can visit the Canadian Museum of History, which presents the history of the native Canadians, ancient cultures and archaeology. The museum’s ascetically impressive design makes the building just as much of a drawcard as the contents of Canadian history. 

The Museum of Nature is also another visually striking museum in its construction of glass and light. It was here that I discovered the name “Ottawa comes from the Algonquin term adawe, 'to trade.' This was the name given to the people who controlled the trade of the river.” Another area of Ottawa, which is charming and easy on the eye, is the Byward Markets. With its proximity to Quebec the markets have a European feel and the produce is fresh and colourful. 

One of the most captivating sights in Ottawa was a light show on the Parliament of Canada, showcasing the country’s history and the ethos of the Canadian way of life. The land of the true north, strong and free - a place of welcoming and promise for so many, holding beliefs of libre (freedom), juste (justice), decouvertes et aventure (discovery and adventure) and maintaining ethics of tolerance and acceptance. This year, it is 150 years since Confederation, when all the provinces came together to create one democracy and the country of Canada was born. In Ottawa in 2017, it’s going to be one big party!

Tips for visiting Ottawa in Canada:

  • Parliament tours: there is only a limited amount of tickets set aside each day for tours. Since you can not prebook online, you need to go to the office on Wellington Street in the morning to book your tour time for that day.
  • The main sights of Ottawa are fairly consolidated, so you can sight see by foot.
  • Head to Sparks Street, Elgin Street or around Byward Market for restaurants, coffee shops and bars.
  • In nearby Montreal, the city is celebrating it’s 375th birthday in 2017, so another destination to put on the radar.
  • Vancouver and Toronto will also be hosting Confederation celebrations.
  • Canadian National Parks offer free entry in 2017 in honour of the country’s birthday. Order a ‘Discovery Pass’ from Parks Canada.

Sally Watson is a freelance travel writer and photographer at Wing Woman Adventures. A self-confessed vagabond and seeker of new frontiers, adventures and international friends, she aims to inspire people to travel widely, independently and confidently! Follow her on Facebook and Instagram

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the Polocy Wording available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.