Ottawa: Five Reasons to Visit Canada’s Capital This Summer


Steeped in history and marinated in culture, Ottawa is a fabulous city. I know you don’t need a list of fun things to do while you’re there, but I’ll give you one anyway.

Here are five cool things to see and do in Ottawa this summer.

Canada Day – July 1st is coming and being the capital city, Ottawa is always the place to party on Canada Day.  This year, however, there is an added draw to Parliament Hill; a royal visit by newlyweds, William and Kate.

If you didn’t make it to London for the wedding, you can still grab a glimpse of the world’s most sought-after couple.  As part of their first official trip as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Katherine and Wills will join in the Canada Day celebrations in the capital region.  People are buzzing with excitement. 

Denise LeBlanc of the National Capital Commission says, “I think we’ll see a very full Canada Day – if people are thinking of coming, I would suggest booking sooner rather than later, because they may be out of luck.”

Byward Market – Parliament Hill is a majestic sight but the city’s heart is in the Byward Market.

Enjoy shopping for fresh produce, folk art and crafts in the outdoor farmer’s market.  Brows the shops, savour the restaurants and experience the street performers.

The Byward Market offers the very best of everything.  It’s a food lover’s dream, and I am a food lover.  You can shop for artisanal cheeses, delicate teas, and sinful baked goods, then recapture the candy of your youth with a visit to Sugar Mountain.  Round the trip out with a visit to the Beaver Tails stand (so yummy, I could eat a dozen) and you’ve had yourself a good day.

Capital Hoedown Country Music Festival – Ottawa may not be the first place that leaps to mind, when you think of country music but the organisers of the Capital Hoedown are fixin’ to change all that.

August 11th-13th, the city plays host to the largest country music festival in North America.  There are some huge names in the line-up, including: Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts and Miranda Lambert.  If you’re a country music fan, Ottawa is the place to be this August.

Torchlight Shakespeare – From July 4th to August 20th, A Company of Fools presents Antony and Cleopatra.

Torchlight Shakespeare takes place in parks across the city and begins at 7 p.m., six nights a week (they’ve got their Sundays off).  The cost of admission…well, there is not cost of admission.  It’s a “pass-the-hat-pay-what-you-can” situation.  The suggested donation is $10.

Add some culture to your holiday with this edgy, comedic take on one of Shakespeare’s most infamous tragedies.  Check their schedule to find the performance that fits into your summer.

Lady Dive Amphibus – This may be the coolest way to play tourist for a day and see the sights of Ottawa.

A beautiful city, Ottawa boasts historic streets and impressive architectural highlights like, of course, parliament.  But, with the Ottawa River and the Rideau Canal running right through the downtown, there can be no doubt that the waterways play an important role in the city.

So, the best way to see the capital is on a tour bus that doubles as a tour boat.  The amphibus is a boat on wheels that tours you around Ottawa by both street and waterway.  All the while, knowledgeable and entertaining guides impart the city’s history and culture through funny and amazing stories.

Ottawa is a fantastic city.  I’d up sticks and move there, if I could.  The city overflows with museums, art galleries, ridiculously good restaurants and world class hotels.  There is no shortage of reasons to visit Ottawa.  I’ve just given you five you might not have known about. – Jen R, Staff Writer


  1. Also the House of Paint Festival!

    House of PainT 2011 – COMMUNITY RELEASE:

    Save the Date! You knew it was coming, but now it’s official: The 9th annual House of PainT is going down August 3-7th, 2011– under the bridge!

    We’ve been celebrating Ottawa’s hip hop culture for years, and this year will include all of the things you know you love: graffiti artists filling the walls with colour, DJs filling the air with funk an’ hip hop, MCs speaking their peace and bboys and bgirls battling it out at the main event. With workshops, art shows, club nights and more in the mix, this is still an event you don’t want to miss.

    But 2011 will bring new stuff too! This year we’re taking it back to fundamentals and asking House of PainT participants to do one simple thing: CONNECT.

    HoP has always been about connection. Each year we unite the four pillars of hip hop and bring people of all ages, from across the country, together under one bridge. Even the spot represents: the bridge links the city south to north, the underpass ties Carleton with Old Ottawa South, and the walls create space for Ottawa to connect with graffiti art. We may have grown, but our goals are still the same: bringing b-boys, b-girls, graffiti artists, DJs, MCs and hip hop heads together to strengthen our community, share the art that we love and connect at the capital city’s biggest free hip hop jam.

    So expect the theme CONNECT to flow throughout the 2011 event, with the graffiti wall portioned out like interconnected puzzle pieces, professional development workshops linking artists with tools of the trade, a photo exhibit connecting Ottawa to the urban truth of our city and much, much more.

    Since we know HoP 2011 will be jam packed, we’re starting to connect early — reaching out to our community and asking ‘What do YOU want from the House of PainT?’ Got an idea for the jam? Want to be involved? Need to know more? Holler! You are our community and we want to hear from you. Don’t be shy! EVERYONE – artists, heads, friends and family – is asked to share their thoughts in our survey – and the results will be plugged into plans for 2011, 2012 and further.

    Visit us on Facebook, check out our website or email us at for details and info. And – most important – save the date and come out to the Jam! August 3-7th, 2011 (Main Event August 6th, under the bridge).