Sheila Gallant-Halloran

Made-to-measure travel; please, go away! :-)

Your opinion? Ottawa’s top 10 “must see/ do” things?

I’ve been asked to guest blog for a US travel blog, Got Saga , about the top 10 things to do and see in Ottawa.  I started putting a list together very quickly – I certainly knew my favourite spots. But then I wondered – would others around the city come up with the same list? Would our fave spots differ widely? 

I knew there were likely treasure troves specific to a region of the city …So, I put the question out to my friends on facebook, linked in, and twitter – and the responses I received were plentiful and varied. I was unfamiliar with some of the parks suggested – I personally didn’t know Mud Lake or Remic Rapids until a tweep/ fb friend mentioned them (so, I have new haunts to discover – remember, I’m a Newfoundlander, and Ottawa is my adopted home…)

This might help if you don’t know some spots off the bat…  

How was I going to narrow the list? 

First up, I decided to focus on more than just strict city limits. This list might possible entice folks to visit Ottawa – and no visit of Ottawa should exclude the Gats.

Second up, I couldn’t restrict it to a particular season – the canal offers terrific activities for all seasons, but the RCMP musical ride doesn’t offer much excitement in the dead of February.

Third up, I’ve left 24 Sussex off the list – because you can’t really go in to browse around (but if you like drive-bys, we could add too). 

Fourth up, I grouped items. Some expressed preferences for specific components – such as the East Block on Parliament Hill, Pink Lake in Gatineau Park, a food tour of the Byward Market, the locks along the canal with a mandatory visit to get a beavertail, etc.. – but I couldn’t have a list of 100…  

I quickly realized I still had way more than 10 things that were “must see/ do” for Ottawa, and would be challenged to come up with a ranking…

Please help!  Vote using the poll.  Comment and tell me your favourite, and why. 

If you had an afternoon free in the city, what would you do? Where would you bring a visitor?



February 20, 2011 - Posted by | Lush Life Destinations


  1. What about stuff like: Saunder’s Farm, Calypso Water Park, Ottawa Marathon Weekend, Canada Day in Ottawa, Ziplining at Camp Fortune, Waterpark at Mont Cascade, Tulip Festival in May, Winterlude in February, Hockey (Sens & 67’s), Maple Sugar Bushes (tons of them).

    These sorts of things would be more likely to make me personally, want to visit than buildings and museums.

    Hope that helps 🙂

    Comment by Tanya | February 20, 2011 | Reply

    • Good points, Tanya – but now you’ve lengthened my list! 🙂 Maybe I should capture all museums together, and all festivals together – even then, be quite a list of festivals (Winterlude, tulip, Canada Day, not to mention music ones like Blues Fest and Jazz festival, etc.)

      Comment by Sheila Gallant-Halloran | February 20, 2011 | Reply

  2. Sheila,

    What is “Mer Bleu”?

    I’ve never heard of that place?


    Comment by Denise | February 20, 2011 | Reply

  3. I have a really hard time picking just one from that list, but I will have to go with Mud Lake. it’s right in the city and it brings you to the country. My family loves to go and see all the wildlife and run around in the forest. Reminds us of the cottage when we can’t get there.

    Comment by Krista | February 20, 2011 | Reply

  4. Ok, as promised, the rest of my top 10 (in no particular order): canal, the hill, the gats, hogs back, the market, museum of nature, andrew haydon park, the bike path from Britannia to downtown, the steam train to wakefield

    Comment by Krista | February 20, 2011 | Reply

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