What comes to your mind when you think of delicious and scrumptious Beaver Tails pastry? Yes, Canada's capital, Ottawa! Usually over-shadowed by other tourist-friendly megalopolises such as Vancouver and Toronto, the 4th largest Canadian city in Canada has several compelling destinations to visit that makes it worth every penny.
Those who are interested in Canadian politics will love visiting the neo-gothic Parliament of Canada. Catch a glimpse of its pointed copper roofs which overlooks the River Ottawa and neighbour Quebec. It is renowned to be one of the city's most recognizable landmarks. Be sure to go on a boat cruise on the Rideau Canal in the summer. During the winter months, it turns into the planet's longest ice-skating rink in the winter, with a 7.8km (4.8mile) channel of ice winding through downtown Ottawa.
Dows Lake Pavilion is a gloriously stunning location which overlooks the lake. People come over to relax and spend some quality time with each other. For this purpose, it is a very popular family attraction. This point is packed with a variety of restaurants including an outdoor patio, which is quite popular during summer. The pavilion juts out over the docks where one can rent paddleboats, canoes, kayaks or bikes. During winter, visitors can also rent skates and sleds. Animal lovers particularly those of horses can head over to the RCMP Stables in Ottawa, home base for both horses and officers. The Stables are known to train horses for the RCMP Musical Ride, an equestrian show that travels across the country yearly. Be sure to take a guided tour of the facility to learn more.
If you happen to visit Ottawa during spring, then be sure to stay for the Tulip festival as millions of tulips bloom all over the city. Head over to Canal banks and Commissioner's Park, in particular, for they are the scene of general festivities. July 1st is marked as Canada Day. If you're in Canada at that time, be sure to catch a glimpse of the crowds who gather in their patriotic red-and-white clothing and wave maple-leaf flags.
Ottawa's Lower Town is the city's marketplace. Shop-a-holics will love walking around the colorful Byward Market. In summer, one will find the place to be brimming with fruit, flower and vegetable stalls in the streets as well as food stores in the main market hall. The incredible Upper Town is more upmarket and high-end as there is a line of top department stores and small boutiques that are spruced around with gourmet eateries. But the top highlight of Upper Town is the Bank of Canada building, built by the renowned architect Arthur Erickson.
Some of the museums worth visiting are: Canadian Museum of Civilization (talks about the 1,000 years of Canadian history), National Gallery of Canada (world's largest collection of Canadian art), Canada Agriculture and Food Museum (working farm in the hub of the capital city; showcases Canada's agricultural heritage), Diefenbunker Cold War Museum (Exhibits include Canada's history) and Canadian War Museum (Displays showcase Canada's military past).
As a tourist if you're looking for souvenirs, then do pick up maple leaf short-break cookies, maple syrup and cheese. Moreover, handmade aboriginal crafts and chic outdoor winter clothing are also worth it. Do try out the tasty and scrumptious pastry - Beaver Tail - topped with cinnamon, sugar, icing sugar and so forth.
The stay options in Ottawa are abundant with the best luxury hotels, swanky apartments and cheap accommodations available for the tourists to decide which kind to opt for depending on their budget and taste.
Ottawa experiences humid continental climate and experiences four distinct seasons. The best time to visit the city would be between March and May as the temperatures are pleasant and conducive for a stay.