What's on in Ottawa
Ottawa is nestled along the Ottawa River, which forms the border between Ontario and Quebec. This dynamic capital is a cultural mosaic boasting an abundance of attractions, including: historic landmarks; national museums and galleries; world-class festivals, events and exhibitions; fine dining and a variety of outdoor activities in the city’s scenic waterways and green spaces.
As a Congress attendee, your Delegate Insider Badge entitles you to a discounted visit to certain attractions, tours, and restaurants. All you have to do is present your Congress badge. Want to bring family members along? Additional passes will be available at the Information Office in the Congress Hub. For more information, visit the Delegate Insider Badge Website or download information here.
Note: attractions marked with a (G) are located in Gatineau, Quebec.
Canadian heritage experiences
- Rideau Canal (UNESCO world heritage site)
- Parliament Hill (Tours of Parliament, Changing of the Guard ceremony, Sound and Light show)
- Supreme Court of Canada
- Mackenzie King Estate
- Laurier House (residence of Sir Wilfrid Laurier and William Lyon Mackenzie King)
- Rideau Hall (official residence of the Governor General)
Museums and Galleries
- Canadian Museum of History (G) ($3 per visitor on Thursdays between 4:00 and 8:00 p.m.)
- Canadian Museum of Nature (two-for-one admission, or 50% off single adult admission, upon presentation of your Delegate Insider Badge)
- Canada Aviation and Space Museum (2 admissions at 50% off regular price upon presentation of your Delegate Insider Badge)
- National Gallery of Canada (two-for-one admission, or 50% off single adult admission, upon presentation of your Delegate Insider Badge)
- Canadian War Museum ($3 per visitor on Thursdays between 4:00 and 8:00 p.m. Or take advantage of the Delegate Insider Badge program and get $2 off on museum or combo admission for an adult, upon presentation of your badge.)
- Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum (2 admissions at 50% off regular price upon presentation of your Delegate Insider Badge)
- Ottawa Art Gallery (admission to the gallery is pay-what-you-can. A $5 donation is suggested.)
- Bytown Museum
- Royal Canadian Mint
Guided Tours and Sightseeing
Peoples’ History Walking Tours
These unconventional walking tours tell the story of those usually forgotten by traditional history and who have contributed to make Ottawa what it is today. Tours include:
- Building the Rideau Canal and the making of the Ottawa Working Class
- Protest, Strike and Rebellion in the history of Canada`s Capital
- An Unauthorized History of Parliament Hill: From Algonquin Land to Government Headquarters
- Indigenous Peoples and Colonialism in the History of Ottawa and Canada
On the land of the Algonquin Peoples called Turtle Island, this tour will guide participants through Indigenous social, political, cultural and artistic spaces. From the totem pole in Confederation Park to the Three Watchmen sculpture near Major’s Hill Park, you will get to know Ottawa like you have never known it before!
The Ottawa Haunted Walk tours focus on the ghostly past and darker episodes of the city, and feature the haunted Bytown Museum, the Fairmont Château Laurier and the Grant House, among others.
Amphibian Bus Tours on the Lady Dive
The amphibian bus tours on the Lady Dive let you discover Ottawa by land and water. See Ottawa-Gatineau’s most scenic sites with this fun and educational bilingual tour. (50% off second ticket upon presentation of your Delegate Insider Badge)
Ottawa Gray Line: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
These bilingual guided tours let you hop off at the sites you want to explore and hop back on as many times through the day to resume your adventure tour, at your own pace. Visit all the important sites including museums, parks, galleries, the Byward market, the Canadian Parliament buildings and lots more!
- Brew Donkey
- Mill St. Brew Pub
- Les Brasseurs du Temps (G)
Entertainment, cultural activities and nightlife
National Arts Centre
May 27 - June 6: Needles and Opium (theatre play by Robert Lepage). During a hypnotic series of vignettes, Jean Cocteau, Miles Davis, and a tormented Québécois man share the stage in a desperate journey into the unknown. As much magic as it is theatre, Lepage’s passion, wit, and spellbinding kaleidoscope of images are as compelling as the characters themselves.
June 3-4: Zukerman, Shaham & Mahler’s First (Concert). Gil Shaham, “the outstanding American violinist of his generation” (Time Magazine), is the soloist for Mendelssohn’s masterpiece, once called “the heart’s jewel” among violin concertos—a beautiful amalgam of romantic melodies, emotion, and virtuosity.
June 3-4: Degenerate Music (Talk), with Jean-Jacques van Vlasselaer, music journalist.
June 6: Latin Beats, Heroic Feats! (Family oriented musical and theatrical show). Max and his dog Presto discover a magical scroll that sends them to a tumultuous South American country where the evil wizard Adalberto has spread discord. The intrepid duo, with the help of the NAC Orchestra and the audience, tries to reunite the people through music with a Latin beat.
Great Canadian Theatre Company
June 2 – June 21: The Public Servant. Step inside the halls of power as Madge, a young, idealistic and enthusiastic civil servant, gets ready to write her first official memo. It’s an auspicious occasion that brings to light all the inner-workings and absurdities of government bureaucracy.
- Ottawa Little Theatre
- Théâtre du Casino du Lac-Leamy (G)
- Maison de la culture (G) (in French only)
- Café aux 4 jeudis (G)
Festival and events
Festibière (Gatineau Beer Fest) (G): May 29-31
The Gatineau Beerfest wants you to discover its artisans, local produce, beer and food matches in an outdoor country atmosphere, amongst friends and family.
IEEE International Humanitarian Technology Conference 2015: May 31 – June 4
Taking place at the National Arts Center, this conference explores how technology built for humanitarian purposes can improve the lives of vulnerable communities.
Canadian Library Association Conference: June 3-6
The 2015 conference will be held at the Ottawa Convention Centre (Shaw Centre) and will focus on the theme of Privacy and Security – Are you open to the public?
76th Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) convention : June 4-6
Taking place at the Ottawa Westin.
3rd North American Correctional and Criminal Justice Psychology Conference: June 4-6
Held in partnership with the 76th CPA convention, the event will also take place at the Ottawa Westin.
The Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science 2015 Conference: June 5-7
The conference will be held at Carleton University, in coordination with the CPA convention.
FIFA Woman’s World Cup: June 6 to July 5
Come see the world’ most talented female soccer athletes!
Sports and outdoor activities
More than 300 km of bicycle-friendly pathways that span on both sides of the Ottawa River!
A marvellous variety of golf courses at a short distance from downtown.
Gatineau Park (G)
Enjoy over 350 km2 of nature! Activities available include hiking, swimming, mountain biking, rock climbing, boating, fishing, and geocaching. Discover Lusk Cave, the Mackenzie King Estate, Pink Lake or other scenic spots.
Dow's Lake Pavilion
Enjoy the Rideau Canal and Dow's Lake: recreational activities and restaurants with scenic views! Canoe and pedal boat rentals are available.
Wilderness Tours – Urban Rafting
Discover Ottawa from the Ottawa River. Some rapids involved!
Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend: May 23-24
Enjoy Canada’s largest running weekend: six races available, from 2 km to full marathon!