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

Ottawa neighbourhoods

Museums and Galleries

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
  • Indigenous Walks
    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!
  • Haunted Walk
    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!
  • Brewery Tours:
    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

Sports and outdoor activities

  • Cycling
    More than 300 km of bicycle-friendly pathways that span on both sides of the Ottawa River!
  • Golf
    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!

Find out more!