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Ottawa–Gatineau Local Experience
Welcome to Ottawa–Gatineau!
June 2017 is a great time to visit Ottawa–Gatineau (aka celebration-central) and mark Canada's sesquicentennial. With the conference venue situated amid Gatineau’s impressive historical charms, and the many cultural gems of Ottawa just a short distance away, your off-hours are sure to be as memorable as the conference itself.
As your humble conference hosts, we’ve carefully pulled together a selection of local experiences that we trust you’ll enjoy. From day hikes and river rafting to cultural and gastronomic adventures, you’ll soon discover there’s nothing dull about this part of the galaxy.
- Cultural attractions
- Canada 150
- Annual events
- Outdoor adventures
- Dining out
- More Ottawa–Gatineau hotspots
Ottawa–Gatineau has many museums, galleries, and other local and national places of interest to explore.
Museums, libraries and galleries
Within walking distance of the conference site:
- Canadian Museum of History — 20 minutes along the Voyageur walking trail
- Canadian War Museum — 15 minutes across the Chaudière Falls Bridge
- National Gallery of Canada — 35 minutes across the Alexandra Bridge
- Bytown Museum — 40 minutes across the Alexandra Bridge, beside the Rideau Canal
- Library and Archives Canada — 30 minutes across the Portage Bridge
- Canada Council for the Arts, Âjagemô Gallery — Elgin St. at Albert St.
- Canadian Museum of Nature — Metcalfe St. at MacLeod
- Canada Aviation and Space Museum — Aviation Parkway
- Canada Agriculture Museum — Prince of Wales Drive
- Canada Science and Technology Museum — St. Laurent Boulevard
- Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum — near Carp township (about a 45-minute drive from Gatineau)
- Canadian Museum of History — Hockey, until October 9; and a Craft Beer Festival, June 8 to 10 (kismet!)
- Canadian Museum of Nature — Landscapes of Canada Gardens: explore Canada’s most notable ecozones at this free outdoor exhibition
- National Gallery of Canada — Joseph Beuys, until November 26
- Théâtre de l’Île — Mambo Italiano, May 17 to June 17
- Victoria Island and the Chaudière Falls — visit the Algonquin summer camp at the river’s edge
- Ruisseau de la Brasserie — Self-guided walking tour
- Wright Scott House — the original house of Hull founder Philemon Wright, 28 boulevard Alexandre-Taché, a short stroll from the conference venue
- Place Aubry — a Queen-Anne style building off Promenade du Portage
- Parliament Hill — open to the public; free tours are available daily
- Rideau Hall, home of the Governor General of Canada — open daily from 8 a.m. to one hour before sunset
- Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica — Ottawa's oldest standing and largest church; the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Ottawa and a national historic site (advance booking is required for tours)
- Byward Market — Ottawa's oldest blue-collar neighbourhood and the cradle of the city's Francophone population
While in Ottawa–Gatineau, you may enjoy some of the many activities planned to mark Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation. Keep in mind that many events sell out quickly or have not yet been advertised, so bookmark these sites and check back regularly for the most up-to-date information:
- 2017 Gatineau — Gatineau Tourism
- Ottawa 2017 — Ottawa Tourism
- Canada 150 — Department of Canadian Heritage
- National Capital Commission Canada 150 Calendar
- Sign-up for Twitter updates
- Ottawa Fringe Festival, an annual fringe theatre event, runs from June 8 to 18, with indoor and outdoor shows at venues across town.
Aylmer, about 10 km west of the conference site, offers boutique shopping, artisanal crafts and a place to people watch along le chemin d’Aylmer.
The Byward Market, established by Lt-Col. John By in 1826, is one of Canada's oldest and largest public markets. The legendary builder of the Rideau Canal, Colonel By himself laid out the street plan of the Market, designating George Street and York Street to be extra wide to accommodate the creation of a public market and gathering place. Within an area roughly four blocks square, you'll find museums, cafés, specialty food shops, boutiques, galleries, restaurants, pubs, hair & aesthetics salons, fruit and vegetables, maple syrup, and more.
The recently revamped Rideau Centre offers great indoor shopping in the heart of downtown Ottawa, including Simons, Nordstroms and several other newly added retailers. It has some of the biggest names in fashion, beauty, accessories, electronics and entertainment. Come and see what’s in store!
Gatineau is rich in biodiversity and opportunities for outdoor recreation.
Rent a bike from Cycle Bertrand, a 10-minute walk from the conference venue. With beautiful trails running along the Ottawa River and Gatineau Park, a bike is a great way to take it all in. Find trail maps through the National Capital Commission’s website.
Go the beach. Lac Leamy won't be quite warm enough for swimming yet, but there’s a walking/cycling trail around the lake and picnic areas. It’s right across from the Casino du Lac-Leamy.
Ride the rapids. Ottawa City rafting: great rates, ride the exciting Ottawa River rapids.
Explore Gatineau Park. Drive or grab a taxi (Uber is also available here) to the Mackenzie King Estate (about $35 each way with Crown Taxi, 819-777-1645) to get a taste of what the park has to offer.
Google map your way to these fabulous neighbourhoods, each of which offers boutique shopping, green spaces and plenty of gourmet eating:
- Brasseurs du Temps — rue Montcalm (and be sure to take in the small but fascinating on-site brewing heritage museum)
- Chez Fatima — Promenade du Portage
- Les villains garcons — rue Laval
- Pizza-za — rue Laval
- Bistro Coqlicorne — rue Laval
- Le Baccara at the Casino — five-diamond rating from CAA-AAA (if you care about such things)
- La Belle Verte (vegetarian) — rue Eddy
- Soif – Véronique Rivest's wine bar — rue Montcalm
- The Mill Street Brew Pub — Wellington Street, at Sir John A. MacDonald Parkway
- Riviera — Sparks Street
- Métropolitain — Wellington and Sussex
- Ciccio, Roberto’s Pizzeria — Corso Italiano, aka Preston Street
- The New Mee Fung — Booth Street
- Gezellig — Richmond Road in Westboro
- Pure Kitchen (vegetarian) — Richmond Road in Westboro
The Hull sector of Gatineau, where the conference is taking place, is historically the region’s most notorious magnet for late-night entertainment and jazzy misdeeds. Once a haven for many great blues and jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and La Bolduc, you can still catch some of this underground vibe by taking in a live show at Le Petit Chicago on Promenade du Portage.
In Ottawa, the Byward Market has many bars and clubs to choose from, but it can get a bit rough late at night. Preston Street, Bank Street and Wellington West are more popular nighttime destinations for locals.
Just don’t fall down the rabbit hole! You don’t want to miss that early-morning conference session…do you?
These sites offer listings of additional current events and activities around the region: