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Ottawa Experience

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Ottawa Experience

With a jam-packed program of professional development and networking events, the 2012 EAC Conference promises to be exciting and informative. One of the ways you can make the most of your conference experience is by exploring the wilds of Ottawa—natural and/or urban. To choose your own adventure, here are some ways you can maximize your experience in our neck of the woods.


As Canada’s capital, Ottawa has many museums, galleries, and other local and national places of interest to explore. Here is a sample:

Museums: Within walking distance of the conference are the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the Bytown Museum, the Currency Museum, and the Laurier House National Historic Site of Canada. A little farther away are the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, the Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum, the Canada Agriculture Museum, the Canadian War Museum, and the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Below are some special exhibits at the time of conference:

  • MAYA: Secrets of their Ancient World at the Canadian Museum of Civilization

The National Gallery of Canada will be the only Canadian stop on an international Van Gogh exhibit tour.

Parliament Hill is open to the public, if you arrive on foot.

The grounds of Rideau Hall, home of the Governor General of Canada, are open daily from 8 a.m. to one hour before sunset. 

Doors Open Ottawa, June 2–3, 2012, is a great event that gets Joe Public behind the often-closed doors of famous and/or heritage buildings. Those open to the public during the 2012 event haven’t been named yet, but here is a list of those featured in 2011.

Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica, Ottawa's oldest standing and largest church, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Ottawa and a national historic site. Advance booking is required for tours.

In the historic nooks and crannies of the Byward Market, you might find the Tin House Court or enjoy a performance by a street musician or busker. Today the market is best known for its trendy restaurants, boutiques, and nightclubs, but until two or three decades ago we just called it Lowertown, Ottawa's oldest blue-collar neighbourhood and the cradle of the city's French population.

The annual conference of the Indexing Society of Canada takes place in Ottawa from May 31 to June 1, 2012. The Canadian Library Association holds it national conference from May 30 to June 2 at the Ottawa Convention Centre.


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 veg, maple syrup, and more. Here are some examples:

The Rideau Centre offers great indoor shopping in the heart of downtown Ottawa. It has 180 of the biggest names in fashion, beauty, accessories, electronics and entertainment, and more. Come and see what’s in store!

Enjoy an outdoor adventure

  • For a more personalized cycling experience (including a helmet, maps, and even a guide if you choose), contact RentaBike, or drop in at its location under the Plaza Bridge (across the canal from the National Arts Centre).
  • Take a boat cruise on the canal or the Ottawa River in English and French. Contact Paul’s Boat Lines.
  • Discover the summer home of Canada’s 10th prime minister at the Mackenzie King Estate, a short drive into the Gatineau Hills from downtown Ottawa.
  • Experience a colourful Canadian tradition. Visit the RCMP Musical Ride Centre at the Rockcliffe Stables, a short drive from downtown Ottawa.
  • Watch the royal swans drift by on the Rideau River, anywhere from Carleton University to the Cummings Bridge.
  • Drive 35 minutes into Quebec and visit Laflèche Adventure, which features aerial parks, a huge cave, hiking trails, and extreme zip lines.

Dine out

  • Pick up a Beavertail at 69 George Street, although to get the full effect the temperature should be below zero and you should be wearing skates.
  • Try your luck at the Casino du Lac Leamy and then dine at Le Baccara.

See a live performance

  • Asian Heritage Month (May 3–June 2, 2012). East meets West in a cultural fusion of the traditional and the contemporary—featuring many exceptional Asian-Canadian performers. The Gala Concert showcases the artistic talents of ten acts from across the pan-Asian spectrum. This 10th Anniversary Gala Concert is to be held on June 2, 2012 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

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