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Local Experience

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

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:

A little farther away in Ottawa (you’ll need Google, a map, or both):
Special exhibitions and cultural events at the time of the conference:

Historical sites

Gatineau (or close by):
  • 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

Canada 150

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:

Annual events

  • 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!

Outdoor adventure

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:

Dining out

For good eats near the conference venue:
In Ottawa:


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?

More Ottawa–Gatineau hotspots

These sites offer listings of additional current events and activities around the region: