Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, is a hub of culture, heritage, and history. The city has a rich history that spans over centuries, with historical landmarks and monuments that showcase its past. From Parliament Hill to the Rideau Canal, there are numerous places that visitors can explore to get a sense of the city’s past. In this article, we’ll take a tour of Ottawa’s historical landmarks to explore the city’s rich history.
No visit to Ottawa is complete without a trip to Parliament Hill, the center of Canada’s political life. Located in the heart of downtown Ottawa, Parliament Hill is home to the Parliament of Canada and the iconic Peace Tower. Visitors can take guided tours of the Parliament Buildings, which include the House of Commons and the Senate. The tours provide an opportunity to learn about Canada’s political system, as well as the history and architecture of the buildings.
The Peace Tower is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Ottawa. It was built to commemorate the sacrifices of Canadians during World War I and stands at 92.2 meters tall. Visitors can take the elevator to the top of the tower, which offers stunning views of the city and the Ottawa River.
The Rideau Canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a national historic site of Canada. The canal is a 202-kilometer-long waterway that connects Ottawa to Lake Ontario. Built between 1826 and 1832, the canal was originally designed as a military route to defend against possible attacks from the United States. Today, it is a popular recreational spot, with visitors enjoying activities such as boating, skating, and cycling along its banks.
The Rideau Canal is also home to some of Ottawa’s most historic landmarks, including the Château Laurier, a grand hotel that was built in 1912. The hotel has hosted many famous guests, including Sir Winston Churchill, Princess Diana, and the Dalai Lama.
National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is a must-see for art lovers. The gallery is home to over 80,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It is also home to the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. Visitors can take guided tours of the gallery to learn about the history and significance of the artworks.
One of the most famous pieces in the gallery’s collection is the Group of Seven’s paintings. The Group of Seven was a collective of Canadian landscape painters that was active in the 1920s and 1930s. Their paintings are known for their depictions of the Canadian wilderness and have become iconic representations of Canadian art.
The Byward Market is one of the oldest and largest markets in Canada. Located in the heart of downtown Ottawa, it is a hub of activity, with over 600 businesses, including restaurants, cafes, and specialty shops. Visitors can sample local cuisine, browse through artisanal crafts, and enjoy live music performances.
The market has a rich history, dating back to 1826 when Lieutenant Colonel John By founded the city of Ottawa. Today, the market is a popular tourist destination and a symbol of Ottawa’s vibrant culture.
Canadian War Museum
The Canadian War Museum is a national museum that documents Canada’s military history. The museum features exhibits on Canada’s involvement in both World Wars, as well as its peacekeeping efforts around the world. Visitors can see artifacts such as tanks, aircraft, and firearms, as well as personal items belonging to soldiers.
The museum’s architecture is also noteworthy. The building was designed by Raymond Moriyama and opened in 2005. Its design is meant to represent a bunker, with sloping walls and a dark interior meant to evoke the feeling of being in a war zone.
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica
The Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica is a stunning example of Gothic Revival architecture. Located in downtown Ottawa, the church was built in 1841 and is one of the oldest and largest churches in Canada. Visitors can admire the intricate stained glass windows and ornate interior, which includes a stunning altar and pulpit.
The cathedral also has a rich history, having served as the parish church for French-Canadian settlers in the early 19th century. Today, it is a popular spot for weddings and other religious ceremonies.
Ottawa’s historical landmarks are a testament to the city’s rich past and offer visitors an opportunity to explore Canada’s history and culture. From the Parliament Hill to the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica, each landmark tells a unique story about the city’s past. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or just looking for a fun day out, Ottawa’s historical landmarks have something for everyone. So, the next time you’re in Ottawa, make sure to take a tour of the city’s historical landmarks and explore the city’s rich history.