Canada’s capital city is chockablock with government buildings, museums, and plenty of parks. Even though it’s Canada’s fourth-largest city, it still has a small-town feel. Quebec is right over the Ottawa River, and most residents here speak both English and French (signs and menus are in both languages). Cruises departing Ottawa typically use the Gatineau port across the river in Hull, Quebec.
What We Love
BeaverTails: No, not the animal appendage. These fried-dough sweet treats, sold at ByWard Market, are best when hot and topped with cinnamon and sugar — the traditional way.
Afternoon Tea: The palatial Fairmont Chateau Laurier is the place to indulge. Reserve a table under gleaming chandeliers at Zoé's Lounge to nibble on warm cranberry scones with house-made strawberry jam and Devonshire cream. Upgrade to Champagne for special occasions.
Best Known For
Parliament: This grand Gothic-style building on a high hill is home to the Peace Tower (offering a sweeping view of the city) and the country’s Senate and House of Commons. Free guided or solo tours are available, and if you’re lucky, you can sit in while court is in session.
Rideau Canal: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is teeming with walkers, runners, and strollers during the spring and summer. In the late fall and winter, it freezes and becomes the world’s largest ice-skating rink at nearly 5 miles long.
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Who It's Best For
History Lovers: The stories behind Ottawa’s regal buildings, museums, and gardens will endear visitors to this multicultural metropolis.
Foodies: The dining scene is dynamic, with up-and-coming chefs graduating from the city's Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute. Many fine restaurants serve haute French cuisine. And don’t forget Canada’s "national dish": poutine. The plate of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy hits the spot on a fall day.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Your Teeth Might Chatter: It can get very cold, even when the sun is shining. Dress in layers.
Chanize Thorpe is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Brides and Uptown.