Things to do in Ottawa

Of course your main reason to come to Ottawa is to immerse yourself in the Salesforce Community at True North Dreamin’.  But while you’re here, please take some time to experience what Canada’s capital city has to offer.

If you haven’t visited Ottawa before, it’s important to understand that the National Capital Region includes Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec which are separated by the Ottawa river.   TND is in Gatineau and many of the locations we’re going to discuss are a quick trip across the river.

You can’t come to Ottawa without visiting Parliament Hill, the seat of Canadian democracy.   Unfortunately, the centre block of Parliament hill, including the iconic Peace Tower, is closed for renovations but there are still tours available for the grounds, the east and west blocks.  Tours are only about 40 minutes but lines to get tickets onsite can be much longer. It’s best to reserve your tickets before you arrive.   If you don’t want a guided tour, you can still walk the grounds and see statues of historical Canadian individuals including the Famous Five.   


One of my favourite events in Ottawa is the Northern Lights show.  The history of Canada is told via a stunning light show projected onto the House of Commons.  It’s a free event and the show starts each night at 10 o’clock, weather permitting.


Across the street from Parliament Hill is the National War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.   If you’ve ever watched a Remembrance Day ceremony, it’s going to be quite moving to see these monuments in person.


As our nation’s capital, Ottawa is the site of several world class museums.  If you are interested in visiting any of them, please use the following links to confirm hours of operation.   All the museums are fairly close to the Crowne Plaza Hotel, with the furthest, the Aviation and Space Museum, being about a 20-minute drive.   (If you do visit the Aviation Museum, you can catch a ride in an open cockpit biplane – reservations are recommended.)

Aviation and Space Museum

Museum of History 

Museum of Nature

National Gallery of Canada 

Canadian War Museum

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For some outdoor activities while in Ottawa, you can hike in Gatineau Park or participate in cycling tours of the Rideau Canal.  You can even learn the history of the Rideau Canal at the ByTown Museum on your way to an Ottawa River tour.  


If you are interested in some shopping or local cuisine, you must visit Byward Market.  The market is an outdoor shopping and entertainment district just to the east of Parliament Hill.  There are so many restaurants, shops and eateries it’s impossible to do to them justice in a single blog. Suffice to say that if you can’t find a restaurant to satisfy your palate, you didn’t try hard enough.  Come for the beavertails, stay for the shawarma.


We’re really lucky that TND is occurring during one of the best music festivals in Canada - BluesFest.  BluesFest runs from July 4 – 14 so if you can come to Ottawa before TND starts or stay a couple of days after it ends, you’re in for quite the musical experience.  This multi-stage event showcases over 100 acts during 10 days.  While you may not be in town for the full event, you can still experience quite the eclectic assortment of acts during or around TND.  Alexisonfire, Wu-Tang Clan, The OffSpring, and The BackStreet Boys all have shows between July 12 – 14th.



We’re working hard to make sure you have an excellent experience at True North Dreamin’ but please remember to come up for air and experience some of the wonderful offerings of Ottawa and Gatineau while you are here.

Aiden Martin