Information Kiosk: in front of the parliement
There is so much to do for all kind of people that it is sometime hard to know all that is avalaible. For that reason I suggest you visit info centre on Wellington street just in front of the Parliement. They have hundreds of pamphlet on site and the staff is very pleasent. Since Canada is multicultural, the satff at info centre speaks many language to accomodate almost everyone.
Don't be shy go right in: they also have public washroom there!
The e-mail adress is the CCN web site. This web site will help you plan your visit in Ottawa.
http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/bins/index.asp The hospitality! People want you to have the easiest and most remorable trip!
Go to the National Gallery!
I spent the day roaming around various Ottawa culture hotspots with Benoit. We went to a nice little gelato place for lunch, and then we spent umpteen hours in the National Art Gallery. I got to see the fabulous Gustav Klimt exhibit. I had no idea some of those paintings were that big. For some reason, I had envisioned them as being much smaller, but it was quite refreshing to see gorgeous gilt nouveau art taller than me. I also got to see a piece attributed to Hieronymous Bosch (I sure hope I spelled that right). It had the usual egg with legs, frog-drawn siege tanks, naked women, and so on.
I was sorely tempted to buy a Klimt umbrella. It was gorgeous, and only $20, but I really don't need a new umbrella. My leopard print one is just fine and dandy. The architecture of the Gallery is gorgeous, in a spacious, concrete, ultramodern way. The natural lighting is ingenius, and even if there was no art in the gallery, it would still be worth visiting. The floors are mostly oak, but there are some carpeted bits, like in the Italian masters drawing room. I saw sketches by Caravaggio, paintings by Picasso (it sucked), Salvador Dali (the ones in Fredericton are much more impressive), and by a modern German artist whose name escapes me and whose art amazed me. He did two enormous paintings in particular which I really liked. One is set in a steel forge, and most of the very muscular caucasian men are naked or just wearing jackboots, aprons, and jockstraps. A black man and a gorgeous brown man stand at the forefront. They are the only two who are properly clothed.
The other painting has a whole gaggle of nekkid virile skinheads setting around in a barn (I think). It was based off a famous painting whose name and artist both escape me at the moment. Jeesh. I feel pretty pointless right now. Maybe I'll remember the details later on.
As I was growing up in Ottawa, the Rideau Canal was a part of my life. During the summer I would wander along it, watching boats gliding along, and going through the locks. And when winter arrived, and the canal froze up, it was time to strap on the skates. The canal is the longest skating rink in the world, and a major travel route for many people. So no matter what time of the year you travel to Ottawa, you can enjoy the canal
Bridges across Ottawa River
There are 3 bridges across Ottawa River, namely MacDonald Cartier Bridge, Alexandra Bridge and Portage Bridge. Alexandra Bridge is the one in the middle and nearest to major attractions such as Parliament Hill, Byward Market, Canadian Museum of Civilization etc. To really enjoy the scenery, try walking across Alexandra Bridge (there is a huge foot path so it is very safe) and it is really a good experience.
Government Conference Center (1912)
This Beaux Arts structure from the early 20th C was originally constructed to be the main Ottawa Rail Station. Strategically located where Wellington Ave. crosses the Rideau Canal, it was designed by the firm of Ross & Macdonald who were also responsible for the grand Chateau Laurier Hotel across the street.
The final trains left this station in the late 1960s, when the tracks along the Rideau Canal were replaced with parkland. In some ways, that was a fine idea - but I read that after forty years, there is now a serious proposal to bring back the tracks and to re-develop this structure as a center of commuter light-rail.
It was in the 1980s - after many years of lying vacant - that the Rail Station was converted to its present function. Apparently, the interior was significantly altered in the process - which is a shame, as it had originally been based upon the Baths of Carcalla in Rome. Apparently the conference hasn't been much used, and proposals have floundered to develop the site as a museum for this or that. A shame, because it's an interesting structure in a great location!