Travel north to the land of hockey, maple syrup, and rolling hills — because there is so much more than that to be found! Ottawa, Canada, is a blooming business and technology center filled with rich culture, proud heritage, and exciting outdoor activities. The capital city of Canada is an energetic and lively destination with national institutions, striking architecture, lush public parks, and dramatic waterways ready to be explored. Studying abroad in Ottawa means immersing yourself in a city filled with natural and man-made riches, a wonderland that can offer a fantastic educational life experience.
Geography & Demographics
Ottawa is the nation’s capital and the fourth-largest city in Canada. Bordering Gatineau and Quebec, it is nestled in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario and sits on the south bank of the Ottawa River. It has been ranked the second-cleanest city in Canada, third in the world, and is said to be one of the best communities of Canada to live in.
Anyone studying abroad in Ottawa will be surrounded by majestic nature in the form of breathtaking lakes, rivers, forests, and hills that encompass the city, so they should take advantage of nature’s most gorgeous landscapes.
Food & Culture
The language of Ottawa is 50 percent English, 32 percent French, and the other 18 percent is a mixture of languages, some of which include Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Arabic. If you decide to study abroad in Ottawa you will find programs that offer courses taught in both English and French. Its French-speaking people and places are terrific language learning enhancements for students learning French in Ottawa.
Fêtes And Festivals are a very important part of the culture of Ottawa. The largest festival in all of Canada is called Winterlude, held in Ottawa to celebrate winter. It’s centered around the massive Skateway of the Rideau Canal. Other celebrations in Ottawa are the Bluesfest, Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, Canadian Tulip Festival, and Ottawa International Jazz Festival. The most important celebration of the year happens on July 1, Canada Day, celebrating the nation’s birthday. As the capital of Canada, Ottawa goes all out for this joyous occasion! Activities for the day include music, dancing, parades and more. The festivities take place on Parliament Hill, throughout the streets, and into downtown parks.
Things to Do
The Rideau Canal is an amazing chain of waterways — rivers, lakes, and canals — that winds more than 200 km from Ottawa to Ontario. It’s one of the oldest continuously operating navigable boat channels in North America, and a major playground for outdoor sports enthusiasts. Canoeing, kayaking, and fishing are always fun in the water, while extensive walking trails along the system’s 26 lockstations are pathways to amazing natural sights, historic cities, and quaint towns. Each winter the canal transforms into the world’s largest skating rink (7.8 kilometers). Other fun activities in and around Ottawa include mountain biking, whitewater rafting, skiing and snowboarding, hiking, and camping.
A slew of museums, galleries, theaters, cafes, bars and restaurants all call Ottawa home. The National Arts Centre in Ottawa is known for its four stages and for featuring not only the astounding National Arts Centre Orchestra, but also the Opera Lyra Ottawa and the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra. The Great Canadian Theatre Company presents awesome stage productions here. Be sure to see what shows are playing during your study abroad program in Ottawa, and catch at least one.
One of the most lovely and impressive sights in Ottawa is Parliament Hill. Perched in the middle of downtown Ottawa, this Gothic building houses the Parliament of Canada. Another great Ottawa city feature is the Byward market. Just to the east of the government and business district, this open-air farmers market is the best around. Stroll along the cobblestone streets and browse the many booths filled with scrumptious veggies, fruits, crafts and tasty treats.