Parliament Hill, colloquially known as The Hill, is an area of Crown land on the southern banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Its Gothic revival suite of buildings, and their architectural elements of national symbolic importance, is the home of the Parliament of Canada. Parliament Hill took on its present form with the completion of the Peace Tower in 1927.
Known as Ottawa’s Castle, Fairmont Château Laurier has 429 guest rooms and is located in the heart of downtown Ottawa. It was built between 1909 & 1912, and designed in a French Gothic Revival Châteauesque style to complement the adjacent Parliament buildings. in 1980, it was designated a national historic site.
Built to bypass the Rideau Falls, the Rideau Canal opened in 1832 with 47 locks from Ottawa to Kingston. The magnificent flight of locks 1 to 8, called the Ottawa Locks, is framed by Canada’s Parliament Buildings to the west and the Chateau Laurier hotel to the east. Locks 1 to 8 are the largest single set of locks on the Rideau water, providing a lift of 24 m (79 ft.). In 2007 the canal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court in the land. The SCC Building was designated as a heritage property because of its strong historical associations, its impressive architectural design, and its status as a national landmark. It is central to the preservation of the governmental precinct west of Parliament Hill. The Court influences power, as it hears cases from two legal traditions (common & civil law) and in both official languages.
The Canadian Museum of History, in Gatineau, was designed by Douglas Cardinal, a famous Aboriginal architect. It opened July 1, 2017, to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. It explores the 20,000-year human history of modern-day Canada, and has 25,000 m2 of exhibition space (more than any other museum in Canada), with more than 4 million artifacts, a boutique, and 3 restaurants.
OVER THE WATER
Interzip Rogers is the world’s first interprovincial zipline, which takes daring travellers with a need for speed and no fear of heights from Chaudière Island in Ontario to Gatineau.
The iconic Alexandra Interprovincial Bridge is a steel truss cantilever bridge spanning the Ottawa River that was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway between 1898 & 1900. The National Capital Commission took over in 1970. In 1995, the bridge was designated by the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering a National Historic Civil Engineering Site. In 2018, the Government of Canada took ownership, and Public Services and Procurement Canada now maintains it.
In 1931, the Royal Canadian Mint gained independence from the British Royal Mint. It is Canada’s mint, and produces all of Canada’s circulation coins, designs & manufactures precious collector coins, medallions & tokens. In 1969, it became a Crown corporation. A year later, the building in Ottawa was designated a National Historic Site, for its Tudor-Gothic architectural style that creates a distinctive identity in Canada’s capital, and for the patriation of control over Canada’s currency from Britain.
The Ottawa Rowing Club is the oldest rowing clubs in Canada, founded in June 1867, Canada’s Confederation. One of its founders & first patron was Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald. It is located on the south banks of the Ottawa River, near Earnscliffe, which was John A. Macdonald’s home. With close to 1,000 members, the club is one of Canada’s largest clubs.
In existence since the beginning of the century, the marina has been managed by the Club de Yachting Portage Champlain Inc, a not-for-profit corporation comprised of all active marina members since February 1987. Located in Gatineau, it sits near Alexandra Bridge and next to the Jacque-Cartier Wharf. This is a great place to unwind, with a great view of Ottawa.
Built from 1963 to 1965 by the federal, Ontario & Quebec governments, named after John A. Macdonald & George-Étienne Cartier, joint premiers of the Province of Canada, the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge connects Ottawa to Gatineau, and the its name represents the link between French & English Canada. The 618-m-long-continuous-steel-box-girder bridge carries 6 lanes of traffic from King Edward Ave. in Ottawa to Autoroute 5 in Quebec.
The Rideau Falls are two 11-metre high waterfalls located in Ottawa, where the Rideau River empties into the Ottawa River. The falls are divided by Green Island, on which sits Ottawa’s Old City Hall. Samuel de Champlain described the falls as “…a marvelous fall…it descends a height of twenty or twenty-five fathoms with such impetuosity that it makes an arch nearly four hundred paces broad.” The falls were named by the early French for their resemblance to a curtain (rideau in French).
50 Sussex, home of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, founded in 1929. Canadian nonprofit educational organization dedicated to imparting knowledge & appreciation of Canada — its people and places, its natural and cultural heritage and its environmental, social and economic challenges.
ON THE FALLS
Located between Rideau Falls and the Centre for Geography and Exploration Pavilion, this outdoor patio offers a privileged view of the twin waterfalls where the Ottawa River meets the Rideau River. The Tavern is a seasonal outdoor patio that offers gourmet hot-dogs, tacos, sandwiches + take-out food.
HIGH COMMISSIONER'S RESIDENCE
A Victorian manor, built in the Gothic Revival style, and overlooking the Ottawa river, the home was occupied by Canada’s first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald. Since 1930, it has served as the residence of the British High Commissioner to Canada. In May 1960, it was designated as “Earnscliffe National Historic Site of Canada”.
Lornado is the official residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Canada. Located in Rockcliffe Park, the home was built in 1908 with Edwardian influences for an American-born, Ottawa-based industrialist. In homage to one of his favorite novels, Lorna Doone, he named the property Lornado, a name kept to this day. The U.S. government purchased it in 1935.
42 Sussex is home to the Embassy of France. In 1936 construction began when the first stone was laid by Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King on Bastille Day (the national day of France). In 1938, during construction, France acquired, for a single dollar, a narrow strip of land along the Ottawa River, sold by the Ontario government. Construction was completed in 1939.
24 Sussex, originally called Gorffwysfa (Welsh for “place of rest”) is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Canada. Built between 1866 & 1868 by Joseph Merrill Currier, it has been the official home of the Prime Minister of Canada since 1951. The residence is a large, limestone-clad structure, styled as a mid-century modern take on Norman Revival architecture. It is set on 4.0 acres overlooking Governor Bay. The house consists of 35 rooms spread on four floors.
Jacques Cartier St. in Gatineau is unique to the region. It is the only street that offers a riverside view. 3.2-km has been transformed into a waterfront recreational pathway where the Gatineau river meets the Ottawa river. The architect of Canada’s Parliament Buildings lived at 883, while overseeing construction of the Buildings. The park behind the street is home to the annual Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival.
Located off the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway, in Rockcliffe Park, the covered lookout offers views of the Ottawa River & Gatineau. This is a great place to hangout in the summer to acquire a serene vibe. A short walk down to the riverside leads to the Rockcliffe Boathouse where food & drinks await.
An unassuming, seasonal riverside restaurant offer hearty pub fare and drinks. The location offers an incredible 5-star view. This place is a local secret, a gem, with a patio directly on the river.
501 Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway, near Rockcliffe Point is home to the River House, (formerly known as the New Edinburgh Club Boathouse). it is a large, wooden 2&1/2-story building that stands on pylons in the Ottawa River and has been a landmark for boating & water sports activities for nearly 100 years. It is recognized as a Federal Heritage Building due to its historical and architectural values.