Ottawa and the Rideau Lakes are located around the Rideau Canal and Rideau River in Eastern Ontario, Canada. This subregion includes much of Lanark County, the northern portion of Leeds-Grenville and Ontario's portion of the National Capital Region.
Cities and towns
- 1 Ottawa — the national capital has museums and galleries, and lots of festivals in summer and winter
- 2 Almonte — retains much of its 19th-century architecture, and was the hometown of the inventor of basketball
- 3 Carleton Place — a historic city that is becoming a suburb of Ottawa
- 4 Carp — home of the Diefenbunker, a museum housed in Canada's Emergency Government Headquarters built during the Cold War (and now decommissioned)
- 5 Kanata — a non-descript Ottawa suburb most famous as home of the NHL's Ottawa Senators
- 6 Merrickville — a village of picturesque Victorian-era stone houses perched along the waters of the Rideau Canal, modestly claims to be Canada’s prettiest village
- 7 Perth — its two-century-old downtown huddles around the Tay Basin, the end point of the Tay Canal that connects Perth into the Rideau Canal system
- 8 Smiths Falls — this former industrial town has fallen on hard times, but has a couple of transportation museums that will appeal to enthusiasts
- The Rideau Canal, built for defensive purposes after the War of 1812, is a UNESCO-listed heritage site.
Ottawa's Macdonald-Cartier International Airport (YOW IATA) has regular flights from most major Canadian cities, many American cities, and a few other international destination. There are good transport links to Ottawa from Montreal's Trudeau International Airport. This trip takes about two hours.
Via Rail' runs six trains to Ottawa daily from Montreal and intermediate points, with five trains daily from Toronto and points in between. Service is reduced on Saturday, Sundays and holidays.
From Montreal, take Quebec Autoroute 40 and Ontario Highway 417 into the region.
From Toronto and Kingston, take Ontario Highways 401 and 416.
From Sudbury, take Ontario Highway 17.
Outside of Ottawa which has an extensive bus system, and some light rail, this is car country.
Ottawa, as the nation's capital, punches above its weight as a medium-sized city in terms of museums, art galleries and historical buildings, especially the dignified buildings of the Parliamentary complex.
The other towns in the region focus more on small-town charm, especially Merrickville and Perth. Other towns have quirky museums like Almonte's Dr James Naismith Museum, which celebrates the inventor of basketball, the Cold War Museum in the government's former command centre/bunker in Carp, or the railway museums in Smiths Falls.
The 202-km Rideau Canal runs through the region, and it is an amazing feat of engineering built as a defence against American aggression in the 1820s. It's now mostly used for recreational boating, and you can see its 49 locks in action along the route, and learn about its history in the Bytown Museum by the Ottawa Locks in Ottawa or at the Rideau Canal Visitor Centre, a 19th-century stone mill in Smiths Falls.
Canada's federal government provides considerable funding for festivals year-round to ensure that Canadians who travel to the capital are entertained and informed. On July 1st, the country's national holiday, Ottawa holds the biggest party in the country with much of the downtown closed to cars, concerts and fireworks.
Almonte celebrates in Scottish heritage with music and dance at CeltFest in July, and with its Highland Games in August.
The Rideau Trail is a 387-km network of connected hiking trails between Kingston and Ottawa running along the Rideau Canal and its tributary waters for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Professional sports fans can take in an Ottawa Senators hockey game in Kanata, or an Ottawa Redblacks Canadian football game or Atlético Ottawa professional soccer game in Ottawa.