Ottawa Tourism

tour times

Tour Times is the official newsletter of Ottawa Tourism’s Travel Trade department, providing Travel Trade professionals with important industry information and Ottawa Tourism member updates. 

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Tulip Festival

A Million Signs of Spring!

Named the Top Canadian Destination in 2015 by the American Bus Association, the Canadian Tulip Festival takes place in Ottawa May 8 – 18, 2015. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian troops which resulted in the gifting of tulips shipped from Holland to Ottawa. Beautiful Commissioners Park at Dow’s Lake is the Festival’s main site, with over 300,000 blooms, floral fireworks and a Liberation Café serving tea and snacks. A new ‘Princess’ sculpture commemorating the gift of tulips and the wartime birth of Dutch Princess Margriet in Ottawa will be unveiled. Bring your cameras and your sense of wonder!

Get Involved

The Canadian Tulip Festival has updated their website for the upcoming 2015 festival. The festival requires over 300 volunteers from May 8 – 18, 2015. If you or someone you know has time to volunteer, please have them contact the Canadian Tulip Festival website.

Volunteer tasks include shuttle and ground ambassadors, floaters, Junior Youth and Logistic Team volunteers.


Bytown Museum Update

Housed in Ottawa’s oldest stone building, the BYTOWN MUSEUM traces the history of Ottawa’s early years from the construction of the Rideau Canal through the rough and tumble days of Bytown, to the city’s emergence as Canada’s capital and beyond.

Temporary Exhibitions

Hidden in Plain Sight: Ottawa’s History in the Background
April 9, 2015 – January 3, 2016

The Building and Burning of Parliament
January 29, 2016 – October 31, 2016

Bytown Museum:
A Century of Community
February 3rd, 2017 through to February 19th, 2018

The Bytown Museum is planning two signature events for 2017! June 27th it celebrates the day it opened its doors in the Commissariat in 1952. On October 25th it marks 100 years since the founding of the Bytown Historical Museum in 1917!

Museum Eats!

The Bytown Museum is now offering two healthy and unique meal options for groups: LumberJack Breakfast and Boxed Lunch on the Run. Group and FIT clients can also enjoy cold beverages or specialty coffees and selection of teas as well as pre-packaged food items. Contact the Museum for info (613) 234-4570.

Extended 2015 Hours

Saturday May 16—Sunday October 11, 2015: Open Daily 10 am to 5pm and open until 8 pm on Thursdays with free admission after 5 pm.

Saturday June 20—Sunday August 30, 2015: Open Daily 10 am to 7 pm and open until 8 pm on Thursdays with free admission after 5 pm.

Audio tours of the Bytown Museum are available in English, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish and are included with the price of admission.

money museum

Money Museum

The Bank of Canada Museum
(formerly the Currency Museum) will re-open in July 2017—completely re-designed and modernized to provide an exciting and innovative visitor experience that’s all about money!

Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

MMMMM... Bacon

Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum presents Baconpalooza, a sizzling event with something for everyone, on Saturday, September 12, 2015. Celebrate all things bacon and go hog wild for the food trucks, beer and cocktail tents, squeal in delight at the smoking and BBQ demonstrations and live entertainment. And be sure to check out the market, where you can even bring home the bacon!

School Programs at the Museum

School groups can discover life on the farm as they explore its seasonal cycles, make food from scratch, and see farm technology at work.

Library of Parliament

UPDATE: Parliament Hill Tours

Parliament has recently announced some important changes affecting tours of the Parliament Buildings and Peace Tower.

  • There will be no tours or visitors allowed inside Parliament (not even the Peace Tower) during Caucus meetings on Wednesday mornings.

  • Tours during regular House sittings will continue but will pause during Question Period.

  • The maximum number of people per tour has been reduced to 30 from 50.
  • Bags larger than 18” long X 14” wide X 8” deep are not permitted in Centre Block. Larger bags should be left on the bus or at the hotel.

More information:

aviation museum

Canada Aviation and Space Museum

Tour and Fly at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum

A special package available May to Oct. Groups: Over a half day period, admission and guided tours of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, one of the world’s best, and a behind-the-scenes visit to the Reserve Hangar will be offered to the entire group, with rides available in a vintage 1939 open cockpit biplane – the best view of Canada’s Capital Region and a once-in- a-lifetime experience. Please note, only half of the group members will receive rides during the time frame of the tour. Flights are two passengers per flight. FIT: Includes adult admissions, Reserve Hangar tours for the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, one of the world’s best, and a flight in a vintage 1939 open cockpit biplane – the best view of Canada’s Capital Region and an opportunity of a lifetime.

Canadian War Museum

Canadian Museum of History and Canadian War Museum

Both of these important national museums are offering new group packages.

Early Start

Available this May and June at the Canadian Museum of History, this package includes group arrival and breakfast at 8am, followed by a guided tour or an IMAX film at 9am before the Museum opens.

Dinner Dances

Available at both museums for student operators with choice to add a buffet dinner prior and snacks during the event. Prices with or without DJ and entertainment offered, depending on space availability.


Very affordable group meal options for breakfast, lunch and dinner are available at both Museum cafeterias.

IMAX Evenings

The Canadian Museum of History is now offering groups the chance to choose the IMAX film of their choice for evening viewings.

Multi-lingual Visitor Guides

Updated visitor guides are available in English, French, Chinese, Japanese, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian.

Holtz Spa

Holtz Spa

Sleep Spa Series

Jet lagged, overworked, need a quick nap to refresh? The Holtz Spa Sleep series will lull you into deep relaxation mode with Chamomile and Lavender Aromatherapy Massages and Facials. A 20-minute naptime post-treatment means you don’t have to move … just nap! Our service providers will tuck you in and wake you up, refreshed, revitalized and rested!

The Slumber Massage promotes deep relaxation with a blissful combination of Swedish, Hot Stone and Lavender Chamomile Aromatherapy Massage with an added 20-minute naptime. Holtz Sleep Facial is a holistic body, mind and skincare treatment that incorporates a Lavender Chamomile Relaxation Massage, our famous European Facial and healing Reiki Energy Balancing for total rejuvenation and stress relief with an added 20-minute naptime. No need to count sheep … you will be off to never-never land in no time! Please contact Holtz Spa to make reservations for FIT clients at special Travel Industry rates.

national gallery

National Gallery of Canada

See Canada in one day through the World’s largest Canadian Art Collection. Every visit is unique because 1,200 art works are displayed on rotation and special exhibitions are presented throughout the year.

New Exhibitions

Spring / Summer 2015

Alex Colville

Apr 23 – Sep 7, 2015
Highly anticipated exhibition.
One of Canada’s most celebrated iconic artists.

Chagall: Daphnis & Chloé

May 25 – Sep 7, 2015
A captivating love story narrated visually through a set of colour lithographs between a goatherd and shepherdess.

Fall / Winter 2015


Oct 30, 2015 – Feb 15, 2016 Famous impressionist’s study of a bridge during the 1870s in France.

Spring / Summer 2016

Vigée Le Burn

Apr 3 – Sep 5, 2016
French painter recognized as the most important female painter of the 18th century. Official portraitist of Marie Antoinette.

Fall / Winter 2016

Alex Janvier

Oct 21, 2016 – Fev 17, 2017
A pioneer of contemporary Canadian aboriginal art in Canada.

Calypso Theme Waterpark

Calypso Theme Waterpark

Located minutes east of Ottawa, Calypso is the largest waterpark in Canada. With state of the art water rides, a huge wave pool, a river run, fun slides galore, white water experience and the Calypso Palace Wave Pool, there is something for everyone. Calypso has a variety of packages available for groups. Contact Calypso today and ask about the Beyond Imagination tour package for your next group coming to Ottawa.

613.443.9995 ext:0

lady dive

Lady Dive

Lady Dive offers a fun and informative way to tour the city. Visitors can select the classic double-decker bus for their bilingual, fully-narrated tour of Ottawa landmarks and history, as well as enjoy “hop-on, hop-off” privileges at eight stops looping around the city. Amphibus will run from May 1st to October 12, 2015 and the Double Deckers From April 25th to October 18, 2015. Offering hop-on, hop-off and double-decker buses with 8 languages.

walking tours

Ottawa Walking Tours

New for May – October 2015

“Art In Public Spaces” Tour. Led by a former curator of the National Gallery of Canada, this fascinating tour takes in some of the many works of art in public spaces in downtown Ottawa. Learn about the art and the artists who made these incredible works, the role of public art in the capital, and the materials used for these impressive works.

Royal Canadian Mint

Royal Canadian Mint

The Royal Canadian Mint is more than just a respected part of the Canadian experience—it’s an iconic brand honouring national achievements and themes since 1908. As an interesting and educational destination that’s open daily—12 months a year—visitors are invited to tour the Mint’s Ottawa manufacturing facility where the precise art and craft of coin-making is revealed. The 2015 theme is the 50th Anniversary of the Canadian flag.

Shaw Centre

The Shaw Centre is now catering meals for coach tours and student groups. Culinary experiences through food and beverage pairing are also available for groups.

Supreme Court of Canada

Supreme Court of Canada

Supreme Court of Canada tour guides are all law students and help familiarize visitors with the operations of the Canadian judicial system and explain how legal issues of public importance are dealt with by the Court. When the Court is in session, it is possible to sit in on the hearing of an appeal. Guided tours are available year-round.

World Famous Paul’s Boat lines

Paul’s Boat Lines

After several decades of service, Paul’s Boat Lines will no longer offer guided tours on the Rideau Canal.

Ottawa, Canada’s Capital is in a transition phase and we hope to be able to announce new sustainable programming but it is highly unlikely that a comparable operation will take place along the Rideau Canal in 2015. Boat cruises on the Ottawa River will be available and offered by Paul’s Boat Lines, Lady Dive Tours and Capital Cruises.

Ottawa offers many experiences that may be viable alternatives for your group and FIT clients. For a list of these Group and FIT suggestions, contact

Holiday Inn

The Holiday Inn Express Orleans

Ottawa’s Newest Hotel

The Holiday Inn Express Orleans is located just 20 minutes from downtown Ottawa and features 103 beautifully designed guestrooms. Complimentary parking and internet is also available to guests of the hotel. 613-824-8444

Hilton Garden Inn

Located right near the Ottawa Airport, Hilton Garden Inn Ottawa Airport, is still just 15 minutes from downtown. This soundproof hotel provides a range of services and amenities for your comfort and convenience, including a complimentary airport shuttle service which operates between 4:00am and 12:30am. The hotel is currently expanding, adding an additional tower of 100 guest rooms and expanding its restaurant.

VIA Rail

Convenient, comfortable and affordable, Canada’s passenger train service—VIA Rail—is a great travel choice that offers numerous daily departures to Ottawa from all major cities in southern Ontario and southern Quebec. Ottawa’s Central Station is just minutes east of downtown, and a satellite VIA Rail station is located to the west of the city at Fallowfield-Barrhaven.

attraction passport

Ottawa Tourism Attractions Passport

Ottawa Tourism has developed a tool allowing clients from Travel Trade, Convention, and Media the opportunity of seeing as much as possible during their stay, but on an individual basis. Many clients visit Ottawa outside of an organized FAM and wish to explore the same wonderful attractions that are typically on the itinerary. The Attractions Passport facilitates their visit to attractions by offering clients numerous options, which can be accommodated at their own pace and needs. This tool is valid for 1 industry professional and their guest. This document will be sent to the client via email and is valid for the duration of their stay in Ottawa.

Reach out to our Travel Trade team today to receive an Attractions Passport for your next visit to Ottawa!