Ottawa Tourism

By Road

Driving Tips

  • The major highways in the Ottawa area are the 417 (also known as the Queensway), 416, 174, 7, 16 and 31 in Ontario; and the 148, 50 and 5 in Quebec. When heading east on the 417, the point in which the lanes split into two directions (one continues east, the other becomes the 174) is commonly known as ‘The Split’.
  • The speed limit on major highways (417, 416, 174) is 100 km/h (approximately 60 mph). The limit on other highways (7, 16, 31) and most rural areas is 80 km/h (50 mph). In the city, the speed limit is generally 50 km/h (30 mph) unless otherwise stated. The limit on the 148 in Quebec varies between 50, 70, and 90 km/h.
  • Many streets in Ottawa, especially downtown, are one-way. Be aware of signs (a white arrow on a black background) that indicate a one-way street.
  • Some Ottawa streets have adopted second names. For example, Preston Street is also known as Corso Italia, and Gladstone Avenue is also called Via Marconi.
  • In Ontario and Quebec (except Montreal), drivers are permitted to turn right on a red light unless otherwise stated.
  • Many major roadways (called the Transitway) in Ottawa are dedicated to OC Transpo buses only. These are marked with a diamond in the lane and/or a sign above the lane. Do not drive in these lanes.


  • There is a three-hour parking limit on all City of Ottawa streets unless otherwise marked; overnight parking restrictions are in effect during winter months.
  • During rush hour (7am to 9am, 3:30pm to 5:30pm), many downtown streets prohibit parking and stopping in order to improve traffic flow. Pay attention to signs!
  • Vehicles are not allowed to idle for more than three minutes in a 60-minute period, except in extreme temperatures or if the idling vehicle is a transit vehicle that is picking up or dropping off passengers.
  • From November 15 to April 1, on-street parking is prohibited between 1am and 7am when seven or more centimeters of snow is forecast or falling.

City of Ottawa Traffic and Parking Branch

The City of Ottawa provides designated parking spaces for tour buses and coaches. These spaces are located close to destination points in Ottawa.

Approximate travel times to Ottawa

Toronto – 4 ½ hours Montreal – 2 hours
Kingston – 2 hours New York – 8 hours
How to Get Here – Google Map