Ottawa Tourism

What’s Up in Ottawa – Fall 2018

So many stories, so little time… Is that your story? If so, feel welcome to use the information on these pages to get your creative juices flowing. There are so many great ideas and angles for stories on visiting Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region, and just a few are available on this website. If you have a specific need, niche or story idea that isn’t covered here, please contact our Communications Team

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The beautiful fall colours are the first things to love about Ottawa autumns but certainly not the last! Enjoy Fall Rhapsody in Gatineau Park, with a free shuttle from downtown Ottawa on weekends September 29-October 21, 2018 and hiking in the gorgeous park all year round—or explore the Greenbelt surrounding Ottawa, including the unique Mer Bleue bog with its Arctic-like flora and fauna.

Be sure to catch Mosaïculture Gatineau 2018 before it ends October 15, 2018. This horticulture extravaganza will surprise and delight, with 45 impressive sculptures made of plants and flowers along a one-kilometre walking route in Jacques-Cartier Park, just across the Alexandra Bridge from Ottawa and near the Canadian Museum of History.

Even more gardens across Ottawa are highlighted during the Garden Fall Rhapsody event October 6-8, 2018. 

Create your own tour via self-guided cycling routes in both the urban and rural areas of the region thanks to the City of Ottawa. The routes also highlight attractions, restaurants, coffee shops, and more to round out your experience!

Thousands of pumpkins draw crowds at Upper Canada’s Village’s annual Pumpkinferno display! More than 7,000 illuminated, handcrafted pumpkins set the scene at the recreated 19th century site in Morrisburg Ontario, just an hour’s drive south of downtown Ottawa (Thursdays through Sundays, September 28-October 28, 2018).

Celebrate beer in true fall form… at Oktoberfest! Beau’s Oktoberfest (September 21-22, 2018) is an annual celebration by Beau’s Brewing Co., located just one hour’s drive east of Ottawa in tiny Vankleek Hill. This year marks the event’s 10th anniversary and features live music (Sloan, Joel Plaskett and the Emergency), 15 Beau’s beers, more than 50 guest taps, lots of food, family fun, and much more!

Ottawa is the place to go if you’re looking to satisfy a Halloween craving but want to try something besides the usual candy! Though, if you ARE looking for candy on October 31, try Rideau Hall (home of the Governor General): the grounds are decorated and welcome visitors in the evening. Last year, lucky visitors even met Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Governor General Julie Payette as they gave out candy to trick-or-treaters.

Haunting Season at Saunders Farm (September 22-October 31, 2018; mainly Friday through Sunday: check schedule) is a tradition for families in the Ottawa area. In addition to spooky activities like the Haunted Hay Ride and Barn of Terror, the many outdoor mazes, and special programming for kids, Saunders Farm is also a working farm at its heart. Besides growing some of the food sold at the restaurants on-site, they work with a number of other local producers and growers. 

The Haunted Walk of Ottawa pulls out all the stops to introduce visitors and locals alike to the city’s spooky history. The creepy ghost stories and haunting in the Original Haunted Walk and the Ghosts and the Gallows Tour are fun for everyone who loves a great fright! One of the stops along the classic Ghosts and the Gallows Tour is the HI Ottawa Jail Hostel, a jail-turned-historical-landmark where guests can stay the night in a converted cell. 

Celebrate the Day of the Dead with the Festival Latino Ottawa at Lansdowne on November 3, 2018! This year, the celebration includes a festival with food, children’s activities, altars, and even a parade—which is open to visitors to participate in, as long as they wear their Catrin or Catrina costumes, and paint their faces as a skull. 



Don’t miss the best museum offerings in town!

  • Visit the free-admission Ottawa Art Gallery to explore Karim Rashid’s designer work in Canada at the exhibition Karim Rashid – Cultural Shaping (October 11, 2018-February 10, 2019), and while there, learn about work by artists who have engaged with the basis of geometry at Electric Geometric (October 8, 2018-January 13, 2019).
  • Explore the impact of human activity on Earth at the National Gallery of Canada’s Anthropocene exhibition (September 28, 2018-February 24, 2019) and while there see watercolour and oil drawings by the Swiss artist Paul Klee at the exhibition Paul Klee: The Berggruen Collection from The Metropolitan Museum of Art (November 16, 2018-March 17, 2019)
  • At the Canadian Museum of Nature, immerse yourself in the beauty and motion of Butterflies in Flight featuring live butterflies at this returning exhibition (October 6, 2018-April 22, 2019) and celebrate women in science at the exhibition Courage and Passion: Canadian Women in Natural Sciences (until March 31, 2019)
  • Head to the Canada Science and Technology Museum this fall to see the museum’s transportation collection highlights at the exhibition Moving Stories.
  • At the Canadian War Museum, learn about the campaign that ended World War I through artifacts, artworks, documents and photos at the exhibition Victory 1918 – The Last 100 days (October 26, 2018-March 31, 2019).
  • Learn about the powerful monarchs and chivalric knights, devout religious leaders, and talented craftsmen at Canadian Museum of History’s Medieval Europe – Power and Splendour exhibition (until January 20, 2019) and experience 19th century Canada through the lens of a photography pioneer, William Notman, at the exhibition Notman, Visionary Photographer (November 23, 2018-April 14, 2019)
  • Find out how Ottawa has evolved from Confederation to the present at the Bytown Museum’s exhibition Through the Eyes of Community: 150 Years of Ottawa’s History (until December 23, 2018).
  • At the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, the exhibition Space to Spoon introduces the connection between space technology and the food on our plates (until April 30, 2019). 
  • Discover the art of medal sculpting at the Bank of Canada Museum’s International Art Medal Federation 35th Congress Exhibition (until November 25, 2018).


  • New! Watch Elgin Street for a new French restaurant this fall with Chef René Rodriguez, former winner of Top Chef Canada, in the kitchen.
  • New! When Ontario announced that breweries could sell beer for as low as $1 per can, local craft brewery Dominion City Brewing Company announced its new Buck-A-Beer blonde ale, whereby $1 per can is donated to support refugee resettlement in Ottawa.
  • New! The craft beer scene continues to grow, with Overflow Brewing Company joining the party with an initial lineup of 5 brews.
  • New! An Ottawa coffee company is tackling the issue of unsafe drinking water on First Nations reserves in Canada. For every 40 bags of coffee sold, Birch Bark Coffee Company can provide one water filtration system. Great coffee for a great cause!
  • Acclaimed family-owned chocolatier Stubbe Chocolates relocates from Dalhousie Street to 1224 Wellington Street West in fall 2018.
  • New! Plans are afoot to open a new Food Hall on Queen Street in the Sun Life Financial Centre in November 2018. Seven great locally sourced food and drink outlets will be available all day, then morph into a 390-person music venue at night! Stay tuned for details.
  • New! A delicious all-day salad spot called Lollo opened in July in the ByWard Market neighbourhood.
  • New! The Craft Beer Passport offers options for beer lovers to secure 12oz beer samples for $2 each from a variety of local craft breweries and craft beer bars over a 3-month or 6-month period.
  • BeaverTails, those scrumptious pastry treats that were born in Ottawa, celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2018!
  • The Fairmont Château Laurier has given Zoé’s a makeover. The airy, modern space hosts daily afternoon tea and is one of the best cocktail lounges in town!
  • Ottawa’s only Burmese restaurant (and one of only two across Canada), Rangoon, has relocated to Chinatown (Somerset Street West).
  • New! Love French bakeries? Two new options opened recently: Mamie Clafoutis in Westboro and Les Moulins La Fayette in Wellington West. 
  • New! Explore the world’s favourite street food options at Bandito’s in the Glebe neighbourhood. 
  • Cocktail lovers must check out Charlotte, a mid-century-modern-meets-tiki-lounge on Elgin Street above Pure Kitchen, one of Ottawa’s great vegetarian (mostly vegan) restaurants. Even the washrooms are Instagram-worthy!


In February 2018, Ottawa Tourism released 6 short videos profiling makers and artists from the region in a series called Ottawa’s Own. In fall 2018, 6 more profiles are released, touching on musicians, craft brewers, chefs, and more. Get a glimpse of their talents at



Each year, Ottawa hosts the national Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial downtown. A moving experience each and every November 11. Admission is also free at the Canadian War Museum that day, and a special service takes place at Beechwood Cemetery, which is the National Military Cemetery of the Canadian Forces. 

This year, to mark the centenary of World War I, the 850,000 names of those killed in 1918 and the following few years (from all participating countries) are projected onto the Government Conference Centre, each night between September 12 and November 11, 2018 as part of The World Remembers project.

On the evening of November 3, the Canadian War Museum hosts the Cantata Singers for The Eleventh Hour: The Armistice Centennial and on November 4, an afternoon of musical tribute called We Will Remember is performed at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.



As of January 2019, the Parliament of Canada’s Centre Block will close to the public as the building undergoes a decade-long rehabilitation.

Once Centre Block closes, guided tours of Parliament will be offered at two new sites: West Block, the interim home of the House of Commons, and the Government Conference Centre, the interim home of the Senate.

A new Visitor Welcome Centre (located between West Block and Centre Block) and a new online booking system for these free tours will also be unveiled.



In spring 2018, Canada’s federal government announced that marijuana would be legalized on October 17, 2018. And while this is a national decree, each province in Canada is able to set its own laws about how to implement such a change. In Ontario, exact details are still being worked out, though we know that an age limit (19) will apply; limits to consumption in public places, workplaces, and motor vehicles will be upheld; and sales will begin online, through a government website (sales in private businesses are due to begin in April 2019).

Meanwhile, Canopy Growth, in Smiths Falls (about an hour’s drive southwest of Ottawa), aims to become the world’s #1 cannabis company. And with a $5 billion CAD investment from Constellation Brands in August 2018, that very well may happen.