Ottawa Tourism

What’s Up in Ottawa – Fall 2019

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 October 5-27, 2019 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. FREE!

Even more gardens across Ottawa are highlighted during the Garden Fall Rhapsody event October 12-14, 2019. 

It’s still festival season in Ottawa! The National Arts Centre celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019 and its Indigenous Theatre department launches its inaugural season this year with Mòshkamo (September 11-29, 2019), including song, dance, food, poetry, and much more; the Ottawa International Animation Festival (September 25-29, 2019) draws crowds at screenings, panels, and workshops across Ottawa; the Super Cheese Festival (October 4-6, 2019) brings grilled cheese, mac ’n’ cheese, and everything cheese to Ottawa City Hall; and writers are celebrated at the Ottawa International Writers Festival, Fall Edition (October 24-29, 2019). Meanwhile, the Canada Army Run moves to the Canadian War Museum for its 2019 edition on September 22, 2019.

Celebrate beer in true fall form… at Oktoberfest! Beau’s Oktoberfest (September 20-21, 2019) is an annual celebration by Beau’s All-Natural Brewing Co., located just one hour’s drive east of Ottawa in tiny Vankleek Hill. This year, in addition to 14 Beau’s beers, great Bavarian-inspired food from local restaurants, a midway, sausage eating contest and more, check out great musical performances by The New Pornographers, Shad, and other great acts! 



Before you know it, the holiday season will be upon us! A traditional way to mark the season is to watch Ottawa’s Help Santa Toy Parade and on November 16, 2019, it celebrates its 50th edition! 

But the big draw in 2019 is the New! European-inspired Ottawa Christmas Market that will take place at Lansdowne between November 29 and December 22, 2019 (Fridays through Sundays)! Gifts and seasonal food and drink will be available from Instagrammable traditional market cabins, along with live entertainment, a central bar, fire pits, Christmas trees, and more! A must-visit attraction, especially when paired with the Ottawa Farmers’ Market every Sunday inside the neighbouring Aberdeen Pavilion!



Thousands of pumpkins draw crowds at Upper Canada 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 27-October 27, 2019). 

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-hostel where guests can stay the night in a converted cell. 

Haunting Season at Saunders Farm (September 21-October 31, 2019; mainly Friday through Sunday: check schedule) is a tradition for families in the Ottawa area. In addition to spooky activities like the Haunted Hayride 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. 

Get spooky with the special Halloween programming at the underground Cold-War-bunker-turned-museum Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum! Weekends before Halloween, a zombie apocalypse-themed Incident at the Bunker (October 19-20 and 26-27, 2019) gives guests the chance to explore the museum, hear stories, face challenges, and much more! Young kids get the chance for a more playful visit with the Toddler’s Halloween Hunt (October 31, 2019) 

If you’re looking for candy on October 31, try Rideau Hall (home of Governor General Julie Payette): the grounds are decorated and welcome visitors in the evening. FREE!



Don’t miss the best museum offerings in town!

  • Check out a selection of recent creations by Indigenous artists from around the world at the National Gallery of Canada’s exhibition Àbadakone / Continuous Fire / Feu continuel (November 8, 2019-April 5, 2020).
  • At the Canadian War Museum, learn about the Highland soldier at the exhibition Highland Warriors (until January 12, 2020), and discover powerful photographs of key events paired with reproduced archival items at the exhibition Invasion! – Canadians and the Battle of Normandy, 1944 (until November 24, 2019). 
  • Visit the FREE! Ottawa Art Gallery to see the diverse work of Indigenous artists at the exhibition Inaabiwin (October 4, 2019-January 19, 2020), and to discover how contemporary artists respond to the ground-breaking work of Surrealist artists and genderqueer pioneers at the exhibition Facing Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore (until February 9, 2020).
  • Learn about the South African (Boer) War at the Bytown Museum’s exhibition, The Gallant Thousand: Ottawa and the South African War, marking the 120th anniversary of the beginning of the war (until February 17, 2020), and see the photo exhibit Matthew Hinther: The Glebe is Overrated, a series of photographs from the neighbourhood where the photographer grew up New! $2 admission to the museum for everyone.
  • At the Canadian Museum of Nature, check out Qilalukkat! Belugas and Inuvialuit: Our Survival Together, and learn how the annual harvest is still a vital part of Inuvialuit life as told through stories, family photos, art, videos, and reflections (October 25, 2019-September 13, 2021). While there, warm up with Butterflies in Flight featuring live butterflies (extended until March 31, 2020). 
  • At the Bank of Canada Museum, explore the otherworldly uses of money and the surprising roots of some very familiar traditions at the Luck and Lore exhibition (October 25, 2019-November 1, 2020). FREE!
  • At the Canadian Museum of History, learn about the species now considered as our equals by scientists at the exhibition Neanderthal (until January 26, 2020), and see UNCEDED – Voices of the Land, a breathtaking multimedia installation that brings together the past, present, and future of the Indigenous experience (until March 22, 2020). At the Canadian Children’s Museum inside, follow the adventures of 4-year-old Daniel Tiger and his friends at Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood – A Grr-ific Exhibit


  • New! The prestigious Canadian Culinary Championships (also known as Canada’s Great Kitchen Party) is coming to Ottawa January 31-February 1, 2020! The country’s best chefs compete regionally, with those winners then spending a whirlwind weekend of black-box competitions, wine-pairings, and amazing food in Ottawa!
    • The Ottawa regional competition takes place November 19, 2019 at Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa.
  • New! Popular brewery tour company Brew Donkey recently replaced its plastic water bottles with branded water cans produced by Beyond the Pale Brewing Company! A much more environmentally friendly option for everyone! 
  • New! Speaking of beer, a new craft brewery called Brew Revolution opened in the west-end suburb of Stittsville in August 2019. 
  • New! And if you want to combine your beer with a little exercise, try The Thursty Pedaler, which offers up to 15 people a chance to pedal a giant bike from craft beer bar to craft beer bar in the Glebe neighbourhood. 
  • New! The restaurant formerly known as Le Café, inside the National Arts Centre, reopened and rebranded itself as 1 Elgin in mid-August 2019. 
  • New! Popular Zak’s Diner opens a new location on Elgin Street in fall 2019—get your milkshakes and all-day breakfast! 
  • New! The Fairmont Château Laurier has installed beehives outside the Senate of Canada’s temporary home in the former train station across the street from the hotel; the resulting honey will be used in various dishes at the hotel.
  • New! Chef Dominique Dufour, formerly of Le Germain Ottawa hotel, opened Gray Jay on Preston Street in summer 2019. 
  • New! One block east of Preston Street, brother-and-sister-owned restaurant Farinella offers no-nonsense Italian options, from pizza to gelato. 
  • New!Just north of the Wellington West neighbourhood, in Mechanicsville, Grunt has been generating buzz among Ottawa foodies with its homespun options. 
  • New!Popular chef Briana Kim opened Alice this summer, serving a vegan tasting menu. 
  • New! In Almonte, Ontario, a new distillery has opened that makes its products with milk byproducts, reducing waste and supporting local dairy farmers. Dairy Distillery’s vodka—called Vodkow, of course—is sold in clear glass milk bottles! 
  • New! Kichesippi Brewing Company opened a new—much larger—tasting room in summer 2019. 
  • New! A Mediterranean-themed brunch spot called Mazarine opened in August 2019 at 282 Kent Street downtown (closed Mondays). 


  • Winter 2019-2020 – 50th anniversary of the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest naturally frozen ice skating rink! 
  • Spring/summer 2020 – 50th anniversary of Sunday Bikedays, when scenic routes are closed to traffic so cyclists and inline skaters can have free rein! 
  • 2020 – 15th anniversary of Nordik Spa Nature, the largest spa in North America, located just a 15-minute drive north of downtown Ottawa. 
  • 2020 – The Canadian Tulip Festival celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Gift of Tulips and the end of WWII with a special edition Liberation75 Tulip to celebrate the friendship between Canada and the Netherlands. The Festival takes place May 8-18, 2020
  • Summer 2020 – New! Camp Fortune—a four-season recreational resort located in Gatineau Park, just a 15-minute drive north of downtown Ottawa which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2020—is introducing a luge in spring 2020 with a vertical drop of about 400 feet (130 metres).
  • Ongoing – the Ottawa International Airport has begun renovations to the airport, including an expanded and relocated pre-board screening area; local vendors contracted for airport concessions (Big Rig Brewery, Bridgehead Coffee, La Bottega Nicastro, and Zak’s Diner); and an Alt Hotel Ottawa Airport set to open by the end of 2020. 


Check out the Ottawa Tourism Media Library, which presents high-resolution photos from all four seasons with no password required to download! The library allows you to download one photo at a time, or to create folders of favourite shots and send them to yourself directly. Bookmark the page for future use: (NOTE: credit information is indicated in the file names).If you’re looking for b-roll, click on VIDEO at the top of the page!

If you don’t find what you’re looking for in the Media Library, email the Ottawa Tourism Communications team at [email protected] and we would be happy to help!