As Canada’s Capital, Ottawa is a unique city that is home to several national museums, historic sites and natural sites that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The city also has a unique way of helping visitors get to some of these sites; with road signs that can only be found in Ottawa! See how some of Ottawa’s most unique attractions are indicated with some very original signage.
Parliament Hill is one of Ottawa’s main cultural attractions! And it’s easy to find as you can follow a few signs that will lead you right to it. These signs are bright blue, with Parliament’s famous Centre Block and Peace Tower appearing in white.
Also, if you’re visiting Ottawa, it’s common for locals to give you directions from this well-known landmark. It’s common to be told, for example, that the Fairmont Château Laurier or the downtown shopping mall CF Rideau Centre is “just east of Parliament Hill.” Located on Wellington Street in Ottawa’s downtown core, it’s easy to find your way around the city from here!
While you’re around Parliament Hill, keep an eye out for a few unique parking signs such as a “Senators Only” parking sign. This sign does not refer to the NHL team; rather, it refers to the 105 members of the Senate of Canada, who are appointed by the Governor General of Canada on the advice of the Prime Minister of Canada. The Senate has the power to accept or reject potential laws that go through the House of Commons.
And as Ottawa is Canada’s Capital, it’s home to many embassies and diplomats. Look for red street signs that indicate diplomat loading and/or parking zones. These signs can be found wherever there’s an embassy or high commission—Centretown, Lowertown, Sandy Hill and Rockcliffe Park are all popular locations.
Dinosaur and Mammoth Crossing Signs:
For more interesting signs, you’ll want to head over to the Canadian Museum of Nature on McLeod Street.
On the museum’s grounds, you’ll find a yellow Dinosaur Crossing sign. This sign makes reference to one of the museum’s most unique aspects, the Talisman Energy Fossil Gallery. In this gallery, visitors can take in 30 complete dinosaur skeletons as well as 15 life-sized, fleshed-out models. Discover what the world was like 50 million years ago and take lots of pictures!
Also on the Canadian Museum of Nature’s property, you’ll find a Mammoth Crossing sign (on O’Connor Street, just west of the museum) and life-sized models of mammoths along McLeod Street (just to the west of Metcalfe Street). On the east side of the museum, you’ll find a sign warning of Chasmosaurus irvinensis Crossing! Installed in December 2014, this is one of Ottawa’s newest road signs. Don’t forget to stop to take a few photos with these unique signs!
Silly Walks Signs:
These blue signs are located along Ottawa’s pedestrian Sparks Street, in homage to British comedy troupe Monty Python. We’re not sure exactly where the Ministry of Silly Walks is located in Ottawa, but these signs invite pedestrians to get silly while walking around near Parliament Hill. Why not get a shot of you and your friends crossing the street in your own silly manner?
Ice Skater Crossing Signs:
These signs are located in winter only along the scenic Colonel By Drive and Queen Elizabeth Drive, in Ottawa’s downtown core. The signs complement the Rideau Canal Skateway, one of Ottawa’s most famous winter sites and the largest skating rink in the world according to Guinness World Records. It’s 7.8 kilometres (4.8 miles) long!
These signs are meant to help ice skaters cross the busy roads safely, as the Skateway is adored by Ottawa locals and visitors alike. On average, the Skateway welcomes about one million visitors per season (usually from early January to late February). These are official signs that you’ll only find in Ottawa!
Sens Mile Sign:
During the Stanley Cup Playoffs, which see North America’s best hockey teams fight for the coveted Stanley Cup trophy each spring, Ottawa’s downtown Elgin Street becomes the Sens Mile. Complete with red Ottawa Senators-themed street signs, the Sens Mile is where Ottawa Senators hockey fans gather to support their home National Hockey League (NHL) team through the playoffs. The farther the “Sens” go in the playoffs, the more the celebrations intensify along this street. The Sens Mile is also lined with several different pubs and restaurants, which are great places to relax and watch the game!
All of these unique road signs are located outdoors and provide great free Ottawa photo ops. Strike a pose and share it with family and friends back home. Remember to use the hashtag #MyOttawa!