Grab your camera this winter season and explore these local Instagram favourite spots to take photos in and around Ottawa.
Ottawa’s downtown core is only a short 20-minute drive away from the winter wonderland of Gatineau Park. With over 200km of cross-country skiing trails, plus opportunities to snowshoe, hike, fat bike or winter camp, the Instagram opportunities are endless!
Tip: Spending the night in the wilderness is definitely the best way to get the full winter experience. Gatineau Park has four-season winter tents, yurts and wood cabins available for rent all season long.
No trip to Ottawa is complete without a photo of Canada’s Parliament, however the winter season can provide a whole new perspective. With wonderful snowy scenes, and sharp blue skies on cold clear days, the city’s most Instagrammed building is more than photogenic in the winter months. The centennial flame, a great centerpiece to the iconic Parliament shot, also provides a bit of warmth during a winter visit.
Tip: Take a free tour of Parliament and get some great winter views from the top of the Peace Tower.
Looking for a perfect view of Parliament Hill and the Ottawa skyline? Then head down to the banks of the Ottawa River, to the Voyageurs Pathway on the Gatineau side of the river. Winter provides a unique view with ice and snow flowing freely down the river (depending on weather conditions). One day you’ll find it covered in snow, while the next you might be able to snap a great Parliament reflection shot on a still winter day. On very cold days you may even be able to catch a glimpse of fog coming off the river – this happens when the outdoor temperature is colder than the river.
Tip: Walk across the Alexandra Bridge for a great view from both the Ottawa and Gatineau sides, or head a bit further west to the Portage Bridge and head on to Victoria Island for another great vantage point.
It’s the largest naturally frozen outdoor skating rink in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and very uniquely Ottawa. No winter visit is complete without a shot from this winter wonder. However keep your eye on the temperature, as the canal is only open when the mercury dips low enough to allow it to freeze solid.
Tip: There are many great vantage points from the Canal, but for a unique, off the beaten path spot, check out the skateway at Patterson Creek – a cute stone arched bridge will lead you to the offshoot.
Fairmont Château Laurier
It’s our very own winter castle and a great place to snap an iconi winter pic. The Fairmont Château Laurier stands tall beside the famous Rideau Canal locks and is just steps away from Parliament Hill and the ByWard Market. With it’s historic architecture and fairy tail allure, it’s the perfect spot for that quintessential winter photo.
Tip: Head down to the Bytown Museum for a unique view from the bottom of the locks, or to the Mackenzie King Bridge beside the Shaw Centre for a postcard perfect view.
Wilson Carbide Ruins
For those looking for a winter adventure and not afraid to brave the cold, the Wilson Carbide ruins is the perfect place for capturing that epic off the beaten path pic. Once the summer home of inventor Wilson Carbide, this secluded hidden gem deep in Gatineau Park is not only a great place to enjoy the tranquility of winter in the wilderness, but the perfect spot to capture that one of a kind winter photo.
Tip: Dress warmly, bring some hot coco in a thermos, and respect cold water.
A short walk from Rideau Hall (home to the governor general) Rideau Falls is where the Rideau River and Ottawa Rivers meet. In the heart of winter the falls can often freeze over completely creating an amazing sight. However, when the falls are still flowing, the surrounding area is blanketed in a beautiful white frozen glaze – definitely double tap worthy.
Tip: Pair a trip to Rideau Falls with a tour of Rideau Hall, another great Instagrammable place. Tours are upon request only during the winter months.