Things to do in Ottawa!

Things to do in Ottawa!

Ottawa Secrets and Suggested Activities from your Co-Convenors and Hosts



Dr. Daina Mazutis
Associate Professor, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa
Co-Chair, ILA 2019


Prime Minister’s Row

Prime Minister’s Row is a new cultural project in Sandy Hill which centers around Laurier Avenue East and encompasses the spaces between King Edward, Rideau and Strathcona park, all an easy walking distance from the Shaw Center and the Westin. This Sandy Hill neighbourhood has been the home of seven prime ministers (including Former Prime Minister and Plenary Speaker Paul Martin) and ten fathers of the confederation. The tour will be annotated by a local historian and include stops such as Laurier House and All Saints Church, both of which are of historical value.

Tour Guide Name: François Bregha

Date: Thursday, October 24th 2019

Time: 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Note: we kindly ask guests to please arrive 15 minutes early.

Cost: $20

Registration: Click here to register using the password: ILA by October 22. The registration secures you a spot in the tour. Payments will be collected by the tour guide before the tour begins (cash only).

Capacity: 25 people. Please note: a minimum requirement of 15 registrations is needed. If that minimum is not reached, the walk will be canceled. An email communication will be sent to notify participants.

Meeting Location: in front of the Westin Hotel, located at 11 Colonel By Dr, Ottawa, ON K1N 9H4. It is located at the corner of Colonel By Drive and Daly Avenue.


Coordinator: Geneviève Séguin, Coordinator, Events and Special Projects at the Telfer School of Management. For more information, please contact her at or call her at 613-562-5800 ext 4647.

Photo: Strathcona Park. Credit:

Nature Nocturne: Moon Mission

Don’t miss Ottawa’s most memorable night out! This special event is at the Canadian Museum of Nature,  Friday night, 25 October, from 8pm to midnight.  Explore galleries after hours, engage your curiosity with amazing themed activities, and enjoy three dance floors, each with a different vibe. Or, just soak up the atmosphere of this amazing heritage castle coming alive at night. This event sells out quickly, so be sure to get your tickets online ahead of time!



Ingrid Richter
Executive in Residence, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa
Co-Chair, ILA 2019



National Gallery of Canada

Wonderful place to see a wide range of Canadian art and to enjoy an excellent lunch with the best view of the Parliament!

Location: 380 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON K1N 9N4


Wellington Gastropub

Intimate standby serving upscale pub fare such as scallops & steaks with craft beer & cocktails.

Location: 1325 Wellington St W, Ottawa, ON K1Y 3B6


Copper Spirits and SightsCopper Spirits and Sights (in Andaz Ottawa Byward Market)

Best view of downtown with upscale cocktails and a relaxed vibe.

Location: 325 Dalhousie St, Ottawa, ON K1N 7G1


Ottawa Art Gallery

Best kept secret! Fine art collection and an excellent place for lunch or dinner. (Just around the corner from the Shaw Conference Centre).

Location: 50 Mackenzie King Bridge, Ottawa, ON K1N 0C5


Glen Orsak


Glen Orsak
Director, Executive Programs, Telfer School of Management
Co-Chair, ILA 2019




Photo credit: National Gallery of Canada website.

Shop for Truly Unique Canadian Souvenirs and Gifts

One of my favourite souvenir shops that features Canadian art and uniquely Canadian souvenirs is the Boutique store at the National Gallery of Canada. While you can shop online to see what they have in store for you it is also just a short 12 minute walk from the Shaw Centre down Sussex Drive. The walk will take you past the Embassy of the United States and the famous Chateau Laurier hotel. If you have 60-90 minutes to spare, this is a must-do mini excursion that you can do on your own or that can inspire a small group activity.

Of course, if you have more time, the National Gallery itself offers an inspiring experience of human imagination and creativity in its art exhibits and architecture that showcases Canadian and Indigenous art. An alternative to the National Gallery is also the Ottawa Art Gallery, which is even a closer walk to the Shaw Centre. The OAG also has a small boutique for gifts and souvenirs: (

Location: 380 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON K1N 9N4


Photo credit: National Gallery of Canada website

Get Outdoors and into the Forest – Gatineau Park and the “Fall Rhapsody”

One of our favourite treasures and a benefit of living in or visiting Ottawa is the proximity to the Gatineau Park, a large beautiful National Park that is just a 15-minute drive from the Shaw Centre. If you have a desire to commune with nature, this is your destination – even if you have only 2-3 hours. In October, the Park shows off with stunning fall foliage thanks to its bright deciduous trees like sugar maples, oaks and birch. The annual Fall Rhapsody Festival features activities that highlight this annual phenomenon. As a fair warning, the timing of ILA conference may be at the tail end of the period when the leaves are at their most vibrant – this will depend on the weather and conditions that we experience in October. I am hoping for a delayed fall so that all of our guests can see the beauty of fall in our City and region.)

Location: Gatineau Park


Visit Canada’s Parliament – An Easy Self-Guided Walk

In my view, if you are a first time visitor to our Capital City, you must consider a visit to our Parliament buildings. This is an easy thing to do if you only have 60-90 minutes to spare. The best meeting place for a self-guided walk is the “Centennial Flame” which is just a short 10 minute walk from the Shaw Centre and is worth the walk even if only to browse the grounds by foot and to observe the Gothic Revival architecture of the buildings from the outside. As a fair warning, the permanent home of Canada’s House of Commons and Senate (the Centre Block) is undergoing major rehabilitation and, accordingly, these two legislative bodies are temporarily housed in nearby buildings. The Senate is located just across the street from the Shaw Centre in the “Old Train Station”; there is a 30 minute tour available. The House of Commons is located in the “West Block”; there are also tours available here. While these are likely top-ranked activities on any tourism list for Ottawa, my personal suggestion is not to miss the walk around the back side of the Centre Block (the building with the Peace Tower – clock tower). Behind you will be able to view the beautiful Library of Parliament as well as take in views of the Ottawa River, its bridges and perhaps even the sunset (sunset happens at 6:00pm in late October).

Senate Tour Registration:

House of Commons Tour Registration:


Other Sightseeing Suggestions

The following suggestions come from the official website of Ottawa Tourism. Check out their website for other great suggestions.

Ottawa Tourism’s Flash Your Badge Program entitles you and a guest to a discounted visit to the attractions, tours, restaurants and hospitality listed. All you have to do is present your delegate badge. Enjoy! Call these participating attractions in advance to make reservations and/or confirm availability if specified.

No matter the season, Canada’s Capital is a treasure trove of impressive sights and stimulating activities. From world-renown historic places to outdoor adventure and everything in between, here are the top ten things you don’t want to miss when you visit Ottawa.

With a crisp fall breeze, warm sunshine, and a kaleidoscope of beautiful fall colours, autumn is a wonderful time to explore Ottawa. To help get you started, we’ve prepared a suggested outline for the perfect three-day Ottawa fall getaway. Follow this itinerary throughout your trip or use it as a base to create your own customized visit. You’ll fall in love with Canada’s capital this autumn!

Ottawa’s Seven National Museums: When you visit Canada’s capital, you can experience the entire country, all in one welcoming city! Home to seven of Canada’s nine national museums, Ottawa is the mecca for culture vultures, historical enthusiasts and Canadiana buffs. Add these national museums to your Ottawa itinerary!

The Canadian Museum of History Canada Museum of Historywelcomes over 1.2 million visitors each year to its celebrated complex in the heart of the National Capital Region, making it the country’s most-visited museum. With roots stretching back to 1856, it is one of Canada’s oldest public institutions and a respected centre of museological excellence, sharing its expertise in history, archaeology, ethnology and cultural studies both within Canada and abroad.

The Conference’s Opening Reception will be on Thursday at the Canadian Museum of History from 18:00–19:30. There is free museum admission every Thursday from 17:00–20:00 – so come early and enjoy all the museum has to offer this autumn!

Canadian Museum of History. Credit:

Experience Culture in the Capital – 3 Museums in 3 Days! As Canada’s capital, Ottawa has a substantial amount of history and culture that can captivate a new tourist or even the most experienced traveler. Immerse yourself in Ottawa’s eclectic neighborhoods and downtown core and enjoy our nationally renowned cultural institutions. The myriad of museums and galleries offer a glimpse into everything from Canada’s social and military history, to buildings that house impressive aircraft collections and explain technological breakthroughs, to astounding natural wonders and world-class art.

Hiking highlights in the Ottawa area: Hiking and walking are favorite past-times in and around Canada’s capital. From urban, paved pathways to more rugged terrain in the countryside, there are scenic routes and trails to satisfy the beginner to the expert hiker. Discover the Ottawa region’s vibrant natural beauty while you explore some of its best hiking sites!

Ottawa’s vibrant urban arts scene:The rich urban arts scene in Canada’s Capital is fueled by passionate local individuals that thrive in Ottawa’s supportive arts community. Murals, sculptures, miniatures and graffiti help beautify streetscapes and even natural environments. Here are a few sites and areas where you can soak up some of Ottawa’s growing urban arts scene.

Great Ottawa Restaurants: Ottawa’s vibrant culinary community has deep roots: there are over 1300 farms located within the city limits and the resulting local products are used by many Ottawa chefs. The result? Fresh, inventive and flavourful creations that will have you drooling.

Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants: The culinary scene in Canada’s capital is brimming with delicious cuisine, including popular vegetarian and vegan eateries. From healthy and raw, to hearty and indulgent, you’ll find meat-less options to suit all your cravings and dietary restrictions. Prepare your taste buds for these creative and satisfying vegetarian restaurants, cafes and bakeries located throughout the Ottawa area.

Ottawa’s hopping craft beer scene: Home to over three dozen independent breweries that are getting attention around the world, Ottawa is a top destination for craft beer lovers. But don’t take our word for it – come and taste for yourself! Whether you hop on a brewery bus tour, attend beer events or sip suds in a local pub, there are plenty of fun and tasty ways to whet your whistle in Canada’s capital!

Great cocktail spots in Ottawa: Whether you’re on a date, meeting friends or flying solo, you can easily find the perfect place to have drinks in Canada’s capital. And when local craft beer and refined wines aren’t cutting it, why not stir things up with a killer cocktail? From chic restaurants to trendy lounges and cozy pubs, check out our suggestions for great cocktail spots in Ottawa.