Canada Aviation and Space Museum#8 in Best Things To Do in Ottawa
The Canada Aviation and Space Museum is home to the country's most comprehensive collection of vintage aircraft, which includes more than 130 artifacts and aircraft from both military and civil service. The main exhibit hall – known as the "Walkway of Time" – follows Canadian aviation developments from the start of the 20th century through to the present day and features both authentic planes and replicas of the most influential aircraft. You can even book a sightseeing flight over Ottawa in a Waco UPF-7, a vintage, open-cockpit biplane that dates back to 1939. The museum also offers seasonal sightseeing flights in a Cessna aircraft.
Recent visitors who self-identified as aviation nuts raved about the museum's collection and its exhibits. But even reviewers who said they had only a passing interest in aircraft said the museum was engaging and fascinating, especially for kids. Travelers suggested setting aside several hours to tour the museum's hands-on exhibits.
Located in the city's eastern suburbs (about 5 miles east of Parliament Hill), the Canada Aviation and Space Museum is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m during the summer (May to Labor Day); the museum is closed on Tuesdays and opens at 10 a.m. from September to early May. Adult admission costs CA$13 (about $10); entrance for kids ages 3 to 12 costs $8. Though it's easiest to reach the facility by car, you can also rely on public transit (OC Transpo route No. 129 brings you to the museum) or a bike (the museum is just off the Ottawa River Pathway). For more information, visit the museum's official website.
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#1 Rideau Canal
Snaking its way through the center of Ottawa, the Rideau Canal is one of the city's most historic attractions. This 125-mile waterway was originally constructed between 1826 and 1832 to create a secure supply and communications route between Montreal, Québec, and Kingston, Ontario – roughly 120 miles southwest of the capital. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the city's most beloved features.
During the summer, you'll find the Rideau Canal filled with boats (both private and commercial) and the paved pathways surrounding it crowded with walkers, runners and bicyclists. If you'd like to tour the canal by boat, consider signing up for a trip with Rideau Canal Cruises. Cruises, which take visitors from Chateau Laurier to Dow's Lake (round trip), typically last 90 minutes and take visitors past nearly 30 sights along the canal. You can also borrow a bike from RentABike for CA$10 (around $8) an hour. As the temperatures begin to drop, the canal transforms into the world's largest skating rink, spanning 4.8 miles and featuring a surface area equivalent to 90 Olympic-sized hockey rinks. It's also lined with stands selling hot chocolate and soup, as well as heated huts in case you need a break from the cold.
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