You don’t have to be a professional photographer to bring home frame-worthy photos of your next vacation, and Ottawa, Ontario is the perfect place to hone your travel photography skills. Whether you’re planning your very first trip to Ottawa, or you want to see the city with fresh eyes, we’ve got five ways to make your time in Canada’s Capital picture perfect. Here are 5 spots that will inspire you to Instagram your trip for friends and family back home.
Often one of the most important parts of planning a vacation is choosing a place to stay that’s close to the centre of all the sights and experiences you want to take in. The Fairmont Chateau Laurier (also known as Ottawa’s castle) keeps you within a 5 min walk of many of the city’s main attractions and frees up your time to perfect your photos. Head up to their patio and snap a shot of Parliament then make sure to capture the beautiful exterior of the hotel.
Hidden gems: Watch for great finds inside, like the “CL” initials engraved on each door handle and headboard in the hotel. Refine your photographer’s eye by taking a look at six original portraits by famed photographer Yousuf Karsh who lived in the hotel for six years. You’ll find portraits of Albert Einstein, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jean-Paul Riopelle, and the iconic shot of Winston Churchill that made Karsh’s career, in the Reading Lounge, just off the main lobby.
If you want to capture that quintessential Canadian photo, Parliament Hill is the perfect place to start your visit. While you’ll be amazed by the architecture, a trip to the hill is much more than just admiring the buildings – you can immerse yourself in the Canadian experience, and capture some beautiful photos while you are at it. From the Changing the Guard ceremony starting at 10 AM (June-August), to the free tours inside the buildings that take you inside the House of Commons, these experiences are the perfect way to get in the spirit of the city. Head up to the top of the Peace Tower to get a great look at Ottawa from above or pause to listen to the 53 bells of the peace tower play everything from “Oh Canada” to modern favourites.
Changing of the Guard, Parliament Hill
Centre Block, Parliament Hill
Water, water everywhere
You don’t have to walk far in Ottawa to come across a river, and by the foot of the Parliament Buildings you’ll find the Ottawa River meet the beginning UNESCO World Heritage site, the Rideau Canal. Each time you walk by the canal you’ll see a different moment waiting to be photographed, as stepped locks fill and empty of water to bring boats through the canal. A wander down from Parliament Hill, past the Bytown Museum will give you plenty of picture perfect angles to enjoy.
Keep your creative juices flowing with a stop for lunch in the ByWard Market, just around the corner from the Rideau Canal. Take a wander through the market to admire the colourful fruits, veggies, flowers & more for sale at each stand, then head to one of the restaurants such as Social or Play Food and Wine where the food is plated perfectly for your photo taking pleasure.
Play Food & Wine
The fun doesn’t stop when the sun sets in Ottawa – brush up on your night photography and get ready for two great evening experiences in the capital: The Haunted Walk and Mosaika.
The Haunted Walk brings to life the spooky side of the city, from historic duels, to the great fire and much more. The foggy canal at night, the silhouette of the Parliament Buildings and the Tin House in ByWard Market make for extra spooky photos.
When you wrap up your tour, walk up the hill to the Parliament Buildings and take in Mosaika, the free sound and light show that brings to life Canada’s past and present. Catch the show at 10pm (July); 9:30pm (August); or 9pm (until September 7).
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Have you taken beautiful Ottawa photos on your vacation? We want to see them! Tag your photos #DiscoverOntario on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for your chance to win an Ontario tote.