Customs & Immigration
Travel to Ottawa
Do you need a visa to enter Canada?
If you want to visit Canada, you must first find out if you need a visitor (temporary resident) visa. Please visit the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website for a list of countries and territories that must have a visa to visit Canada.
Local Information & Services
Air Canada, Porter Airlines and WestJet are offering a discount on flights to Ottawa. In addition, discounts apply for rail travel throughout the VIA system.
For more information see http://www.mededconference.ca/ccme2014/accommodationandtravel.php
Based on the 2006 Census, the population of the City of Ottawa is estimated at 812,129 people, and the Ottawa-Gatineau region is estimated at 1,130,761 people.
English and French are commonly spoken, as well as some Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, and Vietnamese.
- Banking hours differ by bank and branch, but are generally the same as common working hours (9am to 5pm). Some banks are open later or on weekends or Thursday evenings.
- Most businesses accept debit cards as a form of payment.
- Most major credit cards are accepted in Ottawa.
- Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are located in banks and in various other locations throughout the city. They are usually available during and outside of regular banking hours, although often with an additional service fee.
Currency can be exchanged at banks or at currency exchange stations. Some hotels and other merchants accept foreign currency, but it is recommended that visitors exchange currency before they arrive.
Ottawa Convention Centre
The spectacular new Ottawa Convention Centre sets new standards for environmental design and sustainable practices, serving delegates and guests with advanced technology. Overlooking the Rideau Canal – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Parliament Hill and downtown Ottawa, the Centre features a sweeping glass façade encasing four floors of state-of-the-art meeting space. Delegates can step outside and be just steps away from recreational paths and the ByWard Market shopping and restaurant districtnot to mention 6,000 downtown hotel rooms, all within easy walking distance. The facility is directly linked to the 180-store Rideau Centre and the 495-room Westin Ottawa. The Ottawa Convention Centre is also just a few short steps away from the majestic and historic, Fairmont Chateau Laurier. These two beautiful hotels will accommodate our delegates and serve as host to many of our sessions.
Museums & Festivals
Ottawa has 30 museums – the highest concentration of museums of any region in Canada. This includes the Canadian Museum of Civilization, which is the most visited museum in Canada.
Ottawa has no shortage of important festivals: Ottawa holds the world’s largest chamber music festival in late summer and the world’s largest tulip festival in the spring. It is also the site for the world’s second largest blues music festival – the Ottawa Bluesfest – that takes place in July. The Bluesfest is second only to the Chicago blues festival.
Ottawa’s Rideau Canal is the world’s largest, naturally frozen ice rink and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it is the oldest, continuously operated canal system in North America.
Ottawa has one of the longest networks of scenic recreational paths in any North American city (150 km or 93 m). On Sunday mornings in summer, some of the parkways are closed to vehicle traffic, giving cyclists, joggers, in-line skaters and walkers 25 km (15 m) of parkway to enjoy. In total, there are over 300 km of bike trails and over 200km of cross-country ski trails in the region.
Ottawa was originally home the Algonquin First Nations tribe.
Bytown became Ottawa on January 1, 1855 when Bytown was formally incorporated as a city and adopted the new name.
In 1857, Queen Victoria chose Ottawa to be the capital of the Province of Canada, which led to the city’s further development.
Since the 1960s, Ottawa has grown into a world-class capital with numerous museums, art galleries, and cultural festivals.
Quality of Life
Ottawa is 18th in a survey of 200 cities worldwide for best quality of life. The survey was conducted by Mercer Human Resources International.
Ottawa is Canada’s most affordable city, ranking 90th out of 144 international cities on the list of most expensive cities.
Population – 900,000
Ottawa is also the home of the Government of Canada, Parliament, the Senate, the Supreme Court of Canada and other government bodies.
Ottawa has more engineers, scientists and PhD graduates per capita than any other city in the country.
Ottawa experiences four very distinct seasons. Ottawa usually receives a considerable amount of snow in the winter, and moderate amounts of rain in all other months. Beautiful summer heat is common in the summer, and the Autumn is a showcase of colours and fresh, brisk air.
Ottawa is located in the Eastern Standard Time (GMT - 5 hours) time zone. Daylight Savings Time begins at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March as clocks are switched forward one hour. It ends at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday in November, when clocks are switched back to Standard Time.
Weather & Time Zone