Study in Ottawa
One of the most beautiful cities in North America, Ottawa has much to offer both those that live there the year round and those lucky enough to just come and visit or study in such ambient surroundings. Ottawa enjoys all the life and energy of a national capital. The city is flanked by stunning natural beauty and with the comparatively low population this secure happy capital is known for its gracious living, clean air, parks and varied cultural activities.
The focal point for many visitors are the magnificent Parliament buildings of Parliament Hill, located in the heart of the city and towering over the Ottawa river. These impressive buildings, gothic in appearance, are an architectural blend of English and French, historic and modern, ceremonial and casual and can be appreciated most on summer evenings when visitors may bear witness to Canadian history through the Sound and Light spectacle.
Running through the city is the historic Rideau Canal, stretching 202 kilometres from Ottawa to Kingston. With its 47 locks and 24 dams the canal is one of the greatest engineering feats of its time, ending its journey in a 49 metre drop to Lake Ontario. Constructed in 1812 for military purposes the canal now provides the ideal transport for recreational boaters more interested in taking in the tranquil scenery as they pass by the farmland, villages, towns and lakes of Ontario. During the winter, almost 8 kilometres of the canal is transformed when it freezes to form the longest ice skating rink in the world.
When it comes to celebrations, Ottowa is a vibrant and colourful city with more pomp and ceremony that most. The annual calendar is packed full of festivities and special events not to be missed such as the opening of parliament and the National Day Celebration held on July 1st on Parliament Hill. An all-day event, this is one big party heralded by bells pealing around the city, marching bands and a line-up of top quality entertainment.
If you thought Holland was the land of tulips you would be very much surprised come mid-May in Ottowa when the city blooms with a million vibrant flowers announcing the start of the Tulip Festival. This is not Ottowa’s only international link as the city is renowned for being the largest bilingual city in English Canada, with a real French tradition. This French connection is celebrated every June with the Franco-Ontarian Festival, or ‘Le Franco’ when citizens and visitors alike have the opportunity to revel in traditional and modern entertainment and get a real taste for the legendary cuisine.
The frozen waters of the Rideau Canal set the scene for the ten day festival of winter, the Winterlude, one of North America’s biggest winter carnivals, which features various winter sports, ice sculpting competitions, fireworks and celebrations of a general frosty nature.
For those of you who are interested in the cultural aspects the city has to offer you need look no further than the many museums and art galleries dotted around the capital. Ottawa has a diverse range of museums devoted to areas from skiing to flying, most housed in dramatic architectural structures as fascinating to behold as their contents. The Canadian Museum of Civilization displays exhibits that trace Canada’s history from prehistoric times to present day, many of which have an interactive theme, whilst the National Museum of Science and Technology focuses on the accomplishments of Canadian research and industry. At the heart of Ottawa’s cultural life is the National Arts Centre that plays host to opera, ballet and theatre and musical presentations on both a local and global scale.
One of Ottawa’s main attractions is the lush greenery of the surrounding area which includes the Greenbelt, a band of protected wetlands and woodlands that runs around the capital taking in the Stony Swamp Conservation Area. Within the city there are many parks and gardens, such as Gatineau Park which provides the ideal location for swimming, cycling, camping and skiing. Should you just prefer to wander around on foot, the banks of the Rideau Canal offer many relaxing walking paths to pass the time.
One of Ottawa’s special charms is that it is close to so much. Although the Sparks Street Mall and the By Ward Market more that provide for everyone’s needs, from craftshops to boutiques and café’s to nightclubs, Montreal, Canada’s French cosmopolitan centre is just down the road and New York State is only an hour away.
Students choosing to come and study in this thriving city have the opportunity to experience all of this and more, with the added bonus of studying in a safe and friendly setting.