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If you ask people what the capital of Canada is, chances are that cities such as Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal will be mentioned. In fact, these answers are all incorrect with Ottawa, Ontario holding this position since 1857 as chosen by Queen Victoria, 10 years before Federation. While those three cities are all larger in size than Ottawa, the city in south east Ontario stands proud as the political and legislative hub of modern Canada and was selected to appease both French and English Canadians.
Ottawa sits on the southern bank of the River Ottawa that marks the border between Ontario and Quebec, while also being less than an hour from the United States. This makes the capital an ideal location to start your adventure into eastern North America.
As one of the most educated cities in the country, Ottawa is the home of countless museums, theatres and galleries - showcasing the best of Canada both past and present. Upon flying into Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, you are certainly in for a treat - regardless of whether you are into culture, tradition or sheer natural beauty.
Car hire at Ottawa Airport is well serviced with DriveNow partners such as Hertz, Avis, Budget, Enterprise and Europcar all providing on site rental services at the airport or via short shuttle services. The onsite rental companies are located in the Parkade parking building opposite the main terminal with easy access to both the arrival and departure halls.
Ottawa's only international airport is situated around 10 km south of the central city. Supporting more than 4 million passengers per year, the airport welcomes flights from around the globe, with a particular focus on Europe, the Caribbean and the United States. Despite being a capital, interestingly, Ottawa International Airport is not a hub for any airline (including Air Canada).
Thanks to Ottawa's capital city status, the many attractions within the urban areas are based around historic national pride. Whether this is the Centre Block on Parliament Hill, the National War Memorial or the National Gallery, you are able to immerse yourself in traditional Canadian sights.
Bytown Museum on the Rideau Canal provides a history of the original settlement, named after founder Colonel John By, and it’s development from a wild frontier town in the late 18th and early 19th centuries into the cosmopolitan capital of today.
Byward Market is another must-see, located close to Parliament Hill and established in 1826 by Colonel By, this market goes beyond any traditional market you may think of and covers some 4 city blocks with everything from food, to top end eateries and shops to explore.
However, the benefit of having a rental car on your side is that you can travel much further afield than the local suburbs of Ottawa. After spending a day or two exploring the inner workings of the capital, hit the highway and enjoy the great Canadian wilderness! Here are two great spots.
Bonnechere Caves - Situated around 90 minutes west of Ottawa is the enchanting Bonnechere Caves. Famous for their fossils, rock formations and stalactites, the caves are a great attraction for the young and old. Explore the caverns on your own or employ a friendly guide who can tell you all the secrets of the caves.
Gatineau Park - If you drive an hour north into Quebec, you'll soon find Gatineau Park. The park covers more than 36,000 hectares and supports activities regardless of the season. During winter, cross-country skiing and winter hiking is popular while the summer offers the chance to fish, ride horses, mountain bike and rock climb. Of course, if you want to slow the pace down, Gatineau Park has outstanding accommodation located across the picturesque landscape.
If you would like more information about car hire at Ottawa Airport, contact the team at DriveNow or book online today.