About Ottawa, Canada

Ottawa is a city that straddles two worlds. Located in Ontario, Canada at the border of Quebec Province, it is the capital city of Canada with a population of just under 900,000. Perched on cliffs above the Ottawa River, it is a scenic and historic city, with its gothic Parliamentary building and the Rideau Canal that cuts through the center of town. Museums are world-class, and the famous ByWard Market – the best place to eat, drink and buy souvenirs – is just a short walk from the city’s best attractions.
Thanks to its proximity to French-speaking Quebec, you will find a much greater French influence here than in other Canadian cities. Poutine, a popular French-Canadian dish involving fries, cheese curds and gravy, is available everywhere. Also a must-try dessert is Beaver Tails, essentially a giant donut covered with jam or chocolate.
Across the river from Ottawa is Gatineau Park in Quebec, site of many of the outdoor events planned for this year’s Jewish Outdoor Escape. Just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa, Gatineau has 140 square miles of hiking, swimming, paddling, biking and historical sites. There are innumerable waterfalls and lakes and 100 miles of trails to explore.


Home to indigenous populations for more than 6,000 years, Ottawa was first visited by Europeans in 1610. Traders and missionaries regularly traversed the area, yet the first European settlement didn’t occur until 1800. In 1857, the city was chosen by Queen Victoria to be Canada’s capital for several reasons – its relatively remote and forested location made it safer from a potential American invasion, and its location high upon riverside cliffs created an easily-defensible position. It was also halfway between the provinces biggest populations – Toronto and Quebec City. And it had good water access.
Besides being home to government, Ottawa became a major lumber provider, with many sawmills and access to a railroad. In 1885, it became the first city in Canada to have electric street lights. Today, Ottawa still retains a small-city charm and ease of navigation. With many cultural and historical sites to offer, Ottawa is a town that will keep visitors occupied for many days.


September is a perfect time to be in Ottawa. Rain is rare, mosquitoes have long since disappeared and humidity is generally absent. Expect days in the 60s and 70s F, with nights chilling down to the 50s. Bring a warm top for the evenings, but don’t expect to be really cold unless some rare extreme weather moves in.
Those who see Ottawa in summer may wish to return for the city’s annual Winterlude event in February, where thousands of visitors ice skate over the frozen Rideau Canal and take part in many festivities. It’s a true Canadian experience – but dress warm.

Weather near the camp:


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