Downtown Ottawa: Heart of the Capital

Tour Description:

A walking tour along Wellington Street and the Sparks Street Mall in Ottawa’s historic “Upper Town” and the “Town and Crown” relationship to Parliament Hill. This tour includes many federally or municipally designated heritage buildings with historical and architectural importance. It will be followed by a boat tour along the Rideau Canal World Heritage Site. The construction of the Rideau Canal lead to the establishment of Bytown, the former name of Ottawa. Lunch will be served at the Bytown Museum, overlooking the canal. After lunch, a walking tour of Ottawa’s “Lower Town”, “Mile of History” and By Ward Market; the area covered in this walk is the heart of the old town where canal workers first settled and some of the earliest residential, commercial, and institutional structures are found. The walk will look at the history of the capital by going back in time to construction of the Rideau Canal and exploring some of the historic buildings of “Lower Town” and the By Ward Market.

General Itinerary:

  • 9:00-9:15 a.m. – Meet in Confederation Square
  • 9:15-10:15 a.m. – Upper Town walking tour – guided by David Jeanes
  • 10:15-10:45 a.m. – Snack and refreshment break in the Garden of the Provinces
  • 10:45-11:45 a.m. – Upper Town walking tour continued
  • 11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Make way to canal behind the National Arts Centre to board cruise
  • 12:00-1:30 p.m. – Rideau Canal Cruise
  • 1:30-1:45 p.m. – Walk along canal to Bytown Museum
  • 1:45-2:30 p.m. – Lunch on outdoor patio at the Bytown Museum
  • 2:30-4:00 p.m. – Lower Town walking tour – guided by Hagit Hadaya

Tour Leaders:

David Jeanes is president of Heritage Ottawa. He has been leading walking tours and helping organize Doors Open Ottawa for 16 years. Born in England, he spent his teenage years mostly in downtown Ottawa, followed by a career in high-tech at Bell-Northern Research and Nortel. He has had life-long interests in classical architecture and in railway history and engineering.

Hagit Hadaya holds a Master of Canadian Heritage Conservation and a High Honours BA in Architectural History, both from Carleton University, Ottawa. She has worked as a consultant for a number of federal government’s departments, taught Canadian History at Algonquin College, conducts architectural walking tours of Ottawa and surrounding area, and is author of In Search of Sacred Space: Synagogue Architecture in Ottawa (2013) and At Home With the Prime Minister: Ottawa Residences of the Prime Ministers prior to 1952 (2017).