Canada is the second largest country on earth and has three ocean borders (Pacific Ocean in the west, Atlantic Ocean in the east and Artic Ocean to the north). Canada also borders the United States in the south and in the northwest. It is composed of ten provinces and three territories (Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Colombia, Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory).
There are areas with high mountains, different types of forests, prairie grasslands and arctic tundra where the ground is permanently frozen. Canada is also home to many rivers and lakes. Most people live in southern Ontario and Quebec, southwest British Columbia and Alberta. Much of the north has a very low population because of the cold climate. The biggest cities are Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Calgary.
We kindly invite you to consult the site of “Ottawa Tourism”, created for this Conference, to find out more about Ottawa’s touristic attractions: https://www.ottawatourism.ca/conferences/oie-global-conference-on-biological-threat-reduction/
Autumn is a good time to visit Ottawa thanks to comfortable weather (average temperatures in October range from 13°C/55°F to 3°C/37°F and in November from 5°C/41°F to -2°C/28°F).
English and French are the two official languages of Canada. In addition, there are around 60 distinct Indigenous languages in Canada.
The legal currency is the Canadian dollar (CAD). Note that there are no $1 or $2 bills, but coins known as “loonies” (because the reverse side features a bird called a Common Loon) and “toonies” respectively. 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. Up-to-date exchange rates can be found at www.xe.com.
For good service at a restaurant, a tip of 15% is customary. Some restaurants add a service charge to the bill, especially for large groups, in which case further tipping is not expected. Tipping is also customary in bars, in salons/spas, and for taxis.
Outlets and voltage (110 volts) are the same as in the United States. For those from other countries, adapters are required for electrical appliances. The frequency of electrical current in Canada is 60 Hz.
Food, as other customs in Canada, still carry hints of the colonial influences of England and France. In Canada it’s hard to speak of a country-wide culinary culture, because each region has a particular culinary tradition. For example, the French part of Canada, Quebec and Montreal, offers the opportunity to enjoy French cuisine in many restaurants while the coastal regions of Canada are well-known for their excellent seafood and fish-based dishes.
The country is notably famous for its poutine (French fries, cheese and gravy), smoked meat sandwiches, Canadian bacon, tourtière (meat pie usually filled with pork, onions and spices) or Beaver Tails (flattened donut without a hole topped with sugar, Nutella and a variety of other sweets).
As the Capital of Canada, Ottawa offers Canadians and visitors from around the world national attractions not found anywhere else.
The country's fourth largest metropolis with a population of just over one million inhabitants is located in Eastern Ontario at the junction of three majestic waterways and just across the Ottawa River from Gatineau, Quebec. A cosmopolitan yet surprisingly intimate G8 capital, Ottawa is a place where you can immerse yourself in the Canadian culture, embrace and enjoy the great outdoors, even in the heart of the city, join the celebration at year-round festivals and events, and shop and dine in a relaxed urban setting of distinctive neighborhoods and districts.
What to do in Ottawa?
Ottawa offers visitors a diverse selection of experiences, the year round. For first-time visitors, exploring the many impressive sites and landmarks that mark Ottawa as Canada’s Capital is a must (Parliament Hill, ByWard Market, Rideau Canal). Others visit for the city’s unparalleled lineup of museums and galleries and festivals ( National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Ottawa Jazz Festival, and many others). Ottawa is also a natural for sports, recreation, and outdoor pursuits, thanks to its beautiful natural setting of waterways, parks and pathways. From the world renowned museums and galleries, to international cultures and world-class entertainment, there is much to discover in Ottawa, Canada.
For more touristic information on Ottawa, please consult:www.canadascapital.gc.ca.
2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Canada and Canadians will gather in their Capital to join local residents in a year of celebration. Many special events are organized throughout the year to celebrate this 150th anniversary in complement of national celebrations, regular annual events and festivals.
For more information on the special events in Ottawa organized for the 150th anniversary of Canada, please consult: http://www.ottawa2017.ca/.
Language in Ottawa
Almost everyone in Ottawa speaks English, while 30% of residents have French as a first language and 20% speak other languages, including Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, and Vietnamese.
The time zone for Ottawa is Eastern Standard Time (GMT 5 hours).
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 and clocks are switched back to Standard Time.