Welcome to Ottawa

How to get to Ottawa

There are several options for getting to Ottawa and we’ve taken the liberty of doing a bit of research to help you plan your vacation.

Ottawa has daily flights to/from the following cities: Toronto, Frankfurt, Washington (DC), London (England), Chicago, Philadelphia, Montreal, Vancouver, Newark (NJ). With additional seasonal flights from many U.S. cities. 

If you live in any of these cities, getting to Ottawa is going to be very easy but even if you don’t, connections through Montréal or Toronto are a breeze. While not required to enter Canada, both cities accept the NEXUS card, if you have one, to speed up customs clearing.

Once at Ottawa International airport there are several options for getting to the hotel:

  • Take a taxi or limo (level 1 arrivals, centre door)
  • Uber is available (pickup at pillars 12 and 13, outer curb)
  • Public transportation via OC Transpo

If you’re taking OC Transpo, the bus that serves the airport is the 97. It is mobility friendly and a one-way fare costs $3.75 CAD which can be paid in cash on the bus or you can purchase a ride ticket using a credit card at ticket machine located at the south end of the Arrivals terminal.

Stay on the 97 for 13 stops (about 16 minutes) to Hurdman Light Rail Transit station. From here transfer to the train heading east towards Tunnery’s Pasture and get off at Rideau station (3 stops, about 7 minutes). Follow signs for the Westin hotel from there.

Ottawa is only 208 kilometers (129 miles) from Montréal and 450 kilometers (280 miles) from Toronto.

Via Rail LogoFancy a side-trip? You could fly into either of these cities, spend a few days there and either rent a car to drive to Ottawa or take the train. Via Rail offers multiple options every day.

Direction to the Hotel

From the train station you can take a taxi or use Uber to get to the hotel.

If you prefer public transit, follow signs to the OC Transpo Light Rail Transit station (Tremblay stop) and take the train heading west towards Tunney’s Pasture. The fare is $3.75 CAD and there is a machine inside the LRT station where you can purchase a ride ticket with a credit card.

After 4 stops (about 10 minutes) get off at Rideau station and follow signs for the Westin hotel.

Ottawa is within driving distance of many US cities. If you don’t mind a road trip and you’re from one of the following cities, you might consider driving here:

  • Chicago: 12 hours
  • Philadelphia: 6.5 hours
  • Washington: 9 hours
  • New York: 7 hours
  • Baltimore: 8 hours
  • Cleveland: 8 hours
  • Rehoboth Beach: 8.5 hours
  • Grand Rapids, MI: 9.5 hours
  • Boston: 7 hours

Parking Options

The Westin Ottawa (host hotel) has on-site parking available for $4.50 per hour (no in/out privileges) with a maximum of $30 per day. They also offer valet parking for $48 per day.

Less expensive options would include:

Rates for these city parking facilities are available here.

What's up in Ottawa?

Ottawa Pride ParadeSo, you’re probably wondering what there is to do in Ottawa when you’re not square dancing… Well the answer is: quite a lot!

Ottawa is Canada’s capital city and the seat of its government. It boasts a population of one million citizens and is known worldwide for its art and culture.

It also has a lively LGBTQ community that includes clubs and associations around the capital region.

From the monthly Ottawa Bears‘ brunches and regular bar nights to the Ottawa Senior Pride Network‘s workshops, bowling nights and dances.

Several sporting organizations such as the Rideau Speedeaus swim club, the Gay Ottawa Volleyball league and the Lesbian Outdoor Group make this community a very active and vibrant one.

Of course, we can’t forget the local gay square dance club, the Ottawa Date Squares!

Things to do once you're here...

We imagine you’ll be doing lots of dancing when you get here but what is a dancer to do when dancing is over for the day? Here are some great suggestions to fill your off hours in our great city.

During past conventions we’ve traditionally gathered in the host hotel’s bar/restaurant after hours for drinks and gossip but we’re stepping up our game this year by organizing two social spaces for after hours relaxation.

Ruby Lounge and Toto’s Tavern will be conveniently located right in the convention centre and will feature live entertainment (yes, Chip will be there with his piano) and cool drinks.

Check out the Nightlife page for full details and for the schedule of events.

  • Equator Coffee @ NAC:  Great coffee with glimpses of the Parliament Buildings, Chateau Laurier, and the War Memorial.  I also enjoy finding a spot in the National Art Centre in one of the quiet nooks or crannies.
  • Working Title:  A coffee shop and bakery in the basement of an old church with a huge patio.  I have spent many mornings on that patio.
  • Brigids Well: An unusual, authentic, and unique Irish bar in the basement of an old Catholic Church.  Always have a great time when I am there!
  • Tavern at the Gallery: My favourite of the three outdoor taverns.  It doesn’t have the views of Tavern at the Falls, or Tavern on the Hill, but the hidden courtyard behind the National Gallery is a quiet oasis and the menu is more extensive than the other two.
  • Ottawa Art Gallery:  It’s perfect!  Great exhibits, near the hotel, and best of all FREE!!!!!
  • Rideau Canal:  Stroll down either side of the canal, walk beside the locks, visit Old Ottawa East, Landsdowne Park, Old Ottawa South, or just sit on a bench and enjoy the sunshine and the view.
  • Remic Rapids Park:  Each year artist John Ceprano creates sculptures along the Ottawa River. He carefully balances rocks upon one another, and every year the elements prepare a new palette for the coming year.  There is now a bistro in the park.


Parliament is the seat of Canada’s government and there is a lot to see and learn about it including guided tours of its historic buildings as well as the nightly “Northern Lights” show.

Historic Sites

Canada’s capital features numerous historic sites, including the Rideau Canal which is breathtaking in summer and turns into the world’s longest skating rink in winter.


Ottawa hosts seven of Canada’s nine national museums as well as several other local museums that are well worth checking out during your visit.


While you’re in Ottawa, you should check out some of our LGBTQ bars like T’s Pub, The Lookout and Swizzles and visit the shops around the gay village (Bank and Somerset).

There are also tons of amazing shops and restaurants to explore in the Byward Market, literally steps from the host hotel.


Ottawa is filled with amazing green spaces to enjoy in the summer. You’d hardly think you’re in a world-class city at times. Hogs Back Falls and The Arboretum in town and Gatineau Park a short drive across the river will offer amazing vistas and tranquil nature settings to delight and amaze you.

Arts & Culture

Canada’s capital is home to some amazing art installations.

From historic statues and monuments to creative outdoor art installations, there is so much to see and do. Also don’t forget to visit the National Gallery of Canada to see the world-famous Maman giant spider and view some amazing paintings and sculptures.