From humble beginnings in 1800 as a lumber camp, Ottawa, Ontario, grew to become the vibrant, multicultural capital of Canada. Ottawa is a bilingual city, reflecting its French and English heritage. Home to the copper-roofed Parliament Buildings, the Supreme Court of Canada and foreign embassies, Ottawa has many walkable historic neighborhoods, bustling farmers markets, world-class museums, trendy restaurants and exciting nightlife.

Situated at the confluence of the Ottawa, Gatineau and Rideau rivers, the city is bisected by the Rideau Canal. The 5 mi/8 km section running from Dows Lake to the downtown core is flanked by bike and walking paths. From January to early March, the ice surface is flooded to create the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world's longest skating rink. In the summer, colorful masses of flowers, beginning with tulips in May, bloom along both sides of the canal. UNESCO has declared the entire canal, stretching 125 mi/202 km from Ottawa to Kingston, a World Heritage site. It is the oldest canal system in North America, built in 1832 and still operating today.

A greenbelt encircles central Ottawa, and its many parks filled with plants, well-kept lawns and canopies of mature trees add to the city's scenic appeal. Across the river in Quebec, Gatineau Park is a massive natural playground with some of the region's most pristine protected areas, wildlife, lakes and rivers.

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