Ottawa

Descriptions of Ottawa read like an appealing dating profile: dynamic, gregarious, bilingual, likes kids and long walks on the river. In person, the attractive capital fits the bill.

Canada’s gargantuan Gothic Parliament buildings regally anchor the downtown core, an inspiring jumble of pulsing districts around the Rideau Canal. A few days’ worth of world-class museums are architecturally inspiring homes to a variety of intriguing collections.

Parks, gardens and wide, open public spaces pay an accessible and year-round homage to all four seasons. Average temperatures are well below 0°C from December to March, but locals celebrate the city’s longest-seeming season with a bunch of outdoor pursuits. Many skate to work or school on the frozen canal, while the Winterlude festival sees fantastical ice sculptures. As spring clicks to summer, auspicious tulips cheer the downtown, followed by vibrant fall leaves that line the streets with eye-popping reds and yellows.

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