During my first year living in Ottawa, I spent a lot of time home alone while my husband was at work and my kids at school. To avoid boredom, I sometimes ventured downtown alone by bus.
I liked my walks downtown, but my Canadian husband always asked me what I found so interesting downtown if there were only offices. Only offices? That made me laugh. Downtown Ottawa is beautiful and it’s really a pleasure to explore.
One of my favorite places in Ottawa is the most beautiful and oldest park in town. Do you know what park I’m talking about? Yes. Major’s Hill Park, which is in the core of downtown.
This park is so well situated that a person can enjoy amazing views of Ottawa’s best landmarks: Parliament Hill, the Chateau Laurier, the National Gallery of Canada, the Rideau Canal, and the Ottawa River.
I can’t believe that the first time we were in Ottawa five years ago, we missed Major’s Hill Park. I remember we did a very quick tour of downtown that included Parliament Hill, the Byward Market, the Rideau Canal, the Canadian Museum of History, and that was it. We felt that we had seen everything and we headed east to Montreal to continue our trip.
I guess that is what many tourists, like us at that time, do when coming to Ottawa. But don’t. If you come to Ottawa, stop by Major’s Hill Park and you won’t regret it. Not only will you have the chance to take awesome pictures there, but also you’ll feel the vibes of one of the favorite places for locals to hang out.
Major’s Hill Park is also full of history. In the 19th century, people used to take strolls in this park and enjoy sunny days and weekends. One can see some of these old pictures of Major’s Hill in the many infographics available in the park.
You can also see the site where Colonel John By’s house was erected in the middle of the park. By was the British officer in charge of the construction of the Rideau Canal between 1826 y 1832.
A statue of Colonel By faces Parliament Hill from one of the ends of the park.
You will always find Major’s Hill Park beautifully cared for, the grass trimmed and the bushes and flowers perfectly landscaped and arranged, and the benches in good condition.
One of the best moments of the year in Major’s Hill is springtime, especially the month of May, because of the blossoming of beds of gorgeous tulips. It’s when the Tulip Festival takes place. It is one of the most renowned festivals in the capital city, and this park is one of the hot spots to admire the beautiful flowers.
Another big moment takes place in summer when Major’s Hill is the center of a lot of activity by local residents who choose the park as one of their favorite places to spend time with friends during warm summer nights.
Autumn is also a beautiful time in Major’s Hill because of the explosion of colors, such as orange, yellow and red. You can see the beauty in every corner of the park although the number of visitors has declined.
Winter can be a difficult time to visit Major’s Hill. I’ve never dared to try to cross it. It always looked to me like a Siberian landscape from afar, but I have promised myself I’ll go there this coming winter to take pictures of the frozen river.
This will be my fourth winter in Ottawa so I guess I will have more resources to face the cold. No need to be afraid!
Well, as you see I love Major’s Hill Park, one of the best places in Ottawa to enjoy this charming city. How about you? What’s your favorite place downtown? I’d love to hear. Take care.