Ottawa’s tourism sector is heading into 2021 feeling optimistic that a lineup of exciting new attractions, outdoor adventure activities and anniversary celebrations will encourage visitors to return to the capital.
With many events canceled or postponed last year due to the pandemic, there is pent-up demand among residents and travellers alike to safely come together again and enjoy the attractions in Canada’s capital, says Jantine Van Kregten, director of communications at Ottawa Tourism.
“People really want to reconnect, not only with family and friends, but with their city,” she says. “When it’s safe to host people in our homes again, we can really use that opportunity to bring people to Ottawa and show off what we have to offer.”
Here are a few of the attractions and events you don’t want to miss in 2021:
Advanced registration is now open for trips on the first-ever interprovincial zip line, which will transport guests 1,400 feet across the Ottawa River.
Located west of the Portage Bridge and connected to the new Zibi development, the line travels 120 feet in the air, connecting Ontario and Quebec.
The highly anticipated aerial attraction will open in spring 2021, at which time guests will be able to race each other across the river while taking in spectacular views of the city.
Rembrandt in Amsterdam exhibit
Two of Ottawa’s major tourist attractions are partnering up in 2021 to celebrate springtime in the capital.
The Canadian Tulip Festival and the National Gallery of Canada are marking the arrival of a special exhibition, Rembrandt in Amsterdam: Creativity and Competition, to Ottawa on May 14, 2021 – the same day that the Tulip Festival officially gets underway.
The partnership will also be celebrated at the festival, with special “Rembrandt” tulips featured throughout Commissioners Park.
“A Rembrandt exhibition at the Gallery would be a big draw regardless, but with a tie-in to the Tulip Festival, it is going to be amazing,” says Van Kregten.
Camp Fortune’s new pipe coaster
Outdoor enthusiasts will have to head to Camp Fortune this summer for the unveiling of the outdoor park’s latest addition: a recreational luge track.
Reaching speeds of up to 40 km/h, the gravity-powered attraction will give guests a new perspective of the Gatineau Hills as they race down trails and through tunnels to the bottom of the track.
Using a hand brake, riders can control how fast – or slow – they want to progress down the hill.
Camp Fortune hopes to have guests weaving their way down the track by the end of June 2021.
In late August, Canada will mark the 50th anniversary of the We Demand protest on Parliament Hill – the first large-scale public protest for gay rights in Canada.
Capital Pride is expected to commemorate the historic occasion, with specific events still in the works.
Collectively, the special events and attractions are poised to add up to a year like no others for visitors to the capital.
“I guarantee you there are unexplored sections of our region that offer experiences that equal or top what you can get elsewhere,” says Van Kregten. “Everybody in our industry is super creative and resilient, so 2021 should see several innovative events for everyone to enjoy.”
To stay up-to-date on upcoming events and festivals in Ottawa, subscribe to Ottawa Tourism’s weekly email newsletter: What’s Happening in the Ottawa Area. Each Thursday subscribers will receive an email with a dozen or so suggestions of events, attractions, and more to visit over the upcoming week. Sign up by visiting ottawatourism.ca.