Seeing Canada on a budget? Explore the fabulous capital city without breaking the bank
Visiting Ottawa, Canada's regal capital city, doesn't have to cost a lot. In fact, there are many alternatives for people looking to save some cash.
The Changing of the Guard ceremony on Parliament Hill each summer day at 10 a.m. from late June to late August provides a free dose of pomp and ceremony. Parliament Hill tours are free every day but can be rescheduled due to the business of the House. You must pass through security similar to an airport.
While on Parliament Hill, experience the "whispering wall" (east of Centre Block, behind the Famous Five monument). Have one person stand at the one end of the bench and a second at the opposite end of the bench. Then, with no more than a quiet whisper, face the wall and talk to one another.
Canada Day is celebrated on Parliament Hill—the only place to be on July 1 if you're Canadian, or even if you're not. There are free concerts, short speeches by politicians, the Snowbirds, the Musical Ride, maple leaf "tattoos," face painting and fabulous fireworks, and everyone's in a good mood.
There's a free bilingual Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill every night after dark between early July and early September. Huge images are projected onto the Parliament buildings.
Visit the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Musical Ride Centre. The Musical Ride, a military pageant performed with 32 horses and riders, was first produced publicly in Regina in 1887. The RCMP invites visitors to tour the stables and visitors' centre year round (Tuesdays and Thursdays from September through April; daily from May through August). There is a possibility of seeing the horses and riders practice when they are not away on tour. The free Sunset Ceremonies usually occur at the stables at the end of June.
It's easier than ever for visitors to explore many national cultural institutions and attractions, thanks to the Canada's Capital Museums Passport. At $35 per person, or $85 for a family of five (maximum two adults), taxes included, the passport is valid for seven days from the first time it is used. It is good for admissions to the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Canadian War Museum, National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Museum of Nature, Canada Science & Technology Museum, Canada Agriculture Museum, Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Royal Canadian Mint and Laurier House.
In addition, a valid passport entitles users to a 20 percent discount on any of the National Arts Centre's orchestra, dance, English theatre or French theatre performances in the regular subscription series. The passport is available at the participating museums and the Capital Information Kiosk on Albert Street just south of Parliament Hill.
The Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada offers free admission at all times. The museum displays Canadian notes, coins and tokens, as well as currency and money artifacts from other countries.
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