Ottawa, the modern and cosmopolitan capital of Canada, takes its name from the Algonquin Indian tribe, the Odawa. It is a metropolitan area of about one million people and is located at the confluence of the Ottawa, Rideau, Gatineau rivers and the historic Rideau canal. It is a city of parks, pleasant driveways with bicycle paths, cross-country skiing (in the winter), and of flowers (especially tulips in May). The Parliament buildings stand on a cliff-top overlooking the Ottawa river; highlights here include the "Changing of the Guard" at 10 am and the "Light and Sound" show in the evenings. Canada's capital boasts one of the finest collections of cultural attractions in the world and no visit would be complete without a visit to at least some of them. Twelve national museums, the best in English and French theaters, the NAC (National Arts Center) orchestra, are among the world's finest. Other attractions include the Supreme Court and the National Library. The city is well-known for its lovely drives beside the river, canal and north into the Gatineau Hills. Much of the Gatineau Park (34 miles NW of Ottawa) is wilderness but parts are devoted to outdoor recreation, including camping, swimming, fishing, and hiking. August in Ottawa is warm (average 25C or 77F) and sunny with cooler evenings and occasional rain possible.
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