Exploring Ottawa’s Experiential Conference Landscape

12th September 2023

Gone are the days when conference organizing was synonymous with mere presentations and discussions. The contemporary approach underscores the value of experiential learning, igniting delegates' curiosity and imagination, fostering a fertile ground for creativity and innovation. In Ottawa, such transformative experiences are readily accessible. The city's unique assets, whether cultural, historical, outdoor or sporting, serve as potent catalysts for this paradigm shift in conference dynamics.

Words Marc de Faoite

Experienced at hosting events of all sizes, Ottawa, Canada’s capital, is a place where delegates often arrive early and stay on after conferences to make the most of all that this welcoming and inclusive city has to offer. 

Ottawa is a unique business events destination that offers conference attendees a wealth of culture and the opportunity to experience the thrills of the great outdoors. Recently Ottawa just became even more accessible with Air France’s new non-stop service between Ottawa YOW and Paris CDG making getting to Ottawa from Europe easier than ever.

Indigenous & More

Many local attractions, tours, and events reflect the fascinating stories of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, making Ottawa the perfect place for conference delegates and attendees to discover the multiple facets of authentic Indigenous culture.

Ottawa is located on the traditional lands of the Algonquin Anishinaabe people, whose culture is alive and celebrated across the region. The city derives its name from the Algonquin word Odawa, meaning “traders”, and was originally used to designate this region where Indigenous Peoples have lived, met, and traded for thousands of years.

Established in 1996 Ottawa Festivals, leads the region’s multi-million dollar event industry, working to promote Ottawa as an exciting tourist destination. Ottawa has a busy calendar of events, festivals, and celebrations throughout the year, making a significant impact on the local economy and greatly enhancing the region’s image while making conference attendees’ time spent in the city even more enriching.

Towards the conclusion of May each year, the Odawa Native Friendship Centre orchestrates the Odawa Pow Wow. This event showcases an Indigenous dance and singing contest, along with an arts and crafts market, and attendees have the chance to savor Indigenous cuisine. Other signature events include the Ottawa Jazz Festival, the Canadian Tulip Festival, the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival and many more.

All About History 

As the country’s capital, Ottawa is home to landmarks and monuments that celebrate Canadian history. Among the highlights are the Parliament Buildings and the Rideau Canal UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ottawa also boasts seven national museums and other local museums and galleries that allow visitors to gain a deeper insight into Canadian history and culture. The Canadian Museum of History is Canada’s most visited museum and home to the world’s largest indoor collection of totem poles.

Fans of performing arts will find their needs catered to at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, the only bilingual, multidisciplinary performing arts centre in Canada that offers events in French and in English.

“Ottawa is a destination where you can mix meetings with memories,” says Lesley Pincombe, Vice President, Meetings and Major Events, Ottawa Tourism. “If your delegates’ hearts belong to culture and the arts and if they’re into heart-pounding adventure in the great outdoors, they’ll have a memorable time in Ottawa.”

Opportunities for Adventures 

Wherever you are in Canada the Great Outdoors is never far away. Ottawa is no exception, making the city the ideal base to allow conference delegates to spend time in nature, whether soaking in the calm and quiet or involved in more hair-raising adventurous pursuits.

The region boasts some 800 km of scenic cycling paths, with the picturesque Gatineau Park being popular for mountain biking and mountain biking and hiking.  White water rafting on the Ottawa River in the heart of the city can make an interesting teambuilding exercise for conference attendees, or there is also the possibility to enjoy the more sedate stand up and seated paddling.

The winter months offer numerous opportunities for cross-country and downhill skiing, as well as the chance to skate on the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world’s largest outdoor rink.

Adrenaline enthusiasts can experience Canada’s highest bungee jump, and relish breathtaking views while crossing the Ottawa River from the Province of Ontario to the Province of Queébec or through the Gatineau Hills all while travelling by zipline.

All in all, Ottawa is a captivating city that harmoniously fuses urban allure with a wide array of outdoor escapades. Catering to both nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike, promising an encompassing experience that is bound to leave indelible memories for conference organizers and delegates alike.

For more information visit, or to learn how the Ottawa Tourism team can help you secure and deliver business events that drives tangible outcomes and long-lasting legacies contact Theresa Gatto at

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