Ottawa: not sexy enough for tourists -

Ottawa: not sexy enough for tourists

Canadian Tourism Commission leaves out the capital on its list of recommended travel sites


The nation’s capital is nursing a bruised ego today as bloggers and citizens dissect why Ottawa was snubbed by a new Canadian Tourism Commission program. Ottawa was not included among the 48 “Signature Experiences” recommended by the CTC on a new list designed to tempt the business of high-end international travellers. The list includes experiences such as visiting Fort Henry in Kingston, Ont., touring wineries in Niagara, scouring for polar bears in Manitoba and touring Granville Market in Vancouver. “I can’t imagine the U.S. equivalent; leaving Washington off, or the U.K. equivalent leaving London off,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. But as it turns out, Ottawa may still have a shot. The CTC has noted that they received 200 applications in the initial stages of the program, and they hope to expand the list to 100 places by the end of the year.

Toronto Star

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Ottawa: not sexy enough for tourists

  1. Hi there.  I’m Executive Director for Corporate Communications at the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC). CTC fully recognizes and supports Ottawa as a great destination for travellers, but this is not another ‘best of’ list.
    The Signature Experiences Collection is directed at entrepreneurs and operators who are in the business of creating and selling travel experiences to discerning international customers.  And there’s no cap on the program, just a lot of potential.  Full criteria and more found here:

    • Well Catherine if you’re appealing to discerning international customers you might remember Silicon Valley North is in Ottawa.

      • Most of the interesting things to do or see in Ottawa tend to begin with the words “National” or “Canadian” . . .  The National Gallery, The National Arts Centre, The Canadian War Museum etc.  Ottawa has one of the best & most varied collections of museums & galleries of any city in the world, but very little in the way of “local” colour or flavour compared to other Canadian cities of similar size.

    •  Dear Catherine, 

       I have read the list after the initial publication at the Toronto Star, and I would have to say that while I agree with the fact that Ottawa or Toronto may not have some of the destinations specifically for foreigners (although, as far as Ottawa goes, I’d include Canadian Aerospace Museum. It has the sole surviving first full metal plane and the sole surviving two-motor German bomber from WWI – how cool is that?), they probably don’t merit inclusion on the list all that much, since tourists by default stay there anyway.

       However, I think the list misses some of the events I would definitely suggest to foreigners. Most notably, I think it should include Formula 1 race in Montreal. I believe at least one museum should be included, be it Victoria with its coastal Native art or Ottawa with aerospace museum or Museum of Civilization. I would definitely be a lot heavier on Native American experiences, since for a lot of people out there Canada does include pioneers, mounties and indians. And, well, I think as of now you managed to exclude Niagara Falls.

       The list, as it stays now, presents Canada in terms of nature + largely British/French heritage. Speaking from my European Canadian background, I’d say that it wouldn’t necessarily motivate me to visit, as, well, Europe has rocks and trees too, and this European heritage pales in comparison to visiting Tower of London or something. However, Canada has a lot of largely odd attractions, and that may cause me to think “What the hell?”. For all the glory of Fort William, there’s a Oitmet Canyon and Kakabeka Falls within the stone throw distance, not to mention all the natives, so I’d think outside the box.

  2. Canada should be BORING, Keeping it a secret away from the Americans.