Whenever I have friends come to visit me here in Ottawa, there is one place that I never fail to bring them during their stay. In my opinion, it has the best views of the parliament of Canada, Gatineau, the Ottawa River and summer sunsets in the west. Best of all, it’s free! One of my favourite spots in all of Ottawa, Samuel de Champlain point!
When the weather is nice and time permits, I’ll check my phone for the time of sunset (usually around 8:00 pm these days) and head out. It’s about a 15 minute walk from my house (near the uOttawa campus) but only a short 5 minute walk from Byward Market downtown.
How do I get there?
It’s pretty easy! The spot is centrally located around some of Ottawa’s most popular attractions such as Byward Market, The Canadian Mint, the Rideau Centre and much more. If you’re visiting the area you may even already be checking out The National Gallery of Canada (another favourite spot of mine and offers free admission on Thursdays after 4pm). The Samuel de Champlain monument is located directly behind the National Gallery, atop a hill called Nepean Point. Simply follow the path to the left of the museum parallel to the Alexandra Bridge. Let me walk you there:
As for accessibility, there are no stairs up to the monument, however the path has a steep incline to the top. If this is not doable for you or your family, there is a large field of grass beside the monument that extends all the way to the edge of the river with equally stunning views. This area is more level and requires much less of a climb.
The spot can get a little buggy in the evenings since it is so close to the water, so try to avoid bringing food up with you and be sure to pack bug spray if you’re truly bothered by mosquitoes or gnats.
If you’re looking for something to do with your family after dinner or a getaway to clear your mind, I would highly recommend giving this spot a try. Speaking from experience, it’s never much busier than a dozen people and on most nights you’ll find there are only a handful of visitors sitting around (although that may increase in the summer and tourist season). You never see the same sunset twice! Visit often for a new experience every time.
Lauren Ibbott is a second year University of Ottawa student, blogger and freelance writer. She frequently writes for DownshiftingPRO. Please follow her on Instagram @Lauren_Patii All opinions are her own. You can read more of her post below: