8 Photography Hot Spots in Ottawa
Visiting Ottawa and wondering where to head with your camera? Maybe you're a local, already familiar with the area, but need to step outside of your usual habits. These hot spots can be a great prompt to search for some new angles on some 613 favourites.
The Byward Market
One of the most historical areas in the city. The Byward Market is perfect for photography; modern architecture with the facade of the property's former heritage buildings, doused with art, street merchants, and plenty of people. The Market is a lively place to snap some great photos worthy of your wall. Pictured in the photo below is The Grand Pizzeria, selling some of the best wood fire over pies in the Capital. The Pizzeria is built upon an old 1882 Ottawa landmark hotel by the same name.
The large truss bridge stemming from Nepean Point is the Alexandra Bridge; an inter-provincial bridge, opened in 1801, and one of the most recognizable in Ottawa. Walking across the bridge provides great angles of both Ottawa and Gatineau skyines; and even makes a great subject on it's own, from vantage points like Nepean Point or the iconic Rideau Canal locks.
The War Museum
The Canadian War Museum is a fairly new building, and definitely some of Ottawa's most modern architecture, at least for a public structure. The museum is, fittingly, somewhat reminiscent of a bunker. A peak progressively emerges from the building's east end, which is what we're seeing in the photo below. Much of the museum's roof is grass covered, and has an easily accessible ramp along the backside, allowing you to climb onto an upper deck, for unique views of Ottawa and Gatineau.
Prince of Wales Bridge
An old, abandoned train bridge, leading from Mechanicsville through Lemeuix Island, into Hull, Quebec. The rail bridge was built in 1880, and at the time of its construction, was one of the only river crossings along the Ottawa River; making it one of the most valuable assets of the rail line. In 2005 the bridge was disconnected from the rail tracks, and while the City of Ottawa would like to keep the bridge closed, (placing fences up along the entrances) there's been considerable push-back from the local community, with several pedestrians requesting the bridge remain open for walks and watching sunsets.
While the bridge itself is certainly an interesting subject all on it's own, it also provides some stunning views of Ottawa and Gatineau. Since the bridge is west of downtown, the golden hue of the sunset is cast upon Ottawa's low-rise downtown skyline, making for some great shots of the city.
Les Soeurs de la Visitation (former) Convent
This building has been abandoned for decades before the current property development company took over. Though it has new owners, the property still sits vacant, and all the construction equipment that was initially brought there has since been removed. Ground level windows and doors are all boarded up to prevent trespassers from entering. Even on a bright sunny day, the 19th century heritage building casts an eerie feeling while walking the deserted grounds.
There have been recent articles in the news about plans to move forward with the land development, but with the development company having released plans multiple times since it bought the property almost a decade ago, it seems the property will remain vacant for the foreseeable future. While it's possible the landmark could soon become a construction site, we aren't holding our breath.
The building is within 3 minute walk from Richmond Road, and is easily accessible throughout the year.
Rideau Canal and Locks
The Rideau Canal is a great all-season space to walk around with your camera. A lively neighbourhood, landmark historical architecture and rich foliage line either side of the iconic Rideau Canal. With busier portions of the canal running through several of Ottawa's main and most defined neighbourhoods, a walk along the canal provides a peek into Ottawa's character throughout the years. A must see for any tourist, and a welcomed favourite for city residents.
Chapman Mills Conservation Area
Chapman Mills Conservation Area is a hidden gem, just outside the Greenbelt in Ottawa. With over 23 acres of Rideau River waterfront, and a nice long boardwalk down alongside a hill, just away from the Prince of Wales traffic; the Chapman Mills Conservation area is a great place for birding, or just a relaxing stroll with your camera. The bridge pictured below, Vimy Bridge, while a little late (taking more than 2 years longer to complete than expected) to the party, is a welcome addition to the conservation area. The $50M bridge adds a touch of city to the Barrhaven suburb without overpowering the serene landscape of the conservation area it crosses. While the conservation area itself is certainly quite beautiful, you have to admit the bridge makes for some stunning visuals at night.
Watson's Mill is one of the only working gristmills left in North America. Before even entering the building, yes you can enter the building during the day, while the museum is open, you can tell there's some history behind this structure. To go along with that history, it's worth mentioning the ghost story. There's an old legend that Ann Currier haunts the mill. Ann, who died in a tragic 1861 accident, was the wife of Joseph Merrill Currier one of the two founders of the mill. Even still, ghosts or no ghosts, the mill remains a staple among the Manotick, Ontario community where it sits; so much so that Manotick has used the mill as a symbol of their township.
With so many great photography hot spots throughout the city, this list is nowhere near exhaustive, and is instead a small sample of some of the wonders you can find throughout Canada's Capital. Be sure to keep an eye on our blog, or subscribe to our newsletter to stay in the know about more photography spots throughout Ottawa.