This guide is broken into seven additional sections:
Ottawa Museums and Attractions
Ottawa Restaurants and Coffeehouses
Ottawa Hotels and B&Bs
Ottawa Gay Nightlife Guide
Ottawa Shopping Guide
Side Trips to Wakefield, Quebec and Merrickville, Ontario
Ottawa Festivals and Events 2013-2014 - Ottawa GLBT Resources
Noteworthy Ottawa Neighborhoods
The second-largest city in Ontario and the seat of government in Canada, Ottawa has a population of about 820,000 - it's nearly 1.5 million if you factor in the metro region, which includes parts of eastern Ontario and southern Quebec. This attractive, tidy, and culturally vibrant city bisected by the scenic Rideau Canal and separated from the smaller city of Hull, Quebec by the Ottawa River is just a 2.5-hour drive from Montreal, and 5-hour drive from Toronto. The nearest major U.S. cities - Boston and New York City - are about 8 hours away by car, but they're easily reached by short (under 90-minute) direct flights.
As Ottawa is capital of one of the most progressively gay-friendly countries in the Western Hemisphere, it's not surprising that the city has a sizable GLBT community. You won't find the raucous party scene more typical of Montreal and Toronto, but there are a handful of fun gay bars, not to mention a great variety of hip restaurants and lounges catering to a mixed bunch. For visitors and residents, much of the social and entertainment scene is anchored around downtown, within a few blocks of the magnificent government buildings of Parliament Hill.
Follow Bank Street south of Parliament Hill for about 10 blocks, and you'll find yourself in the heart of Ottawa's Gay Village. The roughly six-block span of Bank Street (and to a lesser extent O'Connor Street) between Somerset and Gladstone makes up the heart of this GLBT hub, which has just one gay bar but several shops, restaurants, and cafes with strong community ties.
Plenty of locals assert that "Gay Village" is something of a misnomer given how eclectic the aforementioned Bank Street area is, and also taking into consideration how geographically diffuse the city's GLBT community is. There's a noticeable gay presence, both in terms of nightlife and dining, in the lively and hip Byward Market district, on the northeast side of downtown, just across the Rideau Canal from Parliament Hill. This is a great area for exploring during the day, as it's home not only to wonderful cafes but also a noteworthy gallery district (gallery walking tours are given on Saturdays).
Some of Ottawa's gay nightspots are right in the center of downtown, just blocks from Parliament Hill. The Westboro village neighborhood a short drive west of downtown also has some GLBT-popular businesses, especially around the junction of Wellington Street and Holland Avenue.
Finally, the bustling Glebe neighborhood, which is south of downtown along Bank Street just beyond where it crosses the 417 Trans-Canada highway, contains a mix of eclectic shops, restaurants, and coffeehouses. The best sidewalk-strolling and people-watching is along Bank between Clemow and Holmwood avenues, although there's good shopping right down to where Bank Street crosses the Rideau Canal.