Ottawa is promoting indigenous tourism with a focus on the history, culture, and heritage of Indigenous Peoples.
The region is historically an important meeting and trading location, with the name Ottawa derived from the Algonquin Anishinaabe word “Odawa” which means “to trade”.
A few of the experiences being highlighted are:
- Mādahòkì Farm a 66-hectare agritourism venture that includes a year-round Indigenous Marketplace selling authentic goods, a 1km Legacy Trail where plants and flowers and their medicinal and ceremonial uses are highlighted, and the permanent home for nine endangered Ojibwe spirit horses. Four yearly festivals celebrate the seasons.
- Indigenous retailers including Beandigen Café at Lansdowne in the Glebe neighbourhood, Beaded Dreams in downtown Ottawa, and a social enterprise led by the Assembly of 7 Generations called Adaawewigamig (“place of trade/selling”) in the ByWard Market neighbourhood. All offer authentic goods produced by Indigenous makers, from jewellery to art to clothing to housewares to food.
- The Canadian Museum of History, which was designed by Blackfoot and Métis architect Douglas Cardinal. Inside, walk through the museum’s Grand Hall with the largest indoor display of totem poles in the world. Learn the history of First Nations, Inuit and Métis People in the First Peoples Hall. And see how Indigenous stories are woven into the country’s narrative in the Canadian History Hall—the largest and most comprehensive exhibition about Canadian history ever created.
- The National Gallery of Canada houses Canadian and Indigenous Galleries where the country’s story is represented through ancient Indigenous artefacts, religious pieces from New France, Group of Seven paintings and modern Inuit sculptures.
- The National Arts Centre which is home to the first national Indigenous Theatre department in the world. The presentations are based on, performed by, or created by Indigenous artists, and they’re performed in English, French and multiple Indigenous languages. The NAC also hosts free programming, including powwow dance classes.
- Take a five-minute walk from downtown Ottawa to view a set of water cascades and islands between the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The Chaudière Falls were dammed in the early 1900s to produce hydroelectricity for the on-site lumber mills. The operation has since been modernised to be eco-friendly and protect wildlife such as endangered American eels. Part of the site is being made accessible to the public as a mixed-use development project called Zibi which includes park spaces such as Pangishimo Park (meaning “sunset”).