Ottawa Convention Centre

There is no question that the almost-new Ottawa Convention Centre, located smack dab right down town Ottawa, is spectacular. Whether the centre is spectacular in a beautiful sense, or unusual, or just spectacularly weird will be determined by you, the visitor.

A spectacular building…yes, but also a remarkable location for a convention centre, no question.

The old Ottawa Congress Centre on Colonel By Drive was torn down in 2008 to make way for the development of the $170 million dollar Ottawa investment in downtown commerce – the new Convention Centre- construction of which finished in 2011.

As you enter the Ottawa Convention Centre, a ramp (for Segways, no less) or an elevator provides access to the upper floors, and the gorgeous vista that feasts the eyes through the 100′ high (30 meter) glass wall facing the west.


Just across Colonel By Drive is the Unesco Heritage site – the Rideau Canal – and on its west bank is Ottawa’s National Art Centre. To the right is the War Memorial and the Parliament Buildings.

Four levels of meeting rooms and display areas offer exhibitors about 192,000 sq.ft. / 17,837 sq.m. of space, including up to 28 meeting rooms, multipurpose halls, banquet rooms and even a ballroom.

As I mentioned, it’s right down town Ottawa.

Navigating Ottawa’s streets in that area was much simpler when I was growing up there. Now, as you drive onto Colonel By Drive from Wellington/Rideau, if you do not take the first left between the hotel and the convention centre, you’ve missed it. You will have to travel quite a ways along Colonel By before you get the opportunity to turn around. Then, when you do, as you arrive back at the Convention Centre, you cannot make a right turn to get past the centre to access the public parking. Quite bizarre. We ended up parking over at the Byward Market, and walking back. Not far, but a bit inconvenient. So, if you are driving, visit their website and map out how to get to parking to make it more convenient for you.

Ottawa Convention Centre

The convention centre is advertised to be a 20 minute drive from Ottawa’s Macdonald-Cartier International Airport. Hmmm, that might be at 3 o’clock in the morning, but expect it to be more than that if you plan on driving, or being driven, around Ottawa in normal daylight hours.

There are lots of hotels and other venues to stay at when in downtown Ottawa and visiting the Ottawa Convention Centre, one hotel of which is right next door.

You can walk to many of Ottawa’s sites when visiting the centre, so plan on allowing some extra time to take those sites in when you visit. There is an awful lot of history right next to this very modern, interesting centre.

Ottawa Convention Centre

55 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 9J2
T: 1-800-450-0077
W: Ottawa Convention Centre

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