CNN Travel has named the city of Ottawa one of the best destinations to visit in the world in 2023, calling it “graceful and understated.”

Ottawa is the only Canadian destination on the CNN Travel list of 23 destinations to visit around the world this year.  Other destinations on the list include Western Australia, Poland, Rwanda, Fiji, and cities such as Liverpool, England, Manaus, Brazil, Gothenburg, Sweden and Thessaloniki, Greece.

“It doesn’t have Montreal’s French flair or Toronto’s international oomph, so the Canadian capital can get overlooked,” CNN Travel says on its website. “That would be a mistake. Graceful and understated, Ottawa has its own draws.”

CNN Travel notes Ottawa is home to two Jazz Festivals for music lovers, and the Rideau Canal turns into the “world’s largest skating rink” in January and February.

“If you love hockey, watch the Ottawa Senators do their thing at Canadian Tire Centre in the western suburbs,” CNN Travel writes. “If that ticket is too pricey, check out the Ottawa 67’s, a more affordable option of junior men’s hockey games at downtown’s TD Place arena.”

And if you’re planning to visit Ottawa, CNN Travel says “don’t miss” Parliament Hill.

“Home to Canada’s federal government and the visually striking Parliament buildings on a promontory overlooking the Ottawa River,” CNN writes on its website.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe said he’s “delighted” to see Ottawa as the only Canadian destination on the CNN Travel list of best destinations to visit.

“Looking forward to welcoming tourists to our city throughout the year,” Sutcliffe said on Twitter.

Ottawa Tourism says they have their “fingers crossed” for a great year for the tourism industry, with the Rideau Canal Skateway hopefully opening soon and Winterlude set to return in February.

“We do benefit from being close to major population centres like Toronto and Montreal,” Ottawa Tourism director of communications Jantine Van Kregten told Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron.

“So when the canal does open our near markets can make a quick decision to say, ‘Hey, the canal just opened, we’re heading to Ottawa this week or this weekend’, so that does benefit us.”

Canadian Heritage has announced Winterlude will return in-person for three weekends in February.

“Great activities that will draw people here,” Van Kregten said.


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