Joint Conference on Digital Libraries
June 13-17, 2011
Here's a map with some restaurants - mostly ones I have been to (and like a lot), as well as a few others that are highly recommended. Most of these places fill up fast, so you should make reservations.
I haven't found there to be one review site that dominates, but UrbanSpoon will give you a reasonable sense of the places people in Ottawa are going.
There are restaurants and pubs along Elgin Street and Bank Street. There are also lots in the Byward Market, but I don't know the Market very well.
The Market is to the north of the University of Ottawa. If you want to go to the downtown core area to the west of campus, there is a pedestrian bridge (the Corktown Bridge) across the Rideau Canal at Somerset Street.
Bixi bikeshare will also be available, however detailed information about it won't be released until May.
UPDATE 2011-06-07: Bixi bikeshare info available at https://capital.bixi.com/ ENDUPDATE
Ottawa is an open data city. There are lots of apps from the Ottawa Open Data Apps directory and the Apps4Ottawa contest that can help you discover and navigate around Ottawa. (You can also check out the list of apps that won the 2010 contest.)
Below is some updated info on Canadian money, from an OECD blog post I wrote for a conference they had in Ottawa in 2007 (now only available from archive.org). This info will sound pretty basic for anyone who has been to Canada or who is used to using debit and credit cards, but I thought it might be useful. Note for Americans: At the time of this writing, the Canadian dollar is worth more than the US dollar (today's exchange rate is 1 USD = 0.96 CAD).
The currency is the Canadian dollar.
The commonly used currency includes:
- a dollar coin, golden in colour and slightly larger than a quarter, the dollar coin is often called a "loonie" as it has a Loon depicted on the face
- a two dollar coin, bi-metallic with an outer silver ring, slightly larger than the dollar coin, often called a "toonie"
- bills in $5, $10 and $20 denominations
- larger denominations are of course available
Rather than carry large amounts of cash, however, many Canadians use transaction cards, and almost all stores are equipped with card readers.
Canada is in the process of transitioning to chip & PIN technology - most card readers still support magstripe reading, in addition to chip reading.
For a debit card, some stores, commonly large pharmacies and grocery stores, also offer "cash back", which is the equivalent of a bank withdrawal - the maximum is usually $50 to $100.
There is a slight tendency to use debit cards for smaller purchases and credit cards for larger ones, however most stores won't be surprised to see you use a card for a purchase of any amount from tiny to large; many Canadians, including myself, carry little or no cash and use cards for almost all transactions.
All of Canada's major banks provide ATMs (bank machines) throughout Ottawa. Do be aware that within stores you may also find so called "white label" third-party bank machines. While these are safe to use, they charge even higher withdrawal fees than bank ATMs.
There are TD Bank machines on the ground floor of the Rideau Centre shopping mall, if you enter from Rideau Street, underneath the skyway to the Bay, the machines will be on your left, just past the Shoppers Drug Mart.
Both debit and credit card networks are interlinked with major international networks.
The use of cheques to pay in stores is virtually non-existent; I don't think I have ever seen someone pay by cheque in a store in my entire life. Stored-value card use is also minimal.
There is Calforex Currency Exchange / Bureau de change on the 3rd floor of the Rideau Centre shopping mall, there are also other currency exchanges in the downtown core.