Getting Around - Walking
The Convention Centre (Shaw Centre) is on Colonel By. It connects into the Westin and the Rideau Centre. Due to the canal and the bridges, it is a bit of a tangle getting around.
Here's a map showing how to get from the Convention Centre to/from Elgin Street (for access to downtown), by going across the bridge and the park (on the north side either using the convention centre stairs as shown, or by accessing the bridge from Rideau Centre).
There are a few key access points:
- The south side of Rideau Street has entrances into the Rideau Centre. Rideau Street has local buses, eastbound (away from downtown) on the south side and westbound (towards downtown) on the north side. Rideau Street turns into Wellington Street when you go west. Parliament Hill is west on Wellington.
- You can walk north-south on Colonel By. There is also a north-south path along the river.
- The Mackenzie King Bridge can be reached through the Rideau Centre (next to Nordstroms, upper level), or by stairs next to the Convention Centre. The bridge has Transitway buses, which are also local east-west buses through downtown. Westbound (towards downtown) on the north side of the bridge, eastbound (away from downtown) on the south side.
Assuming you are starting from the Convention Centre (the Shaw Centre): the Byward Market is to the north of the convention centre. To get to the downtown core (which is south-west of the Market), you have a number of options:
- go north to Rideau Street and walk west
- go south onto the Mackenzie King Bridge, and walk west (but this kind of sucks in terms of scenery)
- go south onto the Mackenzie King Bridge, cross the bridge to the south side, walk west and take the stairs down from the bridge, and then walk south-west on the paths across Confederation Park to Elgin (this is what I do, but it's complicated, see below)
If you want a much longer route to go to the downtown core area, you can walk south along the canal to a pedestrian bridge (the Corktown Bridge) across the Rideau Canal at Somerset Street.
Getting Around - Bus
The transit system is OC Transpo.
Thanks to municipal open data, there is a really good app called BusBuddyOttawa. It will tell you when the bus is actually coming.
Its stop times use bus GPS data and are accurate to within a minute, unless there's a major system disruption. (The actual arrival times and the official posted times often differ substantially.)
Assuming you are starting from the Convention Centre (the Shaw Centre), to get to the downtown core, you have a number of options:
- take any westbound transitway bus on Mackenzie King bridge (e.g. any 90 or 80 series bus from Mackenzie King Station, north side of the bridge) and get off at Metcalfe (for Elgin) or at Bank
- take any westbound local OC Transpo bus from the north side of Rideau Street (across from the Rideau Centre). The 9 and 12 will take you as far as Bank & Slater, the 2 will take you to Bank & Somerset, and the 1, 7 will take you far south along Bank.
NOTE: Don't take the STO buses, unless you want to go to Gatineau. They're from the Quebec transit system.
OC Transpo also has a trip planner.
Getting Around - Bike
The bikeshare is called VeloGo, Twitter @VeloGoCanada. As of this writing I don't know if it will be open by May. It is not yet available (as of May 24, 2015). The downtown has no protected lanes other than a short east-west bike lane on Laurier Avenue.
There are lots of completely separate recreational pathways along the canal and the river, but they really are for touring around the waterfront, not so much for reaching things in the downtown grid.
(There are some other bikeshare services but I don't know the details.)
Places to Go
See previous blog post for info about Ottawa restaurants and shopping.