Who says that capital cities are filled with pencil-pushing bureaucrats? Canada’s capital is a lively place, making Ottawa a favorite destination for gay people from around the country. The biggest annual event, Capital Pride, is held in August.
The city itself is gorgeous, especially around Parliament Hill. The neo-Gothic structures of the Parliament Buildings are the city’s most-photographed landmark. Another stunner is the National Gallery of Canada, which resembles a glassed-in birdcage.
Ottawa’s Macdonald-Cartier International Airport is the gateway to Canada’s capital region. OC Transpo, route 97 (destination “Airport”) will get you directly to and from the airport. Shuttle buses and taxis are other options for a quick trip into town.
Downtown is very walkable, so there’s no need to rent a car. For longer trips, there is an excellent system of buses and light-rail trains operated by OC Transpo
Locals are hoping to turn Bank Street into an official gay village, like similar spots in Toronto and Montreal. In the meantime its still your first stop for gay Ottawa. The trendy downtown Byward Market area is full of cafes and boutiques.
Ottawa's Gay newspaper, Xtra, has gay news and listings you'll need. Other gay media include: the GQ Guide covering Quebec and Ottawa, and their sister publication 2B Magazine. The/Le Village website has where to go and what to do in Ottawa's gay neighborhood.
Centretown Pub (340 Somerset St West) main floor lounge for male regulars around the pool table, back terrace, sidewalk seating in front. Piano and lounge bar karaoke and weekend live bands. Upstairs weekend dancing, Friday night drag shows, Ottawa Knights men's leather and fetish nights most second Saturdays.
Edge Club and Lounge (212 Sparks St), 19+ young crowd gay nightclub, Friday drag shows and contests, Saturday dancing, Sunday cabaret, summertime roof-top patio.
Flamingo (380 Elgin St), upscale lounge, Friday live music, Saturday dancing, go-go boys, Sunday drag shows, special events.
Lookout (41 York St, upstairs), predominantly gay but straight-friendly, balcony overlooking marketplace, pool table out back. Barmen are adorable. Thursday Men's Social, Friday Women's Social, Saturday drag and dancing, Sunday euchre, Tuesday karaoke.
The Mercury Lounge (56 Byward Market Sq), live music, poetry and arts venue, popular Wednesday Hump night drag shows.
Swizzles (246 Queen St), free-wheeling mix of all kinds of people, fast internet connections, live music, poetry readings, drag shows and dancing; plus best karaoke in the city.
Saunas & Sex
Breathless (318 Lisgar St) adult community center, private alternative lifestyles club, poly-relationships, BDSM, cuddling and swinging.
Central Spa (1069 Wellington), renovated steam room, dry sauna, movies, lounge bar, Wi-Fi, favorite of local bears, open 24 hours.
Steamworks (487 Lewis St), 24-hour multi-level Centretown facility, single and double rooms, wet and dry saunas, whirlpool and video rooms.
Ahora (307 Dalhousie St) in Byward Market, gay-owned restaurant with best Mexican food around: burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, plus excellent margaritas.
The Buzz (374 Bank St) NY bistro style brick walls, high ceilings, intimate dining, high-back banquette lounging, wine or martinis. Sample tapas and Mojitos Thursdays, busy Friday/Saturday evenings. Open daily 4pm, Sunday brunch 10am - 3pm.
Second Cup (290 Bank St, at Somerset), official hangout of Ottawa Bears (OursOttowa in French). Sunday 3-5pm is the best time to make contact and find out about bowling dates, bathhouse frolics and brunch get-togethers.
Le Twist (88, rue Montcalm) funky little restaurant on the Hull/Gatineau side of the river, famous for their hamburgers (based on Montreal's famous La Paryse).
After Stonewall (370 Bank St), the city's GLBT bookstore was in danger of closing before new owners took over in Summer 2012. With a new look they've added products such as art, jewellery, and artisan chocolates, and events include wine socials and book readings.
One In Ten (216 Bank St) video DVDs for rent or sale, sex toys, and rainbow paraphernalia. They also have cubicles and glory holes.
Wilde's (367 Bank St) lubes, toys, videos, and knick-knacks.
Ambiance Bed And Breakfast (330 Nepean St; 613-563-0421), built in 1904, fully modern with amenities, easy walk to all the tourist attractions, major public transit, Byward Market, restaurants and nightlife.
The Avalon B&B (539 Besserer St; 613-789-7334), gay-friendly elegant guesthouse just a short hop east of everything in the downtown hub including Byward Market.
The Gilmour Inn (431 Gilmour St; 613-236-9309), Edwardian-era house, 7 rooms furnished with period antiques, living room, private patio. Bank Street restaurants, stores, Parliamnet Hill and Rideau Centre within walking distance. Former Inn on Somerset management.
The Rideau Inn (177 Frank St; 613-688-2753), general public, gay-friendly option in Golden Triangle residential neighbourhood at Rideau Canal. Sunny private roof deck, internet, breakfast buffets, use of the house kitchen.
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