Keep reading for key Unconference details and a few recommendations to help you enjoy your time in the National Capital Region.
When and where is the Unconference?
Date: December 17, 2019
Time: Doors open at 0800, and the Unconference runs from 0900–1700.
Location: John G. Diefenbaker Building (“Old City Hall”) 111 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON
Lunch is not provided, however, there is a cafeteria on site as well as a few microwaves. There will be two “waves” of lunch breaks to help you maximize your day and manage the volume of cafeteria visits. There are no offsite lunch places close by.
We’re working on a post-event get-together, stay tuned for details.
Where’s the agenda?
You’re it! The agenda will be set by participants on the day of. Read more about the Unconference format in this blog post.
Getting to the Unconference
Public Transit: The 9 bus will drop you off at the Unconference location; it comes every 20–25 minutes. Check OC Transpo’s travel planner for schedules and routes from your location. Fares are $3.60 cash or $10.75 for a day pass. If you’re staying on the Quebec side of the river, check STO for bus routes and times. Fares are $3.95 cash or $7.00 for a day pass.
Car/rideshare: 111 Sussex is about a 5 minute drive from the Byward Market and 10 minutes from the downtown core. There is some underground paid parking ($12), however, spots are limited and it usually fills up very early. Street parking in the area is a 3 hour maximum.
Walk: 20–25 minutes walk from the Byward Market.
Bike: If you’re one of the hardy winter bikers, you can make use of Ottawa’s bike paths (some of which are winter maintained, find them under Cycling > Existing Cycling Network > Winter-maintained network in this map). Find your community at #ottbike on Twitter — they’re always keen to help out!
If you’re coming from out of town…
The Ottawa International Airport is 20–30 minutes by car to downtown. If you’re traveling by rail, the train station (200 Tremblay Road) is a quick 10–15 minutes to downtown Ottawa. The Ottawa bus station is at 265 Catherine Street.
No matter how you get into the city, you’ll be able to find a taxi, Uber or Lyft easily. You can also take OC Transpo (public transit).
If you want to minimize your commute to the Unconference location, stay in the Byward Market or downtown Ottawa. Hotels in these areas can be fairly pricey, but check with your organization to see if there are better rates that you are eligible for. Most of the major hotel chains have locations downtown, including Andaz Byward Market, Westin Ottawa, Lord Elgin, and the Alt Hotel.
Airbnb might have more reasonable options, or you could look into staying on the Quebec side of the river as it’s often cheaper (noting the commute to the Unconference will likely be longer).
Other Things To Do
Parliament Hill is a beautiful place to visit — you can walk around the grounds and take in the views of the Ottawa River. If you’ve got more time on your hands, tours are available (but note that Centre Block is closed for renovations and the tour will take you through the new homes for the Senate and the House of Commons). You can book tour tickets here.
The National Capital Region is home to many excellent museums, including:
- The Canadian Museum of History (right across the river from Parliament)
- The War Museum (Ottawa, walkable from the Pimisi light rail station)
- The Science and Technology Museum (might require a taxi/rideshare)
- The National Gallery (in the Byward Market)
- The Canadian Museum of Nature (Ottawa)
If you’re feeling the need to spend some time in nature, make your way to Gatineau Park and walk one (or all) of the four trails groomed for winter walking. You’ll probably need to drive or get a ride to the Park as transit options are limited and probably won’t get you as far into the Park as you would like.
The National Arts Centre (NAC)
Food & Drink
Need coffee on your way in to the Unconference? Check out one of these Ottawa chains for good coffee, yummy and relatively healthy food, and cheery service:
- Bridgehead: Multiple locations
- Morning Owl: 139 Bank and other locations
- Ministry of Coffee and Social Affairs: 274 Elgin and other locations
Need to grab a bite or quench your thirst? Here are a few places in and around the downtown core:
- Warm up with a large bowl of noodle soup at Sansotei Ramen (153 Bank). There are usually lines at lunch but they move quickly. Not vegetarian friendly as the broths are all meat-based.
- Want something unique? Order a scone sandwich at SconeWitch (150 Elgin). Try the poached salmon and cucumber on herb and onion scone with a side salad. They also have sweet scones if that’s more your jam (and they have jam…). Dine in or take out.
- Vegetarian or not, Pure Kitchen (340 Elgin) is a delicious option. Everything on the menu is vegetarian or vegan and you will not be disappointed. Start with the cauliflower wings or try the Royale with Cheese burger.
- Skip the sub-standard pub fare and check out Chez Lucien (137 Murray). Great beer selection and delicious burgers. Some vegetarian options.
- Ottawa has lots of craft breweries worth checking out. Flora Hall (37 Flora) and Beyond the Pale (250 City Centre, Unit 208) are both excellent options in central locations. Fantastic beers poured on site and to take home. Both places serve food with vegetarian and vegan options.
- Just on the other side of the river is Brasseurs du Temps, where they are serving up an interesting selection of craft beers you might not get elsewhere and a full menu with vegetarian options, most of which can be made vegan with modifications.
Have a great time at the Ottawa Unconference! See you there!