Montreat and Ottawa, the two stars of Canada, are featured heavily on Israel Tour’s Discovering Jewish Ottawa and Montreal Tour. Canada has a lot of appeal to tourists of all creeds and denominations, but it holds special significance for those with a Jewish faith background. Canada has the fourth largest Jewish population in the world behind the USA, Israel and France. It is also the native land of Rabbi Vaisberg and Cantor Marer, the two guides on the trip. They speak to Canada’s rich, vast Jewish history and culture. All parts of Canadian culture are featured on this comprehensive tour: explore parks, restaurants, museums, architecture and more in the beautiful cities of Ottawa and Montreal. Read more about each city and the best things to do in them, below.
Old Montreal, a section of the town with the oldest architecture and richest history, is consistently rated as the number one thing to do in Montreal. Old Montreal was the old center of the city and visiting there feels like you’ve just stepped out of a time machine. Horse-drawn carriages travel down cobblestone streets, passing notable sites such as the Basilique Notre-Dame, the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), the Vieux-Port (Old Port) and the Marché Bonsecours (Bonsecours Market). The area also boasts a number of bars, clubs, cafes and restaurants that you can’t miss. Old Montreal is also easily reached- it is accessible from downtown via the Underground City and is served by several STM bus routes and the Champ-de-Mars, Place-d’Armes and Square-Victoria-OACI Metro stations.
Montreal Botanical Gardens
This 185-acre Botanical Gardens is home to more than 22,000 species of flora and boasts such features as the Japanese Zen Garden and the Chinese Garden. There is also a colorful rose garden and a stunning alpine garden. You can easily tour Parc Maisonneuve’s crown jewel; tickets are only about 15 bucks.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA)
The most distinguished museum in all of Montreal, MMFA boasts works from famed artists such as Rembrandt, El Greco, Renoir, Cézanne and Picasso. It is certainly worth spending a few hours (or even a whole day) at Montreal’s art staple, meandering through exhibits that showcase 18th-century English porcelain, artifacts from World War I and furniture designed by Frank Gehry.
The center of downtown Ottawa, Parliament Hill is characterized by three neo-Gothic structures- the East, West and Center Blocks that comprise Canadian government (Ottawa is the capital of Canada, for those who didn’t know). But the area isn’t all business all the time, it offers free guided tours, concerts, cultural exhibitions and even a seasonal after-hours sound and light show. Visitors are free to tour the East and Center Blocks, as well as the Library of Parliament and the Supreme Court of Canada.
The Rideau Canal
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal is a picturesque 125-mile waterway and was originally constructed between 1826 and 1832. Nowadays, it boasts sunbathers and boaters when the weather is warm and turns into an ice skating rink in the winter. The Rideau Canal is a can’t-miss and a good spot to stop on your way to Parliament Hill, as it’s right nearby.