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Welcome a new day: The Best Sunrise Viewing Spots in Ottawa

Welcome a new day The Best Sunrise Viewing Spots in Ottawa

As the day starts anew, Ottawa, the picturesque capital of Canada, transforms into a serene and captivating canvas for witnessing the magic of dawn. As the sun peeks over the horizon, its warm hues cast a golden light across the cityscape.

Thankfully, the city has plenty of amazing locations that offer unforgettable sunrise experiences. Let’s discuss the best sunrise viewing spots in Ottawa that will leave you in awe of nature’s daily spectacle.

Portage Bridge

Photo credit: justjamaalthepoet

Address: Portage Avenue, Ottawa, ON, Canada

One of the best places to welcome the new day in Ottawa is Portage Bridge, a bridge spanning the Ottawa River that connects the cities of Gatineau and Ottawa. 

Constructed in 1973, it serves as a major link between the downtown districts of the two cities.

Interestingly, it was named after the historic portage route used by Indigenous peoples to bypass the powerful Chaudière Falls. With a total length of 700 metres, this bridge offers a panoramic view of the river and Ottawa’s skyline.

During the early hours, you can see the sun slowly rise over the water. The reflection produced by the Ottawa River as well as the nearby skyscrapers creates a magical experience you definitely wouldn’t want to miss.

Pro tip: Portage Bridge features a dedicated bicycle path that you can use to enjoy scenic views of the river and the sunrise during your morning cycling routine.

Bank Street Bridge

Photo credit: thegilmanator

Address: Bank St., Ottawa, ON, Canada

Our next location, the Bank Street Bridge, is an unassuming yet historic structure that gracefully spans the Rideau Canal and links the neighbourhoods of Glebe and Old Ottawa South.

Originally a wooden bridge built in 1866, it was turned into a steel swing bridge to accommodate the boats passing through the canal. After its restoration in 1993, it’s now considered one of the best sunrise viewing spots in the city.

That’s because the Bank Street Bridge offers an elevated viewpoint where you can see the sun rise over the majestic Rideau Canal. Furthermore, the canal’s unique bend adds a layer of extravagance to the scene unfolding here every morning.

Pro tip: After enjoying the beautiful sunrise from the Bank Street Bridge, you can make the start of your day even better by visiting the nearby Old Ottawa South where you’ll find charming streets and local shops filled with fun stuff you can buy.

Nepean Sailing Club

Photo credit: steffi.a.young


Address: 3259 Carling Ave, Nepean, ON K2H 1A6, Canada

Contact details: +1 613-829-6462

If you prefer seeing the sunrise from a riverside view, come visit the Nepean Sailing Club! Nestled along the serene shores of the Ottawa River, this place has a proud legacy of being one of Canada’s largest sailing clubs. 

Furthermore, its prime location also makes it an excellent spot to witness the sunrise in its full glory. You’ll have the opportunity to see the sun’s first rays paint the sky over the Ottawa River as it turns the waters into a shade of golden hue.

For the best views, I recommend you make your way towards the Nepean Sailing Club’s lighthouse, which is located on the tip of the marina’s peninsula. Alternatively, the nearby Harry Kingston Point is better if you want to see the marooned boats too.

Pro tip: Before leaving the Nepean Sailing Club, make sure to get a quick brunch from their bar and restaurant, The Galley. Some amazing dishes you should try are their NSC Cheeseburger Royale and fish tacos.

Cooper Marsh Conservation Area

Photo credit: bk_photographie_


Address: 20020 Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry County Road 2, South Glengarry, ON K0C 2E0, Canada

Contact details: +1 613-347-1332

Distance from the Ottawa CBD: 1 hour

If you’re okay with travelling a bit away from Ottawa to see the sunrise, come visit the Cooper Marsh Conservation Area. Located in South Glengarry, this serene 673-acre wetland attracts birdwatchers and other nature enthusiasts.

That’s because this marsh is home to over 100 bird species, including ospreys and great white egrets. Also, the rich greenery in this area is always a treat to see and explore, especially during sunrise.

To enjoy an unobstructed view of the rising sun, make your way towards any of the observation decks in the area. However, make sure to research this marshland’s sunrise time before visiting so you won’t be disappointed upon your arrival.

Pro tip: The Cooper Marsh Conservation Area tends to get very chilly during the early hours of the day. Make sure to wear warm clothes before visiting so you won’t catch a cold!

Shirley’s Bay

Photo credit: boubikes


Address: Shirley Blvd, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Contact details: +1 613-239-5000

Distance from the Ottawa CBD: 28 minutes

Another amazing sunrise viewing spot you can visit in the outskirts of Ottawa is Shirley’s Bay. This picturesque bay is located about sixteen kilometres from downtown Ottawa along the Ottawa River.

This outdoor haven is known for its fresh air and scenic views of the river. During sunrise, this place transforms into a captivating scene as light slowly fills up the area and a mix of vibrant colours is produced thanks to the greenery here.

For the best experience, you should see the sunrise from The Shoreline Trail, which borders the Ottawa River. Here, you can experience an unobstructed view of the rising sun and the shorebirds that live in this bay.

Pro tip: Aside from providing an amazing view of the sunrise, Shirley’s Bay also offers a tonne of fun activities to its visitors. A couple you can try are kayaking, hiking, and cross-country skiing during the winter.

The Dominion Arboretum

Photo credit: penny.the.copper.wonder


Address: Arboretum, Ottawa, ON K1A 0C6, Canada

Contact details: +1 613-759-1982

Going back into the city, The Dominion Arboretum is another great choice to see an impressive view of the rising sun. Located southwest of Dow’s Lake, this arboretum has been in operation since 1889, making it the oldest of its kind in Canada.

The original purpose of this place was to test the potential of growing woody plants in the Canadian climate. Today, it has a total area of 99 acres and is home to 4,000 different species of trees and shrubs gathered from different areas of the world.

While there are plenty of lookout spots to be found here, the best place to see the sunrise is the South Lookout. Here, you’ll have an unobstructed view of the surrounding area as the sun slowly starts to rise from the horizon.

Pro tip: Please take note that there’s a 10-minute walk from the arboretum’s entrance to the South Lookout. Make sure to factor that in so you’ll arrive just in time to witness the beginning of the sunrise.

Eagles Nest Lookout

Photo credit: julesthesuperspaniel


Address: Greater Madawaska, ON K0J 1H0, Canada

Contact details: +1 800-669-4861

Distance from the Ottawa CBD: 1 hour and 11 minutes

Next on our list is Eagles Nest Lookout, a spectacular lookout site located in the Calabogie Peaks Resort. Historically, this land and the area that surrounds it were once considered sacred sites by the Algonquin Anishinaabe community.

Today, this place is known for its breathtaking panoramic views of the Madawaska Highlands and its diverse natural life. It also provides a great view of the Ottawa Valley and is a popular spot for sunrise and sunset viewing.

To get here, you’ll first need to ascend an easy 1.5-kilometre trail starting from Calabogie Road. Depending on your walking pace, it might take you anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes to complete the trail.

Pro tip: It might still be dark by the time you start your walk towards Eagles Nest Lookout. That’s why I recommend you bring a flashlight with you to help you light up the path and see if there are any debris or hazards along the way.

Hog’s Back Falls

Photo credit: vanessa_fillion


Address: 600 Hog’s Back Rd, Ottawa, ON K1V 1H8, Canada

Contact details: +1 613-239-5000

Hog’s Back Falls, located south of the Ottawa CBD, is a wonderful place to see the sunrise thanks to its cascading waters and lush greenery. It’s a series of artificial waterfalls made to divert water from the Rideau River into the Rideau Canal.

Aside from its rich natural features, another key reason why Hog’s Back Falls is great for sunrise viewing is its peaceful surroundings. Here, you’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful view without having to hear the deafening sounds of the morning rush.

There are also plenty of fun activities you can do here after the sun has risen. In particular, Hog’s Back Falls is quite popular for those who are interested in leisurely fishing or birdwatching.

Pro tip:
While the scenery in Hog’s Back Falls is always a treat worth seeing, there are some periods of the year when the scenery here is more beautiful than usual. 

In particular, this place looks gorgeous during the spring melt or after heavy rainfall.

Mer Bleue Conservation Area

Reel credit: timwattsphotography


Address: Ridge Rd, Ottawa, ON K0A 2Y0, Canada

Contact details: +1 613-239-5000

Distance from the Ottawa CBD: 20 minutes

Located on the eastern outskirts of Ottawa, you’ll find the Mer Bleue Conservation Area. This is a 33-square-kilometre natural haven that harbours a rare gem that’s quite unusual in these parts: a sphagnum bog.

This bog was formed sometime 7,700 years ago and was an important source of peat and other natural resources for the settlers living in the area. Today, it serves as a conservation area where regionally rare plants and birds live.

Thanks to its distance from the Ottawa skyline, you’ll have no difficulty seeing the beauty of the sunrise from here. The bog’s calm waters also add to the beauty of the scene as they reflect the golden hues from the first rays of sunlight of the day.

Pro tip: Please pay close attention to any signs you may encounter while visiting the Mer Bleue Conservation Area. This place is a sensitive ecosystem, so some parts of it are off-limits to the general public.

Richmond Landing

Photo credit: kasianiton

Address: Commissioner Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Our next sunset viewing spot, Richmond Landing, is a historical gem with a captivating past. In 1818, veterans of the War of 1812 landed here with their families and founded the nearby town of Richmond, which is now a part of Ottawa.

Today, this spot offers more than just history, as it has become a prime location to witness the sunrise. As dawn breaks, the city skyline and Parliament Hill come alive, and they cast off their reflections on the tranquil waters of the nearby Ottawa River.

Furthermore, this location has an unobstructed horizon, so you’re assured an uninterrupted view of the sun. Richmond Landing is also only a few kilometres away from the downtown area, so you can make a quick stop here before arriving at work.

Pro tip: If you’re interested in learning more about Canada’s history, the nearby Royal Canadian Navy Monument goes into detail about the proud legacy of Canada’s navy and the men and women who served on its ships.