With a booming presence in both the government and high-tech sectors, Ottawa is a natural destination to conduct business. But despite its conservative reputation, Canada’s bustling capital city is also a great backdrop for bonding with your peers. Whether you’re planning your next getaway, conference, or corporate retreat, consider the Ottawa/Gatineau region as a place to both work hard and play hard.

Here are just some of the fun team-building activities you’ll find in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.

Brush Up On Brews
Take the Brew Donkey bus on a unique tour across Ottawa, stopping at local craft breweries, pubs, and retailers along the way. Snacks and beer are included on every tour, as well as a guide who shares their behind-the-scenes knowledge on regional brews. Daredevils will appreciate the opportunity to combine a brewery tour with an exhilarating afternoon of axe throwing (closed-toe shoes are mandatory, for obvious reasons). Take-home craft beer, available for purchase, makes a great souvenir.

See the City Via Canoe
Most people are familiar with one of Ottawa’s most popular winter activities – skating on the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the largest outdoor rink of its kind in the world. But there are other ways you can experience the canal. The Voyageur Canoe Experience, offered every summer by Parks Canada, arranges scenic guided tours in a voyageur-style, 27-foot canoe that fits between four and 10 paddlers. Tours depart in the afternoon and evening from the downtown Ottawa Locks, and provide all participants with paddles and life jackets.

Learn About the First Nations
Get a unique look at First Nations culture through Aboriginal Experiences, showcased in a village on the picturesque Victoria Island in the shadows of Parliament Hill. From traditional native cuisine and powwow dance performances to guided tours and craft workshops, visitors get an opportunity to experience the rich culture, teachings, and history of Canada’s First People. The wide range of entertainment options for corporate retreats includes First Nation drummers, Inuit throat singers, snowshoe building, and traditional medicine teachings.

Whip Up A Feast
The Ottawa campus of one of the most famous cooking schools in the world, the famed Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Institute, is housed in a Tudor Revival-style mansion in the Sandy Hill neighborhood. (Ottawa was the first international campus for the Paris-based cooking school.) Sign your group up for a three-hour class and choose from a variety of themes from crepes and chocolate to game meats and sauces.

Cheer On the Locals
For an energetic vibe and a genuine taste of the local atmosphere, get a suite for the home game of any one of Ottawa’s many sports teams. Ottawa is home to the Ottawa Redblacks (CFL football), Ottawa Fury FC (soccer), Ottawa Senators (NHL hockey), Ottawa 67’s (OHL Hockey), and Ottawa Champions (baseball).

Stay in Style
For quick access to attractions and meeting spaces across the Ottawa-Gatineau region, consider booking your next conference at a Hilton hotel. With ample space for groups of every size and event planners to help you finesse every detail, you can’t go wrong. Choose the Hilton Lac Leamy, DoubleTree by Hilton Gatineau-Ottawa, or the Hampton Inn Ottawa if you’re looking for easy access to the downtown core. For travelers needing to be close to the airport, there’s always the Hilton Garden Inn Ottawa Airport, while extended stays can be comfortably accommodated at the all-suite Homewood Suites by Hilton Ottawa-Kanata.

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