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Why rent a car in Ottawa?
Ottawa is a great place for renting a car. Having your own ride will give you the freedom to travel around this vast city, and to also visit interesting places in the rest of Ontario and neighboring Quebec.
Top ways to enter Ottawa
- Ottawa Airport: Although not as large as some other airports in Eastern Canada, flying here is still the most convenient way to reach the capital city.
- Montreal Airport: Located just 157 km (96 mi) from Ottawa, Montreal Airport has connections to many destinations in North America, as well as in Europe, Africa, and Asia.
- By rail: If you're arriving in Ottawa by train, you can conveniently pick up the rental car at the Ottawa Fallowfield Railway Station or Ottawa Tremblay Railway Station.
Useful city facts
- Although Ottawa is Canada’s capital, it is only the fourth largest city in the country. It has a city population of about 965,000.
- Ottawa borders Gatineau, a city in the Quebec region that is just across the Ottawa River. Together they form the National Capital Region. Unlike Ottawa, Gatineau is overwhelmingly French-speaking.
Top destinations and activities
- Parliament Hill. Located in the very center of the city and overlooking the Ottawa River, Parliament Hill is the number one landmark of Canada's capital. Here you can visit Parliament of Canada, House of Commons, the Senate, and the recently renovated Library of Parliament.
- Canada Museum of Nature. Full of artefacts, fossils, and fascinating stories, this modern and interactive museum is the best place to learn about Canada's history, geology, and animals.
- National Gallery. Worth visiting for its unique building alone, the National Gallery is home to some of Canada's finest artworks, from traditional to contemporary, and also houses the paintings and sculptures by some famous international artists.
Traffic and parking tips
- The speed limits vary between different roads. The general limits are 90 km/h to 110 km/h on motorways and outside cities and from 30 km/h to 50 km/h inside cities.
- The legal alcohol limit is 0.05%. Driving under influence exceeding the limit is a criminal offence and can lead to hefty fines, a driving ban, and even imprisonment.
- The insurance and car documentation needs to be in the car whenever you’re driving.
- If you’re the driver, you need to have your passport or ID card with you at all times.
- Using the mobile phone while driving is prohibited. The rule is strictly imposed with high fines.
- The phone number for emergencies is 112.
There are a number of toll roads in Canada.
Ontario Highway 407 is toll road for which you can only pay electronically. As you will be driving a rental car, the bill will be automatically sent to your rental car provider. The exact fee will depend on how long will you drive along this road. Some rental providers do include an additional toll charge fee. Do get in touch with your rental car provider in advance to find out more. Visit the official Highway 407 website to find out more information about fees and payment methods.
Highway 412 is another toll road in Ontario. It is part of the same toll system as the Highway 407. The exact fee will depend on the time of the day and the day of the week of your travel, as well as the length of your travel along this road.
There are some other toll roads in Ontario. Do look them up in advance depending on your planned route.
In the rest of Canada, payment method and fees differ for different toll roads. It is best to look them up in advance, finding the information for each province in which you plan to travel. You can also use a toll calculator to calculate the approximate fees for your upcoming ride.
Ideas for a day-trip
- Montreal. The capital of French-speaking Canada, nearby Montreal is one of the most interesting cities of North America thanks to its unique history, culture, and atmosphere.
- Algonquin Provincial Park. This nature area is about 240 km (150 mi) from Ottawa, but the rather long road is nevertheless worth traveling. The park is home to countless fauna and flora species associated with Canada, from moose, white-tailed deer, and great grey owls to sugar maple.
- Gatineau. Just across the river, Gatineau's main attraction is the famous Canadian Museum of History. Previously called Canadian Museum of Civilization, it tells the long story of human settlement in Canada, from First Nations migrating on the Bering Strait to Vikings settling on the eastern coast and Western European colonists arriving 500 years ago.
Most popular rental types and cars
The most picked rental car in Canada is the Kia Rio, although travelers also love the Jeep Wrangler and the Nissan Rogue. The most popular rental car types are economy, intermediate, and fullsize. The latter can be a good choice if you plan to travel outside Ottawa and into nature areas.
- Toronto. About five hours drive away, Ontario's largest city is a great place to visit thanks to its unique neighborhoods, bustling arts scene, and hip atmosphere.
- Quebec. There's more to this province than Montreal, from the even more French-feeling Quebec City to cozy little towns and beautiful nature areas.
- NYC: The bustle of NYC might seem like a world away from Ottawa in terms of atmosphere, but the Big Apple is just seven hours drive south. Note that if you'd like to travel from Ottawa to New York City, you'll have to cross a national border, so make sure to first ask your rental car provider if they permit it.
How can I save money on my rental car?
Follow these tips to get a good rental car deal in in Ottawa:
- Compare rates of different rental car providers
- Book your rental car well in advance
- Plan your route before you go
- Know your fuel and mileage requirements
- Visit on the month when the rental prices are the cheapest. According to our data, visiting Ottawa is the cheapest in March when renting a car is about 59% cheaper than the yearly average.
Which is the cheapest month to rent a car in Ottawa?
What’s the usual rental length in Ottawa?
What's the most popular month to rent a car in Ottawa?
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