What makes Ottawa distinctively unique from its big-city counterparts, Montreal and Toronto, is its closeness to nature. With Gatineau Park just literally across the river, an Ottawan can get from the downtown core to a solitary lake in nearly half the time it takes from a Torontonian to get home in traffic.

In Ottawa-Gatineau, there's a vast network of well-paved roads that immerse you into the heart of the city's surrounding forestry. We rounded up a list of eight of our favourite scenic routes in and around Ottawa, and linked their maps in their titles:

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Without a doubt, one of the most cherished sites in Ottawa is the ByWard Market. Some of the most iconic sights in Canada's capital can be found in this historic neighbourhood. The first BeaverTails shack that was built in Ottawa, for example, is located here. Of course, let's not also forget Zak's Diner and the Rideau Street McDonald's are also in the vicinity of this beautiful part of town.

But, let's also not forget that the ByWard Market is the heart of Ottawa's nightlife. It's without a doubt the most popular destination for bars and clubbing in the city, and many people can attest having stumbled into Zak's drunk or taking a bathroom selfie at El Furniture Warehouse. We've all shared the same experiences in this part of town. After all, it's the crossroads of our city.

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