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Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport is the gateway for the capital of Canada, Ottawa. This city of 1.1 million people attracts tourists from far and wide because of its strong diversity that has cultivated an exciting and vibrant culture. Ottawa is also the only capital in North America to be bilingual. Locals speak both French and English. A great way to explore the areas around Ottawa, including the UNESCO World Heritage site of Rideau Canal, is by car.
Who to Book With
Five car rental companies currently have offices at Ottawa Airport. Firms here include Hertz, Budget, Enterprise, National and Avis. Visitors need to head to the Parkade located across the road from the terminal building to get to these car hire firms. Airport authorities recommend booking your car at least two days in advance and doing an online rate comparison will help secure the best deals.
Need to Know Essentials
You will need to show the following documents at vehicle collection:
- Full driver's licence
- Identity document proving 21 years of age (some car hire firms require 25)
- Print-out of booking confirmation
- Credit card used to book the vehicle
Speed limits in Ontario, and therefore Ottawa, are generally lower than in the rest of Canada. Freeways allow up to 62mph only. Within built-up areas, it is around 25 to 31 mph. Drivers must note that petrol prices in Canada can be expensive, with prices rising even more during the spring and summer months (beginning around March). Another thing to note is that some roads have electronic road fees that are billed to the car hire company. Some of these firms apply surcharges, which can easily double the fees. As a precaution, you must clarify these with your agent. All persons in a vehicle must wear seatbelts. The fine for violators is £152.
Here is a guide to Canada that offers more driving tips.
Ottawa Airport is around nine miles south of downtown Ottawa, easily accessible via the main access road called Airport Parkway. From the Airport Parkway, drivers then take Queensway or Trans-Canada Highway 417 to access the central areas of the city.
The airport is not served by any train station. The nearest station for Ottawa's rapid transit line called the O-train, run by OC Transpo, is Greenboro Station near the South Keys Shopping Centre, the southern terminus of the transit line. Greenboro Station can be reached by taking Bus 97 from the airport. From Greenboro, the train then heads north to Bayview Station close to the city centre. The fare is about £2.
Official airport taxis are easily available at the airport and can be hired in advance by calling +1 613 523 1234. The cabs are found right outside the Arrivals area. A ride to the city centre takes about 20 minutes.
Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport to Ottawa city centre is around £19.
OC Transpo also runs the public bus system in Ottawa. Bus 97 runs directly between the airport and the city centre. You can buy tickets at the Ground Transportation Desk in the Arrivals area and head to the waiting buses near Pillar 14 outside the building. Passengers need to alight at Mackenzie King stop to reach downtown. The fare is about £2.
The new terminal which opened in 2003 receives all flights and passengers arriving at Ottawa Airport. It is the country's sixth busiest airport, having handled over four million passengers in 2011. The airport is connected to mostly destinations in North and Central America. Air Canada flies to London-Heathrow regularly, while Air Transat flies to London-Gatwick on a seasonal basis.
Short-term parking is available at the Parkade right in front of the terminal building. The fee is about £1 for the first 15 minutes, £12 for the entire day. The long-term car park facility is about a seven-minute walk from the terminal. A week here costs about £65.
Internet kiosks are scattered throughout the airport. Those with smart phones and notebooks, can login via the airport's WiFi network free of charge.
An information counter can be found at the Arrivals area close to the main exit doors. There is also one on the third level of the building right next to the check-in counters.
General Information: +1 613 248 2125 or +1 613 248 2141
Persons needing special assistance are advised to contact their airlines before arriving at the airport. Parking spaces for persons with reduced mobility are found at both the Parkade and the Long-term Parking Facility. Floors and lifts are adapted to the visual and hearing impaired.
Restaurants and Bars
Cafés, fast food joints, proper restaurants and beverage stands can be found around the airport. Tim Horton's serves coffee and doughnuts in four locations: Level 1 in the Arrivals area, two on Level 2 after security check and on Level 3 in the food court. A Sbarro can be found on Level 2 after security. Rideau Bar & Grill is located on Level 3 in the food court.
Two lounges are available at Ottawa Airport, both on the second level. Maple Leaf Lounge is for Air Canada and Star Alliance fliers. Porter Lounge is for Porter passengers.
Money and ATMs
A Royal Bank ATM and an Alterna ATM are located at opposite ends of the Arrivals area. An Ice Currency Exchange counter is positioned close to the main exit doors.
There are many types of shops in Ottawa Airport's terminal building. Visitors can buy souvenirs, duty-free items, clothing and accessories. AerRianta International Duty Free has a store on both levels 2 and 3 after security check. Great Canadian Book Co. is on Level 2 as well. On Level 3, you also have Junogems, a jewellery store.