THOUGH MODEST IN SIZE, Ottawa is brimming with homegrown artistic talent. Art galleries saturate Canada’s capital region, while the National Gallery, Canada’s preeminent gallery and one of the world’s finest, anchors the thriving arts scene.

The National Gallery — as you’ll see below — is an architectural triumph in itself. Huge, airy open spaces leverage natural light and highlight the building’s stark angles and clean lines. The contemplative spaces in the National Gallery allow visitors to emotionally engage with the art and connect with it like nowhere else on Earth.

And that’s not all. Easy-going livability, in the form of pedestrian and bike-friendly neighborhoods centered around restaurants and cafes that celebrate local culinary delights, ties together Ottawa’s artistic and culinary communities. Today’s Ottawa is full of surprises: