Touted as the city by which all capitals should be measured, Ottawa is a compact, clean, cleverly planned centre of culture and politics. And it's an ideal choice for a weekend break because you can see so much in a short time. Start downtown at the architecturally stunning National Gallery of Canada. Other fine museums, such as the Canadian Nature Museum and the National Aviation Museum, await. The Gothic Revival-style buildings of Parliament Hill convey the political stature. A free, guided tour of the main building offers information on both the present-day government and important historical events. While Ottawa does have its fair share of lofty attractions, there are also lots of ways to relax and have fun. The lovely Rideau Canal, which cuts through the city, offers boating in the summer and ice-skating in the winter. Gatineau Park is always buzzing with cyclists and walkers. For an eclectic mix of old and new Ottawa, stop by the Byward Market. Whether you're in town for a few hours or a few days, Ottawa offers a gratifying taste of Canadian culture and hospitality.