Canada’s capital city and the country’s fourth largest metropolitan area, Ottawa boasts many natural and man-made wonders. From the 42,240 acre protected Greenbelt that wraps around the city, to the Ottawa River from which the city gets its name, Ottawa’s natural splendors provide year-round activities for citizens and visitors alike. The Rideau Canal, built in 1827 by Colonel John By, is famous for being the longest skating rink in the world in winter months. The Parliament Buildings, built in the early 1900’s, remain one of Canada’s most recognizable national symbols. Despite being the political seat for Canada’s government and playing host to over 100 embassies, the National Capital Region is also dubbed “Silicon Valley North” due to its more than 500 high technology and research companies. Across the river, directly to the north, is the city of Gatineau , Quebec, famous for Gatineau Park and its beautiful Fall Rhapsody of autumn-coloured leaves. The city is also host to the world-renowned Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival and the Casino du Lac Leamy.