Saying ‘I do’ to the perfect venue: Alan Viau offers his take on the best outdoor bets

Dr. Alan Viau has been performing weddings and other life celebrations in Ottawa since 2004. On his own blog, he compiles useful tips on what’s gone well and what to watch for based on the hundreds of weddings he’s conducted in the National Capital Region.

Every summer, I zip around Ottawa performing lots of weddings during this busy season. I perform on-location ceremonies in people’s backyard, in restaurants and in hotels. (Talk about a way to see the city.)

But there are four outstanding locations that come to mind when looking for an outdoor venue.

Rockcliffe Pavilion 

Rockcliffe Pavilion

This is probably the most popular location for outdoor wedding ceremonies. The Pavilion was built in 1918 and is operated by the National Capital Commission. It has a stunning view of the Ottawa River and has a capacity of 100 people seated. During the summer, there is quite a bit of background noise from tour buses and boats on the river. There is one electrical outlet on the outside of the Pavilion. Access to Rockcliffe Park and parking can be difficult so it is advised that guests arrive early.

Billings Estate 

Billings Estate

This is a wonderful site located in south end of Ottawa and operated by the City. (As are the other two locations that follow.) It features Ottawa’s oldest wood-frame house that was owned by one of Ottawa’s founding families. There are several areas under large mature trees where ceremonies can be conducted. The bride can have a final prep time for herself inside the manor while everyone gets ready outdoors.

Cumberland Heritage Village Museum

Knox Church at Cumberland Village Museum

I love this location on the east end of Ottawa. It has seven houses and six buildings depicting residential and agricultural architecture and public buildings such as a one-room schoolhouse, fire hall, church and community hall. You can also visit a Canadian National railway station and caboose, a working sawmill and an Imperial garage. Weddings can be performed in the small church or outdoors.

Pinhey’s Point Historic Site

Pinhey's Point

This scenic site is located on Ottawa’s west side. It is on the shores of the Ottawa River overlooking the Gatineau Hills in the background. There are many areas for holding the wedding ceremony and it is growing in popularity.

All of these four locations offer outstanding views for any wedding and are located across Ottawa. Simply put, if your dream wedding vision is to have an outdoor ceremony, these are the top venues to consider.

Thanks for sharing, Alan! Check out for more tricks and tips from Ottawa’s wedding scene.