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This page contains information to help plan your trip.

General Information

The conference is held at the University of Ottawa, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Accommodation is available on campus as well as at nearby hotels a short walk away. More information is available on our UOttawa Campus page.

All prices are in Canadian Dollars (CAD, or C$) and may not include applicable taxes. Federal tax of 5% applies to most goods and services in Canada, and an additional provincial tax of 8% also applies to most goods and services in Ontario. Additional taxes may apply in various situations - no effort is made here to ensure prices do or do not include tax.

We recommend arriving the day before your first activity and leaving late on Saturday. Air fares are often cheaper if you arrive on Saturday night and leave Sunday. There may be post-conference events on the day after the conference for those staying later.

Conference attendees are responsible for booking their own accommodation. Meals and accommodation are not included in your conference registration fee. (BSDCan typically only provides lunch, only for attendees, only on tutorial & conference days.)

Additional information can be found on the Ottawa Tourism site.

Entering Canada

The Government of Canada International Gateway has (and/or links to) the most current information. Compliance with local laws and regulations is your inidividual responsibility.

The following information is believed to be correct as of its writing. Always check official Government of Canada sources before travelling.

For official information on requirements, and to begin the application process, start with the "Visit Canada" page.

Since 2016, almost all visitors to Canada (including many visa-exempt visitors) are required to acquire an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). You might require a visitor visa instead, depending on what country you're coming from and what travel documents you have. Please submit the appropriate paperwork well in advance to ensure your visa or eTA is ready in time for you to travel. (The visa process is notorious for randomly taking much longer than expected.) Both the eTA and visitor visas involve a fee: C$7 for the eTA and C$100 for a visitor visa, as of late 2022.

COVID-19 has introduced additional requirements for travelers to Canada. Most of the information you'll need can be found starting with this COVID-19 information page. You may optionally use the ArriveCAN appliation to submit all your COVID- and public-health-related documentation before you reach the border.

When entering Canada, based on reports from past travellers, we suggest having proof, on paper:

  • that you are registered for the conference,
  • of your hotel booking (or other accommodation), and
  • that you already have a return flight booked.
(These are some of the most common items Customs may request to see before approving your stay in Canada.)

Getting There

By Plane

Ottawa is served by Ottawa MacDonald-Cartier International Airport (IATA:YOW), with connections from most major Canadian and American hubs.

If you are arriving from outisde Canada or the USA, you may be flying into Toronto Pearson International Airport (IATA:YYZ) or Montreal Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport (IATA:YUL). In addition to connecting flights, you may take also a train or bus/coach from those two airports to Ottawa - see below for details. (Most other ports of entry into Canada are too far away for train or bus to be a realistic option.)

From the Ottawa Airport, the UOttawa Campus is easily reached by private automobile, taxi, hotel shuttle, or public transit (see below).

Taxis are reported to cost around C$40, and the privately-run hotel shuttle - which does service UOttwa Campus - is reported to cost around C$35. Public transit is cheaper still, see below.

By Train

(For OCTranspo's Light Rail service, see Public Transit, below.)

Ottawa is served by VIA Rail, Canada's national passenger train service, at the Ottawa Train Station.

VIA Rail interconnects with the AMTRAK's Maple Leaf train in Toronto (TWO), and the Adirondack train in Montreal (MTR), both originating from New York Penn Station (NYP). If arriving from the USA, you'll have to disembark at the end of the line and transfer to something else - either a VIA train or some other mode of transport.

If you're transferring from airplane to train, please ensure you know how to get from the airport to the train station. VIA maintains a list of partners that you may find helpful. If you are flying KLM or Air France (and possibly others), you may be able to purchase a bus or train ticket (typically from Montréal) as part of your airfare. If you do this, please let us know more about how that works! As of 2024, some airlines use "XDS" as the airport code for the Ottawa train station.

Once arrived in Ottawa, the UOttawa Campus is easily reachable by private automobile, taxi, public transit or on foot, i.e. walking.

By Long-distance Bus (Coach)

Greyhound Bus Lines no longer operates in Canada. Ottawa currently has scheduled (i.e. public) service from Ontario Northland, Rider Express, Orléans Express, Autobus Maheux and possibly others.

If you are transferring from one mode of transport (e.g. air) to another (bus), please ensure you know how to successfully transfer from one to the other - the respective terminals are often a great distance away from each other, sometimes even requiring a lengthy taxi ride.

If you are flying KLM or Air France (and possibly others), you may be able to purchase a bus or train ticket (typically from Montréal) as part of your airfare. If you do this, please let us know more about how that works!

In addition to the scheduled services mentioned above, private bus or coach operators may also provide service to the Ottawa area at any given time.

By Automobile

Please see your favourite navigation app, a GPS device, an actual printed map on paper, or some other source, for driving directions. The UOttawa Residence building address is "90 University Private, Ottawa, ON, K1N 1H3". If your source for directions can't parse that address, try the Desmarais building at "55 Laurier Avenue East, Ottawa ON K1N 6N5" instead.

Public Transit (City Bus & Light Rail)

OCTranspo's combined fleet of city buses and light rail transit serves the Ottawa area.

If you've used OCTranspo in the past, please double-check your favourite routes and stops, as the O-Train Line 1 has altered routes and stops and stations throughout the network.

As of this writing, regular fare to get from the airport to campus costs C$3.75. Buses take exact change only, or you can use credit/debit (EMV) cards at ticket machines - one is near Customer Service at the airport. The bus stop is just outside the Arrivals level of the terminal: exit the right-most doors, cross the lanes of traffic to the first walkway, turn right and walk approximately 15m (50'). Get on the #97 bus, and take it to the end of the route at Hurdman Station. Transfer there to either the O-Line 1 (if it's operating) or the R-1 Bus Replacement Service, and get off at uOttawa station.

OCTranspo provides accessible transport, including Para Transpo for disabled riders; please see the Accessible Transit page and contact OCTranspo directly for further details.

If you expect to use OCTranspo during your stay in Ottawa, make sure you're paying in the most effective way: How to Pay.


Downtown Ottawa is extremely walkable, but walkability between the parts of the city may challenge casual walkers.

If you're walking from the train station, Google often suggests sub-optimal paths and/or shows walking/cycling trails that may or may not exist at any given time. Caveat emptor.

While it is possible to walk from the airport to downtown, it's almost 3hrs' journey, and some of the roads are not pedestrian-friendly.


Ottawa is a very bicycle-friendly city, in general, with dedicated bike paths and bike lanes.  There are several bicycle rental shops, including one near campus (RentABike/Vélocation) if you aren't traveling with your own bicycle.  A quick internet search will turn up quite a lot of information about biking in and around Ottawa - more than we can reasonably link to here!

Staying in Ottawa

Please see the Accommodations page for details.


When this page is updated, an email will be sent to the announcement mailing list.

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