"Where In Ottawa" is a blog series featuring the best locations to have for your wedding or engagement photo sessions. For each post of this series, we will pick a spot, outline some of the highlights and challenges using the location, and show some photos we've shot for inspiration!
I have a wedding coming up in two weeks where the couple has chosen Ottawa's Dominium Arboretum as the setting for their wedding ceremony and I cannot wait for it! The Arboretum is very a popular location among photographers. If you get there early enough on a weekend, you can usually spot wildlife photographers chasing after birds and the sunrise; family photographers usually use the location for summer or fall mini-sessions; and wedding photographers can usually be spotted there in late afternoon or just before the sun sets. As you will read below, it is not difficult to see why photographers - including myself - love it so much!
Location, location, location - The Dominion Arboretum is in the middle of Ottawa, overlooking the solitary Dunton Tower of Carleton University's campus, bordered by Prince of Wales Road and the Rideau Canal. It is honestly a 20 minute drive from anywhere within Ottawa. If you and your photographer are looking for something really accessible, then the Arboretum is the perfect spot for you. Bonus: you can get your nature engagement photos here without having to venture to Parc Gatineau!
Location for Every Season - Not every location is pretty all year round and the Dominion Arboretum is one of the very few exceptions to this. Many know the Arboretum for its collection of flowers that bloom beautifully in the spring. If you stop by in April and May, you can usually see magnolias and apple tree blossoms. It is, of course, beautiful for summer and fall photo shoots, especially just before it gets dark. What many people don't know is that the Arboretum is also a great location for winter weddings and engagement sessions. The frozen canal coupled with falling snow provides a perfect setting for your winter wonderland dreams!
Endless possibilities - At the Arboretum, there is something for everyone. As mentioned already, if you want your wedding or engagement photos to look like you're deep in a forest somewhere without having to leave the city, then the Arboretum is perfect for you. For those who love a little bit of architecture, there is the Dows Lake Pavilion and the Horticultural buildings. If you want to have a little bit of elevation, you can have your photos taken in one of its lookouts overlooking the Rideau Canal and south Ottawa. If you want water scenes, the Rideau canal is close by, where you can paddle your own canoe or rent one from Dows Lake Pavilion.
Dog-Friendly - For dog-lovers out there, like myself, who want to have their adorable best-friend in their engagement or wedding photos, the Arboretum does allow dogs, but they have to be leashed. I have definitely seen many walkers break this rule!
Busy - Because of the above reasons, and especially if you have great weather, the Arboretum can definitely be a little busy for some photographers' liking. If you stick to the paths, for examples, you shots will definitely be interrupted by joggers. 'Tis a small price to pay for the convenience of the location!
Uniqueness factor - Search "dominion arboretum engagement session" on Google and you will see countless images of couples at the Arboretum. Because the place is so awesome, there is a tendency for many photographers to use it as a default location. There is nothing wrong with that at all, but know that you should pick a photographer who can make your images stand out from what you usually see on Google. At the very least, pick ones that can capture a new perspective.
- Free Parking
- Free to shoot