Animation Student Guide to the OIAF

WYNTK  What you need to know

Arts Court Ottawa


Where can I see screenings and talks? ByTowne Cinema, 325 Rideau Street,  Alma Duncan Salon in the Ottawa Art Gallery, 3rd floor, 10 Daly Avenue, National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin Street.

Where are the parties? Everywhere is a party at OIAF, but most of the official parties start at Club SAW, 67 Nicholas Street.

Where are people hanging out? Drop by the Chez Ani for inexpensive snacks and drinks. Check out this neighbourhood map for key venues, hotels, transit stops, etc.

Index card size paper is sitting in a long tray, the top of some papers are visible and identify the papers as blank access passes for the Ottawa International Animation Festival

Box Office

A white dorm room with 3 bunk beds with 2 beds each, two big windows and a ceiling fan


We’ve partnered with a number of hotels in the downtown core that are offering special rates for OIAF attendees. We highly recommend booking your hotel a.s.a.p. as accommodations are limited.

Tips to save money:  

  • Stay up to four people in a room with two beds. Some hotels don’t charge extra for additional people.
  • Book early! Prices go up the longer you wait.
  • Consider staying near public transit routes, like the LRT, for quick and easy access to the downtown area. Two areas with reasonably priced hotels are around the Ottawa Via Rail station and close to the St. Laurent Shopping Centre.
  • Hostels are a great way to stay with a group of people or friends when you’re travelling alone and on a budget. See our recommendations on the OIAF hotel page.
  • Whether you’re travelling in a group or solo, Airbnb is a good place to look for alternative places to stay. Read the reviews and contact the accommodation directly with any questions. 
  • Neighbourhoods to consider for accommodation are Sandy Hill, Lowertown, ByWard Market, and Centretown. New Edinburgh and Vanier are budget-friendly locations and are a 10-minute bus ride or 30-minute walk from the Festival venues.
5 young students stand together in a line to pose for the camera, they have festival passes around their neck that say Student Animapass, they are all smiling.

Toronto Student Bus Weekend Pass

All festival-goers with valid post-secondary identification from a Toronto-based animation school can use their school email to order the Toronto Student Bus Weekend Pass. This includes access to all OIAF screenings, talks, and parties from Friday to Sunday, and a seat on the bus going from Toronto to Ottawa on Friday, September 22 and back to Toronto on Sunday, September 24 (Book by: Fri Sept 15). The bus is a coach bus equipped with air conditioning, a washroom, tinted windows, aircraft-style seats, and ample storage space for luggage and equipment.

Click here for the tentative Bus Itinerary – to be confirmed in Sept 2023

Want a subsidized ride? Become an OIAF Bus Ambassador

ICYDK    In Case You Didn’t Know

Animation students need to experience OIAF; this world-class event is the place to get inspired and hired.

At OIAF Students can:

  • Watch films by the best animators from around the world
  • Meet their animation heroes and make friends for a lifetime
  • Take in professional development talks from top artists and industry leaders

Two young students stand smiling together in a red hallway, they are holding stuffed animal plushies shapped like a white cat and a yellow duck

The OIAF attracts 30,000 attendees each year, with over 1800 animators, filmmakers, and students attending IRL! Plus, don’t miss the Animation Career Fair featuring 15+ top animation studios

Previous VIP Guests have included:

  • David Silverman, Producer, Simpsons
  • Dino Stamatopoulos, Comedy Writer, Actor & Producer
  • Erik Goldman, Animator
  • Henry Sellick, Director, The Nightmare Before Christmas & Coraline
  • John Musker & Ron Clements, Directors, The Little Mermaid
  • Jan Pinkava, Creative Director
  • Lauren Faust, My Little Pony
  • Matthew A. Cherry, Hair Love
  • Matthew Senreich, Robot Chicken
  • Peter Lord, Creative Director, Aardman
  • Peter Ramsey, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • Rebecca Sugar, Steven Universe
  • Richard Williams, Director, Roger Rabbit
  • Seth Green, Robot Chicken
  • Vivienne Medrano, Hazbin Hotel, Helluva Boss
  • Seth McFarlane (attended as a student!)


Two men sit at a white table with a black background, they are leaning into microphones and smiling

(Paul Galipeau/


The Animators’ Picnic – Presented by Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios

The only picnic you get to carve a pumpkin at before the start of spooky season. This afternoon outdoor party is a refreshing way to socialize with studio reps and fellow animators over a beverage or two! No need to B.Y.O.P., we supply the pumpkins! Located in Strathcona Park, Ottawa – shuttles run between key venues from 12:15 pm until 4:00 pm

Jam-Filled Entertainment’s Sweet Antics Party

Welcome to OIAF! Animation students, this party is for you. Meet OIAF pass holders from across the country (and from around the world) while enjoying special guest DJs, dancing, and a sweet theme!

Saturday Day

Animation Exposé is a series of Artist Talks, recruiting opportunities, and sketching activities, curated to enhance your experience and understanding of the world of animation. Here is this year’s line-up to plan out the day with the group chat.

Saturday Night

OIAF @ Pique  – This DJ-hosted art party is a full night of cosplay, art installations, and dancing. Back by popular demand, Drink & Draw – presented by Atomic Cartoons is a chance to join fellow animators with their pencils and sketchpads and draw cosplay models who pose to music from vinyl DJ extraordinaire Jas Nasty!

Here is the latest party info for OIAF 2023!


Don’t miss the student competitions and panorama – the full schedule is coming soon! Check out the 2023 selections.

A large event room is full of blurring figures who are dancing, smiling, and have their arms up in the air.  There is a large screen on the wall with a video still of a woman who appears to have two heads leaning left and right

  1. What to bring? Stay hydrated! Bring a refillable water bottle and pocket-sized snacks
  2. “I’m just happy to be here”: Your Student AnimaPass gets you access to all OIAF screenings, talks and parties.
  3. Hello, I’m new here! Where is everyone hanging out? In your hotel lobby, at ChezAni or the Aniboutique, Filmmaker Lounge, everywhere!
  4. Networking & Mixers – Shoot your shot!  Tip: bring a business card with your contact details or have a QR code ready to show off your portfolio or socials.
  5. OIAF Student Ambassadors to watch – new for 2023 is the OIAF Student Ambassador program, follow them for insider info and Festival news.


A table with food plates is set up in a grassy park with a big white tent in the background.  Two young women are at the table with sunglasses on and smiling at the camera

Budget 101

Travelling to Ottawa on a student budget? Here are some tips for planning a budget-friendly trip to the OIAF. If you’re just starting school and opening your textbooks, give these tips a read too.

OC Transpo: An affordable way to get around Ottawa is OC Transpo. You can plan your route to the Festival using their online planner or app. The O Train (LRT) system is like a subway, with a main route that connects the city’s east-to-west neighbourhoods. The stop near the main festival venues is Rideau Station. Expect to pay $3.70 per ride, using contactless payment (Debit, VISA, Mastercard, etc.) or with your Presto card (hey TTC users: it works here too!). If paying with cash it’s $3.75.

E-Scooters: Get from one screening to the next on an e-scooter. Neuron Mobility and Bird offer e-scooter rentals at various locations throughout the Ottawa downtown core. You’ll need to have a valid credit card and download their respective apps to use these options.

Uber / Lyft / Taxi: If you’re staying across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec (it’s a budget-friendly option), Uber and Lyft don’t pick up riders from the Quebec side. You can use these apps to get from Ontario to Quebec, but not from Quebec to Ontario. Blueline and Capital Taxi are reliable taxi services in Ottawa and Gatineau.

Walking: Get your walking bestie and get those steps in! Most of the OIAF venues are a 5 to 15-minute walk from each other.


Ottawa Jail Hostel CourtyardHotels:

The OIAF has partnered with a number of downtown hotels to offer discounted hotel rates for festival goers.

The average hotel room accommodates up to four people per room – so get the group chat organized a.s.a.p. to save on costs. Most hotels have a nominal surcharge for more than two adults in the room.

Keep in mind that hotels become more expensive and increase their rates as they fill up. It’s a good idea to book your accommodation ahead of time to take advantage of the best possible rate.

If you plan to stay outside of the downtown core we recommend staying near the O Train line for quick and easy access to the Festival and the surrounding area.

Consider staying in Gatineau, Québec: you’ll get to take in the sights and enjoy a breezy 20-minute walk across the Alexandra Bridge each day to Ontario. Keep in mind that after a late evening at the Festival you may not always feel up to the walk and you should have a walking buddy, especially later in the evening.


Hostels are a great option if you’re with a large group of people, or when you’re travelling alone and on a budget. Hostels have a number of room options, from bunking with others (a.k.a.  new friends) to having your own room. Here are the Hostels nearby; SaintLo Jail Hostel is right next to the OIAF headquarters. Read through the reviews to get an idea of what the bathrooms and common areas are like at each hostel.


When selecting an Airbnb we recommend reading the reviews thoroughly and contacting the host directly with any questions. If you’re in doubt about the listing for any reason – stick to your gut and don’t book it.

Some neighbourhoods to consider are Sandy Hill, Lowertown, ByWard Market, and Centretown. New Edinburgh and Vanier are a 10-minute bus ride or 30-minute walk from the festival venues and can be a budget-friendly option.


Cheap eats and everyday choices. A great way to save while at the Festival is to set a daily budget for food and snacks. There are several grocery stores near the venues:

  • Loblaws Rideau – this grocery store is very close to the ByTowne Cinema and has everything that you may need to make lunches or dinners with your AirBnB roommates.
  • Farm Boy – inside the Rideau Centre but it’s a great stop for fresh fruit and veggies and a hot meal to have on the go.
  • ByWard Market – food stalls with good value compared to the mall and many hidden gems. One of those gems is Eddy’s Authentic Lebanese Cuisine: $5 Lebanese pies and small Shawarma or wrap for under $10 (42 Byward Market Square)

Here are some OIAF staff recommendations:

  • 3 Brothers Shawarma: get a small wrap for under $10, 11:00 am – 6:00 am (190 Rideau Street)
  • Island Flava Jamaican restaurant $6.99 lunch deal, 11:30 am – 2:00 pm Monday – Friday (409 Dalhousie Street)
  • Smoke’s Poutinerie – when in Canada. This could be two meals if you decide to save some for later. 11:00 am – 4:00 am Friday & Saturday, 11:00 am – 12:00 am Sunday-Thursday (409 Dalhousie Street)
  • LaBottega – big sandwiches – this will fill you up! Open from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm every day. (64 George Street)
  • McDonald’s – in a bust, in Micky D’s you trust. 8:00 am – 10:00 pm (252 Elgin Street)
  • Elgin St Diner – big servings, open 24/7, good vibes (374 Elgin Street)


Happy Hour. Be happy and save money on your drinks! We’ve done some research (and some drinking) for finding the best deals close to the Festival venues:


Albion Room Happy hour menu available from 2:00-5:00 pm daily (33 Nicolas Street)

Joey on Rideau 2:00- 5:00 pm daily and 9:00 pm to close Sunday – Thursday (Rideau Centre)

Cornerstone Bar and Grill  Happy hour menu including $10 pizza! Tuesday- Thursday, & Saturday (92 Clarence Street)


Clarendon Tavern Happy Hour menu available daily from 4:00-6:00 pm (11 George Street)

El furniture warehouse Power Hour from 2:00 – 5:00 pm daily. (77 Clarence Street)

The grande pizzeria Monday to Friday 3:00 to 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm to close. Including half-price selected pizzas (with the purchase of a beverage) / $20 Sangrias. (74 George Street)

“The exposure of the festival is so key for [students], after we come back their films get better, it’s a really eye-opening experience for them.”


School Coordinator

“Mind-blowing culture and art experience, attend for a few days but reflect on for years to come!”


OIAF 2022 attendee

“If you are quirky, eccentric, nerdy, geeky, Love animation and love open and welcoming people you have found a home.”



OIAF 2022 attendee

“I tell my students to not board or work on their films until after they’ve come back from the OIAF.”


Animation Professor

Student Guide to OIAF .pdf

Download the Animation Student Guide to OIAF to view this information as a .pdf file, and please share it with your friend and fellow animators!


Guide de l’étudiant en animation à l’OIAF .pdf

Téléchargez le Guide d’étudiant en animation à l’OIAF pour afficher ces informations sous forme de fichier .pdf, et partagez-le avec vos amis et collègues animateurs !


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