Looking for a Summer Program? Explore our 2024 Guide to Summer Programs!

    Discover Year (Ottawa, Ontario)

    Discover Year (Ottawa, Ontario)


    • Listing Type: Gap Year Programs
    • Program Delivery: Day
    • Credit Awarded: None
    • Program Length: Academic Year
    • Start Month: July
    • Category: Career Exploration
    • Selective: Yes
    • Gender: Coed
    • Ages: 17, 18, 19+, 19
    • Housing: Homestay, Other
    • Financial Aid: Other
    • Minimum Cost: $5,000 - $9,999
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    Write a Review


    Discover Year is an innovative and structured gap year program that helps young adults understand what they want in life and build the skills they need to go out and get it. Our students develop stronger self-awareness, confidence, communication skills and resilience to thrive in whatever education or career path they choose to take, while learning more about themselves and their unique interests, talents and passions.

    To learn more about Discover Year and our programming, please visit our main Discover Year listing (found under "Related Listing" at the bottom of this page).


    Our headquarters are located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada*, with two regional hubs in Toronto, Ontario and Boston, Massachusetts. We also give students the option to complete their Discover Year remotely from almost anywhere in the world, as long as you have a reliable Internet connection. 

    If you are currently living in Ottawa and interested in completing a Discover Year, you are in the right place! Discover Year’s programming is 50% online and 50% in-person, so you will have the opportunity to participate in all in-person activities throughout the year in Ottawa, and then complete the online programming from the comfort of your home while connecting virtually with Discover Year students from all locations!

    If you are living outside of Ottawa and would like to complete a Discover Year, you have several options:

    1. Move to Ottawa for the duration of your Discover Year: In this case, our team will coach you through the process of moving to Ottawa, including finding accommodation, acquiring a visa (if necessary), booking travel, etc. This way, you will be able to join all in-person activities in Ottawa each month, while also exploring the city and meeting new people throughout the year.  
    2. Commute to Ottawa for in-person activities: If you live within close proximity to Ottawa and have access to transportation (car, bus, train, etc.), then you are welcome to commute to Ottawa to join the in-person activities each month. You will then be able to return home and complete all of the online components of the program remotely.
    3. Complete your Discover Year entirely remotely: Students who live outside of our three Discover Year locations (Ottawa, Toronto and Boston) also have the option to complete the program entirely remotely. Our programming is incredibly engaging and interactive (even online!), so remote students will still have the opportunity to connect with other students, staff and mentors for a meaningful and memorable Discover Year.


    *Orientation period in Ottawa
    At the beginning of every Discover Year, we host a two-week Orientation Period in Ottawa for all Discover Year students, no matter where they are living. During this period, students will meet and bond with one another through hands-on skills workshops, social activities, team-building exercises, city adventures, and more. All students are highly encouraged to come to Ottawa for the orientation period as it is an excellent opportunity to meet your peers in person!

    Reviews (6)

    • My time at Discover year...
      stars stars stars stars stars
      Reviewed on Nov/01/2022 by Joshua Harris

      My time at Discover year was the most transformative year of my life. Those around me commented on how I started to talk with more confidence, focus in what what I want for myself, and communicate with clarity. Learning was more effective then what I received at any institution shown by the number of skills I learned in the program that I can't live without today (Time management, financial literacy ,and networking effectively to name a few ).
      I entered the program because I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do after high school . Through conversations with the massive network of professionals that talked about their journey ,I found my calling in life. I graduated with the tools needed to excel in any direction I want to take in the future.

    • Life changing When I was...
      stars stars stars stars stars
      Reviewed on Oct/28/2022 by Rhys FitzGerald

      Life changing

      When I was in school I was really scared for the future and felt lost. I had very bad self-esteem issues and lacked a lot of confidence in myself. I didn't know who I was or the person I wanted to be, and I had no idea what success meant to me.

      During this program, I was able to gain confidence in myself and my abilities, and explore my interests in a capacity I was not able to before. I started to shape my idea of success and get a better idea of who I wanted to be. This program gave me the confidence to believe in myself and start achieving things that the high school version of me did not know were possible

      When I entered post-secondary afterward I noticed I am ahead of my peers who went straight into post-secondary because of the time I took to develop my skills. I was much more composed than the rest of my classmates.

      This program gives you the tools to become a very successful human being in all aspects of life, I will always be grateful for the positive impact this program has made on my life.

    • I can say with confidence...
      stars stars stars stars stars
      Reviewed on Oct/28/2022 by Arielle Gatotos

      I can say with confidence that Discover Year was life-changing for me. In high school, I was burnt out and overwhelmed by my high expectations and fear of making the wrong choice about my future. Through Discover Year, I gained a sense of purpose that went beyond choosing a university major, while developing the resilience to cope with unknowns and the ability to ask meaningful questions. I experienced real-world learning through work, community days, and an awesome solo backpacking trip. My mindset shifted from needing to be perfect to letting myself explore, which has made all the difference in university. I'm so grateful for the incredible community at Discover Year that encouraged me, challenged me, and shared insightful perspectives during my gap year and beyond!

    • Discover Year is a one-of-a-kind...
      stars stars stars stars stars
      Reviewed on Oct/27/2022 by Lukas Wirz-Endrys

      Discover Year is a one-of-a-kind program that helps students learn more about themselves while exposing them to the workforce and teaching them the life-skills necessary to succeed in today's world. Not only has Discover Year greatly benefited me in my personal endeavors, but it has also had a positive ripple effect on others in my life. By working various jobs, traveling to Vietnam, participating in interesting weekly workshops, receiving helpful coaching, and serving the community, I have grown immensely in character and confidence and have gained a tremendous amount of perspective. Even though taking a year off could be seen by some as "lagging behind", I firmly believe that Discover Year has the potential to actually get you AHEAD towards any of your post-secondary ambitions.

    • Discover Year was by far...
      stars stars stars stars stars
      Reviewed on Oct/27/2022 by Reid ten Den

      Discover Year was by far the best thing I could have done for myself. The number of new skills I learned and developed was unmatchable to anything I've done in the past. The program had a lot of great workshops that I was able to apply to my life as we were learning them. The community was also one I have never experienced in the past. Everyone is so friendly, caring and non-judgemental. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is thinking of taking a gap year.

    • Discover Year was a wonderful...
      stars stars stars stars stars
      Reviewed on Oct/26/2022 by Arianne Nantel

      Discover Year was a wonderful experience that allowed me to develop my self-confidence and acquire meaningful skills that are not prioritized in school, such as leadership. It also helped me develop tools that I now use everyday as a new university student. For example, we had a workshop on budgeting where I learned a lot about how to properly manage my money. This has been really helpful now that I live on my own. Most importantly, Discover Year was a supportive community and a safe space, where I was able to push myself out of my comfort zone: going on a solo trip or simply talking to people I didn't know are two things I was very afraid to do, among many others things, and they now feel easy and natural.