Ottawa museums and art galleries are fun and exciting and a great introduction to Ottawa and Canada.
As Canada's national capital, Ottawa naturally has so many great museums. Since you may be short of time on your visit, I've broken them down into two categories. First, the major museums and art galleries that you won't want to miss. Second, the smaller museums to visit if you have time or a special interest.
MAJOR MUSEUMS & ART GALLERIESNational Gallery of Canada
380 Sussex Drive Box 427, Station A
Ottawa, ON K1N 9N4
Tel: (613) 990-1985
The National Gallery houses the largest and most important collection of Canadian art in the world. See my article about it HERE.
Above: National Gallery of Art
The Canadian Museum of Nature
240 McLeod Street
Ottawa, ON K1P 6P4
Tel: (613) 566-4700
Dinosaurs, mammals, birds, and a hands-on discovery centre for the kids.
Here are some photos from my recent visit. Just click on the arrow to advance the slide. There are 11 photos in all:
The Canadian War Museum
1 Vimy Place
Ottawa ON K1R 1C2
Tel: (819) 776-8600
One of the newest of Ottawa museums, Canada's war museum tells the stories of Canada's military from the earliest days up to the present. You'll find imposing tanks and other equipment but also the social history of the periods and tons of amazing war art. Check out their temporary exhibits.
The Canadian Museum of History
(former name: Canadian Museum of Civilization)
100 Laurier Street
Gatineau, Quebec K1A 0M8
Technically not in Ottawa, but in Gatineau (formerly known as Hull, Quebec), but it's just a short hop, skip and jump across the bridge. A gorgeous, flowing building by architect Douglas Cardinal. Tells the story of Canadian history through fascinating artifacts. Lots of Aboriginal art. Houses the Postal Museum and Children's Museum.
Above: The great hall of the Canadian Museum of Civilization (soon to be renamed the Canadian Museum of History).
OTHER MUSEUMS AND ART GALLERIES:
Bank of Canada/Currency Museum
245 Sparks Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G9
Tel: (613) 782-8914
Billings Estate Museum
2100 Cabot Street
Ottawa, ON K1H 6K1
Tel: (613) 247-4830
Oldest frame building in Ottawa (built 1829) occupied for five generations by the Billings family. Period rooms decorated in style of the early 1800s.
P.O. Box 523, Station B
Ottawa, ON K1P 5P6
Oldest stone building in Ottawa. A permanent exhibit on the history of Ottawa.
Tel: (613) 234-4570
Above: Ottawa's Bytown Museum is a great place to learn more about the nation's capital, the building of the famous Rideau Canal, and the lumber industry.
Canada Agriculture Museum
P.O. Box 9724, Station T
Tel: (613) 991-3044
A working farm, flower gardens, fields of grain, and rare, imported trees. Learn how our ancestors farmed.
Canada Science and Technology Museum
1867 St. Laurent Blvd.
Tel: (613) 990-6302
The Canada Aviation Museum
11 Aviation Parkway
Tel: (613) 993-2010
The history of flight. Holdings include 120 aircraft.
Canadian Postal Museum
100 Laurier Street, P.O. Box 3100 Station B
Gatineau, ON J8X 4H2
Tel: (819) 776-8200
Part of the Museum of Civilization.
Canadian Ski Museum
200-1960 Scott Street
Ottawa, ON K1Z 8L8
Carleton University Art Gallery
St. Patrick's Building, Carleton University
1125 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6
Tel: (613) 761-1203
Diefenbunker Canada's Cold War Museum
3911 Carp Road
Ottawa, ON K0A 1L0
Tel: (613) 839-0007
Underground nuclear bunker built during the Cold War. Intended to house the top officials of the government and military during the risk of nuclear attack.
335 Laurier Ave E
Ottawa, ON K1N 6R4
Two Canadian prime ministers, Sir Wilfrid Laurier and William Lyon Mackenzie King, lived here.
Ottawa Art Gallery
Arts Court, 2 Daly Avenue, Ottawa
Ontario K1N 6E2
Contemporary and 20th century art. Their permanent collection includes works by well-known Canadian artists Gagnon, Carr, Borduas.
Ottawa Jail Hostel
75 Nicholas St., Ottawa
This isn't officially a museum, but if you take the Ghost Walk tour (Haunted Walk of Ottawa), you can view the cells and the gallows.
You can save money by buying the Ottawa Museums Passport which gives you entry to several different museums for one low price. For details see http://www.museumspassport.ca
Looking for a special historic place to stay?
Consider the historic Chateau Laurier