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Bytown Museum, Ottawa

4.0
#6 of 17 in Museums in Ottawa
History Museum Museum
At Bytown Museum, learn more about the history and construction of the Rideau Canal, as well as Ottawa's formative years. Opened in 1832, the canal connected the Ontario cities of Ottawa and Kingston--a precautionary measure in the event of a war with the United States. The ease of access between the cities would theoretically open up tactical waterways for ferrying infantry and cargo; today, it exists mainly as a leisurely boating canal. Take an informative guided tour to enhance your visit with stories and insight. Plan your Bytown Museum visit and explore what else you can see and do in Ottawa using our Ottawa vacation generator.
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4.1
  • Many artifacts regarding the construction of the Rideau Canal. Tools used in the construction are on display as well as the story of its construction.  more »
  • The history of Ottawa succinctly told by the museum. It is free, small and is a quaint place to visit while visiting the canal and Ottawa locks. Staff was friendly  more »
  • We visited on the day Ottawa finally thawed out.charmingly welcomed we loved this great insight into Canada's and Ottawa's history For just $4.50 including a multi lingual audio tour this was a great ...  more »
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  • The staff were so kind! Really put a smile on my face! Thank you so much for all your help to the staff on duty at 2:30pm June 19th. -Skateboarder
  • A small place with a truckload of information. Nice, but not a must-visit.
  • After “considerable talk among the ladies of the city” about the preservation of Ottawa’s rich cultural heritage, the Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa was formed in June of 1898. With the motto of “Love Thou Thy Land” their goal was “to encourage the collection and preservation of Canadian historical records and relics and to foster Canadian loyalty and patriotism.” The WCHSO laid the foundation for what would later become the BYTOWN MUSEUM. The early years of the WCHSO consisted of the writing historical papers, regular meetings and “Loan Exhibitions” – displays that brought together artefacts from the private collections of the members and local history enthusiasts. By 1917 the burgeoning WCHSO was in dire need of a permanent home. After years of wandering, the former City Registry Office, located at 70 Nicholas Street, was acquired and renamed the Bytown Historical Museum. The Museum was opened on October 25, 1917 by Mayor Harold Fisher as “a museum for relics and souvenirs;” celebrating the occasion with its most comprehensive loans exhibition yet. Many of the items loaned would become some of the first permanent accessions into the collection, allowing the WCHSO to finally begin to fulfill its original mandate to collect and preserve. After years of collecting, with a boom in the 1930s, the WCHSO was once again on the lookout for a larger more suitable home. In 1948 the Commissariat at the Ottawa Locks was proposed. Significant funds were raised to make urgent repairs to the dilapidated building and the WCHSO took possession of the building in September of 1951. Despite being described as “encrusted with century-old dust and grime” with deteriorated plaster, a leaking roof and an inadequate electrical system, the Building Committee report described the Commissariat as the “perfect setting for the BYTOWN MUSEUM.” After much needed renovations, the BYTOWN MUSEUM opened its doors in the Commissariat (our present location) on June 27, 1952. The Society opened its membership to men and changed its name to the Historical Society of Ottawa in 1956. unescoThe 1980s was an era of exciting growth for the HSO; first with the inaugural publication of the Bytown Pamphlet Series and later, under the leadership of their new landlord, Parks Canada, the complete renovation and restoration of the Commissariat between 1982 and 1984. When the Museum reopened in 1985 BYTOWN MUSEUM Treasures highlighted key artefacts and recent acquisitions including some of our most iconic pieces.
  • Great little museum. Entrance fee is low and there's a lot of info packed in for it's size.
  • A great little museum. Gave a good history of the area that I didn't know about (I'm just visiting Canada). The exhibit on the parliament fires is really interesting too. Well worth a visit. Entry is cheap and it takes about an hour or two to get around.