Activities and attractions
Les activities et les attractions
Ottawa, the nation's capital
Gatineau, across the Ottawa River in Quebec
Philemon Wright led a group from Woburn, Massachusetts, to the north shore of the
Ottawa River where the Gatineau River feeds into it. They arrived in March 1800,
and formed a farming community called Wright's Town that eventually became Gatineau.
Six years after arriving, Wright established a lumber industry. The community
prospered as exports expanded to Montreal and Quebec City.
Following the War of 1812, it was decided to establish a military supply route
from Montreal to Kingston. A route for a canal, the Rideau Canal, was surveyed,
and in 1826 Lieutenant-Colonel John By was appointed to oversee
its construction. Contractors included Philemon Wright who supplied much of the
stone, mortar and labour. The Governor General, George Ramsay, the Earl of Dalhousie,
authorized By to divide the area where the Rideau Canal meets the Ottawa River
into lots for settlement. This area became Bytown, founded on 26 September
1826 and incorporated as a town on 1 January 1850. Bytown was renamed Ottawa in
1854, and was incorporated as a city on 1 January 1855.
In 1841, Upper and Lower Canada amalgamated to become the Province of Canada.
Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as the capital in 1857. Ottawa continued as
the capital of the Dominion of Canada after Confederation on 1 July 1867.
The House of Commons Centre Block is undergoing extensive multi-year renovations, and is closed to
the public; however, guided tours of the East Block, West Block, and newly renovated Senate of
Canada Building are available.
information and free tickets
© Canadian Museum of Nature
Canadian Museum of Nature
Ottawa and Gatineau offer museums that cater to a wide range of interests from history to the latest
technology, from agriculture to the arts. Here's a sample.
Canadian Museum of History
Features history, archaeology, ethnology and culture within Canada and abroad.
Canadian War Museum
Covers Canada's military history from conflicts within the country to Canadian involvement in world
conflicts and peace-keeping missions.
Cold War Museum
Built in 1959 under Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to house key members of the
government and military in the event of a nuclear attack on Canada. Converted to a
museum dealing with the Cold War in 1997.
Aviation and Space Museum
Explores Canada's aviation history with displays of civilian and military aircraft
from before the First World War to today. Includes components of the 1950s Avro Arrow and
the Space Shuttle Endeavour's Canadarm.
and Technology Museum
Among the exhibits: Artifact Alley (vehicles to cameras to telescopes), Crazy Kitchen
(perceptions and illusions), From Earth to Us (harnessing natural resources), Medical Sensations
(medicine through the five senses), Hidden Worlds (from the smallest objects to the
deepest parts of the universe)
Canadian Museum of Nature
Displays of botany, zoology, palaeobiology, rock, mineral, and gem collections.
Agriculture and Food Museum
Highlights: Canola! Seeds of Innovation (development of canola oil from rapeseed), Discovery Park
(renewable energy technology on farms), Food Preservation: The Science You Eat (delaying food
decay and keeping food nutritious and safe from farm to fork), Space to Spoon (how space
technology benefits sustainable agriculture)
National Gallery of Canada
Collections of art from across Canada and around the world. Includes Canadian and Indigenous
Galleries, the Canadian Photography Institute, international Contemporary Art collection,
European Art collection, and Old Master and Canadian Prints and Drawings.
Philately & Numismatics
and Archives Canada
Library and Archives Canada (LAC) preserves the records of the
Post Office Department and Canada Post Corporation including postage stamp die and plate
proofs. It has publications on philately, the post office and postal history including
government publications, periodicals and monographs. It has philatelic and other archival
records acquired from non-governmental sources.
For more information on philatelic material at LAC:
Philately at LAC / La philatélie à BAC (2.5 MB pdf) - Presentation made at BNAPEX 2018
Quebec by James Bone, Archivist, Archives Branch, Library and Archives Canada
LAC makes this material available for consultation by researchers. To order material for on-site
consultation, you must first register for a user card and then identify the material you wish to
consult, preferably one to two weeks before your visit to LAC. The process for doing this is
described on the following page on the LAC website:
On-site research at LAC
Here is a summary of the
process (scroll down to the lower part of the page).
If you need help to identify or order material, you can contact
James Bone, Archivist, by email.
Note that the philatelic material is but a small part of the LAC holdings. LAC also has
military records dating back to New France, an extensive collection of Indigenous
documentary heritage, genealogy records and resources, immigration records from 1865 to 1935,
census records from 1640 to 1926, and much more. LAC embarked on a digitization project
several years ago, and offers a wealth of online records and images on its website.
Royal Canadian Mint
The Royal Canadian Mint has its headquarters in the historic building in Ottawa where it was
founded in 1908. Hand-crafted collector and commemorative coins, gold bullion
coins, medals and medallions are produced here. The master tooling to create the dies that
strike coin designs for both circulation and commemorative issues is also done here.
This is also the site of the Mint's gold refining and advanced engineering operations.
The Mint offers
an interactive guided tour that shows how coins are made.
Enjoy walks along the Rideau Canal, which runs through the centre of the city, and in the bustling
Byward Market with its many restaurants. Ottawa and Gatineau have many scenic recreational biking
There are golf courses and hiking trails. For the more adventuresome, there is also whitewater
These websites provide suggestions for other activities and attractions in the Ottawa - Gatineau
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