Econo Lodge Downtown
475 Rideau St.
Ottawa, ON K1N 5Z3
Phone: (613) 789-3781
Fax: (613) 789-0207
Arts & Museums
One of the most fascinating glimpses into Canada's political history can be had at this beautiful, oddly downscale Ottawa home. Originally home to Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier and later to William Lyon MacKenzie King, the home predates twenty-four Sussex Drive as the official residence of the Prime Minister. Famous visitors to the house include Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle.
Galerie 240 is shining beacon in Ottawa's already saturated art scene. Bringing together some of the finest artists locally and nationally, this space is great to meet like-minded people, and catch up with the latest happenings in the art world.
Owned and operated by the City of Ottawa, this is one of few major Ottawa attractions not associated with the federal government. The Firestone Collection is a first class exhibition of Canadian art, including works by Paul-Émile Borduas, Emily Carr and the Group of Seven. A modest collection of modern art showcases lesser-known Canadian artists. The gallery does a roaring trade in rental art, while temporary exhibits focus on the city's physical and cultural development.
Arguably the most beautiful structure in the nation's capital, and certainly a spectacular addition to Ottawa's skyline, the Gallery was designed by Moshe Safdie and completed in 1988. After entering the building, visitors proceed up a long, glass concourse with a vaulted ceiling that leads to the Great Hall. From the hall, visitors can access the gallery's many rooms, each based on an artistic style or period. Pieces include works by masters such as Pissarro, Gustav Klimt and Rembrandt. Admission to the permanent collection is free.
This museum is situated beside the six locks that make up the entrance to the Canal Rideau. It takes 20-30 minutes to tour the small building, which houses artifacts from the 1830s construction of the canal. Through displays and panels, the museum tells the story of the canal's architect and city founding father Lieutenant Colonel John By. It is Ottawa's oldest stone building and dates from 1827.
Paired with Patrick McGahern Antiquarian Books, this gallery is amassed with historic works of art. Victorian watercolors, antique maps, ancient prints and a multitude of first edition books are available for the ardent collector of intellectual beauty. Special views of Ottawa prints make excellent souvenirs for those who fall in love with the beautiful city. Upon purchase of a print, there is no fear of damaging it because it can be framed at the rear of the store. Paper restoration services are also available.
The Portrait Gallery of Canada is a collection of art pieces that are specialized in portraiture. Established in 2001, the gallery was proposed to open around 2004-2005. However, plans to permanently exhibit these artworks in under the way. In the meantime, these portraits are displayed at travelling exhibitions for public viewing. The gallery has a jaw-dropping collection of 20,000 paintings, prints and drawings as well as thousands of caricatures and 4 million photographs.
Visitors are encouraged to explore the evolution of money and the monetary system during a visit to this somewhat quirky museum, situated on the ground floor of the Bank of Canada building on Sparks Street. Displays focus not only on Canadian currencies, but also on those of the entire world; a highlight is a giant circular stone once used as legal tender on Yap Island in the South Pacific.
A walk through this heritage building, which chronicles Canada's natural history, will take you back in time to when dinosaurs roamed the landscape and glaciers covered 80 per cent of the country's landmass. Exhibits examine the country's biodiversity, the history of Canada's aboriginal peoples and life in the far north. Check website or call for admission fees and special deals.
This museum features artifacts, paintings and interactive displays that bring Canadian history to life. Permanent exhibits include the Canada Hall, a dome that highlights Canada's history through film, Face to Face, where you can learn about the achievements of Canadian greats, and the Grand Hall, which features the cultural history of Canada's first people. It also houses an IMAX theater and Canadian Children's Museum. Both require an additional admission fee. It is also a member of Canada's Capital Museums Passport program, a package that includes admission to 10 museums for a seven day period. Check the website for hours and other details.
Visitors to this one-of-a-kind museum are given passports, which they can stamp as they go on an interactive tour through a series of exhibits representing different regions of the world. Activities include playing African musical instruments, decoding hieroglyphics in a miniature pyramid, shopping in an international marketplace and constructing a Balinese shadow puppet.
Whether you're searching for your family history or doing a serious research project, you'll find yourself fascinated by Canadian archival heritage. Founded in 1872 to preserve Canadian history, these archives house millions of government records, text, photographs, films, maps and much more. Helpful research services will help in finding the information that you are after, including instructions for tracing your family history. Some archives need to be ordered a few days ahead of time and you have to register with the admissions desk on your first visit.