The Bytown Museum is by far one of our favourite museums in Ottawa. The museum offers a wide variety of exhibits that portray the early years of Ottawa (formerly known as Bytown).
It all began with the Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa (WCHSO) who collected artifacts that related to history of Bytown (Ottawa). In 1917, the Bytown Museum opened so that the WCHSO could show off their remarkable collection.
In 1951 it moved to its’ present location in the heart of downtown between the Parliament Buildings and the Chateau Laurier. It is located in Ottawa’s oldest stone building, the Commissariat, which was built in 1827. The Commissariat was originally the headquarters for the construction of the Rideau Canal.
The museum was run by the Historical Society of Ottawa (HSO) for many years but today it is run independently from the HSO.
The street address is: 1 Canal Lane
It really is located in one of the most beautiful areas of the city. Right in the middle of downtown, beside the set of eight locks on the Rideau Canal, it sits between the Parliament Buildings and the Chateau Laurier. We are certain that this is probably one of the most photographed areas in the city. We walk by it often and there are always people taking pictures from the bridge above the locks. We have been known to take quite a few pictures ourselves when friends and family are visiting Ottawa.
Parking & Access
If you intend on bringing your car, the closest parking lot is at the National Arts Centre but you can find parking in the Byward Market or other side streets in downtown Ottawa. There is parking for the mobility-impaired but you must call in advance to make arrangements (613-234-4570).
If you are going to take the OC Transpo, there are quite a few bus routes that take you either to Wellington or to the Rideau Centre which is only a 10-minute walk.
If you are going to walk, you can enter from Wellington Street (near the statue of Sir Wilfred Laurier) through the gate on the west side of the Rideau Canal. Or, you can enter by the Rideau Canal pathway near the National Arts Centre (the pedestrian ramp is off of Elgin Street).
If you are going to bike, there is a bike rack near the Museum entrance.
Hours & Admission
Winter Hours are usually mid-October to the long weekend in May
Summer Hours are usually around the long weekend of May to mid-October
Hours and admission may change so please check their website: http://www.bytownmuseum.com/en/info.html
If you are visiting Ottawa or you live here, we hope you take some time to visit the Bytown Museum. It really is a spectacular part of Ottawa’s history and if you enjoy museums, you won’t be disappointed.
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