Bytown Museum

Ottawa's oldest stone building
at its most picturesque location



bytown museum The Bytown Museum is located in the heart of downtown Ottawa beside the Rideau Canal, this small but historically important building traces the history of the city and its inhabitants from its early days to the present.

The museum is housed in Ottawa's oldest stone building, originally built in 1827, at one of the most picturesque sites in the city, at the Rideau Canal locks between Parliament Hill and the Château Laurier.

The museum's exhibits follow the early history of the city, originally known as Bytown, from its founding by Lieutenant-Colonel John By with the construction of the Rideau Canal, to its naming as the capital of Canada.

The museum now houses over 15,000 objects including Lt.-Col. By's personal and military artifacts, a cast of D’Arcy McGee's death hand and artifacts used by residents of Bytown, Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley from 1826 to the present with an emphasis on artifacts from the 1830s construction of the canal.


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Bytown Museum location:



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Located at 1 Canal Lane the museum’s operating hours are:

21 May – 10 October, 2011
  • Open daily, from 10 am to 5 pm
  • Thursday to 9 pm (free admission after 5pm)

11 October – 19 May, 2012
  • Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm
  • Open on Remembrance Day from 12 noon to 4 pm (free admission)
  • Closed Mondays, Christmas Day, Boxing Day & New Year's Day

Audio tours are available in 6 languages - English, French, Spanish, German, Mandarin and Japanese and are included with the price of admission. It only takes 20-30 minutes to tour the small three-storey building.

The cost is relatively inexpensive and since most visitors do include a trip down to the entrance of the Rideau Canal and its locks on their itinerary a visit to the museum makes for an interesting diversion. A great place for photos this is one of the most picturesque spots in Ontario. The site is very easy to get to, for more information and admission prices visit www.bytownmuseum.com.

InsiderTip: For those with a tight budget, enjoy pay what you can evenings from June 24 until August 26.


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