Canada Travel Guide
Canada Travel Guide - Ontario
Canada Travel Guide - Ontario

Bytown Museum

Traces the history of Ottawa's early years—from the construction of the Rideau Canal and the rough-and-tumble days of Bytown to the city's emergence as the nation's capital.

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Housed in Ottawa’s oldest stone building, the Bytown Museum traces the history of Ottawa’s early years, from the construction of the Rideau Canal and the rough-and-tumble days of Bytown, to the city’s emergence as the nation’s capital and beyond. The museum’s collection of over 7,000 artifacts includes some singularly important pieces, such as a cast of D’Arcy McGee's death hand.

The history of the Bytown Museum begins with the Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa (WCHSO), founded in 1898. The WCHSO quickly amassed a collection of artifacts relating to the history of Bytown/Ottawa. It became apparent that a museum was required to house this impressive collection and in 1917 the Bytown Museum opened its doors.

In 1951, the Bytown Museum moved to its current home, the Commissariat. The building was a treasury and storehouse during the construction of the Rideau Canal. In 1956, the WCHSO admitted men for the first time and thus changed their name to the Historical Society of Ottawa (HSO). Today the museum is run independently from the HSO.

The mandate of the Bytown Museum is to collect, preserve, research, exhibit and educate the public in regards to the growth and development of Bytown, the City of Ottawa and its environs from the founding of Bytown to 1918.

How to Contact
Bytown Museum
Rideau Canal
Ottawa, K1P 5P6
Ph: (613) 234-4570
Fax: (613) 234-4846
Web: website
Email: send email

Opening Hours
WINTER HOURS (Until May 21)

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 4 pm
Open Mondays during Winterlude (February 6 – 21)

Open Mondays during March Break: March 1-5 (Québec); March 15 – 19 (Ontario)

Closed on Good Friday (April 2) and Easter Monday (April 5)

SUMMER HOURS (May 22 to Oct 11)

Open daily, from 10 am to 5 pm
Thursday to 8 pm (June 3 to Aug 27)