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Best Local History & Culture in Ottawa

By: Cityseeker
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Bytown Museum

Bytown 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.

Ottawa, ON, Canada
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Billings Estate National Historic Site

Billings Estate National Historic Site is home to the city's oldest house that still remains extant. The historic wood-paneled structure was built by Braddish Billings, in the year 1829. Over the decades, it served as the main residence for the next four clans of the same family. A visit to the historic site lets visitors explore the story behind its construction, as well acquainting them with some interesting facts like who benefited from the iconic Rideau Canal and who financed the construction of the Billings Bridge. Private tours, exciting programs and rotating exhibits chronicle the life of one of the first families of the city.

Ottawa, ON, Canada
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Cumberland Heritage Village Museum

Depicting Ottawa’s rural life from the 1920s and 1930s, Cumberland Heritage Village Museum is spread over 100 acres (40.46 hectares) of land. Home to a traditional general store, a working blacksmith shop, a carpentry and even a pump factory, the museum allows you to walk down history and see how life was before all the technological changes turned the world around. The village also has numerous, well-thought, authentic touches. For example, the display of antique vehicles in the village garage, items in the grocery store sold with vintage packaging and livestock displays during the summer make you forget you aren’t actually living in the early 20th century. Don’t hesitate to bring along your children to this vintage world. There are lots of exhibits and activities for the children as well. Wagon rides, model steam trains and animal visits are thoroughly enjoyed by kids of all ages. The museum also has an old-school canteen serving up a variety of refreshments. If you want to spend quality time with your family, or learn a bit more about the local history and culture, head to Cumberland Heritage Village Museum and get ready to walk back in time.

Cumberland, ON, Canada
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Goulbourn Museum

Showcasing the history of the oldest military settlement and early life in Goulbourn, the Goulbourn Museum is a must-visit for anyone who wants to learn more about the local history and culture of the city. The museum houses three permanent exhibitions as well as as a temporary exhibition space that features a rotating collection of historical artifacts. 100th Regiment of Foot is dedicated to the soldiers who lived in the township. Goulbourn Township Pioneers is devoted to early living in the village, its pioneers and the community. The third permanent exhibit is The Village Store. Designed exclusively for children, the store allows them dress-up in period clothing and shop the traditional way by employing the barter system. The museum also has a number of interactive displays, hands-on exhibits and regularly hosts Family Craft Days where children dress according to a pre-set theme, and participate in numerous games and activities. If you want to take your kids for a fun day out or simply learn about the local history and culture, head to Goulbourn Museum and immerse yourself in the stories it has to tell. Note that although entry to the museum is free, donations are encouraged.

Stittsville, ON, Canada
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