Museum of Civilization

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Re Carroll on April 28, 2002

This museum is one of Ottawa’s main attractions but it often gets missed because it is located in Hull, Quebec, just across the river. It’s an easy 10 minute walk or 3 minute drive from the National Gallery, across the Pont Alexandra (Alexandra Bridge).

There are four floors of exhibits. The first floor or Grand Hall, is devoted to west coast native history. As well as totem poles, there are 6 different traditional houses, representing the different Aboriginal cultures. Each house has displays inside that explain the specific culture and tradition. One of the highlights here is a large sculpture by native artist Bill Reid, titled "The Spirit of Haida Gwaii".

Level 2 has an IMAX theatre, The Childrens’ Museum and The Canadian Postal Museum with a replica of a postmaster’s office. There are also special exhibitions such as "The Country Within Me". It was a display of musical instruments throughout the world, including videos and audio clips of the instrument in use. I watched and listened to music in Africa, Vietnam, Romania, Haiti and Canada, just to name a few.

My favourite part of the museum was the Childrens’ Museum. The theme is multi national and there are children sized booths and displays that represent various countries throughout the world. Kids can board a Pakistani bus, wander into a pyramid or desert tent, check out a Greek market, play with artificial flowers and wear wooden shoes in Holland, sit in a French cafe and lots more. Each exhibit includes traditional dress (kid-sized) that they can wear over their own clothes. They can get a free passport and stamp it as they visit each "country". There are also places where they can stage a puppet show or take centre stage to entertain doting parents. It’s a noisy, lively place, filled with kids, parents and all the young at heart.

Level 3 features Canada Hall, a journey across Canada and through the ages. There were replicas of a 16th century whaling station, 18th century New France town square, a 19th century lumber camp, a 20th century grain elevator and more. All life size and open for viewing.

Level 4 has special exhibits such as a large collection of dolls throughout the ages. The museum has a snack bar on level 2 and a restaurant on level 1.

Admission rates will be increasing as of 1 May. The museum is half price on Sunday and free from 4 to 9 pm on Thursday. Count on spending at least 2-3 hours because there is lots to see.

The museum is fully wheelchair accessible.

Canadian Museum of Civilization
100 Laurier St.
Ottawa, Ontario, J8X 4H2
(819) 776 7000

© LP 2000-2009