The Canadian Museum of Civilization: the Grand Hall and the First Peoples Hall

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Of all the museums I had the chance to visit in the National Capital Region, the Canadian Museum of Civilization is probably my favourite.

Canada’s national museum of human history is located in Hull, Quebec, directly across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario. The location itself is very scenic: the Museum overlooks the River and offers great views on Ottawa’s downtown core and main landmarks, including the Locks, the Parliament, Château Laurier and Nepean Point.

The Museum focuses on Canadian history, its people and the cultural diversity. The permanent galleries explore Canada’s 20,000 years of human history, and a program of special exhibitions expands on Canadian themes and explore other cultures and civilizations, past and present.

Needless to say, there is a lot to see and the Museum is huge.

This time, we started with the Children’s Museum, nested inside the Museum of Civilization. Designed for children, it gives them the opportunity to “travel the world” and explore various cultures though props, costumes, cultural artifacts, etc. Kids are free to roam around and play with the many toys from all over the world—it’s really cool actually!

We then explored the Grand Hall, on the building’s first level. This is an architectural masterpiece that features a wall of windows framing the Ottawa River and Parliament Hill.

The Grand Hall is said to be the largest indoor display of totem poles in the world: a dozen towering totem poles and recreations of six Pacific Coast Aboriginal house facades are connected by a boardwalk.

We then moved on to the First Peoples Hall, a permanent exhibition that narrates the history and accomplishments of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples from their original habitation of North America to the present day. It explores the diversity of the First Peoples, their interactions with the land, and their on-going contributions to society.

As a new Canadian, I always find something new to learn when I visit this museum… give it a try if you are in the area!

You can see all the pictures in the Ottawa – Spring set on Flickr.

Outside the Museum of Civilizations

Outside the Museum of Civilizations

The Grand Hall

The Grand Hall

Children's Museum

Children’s Museum

Children's Museum

Children’s Museum

Children's Museum

Children’s Museum

Children's Museum

Children’s Museum

Children's Museum

Children’s Museum

Mark Exploring the Grand Hall

Mark Exploring the Grand Hall

Montreal Canadiens Hockey Player

Montreal Canadiens Hockey Player

First Nations Art

First Nations Art

The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, Bill Reid's largest sculpture

The Spirit of Haida Gwaii, Bill Reid’s largest sculpture

Central Coast Housefront

Central Coast Housefront

Central Coast Housefront

Central Coast Housefront

Nuxalk Housefront

Nuxalk Housefront

First Nations Art

First Nations Art

First Nations Art

First Nations Art

First Nations Art

First Nations Art

 Moccasins

Moccasins

First Peoples Hall

First Peoples Hall

First Nations Art

First Nations Art

First Peoples Hall

First Peoples Hall

Lacrosse

Lacrosse

Hunting Buffalos

Hunting Buffalo

Hudson's Bay Point Blanket

Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket

First Nations Art

Self-Portrait Outside the Museum

Self-Portrait Outside the Museum

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

16 Comments

  1. Look at your teeny tiny legs!!! So jealous! Mark is so cute in that photo where he is laughing his head off with a random baguette! Pleased he had a good time. Bet all of the first people artefacts are very interesting too.

  2. Yes, I love this museum too! You already know that though.

    The building’s architecture is reason in itself to visit. Sometimes I often visit a certain museum just for its architecture.

    The Museum of Civilization, however, is also full of so many different things to see. There really is something for everyone. I especially like the reconstructed buildings (I’m thinking of the Chinese laundry/dry cleaner’s and the post office).

    I also like the interviews with the natives that they showed on a screen. When I was growing up I knew nothing about natives (and I still know next to nothing). It is interesting to hear what living in Canada as a native is like (although they are mostly only happy stories).

    I confess to having a hard time leaving the Children’s Museum. It’s so much fun in there!

    • I know! I had more fun than Mark at the Children’s Museum, and I want to go back to visit the other exhibitions. We didn’t have the chance to see everything, this place is huuuge!

  3. This might be a bit early, but does Mark eat bread? I’m only asking because I’ve noticed that all French babies are crazy about bread. A lot of them would rather eat bread than eat something sweet!

  4. Hi Zhu,
    I had a good laugh seeing you and Mark with the baguette!!
    What a GREAT museum and absolutly incredible for kids.
    Bring Mark back in a year or two and have more fun with him.
    🙂
    Bises.

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