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.