Ottawa Tourism

Arachnophobics rejoice, the 30-foot spider outside of the National Gallery of Canada is not real! Maman, the sculpture created by Louise Bourgeois, complete with 26 white marble eggs under its belly, welcomes you to the National Gallery of Canada. Once inside the Gallery, you’ll discover one of the greatest art institutions in the world. It’s home to more than 40,000 works of art (by over 6,000 artists), home to the most comprehensive collection of Canadian art, including a large number by the Group of Seven, and strong collections of Indigenous, Asian, and International works. The Gallery hosts special exhibits throughout the year that bring light to a specific topic, discipline, or renowned and up-and-coming artists.

Fast Facts

  • Created in 1880, the National Gallery is among Canada’s oldest national cultural institutions.
  • Designed by famed architect Moshe Safdie, the Gallery’s current building opened in 1988.
  • Outside the Gallery you can’t miss one of its most famous works of art – Maman – a 9.25 metre (30 feet) tall bronze sculpture of a spider carrying a sack of 26 pure white marble eggs under her belly, sculpted by Louise Bourgeois.
  • The Canadian Galleries display the country’s largest collection of Canadian art, including works by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven.
  • European and American Galleries display paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts from the early fourteenth to the late twentieth century.
  • Displays of contemporary art change every three to six months to offer rich and varied encounters with art created over the past three decades in Canada and abroad.
  • Special exhibitions are presented year round.
  • The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography is also hosted on the premises of the National Gallery of Canada.