As Canada’s Capital, Ottawa is home to many objects and artifacts that come from across the country; from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia and beyond. In many ways, Ottawa is where all points of the country meet. So if you’re a Canadian and you’re looking for a connection to your home province in Ottawa, chances are that you’ll find it. And particularly, if you’re from Manitoba, you’re in luck!
Manitoba is the fourth province to be featured in a series of articles that are highlighting different aspects of Canada’s provinces within Ottawa. From its beautiful lakes and mountains, to its vast, flat prairies, discover how to find pieces of Manitoba in Canada’s Capital.
Canadian Museum of History:
Just across the Ottawa River, you’ll find the Canadian Museum of History, which is Canada’s most visited museum as well as the home of the Canadian Children’s Museum.
Did you know that the Tyndall limestone on the museum’s exterior comes from the Garson Quarry in Winnipeg, Man.? According to the Museum of History, there are fossils embedded in the stone that predate the dinosaurs by approximately 250 years.
And in 2017, this museum will become home to even more Canadian treasures as it will open its brand new Canadian History Hall on July 1, 2017; Canada’s 150th birthday! This new signature hall will span over 15,000 years of history and feature 1,800 priceless artifacts such as Canada’s first postage stamp and Maurice “The Rocket” Richard’s Montréal Canadiens hockey sweater, among many others.
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum:
At this working farm and museum, you’ll find the Versatile 118 Tractor from Winnipeg, Man. According to the Agriculture and Food Museum, Versatile Manufacturing Co. was founded by Peter Pakosh in 1963 in Winnipeg, and was the first company in Canada to build articulated tractors with four-drive wheels. In 1967, the museum says, the model 118 tractor was built and was popular in Western Canada as it was large enough and powerful enough to work on large farms in the Canadian Prairies.
Canadian Museum of Nature:
A connection to Manitoba can be found in the Canadian Museum of Nature’s Mammal Gallery. According to the museum, eight of its historic mammal dioramas were created by Canadian artist and environmentalist Clarence Tillenius in the 1950s and 1960s. He was from Sandridge, Man., which is about 100 kilometres (62 miles) north of Winnipeg.
Tillenius attended highschool in Teulon, Man., but did not attend university. Rather, he furthered his own education by reading the more than 5,000 books he acquired over the years. Tillenius also learned through life experience, exploring the Canadian Rockies and British Columbia, going on wolf-hunting expeditions and even observing an icy polar bear hunt, to name a few of his adventures.
In the museum’s Mammal Gallery, you’ll come face to face with fearsome animals from Canada’s rugged environments. See animals such as grizzly bears, bison, moose, caribou, cougars and many others that can be found in the Canadian wilderness. These are animals you wouldn’t want to come across on your own. According to the museum, the mammal dioramas are replicas of real locations Tillenius visited and explored himself.
Canadian War Museum:
In the Canadian War Museum’s Royal Canadian Legion Hall of Honour, you’ll find photos of three First World War soldiers from Winnipeg, Man. Corporal Leo Clarke, Sergeant-Major Frederick William Hall and Lieutenant Robert Shankland all lived on Pine Street in Winnipeg’s west end.
All three men were awarded the Victoria Cross medal – Canada’s highest military honour – for their acts of bravery during the war. Shankland received his medal after the war, while Clarke and Hall were awarded the prestigious medal posthumously. In 1925, the City of Winnipeg changed the name of Pine Street to Valour Road. Along with the photos, you’ll find the men’s Victoria Crosses on display at the museum. According to the museum, the City of Winnipeg continues to honour these soldiers even today, through signs, memorial plaques and public spaces.
If you have time, opt to visit Parliament Hill and take a guided tour of Centre Block, which is home to the iconic Peace Tower. On the guided tour, you’ll learn about how every province is represented in Parliament, including Manitoba. There are some lovely stone carvings and interesting facts to discover! Free, public guided tours are available daily, but these are subject to parliamentary activity.
Just outside of Centre Block, near Wellington Street, you’ll find Ottawa’s famous Centennial Flame. This bubbling fountain with its ever-burning fire commemorates Canada’s hundredth anniversary as a Confederation. On it, most of Canada’s provinces are represented, including Manitoba. Missing from the Flame is Nunavut, as it only joined Canada on April 1, 1999. This monument is also an iconic location to take a photo.
These are only some of the many treasures that can be found in Canada’s Capital. There are many more things to see and do, as well as more museums to discover such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and the Canada Science and Technology Museum (which will reopen in mid-November 2017).
There will also be more artifacts and new exhibits to discover as Ottawa gears up to celebrate Canada’s big 150th anniversary in 2017! If there’s anywhere you’ll want to be in Canada in 2017, it’s Ottawa – specially on July 1. For more information on what’s going on now and on plans being made for Canada’s big birthday, browse Ottawa Tourism’s 2017 website section.