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 Quebec, you’re in luck!
Quebec, whose Gatineau region actually borders Ottawa itself, is the seventh province to be featured in a series of articles that are highlighting different aspects of Canada’s provinces within Ottawa. Rich in early Canadian history, this province is flanked by the powerful St. Lawrence Seaway and is home to Quebec City, which is one of the oldest cities in Canada. The fortress-like Quebec City was founded in 1608; 218 years before Bytown was founded, which later became Ottawa. Discover how to find unique pieces of Quebec in Ottawa!
Canadian Museum of History:
Just across the rolling Ottawa River in Gatineau, Que., you’ll find the Canadian Museum of History. This is Canada’s most visited museum as well as the home of the Canadian Children’s Museum. According to the museum, the shiny Caledonia granite that can be found throughout the building’s interior is from Rivière-à-Pierre, Que.
Also in the museum, you’ll find special postage stamps highlighting 1976, which was the year the summer Olympics were held in Montreal, Que. – Canada’s third oldest city. According to the museum, Canada Post issued 35 special stamps between 1973 and 1976 to draw attention to the fact that Montreal would be hosting the Olympic Games. Some of these special stamps can be viewed in The Canadian Stamp Collection.
The museum added that this stamp collection presents more than 3,000 Canadian postage stamps; from the first stamp issued by the ‘Province of Canada’ in 1851, as well as postage stamps from each province before they joined Confederation.
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum:
Located at a short drive south of Ottawa’s downtown core, this museum and working farm is home to a Canadian horse named York.
According to the museum, the King of France sent horses to his North American colony in 1665. “This was the introduction of the Canadian horse into Canada,” the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum said. The museum noted that during the following century, the breed increased in number as it was an invaluable ally to settlers trying to survive and prosper in the harsh Canadian landscape. The museum said that the Canadian horse distinguishes itself as a breed with strength, endurance, resilience, intelligence and good temper. These qualities along with its size, the museum said, is why the Canadian horse has earned the nickname of “The Little Iron Horse.”
Also, in the museum’s ‘Taking Care of Beesness’ exhibit, you’ll find various bee keeping tools from Quebec as well as honey from every province in Canada.
Canadian Museum of Nature:
Located just down Elgin Street, the castle-like Canadian Museum of Nature is where you’ll find a beautiful mineral from Mont Saint-Hilaire, Que. According to the museum, this specimen of sérandite is one of the most beautiful in the world!
The museum says that this particular mineral is nicknamed “the rollerskate,” reflecting its shape. According to the museum, this specimen of sérandite is marked by its intense orange colour that indicates the presence of manganese. “The size and number of the sérandite crystals also make it stand out,” the museum said. Also clinging to the crystals, the museum added, is another mineral called analcime.
According to the museum, Mont Saint-Hilaire is located 30 kilometres east of Montreal. As it is part of the Monteregian Hills, the museum says that quarries in this area are renowned for their great number of rare and exotic mineral species. With more than 300 mineral species from Mont Saint-Hilaire, the Museum of Nature holds the best collection of minerals from this locality in the world. See the sérandite and many other rare minerals in the museum’s Earth Gallery.
If you have time during your visit to Ottawa, 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 Quebec. 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 Quebec. 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.