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 Canada 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 Newfoundland and Labrador, you’re in luck!
Newfoundland and Labrador is the sixth province to be featured in a series of articles that are highlighting different aspects of Canada’s provinces. From its rugged seacoast with dramatic cliffs and waterfalls to blue skies filled with beautiful birds, discover how to find pieces of this magical, wild province in Ottawa!
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum:
Just a short drive south of Ottawa’s downtown core, this museum and working farm is where you’ll find all things country. This is also where you’ll find an Elliston Root Cellar replica from Newfoundland.
Found in the museum’s Food Preservation: The Science You Eat exhibit, this root cellar would have been found in Newfoundland between 1880 and 1920. According to the museum, root cellars keep food cold by “relying on the natural conditions of the underground environment [as well as] a combination of low temperature, darkness, relative cleanliness, consistent humidity and a steady air flow” in order to keep food stable over several months. The museum also noted that temperatures in cellars, cold rooms and basements tend to be the same year-round.
Also at the museum, you can learn about bee keeping in the Taking Care of Beesness exhibit. Here, you’ll find various bee keeping tools as well as honey from every province in Canada.
Canadian Museum of Nature:
In the castle-like Canadian Museum of Nature’s Water Gallery, you’ll find the immense skeleton of a blue whale. This is one of only two blue whale skeletons on display in Canada and according to the museum, it is among the few skeletons on display in the world. This skeleton, which measures 65 feet in length, came from a deceased blue whale that was found near Codroy, N.L.
Also worth a visit is the museum’s Bird Gallery. Here, you’ll find close to 450 bird specimens found in Canada. Within this gallery, you’ll also find the skeleton of the extinct Great Auk. It was collected from Funk Island, N.L.
According to the museum, this island in Newfoundland was once the home of a Great Auk colony. But unfortunately, these birds were totally exterminated by 1800. The museum noted that Great Auk bones can be found all over Funk Island. This particular skeleton was mounted from mixed bones collected in 1887 by staff at the Smithsonian Institution, the museum said. It was donated to the Canadian Museum of Nature in 1893.
Canada Aviation and Space Museum:
This museum has an interesting relationship with the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, as many of its artifacts would’ve stopped here at one point or another, specially during the Second World War.
According to the museum, both Gander, N.L. and Goose Bay, N.L., were important locations for Ferry Command during WWII. The museum noted that Lancasters would’ve stopped at either location on their way to Europe and that fighter planes such as Hurricanes were stationed in Gander as well.
Other interesting aircraft that have a link to Newfoundland and Labrador are:
- JN-4 “Canuck”: According to the museum, this type of aircraft was used to complete the first aerial survey of Labrador in 1919.
- CF-18: The museum noted that this powerful fighter jet operates out of the Canadian Air Force base in Goose Bay. Also, did you know that the museum actually has a fighter jet simulator? You can hop in and see what it’s like to fly one of the most powerful jets in the sky!
- Twin Huey: This helicopter, the museum said, is used for search and rescue operations in Goose Bay.
The museum also noted that many of Canada’s Cold War-era aircraft served at the air force base in Goose Bay. It added that many of Canada’s commercial aircraft would’ve passed through the Gander International Airport at some point, as this is a key place to refuel on trans-Atlantic flights.
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 Newfoundland and Labrador. Did you know that the people of this rugged, sea coast province voted to join Canada in 1949, after the Second World War?
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 Newfoundland and Labrador. 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 Canadian War 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. This will be THE place to celebrate Canada Day in 2017! 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.