As Canada’s Capital, Ottawa is home to many objects that come from across the country; from British Columbia to Ontario, to Nova Scotia 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 or territory in Ottawa, chances are that you’ll find it. And particularly, if you’re from the Yukon or the Northwest Territories, you’re in luck!
These two northern areas, with their wild and mountainous territory, are the eleventh Canadian region to be featured in a series of articles that are highlighting different aspects of Canada’s provinces and territories in Ottawa. Did you know that the Northwest Territories joined Confederation in 1870? Then, the Yukon became its own territory in 1898, after a decision was made to make a second territory from the Northwest Territories. From their sparsely populated greenery to glaciers, wildlife and more, discover treasures from these two areas in Canada’s Capital.
Canadian Museum of Nature:
On the grounds of the castle-like Canadian Museum of Nature, you’ll find the Landscape of Canada Gardens that are home to a family of woolly mammoths. These scientifically accurate sculptures are based on the skeletal remains of these Ice Age icons that would’ve been found in Beringia, which is now covered by the Yukon.
According to the museum, the sculpture of the baby mammoth is based on skeletal remains found in Siberia, while the adult male sculpture is based on skeletal remains found in the United States. The adult female sculpture, the museum said, is based on a nearly complete mammoth skeleton found along the Whitestone River in the Yukon. The museum noted that the skeleton was found in 1967 by one of its paleontologists, C. Richard Harington. The mammoths were installed on the museum’s grounds in 1987. As they are outside, they are accessible 24/7 and offer a great photo op!
Also, in the museum’s Earth Gallery, you’ll find diamond samples from Canada’s first surface and underground diamond mine; the Ekati mine in the Northwest Territories. According to the museum, the Ekati mine opened in 1991 and is located 300 kilometers (186.4 miles) northeast of Yellowknife.
In the Earth Gallery, the museum noted that you’ll find 30 pea-sized Ekati specimens alongside several other minerals from Canada. Additionally, in another case, you’ll find a polished and cut Ekati diamond along with nine other gem-quality diamonds from South Africa, Congo and Brazil. The museum noted that most diamonds come from kimberlite, which is a type of volcanic rock.
If you’re interested in learning more about Canada’s Arctic, visit the Museum of Nature in 2017 for Canada’s big 150th anniversary year. On June 21, 2017, the museum will open its new Canada Goose Arctic Gallery.
If you have time during your stay in Ottawa, opt to visit Parliament Hill and Centre Block, which is home to the iconic Peace Tower. On a guided tour of Centre Block – which is free and is available daily – you’ll learn about how every province and territory is represented in Parliament, including the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. There are some lovely stone carvings and interesting facts to discover. Also, if you take the guided tour, you’ll be able to take an elevator to the top of the Peace Tower for a dramatic, 360-degree view of the city.
Also on Parliament Hill, near Wellington Street, you’ll find Ottawa’s famous Centennial Flame. This bubbling fountain with its ever-burning flame commemorates Canada’s hundredth anniversary as a Confederation and on it, most of Canada’s provinces and territories are represented, including the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Not appearing on the fountain is Nunavut, as this territory only joined Canada in 1999. This monument is also a great place to take an Ottawa photo!
National Gallery of Canada:
Though the population is small, several Inuit call the Yukon and the Northwest Territories home. The National Gallery is home to the world’s most comprehensive collection of Canadian art, including Aboriginal and Inuit art.
Here, you’ll find paintings, sculptures, drawings and more from Inuit artists from Canada’s most northern regions. According to the Gallery’s website, its Inuit art collection holds about 100 sculptures, several more abstract art pieces as well as more than 800 drawings and prints.
If you are interested in Inuit art, the National Gallery is where you’ll want to go. And… Admission is free on Thursday evenings from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
If you have a car and you’d like to get close to Canadian nature, head 45 minutes east of Ottawa’s downtown core to Parc Oméga.
Sprawling over 2,200 acres of wilderness, Parc Oméga is home to several animals found in Canada including deer, elk, bison and more. Here, you can drive through the park’s 12-kilometre (3.5-mile) trail and feed carrots to the friendly animals as you go. Also, this is a great place to see animals that would typically be found in a more northern Canadian region such as the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. At Parc Oméga, you’ll find caribou, muskox, Arctic foxes and Arctic wolves. But don’t worry, the wolves roam large and secured enclosures.
Parc Oméga is open seven days a week all year long. Just make sure to bring a camera along, as there are many great photo opportunities. And you can bet that this place gets even more magical once the snow arrives!
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 Canadian War Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and the Canada Science and Technology Museum, which is reopening in mid-November 2017. Also, did you know that at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, you’ll find honey from every province in Canada?
If you want to visit a few of the museums mentioned above, why not invest in a Canada’s National Museums Passport? For $35 CDN, this passport allows you to visit three of Ottawa’s national museums over three days. Happy exploring!