Temporary exhibits - Public art

Explore the art that adds warmth and vibrancy to the streets, parks and plazas of Ottawa–Gatineau. Temporary exhibits in Canada's Capital Region showcase artistic achievements from across the country, celebrate our diversity and highlight significant milestones in Canadian history.

Art in the Capital

Many factors contribute to shaping an impressive capital region and public art is one of them. The Art in the Capital program showcases public artworks created by Canadian artists. These exhibits are temporary and change regularly.

A number of thought-provoking, evocative and fun installations will be exhibited in Ottawa and Gatineau region in 2018.

Nākatēyimisowin - Taking Care of Oneself New

This mural exhibit is in the recreational pathway tunnel under Wellington Street near the Portage Bridge. Nākatēyimisowin - Taking Care of Oneself (translation from Plains Cree), highlights the work of four Indigenous artists from different regions of Canada.

This exhibit explores how vulnerability and reflection are both integral and beneficial to active resistance. The selection of artists and exhibit content was coordinated by Joi T. Arcand, a photo-based artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation – Treaty 6 Territory in Saskatchewan, currently living in Ottawa. The artists include:

  • Glenn Gear, who is of Inuit ancestry, was born in Newfoundland and Labrador and currently lives in Quebec: Ommatik – Heart (translation from Inuttitut, Labrador)
  • Tara-Lynn Kozma-Perrin, who is of Cree ancestry and lives in British Columbia: We Are Resilient
  • Cedar-Eve Peters who is Anishinaabe, Ojibwe, was born in Ontario and currently lives in Quebec: Shifting of Energies
  • Michelle Sound, who is a member of the Swan River First Nation and Red River Métis and lives in British Columbia: Kahkiyaw acāhkosak – All the Stars (tranyesslation from Plains Cree).
Ommatik – Heart by Glenn Gear
We are Resilient by Tara-Lynn Kozma-Perrin
Shifting of Energies by Cedar-Eve Peters
Kahkiyaw acāhkosak – All the Stars by Michelle Sound

This project is a joint undertaking in partnership with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. Nākatēyimisowin - Taking Care of Oneself will be displayed until October 2019.

Kwáshkwan-in! Jump! New

Public art Kwáshkwan-in! Jump! on Ottawa's York Street Steps.

Salmon embark on a journey from the ocean to the rivers of birth, where they spawn and later die. This cycle is key to the survival of many salmon species and is significant from a First Nations perspective: the process helps regenerate rivers and forests and sustains the land, wildlife and people. It can also be interpreted as returning to where we are from and transferring our knowledge to feed the next generation. This figurative representation on the York Street steps features six brightly coloured salmon jumping a waterfall. They complement their surroundings and mark a transition from the Byward Market to Parliament Hill. Kwáshkwan-in! Jump! will be on display until May 2019.

The artwork was created by Naomi Ratte, a member of the Peguis First Nation and an alumna of the University of Manitoba (Bachelor of Environmental Design). Her graphic image was selected by Canadian Heritage as a result of a call for proposals to emerging Canadian artists aged 18 to 35.

Dialogue New

Sculpture by artist Florent Cousineau
Dialogue, by Florent Cousineau, on the upper plaza near the Alexandra Bridge in Ottawa

The tall, slender silhouette of the work’s two-part structure contrasts with the strong horizontality of its setting. While the pure lines of these sculptural forms create space for multiple interpretations, their arrangement also evokes an exchange between two monumental figures. Their curves entwine in a movement recalling a pair of witnesses, dancers or sentinels leaning on each other for support.

Light sources emanating from within the two figures create a fluid, rhythmic dialogue, inviting us to linger.

Dialogue is an installation created by multidisciplinary artist Florent Cousineau. It can be seen on the upper plaza near the Alexandra Bridge in Ottawa until 2020

From here to there (then and now)

How to Steal a Canoe by Amanda Strong

A visually arresting and thought-provoking exhibit of contemporary works by Indigenous artists from across Canada.

“The artist’s ability to share a story with you using a visual language eliminates the need for the traditional beginning, middle and end. Follow the visual cues, and read the materials and the traditional territories. It’s all part of your invitation to experience Turtle Island from the Indigenous perspective.”

The exhibit, consisting of 10 large-scale reproductions, was produced in partnership with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. It will be on display in the recreational pathway tunnel adjacent to the Mill Street Brew Pub parking lot until March 2019.

  • Jordan Bennett – tamiow tle'owin, 2016
  • Amanda Strong – How to Steal a Canoe, 2016
  • Geronimo Inutiq – Deluxe Sled, 2016
  • Meryl McMaster – Horse Dance, 2013
  • Travis Shilling – The Village Dream, 2017
  • Katheryn Wabegijig – Sacred Colours, 2015
  • Hillary Brighthill – Adorned First Kill, 2015
  • Nico Williams – Medicine Woman Picking Sweetgrass, 2017
  • Christian Chapman – run to the hills, 2017
  • Nigit'stil Norbert – Papa – Underground Resistance, 2013

The Gather-Ring

Image of a large ring supported by four wooden pillars. The ring is crisscrossed by metal wires adorned with pieces of glass.
The Gather-Ring, by Manuel A. Baez and Charlynne Lafontaine, on the Portage Bridge Plaza.

The Gather-Ring is a new public artwork inspired by two iconic symbols that are deeply rooted in Indigenous traditions, the Tree and the Dream Catcher. Trees have always played a vital role across the land on which Canada was founded, bearing witness to our histories. Dream Catchers have the power to capture our positive thoughts, dreams, and visions, offering to lead us towards a bright future. The Tree, represented here by the circular cedar base, and the Dream Catcher, by the patterned canopy with hand-blown glass pendants above, are both brought together within The Gather-Ring.

Manuel A. Baez (Designer, Architect (New York)) and Charlynne Lafontaine (Artist) created The Gather-Ring as an interactive art piece meant to evoke diverse cultural interpretations and offer a symbolic circle for cultural exchange, storytelling, discussion and reflection. At night, The Gather-Ring is illuminated, providing a memorable visual experience!

We invite you to discover this original artwork, located on the Portage Bridge Plaza in Ottawa, until August 2019.

Art in the Courtyards

The Sussex Courtyards are a sequence of five inner courtyards located behind Sussex Drive, in the ByWard Market area of Ottawa. They are popular during the warmer seasons and represent an oasis of peace and shade for visitors and locals, as well as providing seating areas, cafe terraces, and boutiques.

The Art in the Courtyards program showcases Canadian art and artists, by presenting exhibits on a range of themes, in these unexpected outdoor locations.

A new installation is coming late summer 2018.

Château Laurier Terrace Exhibit

The Château Laurier Terrace Exhibit, overlooking the Ottawa Locks of the Rideau Canal

The lower terrace of the historic Fairmont Château Laurier is the ideal location for an annual outdoor exhibit. Overlooking the Ottawa Locks of the Rideau Canal, with views of Parliament, the Ottawa River, Canadian Museum of History and the Gatineau Hills, this image-based summer display adds to the enjoyment of such a scenic and breathtaking venue.

Confederation Boulevard Banners

Banners on Confederation Boulevard

Each year Canadian Heritage flies over 500 banners along Confederation Boulevard, the Capital's ceremonial route in downtown Ottawa–Gatineau. The banners highlight Canada's provinces and territories and special anniversaries.

  • Provincial and Territorial Banners
    • The colourful provincial and territorial banners provide a window on Canada. Each year we focus on a different theme to showcase the character of each part of the country.

  • Commemorative Banners
    • We also have special commemorative banner series that highlights significant milestones in Canadian history, Canadian culture and special events, the themes for which vary from year to year.

Decoding ART

Scan, listen and discover art in a whole new way with Decoding ART

The Decoding ART program uses modern technology to help interpret monuments and public art in Canada's Capital Region. Visitors can access audio-visual capsules by scanning a QR code with their mobile device. The codes are found on Decoding ART signs located near select works.

Currently, the program offers interpretive clips for both adults and children at 14 different monuments and works of public art in Ottawa-Gatineau.

Plaza Bridge Photo Exhibit

The Plaza Bridge Photo Exhibit, located across from the National War Memorial

The Plaza Bridge, across from the National War Memorial, is the location of an annual outdoor image-based exhibit from May to October.

The exhibit is in a large and visually dynamic format, and offers visitors to Canada's Capital engaging and interesting information on significant Canadian anniversaries, achievements or historical events.

The seasonal exhibits reflect and celebrate our country and our people through art. Find out more about other forms of commemorative and public art in Canada's Capital Region.

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