Temporary exhibits 

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 2019.

Our Shepherds New

Sculpture, Our Shepherds by Patrick Bérubé
Our Shepherds by Patrick Bérubé

Our Shepherds depicts two shepherds standing face-to-face atop two sheep. The figures are notably connected by a long Pinocchio-like nose, a seeming indication of their deceitful intentions. The playful blue colour and simple, symmetrical structure of the sculpture act as an enticement to consider deeper meanings. Our Shepherds speaks of those who take power and those who are led, inviting viewers to question who are the shepherds and who are the sheep.

Our Shepherds was created by Montreal artist, Patrick Bérubé. It will be displayed at the Tin House Courtyard in the ByWard Market in Ottawa until June 2021.

The Girl With Paper Boats New

Sculpture, The Girl with Paper Boats by W.W. Hung
The Girl with Paper Boats by W.W. Hung

The Girl with Paper Boats takes inspiration from the story of Danica in Children of Earth and Sky by Canadian author, Guy Gavriel Kay and explores themes of exile and displacement. She carries her own sorrow along with the memory of her ancestors’ traumatic experiences. Her boats symbolize loss — lost family, lost dreams, and a lost childhood. The artwork acts as a timely reminder of, and a commentary on, the global refugee crisis and its aftermath.

The Girl with Paper Boats was created by W.W. Hung, a Toronto artist and member of the Sculptors Society of Canada. It will be displayed in in the Montcalm-Taché Park in Gatineau until June 2020.

Heat Wave New

Outdoor steps are decorated with colourful artwork.
Heat Wave by Jerome Bertrand

Heat Wave is an art installation that portrays our Canadian population as a vibrant and multi-faceted society. The fire elements represent passion for life and the warmth of Canadians; the water—photos from the Deschênes Rapids on the Ottawa River – speak to the ancient waterways of Algonquin peoples; and the geometric illustrations represent human activity. The perspective from the bottom of the stairs, looking up, evokes the future of a multicultural society, moving forward and constantly evolving.

Jerome Bertrand is an artist, photographer and illustrator living in Montreal, Quebec. His design was selected as a result of a call for proposals from Canadian Heritage to artists between the ages of 18 and 35. Heat Wave can be seen at the York Street steps in the ByWard Market in Ottawa until March 2020.

Nākatēyimisowin - Taking Care of Oneself

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 (translation 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.


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 August 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 courtyards located in the ByWard Market in Ottawa. They are popular during the summer season and offer an oasis of tranquility and shade for visitors and locals, as well as providing seating areas, café terraces and boutiques.

The Art in the Courtyards program showcases Canada's artistic excellence and enriches visitors' experience of the Capital by presenting exhibits on a range of themes.

Through the Lens of … Landscape in Contemporary Canadian Photography NEW

Close up of miniature tree trunk with foliage in the foreground
Holly King Floating Screen

This exhibit explores how contemporary Canadian artists have crafted photographic images through digital and other means to highlight the cultural values expressed in human engagement with the environment. The works, as real and imagined landscapes, reveal the land as a repository of memory, history and spirituality.

Through the Lens of … Landscape in Contemporary Canadian Photography is presented in the Beaux-arts, Tin House and Jeanne-d'Arc courtyards from November 2018 until March 2020.

This exhibit is presented by Canadian Heritage in collaboration with the National Gallery of Canada, featuring works selected from the Canadian Photography Institute collection.

Château Laurier Terrace Exhibit

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

Overlooking the Ottawa Locks of the Rideau Canal, with views of Parliament, the Ottawa River, Canadian Museum of History and the Gatineau Hills, the lower terrace of the historic Fairmont Château Laurier is the ideal location for an annual outdoor exhibit.

In 2019, come enjoy Standing Up, Standing Out: Selections from the National Portrait Collection of The ArQuives. This exhibit focuses on the achievements of LGBTQ2 Canadians. These trailblazers have fought against policies and practices that were designed to spark fear and cause shame. They have faced several challenges in pursuit of equality and inclusion for all LGBTQ2 people in Canada.

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

Spanning the Rideau Canal, near the National War Memorial, Plaza Bridge is the site of an annual outdoor photo exhibit.

This year's exhibit is A Greater Sisterhood: The Women's Rights Struggle in Canada. It features 22 portraits of Canadian women who overcame barriers to their full participation in this country's economic, political, and social life. Visit the exhibit to learn about Rosemary Brown, the first black woman elected to a Canadian provincial legislature. Discover how Sheila Watt-Cloutier spends her life working on social and environmental issues affecting Inuit and the Arctic.

This exhibit is presented through a partnership between Canadian Heritage and Library and Archives Canada.

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