Temporary exhibits - Public art and monuments

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.

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.

Myth and Evidence

A large white unicorn stands partially visible through a white glass box
Myth and Evidence, by Mathieu Valade, at Laurier/Portage Bridge in Gatineau.

Myth and Evidence is a creation by Canadian artist Mathieu Valade. It is displayed at Laurier/Portage Bridge in Gatineau.

The artwork represents a unicorn that is both identifiable and indistinct: we recognize its form, but, displayed inside a frosted glass case, it becomes somewhat imprecise, a bit like the blurry photographs of the supposed Loch Ness monster.

Myth and Evidence was originally presented in 2017 at the event Manif d’art 8. It is now displayed in Canada’s Capital Region until May 2018 thanks to a collaboration with EXMURO arts publics.

Passages insolites

Until May 2018, discover for yourself the work of these Canadian artists who were initially presented in 2014 and 2015 at Passages insolites in Quebec, an event financed by the City of Quebec and produced by EXMURO arts publics.

a blue spire in an alley way
Solitary by Diane Landry (in collaboration with Francis Labissonnière) at York Street /Jeanne d’Arc Courtyard in Ottawa.
three huge pigeons interact with a large can of Campbell’s tomato soup
The Odyssey by Cooke-Sasseville at parc Montcalm-Taché in Gatineau.
a huge colourful collection of plastic household items is clustered together on the corner of the roof of a building.

Tipping Point by José Luis Torres at the Clarendon Courtyard in Ottawa.

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.

In 2017, the exhibit Traces: Indigenous Artists Moving Through Memory explores the various forms in which vision and experience can be revealed by the Indigenous voice. The 16 reproductions presented in the courtyards were selected from the Indigenous Art Collection, owned by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, which includes more than 4,000 works.

Some reproductions of works in the Art in the Courtyards exhibition
  • Christi Belcourt - This Painting Is a Mirror, 2012
  • Bob Boyer - Boye Ladd Says There Are No Indians in Vietnam Movies, 1990
  • Christian Chapman - Don’t Whistle at the Northern Lights, 2010
  • Ruth Cuthand - She Chose to Dance instead of Putting Peas in her Shoes, 1983
  • Jerry A. Evans - Qalipu Migrations, 2012
  • Faye HeavyShield - Slivers, 2010
  • Tom Hill - Allegory to MGM, 1973
  • Meelia Kelly - Together on a Winter Night, 2003
  • George Littlechild - Who Stole the Teepee, 1994
  • Teresa Marshall - Mi’kmaq World View, 2005
  • Glenna Matoush - My Great Grandfather, Chief Yellow Head, Who’s Buried under McDonald’s on Yonge Street in Toronto, 1995
  • Shirley Moorhouse - We Stand on Guard, 2011
  • Marianne Nicolson - Portrait of a Mother and a Daughter, "Portrait of Gik’anala" 2001
  • Rick Rivet - Whaler Mask, 1999
  • Arthur Shilling - Glenna, 1967
  • Ningeokuluk Teeve - Kiviuq, 2016

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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