Bytown Museum

Photo of the Bytown Museum, with Rideau Canal locks in the foreground
Bytown Museum, photo courtesy of
Ottawa Tourism

Discover the history of the city at the Bytown Museum!

The Bytown Museum presents objects and stories from Ottawa’s first inhabitants to the present day, bringing to life the evolving heritage of this historic city. It is located beside the Ottawa Locks in the Commissariat, the oldest stone building in Ottawa.

The Bytown Museum offers the following educational programs.

Lock Talks

  • Tour on and around the Ottawa Locks, focusing on the history of the area around the canal, the engineers and workers who completed its construction, and the contemporary uses of the canal.

Discover Ottawa’s History

  • Explore the stories and values of an evolving city and its residents from its first inhabitants and the early days as Bytown to present day Ottawa.

Commissariat Tours

  • Enter Ottawa’s oldest stone building: the Commissariat. The building’s architectural details, styling and three floors of exhibitions will leave you in awe. Discover how the building stood the test of time.

Confederation: Have your Say!

  • This tour lets students learn about the major figures, and issues in the surrounding the Confederation debate. After a trip through the museum, students get to take their seat in the legislature and debate and vote whether they are for or against Confederation.

Builders of the City: Past and Present

  • Learn about the people and events that built this city from the ground up, and how their interactions and encounters with one another shaped Ottawa right up to the present day.

Ottawa's Best-Kept Secrets

  • Explore the history of Ottawa through the stories of famous, infamous and forgotten residents.

Power and Politics

  • This tour for civics students takes you through Ottawa's political history, and the movements and people who challenged the powers that be and did what they could to improve the lives of the citizens of this city.

Book your school visit

Student Programs
Program/Tour Target grades and subjects Duration Cost per student Cost per adult

Guided Tours: Lock Talks (60)

Discover Ottawa's History (60)

Ottawa History & Lock Talks (60 or 90)

All (Social Sciences, History, Languages)

60 minutes

90 minutes





Commissariat Tour

All (Language Arts, Architecture, Physics, Social History)

60 minutes $5.50 $7.50
Confederation: Have Your Say!

Grades 7 and 8 (secondary 1 and 2)


90 minutes $6.50 $8.50
Builders of the City: Past and Present Grades 4 to 6 (Social Sciences) 60 minutes $5.50 $7.50
Ottawa's Best Kept Secrets All (Language Arts and Social Sciences)

60 minutes

90 minutes





Book Your Visit

Let Canadian Heritage’s Planning and Itinerary Service help you plan your Capital experience!

FREE information and booking services are available for each Capital education experience presented on this site.

Contact us today!

Find out more

For more information about programs at the Bytown Museum, visit the site.


1 Canal Lane, Ottawa ON K1P 5P6

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