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Canadian Museum of History picture in Ottawa
Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

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  • Museums Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.7
Overall
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  • Value
    3.5
  • Facilities
    4.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

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Spread across four floors and nearly 300,000 square feet, the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization) is a behemoth. Welcoming more than 1.2 million people annually, it's also one of the country's most-visited museums. And it's easy to see why: Not only does the museum house artifacts and exhibits that detail 20,000 years of human history, it's also home to the Canadian Children's Museum and an Imax theater, CINÉ+. Among the museum's standout attractions are its collection of totem poles in its First Peoples Hall exhibition and its life-sized recreations of Canadian settlements over the past 1,000 years.

Recent visitors marveled at the building itself and praised the museum's vast collection of totem poles. Reviewers also appreciated that the children's museum offered plenty of hands-on activities for little ones (though some griped that the general museum admission does not include access to the children's museum or CINÉ+).

You'll find the Canadian Museum of History across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill in Gatineau, Quebec. OC Transpo route No. 8 will take you to the museum, but you can also ride your bike along the scenic Voyageurs Pathway to reach the facility. Aqua-Taxi also transports visitors between the museum, the Ottawa dock (located below Parliament Hill) and the Casino du Lac-Leamy. The museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission costs CA$15 (about $11) for adults and CA$9 (around $7) for children ages 3 to 12. You can purchase discounted combo admission to the museum's other facilities, such as the children's museum and the theater. Enjoy free admission by timing your visit for Thursday between 4 and 8 p.m. For more information, visit the museum's website.

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#1 Rideau Canal Snaking its way through the center of Ottawa, the Rideau Canal is one of the city's most historic attractions. This 125-mile waterway was originally constructed between 1826 and 1832 ... Read more » Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

#2 ByWard Market Sitting in the heart of downtown Ottawa, the beloved ByWard Market is one of the country's oldest and largest public markets. Throughout the year, you'll find local vendors ... Read more » Radius Images / Getty Images

#3 Canadian War Museum Perched on the steep slopes framing the Ottawa River, the Canadian War Museum pays homage to Canada's long and violent military history, including its involvement in the French and ... Read more » Marie-Louise Deruaz / Courtesy Canadian War Museum

#4 Parliament Hill Acting as the anchor of downtown Ottawa, these three neo-Gothic structures are hard to miss. Like its mother country England Canada is governed by a parliamentary democracy, and it is ... Read more » Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

Timothy Neesam / Flickr

#6 Gatineau Park When you need a break from the city, head to Gatineau Park. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa, this nearly 90,000-acre park offers a variety of year-round activities ... Read more » Saffron Blaze / Getty Images

#7 Canadian Museum of Nature Housing more than 10 million specimens, the Canadian Museum of Nature showcases 4 billion years of Earth history. Recent visitors agreed this is a must-see, especially if you're traveling ... Read more » Martin Lipman / Canadian Museum of Nature

#8 Canada Aviation and Space Museum The Canada Aviation and Space Museum is home to the country's most comprehensive collection of vintage aircraft, which includes more than 130 artifacts and aircraft from both military and ... Read more » Ottawa Tourism

#9 Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica Even if you're not an avid churchgoer, the silvery spires of Ottawa's Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica are sure to catch your eye. Sitting across the street from the National ... Read more » Naeem Jaffer / Getty Images

#10 Bytown Museum When it comes to brushing up on Ottawa's history, there's no better place than the Bytown Museum. Housed in what was once the commissariat for food and materials ... Read more » Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

#11 Canadian Museum of History Spread across four floors and nearly 300,000 square feet, the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization) is a behemoth. Welcoming more than 1.2 million ... Read more » Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

The Rideau Canal picture in Ottawa
The ByWard Market picture in Ottawa
Canadian War Museum picture in Ottawa
Parliament Hill picture in Ottawa
The National Gallery of Canada picture in Ottawa
Gatineau Park picture in Ottawa
Kids in Fossil Gallery picture in Ottawa
Canada Aviation and Space Museum picture in Ottawa
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica picture in Ottawa
Bytown Museum picture in Ottawa
Canadian Museum of History picture in Ottawa
The Rideau Canal picture in Ottawa
The ByWard Market picture in Ottawa
Canadian War Museum picture in Ottawa
Parliament Hill picture in Ottawa
The National Gallery of Canada picture in Ottawa
Gatineau Park picture in Ottawa
Kids in Fossil Gallery picture in Ottawa
Canada Aviation and Space Museum picture in Ottawa
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica picture in Ottawa
Bytown Museum picture in Ottawa
Canadian Museum of History picture in Ottawa

Opened in 1832, the Rideau Canal is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the oldest attractions in Ottawa. Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

Named after Rideau Canal-builder, John By, this vibrant market is the place to go for a quick snack. Radius Images / Getty Images

Among the Canadian War Museum's more than 3 million artifacts, it houses artillery, uniforms, medals, documents, sound and visual recordings and rare vehicles. Marie-Louise Deruaz / Courtesy Canadian War Museum

Ottawa is the seat for both houses of the Canadian Parliament. Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

Timothy Neesam / Flickr

Located across the river from downtown Ottawa, the massive Gatineau Park is the perfect place for hiking. Saffron Blaze / Getty Images

Martin Lipman / Canadian Museum of Nature

The Canada Aviation and Space Museum is home to the country's most comprehensive collection of vintage aircraft, which includes more than 130 artifacts and aircraft from both military and civil service. Ottawa Tourism

This beautiful cathedral is the seat of Ottawa's archbishop. Naeem Jaffer / Getty Images

You'll find this quaint history museum near the mouth of the Rideau Canal. Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

Welcoming more than 1.2 million people annually, the Canadian Museum of History is one of the country's most-visited museums. Ottawa Tourism / Flickr

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