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Canadian Museum of Nature

Indoor spots to photograph in Ottawa

Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, is packed with beautiful interiors to photograph at any time of year. From museums and galleries to historic hotels and a cathedral, these ideas will keep your Instagram feed full throughout your trip—even if you visit in the winter.

Canadian Museum of Nature

Officially known as the Victoria Memorial Building, the structure housing the Canadian Museum of Nature is at the southern edge of Centretown. One of the building’s most photogenic features is the Queen’s Lantern, added in 2010. The monumental glass cube offers an Instagram-worthy view up Metcalfe Street toward Parliament Hill. Stroll the walkways on each floor and capture the view through the building’s original arched front window, with its neo-Gothic mullions.

TIP: Periodically, the museum hangs enormous inflated sculptures from the ceiling of the Queen’s Lantern. Try photographing them from below for a fascinating shot.

National Gallery of Canada

Just beyond the main entrance of the glass-and-granite National Gallery of Canada, the Colonnade and the Scotiabank Great Hall give you some of the city’s best views of the ByWard Market, Major’s Hill Park, Parliament Hill and the Ottawa River—especially at sunset. Don’t forget to point your camera upwards in the Great Hall for a picture of the pyramidal glass roof and its triangular sun shades.

Two other gallery highlights are the Rideau Street Chapel, a reconstructed 1880s chamber with a lovely fan-vaulted ceiling, and the sky-lit Fred and Elizabeth Fountain Garden Court, where a gravel path is edged with ferns and orchids.

TIP: You can take personal photos in the gallery’s public spaces, including the Great Hall and the Garden Court. You can also photograph many of the artworks, except those marked with a “no photo” symbol. Note that flash photography and tripods are not permitted anywhere in the gallery. See the National Gallery’s FAQs page for more details on photography rules.

Ottawa Art Gallery

Appropriately, the Ottawa Art Gallery is itself something of a work of art. A huge expansion opened in 2018, tripling the building’s size. With its white walls, open staircases and light wood accents, the 55,000-square-foot space is airy and inviting. And admission is always free!

TIP: For a dramatic shot of the gallery’s Jackson Café—with its marble bar, quirky copper light fixtures and wall of windows—head to the mezzanine above the restaurant.

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