Lean in and be educated, or sit back and be entertained, with virtual tours and performances from Ottawa, a city packed with museums and artistic culture.
- Parliament of Canada’s House of Commons to learn about Canada’s government while Centre Block undergoes several years of renovations;
- Rideau Hall, the official residence and workplace of the governor general of Canada;
- Take a video tour through the gardens and grounds of the National Gallery of Canada;
- Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History, to learn about Canadian history and experience from coast to coast to coast;
- Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum, the underground-bunker-turned-museum which was built to house senior members of government during the Cold War (be sure to check out their new Bunker Boutique!);
- Bytown Museum, which tells the history of Ottawa from rough and tumble lumber town to the country’s modern capital;
- The Canadian Museum of Nature released guided walkthrough tours on their YouTube channel to bring viewers to explore the museum, the Butterflies in Flight exhibition and permanent galleries;
- Take a virtual trip down the Rideau Canal with TVO’s program TRIPPING the Rideau Canal! This four hour, immersive “real-time” trip down the UNESCO World Heritage Site explores the beauty and history of the Rideau Canal as if you were sailing yourself;
- Just south of Ottawa, Watson’s Mill in Manotick brings visitors back to the 1860s. Check out their virtual tour to learn about flour production and the start of the town;
- See important works and objects from AY Jackson’s career in the Firestone Collection at the Ottawa Art Gallery’s virtual 3D tour.
Online exhibitions and activities
- Canadian Museum of History: online exhibitions and “Museum at Home” activities and resources which includes the new Rick Hansen’s Man In Motion World Tour Collection;
- Canadian War Museum: online exhibitions and “Museum at Home” activities and resources;
- Ingenium museums (Canada Science and Technology Museum, Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Canada Agriculture and Food Museum): Google Arts & Culture, apps and games, remote learning tools, and content on the Ingenium Channel;
- Virtual National Gallery of Canada brings all the gallery’s online exhibitions and activities together in one place, highlights various pieces from their collection, investigating the tradition of the salon, celebrating Canadian photography, and much more. Check out their exhibition playlist on YouTube for a closer look at current and past exhibits;
- Canadian Museum of Nature has fun games and lessons and colouring pages;
- Virtual Museum of Canada: Canada-wide collection of digital museum and heritage experiences;
- Check out the fun colouring pages and jigsaw puzzles offered by the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum;
- Learn about the Canadian economy with lesson plans, activities, and more from the Bank of Canada Museum;
- The Ottawa International Airport has fun, kid-friendly content available online including kids’ quizzes about airports and airplanes, videos, and more;
- CFL team the Ottawa REDBLACKS keep young fans happy with a kid’s activity pack including mazes, colouring pages, and more;
- The Isolation Museum is an interesting complement to Ottawa’s museum scene – it exists to foster contact and connection through the documentation of stories of real experiences during COVID-19;
- The Bytown Museum offers a digitized collection, Victorian crafts, and a series of videos on key parts of Ottawa's history (video series available on their Instagram account).
- The National Arts Centre, Canada’s home for performing arts located in downtown Ottawa, brings the arts online in a new way with their #CanadaPerforms series, highlighting Canadian artists during livestream concerts, offered most days.
- Ottawa Bluesfest and the National Arts Centre both offer summer drive in concerts. #CanadaPerforms at RBC Bluesfest Drive-In celebrates Canadian musicians beginning July 31 and August 1 on the Zibi site in Gatineau.
- Ottawa’s oldest tavern—the Château Lafayette—dates back to 1849 and normally offers some great live music options. On Facebook, catch Bluesman John Carroll Wednesdays starting at 9:00pm Eastern time and Lucky Ron continues his weekly-since-1986 Saturday afternoon country-tinged shows starting at 5:00pm Eastern time.
- Support Ontario artists by watching living room concerts at Music Together, presented by Ontario Live.
Festivals and Events
- Local tech company SportsStats offers a Physical Distancing 5K, inviting participants to register and run a course at its west-end headquarters anytime between now and September 2020.
- The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend has cancelled its annual event scheduled for May 23-24, 2020 and will be going virtual this year with a virtual race. Run Ottawa is working with Sportstats to create a shareable virtual finish line to allow participants to run or walk on their own between May 15 and September 7 while respecting and promoting all public health physical distancing guidelines.
- Capital Pride will move their annual celebration of the city’s 2SLGBTQ+ community online, August 21-30, 2020.
- The Canada Army Run cancelled its annual race but encourages participants to participate in the Canada Army Run: Virtual (September 12-20, 2020).
- The following festivals have been rescheduled for later dates: Escapade (September 5-6, 2020), the Franco-Ontarian Festival (September 24-26, 2020), Ottawa Poutinefest (October 29-November 1, 2020), and the inaugural CRAVE Food and Wine Festival (November 20-22, 2020).