Province/Territory: Ontario

Experience how organized human conflicts have shaped Canada and Canadians and understand the importance of remembrance at one of the world’s best war museums.

  • 04 chronological Canadian Experience Galleries
  • 500,000 military artefacts
  • 13,000 war-themed paintings, sketches, drawings and sculptures

Stand beside a piece of the Berlin Wall or a German Panzer tank. Live for a moment in a brutal First World War trench or step aboard a WWII D-day landing craft. Talk about war experiences with volunteer veterans who fought in armed conflicts. Take a tour and reflect on how Canadians  faced extraordinary challenges. Walk through time, across the country and around the world in four Canadian Experience Galleries presenting Canada’s military history. Organized chronologically from pre-contact First Nations’ battles to the latest military conflicts, the galleries present stories of  Canadians as told through personal stories, artefacts and magnificent works of art from the museum’s world-renowned Beaverbrook Collection of War Art. Then step outside the building that blends so well with the pastoral beauty of its riverside setting - conveying nature’s healing power after war - with a better knowledge of how past events have shaped today’s Canada.

Why you should visit
  • Feeling history truly come alive in the presence of volunteer veterans of various military ranks and personal war experiences who are present to interact with visitors throughout the museum.
  • Seeing a series of windows high up on the museum roof spelling out “Lest we forget” and “N’oublions jamais” in Morse code, a message that’s also cast in light on the inside walls.
  • Browsing the more than 13,000 paintings, sketches, drawings and sculptures from the museum’s Beaverbrook Collection of War Art, one of the world’s top 10 collections of war art.
  • Being moved by dimly-lit Memorial Hall where one small window high in the wall has been precisely positioned so that the sun illuminates the hall’s lone artefact –the headstone from the grave of Canada’s Unknown Soldier - every year on November 11 at 11:00 a.m.
  • Seeing battle artefacts like tomahawks, a Sherman tank and Spitfire aircraft, a one-man German midget submarine and a 1937 truck-sized, troop-carrying Bombardier snowmobile.
  • Experiencing soldiers’ brutal existence in a reconstructed WWI trench and a simulated nuclear attack in the NORAD control centre.
  • Exploring the museum’s architectural theme of “regeneration” which extends to its river-water cooling and plumbing system, energy-conserving concrete walls, recycled fly ash used in the concrete mix, and recycled copper from the Library of Parliament’s old roof.

Weather

Visitor information
  • Rates and dates
  • Don’t miss special exhibitions presented on various military or commemoration subjects.
  • Free admission for past and present Canadian military personnel and selected Commonwealth military personnel with appropriate identification or proof of service as well as for Canadian war veterans and active Canadian military personnel including up to two accompanying family members.
  • Visitors can purchase a National Museums Passport for admissions over three consecutive days at six participating national museums including the Canadian War Museum or at the Capital Infocentre located on Wellington Street.
  • Plan at least three hours to visit.
When to go
  • The museum is open year round with special exhibitions throughout the year.
Need to know
  • The Museum offers special programs and commemorative ceremonies during Remembrance Week in November.
  • Taking a guided tour is the best way to visit the museum, to learn about everything from its themes and messages to its architectural details and key personal stories and artefacts within.
  • The Museum’s Gift Shop’s offerings are tied to the themes of its galleries and special exhibitions. There are books, models, games and collectables as well as  products specifically for children.
Getting Here
  • The museum is easily located overlooking the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa.
  • The museum is accessible by bus or via a 25-minute walk west of Parliament Hill on Wellington Street.
  • There is an indoor parking lot for visitors.