Province/Territory: Ontario

National Gallery Collection

  • 36,000 works of art
  • 14th to 21st centuries
  • 19th century chapel

Located just steps from Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa, the National Gallery of Canada is the country's showcase of the visual arts and a spectacular architectural landmark. Created in 1880, the National Gallery is one of Canada’s oldest national cultural institutions and offers both a permanent collection as well as special exhibitions in a building designed by famed architect Moshe Safdie.

The works of renowned Canadian artists such as Tom Thomson, Emily Carr, Alex Colville, David Milne, Alfred Pellan, Elizabeth Wyn Wood, Jean-Paul Riopelle and more, grace the walls and rooms. The works of art reveal the past, celebrate the present, and probe the future. You drink in the Canadian wilderness captured by the distinctive brushstrokes of the Group of Seven. Experience European and American Galleries display paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts from the early fourteenth to the late twentieth century. The contemporary works of film, sound, videos, multi-media and paper provoke surprise and delight and change every three to six months to offer rich and varied encounters with art created over the past three decades in Canada and abroad. Be mesmerized by the Rideau Street Chapel, saved from demolition in 1972, it was dismantled into 1,000 pieces, stored and reconstructed within the Gallery.

Why you should visit
  • Explore the history, influences and cultural nuances of every region of the country by viewing the paintings, sculptures, drawings and artifacts of the The Canadian Collection.
  • Reflect on works from Aboriginal Peoples of Canada, as well as art of indigenous peoples from around the world by visiting The Indigenous Collection.
  • Challenge your ideals and thinking by taking in The Contemporary Collection which transcends and explodes the traditional categories, materials and genres of art.
  • See the most important collection of the bold and exciting landscape paintings by the renowned Tom Thomson and The Group of Seven.
  • Marvel at the the marbled cast-iron columns, three altars, balcony, windows and soaring fan vaults the Rideau Street Chapel.

Weather

  • Ottawa experiences four very distinct seasons. The area usually receives a considerable amount of snow in the winter, and moderate amounts of rain in the other three seasons. Beautiful summer heat is common, and fall is a showcase of colours and fresh, brisk air.
  • Average temperatures for: Winter -15°C to -5°C, Spring 2°C to 19°C, Summer 24°C to 30°C and Fall 5°C to 20°C.
  • Discover local weather information. Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Website.
Visitor information
  • Admission or buy your tickets online.
  • Wheelchair accessible.
  • Strollers and wheelchairs provided free of charge at the Foyer Information Desk.
  • No food or beverages are permitted in the Gallery.
  • Restaurants and gift store on site.
  • There is underground pay parking at the Gallery.
  • All services are available in English and French. Audio guides are also available in a number of languages.
When to go
  • ndulge your appreciation for art any day of the week from May 1 to September 30th. From October 1 to April 30 the Gallery is closed on Mondays.
  • Admission is free on Thursdays from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.
  • Summer is the busiest time of year for the Gallery as this is high tourism season in the City and the Gallery usually runs special exhibitions at this time as well.
  • To beat the crowds, arrive when the gallery opens at 10:00am. Monday and Tuesday mornings are ideal.
  • In the wintertime, the Gallery partners with the Winterlude Festival to offer special programming. In the springtime, the Tulip Festival blooms right outside the Gallery in Major's Hill Park--it's a must see for horticultural aficionados.
Need to know
  • The Gallery is centrally located, in the heart of downtown Ottawa.
  • A 10-minute walk will bring you to Parliament Hill, downtown Ottawa or the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau.
  • Special exhibitions change regularly, so check out the current exhibitions schedule before you go.
  • Visitors may take pictures for personal use.
  • Services available in English and in French.
  • The National Gallery is wheelchair accessible and offers adapted tours and services for people with special needs.
  • The Bookstore at the National Gallery of Canada is highly recommended for art lovers.
Getting Here
  • The National Gallery of Canada is located in Ottawa's historic ByWard Market, with direct access to the market stalls, shops and restaurants.
  • Approximately a 25-minute drive from Ottawa's MacDonald-Cartier Airport.
  • Many OC Transpo transit buses stop at Rideau Centre/Mackenzie King Bridge which is a 10 minute walk north-west to the Gallery.
  • View current highway conditions.