Province/Territory: Ontario

Take a Journey Through Aboriginal Culture

  • 1000-year-old sacred ground
  • 03 different ways of life
  • 03 Sister Soup

Your day begins at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in the Grand Hall where you learn about the history and accomplishments of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples. Then you push off from shore in a Rabaska canoe and cross the Ottawa River. The journey is swift, and soon you land on Victoria Island (referred to as Turtle Island by Canada's Aboriginals), a sacred place that was used for thousands of years for gatherings, trading and celebrations. You are greeted in the traditional way with a welcoming song by your Aboriginal hosts. Then you are led on a guided tour of the village. Next you take in a Pow Wow dance performance. The performance concludes with an invitation to join the dancers in a “Friendship Dance”. Afterwards you enjoy a feast of traditional Aboriginal fare.

Why you should visit
  • Discover another culture.
  • See the largest grouping of totem poles, at the Museum of Civilization.
  • Paddle a Rabaska canoe guided by voyageurs.
  • Explore another way of life on Ottawa's Turtle Island.
  • Walk on sacred ground.
  • Attend a Pow Wow.
  • Express your gratitude to your Aboriginal hosts by participating in a Friendship Dance.
  • Feast on traditional Aboriginal fare.


  • Ottawa experiences moderate amounts of rain in the spring, summer and fall. Beautiful summer heat is common in the summer, and fall is a showcase of colours and fresh, brisk air.
  • Average temperatures for: Spring 2°C to 19°C, Summer 24°C to 26°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
  • This experience can only be booked as a Group Outing.
  • The Aboriginal Café invites you to sample buffalo burgers, smoked venison sausages, grilled maple salmon and weekly specials featuring indigenous ingredients.
  • Visit the on-site Trading Post for authentic souvenirs, created by Aboriginal artists and businesses. Items include: dreamcatchers, medicine wheels, jewellery, prints, artwork and hand-crafted pieces.
When to go
  • Experience the aboriginal culture and way of life on Turtle Island May through October, and at the Museum of Civilization all year round.
Need to know
  • The Grand Hall of the Canadian Museum of Civilization is the starting point for the experience. Arrive early to see other parts of the Museum.
  • Once on Turtle Island, you are allowed to take pictures of anything on site – displays, dance performances and the wonderful scenery.
  • It’s an outdoor site, so dress appropriately for the weather.
  • There is NO SMOKING within the site.
  • All guests are asked to be aware of their waste on site and reduce, reuse and recycle.
Getting Here
  • The Canadian Museum of Civilization and Turtle Island are located in the heart of Canada's Capital Region across the river and walking distance from downtown Ottawa.
  • From downtown, choose to walk down Laurier Avenue and over the Portage bridge to get a beautiful view of the city.
  • Or choose to take the seasonal Ottawa Gatineau aqua taxi, leaving every 30 minutes between 10:00am and 7:00pm.
  • The City of Ottawa is approximately a 25 minute drive from Ottawa's MacDonald-Cartier Airport.
  • The Canadian Museum of Civilization is accessible via public transit using OC Transpo on the Ontario side or via les Société des Transports de l'Outaouais.
  • Taxi service is readily available at the airport and throughout the city.
  • View current highway conditions.