Canadian Museum of History

The Canadian Museum of History (formerly known as the Museum of Civilization) is located just across the Ottawa River from Parliament Hill. It is located in the city of Gatineau, in the Province of Quebec.

Since it is located just across the Alexandra Bridge from downtown Ottawa, and it is a pleasant walk to the Museum from Parliament Hill, that the address of the Canadian Museum of History is shown as in Gatineau, Quebec, should not be a deterrent to a visit, if you are visiting beautiful Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

The change to the new Museum of History from it’s former iteration took place over the last couple of years, at a cost of over $25 million tax-payer dollars.

The Canadian Museum of History contains a history of Canada’s and much of the world’s civilizations, with displays dating from the original First Nations of Canada, to the present time.

Some of the exhibits that are on display permanently are located in the permanent exhibit halls.

Canadian Museum of History Exhibit Halls

Grand Hall

This is a huge and majestic exhibit hall  of 1,782 square metres (19,182 sq. ft.) with floor-to-ceiling windows, featuring, among other first nations artifacts, the largest indoor collection of totem poles in the world.

Totem in grand hall of Museum of History - www.all-about-ottawa.comThe windows frame the Parliament Buildings, looking across the river to Parliament Hill. The walls of the Grand Hall contain the largest colour photograph in the world.

view-of-parliament-hill -

The view of Parliament Hill from across the Ottawa River at the Canadian Museum of History is pretty spectacular.

The First Peoples Hall

Contains artifacts, works of art, historical documents and with a variety of audio and visual presentations, the First Peoples Hall offers the visitor a celebration of the unique and diverse history of Canada’s First Peoples.

first-peoples-hall-Canadian-Museum-of-History -

Permanent Exhibits

Other permanent exhibits are at the Canadian Museum of Civilization include:

  • Canadian Stamp Collection
  • Canada Hall
  • From Time Immemorial – Tsimshian Prehistory
  • Canadian Children’s Museum

Special Exhibits

Each year, the Museum of Civilization offers a series of special exhibits. These displays have a finite life, so it is wise to check to see how long an exhibition that appeals to you will be on display.

Some of the special exhibits at the Canadian Museum of Civilization have been:

  • Swindle! Canadian Phantom Banks
  • Thomas & Friends Explore the Rails
  • Vikings
  • Children of Hangzhou: Connecting with China
  • Masters of the Plains: Ancient Nomads of Russia and Canada
  • UNIQUE! 30 Years of Outstanding Crafts
  • Top Secret: Mission Toy
  • The Post Goes Pop
  • 150th Anniversary of the Canadian Museum of Civilization
  • Lace Up – Canada’s Passion for Skating

…and more! Information about past, present and upcoming exhibitions can be found on their website.

IMAX Film Theatre at the Museum of History

The CMH also houses an IMAX Theatre. IMAX theatre entry is not included in the museum’s normal admission fee.

“The giant IMAX screen, approximately seven-stories high, shows an image of stunning clarity. The IMAX Dome extends the experience even further by surrounding the visitor with brilliant, absorbing images.”

The films at the Museum of Civilization IMAX Theatre will change regularly, so do check what is on to pick the huge films of interest to you. Films are sometimes contemporary (meaning Hollywood type blockbusters), and always interesting.

Amenities / Food

The Museum of Civilization offers the visitor amenities, such as, The Cafeteria (which) offers a casual atmosphere, an appealing and varied menu, and quick, friendly service.

Voyageurs Cafeteria

The Voyageurs Cafeteria offers a wide range of breakfast, lunch and snack options for those visiting the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Bistro Boreal

A menu as affordable as it is tasty, amazing decor and ambiance, attentive, courteous and personalized service: welcome to Bistro Boreal.

Cafe Express

For the coffee connoisseur, Second Cup is the place to be. We offer you a wide variety of fresh and savory coffees, including numerous Fair trade, and Organic certified choices.


Mon, Tue, Wed & Fri: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Thur: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sat & Sun: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Times change depending on things like statutory holidays, special events etc., so if the trip to the Museum of History is a long one for you, best check for the latest information about hours on the day(s) you wish to visit.


On a benign weather type of day, the CMH is a pleasant 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) stroll from Parliament Hill, across the Alexandra Bridge.

Walking or driving, you can get to the museum a number of ways.

Walk or drive west on Wellington from the Hill, down past the Supreme Court, to the new War Museum. From there, you walk across the Ottawa River on the Portage Bridge. You can turn right onto Laurier and get to the CMC that way, or, after crossing the bridge, you can carry on up Boulevard Maissoneuve to Papineau and maybe do a little shopping? Then, a right turn, a couple of blocks alon, and you are back down to Laurier to the Museum.

Or… walk east on Wellington to Mackenzie Avenue, turn left, walk along beside Major’s Hill Park to the National Gallery, turn left, cross the the Alexandra bridge, and you are there. If you are driving, you will have to drive past Mackenzie Avenue to Sussex Drive, and turn left there, as Mackenzie is one way (the wrong way) for driving.

Contact Information

Canadian Museum of History
100 Laurier Street
Gatineau, Quebec
K1A 0M8
Local: 819-776-7000
Toll free: 1-800-555-5621
TTY for people with hearing disabilities: 819-776-7003