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A Journey Through Time: Exploring Ottawa’s Historical Buildings 

September 21, 2023

Welcome to Ottawa’s original downtown where history and origin stories come to life through a stunning array of must-visit historical buildings. Join us on this journey through time as we delve into the rich historical and architectural marvels that sit in the heart of Ottawa Canada’s capital.  

Rideau Hall  

Originally built in 1838 by Thomas MacKay as a home for his family, Rideau Hall now serves as the official residence of every Governor General of Canada since 1867. Steeped in tradition, you can explore the same halls where countless of political figures have held important state events and ceremonies offering a glimpse into the nation’s governance. Explore 79 acres of beautifully manicured grounds, visit the state rooms, watch the changing of the grounds and visit the Queen Elizabeth II monument. A visit to Rideau Hall is an unforgettable experience that epitomizes the essence of Canadian heritage, politics and culture.  

📍1 Sussex Drive  

⏰ Sunday to Saturday: 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM  

📞 613-991-4422 

🎟️ Book Now 

Rideau Hall a perfect place to spend an afternoon in Ottawa’s original Downtown. (Image: Doors Open Ontario)  

The Senate of Canada Building  

The Senate of Canada Building plays a crucial role in shaping our political landscape. It serves as the meeting place for the Senate of Canada where debates are held, and legislation is passed. What once served as a Grand train station in 1912, has now become a historic building. Hosting the king of Rock ‘n’ Roll Elvis Pressley in 1957 one of his few live shows performed outside of the USA. For over 45 years the building served as a visitors’ centre and government conference centre, hosting the Repatriation of the Constitution in 1981.

Due to ongoing renovations at Parliament, it now serves as the temporary home for the Senate. Visitors can enjoy sitting on 100-year-old train benches found in the foyer before going on a guided tour. It is a place where the echoes of the past resonate with the promise of the future offering visitors a unique and immersive journey through time.  

📍2 Rideau Street 

⏰ Sunday to Saturday: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM  

📞 +1 800-267-7362 

🎟️ Book Now

Inside The Senate of Canada where laws are debated, and democracy thrives. (Image: Sencanada) 

 Fairmont Château Laurier  

Since 1912, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier has been one of Canada’s most iconic landmarks exuding timeless elegance and a rich heritage. Often being referred to as the Third Chamber of parliament due to the number of prominent world leaders that have roamed its corridors. Including the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, King George IV and Princess Diana to name a few. Beyond its historical charm, can explore the Gallery DeVincent a treasure trove of artifacts and photographs. Chateau Laurier also delights visitors with its exquisite dining options, ranging from fine dining, high tea and casual fare providing an experience that satisfies every palate. A visit to Chateau Laurier serves as a memorable encounter with the grandeur and elegance that has made this historical site a timeless gem in the heart of Ottawa’s Original downtown.  

📍1 Rideau Street 

⏰ Sunday to Saturday: 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM  

📞 613-241-1414 

🎟️ Visit Today 

Stop by the Fairmont Chateau Laurier and become captivated by the timeless elegance. (Image Ottawa Tourism)

House of Commons  

The iconic House of Commons holds a rich history that dates back to its original creation in 1867, making it one of the oldest buildings in the city. Designed by Thomas Fuller, it has served as the heart of Canadian democracy for over a century. In 1916 tragedy struck when a devasting fire swept through leaving it in ruins. By 1920, the building had been rebuilt and the construction of the magnificent Centre Block was complete.

The House of Commons Building is not only a historical landmark but also a must-visit attraction for history and political enthusiasts. Walking through its halls and chambers visitors can experience the vibrancy of Canadian democracy and policy making firsthand.  

📍111 Wellington St 

⏰ Sunday to Saturday: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM  

📞 +1 866-599-4999 

🎟️ Plan your Visit 

The house of Commons the heart of democracy where history unfolds. (Image: The Canadian Encyclopedia)  

Laurier House  

Built in 1878, this historic residence served as the home to two of Canadas most distinguished Prime Ministers – Sir Wilfred Laurier and William Lyon Mackenzie King. Allowing visitors to walk through the carefully preserved rooms and transom back in time. The guided tours offer a deeper understanding of the political decisions made within these very rooms and the impact they had on Canada’s development. Additionally, visitors can partake in an array of interpretative stations that bring your visit fully to life. For those seeking a firsthand glimpse into Canada’s past, Laurier house is a must-visit destination.  

📍335 Laurier Ave East 

⏰ Sunday to Saturday: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM  

📞 613-992-8142  

🎟️ Plan your Visit  

Embrace heritage and history at Laurier House where the past comes alive. (Image: Ottawa Tourism)  

So, whether you’re an avid history enthusiast or simply curious about the past don’t miss out on the chance to tour these remarkable sites. Plan your visit to Ottawa’s original downtown today and transport back in time!  

Thinking of driving down? Check out this handy resource that lists all the available parking spots in the area – please have a designated driver!

And check out our Events page to see everything else that’s happening on Rideau Street!