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The 9 Best Ottawa Art Museums to Visit

The 9 Best Ottawa Art Museums to Visit

Ottawa’s art scene is like a gallery-hopping adventure where creativity reigns supreme. 

From classic masterpieces to avant-garde wonders, the city’s best art museums are the ultimate playgrounds for your imagination. Get ready to embark on an artistic journey that’s anything but ordinary! 

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Address: 380 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON K1N 9N4

Contact details: +1 613-990-1985

Opening hours: Tuesday to Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Thursday: 10:00 AM – 8:00 PM; Friday to Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM


If you’re a fan of contemporary and fine art, the National Gallery of Canada is a must-see. This massive museum houses the most extensive collection of Canadian art globally, ranking among the largest art museums in North America – seriously, it’s a cultural powerhouse.

Even if time’s tight, check out the exterior – “Madam,” a giant spider sculpture by Louise Bourgeois, awaits. Inside, you’re in for a treat with rotating and permanent displays, like our top pick – the Chapel of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, where a choir serenades from 20 speakers.

Oh, and don’t miss the stunning glass ceiling in the foyer. Take a stroll around the museum – it’s not just about gawking at the finest art in Canada but also soaking in the jaw-dropping architecture—a double delight for your eyes and your cultural soul! 

Pro tip:

  • If you’re a homebody, the National Gallery of Canada has you covered with a virtual exhibition on their website. Plus, they’ve got interactive learning events for all ages – it’s like bringing the museum experience to your living room. 
  • If you fancy some gallery swag, they’ve got you covered. Books, stationery, and exhibition goodies – it’s a gift shop bonanza for art enthusiasts!
  • And for a quick pick-me-up, there’s a coffee shop by the entrance open during gallery hours.

Media from ottawaartgallery

Address: 50 Mackenzie King Bridge, Ottawa, ON K1N 0C5

Contact details: +1 613-233-8699

Opening hours: Tuesday to Wednesday and Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM; Thursday to Saturday: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM


The Ottawa Art Gallery isn’t your typical gallery; it’s a vibrant hub in Ottawa’s art scene. Picture this – it’s not just about showcasing art; it’s about being a cultural meeting place that reflects the community’s diversity. 

Local and regional art take center stage, giving the permanent collection a rich historical and community flavour. But hold up – it’s not all about local vibes since they also throw in art from every nook and cranny of Canada and beyond in their seasonal exhibitions.

And to top it off, picture five floors packed with over 55,000 square feet of art-filled goodness. You’ve got dedicated galleries, rooftop terraces, multipurpose rooms, and an art studio where community-led activities and film screenings steal the show. 

Pro tips:

  • They also have a gallery gift shop. From ceramics and textiles to jewelry, books, homewares, and art supplies – they’ve got a selection that’s all about supporting local Canadian makers and artists. 
  • For groups and bus arrivals, hit up 10 Daly Ave – it’s that simple. Look for the Daly entrance between Waller and Nicholas on the south side. And remember, drop-offs and pickups go down at the Daly entrance ONLY. 

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Address: 1701 Woodroffe Ave, Nepean, ON K2G 1W2

Contact details: +1 613-580-2424 ext. 42226

Opening hours: Tuesday to Wednesday: 10:00 AM–1:00 PM and 6:00 PM –9:00 PM; Thursday to Friday: 9:00 AM– 3:00 PM and 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM; Saturday to Sunday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM


At the Foyer Gallery, you’ll see original works from emerging and seasoned artists in the region. These artists, rocking various media like oil, watercolour, acrylic, and even 3D wonders in wood, metal, and more, have earned their stripes with local and international acclaim.

What’s cool is that this gallery isn’t just about art; it’s a friendly space where knowledgeable artists are always on hand. Picture-themed group shows, spotlights on three to five incredible artists, and solo exhibitions – there’s a little something for everyone.

And here’s the best part – the exhibitions switch up every three weeks. So, whenever you drop by, there’s always a fresh wave of creativity waiting to be explored! 

Pro tip:

  • Stay in the loop with all the exhibitions by checking out their website. It’s your ticket to staying on top of schedules and catching all the cool events. 

Media from saw_centre

Address: 67 Nicholas St, Ottawa, ON K1N 7B9

Contact details: +1 613-236-6181

Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM 


Back in the artistic heyday of 1973, SAW was born as a cool artist-run initiative. Fast forward to today, and this gem is right smack in the heart of downtown Ottawa. Fun fact – the name SAW stands for Sussex Annex Works, from its roots as part of the café Le Hibou on Sussex Drive.

And here’s the kicker – with a whopping 30,000 visitors dropping by each year, SAW is still rocking the charts as one of Ottawa’s top galleries. From the get-go, they’ve been all about breaking boundaries in both content and medium, aiming to be the innovators on the block.

But what truly makes SAW stand out is its knack for showcasing contemporary art that hits all the right notes. Think photography, film, and a whole lot more – they’re the cool cats of intersectional contemporary art. 

Pro tips:

  • If you’re rolling up to Nicholas Street, you’ve got metered street parking in the mix. It’s $7 per hour from 7 AM to 5:30 PM, but here’s the sweet part – totally free after 5:30 PM and on weekends. If you’re riding the rails, hop off at the Rideau O-Train Station and make your exit via William Street.

Royal Canadian Mint

Media from canadianmint

Address: 320 Sussex Dr, Ottawa, ON K1A 0G8

Contact details: +1 613-9930-949

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM


To switch things up, head to the Royal Canadian Mint in Ottawa for a captivating peek into the art and craft of coin-making and Canada’s economic history. This place is the coin powerhouse, churning out every day and commemorative coins. 

As you step into the historical building, you’ll soak in the grandeur and tradition. Witness the meticulous process of turning metal strips into shiny coins and, if you’re lucky, hold a solid gold bar for a feel of its weight and value. 

The journey doesn’t stop there – explore the evolution of currency through exhibits detailing the history and significance of various coins. It’s a fascinating blend of history, craftsmanship, and a touch of golden magic!

Pro tip:

  • Royal Canadian Mint coins are everyday legal tender, but collector coins, known as non-circulating legal tender (NCLT), aren’t for everyday transactions. Businesses or banks may accept them, but they’re better suited for showcasing than spending.

Media from lapaigallery

Address: 13 Murray St, Ottawa, ON K1N 9M5

Contact details: +1 613-241-2767

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM; Saturday: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM; Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM


Since the Y2K buzz in 2000, L.A. Pai Gallery has been rocking the art scene, putting contemporary Canadian sculpture and jewelry on the map globally. They’re all about discovering and hyping up artists, and their artwork has found cozy homes in public spots and private collections alike.

London got a taste of their magic, too, with Canada House proudly flaunting province-themed rooms decked out by the gallery’s artistry. And oh, let’s talk about installations – they’ve got mind-blowing installations that pop up, steal the show, and vanish, leaving folks in awe. 

Now, here’s the cool part – they’re not just about showcasing; they’re nurturing the future Picassos of jewelry with the National Jewelry Student Competition. It’s like a launchpad for Canada’s budding bling maestros.

Pro tip:

  • This gallery also has jewelry for everyone – from budget-friendly to a bit fancier. Whether you’re keeping it thrifty or going all out, they’ve got something shiny that won’t break the bank.

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Address: 110 Laurier Ave W, Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1

Contact details: +1 613-580-2424 ext. 14167

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM


Step into this 1,500-square-foot art haven doing an awesome job boosting local Ottawa talents. Dive into a world of creativity with artworks spanning all kinds of media. 

Brace yourself for a lineup of cool solo and group exhibitions, artist chats, and tours that’ll jazz up your art experience. Mark your calendar for some stellar 2024 exhibitions featuring talents like Emily DiCarlo with “Tenuous Systems,” Christine Fitzgerald’s soulful “Requiem,” and more.

Oh, and hold your horses for the Karsh Award-related exhibition this 2024 – it’s going to be a showstopper! 

Pro tip:

  • You can roll in for free to check out all the cool exhibitions and events. Plus, they’ve got your back with wheelchair accessibility. 

Wallack Galleries

Media from wallack_galleries

Address: 225 Bank St, Ottawa, ON K2P 1W9

Contact details: +1 613-235-4339

Opening hours: Monday to Tuesday and Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM; Wednesdat to Friday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM


Hey, fun fact alert: Wallack Galleries holds the title as one of Canada’s oldest commercial art galleries, kicking off the art party in 1936. They’ve been all about sharing the love for figurative and abstract contemporary artworks, putting the spotlight on paintings, sculptures, and graphics. 

But they’re not just about showcasing art; they’ve earned their stripes for top-notch consultation services. Whether you’re an individual, a big corporation, or part of the government squad, they’ve got your back. 

Think evaluation, restoration, conservation – you name it. From crating to storage, shipping, framing, and even the grand installation of fine art, they’re the maestros, making sure every piece gets its moment in the spotlight. 

Pro tip:

  • Here’s a tip: If you want to see something in person or through a digital showing, book a private showing at your convenience!

Galerie St-Laurent + Hill

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Address: 293 Dalhousie St, Ottawa, ON K1N 7E5

Contact details: +1 613-789-7145

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday: 10:30 AM – 5:30 PM; Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM


Head over to Galerie St-Laurent + Hill – one of the go-to spots for contemporary art in Ottawa. Get ready for an eclectic collection that’ll surprise you in the best way possible.

Since 1977, this gallery has been a haven for collectors, exclusively showcasing talented Canadian artists like Shelley Adler and John Barkley, with a spotlight on painting, photography, and sculpture. 

And hey, if you’ve got questions about the art, the staff here are not just friendly; they’re a fountain of knowledge waiting to make your art exploration even more exciting!

Pro tips:

  • Take a stroll beyond the main gallery and head to the back, behind the separating wall. You’ll uncover a treasure trove of art pieces with diverse styles and genres that might just tickle your artistic fancy.

So there you have it, art aficionados! Ottawa’s art scene is like a rich tapestry woven with masterpieces and cultural wonders.

But guess what? The artistic adventure doesn’t end here. Canada’s got more in store for you, from historic museums to culinary delights

Keep exploring, keep discovering, and let your creative spirit run wild! 

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