The Best Historical Sites in Ottawa

As Canada’s capital, Ottawa has a lot of pressure to bring out the most beautiful and interesting historical sites.  Although this isn’t the oldest city in the country, it offers countless ways to get in touch with the country’s past.  

Most of these spaces are beautiful inside and out and are a testament to Canada’s firm stance on learning from the past to move into a better future.

Notre Dame Basilica

Often called the most beautiful church in Canada, it’s both the largest and oldest in Ottawa.  Although the exterior may seem plane, once you step in, you’re bathed in a technicolor glow of gold, blue and green.\

The church’s expansive ceiling reaches up towards beautiful stained glass, and the intricate wall carvings and paintings give this building a reverential feeling unlike any other.  Even if you’re not religious, this is worth visiting simply for how beautiful it is.

Mackenzie King Estate

If you’re interested in architecture and don’t mind a nice stroll over 570 acres of lush greenery, the Mackenzie King Estate is going to be a must-stop for you. Canada’s 10th prime minister, and the longest-serving one, created this estate to relax and get away from the stresses of life.

Here, beautiful gardens meet with incredible footpaths and gorgeous structures that you can’t find anywhere else.  Regardless of your thoughts on the person, his property is one of the most beautiful you’ll ever see.

Upper Canada Village

If you’re looking at Ottawa homes for sale, you’re going to fall in love with Upper Canada Village. Of course, these aren’t for sale, but the charming little heritage park gives you a chance to step back into the distant past. 

Modeled after a 19th-century village, it has everything from a church to homes and shops.  You can enjoy interacting with reenactors who do fantastic work bringing the scene to life and take a moment to consider how different things are from how they were.  

Fort Wellington

Fort Wellington offers a mixture of lakeside views with an intense and important history.  Standing as a museum, this fort was used by the British Army and Canadian militia for the 19th century, up until 1923, when it was handed over to the parks commission.  

Labeled a historical site in 1920, there has been a large push to conserve this fort and show people the history that put this country where it is.  Although the forts’ buildings may appear simple, when you walk through the halls and hear the stories of the things that happened here, it can change how you look at them.

Watson’s Mill

This historic flour and grist mill is the only working museum in Ottawa and one of the last operating industrial grist mills in North America.  This mill still sells the whole wheat stone-ground flour that’s made on-site and is still incredibly proud of the product it puts out.

Although there are rumors of ghosts haunting the property, this is a calming and beautiful building to visit and learn more about.