Tour Locations | Ottawa: Pioneering Days

  • LOCATION 1 | Ottawa: Pioneering Days

    The National Gallery

    Welcome to this tour of Colonial Ottawa.

    My name is Michael Harvey and I'll be your guide today.

    You should be standing by the spider, in front of the glass entrance of the National Gallery of Canada.

    Before we start walking, let's spend some time here and have a look around.

    [1.5 SECOND PAUSE]

    Turn to face the National Gallery.

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    The Gallery has a fabulous art collection of Canadian, American, European and Indigenous sculptures and prints. The twin tower glass building was built in 1988, but the art collection has been growing for over 100 years. Even if visiting is not on your list, the gift shop inside the front entrance is well worth a look. It also has a cafeteria, public restrooms, as well as some fun activities for kids.

    [1.5 SECOND PAUSE]

    Now turn to have a look at the spider.

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    Its called Maman, which is French for mother. You can see 26 marble eggs in the sack under the centre. It's one of 6 copies worldwide, bought in 2005 for 3.2 million dollars.

    [1.5 SECOND PAUSE]

    Standing with your back to the National Gallery, have a look to your left.

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    You can't miss the majestic Notre Dame cathedral across the road.

    Its Ottawa's oldest, largest and most beautiful church. Construction began in 1837, only a few years after the first settlement here, and it took 40 years to complete. It was built here because this part of town was where the French and Irish Catholics lived. The interior wood carving and stained glass windows are particularly impressive.

    [1.5 SECOND PAUSE]

    Our next stop is around the back of the Gallery and up to the base of a statue with a great view over the Ottawa River.

    [1.5 SECOND PAUSE]

    So let's get going.

    [1.5 SECOND PAUSE]

    With your back to the gallery, and the Cathedral on your left, walk toward the road.

    Then turn right and follow the path crossing in front of the Gallery and curving to the right around the corner of the Gallery.


    While you walk, I'll explain how VoiceMap works.

    It uses your location to play audio automatically, at the right time and place. This means that you can put your phone away now. Don't worry if I'm silent for a while, when I'm not giving directions or telling stories. There's a map on your screen if you ever feel lost, and if you do get way off track without noticing, VoiceMap will let you know.

    [1.5 SECOND PAUSE]

    Now, starting where it all began, we're going to look back to the time when there was nothing here but a cedar swamp. You'll hear about situations, characters and events that shaped Ottawa before Canada became a country.

    I will often refer to "Indigenous", meaning the peoples who were here before the Europeans came.

    Continue walking.

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