National Gallery of Canada

National Gallery of Canada

Visitors to Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada are in for a visual feast! More than 800 works are regularly on display, a small sample of the 10,000+ works of art in their collection.  Housed in a beautiful, distinctive building, the National Gallery celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.


Outside view of the National Gallery of Canada

Outside the beautiful National Gallery of Canada–Ottawa’s Art Gallery extraordinaire!
(Photo by lunch,


The distinctive glass and granite building was designed by Moshe Safdie (designer of the Habitat apartment block and Musee des Beaux-Arts in Montreal). The art gallery opened in 1988. Public entrance to the Grand Hall is accessed by a large ramp through a large glass hallway that leads to a beautiful airy room full of natural light. The museum has green courtyards built inside, and strategically placed skylights that let in lots of natural illumination. With the wide staircases, hardwood floors and open spaces, the gallery is the perfect place to enjoy the amazing collection.


    • Canadian Art: Covers early Aboriginal art works and paintings and sculptures to the 1970’s. Canadian galleries are arranged chronologically and regionally. Worthy note: National Gallery collection of paintings by Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven
    • Indigenous Art: A collection of art that includes First Nations, Metis, and Inuit artworks, including contemporary art from 1980 to present day. The Inuit artists contribution: sculpture, drawings, printmaking and work in other media collected from 1940’s to present. Worthy note: 1979 donation of silver works from the family of Henry Birks
    • International Art: Painting, sculpture and decorative arts from the early fourteenth century to the late twentieth century. Covers medieval and renaissance works, Venetian views, genre scenes, landscapes, the French school, twentieth century symbolism, Fauvism, cubist, modernist, anti-representational art, surrealism, modernism, American art, pop art and abstraction. Worthy note: Voice of Fire–a controversial abstraction by Barnett Newman, purchased in 1989 for $1.76 million.
    • Asian Art: sculptures, paintings and decorative art from the Indian subcontinent, Tibet and China. The selection includes Indian stone sculptures, ivory carvings, bronze figurines, manuscript paintings and drawings (Mughal and Rajput schools), hanging scroll paintings and jade carvings among others.
    • Prints & Drawings: Almost 24,000 prints and drawings by Canadian, American and European artists.
    • Photographs: Almost 22,000 photographs covering the entire history of photography. Examples covering 19th and 20th century photography by widely recognized photographers and emerging artists.
    • Contemporary Art: Current trends in the art world with a wide variety of mediums: from video artists, to participatory works, to drawings. The collection changes every three to six months to offer a different selection of the best of contemporary art. 3000 square meters of exhibition space that sometimes uses thematic, monographic, or chronological elements to link presentation.
  • Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography: Also housed in the National Gallery of Canada, this is a collection of the best documentary and art photography from early 1960s to the present. Photographers are either born in or permanent residents of Canada. 160,000 photographic works, about 17,000 prints, including transparencies, negatives, books, filmstrips, audio-visual presentations, mixed media works, video art, and still photography.


The Gallery has some nice on-line educational stuff that you can access through their webpage.

Go to, and click on the “Learn” tab for more details.


  • The Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts 2013 22 Mar – 23 Jun 2013
  • Masterpiece in Focus: Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens 03 May – 02 Sep 2013
  • Canadian Bookplates from the National Gallery of Canada 08 May – 30 Aug 2013
  • Clash: Conflict and Its Consequences 01 Feb – 01 Aug 2013
  • New Voices from the New North 26 Apr – 02 Sep 2013
  • Shuvinai Ashoona and John Noestheden: Earth and Sky 26 Apr – 02 Sep 2013
  • Leviathans of the Sky: Photographs of Dirigibles from the National Gallery of Canada 21 Sep – 20 May 2013
  • Sakahan: International Indigenous Art 17 May – 02 Sep 2013
  • The Noble Art of the Carracci and their School: A Selection of Drawings and Prints 31 May – 29 Sep 2013
  • So You Want to be an Artist? 10 June – 05 Jul 2013
  • Michel Campeau: The Darkroom series 04 Oct 2013 – 05 Jan 2014
  • Robert Burley: Disappearance of Darkness 18 Oct 2013 – 05 Jan 2014
  • Artists, Architects and Artisans: Canadian Art 1890-1918 08 Nov 2013 – 02 Feb 2014

The entrance hallway leading to the Great Hall

The entrance hallway leading to the Great Hall–a beautiful glass enclosed space.
(Photo by Dylan Kereluk,


380 Sussex Drive
P.O. Box 427, Station A
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 9N4


May 1 – Sept 30
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily, Thursday until 8 p.m.

Oct 1 – April 30
Tues-Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thursday until 8 p.m., Closed Mondays

Open – 2013
18 February (Ontario Family Day)
4 and 11 March (March Break)
31 March (Easter)
1st April (Easter Monday)
14 October (Thanksgiving Day)
11 November from 12-5 pm (Remembrance Day)
26-31 December
Closed – 2013
29 March (Good Friday)
25 December (Christmas Day)
1st January (New Year’s Day)


Underground parking is available at $2.50 per half hour/daily maximum is $12 (Members $10). On-street parking available near by.


General Admission

Includes all exhibitions and the Collection
Seniors (65+)
Students (With Vailid ID)
Youth (12-19)
Children (under12)
Family (2 Adults+3 Youths)
– All Prices include Tax

Free General Admission

  • Every Thursday 5-8 pm
  • Sunday 19 May 2013 (International Museums Day)
  • Sunday 2 June 2013 (Doors Open Ottawa)
  • Friday 21 June (National Aboriginal Day)
  • Monday 1st July 2013 (Canada Day)

Free admission for Members and children under 12.


Memberships are available between $12 – 210 for individuals, families, seniors, students, and youth as well as national and international memberships. Benefits include invitations to exhibition openings, members’ evening exclusives, magazine subscription & calendar, newsletter, discounts at the bookstore and workshops and daily parking. 

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