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Explore Ottawa

The Bytown Museum

While you are visiting McGee's Inn, one of the stops you should make on your list of "things to do" is The Bytown Museum. It is within walking distance of McGee's Inn.

Located in the heart of downtown Ottawa, the BYTOWN MUSEUM explores the stories of an evolving city and its residents from its early days as Bytown to present day Ottawa. The Museum is located at the Rideau Canal’s Ottawa locks, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, between Parliament Hill and the Fairmont Château Laurier hotel — one of the most picturesque sites in the city.

The history of the BYTOWN MUSEUM begins with the Women’s Canadian Historical Society of Ottawa (WCHSO), founded in 1898. The WCHSO quickly amassed a collection of artifacts relating to the history of Bytown/Ottawa. It became apparent that a museum was required to house this impressive collection and in 1917 the BYTOWN MUSEUM opened its doors.

In 1951, the BYTOWN MUSEUM moved to its current home, the Commissariat. The building was a treasury and storehouse during the construction of the Rideau Canal. In 1956, the WCHSO admitted men for the first time and thus changed their name to the Historical Society of Ottawa (HSO). Today the museum is run independently from the HSO.