Visit the historic estate of one of Ottawa's founding families and spend the day enjoying one of our special events or programs, exploring the exhibitions with interactive and kid-friendly activities, discovering the beauty of our well-preserved parkland, or renting the space for your special event.
We take the time to understand how children see the world, and we make sure they actively experience history through connections with objects, people, places and ideas.
Upcoming Events and Programs
Check out all special museum events and programs by month.
Travelling Tent Show
Saturday, May 28 from 7 pm
Before radio and cinema, tent shows provided an opportunity for communities to come together to be entertained. The Ottawa Storytellers will join us to present live theatrical and musical performances.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Tea
May 29 from 11 am to 4 pm
Join us at the Estate for a ‘Mad-Tea-Party’, and be treated to tea just as Alice was. Once greeted by the White Rabbit, guests will meet some of the characters from Alice in Wonderland, play a game of croquet, solve riddles, and enjoy a traditional tea service.
*Reservations for the Alice in Wonderland Tea are now closed. We are keeping a waiting list and walk-ins will be accepted on the day of in the event of cancellations.
Doors Open Ottawa – Architecture – Then and Now
Saturday, June 4, and Sunday, June 5 from 10 am to 4 pm
Enjoy a guided tour of the Billings Estate National Historic Site, the oldest wood-frame house in Ottawa. Learn about some of the changes that have been made to the Estate over the years in order to repurpose the house as a museum.
Father’s Day Antique Car Show
Sunday, June 19 from 10 am to 4 pm
Treat Dad to a day filled with some his favourite things: cars, BBQ, and live music. At our classic Father’s Day Antique Car show, there’s something for everyone, including a scavenger hunt for kids, a display illustrating the evolution of emergency vehicles and services in Ottawa, and an opportunity to get up close to some of Ottawa’s coolest classic cars.
Cost: $6.15/individual, $10.20/pair, $16.35/family
Anne of Green Gables Tea
Friday, July 1 from 11 am to 4 pm
Celebrate Canada Day with one of the nation’s most beloved fictional characters. The Anne of Green Gables Tea will feature servers in costume, three-tier tea service among the gardens, period-appropriate music, lawn games, and a photo station complete with straw hats and ginger braids.
*Reservations are required, as space is limited. Reservations will open on May 27, and will only be accepted via telephone starting at 10 am. To reserve please call 613-2474830 ext. 221
Can You Dig It?
Thursdays in July from 10 am to 11:30 am
Unearth Ottawa’s best kept secret by digging into our outdoor, hands-on archaeology program! Each one of these weekly programs focuses on a different aspect of archaeology, and delves into the past by having children participate in archeological digs to discover buried artefacts. Topics range from how to set up a digging grid, to artefact dating techniques, to making a time capsule. Ages 6-12
Fridays in July from 10 am to 11:30 am
Discover the many little critters living onsite across the eight acres of parkland of Billings Estate. Young children will learn about a different insect and its lifecycle each week, play insect-related games, go on bug hunts, and make crafts to bring home. Bring along a picnic lunch, or purchase one from our team room, and enjoy the afternoon relaxing on the grounds.
Sunday, July 17 from 11 am to 4 pm
2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Celebrate the life of the classic author as you enjoy three-tier tea service delivered by servers in period-appropriate costume, and as actors perform famous acts from the various works of Shakespeare.
*Reservations are required, as space is limited. Reservations will open on June 14, and will only be accepted via telephone starting at 10 am. To reserve please call 613-2474830 ext. 221
Wednesdays in August from 1 pm to 3 pm
Do you have an aspiring Sherlock Holmes at home? Our History Detectives series of weekly programs presents a different mystery to solve each week through studying evidence and collecting clues. Kids ages 6 to 12 will develop deductive reasoning skills as they learn about the history of the Estate.
Step Into the Kitchen
Thursdays in August from 10 am to 11:30 am
Join us for our Into the Kitchen Series on Thursdays in August, designed to teach kids aged 5-7 years the skills associated with baking different types of food. Each week, participants learn about a new food type, and make a delicious treat to bring home.
Advance registration* is strongly encouraged to avoid disappointment: 613-247-4830 or email@example.com.
Fridays in August from 10 am to 11:30 am
Looking for a way to keep your little ones busy during the sunny summer weather? Join us for Preschool Playdates, a series of Friday playdates throughout August specifically designed for busy preschool-aged children (3-5 years old) and their parents. Each week, a different topic is explored through fun games and activities, followed by a picnic lunch for participants and their parents in the playroom of Sally’s Kitchen.
Advance registration* is encouraged to avoid disappointment: 613-247-4830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vintage Motorcycle Show
Sunday, August 21 from 10 am to 4 pm
Come meet the keepers of vintage motorcycles and their prized possessions! You’ll learn about different types of motorcycles from different parts of the world and can test your motorcycle knowledge in our family-friendly scavenger hunt!
Cost: $6.15/person, $10.20/pair, $16.35/family
Pride and Prejudice Tea Party
Sunday, August 28 from 11 am to 4 pm
Join us for a themed tea amidst details from the infamous novel, “Pride and Prejudice” by acclaimed author, Jane Austen. Enjoy a Regency era tea menu, English country dance demonstrations, and actors demonstrating popular characters from the novel.
*Reservations are required, as space is limited. Reservations will open on July 26, and will only be accepted via telephone starting at 10 am. To reserve please call 613-2474830 ext. 221
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The Billings family settled on the shores of the Rideau River in 1812 and took an active role in shaping the community as it evolved over time and until the 1970s when they left the estate. They helped build farms and churches, ran a dairy operation, and contributed to the development of the Byward Market by providing produce for sale and building the "Farmers' Bridge".
This National Historic Site on 8 acres of green space is also home to one of Ottawa's oldest community cemeteries where well-known Ottawa pioneers, such as the Evans, Brouse and Firth families, are laid to rest.
Home to more than 27,000 artefacts, the Billings Estate tells an epic story of starting a life anew in the wilderness and the legacy of the family over many generations. With both permanent and temporary exhibitions, these artefacts help bring the story to life.
School Programs and Educational Activities are offered for students from kindergarten to Grade 8 from Wednesday to Friday during the months of May, June, September and October.
The museum's food service is known for both its quality and affordability. Specializing in refreshments and baked goods made from scratch and served overlooking heritage gardens, our food service is a unique addition to the site.
Tea on the Lawn
The high tea service overlooking this National Historic Site's beautiful flower gardens is one of the museum's most popular features. Choose a scone and tea served with Devonshire cream and jam or order our 3-tier service with finger sandwiches, scones, and desserts ($13.00 + tax per person).
The Tea on the Lawn is served from May 11 to August 31 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays, from 11 am until 4 pm, rain or shine. Indoor tea service is also available to groups by reservation during the rest of the year.
Because we use the freshest ingredients possible, it's best to contact the museum at 613-247-4830 for the daily menu. Reservations are recommended to avoid disappointment.
If you're interested in refreshments but would prefer a more casual meal during the tea-on the-lawn service, the museum will prepare a small boxed lunch for you and your family to enjoy on the park grounds of the museum. For $6.50 per meal, you'll receive one of the sandwiches being prepared as part of the tea service that day, a dessert, a drink, and a piece of fruit.
Bring Your Own
Visitors are also welcome to bring their own snacks or meals and picnic in the park. To preserve the artefacts in the museum, no eating is permitted in the exhibition spaces.
Billings Estate National Historic Site is a uniquely picturesque and tranquil setting just 10 minutes from downtown Ottawa. The 200-year-old house is surrounded by gardens and reigns over more than 8 acres of lush parkland that can accommodate parties from 15 to 150 guests.
An affordable and flexible option for your wedding, anniversary, or other celebration, Billings Estate offers modern facilities with historic character. Under our marquee tent or inside our meeting rooms, we can help make your gathering both beautiful and successful.
Book an Appointment
The breathtaking beauty of Billings Estate must be seen to be believed. Make an appointment with our Customer Service Booking Clerk for a tour of our facility and to receive a full rental information package and application form. Call 613-247-4830 or email email@example.com.