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Billings Estate National Historic Site

About Us

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.

Location and Hours

Location      

2100 Cabot Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1H 6K1

Tel.: 613-247-4830
Fax: 613-247-4832
Email: museums@ottawa.ca

Hours

Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm from May 14 through October 29, with special programming offered throughout the year. Times may vary for special events and/or programs. Be sure to check all listings for more details.

The Tea on the Lawn service is available on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays from May 17 to September 3 from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm. Reservations are highly recommended.

Admission

Unless otherwise indicated, regular admission fees apply.

Adults - $6.30
Seniors and Students - $5.25
Youth - $3.70
Families (two adults and unlimited children) - $15.65
Children 5 and under are free

Group rates available upon request. Additional fees may be applicable to some special events and programs.

Upcoming Events and Programs

May

Mother's Day Tea 
Sunday, May 14 

Please note that reservations are full for our Mother's Day Tea.
If you would still like to experience afternoon tea at the musuem on another day, please call 613-247-4830 ext. 221 and make a reservation for our Tea on the Lawn service.

PA Day Program: Plan. Design. Construct. [CANCELLED]
Friday, May 19 from 8:30am to 4:30pm

Unfortunately, we have had to cancel this program. You can still register for the Nepean Museum PA Day program on the same day!

Yoga on the Lawn
Saturday, May 20 from 9am to 11:30am

Start your day on the right foot with relaxing one hour outdoor yoga class followed by a light breakfast in our outdoor tea room surrounded by the serenity of the Estate. Ages 16+. Registration required.
Cost: $31.20 per person

June

Doors Open Ottawa
Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Visit during this free event to learn about the 190 year evolution of the Billings Estate from family home to popular museum. Learn about how the oldest wood-frame house in Ottawa is preserved, and what heritage conservation involves.
Cost: Free

PA Day Program: Alice in Wonderland
Friday, June 9 from 8:30am to 4:30pm

Go down the rabbit hole this PA Day for a day full of exploration, adventure and silly fun! Play games, sing songs and make Victorian inspired crafts- all with a crazy twist! Children ages 6 to 10. Registration required.
Cost: $15.65

Vintage Car Show
Sunday, June 18 from 10am to 4pm

Join us for this year’s annual Vintage Car show. Meet car owners proud to display and chat about their antique vehicles, and see the Billings family Cadillac! Take a tour of the site, play games on the lawn, and listen to live music while you enjoy a BBQ lunch.
Cost:    $6.30/person, $10.45/pair, $16/75/family, cost of BBQ is extra.

July

Can You Dig It
Thursdays in July from 10:00 am to 11:30am

Get your hands dirty like Indiana Jones while learning about archaeology at the home of Canada's first paleontologist, Elkanah Billings. Dig for artefacts in our onsite pit, identify mysterious objects and learn hand-on techniques that archaeologists use every day! Portions of this program will be outdoors, please come dressed for the weather. Children ages 6 to 10. Registration required.
Cost: $6.30

Little Critters
Fridays in July from 10:00 am to 11:00 am

What’s that hiding in the garden and lurking on the lawn? Bugs, of course! Each week learn about a different insect’s life-cycle, diet, and home before making a buggy craft! Portions of this program will be outdoors, please come dressed for the weather. Children ages 3 to 5. Registration required.
Cost: $6.30

Canada Day Tea
Saturday, July 1 from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm

Come together to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday with a very special Canada Day Tea. Spend time with your loved ones while enjoying a traditional three-tier platter. Registration is required, and opens on Friday, May 26.
Cost: $22.60 per person (including taxes).

Pride and Prejudice Garden Party
Sunday, July 23 from 10:30am to 4pm

Does the thought of Mr. Darcy make you blush? Then this tea is for you! Enjoy the beautiful gardens of Billings Estate while interacting with some of your favourite Jane Austen Characters. Play traditional Edwardian lawn games and try English Country Dancing in an effort to work up an appetite fit for a traditional three-tier tea service. Registration is required, and opens on Friday, June 9.
Cost: $22.60 per person (including taxes).

August

History Detectives
Wednesdays, August 2-23, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Who dunnit!? Search Billings Estate for clues as you try to solve a different mystery each week. Children ages 8 to 12. Registration required.
Cost: $6.30 

Step into the Kitchen
Thursdays, August 3-24, from 10:00 am to 11:30 am

Mix and measure your way through a heritage cooking lesson. With a new theme each week and a tasty treat to take home, kids will love learning where ingredients came from and how they made their way from the farm to their tummies. Children ages 5 to 7. Registration required.
Cost: $6.30 

Preschool Play Date
Fridays in August from 10:00 am to 11:00 am 

Bring your preschoolers to the museum each Friday morning in August to play, dress-up, and use their imaginations! Each week we will explore a different topic and parents are welcome to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the grounds following the program. Portions of this program will be outdoors- parents and children are advised to come dressed for the weather. Children ages 3 to 5. Registration required. 
Cost: $6.30 

Vintage Motorcycle Show
Sunday, August 20 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm 

Join the Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group, whose members will be displaying their prized possessions for the day! Work up an appetite by taking a tour of the museum and checking out the specs before enjoying a BBQ lunch.
Cost:    $6.30/person, $10.45/pair, $16.75/family, cost of BBQ is extra.

School Programs

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.

Food and drink

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 and Boxed Lunches are available from May 17 to September 3 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays, from 10:30 am until 4 pm, rain or shine. Indoor tea service can be arranged for groups during the rest of the year. Reservations are recommended to avoid disappointment.

Tea on the Lawn

Billings-Tea on the lawThe afternoon 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). Reservations are highly recommended. Please call the museum at 613-247-4830.

Because we use the freshest ingredients possible, it's best to contact the museum at 613-247-4830 for the daily menu. 

Boxed Lunch

If you're interested in refreshments but would prefer a more casual meal than the Tea on the Lawn service, the museum can 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. Please call ahead to avoid disappointment.

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 or drinking is permitted in the exhibition spaces.

Collections and exhibits

Artefact collections

A large portion of the Billings Estate National Historic Site artefact collection received Canadian Cultural Property designation in 1996 because of its significance as material evidence of the historic development of the nation's capital. The eclectic collection contains more than 27,000 artefacts - many of which are on exhibition at the museum - that belonged to the family and their neighbours, including furniture, household goods, personal possessions, an extensive library, tools, entomological specimens, agricultural equipment and a 1959 Cadillac. 

Exhibits

The museum's exhibitions are designed to tell the stories of the estate and the community's evolution over more than 150 years, beginning in 1812 when the Billings family settled on the Rideau River.

Permanent Exhibition - The Billings Family Story

Always at the museum is our permanent exhibition that explores the story of pioneers carving out from the wilderness a new life, the progress of relationships and families through good times and bad, the history of industry and agriculture in the area, and the community that grew over the years.

Interactive features like a touch-screen family tree, audio recordings of poetry readings and the Oath of Allegiance, as well as radio programs from days long gone by round out the experience, with telescopes showing a peek into the past. We've made sure there's a scavenger hunt for our young visitors, too. An accessible audio tour is also available.

Venue rentals

wedding ceremony

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. 

Weddings and Special Events

Beautiful gardens, historic buildings, and open green space are complemented by a gorgeous antique staircase for photographers to capture your memories. Dressing rooms for the bridal party and special guests are available. Choose your own caterer to make sure your event is exactly how you’ve always dreamed it would be.

Corporate Meetings and Retreats

Need a change of scenery for your meeting, retreat or corporate function? Recharge your company’s batteries at this National Historic Site, which offers modern meeting rooms and equipment in a unique heritage setting.

Birthday Parties

Birthday boys and girls can have a blast from the past when they host their birthday party at Billings Estate. The estate has plenty of green space to run around and several indoor and outdoor spaces ideal for celebrating in a fun and safe environment. Parents can plan their own activities, or work with our team to incorporate some of the museum’s favourite kids' programs into their celebration.

Amenities for Rentals Include

  • Large marquee tent (30’x50’) with wooden floor and electrical outlets
  • Small tent (20’x20’) with stone floor (available outside of Tea on the Lawn service hours)
  • Tables and chairs for 150 guests
  • Commercial kitchen (available outside of Tea on the Lawn service hours)
  • Two private rooms for up to 20 people
  • Staff to facilitate set-up and take-down
  • More than 8 acres of gardens for photos and activities
  • Technical equipment: TV, VCR, projector, fixed screen, easel/flip chart
  • Free parking

You can book your outdoor special event up to 18 months in advance, and your indoor events can be booked up to 6 months in advance.

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 museums@ottawa.ca.

Accessibility

Work with us to shape your experience. Contact the museum before your visit to discuss your needs. Information about accessibility at the facility, programs, and services is available upon request.

The accessibility features of this facility are detailed below. While the City of Ottawa is constantly working to improve access, please note that not all parts of every facility are necessarily 'accessible for all' as facilities were built to meet accessibility standards of their time.

Parking

  • 2 designated parking spaces 
  • Accessible path of travel from the parking lot to entrance
  • 100 metres from parking space to the door

Passenger Loading Zone

  • Access aisle

Entrance/Exit

  • 2 accessible entrances (Main House and Tombstone Garage)
  • Ramp
  • Wide door for wheelchair passage
  • Automatic door opener
  • Direct access to the main floor, lobby, elevator

Interior

  • Accessible seating available
  • Wheelchair available for patrons

Reception desks

  • Accessible counters
  • Floor area for manoeuvring a wheelchair

Signage

  • Directional signs
  • High contrast signage
  • Large lettering

Washrooms

  • Accessible washrooms on 1st floor and basement
  • Large stalls to allow transfers

Telephone

  • Volume control
  • Accessible path

Museums/Galleries/Archives

  • 2 exhibition spaces are accessible
  • Non FM-loop system avaliable
  • Good visbility for patrons in wheelchairs
  • Interpretative labels/panels in large font

Learn more about special needs and accessible services.