The City of Ottawa Archives welcomes all researchers: students, genealogists, City employees and anyone with a keen interest in history. If you have specific historical questions about Ottawa, reference staff can provide assistance.
Discover Ottawa's hidden treasures. Research your house and family, or explore more than three million photographs. The City of Ottawa Archives are the caretakers of Ottawa’s history, preserving original documents on behalf of past, present and future generations.
At the Archives you have access to a wide range of resources including photographs, maps, architectural drawings and artifacts. The 16,000-volume specialized reference library holds unique resource materials on the history and development of the City of Ottawa. Over 20 kilometres of records are kept in our climate-controlled vaults.
Types of Records
The City of Ottawa Archives has two main types of records in its collection: civic government records and community records.
Civic government records include records of the City of Ottawa, as well as the 12 former municipalities. There are also records from the Ottawa Public Library; Police, Fire and Emergency Services; and OC Transpo. Some items include:
- Original by-laws
- Original minutes from City Council and Council Committees
- Assessment rolls
- Historical maps
- Historical photographs of major civic events
- Historical plans of major structures
Community records include the records of individuals, families, businesses and organizations who have contributed meaningfully to and further enhance our understanding of the history, and evolution of Ottawa. Some examples from our collections include:
- The Billings, Lett and Ogilvy family papers
- The United Church of Canada (Ottawa and the Seaway Valley)
- The Royal Ottawa Sanatorium (now the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre)
- The Historical Society of Ottawa
- The Central Canada Exhibition Association
If you have items that you are interested in donating, please contact the Central Archives Reference Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org.