Arts Court

In 1974, a dedicated group of artists and arts supporters pursued a vision: to find a home for Ottawa’s professional arts producers and presenters. In 1978, Mayor Marion Dewar’s Advisory Group on the Arts recommended the establishment of a municipal arts centre, an arts council, an arts festival, and a permanent art collection for the City.

Before Arts Court was an arts centre, it served as the Carleton County Court House. Built for this purpose between 1870 and 1871, the Court House was part of a legal precinct that included the former Carleton County Jail, the Carleton County Registry Office, and the former City Registry Office on Nicholas Street.

The building was designated for demolition by the Ontario Government in 1980. However, in 1985, the City of Ottawa took ownership of the building and designated the Ottawa Arts Court Foundation trustees as its custodians. It came back to life and became Ottawa’s central arts hub in 1988.

Location and contact

In-person visiting hours

*Follow building health protocols.

  • Saturday, June 3 2023
    10am to 4pm

Virtual and 3D Tours

This building does not offer virtual or 3D tours.


Architect/Builder on record
Robert Surtees
Architectural style
Italianate style
Construction date or date range
Galleries and theatres

Amenities and features

  • Public washrooms
  • Accessible access
  • Bike parking
  • Metered/paid parking
  • Family friendly
  • OC transpo nearby