Billings Estate National Historic Site

On this page

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.

Hours and admission

Hours of operation

May 14, 2023 to September 3, 2023
Wednesday - Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm

April 26 to May 14, 2023
(regular maintenance and staff training)

Regular admission 

  • Adult - $7.40
  • Students and seniors - $6.12
  • Youth (ages 6 to 17) - $4.34
  • Child (5 and under) - free
  • Family (2 adults and accompanying children under 18) - $18.36

Play Free - From June 24, 2023 to September 3, 2023 regular admission to the museum for children and youth (17 years of age and under) will be free as part of the City of Ottawa’s Play Free initiative.

*Special pricing may apply for programs and events. 

Programs and special events

Doors Open Ottawa

Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 from 10 am to 5 pm
Admission is free

Did you know Billings Estate National Historic Site features Ottawa’s oldest wood-framed house and one of the city’s first community cemeteries? Today, this former hub of a farming community sits on 8 acres in the Alta Vista neighbourhood. You're invited to take in the museum’s park and gardens, main house, ice house, and cemetery as part of Doors Open Ottawa. Inside the main house, enjoy the primary exhibition highlighting the Billings family history alongside the development of early Gloucester Township. And don’t miss out on your final chance to see the Community Quilts exhibition! This exhibition showcases quilting as a tradition both past and present.

Guided tours (45 minutes) will be offered at 10 am (English), 11 am (English), 1 pm (English), 2 pm (French), 3 pm (English), and 4 pm (English). Please sign up for your preferred tour on arrival; space is limited. Visitors are also welcome to enjoy self-guided exploration of the museum and grounds. 

*The museum is located in a historic house. Due to building standards of the time, not all parts of the museum may be accessible to all. Please note that the second floor of the museum, including the Community Quilts exhibition, as well as some outbuildings, are accessible by stairs only. If you have event participation questions due to disability or have concerns regarding the accessibility of the event, please contact the museum by phone at 613-580-2088 or by email at Additional information about accessibility can be found on the museum web page.

Historic Cemetery Tours

Thursdays, June 15, July 20, and August 17 from 7:30 pm to 8:30
Ages 16 and up
Cost: $13.99 per person. Advance registration is required.

Explore a lesser-known corner of our park grounds on a guided tour of the Settler’s Cemetery. A museum interpreter will take you beyond the walls of our traditional exhibition spaces as you learn about life, death, burial, and disease in 19th century Gloucester Township. The cemetery is one of Ottawa’s oldest community cemeteries and members of several well-known early settler families are laid to rest within its gates, including the Billings, Evans, Brouse, and Firth families.

To register, visit Register Ottawa and search for your preferred session using the activity codes noted below.

June 15 – 55919
July 20 – 55950
August 17 - 55951


  • This program runs rain or shine. Please dress according to weather conditions. The route is largely outdoors and includes uneven, grassy, and gravel terrain.
  • Bug spray is recommended. Wooded areas can be habitats for ticks. For more information on preventing tick bites, please visit Ottawa Public Health.
  • If you have event participation questions due to disability or have concerns regarding the accessibility of the event, please contact the museum by phone at 613-580-2088 or by email at Additional information about accessibility can be found on the museum web page.

Father’s Day Car Show

Sunday, June 18 from 10 am to 3 pm
Cost: Adult - $7.40, Student/Senior - $6.12, Youth (ages 6 to 17) - $4.34, Child (5 and under) - free, Family (2 adults and accompanying children under 18) - $18.36. 

Treat your dad, paternal role model, or favourite car enthusiast to a day of family-friendly fun at Billings Estate National Historic Site. Pre-1990 vintage, antique, and classic car owners are invited to display and share stories about their vehicles. The Billings’ 1959 Cadillac Sedan de Ville will also be available to view. Visitors can cast their vote for the Fan Favourite car, explore the museum, and challenge the kids (or young at heart!) to an interactive scavenger hunt.

Car owners: If you are interested in registering to exhibit your pre-1990 vehicle at this event, please email for more information.

*This program takes place rain or shine. Please wear appropriate footwear for uneven, grassy, or gravel terrain. As many of the vehicles are owned by community members, the number of participating vehicles may vary throughout the day (or be impacted by inclement weather).

Tea on the lawn

Tea on the lawn

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays from May 17, 2023 through September 3, 2023 with seatings available at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:30 pm.  

Complement your visit to Billings Estate National Historic Site with Tea on the Lawn. Enjoy tea and freshly baked goods alongside our beautiful gardens. Our knowledgeable heritage staff are happy to highlight the unique history of the estate, making Tea on the Lawn a memorable (and delicious!) addition to your museum experience.

2023 Menu and Prices

  • Three-tier service for one: $17.87 plus tax
    Pot of tea; finger sandwiches; scone with butter and jam; desserts. Admission to the museum for one visitor is included.
  • Three-tier service for two: $35.07 plus tax
    Two pots of tea; finger sandwiches; two scones with butter and jam; desserts. Admission to the museum for two visitors is included.
  • Cream Tea: $5.53 plus tax
    Pot of tea; scone with jam and Devon cream.

Reservations open April 26, 2023. Reservations are required. To make a reservation, call 613-580-2088 ext. 35258 no later than 4 pm on the Wednesday prior to your desired visit and include the following information:

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Number of seats you would like to reserve
  • Preferred seating time (10:30 am, 12:30 pm, or 2:30 pm)
  • Food allergies or dietary restrictions

Large groups: Reservations of 10 or more guests must be confirmed by the tearoom coordinator. Please note that large groups will be divided between tables of four and/or six.

Additional notes:

  • Please indicate any food allergies or dietary restrictions when placing your order. We will make all reasonable efforts to accommodate these requests but may be limited in some instances by availability of ingredients.
  • The tent where tea is served has a patio stone floor which may be rough or uneven for guests with mobility devices. If you have questions or concerns regarding accessibility, please don’t hesitate to speak with a member of the museum staff when making your reservation.
  • Highchairs are available upon request.

When offered, seasonal or themed teas are listed under “Programs and Special Events”.

Picnic on the museum grounds

Visitors are welcome to bring their own snacks and picnic on the museum grounds. To preserve the artefacts in the museum, no eating or drinking is permitted in the exhibition spaces. Outside food is also not permitted in the tent where Tea on the Lawn is served.

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. 


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.

Temporary exhibition - Community Quilts

March 8, 2023 - June 4, 2023
Community Quilts celebrates quilting as a tradition both past and present. The exhibition showcases quilts created this past summer at Billings Estate National Historic Site by older adults from Ottawa West Community Support (Somerset House and Clementine House), South-East Ottawa Community Health Centre, and Elders from Inuuqatigiit – Centre of Inuit Children, Youth and Families. A pair of quilts and select needlework artefacts from the City of Ottawa Museums and Historic Sites collection will complement this display and highlight common threads in Ottawa’s quilting history. The quilting program and exhibition is supported by a grant from the New Horizons for Seniors Program (Employment and Social Development Canada).

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.

Billings Family virtual exhibition 

The Billings Family virtual exhibit, presented by the City of Ottawa Archives, gives a view of the Billings Family and their interactions with the growing city center of Ottawa and Billings Bridge Village. The histories are written from the perspective of one family’s experiences and activities, within the context of Ottawa’s development as a city.

Cabinet of Curiosities virtual exhibition

Cabinets of curiosities displayed the strange and the scientific, the weird and the wonderful. Our team has gone through our collections and picked out the artefacts that appeal most to them to create our very own cabinet of curiosities. You can enjoy this exhibition from the comfort of your own home while learning the history of each artefact and why it stood out to our staff. Enter Cabinet of Curiosities here!

Our volunteers

The City of Ottawa Museums are committed to offering residents meaningful and rewarding volunteer experiences.

Heritage volunteers play an invaluable role in preserving our unique heritage and in providing museum visitors of all ages with opportunities to appreciate our shared story.

Thank you to all our volunteer team members for their continued support.

The museums are not currently accepting new volunteers. If you have any questions about the volunteer program or would like to be notified when volunteering resumes, please contact


Reminiscent of a country estate, the nearly 200-year-old manor house and surrounding eight acres of landscaped greenspace and gardens provide a picturesque and historical backdrop for your special event.

For more information, please contact our Customer Service Booking Clerk. Call 613-580-2088 or email


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.


  • 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


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


  • Accessible seating available
  • Wheelchair available for patrons

Reception desks

  • Accessible counters
  • Floor area for manoeuvring a wheelchair


  • Directional signs
  • High contrast signage
  • Large lettering


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


  • Volume control
  • Accessible path

Museums, galleries, and archives

  • 2 exhibition spaces are accessible
  • Good visibility for patrons in wheelchairs
  • Interpretive labels or panels in large font

Learn more about Inclusive Recreation and accessible services.