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
Closed: December 19 through January 3.
January 4 through April 23, 2023:
Wednesday – Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm
Closed: Friday, April 7 (Good Friday)
- Adult, $7.25
- Students and seniors, $6
- Youth (ages 6 to 17), $4.25
- Child (5 and under), free
- Family (2 adults and accompanying children under 18), $18
Special pricing may apply for programs and events.
Tea on the lawn
Tea on the Lawn has closed for 2022. Thank you for a fantastic summer! 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
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.
*Exhibitions are currently only installed on the main floor of the museum. Access to the second floor may be restricted.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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)
- Wide door for wheelchair passage
- Automatic door opener
- Direct access to the main floor, lobby, elevator
- Accessible seating available
- Wheelchair available for patrons
- Accessible counters
- Floor area for manoeuvring a wheelchair
- Directional signs
- High contrast signage
- Large lettering
- Accessible washrooms on 1st floor and basement
- Large stalls to allow transfers
- Volume control
- Accessible path
Museums, galleries, and archives
- 2 exhibition spaces are accessible
- Non FM-loop system available
- Good visibility for patrons in wheelchairs
- Interpretive labels or panels in large font
Learn more about Inclusive Recreation and accessible services.