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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.

Proof of vaccination required - Museums

As of September 22, 2021, you must present proof you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter an indoor museum.

Required proof

  • Proof you are fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated means you have received two doses of a Health Canada approved vaccine at least 14 days prior. The following are accepted:
    • Electronic or hard copy of your vaccination receipt
    • Ontario enhanced vaccine certificate (QR code)
    • Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) vaccination booklet
    • Confirmation of vaccination issued by another jurisdiction
  • Valid identification that shows name and date of birth and has been issued by an institution or public body. Photo identification is not required and the identification does not need to be government-issued.

Exceptions

  • Age 11 and under
  • Those with a documented medical exemption from a doctor or nurse practitioner.

Hours and admission

Billings Estate National Historic Site is now open for indoor visits. 

Book your visit now.

Hours of operation: 

Wednesday – Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm
*Hours of operation may vary for programs and events.

The museum will be open for extended hours (until 8 pm) on December 10, 11, 17 and 18.

Holiday Guided Tours 
Saturday and Sunday afternoons - December 11, 12, 18, 19 from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm
Friday and Saturday evenings – December 10, 11, 17, 18 from 4 pm to 7 pm
Book your visit online.

Regular Admission: 

Adult - $7.25
Students and seniors - $6.00
Youth (ages 6 to 17) - $4.25
Child (5 and under) – Free
Family (2 adults and accompanying children under 18) - $17.50

*Special pricing may apply for programs and events.

Planning a COVID-wise visit

Help reduce the risk of transmission by being COVID-wise! More information can be found on the Ottawa Public Health website.

  • Only visit the museum with members of your household.
  • Masks are required inside museum buildings including the lobby, exhibition spaces, and washrooms, as well as outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Maintain two meters of distance from others outside your household.
  • If you or a member of your group is not feeling well, cancel your visit by calling 613-580-2088 or emailing museums@ottawa.ca.
  • Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is available in the lobby area but bringing your own is recommended.
  • Please note that as a public health precaution, interactive (hands-on) elements of the exhibitions are not available at this time.

Programs and special events

Takeaway Christmas Tea

Saturdays and Sundays, December 4 – 19
Pick-up times between 11 am and 3 pm
Cost: $19.40 per box

Indulge in our traditional Christmas Tea in the comfort of your own home. Our popular Takeaway Tea boxes return this December with a festive twist including delicious seasonal sandwiches, beverage, scone and mini desserts, all prepared or baked in house with fresh ingredients. Guided tour of the museum is included. Orders are open now.

How to order:

To order, call 613-580-2088 ext. 35258 by noon on the Wednesday prior to our preferred pick-up date. Quantities are limited; we recommend placing your order early.

  • Please note 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 the availability of ingredients.
  • If you are interested in taking a guided tour of the museum (included in the price of the Takeaway Tea box), please let us know when placing your order. Tours will be scheduled to begin 30 minutes prior to your pick-up time. Proof of vaccination is required to tour the museum (it is not required for order pick-up). Masks are required to access all indoor museum spaces, including the lobby and washrooms.

Holiday Guided Tours

Saturday and Sunday afternoons - December 11, 12, 18, 19 from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm
Friday and Saturday evenings – December 10, 11, 17, 18 from 4 pm to 7 pm
Cost: Adult $7.25; Students and Seniors $6; Youth (ages 6-17) $4.25; Family (2 adults and accompanying children) $17.50; admission for children 5 and under is free.

We’ve decked the halls at Billings Estate National Historic Site. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the season and enjoy a special Christmas themed guided tour of the museum. Learn more about the Billings family, see life as an early settler family through their eyes, and take in the festive decorations that signal the arrival of the holidays at Ottawa’s oldest wood-framed house.

The museum will also be open for self-guided tours Wednesday – Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm through December 19. The museum will be open for extended hours (until 8 pm) on December 10, 11, 17 and 18.

Book your visit online. Reservations open two weeks in advance of your desired visit date. Visitors without a reservation will be admitted only if capacity allows.
*Please note that guided tours are delivered in English only.

Proof of vaccination is required for self-guided and guided tours. Masks are required to access all indoor museum spaces, including the lobby and washrooms.

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.

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.

Due to COVID-19 modified operations, 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 heritagevolunteers@ottawa.ca.

Rentals

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.

Please note: rentals must comply with all conditions of use in place for managing risks associated with COVID-19.

We are regularly updating our rental program according to public health guidelines. For more information, please contact our Customer Service Booking Clerk. Call 613-580-2088 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 available
  • Good visibility for patrons in wheelchairs
  • Interpretive labels/panels in large font

Learn more about special needs and accessible services.