Billings Estate National Historic Site

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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: 

Wednesday - Sunday
10 am to 4:30 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) - $18.00

*Special pricing may apply for programs and events.

Programs and special events

Takeaway Tea Box

Fridays and Sundays: May 27, May 29, June 3, June 5, June 12, June 17, June 24 and June 26.
Pick-up times between 11:30 am and 3:30 pm.
Cost: $11.30 per serving.
Orders: Advance orders are required. Call 613-580-2088 ext. 35258 by Thursday at noon.

Treat yourself to a delicious, freshly prepared, single-serving spin on our popular three-tier tea service. Enjoy as a picnic on the beautiful museum grounds or in the comfort of your home. Each Takeaway Tea box includes a scone, sweet treats, finger sandwiches, and a beverage – try our special Billings Blend tea, inspired by the gardens of family matriarch Lamira Billings, or select another refreshment of choice: tea (several varieties available), coffee, hot chocolate, iced tea (unsweetened), or lemonade.

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.

Stay tuned for updates on the return of our seated Tea on the Lawn service in July! (Schedule subject to change).

Antique Car Show

Sunday, June 19 from 10 am to 3 pm.
Cost: $7.25 per person; $12 per pair; $19.25 per family (two adults and accompanying children).

Antique car owners are invited to display and share stories about their vehicles. Cast your vote for the fan favourite car, explore the museum, take a guided transit-themed tour of estate grounds, and enjoy a family-friendly interactive scavenger hunt for added fun. Relax with a cool refreshment or a bite to eat fresh from the barbeque (cash, credit, and debit accepted).

If you are interested in registering your antique vehicle, please contact Larysa.Voss@Ottawa.ca (613-580-2088 ext.35255) for more information or complete the online registration form

Note: This program will run rain or shine. Please wear appropriate footwear for uneven, grassy, and gravel terrain. As many of the showcased vehicles are owned by community members, the number of participating vehicles may vary throughout the day. Inclement weather may also impact the number of vehicles.

Tea on the lawn

Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays from July 3, 2022 through September 4, 2022. 
Seatings are available at 11 am and 1:30 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.

2022 Menu and Prices

  • Three-tier service for one: $19.80
    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: $38.85 Two pots of tea; finger sandwiches; two scones with butter and jam; desserts.
    Admission to the museum for two visitors is included.
  • Cream Tea: $6.25
    Pot of tea; scone with jam and Devon cream.

Reservations are strongly recommended. Walk-ins may be accommodated if capacity allows. To make a reservation, call 613-580-2088 ext. 35258 by 4 pm on the Wednesday prior to your desired visit. Reservations will open for the season on June 22, 2022.

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.

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. 

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.

Update (March 1, 2022): Renters of City facilities may choose to request proof of vaccination. In such cases, the Ontario enhanced vaccine certificate (QR code), confirming you have received two doses of a Health Canada approved vaccine, is the only option accepted for proof of vaccination.

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, 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.