Ottawa Archives: Giving you access to Ottawa’s historical puzzle

Published on
December 19, 2023
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This story is part of the City of Ottawa Service Reviews: an initiative aimed at ensuring our services are meeting your needs. Visit today.  

Feature story 

A liveable city means many things to many people. To us, a big part of it involves Ottawa residents feeling a sense of community and seeing themselves as important pieces that make up Ottawa’s historical puzzle. Ottawa Archives is helping us build this puzzle. 

Ottawa is a diverse, vibrant and inclusive place, and that is demonstrated in the dynamic mosaic of the stories we aim to tell. The Tapestry Initiative is our collaborative approach to preserving the cultural memory and history of Ottawa’s communities, reflecting the rich tapestry that makes up our city. Through this initiative, we partner with communities and individuals to record and preserve elements of the past and present that will help guide us into the future.  

Tapestry presents: Stories from Ottawa’s Chinese-Canadian Community is currently open at Gallery 112 in Ottawa until Saturday, March 16, 2024. This display features newly acquired material from Ottawa’s Chinese-Canadian community, highlighting community advocacy and promoting cross-cultural understanding. It features investigations into Chinese-Canadian media issues, community-police relations, and over 100 years of community history from early immigration to modern-day Chinatown. 

We encourage you to visit this display. In order for us to continue to build Ottawa’s historical puzzle, we need to understand our history. You can learn more about The Tapestry Initiative on 

A gallery room filled with display cases, featuring blue walls with photos from the Stories from Ottawa’s Chinese-Canadian Community.

Other exhibits and events 

Ottawa Archives is proud to host various public events and exhibits throughout the city all year long. There are many permanent displays and temporary exhibits that you can check out. 

In addition to the Tapestry exhibit at Gallery 112, visitors to the Ottawa Rocks! – Reunion Tour exhibit in the Barbara Ann Scott Gallery at Ottawa City Hall will have the opportunity to learn, engage with, and reminisce about the many rock musicians who have played in our city from 1950 to 2012. Ottawa Rocks! is running until September 3, 2025.  

A gallery room filled with display cases, featuring a brick wall with photos from the Ottawa Rocks! – Reunion Tour exhibit.

You can learn more about our exhibits and events on

Fact sheet: Ottawa Archives and how we can help you 

  • The key functions of the Ottawa Archives are to determine which official records have archival value and to authorize the destruction of records that do not. 

  • We are the City’s preserver, champion and defender of the corporate records that document the rights, privileges and obligations of the City and its residents. 

  • We also document the lives of Ottawans, the activities of businesses and other organizations and their contributions to the community, and aid Ottawa’s diverse communities in managing their own archival records.  

  • Our non-circulating library welcomes researchers from all walks of life, from students and genealogists to City employees and anyone with a keen interest in history. We act as a hub for researchers to conduct their own innovative inquiries while striking a balance between the past and the future. 

  • In addition to documents relating to the history of Ottawa, our collection includes over three million photographs and numerous maps and drawings. We can help you learn more about the history of a particular property or street, building or park naming. 

  • The Central Archives are located at the James K. Bartleman Centre, but we also have a branch at the Rideau Archives in North Gower. You can visit to learn how to access and review archival materials

he James K. Bartleman Centre on a sunny day. There are plants and landscaping décor in the foreground and a piece of public art is prominent.

Your city, your ideas! 

This feature story is another example of how the City uses innovation and best practices to help ensure that you have access to information about the history of our beautiful city. Do you have ideas related to this or other City services? Share your ideas at  

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