Billings Estate National Historic Site

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

Sunday : 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Monday : Closed
Tuesday : Closed
Wednesday : 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thursday : 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday : 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday : 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Location and contact

2100 Cabot Street
Ottawa ON K1H 6K1

museums@ottawa.ca

Tel.: 613-580-2088
Fax: 613-247-4832
 

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 FreeFrom 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. 

Hours and admission

Hours of operation

Winter hours:
Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm

Closed:

  • March 27 to April 4 (reopening April 5), with the exception of special events.
  • May 1 to May 14 (reopening May 15), with the exception of special events.

General admission 

  • Adult - $7.59
  • Students and seniors - $6.28
  • Play free: free general admission for children and youth (aged 17 and under) and accompanying adults.

*Please note that registration or admission fees may apply for programs and special events

Programs and special events

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

Notes:

  • 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 museums@ottawa.ca. 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 museums@ottawa.ca 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

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

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays from May 15, 2024 through September 1, 2024.
Seatings available at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:30 pm. 
Reservations open April 24, 2024. Details coming soon. 

When offered, seasonal or themed tea events 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 permanent exhibitions

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. 

Exhibitions

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.

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.

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 museums@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.

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

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
  • Large stalls to allow transfers

Telephone

  • 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.

Accessibility features

  • Entrance/Exit
  • Floor surfaces
  • Parking
  • Passenger loading zone
  • Signage
  • Washrooms