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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.

Location and Hours

Location      

2100 Cabot Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1H 6K1

Tel.: 613-580-2088
Fax: 613-247-4832
Email: museums@ottawa.ca

Hours

Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm from May 13 through October 28, with special programming offered throughout the year. Times may vary for special events and/or programs. Be sure to check all listings for more details.

The Tea on the Lawn service is available on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays from May 16 to September 2. Reservations are recommended.

Admission

Unless otherwise indicated, regular admission fees apply.

Adults - $6.50
Seniors and Students - $5.50
Youth - $4.00
Families (two adults and unlimited children) - $16.00
Children 5 and under are free

Group rates available upon request. Additional fees may be applicable to some special events and programs.

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Upcoming Events and Programs

Culture Days

Saturday, September 29 and Sunday, September 30 from 10 am to 4 pm

Explore our shared local history during this fall’s Culture Days celebrations! Enjoy a guided tour of the city’s oldest wood-framed house and experience the stories of Ottawa’s development through the eyes of one of its earliest settler families, the Billings. Learn something new at Billings Estate National Historic Site!

Cost: Free admission

Fairy Tale Frightfest

Sunday, October 21 from 10 am to 4 pm

Join us for a family-friendly Halloween celebration. Characters from your favourite stories have taken over the Estate! Come dressed in your costume and explore Ottawa-inspired fairy tale realms. Complete fun Halloween activities, or tricks, to enjoy a delicious treat. *Please dress appropriately for weather conditions; activities will take place both indoors and outdoors.

Cost: $17.25 family; $6.50 single; $10.75 pair

Victorian Séance

Sunday, October 21 and Sunday, October 28 from 7 pm to 9 pm
Ages 18 and up

Discover one of the more mysterious sides of Victorian history with a traditional séance led by a psychic medium. Did you know… spiritualism was a popular trend of the Victorian era reflecting a widespread fascination with questions of the afterlife as well as  the enigmatic workings of emerging communication technologies like the telegraph and telephone. Light refreshments will be served.

Cost: $31.25 per person

Barcode (Sunday, October 21): 1423963
Barcode (Sunday, October 28): 1423964

Registration is required. You can register for this program using the City of Ottawa’s online registration system. Enter the program barcode in the box labelled “Search for programs by barcode”. Click “Add” and log in to complete registration. If you do not already have an account, click “Create new family account”. 

School Programs

School Programs and Educational Activities are offered for students from kindergarten to Grade 8 from Wednesday to Friday during the months of May, June, September and October.

 

Haunted House on the Hill

Fridays and Saturdays: October 12, 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27 beginning at 7 pm.
Recommended for adult audiences.*Children under 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.  

Confront your fears and leave the familiar behind as Billings Estate National Historic Site is transformed with new terrors and chilling sights around every turn. Dare yourself to set out into the darkness…Are you brave enough to face the Haunted House on the Hill?

Cost: $10.65 per person.

Tickets

Purchasing tickets online:

To purchase your tickets online, please follow the steps outlined below. You can also purchase tickets by touch-tone phone at 613-580-2588.

If you do not already have a Family Account with Service Ottawa, please create one before proceeding.

If you wish to purchase tickets for additional family members who are not listed on your Family Account, please make sure to update your Family Account before proceeding. If you require assistance adding additional guests, please contact one of the museums listed below (Tuesday – Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm). Note: Once a ‘family member’ has been added to your Family Account, changes can only be made by calling Service Ottawa at 3-1-1; calling or visiting a recreation or culture facility; or visiting a Client Service Centre.

  1. On the Service Ottawa landing page, click Activity Search in the menu bar at the top of the page.
  2. Type “Haunted” in the Containing Keyword box.
  3. Click on the Show Courses box below GI – Haunted House on the Hill.
  4. Find your preferred timeslot – there are six timeslots to choose from each evening. Note: To ensure the best possible experience for all participants, departures are staggered within each timeslot and will be by group of four.
  5. For more information about a desired timeslot, click View Details. When ready to complete your purchase, click Add and follow the on-screen instructions.

Online tickets must be purchased by 5 pm on the evening you wish to attend.

Each evening, a limited number of tickets for the last timeslot (10 pm) will be available for purchase on a first come, first serve basis at Billings Estate National Historic Site beginning at 6:30 pm. We recommend purchasing online to avoid disappointment.

Purchasing tickets at the museum:

Tickets can also be purchased by visiting the following museums Tuesday – Saturday between 10 am and 5 pm:

Please note:

You will experience audio effects, low lighting, low visibility, strobe-lights, fog, damp or wet conditions, special effects, sudden actions and a challenging physical environment with uneven ground and stairs. This experience is not fully accessible to all individuals.

Out of respect for the experience of others, no video, flash photography or flashlights are permitted.

Tickets are purchased for a specific date and time and cannot be exchanged or refunded once purchased.

Volunteer with Haunted House on the Hill

Join the cast and crew for one of Ottawa’s most chilling Halloween experiences! Volunteers are needed to fill roles as costumed cast members, production crew, makeup artists, and to assist with hospitality. Please note that volunteers must be 14 years of age or older.

Interested volunteers are invited to learn more by attending one of the following information sessions. Please complete the short online survey to RSVP for your preferred session.

If you have questions about volunteering with Haunted House on the Hill, please contact billingshalloween@ottawa.ca.

Tea on the Lawn

Tea on the Lawn

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays from May 16 to September 2.

Tea on the lawn is served overlooking our beautiful flower gardens and is a perfect way to relax and enjoy the grounds of this national historic site. Specializing in refreshments and baked goods made from scratch, our food service is a unique addition to the site. 

Tea and a scone with jam: $6.15 (including taxes)
Three-tier tea service for one: $14.70 (including taxes)
Three-tier tea service for two: $28.85 (including taxes) 
The three-tier tea service includes finger sandwiches, scones, and desserts.

Seatings are available at 10:30 am, 12:30 pm, and 2:30 pm. Reservations are recommended. Please call the Museum at 613-580-2088 ext. 35258. Because we use the freshest ingredients possible, please contact the Museum if you have any questions about the daily menu.

Special themed tea services are also offered at various times throughout the year. Please refer to our "Upcoming Events and Programs" listing for information.

Boxed Lunches

May 16 to September 2

If you’re interested in refreshments but prefer a more casual meal than our Tea on the Lawn service, boxed lunches are available and can be enjoyed while picnicking on the Museum grounds. Boxed lunches include one of the sandwiches being prepared for the day’s tea service, a dessert, a drink, and a piece of fruit. Please call ahead to avoid disappointment.

Cost: $7.65 per boxed lunch (including taxes)

Bring Your Own

Visitors are also welcome to bring their own snacks or meals and picnic in the park. To preserve the artefacts in the museum, no eating or drinking is permitted in the exhibition spaces.

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.

City in Motion: From Rivers to Roads

Opening May 13

Where rivers, portages, and roads met, First Nations people and European settlers made their homes. From Rivers to Roads interprets the significance of the Ottawa River for travel and trade as well as the subsequent development of road systems that facilitated movement further inland.

City in Motion explores all the ways Ottawa residents have travelled from point A to point B. Learn more about the region’s transportation history by visiting all four City in Motion exhibitions, each one expanding on a different theme. City in Motion is on display at Billings Estate National Historic Site, Cumberland Heritage Village Museum, Nepean Museum, and Pinhey’s Point Historic Site.

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.

 

Venue rentals

wedding ceremony

Billings Estate National Historic Site is a uniquely picturesque and tranquil setting just 10 minutes from downtown Ottawa. The 200-year-old house is surrounded by gardens and reigns over more than 8 acres of lush parkland that can accommodate parties from 15 to 150 guests.

An affordable and flexible option for your wedding, anniversary, or other celebration, Billings Estate offers modern facilities with historic character. Under our marquee tent or inside our meeting rooms, we can help make your gathering both beautiful and successful. 

Weddings and Special Events

Beautiful gardens, historic buildings, and open green space are complemented by a gorgeous antique staircase for photographers to capture your memories. Dressing rooms for the bridal party and special guests are available. Choose your own caterer to make sure your event is exactly how you’ve always dreamed it would be.

Corporate Meetings and Retreats

Need a change of scenery for your meeting, retreat or corporate function? Recharge your company’s batteries at this National Historic Site, which offers modern meeting rooms and equipment in a unique heritage setting.

Amenities for Rentals Include

  • Large marquee tent (30’x50’) with wooden floor and electrical outlets
  • Small tent (20’x20’) with stone floor (available outside of Tea on the Lawn service hours)
  • Tables and chairs for 150 guests
  • Commercial kitchen (available outside of Tea on the Lawn service hours)
  • Two private rooms for up to 20 people
  • Staff to facilitate set-up and take-down
  • More than 8 acres of gardens for photos and activities
  • Technical equipment: TV, VCR, projector, fixed screen, easel/flip chart
  • Free parking

You can book your outdoor special event up to 18 months in advance, and your indoor events can be booked up to 6 months in advance.

Book an appointment

The breathtaking beauty of Billings Estate must be seen to be believed. Make an appointment with our Customer Service Booking Clerk for a tour of our facility and to receive a full rental information package and application form. 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.