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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

The museum is now closed for the regular season. Special programming is offered throughout the year. 

Please see our Upcoming Events and Programs listing below, subscribe to our monthly "At your museum" eNewsletter, or follow us on Facebook for information on special programs and events over the winter months. Times may vary for special events and programs.

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.

Stay connected

Find us on Facebook or sign up for our monthly "At your museum" eNewsletter

Upcoming Events and Programs

Mid-Winter Challenge at Billings Estate

Saturdays, February 2, 9 and 16 from 12 pm to 4 pm
Ages: Adults or families with children ages 10 and up
Cost: $6.50 single; $10.75 pair; $17.25 family

Are you ready for a challenge 190 years in the making? Cold winters brought early settlers at Gloucester Township together. Team up with your friends and family to test your mental and physical skills as you explore the Estate in this self-guided challenge. Face off against a series of challenges inspired by 19th century winter life on the Billings farm to see if you have what it takes.

Note: Final admission to participate in the Mid-Winter Challenge will be at 3:30 pm. Challenges will take place both indoors and outdoors. Please check the forecast and dress for weather conditions. In the event of extreme cold (e.g. frostbite advisory), this program will not run as scheduled. Please contact the museum at 613-580-2088 or visit our Facebook page for updates.

Preschool Playdates

Fridays, February 1, 8, 15, and 22 from 10 am to 11 am
Ages: 3 to 5 years old
Cost: $6.65 per child

Enjoy a morning of discovery with your preschooler and explore different themes in local history through play and hands-on activities at the museum.

The program ends at 11 am but the space will be available until 11:30 am for socializing. Parents are encouraged to pack a light lunch or snack (nut-free).

Registration is required. A minimum of 5 registered participants is required for a session to run. Please use the barcode below to register for your desired dates using Service Ottawa’s online registration system. If you do not already have a family account, please create one before registering.

Themes

February 22 – Transportation (barcode: 1474001)
Registration deadline: Friday, February 15

Note: A parent or guardian must accompany the participating child. Admission for the parent/guardian is free. Some programs may include an outdoor activity. Parents are advised to check the forecast and to have weather-appropriate attire on hand.

Artisanal Sourdough Workshop

Saturday, March 16 from 12:45 pm to 5 pm
Ages: 16 and up
Cost: $70 + tax (registration is required)

Learn the art, and science, of sourdough bread making with Elle Crevits (Elle est Verte). Connect with the history of bread making and prepare your very own loaf of sourdough bread to bake. You will leave with the skills and knowledge required to carry on this delicious tradition at home. 

This hands-on workshop will cover sourdough starter; kneading; autolyze; proofing; shaping; scoring, and; baking. There will be ample time for questions with our visiting expert and, of course, some sampling of fresh baked bread.

Enjoy the ambiance of Ottawa’s oldest wood-framed house and an introduction to the history of the Billings family and surrounding community. 

Registration

The registration deadline is Sunday, March 10. A minimum of 6 participants is required for the session to run.

Barcode: 1476913

Please use the barcode to register using Service Ottawa’s online registration system. If you do not already have a family account, please create one before registering.

Note: All bread making ingredients and supplies are included in the cost of registration. Please bring a mixing bowl or bread pan and clean cotton towel to carry your bread dough home.

Mix it up! – Mix up the Garden

March 11 to March 15
Ages 7 – 12
Various locations

Join us at your local Ottawa Public Library branch for some March Break fun! Get hands-on with garden soil, mix up a homemade pest repellent, and plant your own seed to grow at home!

For more information and to register, visit the “Programs and Events” page on the Ottawa Public Library website and search “Billings Estate National Historic Site”. Registration opens on Wednesday, February 13 at 10 am.

Note: This program will be delivered in English with bilingual staff (English/French) available to assist.

Monday, March 11

  • Sunnyside branch (2:00 pm)

Tuesday, March 12

  • Manotick branch (10:30 am)

Wednesday, March 13

  • Greely branch (10:30 am)

Thursday, March 14

  • Greenboro branch (10:30 am)

Friday, March 15

  • Stittsville branch (2:00 pm)

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.

 

Tea on the Lawn

Tea on the Lawn

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays from May 16, 2018 to September 2, 2018.

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. 

2018 Menu and Prices

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.

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.

 

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.

To enquire about volunteering, please contact heritagevolunteers@ottawa.ca.

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.