An inspiring visit to the Canadian Museum of History

Published on June 2 2022

With its impressive architecture and prime location in the heart of downtown Gatineau, the Canadian Museum of History stands out in the regions cultural landscape. Immerse yourself in one of its exhibits and be surprised by the discoveries you’ll make. 

An immersive experience

As we enter the Canadian Museum of History, we can’t help admiring its imposing façade and the stunning views of the Ottawa River and Parliament Hill. Before or after your museum visit, a walk in the surrounding park is a must to fully appreciate the beauty of the site. 

Once inside, we head to the reception desk to pick up our timed tickets. It’s recommended to buy them online in advance, on the museum’s website. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, the museum houses several exhibitions, including some temporary ones. Did you know that admission to most museums in the region is free on Thursday evenings? 

A definite must-see: Lost Liberties

Until September 5, 2022, the special exhibition Lost Liberties invites visitors to consider the War Measures Act and its impact on the Canadian population, from the First World War to the present day. 

As soon as we enter the gallery, we are immersed in a context where personal freedoms come into conflict with national security. The fences, barbed wire and structures surrounding each installation provide context and are designed to be thought-provoking. 

The exhibition is divided into three key periods: the First World War, the Second World War and the October Crisis. We see both sides of the coin: that of the political leaders, and that of the individuals whose rights and freedoms were severely affected. 

Through vivid testimonies, photos, audiovisual clips and artifacts, the full extent of these crises, which have shaped the political landscape in recent decades, is made clear. Marked by racism, fear and violence, these events have profoundly affected the lives of Canadians and those who have made Canada their home. The exhibition concludes by highlighting the year 2022 and the impact on personal freedoms of the COVID-19 pandemic and related protests. It even opens the discussion by inviting people to express their opinion on the following question: Security and freedoms: is a balance possible?  

In short, this exhibition reveals how far Canadians have come in times of war and invites us to appreciate the delicate fragility of our freedom, which should not be taken for granted. It will certainly pique your curiosity and make you want to know more. 

@Phil Tifo
@Phil Tifo

(Re)discovering history through fascinating exhibitions

Our visit continues in one of the permanent exhibition rooms, the Grand Hall, which leaves no one indifferent with its imposing totem poles, traditional Indigenous houses and huge windows that let in an abundance of natural light. If you take the staircase at the far end, look up to see the colourful and unique Morning Star mural. 

The Canadian History Hall, meanwhile, is particularly popular for its three complete galleries tracing Canada’s most significant moments, from its origins through colonization, political conflict and industrialization to the modern period. We deconstruct the chronology of events from yesterday to today and meet the people who have shaped our country. 

Finally, the First Peoples Hall captivates us with the richness of Indigenous culture, whose stories tell of the creation of the universe. Clothing, tools and symbolic objects open our eyes to a tradition that has endured since long before the Europeans arrived in North America. You will be fascinated by the myths, knowledge and diversity of the First Nations, who have so much to teach us. 

Whether you want to learn more about the origins of the First Peoples, the history of Canada through the centuries, or philately (the art of collecting stamps), the Canadian Museum of History is sure to have an exhibit that appeals to you. Once you’re inside, there’s no time limit on your visit, so you can stay as long as you like. One thing is certain: you’ll leave with your head full of discoveries, your curiosity satisfied and your eyes full of wonder. 


Did your museum visit whet your appetite? Extend your experience by discovering one of the 10 must-try restaurants in downtown Gatineau. 

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