Doors Open Ontario

Canadian Museum of Nature Doors Open Ottawa


Canadian Museum of Nature

The official name of the Canadian Museum of Nature building is the Victoria Memorial Museum Building. Most of the exhibitions and programs are offered here. This museum is proud to reside in the first building in Canada created to house a national museum. It is a national historic site and the birthplace of Canada's national museums. The Victoria Memorial Museum Building's chief architect and designer, David Ewart, created a fanciful castle-like structure that has been described as Scottish baronial in design. Ewart's structures reflect the Romanesque and medieval styles of Europe, with a combination of Tudor and Gothic features. The massing and interior articulation of the building are influenced by the beaux-arts style, which stressed symmetrical, axial plans. The architecture was intended to mirror the Centre Block of Canada's original Parliament Buildings, one mile due north of the museum's site. Despite the influence of European styles, the building is firmly rooted in Canadian reality. It is one of the first public buildings to incorporate into its design animals and plants found in Canada – in windows, exterior walls and interior embellishments, as well as the two carved moose heads that guard the main entrance. Renewal of the museum was completed and the renovated museum building was celebrated on May 22, 2010 – the International Day for Biological Diversity. The Queen dedicated the new glass tower, called the Queens' Lantern, named for both Victoria and Elizabeth II. As part of Digital Doors Open, take the self-guided online tour, search their digital collections or explore the many online exhibits. Get started by taking the highlights tour shown below or here. Or explore the juxtaposition of music and nature with nature-inspired musical performances.

Tell us your story about this site

  • Digital Doors Open
  • Virtual tour
  • Video
  • Collections and resources
  • Kid-friendly
  • National Historic Site (Canada)

Contact info

240 McLeod Street
Ottawa, Ontario


Architect: David Ewart
Building type: Attraction, Historical landmark, Museum

Dates/hours open

Friday January 1 – Friday December 31, 2021
Part of Digital Doors Open Ottawa

Canadian Museum of Nature 240 McLeod Street