Some bike tours of Ottawa take in Rideau Hall—home to 175 rooms and host of many state events—though many folks visit independently. Guided tours of the grounds are available daily May to October, and the residence itself is open for tours year-round; check the website for schedules and reservation information and arrive early on busy holiday weekends. If you’re there in summertime, don’t miss the popular changing of the guard ceremony.
Things to Know Before You Go
Rideau Hall is ideal for those who appreciate history, art, and architecture, as well as for all first-time visitors to Ottawa.
All activities, including tours, are free of charge.
Take a picnic to enjoy in the landscaped park, on the lawn, or with the kids in a play area.
Cricket games are played on the lawn during summer, and an outdoor skating rink is available in winter.
The residence and grounds are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers; the latter are available to borrow at the visitor center and the residence.
How to Get There
Rideau Hall is located at 1 Sussex Drive, across the street from the official residence of Canada’s prime minister. It is easily and quickly accessible from downtown Ottawa by public transit, car, taxi, or bicycle. Street parking is available in the neighborhood.
When to Get There
Rideau Hall is typically open from 8am until one hour before sunset throughout the year. The visitor center is open May to October. Activities and special events take place year-round; note that visiting dignitaries and various goings-on may affect opening hours and access.
The History of Rideau Hall
Built in 1838, Rideau Hall became home to Canada’s governor general in 1867. The 175-room Federal Heritage Building is the site of various ceremonies and state affairs, and where the British royal family stays when visiting the capital. The grounds reflect Canada’s diversity and openness through art, artifacts, and horticulture and the gates are flanked by the Governor General’s Foot Guards, recognizable for their red coats and tall bearskin hats.
- Royal Canadian Mint
- ByWard Market
- Ottawa Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica
- National Gallery of Canada (Musée des Beaux-Arts du Canada)
- Canadian Museum of History
- Ottawa Locks
- Rideau Canal
- Confederation Square
- Ottawa Parliament Hill
- Canadian Museum of Nature
- Canadian War Museum
- Canada Aviation and Space Museum
- Preston Street (Little Italy)
- Gatineau Park