Exploring Ottawa’s heritage homes: a historical neighbourhood guide

Ottawa’s heritage homes and historical neighbourhoods offer a glimpse into the lives, styles and cultures of past eras. From the vibrant energy of the ByWard Market to the elegance of Rockcliffe Park, each neighbourhood tells a unique story that contributes to Ottawa’s past and present treasures. 

Here are five early Ottawa neighbourhoods worth touring:

  1. ByWard Market: One of the oldest and most iconic neighbourhoods, the ByWard Market is a hub of cultural activity. Wander its cobblestone streets to view charming 19th-century buildings that have been transformed into bustling markets, boutiques and eateries. The Bytown Museum provides insight into the area’s origins, while Notre-Dame Cathedral stands as an architectural masterpiece with stained glass windows and detailed woodwork.
  2. The Glebe: Just south of downtown Ottawa, the Glebe is known for its artsy vibe and historic charm. This neighbourhood showcases a mix of Tudor, Victorian and Craftsman-style homes. Explore boutiques, cafés and galleries along Bank Street and don’t forget to take a walk to the Aberdeen Pavilion  the last surviving Victorian-era exhibition hall in Canada  for local events, markets and recreational activities.
  3. Wellington Village: With a blend of past and present, Wellington Village showcases Ottawa’s diverse heritage. The neighbourhood features a variety of heritage architectural styles and charming early 20th-century homes and storefronts. Unwind at Hintonburg Park and snap a photo of the Parkdale Market’s historic clock tower.
  4. Centretown: Situated at the heart of Ottawa, Centretown boasts a blend of historic and modern architecture. Among the finds is the Laurier Avenue East Heritage District, with row houses dating to the late 19th century. Be sure to visit the Canadian Museum of Nature, housed in a stunning 100-year-old, castle-like building. 
  5. Rockcliffe Park: Known for its grand mansions and vibrant landscapes, Rockcliffe Park is Ottawa’s most exclusive area. Take a stroll through the scenic pathways that wind through lush gardens and picturesque views of the Ottawa River. The Rockcliffe Park Heritage Conservation District offers a glimpse into the neighbourhood’s history and architectural significance.

If you prefer guided tours, Heritage Ottawa holds regular walking tours of Ottawa’s neighbourhoods, usually on Sundays. This year’s tour season runs until Oct. 15.

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