Temporary exhibits

Explore the art that adds warmth and vibrancy to the streets, parks and plazas of Ottawa–Gatineau. Temporary exhibits in Canada’s Capital Region showcase artistic achievements from across the country, celebrate our diverse identity and highlight significant milestones in Canadian history.

Call for proposals of a graphic image

Canadian artists, graphic designers and illustrators between 18 and 30 years old are invited to submit an image that represents Canada’s diversity and uniqueness of today. The selected image will be reproduced and installed in the heart of Canada’s Capital from spring 2017 to spring 2018. Read the contest’s eligibility details and regulations and make sure to submit your image before May 1, 2017.

Art in the Capital

Many factors contribute to making a great capital region and public art is one of them. The Art in the Capital program exhibits public artworks created by Canadian artists in Canada’s Capital Region. These exhibits are seasonal and change every couple of years.

A number of thought-provoking, evocative and fun installations will be exhibited in Ottawa and Gatineau region during 2017/2018.

New: In Fine Feather

An unusual and exhilarating look at the migratory birds of Canada through the eyes of art students from Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick. This exhibit, which is a collaboration with Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment and Climate Change Canada and managed by Canadian Heritage, will be on display at Laurier Street, between Victoria and Hôtel-de-Ville Streets in Gatineau from spring until December 2017.

The theme was chosen to mark the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, one of the first wildlife conservation laws in the world.

The works of 14 incredibly talented art students are displayed in the exhibit:

Untitled (detail)
Kevin Melanson
Woodcut/monoprint (quadriptych)
  • Isabel Francolini – Red Knot, Common Nighthawk, Canada Warbler
  • Brenna MacMillan – Patterns
  • Lucy Koshan – Untitled (Migratory path of the Semipalmated sandpiper)
  • Savannah Harris – Flight
  • Hilary Drake – Lapland Longspur, Bicknell’s Thrush, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Orchard Oriole, Le Conte’s Sparrow, Blackpoll Warbler, Purple Sandpiper, White-rumped Sandpiper, Baltimore Oriole, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Smith’s Longspur, Golden-crowned Sparrow
  • Sylvan Hamburger – Border Crossing
  • Corryn Bamber – To and From
  • Nelligan Letourneau – Cedar Waxwing Duo, Pair of Yellow Warblers, Barn Swallow Buds
  • Melissa Brunet – 2 Homes
  • Adrian Kiva – Untitled
  • Emma Hoch – At Risk
  • Sara Camus – Hairy Woodpecker
  • Evan Furness – Last call from marshlands
  • Kevin Melanson – Untitled

Learn more about migratory birds evoked in the works on Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Continuing Exhibits

Until May 2018, discover for yourself the work of these Canadian artists who were initially presented in 2014 and 2015 at Passages insolites in Quebec, an event financed by the City of Quebec and produced by EXMURO arts publics.

Solitary by Diane Landry (in collaboration with Francis Labissonnière) at York Street /Jeanne d’Arc Courtyard in Ottawa.
Monumental Misunderstanding (in French only) by Francis Montillaud at Laurier/Portage Bridge in Gatineau.
The Odyssey (in French only) by Cooke-Sasseville at parc Montcalm-Taché in Gatineau.

Tipping Point by José Luis Torres at the Clarendon Courtyard in Ottawa.

We also invite you to pause for a public art break and admire sculptures from Canadian artists Marc-Antoine Côté and Randall Anderson. Until October 2017, their works are displayed on the public plazas on the south side of the Alexandra Bridge in Ottawa (across from the National Gallery of Canada).

Il/elle n’a pas de nom from Marc-Antoine Côté located on the Alexandra Bridge Plaza (photo Studio Versa)
Zoom! V2 from Randall Anderson located on the Alexandra Bridge Plaza (photo Studio Versa)

Art in the Capital is one of several programs of the Department of Canadian Heritage that exhibit seasonal public art projects throughout the Capital Region, allowing visitors and residents alike to see great Canadian art in an outdoor environment free of charge.

Art in the Courtyards

The Sussex Courtyards are a sequence of five inner courtyards located behind Sussex Drive, in the ByWard Market area of Ottawa. They are popular during the warmer seasons and represent an oasis of peace and shade for visitors and locals, as well as providing seating areas, cafe terraces, and boutiques.

The Art in the Courtyards program showcases Canadian art and artists, by presenting exhibits on a range of themes, in these unexpected outdoor locations.

In 2016, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in Canada. To mark this milestone, Art in the Courtyards 2016 honours the work of 16 women artists from across the country. These artworks were chosen from the Canada Council Art Bank, the largest collection of contemporary Canadian art in the world, which includes the work of over 1200 Canadian women artists.

Some reproductions of works in the Art in the Courtyards exhibition
  • Visonary and Daring – Canadian Women Artists
  • Kenojuak Ashevak – Autumn Spirits
  • Joyce Wieland – Laura Secord Saves Upper Canada
  • Molly Lamb Bobak – Rink Theme – Skaters
  • Eleanor Bond – IV Converting the Powell River Mill to a Recreation and Retirement Centre
  • Ghitta Caiserman – Untitled B (Homage to the Wallendas)
  • Marcelle Ferron – La rive et l’écorce
  • Betty Goodwin – Folded Shirt
  • Isabelle Hayeur – Décharge
  • Wanda Koop – Red Dot
  • Rita Letendre – Blues II
  • Landon Mackenzie – Winter 1984 (Animal in a Circle)
  • Sanaz Mazinani – Woman Reading on Bus, Tehran, Iran
  • Meryl McMaster – Jin
  • Daphne Odjig – Thunderbird Woman
  • Mary Pratt – Pears on a Green Glass Plate
  • Françoise Sullivan – Série Les Cormorans no 7

Château Laurier Terrace Exhibit

The Château Laurier Terrace Exhibit, overlooking the Ottawa Locks of the Rideau Canal

The lower terrace of the historic Fairmont Château Laurier is the ideal location for an annual outdoor exhibit. Overlooking the Ottawa Locks of the Rideau Canal, with views of Parliament, the Ottawa River, Canadian Museum of History and the Gatineau Hills, this image-based summer display adds to the enjoyment of such a scenic and breathtaking venue.

Confederation Boulevard Banners

Banners on Confederation Boulevard

Each year Canadian Heritage flies over 500 banners along Confederation Boulevard, the Capital’s ceremonial route in downtown Ottawa–Gatineau. The banners highlight Canada’s provinces and territories and special anniversaries.

  • Provincial and Territorial Banners
    • The colourful provincial and territorial banners provide a window on Canada. Each year we focus on a different theme to showcase the character of each part of the country.

  • Commemorative Banners
    • We also have special commemorative banner series that highlights significant milestones in Canadian history, Canadian culture and special events, the themes for which vary from year to year.

Decoding ART

Scan, listen and discover art in a whole new way with Decoding ART

The Decoding ART program uses modern technology to help interpret monuments and public art in Canada’s Capital Region. Visitors can access audio-visual capsules by scanning a QR code with their mobile device. The codes are found on Decoding ART signs located near select works.

Currently, the program offers interpretive clips for both adults and children at 14 different monuments and works of public art in Ottawa-Gatineau.

Plaza Bridge Photo Exhibit

The Plaza Bridge Photo Exhibit, located across from the National War Memorial

The Plaza Bridge, across from the National War Memorial, is the location of an annual outdoor image-based exhibit from May to October.

The exhibit is in a large and visually dynamic format, and offers visitors to Canada’s Capital engaging and interesting information on significant Canadian anniversaries, achievements or historical events.

The seasonal exhibits reflect and celebrate our country and our people through art. Find out more about other forms of commemorative and public art in Canada’s Capital Region.

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