Are you planning a trip to Ottawa? Indeed, it’s a beautiful city to visit in any season, for its architecture and its parks. As this is Canada’s national capital, there are many monuments and statues of various persons and events important to Canada’s history.
While developing our Ottawa Tourist Scavenger Hunt, we identified several statues that are worth your time. More specifically, here are 12 statues, each honoring an individual significant to Canada’s history. Some monuments include many statues. A separate list of significant monuments has already been published.
12 Statues in Ottawa you should see
- Oscar Peterson
- The monument commemorating Oscar Emmanuel Peterson (1925-2007), a Canadian-born Canadian jazz composer and pianist, is located near the National Arts Center, at the corner of Albert and Elgin Streets.
- He won 8 Grammy Awards during his 60-year career and has published over 200 recordings. He is considered, by connoisseurs, as one of the greatest jazz pianists.
- The sculpture is the work of Ruth Abernethy.
- Samuel de Champlain
- Located atop Napean Point, Samuel de Champlain’s statue is unmistakable. Napean Point is where the Alexandra Bridge runs from Ottawa to Gatineau, close to the National Arts Gallery.
- He explored and mapped the Ottawa River to the site of Ottawa in 1613. His statue is located where Samuel de Champlain took his solar observations during his 1615 expedition.
- Terry Fox
- A statue of Terry Fox (1958-1981) is located on the south side of Wellington Street, facing Parliament.
- He became well known in 1980 when he started his Marathon of Hope. Fox suffered a car accident in 1976 that triggered osteosarcoma, a form of cancer, in his leg. At the time, the only treatment possible is to amputate his leg.
- He begins the Marathon of Hope with an artificial leg, jogging from the Atlantic Ocean in St. John’s, Newfoundland with the intention of traveling to the Pacific Ocean in Victoria, British Columbia.
- After crossing the Atlantic Provinces, Quebec and much of Ontario, he stopped in Thunder Bay due to pain. Doctors discover metastases to his lungs. He died soon after.
- Sir Wilfrid Laurier
- A large statue of Sir Wilfrid Laurier is on Parliament Hill facing Wellington Street, close to the Rideau Canal.
- Sir Wilfrid Laurier (1841-1919) was the first francophone Prime Minister and the 5th Prime Minister of Canada. Laurier is recognized as one of the best statesmen that Canada has known through its reconciliation policies in the westward expansion of Confederation, as well as compromises between French and English Canadians. He is today on the $ 5 bill.
- Sir Robert Laird Borden
- Sir Robert Laird Borden (1854-1937) was the Prime Minister of Canada in the First World War. He also ensured the reconstruction of parliament and the reorganization of parliamentarians’ work during this reconstruction.
- He gave women the right to vote (at the federal level) in 1918. Installed on Parliament Hill in 1957.
- William Lyon Mackenzie King
- A bronze statue of the former prime minister is located behind Parliament. Installed in 1967.
- William Lyon Mackenzie King (1874-1950) introduced unemployment insurance, Canadian citizenship, and family allowances in Canada.
- Queen Elizabeth II
- A large statue of Queen Elizabeth II on horseback is also installed on Parliament Hill. She has been Canada’s monarch since 1952.
- Queen Victoria
- A very large monument commemorating Queen Victoria (1819-1901) is on Parliament Hill.
- Queen Victoria is important because she chose Ottawa as the capital of the Province of Canada in 1857.
- Subsequently, in 1867, she proclaimed the act of confederation, making Canada a sovereign country with four provinces.
- Sir John A. Macdonald
- A large monument honoring the 1st Prime Minister of Canada is located to the left of Parliament, between it and the east block.
- Lester Bowles Pearson
- A bronze statue of Lester B Pearson (1897-1972) sitting on a chair stands behind the Parliament.
- He adopted the Canadian flag, made Canada officially bilingual and bicultural, and introduced old-age pension as well as the universal health systems.
- Boer Wars Monument
- Located in Confederation Park, this monument honors Canadian soldiers who fell in battle during this conflict between the British Empire and South Africa between 1899 and 1902.
- National First Nations’ Veterans Memorial
- Another monument located in Confederation Park honors veterans of first nations involved in the Canadian armed forces from the First World War to the present.
Try our Ottawa scavenger hunts to learn more about Canada’s history
Many other statues can be admired on Parliament Hill and throughout Ottawa. We invite you to try our Ottawa Tourist Scavenger Hunt. It is a 2-hour self-guided walking tour of the downtown area that you do with your smartphone (how it works).
In sum, it costs $45 for a group of 2 to 6 people. Indeed, you’ll come across most of these statues. Moreover, you’ll enjoy solving the various challenges at each step of the way while learning about Ottawa’s and Canada’s history.