Major’s Hill Park First Park in Nation’s Capital

Major’s Hill Park First Park in Nation’s Capital

Major’s Hill Park is the nation’s capital’s first park. In use as a residential area for workers building the Rideau Canal in 1826, the land overlooks the Ottawa River, the Canal locks and the federal Parliament buildings. Its location, beauty and history make it the perfect location for many of the city’s major events. In fact, in 1867, Major’s Hill Park was the site for the country’s first Canada Day celebrations.

One hundred and forty eight years later, the park is still one of the main event parks for Canada Day in Ottawa. Located by Mackenzie Avenue behind the Chateau Laurier, this 5 hectares of land is at other times a quiet escape in the middle of a bustling downtown, where the city’s workers come on their lunch, families frequent for picnics, and tourists pass through between visits to other attractions like the National Art Gallery, Byward Market and the American Embassy.

Major’s Hill Park was formally established as a park in 1875, 32 years after the Major Daniel Bolton, the second superintending engineer on the Rideau Canal project left Bytown. The park is now managed by the National Capital Commission.

The park is known for its stately trees, rolling lawns and winding pathways, and spectacular views. It also features the charred remains of the house where Colonel By, the first superintending engineer, lived during the building of the Rideau Canal, as well as Header House, the last remaining section of the Major’s Hill Park greenhouse complex that was dismantled between 1937 and 1938. The remaining section is now used as an art gallery that houses free exhibitions on Thursdays and Sundays from May to October each year.

Other major events that take place in Major’s Hill Park include the annual 'B In The Park' presented by the Sons of Scotland Pipe Band of Ottawa. It precedes the Glengarry Highland Games.

Free and paid parking is available in the ByWard Market and there is paid parking in the National Gallery of Canada’s underground parking lot.

Public washrooms are open May to October from 8 a.m. to dusk daily (no later than 9 p.m.).

###Major’s Hill Park

Mackenzie Ave

Ottawa, ON K1N 9J6

(613) 237-5150