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Ottawa > Travel Guide > Ottawa Guide > Arts and Culture

Arts and Culture

The National Gallery of Canada, founded in 1880, is home to the world's largest collection of Canadian art (including major works by Inuit artists) as well as excellent European and American collections. 

The National Arts Centre, opened in 1969, is Canada's premier showcase for the performing arts. It features three stages, where visitors can enjoy the best of English and French theatre, dance - avant garde to classical, music, opera and variety performances year-round. Under the direction of the newly-appointed and world-renowned celebrated conductor, Pinchas Zucherman, the National Arts Centre Orchestra has gained a high international reputation, touring at home and abroad. 

Located in a heritage building which was once the county court house, Arts Court is now a municipal centre for the visual and performing arts. Housed within Arts Court is the Ottawa Art Gallery which showcases local and Canadian artists and also has a rotating exhibition of Group of Seven works from their own fine collection. One of the groups within Arts Court is Le Groupe de la Place Royal Dance Lab, the only dance lab dedicated to research and development in dance, which features a dance theatre, where the public can view new pieces choreographed by national and international artists year-round. 

The Carleton University Art Gallery, on the campus of the university, had its official opening in September 1992. The gallery has developed a small but representational collection of Canadian and European art and presents a stimulating program of temporary exhibits in their recently renovated space. 

The Great Canadian Theatre Company highlights Canadian content in their production schedules, and the Ottawa Little Theatre stages popular works performed by local amateur actors on a year around basis. During the summer months, the Odyssey Theatre presents professional outdoor theatre in the style of the Italian Comedia dell'Arte at Strathcona Park, one of the city's historic parks on the Rideau River. 

Ottawa's own Opera Lyra brings opera centre-stage with its performances at the National Arts Centre.

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