Canadian War Museum – Part I

When visiting Ottawa in Ontario, Canada if you have any interest in military history you must not miss the world-class Canadian War Museum. The impressive looking museum covers every period in which Canadians have been involved in some form of conflict and the main galleries are in historical chronological order.

Canadian War Museum
Canadian War Museum

The galleries start out with Battleground which covers the early years of the first nations and colonial wars particularly between the British, French and later the American forces until 1885. You then move onto For Crown and Country (1885 – 1931) which includes the Boer War in South Africa and the bloody mess that was World War One.

Battleground - First Peoples Wars Canadian War Museum Ottawa
Battleground – First Peoples Wars
For Crown & Country Canadian War Musuem Ottawa Ontario
For Crown & Country
Boer War For Crown & Country Canadian War Musuem Ottawa Ontario
Boer War
WW1 Canadian War Museum Ottawa Ontario
Trench warfare WW1
WW1 german trench armour Canadian War Museum Ottawa Ontario
WW1 German armour
WW1 Canadian War Museum Ottawa Ontario 8 inch howitzer
WW1 8 inch Howitzer
WW1 Canadian War Museum Ottawa Ontario Nieuport 17 replica
WW1 Nieuport 17 (replica)
WW1 Canadian War Museum Ottawa Ontario pilot gear
WW1 pilot gear

The galleries then continue into a more modern age with Forged in Fire (1931-1945) which displays the rise of the dictators and World War Two. All theatres of war in which Canadian forces were involved are displayed from the home front to the battles in Europe leading up to D-Day 1944. A significant artifact on display is Hitler’s Mercedes-Benz parade car (note what appears to be bullet holes in the windows).

Hitler's Mercedes-Benz parade car - captured by American troops in 1945 Canadian War Museum Ottawa
Hitler’s Mercedes-Benz parade car – captured by American troops in 1945
Japan Strikes Canadian War Museum Ottawa
Japan Strikes
Canadian War Museum Ottawa
On the home front
Canada War Museum
Canadians in Britain
Canadian War Museum WW2 Air War - German 88mm flak gun & Supermarine Spitfire
WW2 Air War – German 88mm flak gun & Supermarine Spitfire
WW2 Italy
WW2 Italy
Canadian soldier fighting in Italy Canada War Museum
Canadian soldier fighting in Italy
German soldier fighting in Italy
German soldier fighting in the streets of Italy
German StuG III captured by Canadian forces on the Gothic Line in Italy Canadian War Museum
German StuG III captured by Canadian forces on the Gothic Line in Italy
German Firepower - Normandy 1944 Canadian War Museum
German Firepower – Normandy 1944
D-Day 1944 - M3 Sherman
D-Day 1944 – M3 Sherman
Willys Jeep Canadian War Museum
Willys Jeep
Wasp Flamethrower 1944 Normandy Canada
This innocent looking Universal Carrier was actually a deadly Wasp Flamethrower used in Normandy 1944

The final themed gallery is A Violent Peace (1945-present) which covers the Cold War period, the nuclear threat and peacekeeping missions. A major part of this display is a Soviet T-72 and Canadian Centurion Main Battle Tank along with a Northrop F-5 Tiger II jet fighter (it was hard to see this clearly up in the rafters unfortunately).

Korean War - Canadian battle dress vs Chinese
Korean War – Canadian battle dress vs Chinese
Korean War - M3 Halftrack Canadian War Museum Ottawa
Korean War – M3 Halftrack
NATO duties - Canadian Centurion MBT War Museum
NATO duties – Canadian Centurion MBT
NATO duties - Northrop F-5 Tiger II Canadian War Museum
NATO duties – Northrop F-5 Tiger II
NORAD Canadian Nuclear Weapons
NORAD – Nuclear Weapons (Canada ceased their nuclear weapons capability in 1984)
Peacekeeping Canadian War Museum Ottawa
Canadian Peacekeepers
Canadian War Museum Ottawa T-72 tank
Cold War Twilight – Breshnev, Thatcher, Reagan, Gorbachev & a Soviet T-72 Main Battle Tank
Soviet T-72 MBT Canadian War Museum
Soviet T-72 MBT

My favourite part of the museum is the cavernous LeBreton Gallery: The Military Technology Collection which has all the big stuff including tanks and aircraft.  Stay tuned for my next blog for lots of photos from this gallery.

LeBreton Gallery Canadian War Museum Ottawa Ontario
Just one section of the LeBreton Gallery

There is much to read and see within the various exhibitions throughout the war museum. If you are a military history buff you are going to need a full day to explore all the halls and take it all in. The museum is a great tribute to all Canadians who have fought for their country and for the liberty of their allies around the world. I think it is a must see in Ottawa for sure!

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