Thursday, October 8, 2015

Urban Sketching Ottawa in Autumn

The purpose of this blog post is to compile a list of potential locations for some autumn urban sketching in Ottawa. Concrete sketch outings will be announced on our USk-YOW facebook (FB) page and through the creation of a FB event.

Weather Matters for Urban Sketchers

This year, September 2015 was incredibly warm. Ottawa urban sketcher John Wright had his last swim in the Ottawa River at the Britannia club pier from his boat in the last week of September!

Then, by the first week in October, folks in Centretown were spotted wearing hats, scarves and mitts!

The weather affects our art materials and our ability to sit for long periods outside. This will be an important consideration for our fall outings

In Ottawa, the average weather is as follows:
Autumn Indoor Locations

These evolving indoor/outdoor location lists below will aim to include sites with no costs; accessible by public transportation and sketcher-friendly policies. 

For any indoor location listed below, I have written to the managing organization ahead of time and asked the following question: 

"What, if any, are the rules for artists/urban sketchers who would like to visit your museum/event for the purpose of doing a number of small sketches for a duration of no more than 2-4 hours?"

I thought that this was important to do when I read that the National Art Gallery of Canada actually disallows a lot of artist materials within their gallery (including erasers!?)

On their website visiting FAQ, they wrote:

A: Drawing is permitted in the galleries with pencil only (erasers are not permitted). You may be asked to stop if the galleries are too crowded.

Free Ottawa Museums

  • Museum of nature: (FREE) Thursday evenings: 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm (Admission to the Permanent Galleries only) Policy on sketching: (to be provided once response received)
  • The Canada War Museum (FREE) Thursday evenings from 4 to 8 p.m. (General Admission) Policy on sketching: (to be provided once response received)
The Byward Market: Policy on sketching: (to be provided once response received)
Autumn Outdoor Locations

The following outdoor locations were chosen because they are close to public transportation and offer plenty of shelter for warming up (i.e. coffee shops, restaurants etc)

Centre Ottawa
  1. Centretown
  2. The Byward market
  3. The Glebe
  4. Sparks Street Village
West Ottawa
N.B. Park without paying On Saturdays and Sundays, the World Exchange Plaza shopping centre offers free indoor downtown parking. This is great for visitors to the mall or those looking to take in spots nearby — such as Parliament Hill, which is just two blocks away. (Map to World Exchange Plaza at parkopedia)

2015 Events to Sketch for Free

  • Annual Biology Butterfly Show: FREE Saturday October 3, 2015, to Monday October 12, 2015 Opening hours are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.** (On the weekend, lines close at 3 p.m. due to volume) Policy on sketching: (to be provided once response received)


  1. Next week I am going to be sketching in Paris for 3 weeks. No trouble finding sketch-able subjects there. . But here in Ottawa? Wish we could have a planning session - for a once-a-month crawl. Oh, what are you-all doing for the October 24 Sketch Crawl.?

  2. Paris for 3 weeks! How lovely.

    And yes, It would be great to set up regular monthly sketching dates similar to Montreal's "COME OUT AND DRAW: Fourth Sunday of every month we go sketching somewhere in Montreal."

    I have been thinking of organizing another sketchcrawl.... Oct 24 sounds great - will you be back? Suggestions on location?