This section is aimed at teachers and students who want ideas for activities and projects they can organize to learn more about our heritage and history.

1. School-based activities


  • Make a coat of arms for family, community, school or group of friends.
  • Organize a drawing contest: Draw a local historical building.
  • Make a model of an Aboriginal village.
  • Ask local artists to come to an art class and create images of contemporary culture, and then compare them to images of people, places and buildings from Ottawa’s past.
  • Make a model of a historic site in the community for Heritage Day.
  • In art class, do a collage of images and artefacts representing pioneer life in Ontario, Quebec or Acadia. Use materials from various time frames – for example: maps, fabrics, images, etc.
  • In art class, do research on family historical symbols and create a heritage pendant. 

History and heritage:

  • Adopt an unprotected heritage building, explain its significance to the community and prepare a preservation strategy.
  • Write a biographical profile of a prominent Ottawa Francophone. Research the places where he or she lived and track the milestones of his or her life in the community.
  • Prepare a speech or a project on local heritage and present it at the school Heritage Fair or submit it to the Regional Heritage Fair in May.
  • Go back in time and think of ways people might have left their mark on future generations.
  • Study building construction history, and identify the similarities and the differences between various architectural styles, noting how technology has evolved.
  • Link a student group with an Aboriginal group and have the students study their way of life and their customs, and identify the region where they live on a map.
  • Examine ways of conserving the past over the ages: hieroglyphs, sculptures, archives, legends and stories.
  • Tell a story in the first person from the point of view of an old building or a natural site that is in danger of being destroyed. Talk about the loss it would mean to the community and explain how it could be preserved by finding a new function for it.
  • Choose local streets or buildings named after prominent people, local or otherwise, and research these people and their lifetimes.
  • Research Ottawa place names and check to see whether they changed over the years.
  • Prepare a few words on heritage that could be read over the PA system in the morning. 


  • Locate historical markers on a map.
  • Obtain topological maps from various times and note the changes – for example: 1900-1925-1950-1975-2000.
  • In a geography class, study the maps prepared by Samuel de Champlain in the 1600s, then make a map of your own area. Prepare a historical atlas or a 3D map of your area.
  • Use old maps and photos, interviews, newspapers and building histories to find out what your community was like in the past.

Outings and educational activities:

  • Organize a treasure hunt based on historical sites, in which each clue leads to another historical site, and then give each participant a heritage passport.
  • Challenge another school to organize a research rally on the Francophone history of Ottawa.
  • Visit a local seniors’ home and organize a Heritage Fair for the residents: bring old objects, present projects, sing songs and share a meal!
  • Prepare a meal like they might have had at a lumber shanty and discuss the hardships faced by the pioneers. Play traditional music to show the joie de vivre of the habitants, despite the hardships.
  • Organize a Grandparents’ Day at the school. Invite local seniors to come and talk about life when they were young. Present the results as a project for Heritage Day. Invite the seniors back for a meal with the students and share the results with them.
  • Prepare a capsule containing contemporary items, to be opened 20 years from now.
  • Organize an exhibition with a local theme, past or present, for Ontario Heritage Week (3rd week in February). Every class, group or club in the school can participate. Invite parents and friends to the exhibition.
  • Invite a senior, a historian or a local Aboriginal leader to lead a “talking circle” on the evolution of the Aboriginals over time.
  • Publish a historical newspaper by reprinting articles on notable events in the community. There are old newspapers in libraries, archives and museums. Try to meet with local residents who have kept old newspaper clippings.
  • Organize a class or school Traditions Day. Have students get together to talk about culture, food, etc.
  • Invite an architect to come and talk to the class about work involving heritage buildings.

Plays and demonstrations:

  • Create a role play where the teacher interprets a historical public figure and the students guess who it is.
  • Ask the students to study or demonstrate the trades practised by early local pioneers.
  • Create a play based on Franco-Ontarian legends, along the lines of L’écho d’un peuple.
  • As a school project for Heritage Day, invite each class to explore a particular aspect of Francophone history in Ottawa, and create a book, a mural, a skit or a play.
  • Develop a heritage quiz along the lines of a popular TV show.
  • Recreate the ambiance of a day in the classroom in the olden days.
  • Organize a fashion show or a dress-up day based on the fashions of the olden days so that students can discover the customs and lifestyles of their ancestors.
  • Set up a display of old objects and have a photographer take photos of the students. Set up a display of the photos in the classroom.
  • Organize a history quiz using clues referring to historical sites, buildings and plaques.
  • Organize a game show like Reach for the Top (Génies en herbe) based on local heritage.

2. Activities you can organize with your friends

  • Create a role play where each student interprets a historical public figure after doing research on his or her life.
  • Prepare a coat of arms for your family, community, school or group of friends.

3. Activities you can organize as a family

  • Ask your Franco-Ontarian grandparents about their past.
  • Explore genealogy with your parents and grandparents.
  • Prepare a meal like they might have had at a lumber shanty and discuss the hardships faced by the pioneers. Play traditional music to show the joie de vivre of the habitants, despite the hardships.
  • Compare your childhood with your grandparents’ childhood.
  • Organize a series of activities commemorating significant past events: Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day (24 June), St. Catherine's Day (25 November), Epiphany (cake or waffers of the King) (6 January).
  • Make a coat of arms for your family, community, school or group of friends.
  • Organize a pow wow featuring Aboriginal foods and build a wigwam.
  • Organize a treasure hunt based on historical sites, in which each clue leads to another historical site.
  • Organize an evening like in the olden days, and read stories by candlelight.
  • Organize a winter carnival with a heritage theme.
  • Organize winter activities such as snowshoeing, using old methods and equipment.
  • Participate in the Heritage Day poster contest. See the Department of Canadian Heritage website for ideas.
  • To better understand the structure of a historical site, create a model of it and explore the role of the environment in the structure of the site and technological development over the years.
  • Find the nearest national or provincial historical site and plan an educational outing with the aim of getting a better understanding of the pioneer way of life. Document your findings in a diary.