OTTAWA -- The Bytown Museum says it will remain closed for the foreseeable future because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The executive director of the historic museum—located next to the Ottawa locks, where the Rideau Canal meets the Ottawa River—says the decision to remain closed was not an easy one.

"This decision was not made lightly; however, we want to ensure the safety and well-being of you, your families, as well as our staff and our volunteers," said Robin Etherington, in a statement on the museum's website. "Until we can safely welcome you back, we would like to encourage you to visit us online to immerse yourself in Ottawa’s rich history."

The Bytown Museum is housed in Ottawa's oldest building, the former commissariat building for the Rideau Canal, built in 1827.

You can browse the museum's collections on its website,

Etherington says a new exhibit, “A Local Canvas: Paintings from the Bytown Museum Collection”, will be online soon.

"Stay safe and be well. We are sincerely looking forward to welcoming you back to our beloved Museum when the time is right," Etherington said.