Police Station Tours
If you've never seen a major police headquarters before, let us show you this unique building dedicated to law enforcement and serving the community. There are five floors, three floors above ground and two floors below, with a gymnasium on the second floor.
Tours are for groups of 10 or more people. Large groups may be split into two groups for the tour.
Please prepare members of the tour by emphasizing the need to speak quietly and stay together when on the tour. Adult chaperones are required in an appropriate ratio to supervise children and/or youth. As well, photographs cannot be taken in the restricted/non-public areas.
Please note and keep in mind that the purpose of the tour is to view an operational police facility.
An experienced Ottawa Police Venturer will guide your group through the police station. The Venturers (14-17 years) are a vocational Scouts Canada (Voyageur Council) group sponsored by the Ottawa Police Service. As well, they are registered volunteers with the Ottawa Police Service.
Some highlights that you will see are the mural of past Police Chief’s in the lobby, the lower garage where we house our police service vehicles, theTactical Section equipment storage area, the Communications Centre and the Temporary Custody and Detention area (from the outside).
During the tour, you may meet briefly meet with a Tactical Section Officer, Traffic Enforcement Officer, Special Constable (Temporary Custody and Detention), Youth Officer and/or a Patrol officer. The Ottawa Police Service Headquarters is a working facility and there may be times when these members of our service are not present to speak with you. In these situations, we appreciate your understanding.
You will be touring the police facility at 474 Elgin Street, Ottawa (Queensway at the Metcalfe Street exit).
Members of the tour may be dropped off at the main entrance on 474 Elgin Street. Please assemble in the front lobby and the Venturer Tour Guide will meet you there. Tour members may be picked up at the main entrance at the conclusion of the tour.
Tours are offered on selected Tuesday evenings between 7 PM and 8 PM from October to May. Please arrive at 6:45 PM to ensure the tour begins on time.
Unfortunately, photographs cannot be taken during the tour in non-public areas of the police station. However, the mosaic mural in the lobby of 474 Elgin Street provides an ideal backdrop for a group picture.
The mosaic depicts Ottawa’s 15 Chiefs of Police from Roderick Ross in 1855 to Thomas Welsh in 1983, the year the building was inaugurated. The names of the Chiefs are listed at the bottom of the mosaic. At the top of the mosaic are key dates related to policing and the City of Ottawa:
• 1827 – Bytown was founded and the construction of the Rideau Canal began;
• 1855 – Ottawa was founded and the first permanent professional police service was created;
• 1857 – Queen Victoria chose Ottawa as Canada’s capital;
• 1863 – An independent police commission was created;
• 1866 – A full-time salaried police service was established (prior to this constables were paid based on the number of arrests they made and services they provided).
Mosaic background: Parliament buildings, a mounted police officer, a police officer on a bicycle, Chaudières Falls (left) and Rideau Falls (right).
The tours are for children and youth 8 years and older.
All tours are booked by e-mail. Please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive the available dates by e-mail and confirmation once you have selected a date. Tours are booked on a first-come first-served basis.
There is metered parking on Catherine Street (between Elgin Street and Metcalfe Street). Payment should not be required at that time of the day but check the signage to confirm.
There is also parking available on the streets in the surrounding neighbourhood. Please follow all parking restrictions. For more information on parking, please see "Available Parking & Bus Routes".