Fireworks on the Hill, snacking on Beavertails, hanging out on our national lawn and listening to some of Canada’s top performers, this is Canada Day in Ottawa. Join the city as it puts on a spectacular display of patriotic joie de vivre on July 1st. The nation’s capital city is the place to be if you want to celebrate our country’s birthday in a grand fashion. Here’s a round-up of the day’s activities in our capital city and the four best spots to celebrate Canada Day in Ottawa.
1. Parliament Hill
With pageantry and pomp, the Canada Day celebrations begin bright and early on Parliament Hill. Crowds start to gather at 9 a.m. to watch the Canadian flag makes its way up the flagpole to its rightful spot high above the yellow sandstone Parliament Buildings. Bag pipes call out their mournful cry while the RCMP Ceremonial Guard’s scarlet red uniforms and impossibly tall bear skin hats dazzle the crowds during a 9:30 a.m. Changing of the Guard performance.
The bells toll for us at 10 a.m. during a spectacular carillon concert featuring the Peace Tower bells. Be there at noon for a thrilling performance by the Snowbirds Demonstration team flying high over Parliament Hill, followed by a noon hour show filled with cultural entertainment.
Get your dancing shoes on and dance the afternoon away on the East Lawn with Swing Dance workshops from Ottawa’s Swing Dynamite Dance School, 2 pm to 5 pm. We love this event, what a fun idea!
The evening show on Parliament Hill features a lineup of Canadian performers ready to take the stage at Canada’s 148th birthday celebration. You can groove to reggae with Magic!, crush on Pharrell William’s new protégé, Francesco Yates or get a little bit country with Gord Bamford. Other performers include Quebec hottie Marc Dupré, Jonas and the Massive Attraction, Andee, the Jerry Cans, the Bishop Grandin Marching Ghosts, Cassidy Mann and Karim Ouelett.
The evening ends with a bang as Ottawa puts on a giant fireworks show designed to thrill, ending Canada Day and our nation’s annual birthday bash in spectacular style.
Visit the Ottawa Tourism website for more information on Parliament Hill Canada Day Activities.
2. Major’s Hill Park
This is one of our favourite spots to celebrate Canada Day in Ottawa. With tons of fun activities during the day and the perfect spot overlooking Parliament Hill for prime fireworks watching, how can you go wrong?
Some of this year’s events taking place on Canada Day at the park include helping build a giant LEGO Canadian flag to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of our national flag, tasting St. Albert cheese curds or trying out milking a cow at the Farm to Table Event, and for trivia buffs, a Historical Canada Trivia Challenge. Kids can take a tour around the park on a VIA miniature train, get their face painted by the Kromatic group of makeup artists and try their hand at Rhythmic Gymnastics.
3. Jaques Cartier Park
For families with younger children (ages three to 12), Gatineau’s Jacques Cartier Park is the place to be on Canada Day. Giant bouncy slides and rides with names like X-Treme Slide, Double Trouble Challenge and Z-Rider Challenge will be available all day long to delight children and torment adults who yearn to be young again and take a turn bouncing and bopping.
Other cool activities include the LEGO Ninjago Dojo Tour, where kids can practice their ninja skills while building LEGO ninjago sets, a kite making workshop, and our favourite, a giant puppet making workshop.
Bring a picnic and plan to enjoy the day filled with kid-friendly activities, music and entertainment. A free shuttle bus runs between Jacques Cartier Park and Major’s Hill Park in Ottawa, but remember the Alexandra Bridge between the two parks closes at 9 pm to all traffic, including foot traffic, so make sure you end up on right side of the river when the time comes.
4. Anywhere Downtown
ByWard Market, Sparks Street, National Museums and Galleries all join in the fun of celebrating Canada Day in Ottawa. A stroll through ByWard Market on Canada Day is a must, the stores, restaurants and bars are open and ready to celebrate with a market-wide party. Grab some poutine, a Beavertail or a Canada Day shaped cookie and enjoy the fun. Sparks Street, Ottawa’s popular pedestrian street is another top spot on Canada Day with buskers, street musicians and happy crowds dressed in red and white.
Admission is free to most National Museums and many have special activities throughout the day. Check the Government of Canada’s website for more information about Canada Day activities. Don’t forget that many of the streets in the city will be closed to cars on Canada Day, and OC Transport, Ottawa’s bus system, will be offering free rides throughout the day, so keep the car at home and join in the fun.
Downtown becomes party central, dress in your best red and white and join the crowds of proud Canadians having fun and enjoying the biggest and best July 1st celebration in the country. I think every Canadian should experience this awesome Canada Day party in Ottawa on July 1st at least once in their lifetime. It is serious Canada fun and a great way to remember how very dear this country is in all of our glowing hearts. Yes, this is the one day of the year our hearts do glow for Canada!