Where to Celebrate Canada Day In & Around Ottawa

Canada Day is coming up quickly, and I haven’t yet decided where we should be celebrating the big 150. I know that this is THE year to go downtown and take in all of the Canada 150 festivities, but I admit I am very intimidated at the thought of taking my two little kids down there amongst all the crowds.

So, we may instead opt for one of the slightly smaller Canada Day celebrations taking place in and around Ottawa. Good news – there are so many options! I really feel you can’t go wrong. Fingers crossed the weather cooperates and we have a lovely, sunny Canada Day.

I’ve done a little digging and put together a pretty extensive list of the different Canada Day festivities taking place. If I’ve missed any, please let me know! I would love to hear which ones you are planning on attending and get your input. I’m still making up my mind!

Ottawa’s Official Canada Day 150 Celebrations

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This is obviously the big celebration, the one that has so many people coming from across the country to be a part of. It may be something that you just HAVE to be witness to, or perhaps the thought of such a massive celebration is way too daunting. Either way…here is the low down.

The three official sites throughout the weekend are:

  • Parliament Hill: The main site for Canada Day festivities.
  • Major’s Hill Park: conveniently located just a few minutes’ walk from Parliament Hill, between the Fairmont Château Laurier and the National Gallery of Canada, this will feature family-friendly programming and performances.
  • Canadian Museum of History: Enjoy indoor and outdoor live entertainment at Canada’s most visited museum.

Note: From 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on July 1, a free shuttle bus will be running between Major’s Hill Park  and the Canadian Museum of History.

And the party is not just on July 1st…there are actually three days of jam-packed action.


Major’s Hill Park

9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.: Buskers, trivia games, airbrush tattoos, fun photo opportunities and more.

There will also be swing dancing performances, and performances by indigenous artists and later in the evening singers such as Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk.

Canadian Museum of History

5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.: Inflatable games, wall climbing and live wild animals, a choir and dance performances by Syrian refugee children living in Canada (5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.)

Parliament Hill

As preparations get underway for the July 1 and July 2 festivities on Parliament Hill, the site will not feature official programming on June 30 (though rehearsals will be taking place on the outdoor stage).


On July 1st a large portion of the downtown core will be closed off to cars. It will be a humongous street party.

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Parliament Hill

9:00 a.m.-11:30 p.m.: Public entertainment, a carillon concert, pop-up performances, opening celebrations including the Inspection of the Guard, a 21 gun salute, an Air Show with the Snowbirds, then a Citizenship Ceremony, and an endless list of concert performers including Cirque du Soleil, Alessia Cara, Walk off the Earth, Serena Ryder, Gordon Lightfoot and many more.

Major’s Hill Park

9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.: Enjoy a huge variety of family-friendly programming including buskers, trivia games, face painting, fun photo opportunities, swing dancing performances, rides for kids on the VIA Rail miniature train, the 25th annual Great Canadian Chicken BBQ, and much more!

There will be rotating live performances all day long on the Tim Hortons Performance Stage.

Canadian Museum of History

From 9:00 a.m. to midnight, the museum will feature indoor and outdoor programming including inflatable games, wall climbing, live wild animals, puppet theatre, a Syrian house, plus the official opening of the museums’ new Canadian History Hall!


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Around 11:00 p.m. there will be a 20-minute 17-second (a nod to 2017) pyromusical fireworks show—the largest Canada Day pyrotechnic show ever. It will be launched from five different locations: Nepean Point, as well as four sites along Confederation Boulevard including two sites in Ottawa and two in Gatineau, Quebec. The result promises to be a dazzling and perfectly synchronized 360-degree fireworks extravaganza!

Best viewing spots

Parliament Hill is not necessarily the best place to see the fireworks, as the historic Parliament Buildings can block part of your view. Consider these alternatives:

  • The central loop of Confederation Boulevard which runs along Wellington Street, MacKenzie Avenue, Sussex Drive in Ottawa, as well as Laurier Street in Gatineau
  • Major’s Hill Park, overlooking the Ottawa River
  • The lawn of the Canadian Museum of History along the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River


Major’s Hill Park

9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.: Most of the family-friendly activities offered on July 1 are back today including live entertainment, buskers, trivia games, face painting, fun photo opportunities, rides for kids on the VIA Rail miniature train and more.

Canadian Museum of History

9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.: The museum is offering similar indoor and outdoor family-friendly programming as on July 1 including inflatable games, wall climbing, live wild animals, puppet theatre, a Syrian house, and much more.

WE Day Canada

From 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., join notable Canadians artists, influential figures and some of Canada’s remarkable young future leaders on Parliament Hill to celebrate the next generation of Canada’s change-makers. Guests and Performers include: Kardinal Offishall, Barenaked Ladies, Hedley, Alanis Morissette and many more.

So that about wraps up all of the three day official Canada Day festivities (sounds both amazing and exhausting).

Now here are some of the alternative JULY 1st celebrations taking place:

Canada Day in Kanata

The Kanata Canada Day celebrations sound really great too. They are happening over two days June 30-July 1st, and take place at Walter Baker Park in Kanata.

June 30th : the fun kicks off at noon and runs until midnight. There is a family fun zone with bouncy castles and face painting, Salsa Kids, puppets, festival of beer, and musical entertainers.

July 1st : family fun zone with bouncy castles and face painting, princess visitors, Salsa Kids, Capital City Dance, musical performers headlined by Finger Eleven in the evening,

Admission is free and there will be plenty of food vendors on site…and FIREWORKS take place at 10:00 pm.

For more information look here.

Canada Day in Orleans

This celebration will be held at Petrie Island. The family events will open at 11:00 am and celebrations run through to the 10:00 pm fireworks.

There will be a kids zone that features magic shows, bouncy castles, face painting, Ray’s Reptiles, princesses and heroes, and arts and crafts.

There will be a beachside bbq with ribs and more as well as a beer garden. There is also a concert main stage with musical acts running all day and evening, capping off with fireworks.

For more information look here.

Dominion Day at the Farm

This event runs at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum from 12:00pm-11:00 pm on July 1st.

This Dominion Day celebration is a ticketed event that promises to be truly Canadian. There will be amazing food from local chefs, music from local musicians and art from local Canadian artists.

Admission is $20 per person. Children’s admission is $5 (includes maple taffy) and stroller-bound kids or babies in arms attend free.

Brew Donkey is offering bus transportation with pick-up and drop-off avaialble from points East and West. Buy your bus tickets when you check out your tickets or directly from Brew Donkey.

Canada Day at Hintonburg Park

Beer fans might be interested in this Wellington West celebration, but don’t worry, it’s kid friendly too.

The Ottawa Brewery Market is hosting a Canada Day event from noon to 8:00 pm in Hintonburg Park. Admission to this family friendly event is free, and beer and food is available for purchase.

Canada Day and Etsy Market in Almonte

Almonte is one of my favourite small towns around Ottawa, and I’m sure they throw a lovely Canada Day celebration.

This July 1st, Almonte will also be hosting its first outdoor market. It will be a fantastic 60 seller marketplace on historic Mill Street, right in the heart of downtown Almonte. The market takes place from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm and will be immediately followed by the annual Canada Day activities in Gemmill Park.

THIS July 1st, join us in ALMONTE for our FIRST EVER outdoor market! We are partnering with Etsy Canada to create a fantastic 60 seller marketplace on beautiful, historic Mill Street, right in the heart of downtown Almonte.

There will be a bbq, bouncy castles, face painting, antique car show, live music and more.

Barrhaven Canada Day Celebrations

Barrhaven is another place that has celebrations taking place over multiple days.

June 29 – Homeniuk Midway opens at Clarke Fields, with games and rides.

June 30 – the midway is open all day, plus a classic car show and live bands running from 5:00 pm onwards.

July 1 – midway, plus Seniors Breakfast, parade of flags, live music, national anthem and birthday cake and then a fireworks show at 10:00 pm.

July 2- last day to enjoy the rides and games at the midway.

Riverside South Canada Family Fun Day

This family fun day takes place at Claudette Cain Park and runs from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm.

Activities include bouncy castles, a miniature train ride, mini golf, face painting, stage shows, crafts tables, a basketball tournament, live music and bbq and at 10:00 pm a large fireworks display!

Osgoode Village Canada Day Celebrations

Osgoode Village puts on a great Canada Day show, with activities for the entire family. Everything kicks off around 2:00 pm and runs through to 10:00 pm.

There are a ton of free kids activities  including an inflatable bouncy house and an obstacle course, a petting zoo and pony rides. All activities will take place on the grounds outside the Stuart Holmes Arena & Osgoode Community Centre.

A 5:00 pm the Canada Day Parade will will depart from Osgoode Main Street at Nixon Drive.  Floats, local groups, horses, and more.

There is a bbq running all day and a fireworks show at 10:00 pm.

I know there are some other Canada Day celebrations happening in some of the other smaller communities around Ottawa, but I hope this list gives you a good start of where to spend your day!

Happy Birthday Canada!



  1. Melissa | 28th Jun 17

    Such good info Emily! Thank you!

    • emilycordonier@gmail.com | 30th Jun 17

      So glad you found it useful!

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