Ottawa’s Best New Year’s Eve Celebrations for the Family

It’s hard to believe that 2017 is coming to a close already. It feels like we were just kicking off the Canada 150 celebrations and now the wrap party is underway. 2017 has not been an easy year for my family, and the hardest part is yet to come (if you want to read more about that, you can here.) So while I will be keeping my loved ones close and taking it easy this New Year’s Eve, I still wanted to share with you all of the wonderful family friendly New Year’s Eve celebrations that are taking place around Ottawa.

Parliament Hill

Ring in 2018 with an epic, Canadian celebration on Parliament Hill. There will be daytime activities and entertaining, starting from 9:00 am in the morning and running all day – including the Canada 150 Rink (be sure to book your time slot though). There will also be music, dancing and First Nations Culture.

As the sun sets, there will be the Christmas Lights Across Canada light show program projected onto the Peace Tower.

At 9:00 pm the official Canada 150 Closing Party on the Hill will kick off with DJs, a live performance by Cardinal Offishall, pyrotechnics and a laser show just before midnight. This event is all free. 

Canadian Museum of History

If you’re looking for a free, family-friendly activity on New Year’s Eve that also takes place earlier in the day – head to the Canadian Museum of History. A celebration known as Nimidiwin: Celebrating Our Dance from Coast to Coast is taking place from 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm. You will see performances by  Grammy nominated Northern Cree, Juno award winner Susan Aglukark, as well as Indigenous performers from across the country, plus dancing, drumming, singing and fireworks!

Hogman-eh! Party

The Scottish Society of Ottawa invites all families to celebrate the New Year Scottish style! This party known as Hogman-eh! takes place at Lansdowne’s Aberdeen Pavilion. This family-friendly event features traditional and modern Scottish music, Highland dancing, Scotch tasting sessions, Scottish food and drink, outdoor skating and even fireworks!

From 5 – 7 PM there will be the Great Scot! Kids’ zonewith a celebration of New Year in Scotland at 7:00 PM. Great way for the kid’s to celebrate New Year without being up late!.

The whole event winds up after the midnight countdown and finishes with some spectacular fireworks. Admission is free.

Rick Chiarelli’s Family New Year’s Eve

City Councillor Rick Chiarelli has been holding this alcohol-free family event for years, and it draws thousands of people. It’s held at Ben Franklin Place (Centre Pointe Drive) on New Year’s Eve from 6:00 pm-10:00 pm. The event starts with a skating show by the Nepean Skating Club outside on the rink. Skate on the refrigerated rink or come inside to warm up while trying some games, colouring, bouncy castle and face painting. There will also be sleigh rides and rides on the Giant Tiger train.

This year’s theme is “Harry Potter”, so feel free to come in costume! Be on the  lookout for a big guy named Hagrid and witches and wizards as well. The count-down to the New Year will take place at 10:00 pm with fireworks. For more info on this jam packed event check out the event website.

Enjoy the Holiday Lights

If you are looking for a more low-key activity with the family, then why not enjoy one of the beautiful light displays in and around the city.

Just west of Ottawa you can enjoy a festive atmosphere at The Magic of Lights at Wesley Clover Parks. It is a 2 km drive-through holiday light display featuring nearly one million LED lights. Open daily from 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, it runs until Jan 6 and will be open New Year’s Eve. Buy your tickets online ahead of time, $20 a car.


If you’re willing to take a little drive, then you might want to consider taking the family to Alight at Night at Upper Canada Village. The 1860’s heritage village is adorned with nearly one million lights, horse-drawn wagon rides, a life size Toy Train and more.

The village will be open from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm on New Year’s Eve, and there are a few different dining options available for dinner, dessert and drinks.

Wishing everyone a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve and great start to 2018!

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