Jacob Hoytema Updated: June 30, 2019
Parliament Hill will once again be the main stage for the city’s celebrations and performances. The festivities open with a peace and friendship circle hosted by Algonquin speaker and writer Albert Dumont at 8 a.m. Dominion Carillonneur Andrea McCrady will give a carillon performance from the Peace Tower bells at 10 a.m. At noon, the National Arts Centre Orchestra led, by NAC musical director Alexander Shelley, will deliver a 90-minute performance. This noon concert will feature a number of other groups and artists, such as the Unisong Choir, Ballets Jazz de Montreal, and K’naan. The evening concert kicks off at 6:45 p.m., with a huge slate of artists from Coeur de Pirate to Karim Ouellet to William Prince.
As usual, fireworks will be launched at 10 p.m.at Nepean Point, just west of the National Art Gallery.
To get to Parliament Hill, you’ll have to go through the special visitor entrance located at Wellington and Kent, with an accessibility entrance one block over at Wellington and Bank. As in the past couple years, security staff will be screening visitors, so expect a line.
There will also be programming all day in Major’s Hill Park. There is a “True North Strong” series of interactive and participatory storytelling exhibits and workshops, and celebrations of African-Canadian culture. VIA Rail will also be running a miniature train for kids to ride around the park.
Don’t say you weren’t warned: Ottawa bylaw said Friday they will begin towing cars from special event zones at 12:30 a.m. Monday to ensure the roads are clear for festivities.
The Canadian Museum of History, in Gatineau, will feature a robust lineup of exhibitions on Indigenous culture across the country, including a photography exhibit, powwow dance performances, Indigenous art made of Lego, and an Inuit high kick competition. DJ Shub, formerly of A Tribe Called Red, will be closing off the day’s ceremonies with a performance at 9 p.m.
Dogs and other pets, with the exception of service dogs, are prohibited from any official Canada Day celebrations downtown, such as Parliament Hill and Major’s Hill Park.
Events across the city
Entrance to all of Canada’s national museums, including the Diefenbunker and the National Gallery, is free for the day. The Ottawa Art Gallery is closed, but the Bytown Museum is open at regular hours and prices (just $2). City-funded community museums — the Nepean Museum, Fairfields House, the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum, Pinhey’s Point Historic Site, and the Billings Estate National Historic Site — are also open.
Barrhaven will be have celebrations at Clark Fields, including a midway, fireworks and a concert stage. Shuttles have been arranged from the Independant grocery store and the Heart & Crown on Strandherd.
There will also be festivities at Walter Baker Park in Kanata, with their own midway open the whole weekend, fireworks, concert stage, and a ball hockey event.
Petrie Island, just north of Orléans, will also have a full slate of events and local music, wrapping up the day with fireworks on the beach. It’ll be easiest to access the island through a shuttle from La Cité Collegiale or Trim Rd. and Jeanne d’Arc Blvd.
Just down Highway 7, Carleton Place will be hosting its own lively festivities, entertainment and fireworks in their Riverside Park.
Many other neighbourhoods and communities will be hosting their own festivities; more info can be found at the City of Ottawa website.
Open and closed
Most of the malls across the city will be closed, except the Rideau Centre, which will be open from 10 a.m. 6 p.m. Most shops and restaurants in the Byward Market will also be open.
Print publications of the Ottawa Citizen and Ottawa Sun will not be published, but websites will be updated throughout the day and evening.
Almost all the grocery stores will be closed, but a few downtown will stay open to serve the hordes of hungry celebrators: the Isabella St. Loblaws will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and the Rideau St. Metro will be open all day.
All LCBO and Beer Store locations will also be closed on July 1, so make sure you go a day or two before to pick up beverages for your neighbourhood barbecue.
All city services located at City Hall, including the government service centre and the provincial offences court, will not be in operation on Canada Day. Additionally, 3-1-1 will only take calls on matters of urgency that require the city’s attention. Service Ontario locations will also be closed.
All Ottawa Public Library locations will be closed for the whole day, as well as City of Ottawa childcare services.
There is also no garbage, recycling or green bin collection on Canada Day. The collection schedule will be delayed by one day for the rest of the week, with Saturday filling in for the missed day.
City beaches will also be open, with lifeguards on duty from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Same goes for wading pools and splash pads if the weather cooperates.
Most public pools across the city will also be open for the day, albeit with modified scheduling and programming. Check with your local pool for more details.
Transportation and road closures
As usual, service on OC Transpo, Para Transpo and STO will be free throughout the day.
If you’re celebrating in Centretown, then public transit is the smart way to get there; most of the downtown core will be closed to vehicle traffic all day. Laurier Ave. is open, but all the streets north of that, including the west half of the Byward Market and Sussex Dr. up to Boteler St., will be closed from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. the following day.
City Hall will also offer free parking all day long.
Colonel By Dr. will be closed to motor traffic from Concord St. N. to Daly Ave. after 6 p.m.
Likewise, Trim Rd. will be closed from 6 a.m. to midnight between the Queensway and Petrie Island.
In Kanata, Charlie Rogers Way will be closed between Ron Maslin Way and the Kanata Recreation Centre starting at noon the day before Canada Day and going until 6 p.m. the day after.
In Barrhaven, Strandherd between Fallowfield and Jockvale, as well as McKenna Casey Dr. between Moodie and Strandherd will be closed from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
In Osgoode, the main street will be closed from River Road to the library from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.