What to do for Canada Day in Ottawa

Fireworks explode over the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill at the end of Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa on Sunday, July 1, 2018.
Fireworks explode over the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill at the end of Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa on Sunday, July 1, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

As the nation’s capital, there is no shortage of events to participate in throughout Ottawa and the surrounding area over the Canada Day long weekend.

From fireworks to midways and the Ottawa Jazz Festival, the long weekend is chock-full of things to do with the family.


This weekend, there are several official places downtown to celebrate the birth of Canada and watch fireworks displays. There are also smaller events throughout the city if the large downtown crowd is a little too much.

  • Official Canada Day weekend events are held at the following three official sites:
    • Parliament Hill: The centrepiece of Ottawa’s downtown landscape, the political and cultural heart of the city and 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 beautiful green space features family-friendly programming and performances.
    • Canadian Museum of History: Enjoy indoor and outdoor live entertainment at Canada’s most visited museum, conveniently located in Gatineau, Que., just across the Ottawa River from other official Canada Day sites.
  • Mattamy Homes Canada Day in Barrhaven’s Clarke Fields Park
    • Midway
    • Live music
    • Fireworks begin at 10 p.m.
  • Canada Day in Kanata’s Walter Baker Park
    • Midway
    • Live music
    • Fireworks are scheduled for 10 p.m.
  • Canada Day Orléans on Petrie Island
    • Live music
    • Inflatable rides
    • Fireworks are scheduled for 10 p.m.
  • Ottawa Jazz Festival
    • The last day of the festival is July 1, when entry is free

READ MORE: What’s open, what’s closed in Ottawa on Canada Day 2019

Getting around

  • OC Transpo will be free to ride all day on July 1, including Para Transpo and the O-Train
  • Road closures throughout the city will affect traffic, and the city is recommending those who wish to celebrate use OC Transpo.
    • Downtown
      • There will be numerous road closures around the three Canada Day sites in downtown Ottawa, which will begin on Sunday, June 30 and last until Tuesday, July 2.
    • Orléans
      • Trim Road will be closed between Highway 417 and Petrie Island on July 1 between 6 a.m. and midnight.
    • Kanata
      • Charlie Rogers Way will be closed between Ron Maslin Way and the Kanata Recreation Centre from noon on June 30 until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2.
    • Barrhaven
      • Strandherd Road will be closed between Fallowfield Drive and Jockvale Road on July 1 from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
      • McKenna Casey Drive will be closed between Moodie Drive and Strandherd Road on July 1 from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
    • Osgoode
      • Osgoode Main Street will be closed between River Road and 5660 Osgoode Main St. on July 1 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

READ MORE: New walking, cycling bridge over Rideau Canal set to open this weekend

Beat the heat

The forecast for Canada Day calls for a high of 27 C with humidity that will make it feel like 31 C. To avoid heat stroke, Ottawa Public Health recommends the following:

  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, preferably water, and limit or avoid caffeine and alcohol
  • Avoid strenuous outdoor physical activity
  • Limit or avoid direct exposure to the sun
  • Dress in light, loose-fitting clothing and wear a hat with ventilation holes when in the sun
  • Look for shade or a cool shelter in an air-conditioned location such as a shopping mall, cinema, library or community centre
  • Never leave children, the elderly or pets unattended in a car, even with the windows open

For those downtown looking to escape the heat, the Rideau Centre will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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