The biggest Canada Day party takes place in Ottawa each year on July 1, with live entertainment, family activities and spectacular fireworks! And this year, Canada’s capital is hosting a two-day celebration on Sunday, June 30 and Monday, July 1, 2019. Take a look at these highlights and plan your long weekend getaway to Ottawa for the 152nd Canada Day celebrations. And yes, it’s all FREE!
Three official sites
Though celebrations are taking place throughout the Ottawa area over the weekend, 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, Quebec, just across the Ottawa River from other official Canada Day sites.
Throughout the weekend, you’ll find special programming and activities, as well as performances by a diverse selection of top and emerging Canadian musicians. Here are a few highlights:
Major’s Hill Park
Special programming includes interactive arts and activities as well as performances by CHANCES, Iskwé, Medhi Cayenne, Salebarbes and Said the Whale.
As preparations get underway for the July 1 festivities on Parliament Hill, the site will not feature official programming (though rehearsals will be taking place on the outdoor stage).
Major’s Hill Park
Special programming continues, as well as performances by DJ Domeno, Élage Diouf, Tyler Shaw, Corneille and Tokyo Police Club.
Programming on the Hill starts at 8 a.m. and includes an Algonquin blessing of the grounds, a Carillion Concert, and the Noon and Evening Shows featuring various artists such as the National Arts Centre Orchestra, K’Naan, T. Thomason, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, Karim Ouellet, Shawnee, William Prince, Coeur de Pirate, Marie Mai and Brett Kissel.
- The main entrance to access Parliament Hill for Canada Day programming will be located in front of the Supreme Court of Canada at the intersection of Wellington and Kent streets. The entrance for people with special needs will be at the Parliament Hill pedestrian entrance at the intersection of Bank and Wellington streets.
- For additional details on access points, the security process and any restrictions to consider, please consult the Be prepared to celebrate on Parliament Hill section on the official Canada Day website.
Canadian Museum of History
As an official Canada Day site, the Canadian Museum of History is hosting special activities and games that highlight Canadian Indigenous cultures, as well as performances by DJ Shub, James Jones, Angela Gladue, Silla and Rise, Bleu Jeans Bleu and Ben Caplan.
Canada Day fireworks
Around 10:00 p.m. on July 1, the 15-minute Manulife Canada Day Fireworks show will be launched from Nepean Point, near the National Gallery of Canada and the Alexandra Bridge. (Keep in mind the fireworks show is weather dependent.)
Best viewing spots
Parliament Hill is not necessarily the best place to see the fireworks, as the 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
- Along the Ottawa River
On Canada Day weekend, various roads are closed to traffic and parking is very limited as locals and visitors of all ages gather in downtown Ottawa. For example, roads by Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park, Jacques-Cartier Park and the Alexandra Bridge, and the road in front of the Canadian Museum of History are closed on Canada Day. For more details, consult the complete list of road closures.
Canada Day organizers have suggestions on the best ways to get around: on foot, by bike, or by public transportation. Take advantage of the following options, valid on July 1st:
- Free supervised bike stations at Major’s Hill Park, the Supreme Court of Canada and the Canadian Museum of History
- Free public bus service on OC Transpo (Ottawa) and STO (Gatineau)
- Free shuttle bus service between main sites and strategic locations, including:
From 8:45 a.m. to 10:45 p.m.: Roundtrip between the Centre Robert-Guertin Park-and-Ride and the Canadian Museum of History. Boarding locations:
- Robert-Guertin Park-and-Ride (parking lot at 125, Carillon Street, Gatineau).
- Canadian Museum of History (at the intersection of Laurier Street and des Allumettières Blvd., in front of Jacques-Cartier Park, Gatineau).
From 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.: Roundtrip from Major’s Hill Park to the Canadian Museum of History to the Supreme Court of Canada (Parliament Hill main entrance). Boarding locations:
- Major’s Hill Park (Ottawa): on Murray Street at Mackenzie Avenue.
- Canadian Museum of History (Gatineau) toward Supreme Court of Canada: on des Allumettières Blvd. westbound at the intersection of Laurier Street.
- Canadian Museum of History (Gatineau) toward Major’s Hill Park: on des Allumettières Blvd. eastbound at the intersection of Laurier Street, next to the Maison du tourisme.
- Supreme Court of Canada (Ottawa): on Wellington Street.
All official sites (Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park and the Canadian Museum of History) are accessible to people with special needs. Visit the Accessibility section of Canada Day website for details.
Getting the most out of your Canada Day weekend in Ottawa
For the full schedule of activities taking place at all official sites, including concert lineups and more, visit the official Canada Day Calendar of events.
For an insider’s perspective on what to expect and how to prepare for your Canada Day visit to Ottawa, consult our Canada Day Packing Guide.
Share the fun
Get out there, enjoy the action and share your experiences using the #MyOttawa and #CanadaDay hashtags!