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 weekend-long celebration on Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1, 2018. Take a look at these highlights and plan your long weekend getaway to Ottawa for the 151st 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.
A diverse selection of top and emerging Canadian musicians will be performing at official Canada Day sites over the weekend. A preliminary list is below. Canadian Heritage will release concert schedule details and additional programming information shortly.
Major’s Hill Park
- June 30: Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, Andréanne A. Malette, River Town Saints, Silla and Rise, Rise Ashen, and more
- July 1: Noubi Trio, The Beaches, Logan Staats, La Bronze, Jacobus, Charlotte Cardin, Yao, Miss Shelton
- June 30: As preparations get underway for the July 1 festivities on Parliament Hill, the site will not feature official programming on June 30 (though rehearsals will be taking place on the outdoor stage).
- July 1: Arkells, Lights, Brigitte Boisjoli, Ruth B., Iskwé, Jean-Marc Couture, Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, Klô Pelgag, DJ Shub, The Dead South, Queen Ka, Rose Cousins, Martina Ortiz Luis, Boogát
CANADA DAY FIREWORKS
Around 10:00 p.m. on July 1, the 15-minute President’s Choice® Canada Day pyromusical fireworks show will be launched from Nepean Point (near the National Gallery of Canada and the Alexandra Bridge). The accompanying soundtrack is 100% Canadian! (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
- The lawn of the Canadian Museum of History along the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River (note: the Alexandra Bridge, which links Ottawa to Gatineau, is closed to vehicles as of 6:00 a.m. and to pedestrians and cyclists as of 9:00 p.m. on Canada Day—subject to change without notice).
Over the 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 (Canadian Heritage will release road closure details shortly). So it’s best to get around on foot, by bike, or by public transportation. Take advantage of the free supervised bike stations at Major’s Hill Park and the Canadian Museum of History.
All official sites (Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park and the Canadian Museum of History) are accessible to people with special needs.
Note that dogs and pets are not permitted at Canada Day official sites (exceptions are made for service dogs).
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR CANADA DAY WEEKEND IN OTTAWA
For the most up-to-date official Canada Day programming details and updates, visit the Canada Day website.
And to know more on what to expect, how to get around the city 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!