As winter winds down and spring settles in, Canada’s Capital blossoms with a variety of indoor and outdoor events for all ages. Consider the event highlights below your invitation to come out of hibernation and enjoy beer, poutine, art, films and more in Ottawa this spring.
Maple season: March and April
Spring is maple syrup season! Visit sugar shacks and maple-related events in Ottawa and the surrounding countryside to enjoy the delicious sweet treat, try traditional Canadian food and experience spring outdoor activities. See our Maple Syrup Fun page for programming highlights.
Bright Nights – Baltic-Nordic Film Festival: March 9 – 18
The Canadian Film Institute presents a festival celebrating the best of contemporary cinema from eight Baltic and Nordic nations. All films, which are Ottawa premieres, are shown at the newly renovated Arts Court Theatre.
Made with Love regional finals: March 19
During this annual event taking place in the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne, you can taste unique and original cocktail and food-pairing creations by Ottawa’s most talented Barchefs. Ottawa’s best Barchef for 2018 will move on to the national finals.
Nature Nocturne – Dig Your Inner Dino: March 23
This month’s Nature Nocturne event at the Canadian Museum of Nature invites you to channel your inner paleontologist: hold real fossils, try a dino dig, discover what kind of dino you are and taste food that satisfies carnivores and herbivores alike. All while dancing, mingling and having fun!
Aboriginal Family Festival: March 24 – 25
The 21st Annual Ottawa Children & Youth Traditional Pow Wow showcases the talents and skills of children, youth, and adults. The event is held at Carleton University and admission by donation.
2018 Fork Off: March 25
Watch an epic battle between Ottawa chefs Patrick Garland from Absinthe and challenger Harriet Clunie from the Beechwood Gastropub. Each chef creates dishes using ingredients found in the Parkdale Food Centre’s Community Kitchen pantry and presents them to a panel of judges. Tickets include Tooth and Nail craft beer as well as small bites. Proceeds go to the Parkdale Food Centre.
The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour: March 27
The largest and one of the most prestigious mountain festivals in the world brings its screenings to Ottawa’s Algonquin Commons Theatre. Watch athletes filmed in exotic landscapes and remote locations as they take part in adrenaline-packed action sports such as back-country skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, dog sledding, slacklining and so much more.
The Illusionists: March 27 – April 1
See the jaw dropping talents of seven of the most incredible Illusionists on earth in The Illusionists – Live from Broadway at the National Arts Centre. This non-stop show for all ages is packed with thrilling and sophisticated magic of unprecedented proportions.
Beer as an Agricultural Product: March 27
This Food For Thought Lecture Series talk at the Canada Agriculture & Food Museum focuses on brewing fundamentals and the history of beer. Expert Christopher Wooding explores the links between soils, biodiversity, agronomy, climate change, and your local beer. Beer samples from Dominion City Brewing Co. available for purchase.
Friends of the Dominion – A Pop-up Bar: March 30
This pop-up bar held at the General Assembly in Hintonburg features craft beer by Ottawa’s Dominion City Brewing Co., plus beverages from other Ontario craft breweries, cideries and wineries. Snacks by MeatPress. Proceeds support the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.
Easter programming: Various dates and locations
Many sites and attractions throughout Ottawa offer special programming and activities over the Easter weekend and on other dates. See our online Event Calendar for family-friendly suggestions like Easter egg hunts, baby animals and historical programming.
Ikebana: April 5 – 8
This annual exhibition of Japanese floral design features 50 unique arrangements on display at the Canadian Museum of Nature. The event is organized by the Ottawa Centennial Chapter of Ikebana International.
Originals Spring Craft Sale: April 5 – 8
This spring shopping event brings together 180 of Canada’s most talented artists, artisans, and designers to the EY Centre. Discover a huge selection of handmade goods including fashion, jewellery, décor, art, sculptures, natural body care, delicious gourmet treats, and more.
Runway for Hope 2018: April 7
This semi-annual charity event held at the EY Centre promotes local, Canadian and International fashion designers. Feel good as you check out the latest trends – event proceeds go to the CHEO Foundation.
Ottawa PoutineFest: April 19 – 22
Head to Festival Plaza outside Ottawa City Hall to celebrate poutine, a Canadian dish consisting of fries, gravy and fresh cheese curds. At PoutineFest, dozens of vendors serve all kinds of poutine, plus local craft beer, live entertainment, kids activities and more. Admission is free!
TIFF Film Circuit at the Gallery: April 26 – June 28 (select dates)
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) presents the best of Canadian and international films at the National Gallery of Canada. This unique film festival experience brings together cinema, food and conversation.
Sparks Street Poutinefest: April 26 – 29
Ottawa’s best food trucks gather along three blocks of Sparks Street to showcase their take on Canada’s favourite indulgence. In addition to the gooey goodness, there’s live music, street performers, patios and more. Admission is free!
Ottawa Grassroots Festival: April 26 – 29
The Ottawa Grassroots Festival is an annual, inclusive and family-focused event that celebrates folk music, dance and spoken word. Ticketed and free events, including some participatory workshops, are held at the Southminster United Church in the Glebe neighbourhood.
Ottawa International Writers Festival: April 26 – May 1
The spring edition of the Ottawa International Writers Festival celebrates the finest new and established writers from across Canada and around the world. Events are held at various locations.
Nature Nocturne – Harmony: April 27
April’s Nature Nocturne event at the Canadian Museum of Nature invites you to harmonize with nature and rediscover the power of sound – from whale songs to karaoke. All while dancing, mingling and having fun!
CN Cycle for CHEO: May 6
This fun and non-competitive charity event offers a wide range of cycling (15K, 35K, 70K) and walking (2K, 5K) routes for people of all ages and abilities. The fully-supported urban cycling routes are closed to traffic, allowing everyone to safely cycle along Ottawa’s most scenic corridors.
Ottawa ComicCon: May 11 – 13
Celebrate pop culture and entertainment during this three-day fan convention at the EY Centre. Expect celebrities, personalities and exhibitors from comic books, sci-fi, fantasy, movies, TV, toys, anime, gaming and more.
Ottawa Children’s Festival: May 11 – 15
This annual festival held at Lebreton Flats presents the best in live performing arts including theatre, dance and music for children aged two to 15.
Canadian Tulip Festival: May 11 – 21
This annual world-famous festival features over a million tulips across Canada’s Capital, plus entertainment, activities and special events.
NOKIA Sunday Bikedays: May 21 – September 3
Sunday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., more than 50 kilometres (30 miles) of Ottawa’s scenic parkways are closed to motorists for Sunday Bikedays. The predetermined routes are taken over by cyclists, in-line skaters, runners, joggers and walkers.
Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend: May 26 – 27
Nearly 50,000 participants compete in a variety of challenging races, including a 10k and Canada’s largest marathon during the Ottawa Race Weekend. Athletes and spectators enjoy the picturesque running routes that pass by many of Ottawa’s major landmarks including Parliament Hill and the Rideau Canal.
The Happening: May 25 – June 2 (weekends)
This multi-day event celebrates local artists, designers, musicians and businesses in the Wellington West community of Ottawa. All funds raised from the festival are returned to the community through arts grants.
Great Glebe Garage Sale: May 26
Every year since 1986, countless individual vendors gather throughout the historic Glebe neighbourhood on the fourth Saturday in May to collectively create one giant garage sale. Thousands of people flock to the area to shop for treasures and bargains, rain or shine.
Festibière de Gatineau: May 31 – June 2
The summer edition of this popular festival at the Canadian Museum of History features hundreds of craft beers from Ontario and Quebec breweries, as well as numerous food vendors and live entertainment.
There’s always something fun going on in Canada’s Capital! For even more event suggestions, see our online Event Calendar.