August 29 – September 2, 2019
Each summer at the end of August, the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival (Festival des montgolfières de Gatineau, or FMG) celebrates much more than giant balloons floating through the skies of Canada’s Capital Region. This popular weekend event is also full of family-friendly fun like amusement rides, fireworks and live music!
Balloons of all shapes, sizes and colours – including cartoons and animals – lift off in the mornings and evenings on most festival days. You can opt to ride in one and drift over urban areas and countryside, or simply watch from the festival grounds as they magically float upwards. After dark, you can see some of the balloons lit up during the Night Glow event.
If you’re around the Ottawa-Gatineau region but not on-site, just look up and you might spot the balloons floating with the wind direction. One popular vantage point is the Rockcliffe Park Pavilion, just east of downtown Ottawa, near Rideau Hall.
Hot air balloon flights depend on many weather factors. When wind or rain restrict flying, visitors can still enjoy tethered flights which lift off a controlled distance from the ground.
Each year, the festival features an impressive lineup of live entertainment for kids and adults, including popular and emerging musical acts from Quebec, Canada and beyond. Past lineups have included Roch Voisine, Véronic Dicaire, Roger Hodgson, David Usher and Garou.
Amusements and fireworks
There’s tons of interactive fun on-site for all ages including a carnival amusement park. Ride a Ferris wheel, play in inflatable structures, and try your luck at arcades and virtual reality games. And don’t miss the spectacular fireworks show on Saturday evening!
The festival is held in the large Parc de la Baie in Gatineau, Quebec (less than a 15-minute drive from downtown Ottawa). Vehicle parking is available for a fee but it’s also easy to access by cycling on the Voyageurs Pathway, by taking the public bus or by using one of the festival shuttles.
A large RV park is a convenient option for travelers who want to stay on-site and easily explore Canada’s capital region.
If the Balloon Festival sounds like fun, check out the many other family-friendly summer activities and events in the Ottawa region!