With pageantry and flare, Ottawa has always been the perfect place to celebrate Canada Day. But visitors during the country’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 2017 will experience a capital bursting with unexpected things to do.
The traditional July 1 party on Parliament Hill will be bigger than ever in honour of the sesquicentennial, with performances by an array of top Canadian talent. But the party will be rolling all week long across the city, with some of the capital’s most iconic sites presenting brand new looks to the country and the world.
“It’s a way to celebrate our nation, celebrate our past, but also to experience the best of what Canada has to offer,” says Guy Laflamme, executive director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau, which is hosting a wide range of events to compliment the city’s traditional festivities.
On July 2, the Interprovincial Picnic on the Bridge will be a Canadian first. The Alexander Bridge, bookended by the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, will be car-free and covered with grass to create a pedestrian zone with a magnificent view of Parliament Hill and the Ottawa River. Picnickers will be able to reserve a spots for a rare outdoor dining experience.
Several Ottawa 2017 events taking place throughout the year will add excitement during the week of Canada Day:
A futuristic underground multimedia experience, created by Montreal’s Moment Factory, runs from late-June to mid-September. Located in the future Lyon Station of Ottawa’s new Light Rail Transit service, the show will take visitors on a remarkable emotional journey—and give them a sneak peek at a space that won’t be officially unveiled until trains start running in 2018.
Inspiration Village, which will celebrate food and culture from all of Canada’s provinces and territories, will also be open for Canada Day, at a location to be announced soon.
During Canada Day week 2017, some of the city’s top attractions are getting a reboot—and throwing parties to show off their new digs. The Canadian Museum of History will open its new Canadian History Hall on July 1, unveiling the largest and most comprehensive exhibition ever developed on the history of Canada. Douglas Cardinal, the architect who designed the original museum back in the 1980s, returned to create a vast, inspiring space that Canadians are going to want to experience first-hand.
Architecture aficionados will also get a chance to step inside the reimagined Bank of Canada Museum in the heart of downtown, with an intriguing glass pyramid entrance designed by Perkins+Will Canada and a public plaza designed by Toronto’s dtah.
Not far away, the National Arts Centre will officially open its new Elgin Street entrance Canada Day week next year. Designed by Toronto’s Diamond Schmitt Architects, with an atrium of soaring glass walls, it will provide some of the most spectacular views of national landmarks.
For those who crave a more exclusive experience, Ottawa 2017 and CIBC are hosting a special gala dinner at the Shaw Centre on July 1, with some of Canada’s top chefs serving up their best dishes. An indoor-outdoor performance, to be announced later this year, will take advantage of the Shaw Centre’s distinct design. Tickets will be sold in advance.
With 150th anniversary events happening all over the city, visitors may have a tough time taking it all in during one weekend alone. “I’d recommend people not to book just a two- or three-day stay, but at least a week to take advantage of all the activities,” says Laflamme.
On top of all the festivities, talks are in the works to bring one or more members of the Royal Family to Ottawa for Canada’s 150th celebrations. That will take Canada Day pageantry to the next level.
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