Friday, August 3
Happy birthday, Rideau Canal! The Ottawa landmark is turning 180 this year (and also celebrating the fifth anniversary of its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and the city is celebrating with the Rideau Canal Festival. Join in on the free activities, including live bands, street performers, a parade of lights, fireworks, and the Festival Flotilla, where boats are decorated and paraded down the canal. Friday to Monday.
Centretown Movies hosts the annual outdoor film festival in Dundonald Park. Bring your blankets and anything you need to get comfy outside, and watch a great film on a screen under the stars. Friday is the classic film The Birdcage, featuring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams, and Saturday is Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.
Head down to the Sparks Street Mall for the 21st Annual International Busker Festival. The fest features over 40 performances by entertainers from across Canada and all over the world; they will shock and amaze you. Bring a stash of toonies and loonies and give them up for your favourite performers. Thursday to Monday.
Saturday, August 4
The Casino du Lac-Leamy’s 17th edition of Sound of Light is an international pyromusical showcasing the talents of some of the best fireworks experts from around the world. Teams from four countries (plus the casino’s grand finale) display their skills, synchronized with an original soundtrack, over five nights of competition. Saturday features a team from France.
Wander the streets of downtown Carleton Place and visit over a hundred vendors at this year’s BIA Bridge Street Bazaar. From 9am to 4pm, locals and out-of-towners alike are invited to find bargain deals, enjoy local entertainment, eat at the waterfront pubs and restaurants – or even become a merchant themselves. The entire downtown Bridge Street will be closed off, so it’s perfect for safe — and free — fun for the whole family.
Join this year’s Lumière Festival in New Edinburgh Park and be a part of the fun as everyone prepares for the cap-off celebration: the Evening of Light on August 18. Enjoy lantern making, workshops, and performances, and check out what fellow festival-goers create.
Sunday, August 5
As part of a cross-Canada tour, Coca-Cola is bringing the “Move to the Beat” London-style double-decker bus to the Byward Market to get everyone even more excited about the Olympics. With it comes an Olympic-sized party complete with interactive games, live music performances, dance activities, and more.
Cube Gallery presents The Collectors Show II, where art lovers can come and view what other art lovers hold in their private collections. See dozens of artworks that have previously been unavailable to the public. Until August 19.
It’s fun for the whole family at the Canada Agricultural Museum, with daily demonstrations including bread and butter making, ice cream making (and tasting!), and demonstrations of the upkeep of the animals who live on the farm. There is also opportunity to make a take-home craft around lunchtime, and check out the featured exhibits in the museum.
BONUS: Long weekend!
Monday, August 6
Merrickville Canalfest is still roaring through to the end of the long weekend, offering a fine craft show, live music from Big Band Ottawa, visiting with Alpacas, and living history presenters. Make sure to check out the local restaurants and ask about their Canalfest specials.
The Bytown Museum is hosting a special day of events commemorating Lt-Colonel John By and the builders of the Rideau Canal. This celebration boasts live music, dancing, face painting, and even costumed characters.