In honour of Canada’s 144th birthday, we’ve rounded up an assortment of activities that get you in on the action, whether you’re looking for one day, or a whole weekend, of fun. Happy Canada Day!
Friday, July 1
Everyone knows downtown is the place to be if you want to be in the thick of things, and everyone should experience Canada Day on the Hill at least once. Today, some of the highlights include the pageantry of the Changing of the Guard, the noon show, featuring the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, plus musical acts from across the country, and an evening show with plenty of live entertainment. Major’s Hill Park and Jacques-Cartier Park are good places to take the family, with activities that include a VIA miniature train, kite flying, an outdoor sculpture gallery, an international village, a Great Canadian Chicken BBQ, dance classes, fireworks, and — we can’t even believe we’re saying this — so much more!
Located right downtown, the National Arts Centre will be hosting an array of activities that are fun for the whole fam. If you need a breather from carousing on Parliament Hill, head here for some free fun that includes storytelling, breakdance performances by Culture Shock, music by the NAC Orchestra and 250 choiristers, plus entertainment by the Ottawa Stilt Union.
Earning a visit on the Royal Tour, you know the Canadian War Museum has serious cred. While Wills and Kate will stop by here on July 2 for a private function for veterans, there’s plenty of fun programming to be had on Canada Day for the country’s grand fete. Activities include military marches and highland tunes with the museum’s “wandering piper,” temporary tank tattoos for the kids, lectures about battlefield medicine, and more. Even better? For today only admission is free.
The National Gallery of Canada sure knows how to throw a party: Local ogranization Fresh Beat will be pumping up the jams on the plaza with techno and house music in the outdoor amphitheatre. This day of electronic music will feature well-known DJs from the region, such as Akash, Yan Larouche, Dr. Phil, Martin Diotte, Chris Falardeau, Jason Jesse, and Steve Martin. Also on site will be a barbecue and gelato, plus it’s the perfect place to grab a prime seat for the fireworks show at 10pm.
Throughout the Weekend
Guess which beach staple is star of the show at Wonders of Sand? The annual event offers the rare chance to see sculptors create works of art right before your very eyes. Learn how the pros do it, and then try your hand at building with sand sculpting workshops and the family competition. When not playing in the sand, have a blast with free watercraft rentals, swimming, children’s activities, live entertainment, and more. July 1 to 3.
Ottawa’s Intercountry Basebasell League team, the Ottawa Fat Cats, will take on the Barrie Baycats on July 1, 2, and 3. What could be better than sitting back with a cold one, enjoying the sunshine, and cheering on the home team?
The Canada Day Festival, located in Andrew Haydon Park, kicks off for another year with a performance by the Ottawa Fire Department Band, followed by some great local acts. Think of this as the lower-key Canada Day celebration, with a petting zoo, midway, heritage cars, and of course, fireworks. July 1 to 3.
Finally, if you want to get the weekend started early, head to Barrymore’s on Thursday night to break it down on the dance floor Canada Day-style (which means extra hard) for the “Pre-Canada Day Long Weekend” party. This event features both top 40 tunes and gems from the ’90s to get you in the celebratory mood.