• By: OLM Staff

Best of Ottawa 2020: Ottawa Festivals

After over 20-years writing about life in Ottawa, we think we have a pretty good idea of the best of what this city has to offer. In this weekly series, we share our picks with you — our top hotels, live music venues, local brews, bands and more. Check, share and discuss #OLMBest every week!

Ottawa Fringe Festival

Ottawa’s Fringe Festival is all about giving artists the opportunity to both emerge and establish their art regardless of content, form, or style! Offering a diverse set of visual arts, music, and more! The Fringe Festival’s goal is to both give artists opportunities and host fun, accessible festivals for the community that brought them together. And with every form of art finding a home here, it makes for a hot spot for art lovers!
Photo: Alex Black

Ottawa New Art Festival 

The New Art Festival is Ottawa’s longest-running outdoor exhibit, featuring nearly 200 of unique and diverse art brought together by professional artists in the community. From paintings, to ceramics, to textiles and jewellery and more! Covid sidelined this year's festival but the artist have all been working away, guaranteeing that Ottawa’s New Art Festival 2021 will have something you’ll love! 
Photo: OLM Staff

Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival 

The Dragons are sailing at Ottawa’s Dragon Boat Festival! Ottawa’s Dragon Boat Festival offers a new and exciting approach by having the community boat race in dragon-themed canoes. The festival began as a way to commemorate Minister of State Qu Yuan and has been going on for over 20 years! Covid-19 forced the cancellation of the 2020 edition of the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, make sure to get out and see it next year!
Photo: facebook.com/ottawadragonboat


Winterlude is on the horizon! With numerous fun activities and delicious winter treats. Ottawa’s Winterlude is a snowy wonderland offering you the chance to skate down the icy paths of the Rideau Canal, participate in one of their many icy cool games, see all the professional sculpted ice sculptures, and let’s not forget those tasty beaver tail pastries! With so much to offer, Ottawa’s Winterlude is a thaw-dropping event!

Jazz Fest 

Ottawa’s Jazz Festival is a musical treasure in the heart of Ottawa and is one of the most highly anticipated music festivals of the year. Covid forced this year's event to be cancelled but we are looking forward to next summer's offering of live music performances from the world's most renowned and celebrated artists. Over the span of 11 days, Ottawa’s Jazz Festival has over 800 musicians performing throughout the day and night, and with so much diversity and opportunities to participate, there’s something for everyone!
Photo: wikipedia.org


RBC’s bluesfest is an annual outdoor music festival that was first established in 1994 with an audience of only 5,000, but has since grown and become the largest blues festival in all of Canada, attracting 300,000 during the 10-day festival! Featuring iconic favourites that have shown a timeless staying of power to today’s top trending names that promise to be dropping hits for many years to come! RBC’s Bluesfest continues to attract an ever-growing audience. We are looking forward to Bluesfest 2021, summer didn't quite seem the same without it this year. 

Ottawa Animation Festival 

Ottawa’s Animation Festival occurs every September to bring to you the wonders of animation! From September 23rd to October 4th, Ottawa’s Animation Festival presents the world’s most cutting-edge, fascinating animation and fundamentals for how to make them! Showcasing their work and even bringing some of your drawn characters to life! Don’t miss a beat on transforming Ottawa into the centre of the animation universe!
Photo credit: ottawafestivals.ca

Buskerfest — Sparks Street

The Buskerfest consists of highly-talented and skilled street performers who put on captivating and fun shows for the festival! From breath-taking fire performers blowing flames several feet high to comedic daredevils escaping from straightjackets and chains! Buskerfest makes summer in the capital so much fun!
Photo: ottawabuskerfestival.com

Tulip Festival 

The Canadian Tulip Festival is held every May that originated from the Dutch royal family sending 100,000 tulips as a thank you to Canadians during the end of WW2. The following year, Ottawa became renowned for their tulips which became the world’s largest tulip festival, displaying over one million tulips! The 67-year old festival continues to flourish and receive 10,000 bulbs every year! This year's tulips were a welcome sight after the lockdown!
Photo: tulipfestival.ca/tulip-gallery

Ottawa beer Fest — Aberdeen Pavilion, Lansdowne Park 

Drink up! Ottawa’s beer fest features dozens of crafted beers from over 40 breweries in Ontario and more! This Festival has a lot to offer for those who enjoy a hearty appetite and a soft spot for drinks! Offering you a Cider bar, great food from local eateries, live music, and even activities to enjoy on the go! With so many places to check out, there’s plenty of ways to spice up your visit!
Photo: ottawabeerfest.com