How to Eh Your Way on Canada Day

Ottawa Life’s Festival City Series is back! We'll provide a unique look at some of your favourite events.
We’ll go beyond the music with artist interviews, volunteer profiles, concert reviews and spotlights on
the tastes, sights and sounds of the festival season. 

Your city! Your festivals and events!
Like a good sunscreen, Ottawa Life has you covered.

Canada is 150-years-old and despite its age, it's about to throw its biggest birthday yet. To help you get in the spirit we found ten of the most interesting and well-rounded celebrations the city has to offer so you can celebrate Canada's sesquicentennial in style. Regardless of whether or not you want to brave the traffic and crowds downtown, we have something for everyone.

1.Parliament Hill

The most extensive and widely attended celebrations in the city (and maybe the country this year), the already huge celebrations will be on overdrive for Canada's 150th. For those willing to brave the car and foot traffic, there will be a 21-gune salute, followed by an air show featuring the Snowbirds, along with additional vintage planes and more for this year's bash. Along with the many guests making appearances, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will also be part of the hill's festivities for the day. Looking to the multiple shows throughout the day, Cirque Du Soleil will be performing, as well as a song from  U2's Bono and The Edge. The remainder of musical guests for the day are a classic affair featuring Gordon Lightfoot, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Walk Off The Earth, Alessia Cara, Serena Ryder, Patrick Watson and more before our next event.

And if you happen to be out of town but want to catch it all CBC will be live-streaming the days proceedings below.
Night Concerts –

Photo by Andre Gagne

2. Fireworks

The nights big closer starts at 11pm right at the North end of the Rideau Canal. Running for a total 20 minutes and 17 seconds it will be one of the most extensive displays to ever hit the city. If you can't find a good perch on a rooftop or balcony downtown, the best places to watch are from the Canadian Museum of History, Major's Hill Park, Parliament Hill any of the adjacent bridges that are open at the time. But for those outside of the downtown core who still want some bang in your festivities, don't worry. Communities from Kanata to Orleans to Barrhaven and beyond in the city are all hosting their own fireworks around 10 p.m..

Once again, the CBC has anyone missing Ottawa covered for the downtown fireworks –

3. Major's Hill Park:

Offering a slightly smaller crowd, and a wider range of activities, Major's Hill Park is far from a second best option to visiting the hill. Along with the elbow room and lounging space, you'll have plenty to take in including art installations, trivia games, live buskers, dancing and even a mini-train. Along with the food offerings that will be virtually non-existent on the hill, the concert offerings are top notch including Ruth B, local DJ Rise Ashen and Mother Mother.

4. Canadian Museum of History & Jacques-Cartier Park:

Right across the Ottawa River, the Gatineau offerings are certainly worth your time. Along with wall climbing, live animals and theatre shows outside the museum, you can also catch concerts from the Souljazz Orchestra and The Lost Fingers. The museum is also taking the opportunity to unveil the new History Hall, and many special exhibitions will also be free for the day. While you're across the river you can also catch over 100 mosaiculture displays at Jacques-Cartier Park, an impressive collection of arts blending various mediums together with plant life, all celebrating Canda's culture and history. Just remember to watch out for the bridge closure later in the day.

5. Canada Aviation and Space Museum:

Taking advantage of its fairly remote location, the museum will be hosting an exciting array of flight-focused entertainment. Along with a performance by a parachute team, there will also be a flyby from the Snowbirds along with autograph opportunities. With its own collection of food and other festivities they're even featuring a small rocket launch courtesy of The Ottawa Rocketry Group.

6. Ottawa Jazz Festival

Taking no breaks just because of the national holiday, the festival will be offering free shows to tide anyone over at Confederation Park between sets at Parliament. Featuring shows from 3 to 7 p.m. from Montreal's Groenland, Ottawa's Nefe, Blue Moon Marquee and The Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces Jazz Combo, there's no shortage of amazing musical offerings within a 10-minute walk of Parliament Hill.

7. Barrhaven:

Far from downtown? No problem! Out at Clarke Fields Park you can find an entire carnival of events running throughout the day, complete with midway rides. With cultural stage shows, craft vendors and even human foosball, there's a lot to do South of Hunt Club. Musical performances from Arms of the Girl, Peptide's member Rebecca Noelle and Alter Ego will handle the main entertainment of the night right from 4:30 up to the fireworks happening at 10 p.m. And if you're worried about getting there easily, they're even running shuttles between the grounds and the nearby Ross' Independent and Heart & Crown, to make sure anyone can come.

8. Diefenbunker:

On the city's far reaches, the historical Diefenbunker is offering visitors unique option for the day. Running a scavenger hunt across every floor of the giant space, people will get a rare opportunity to explore every nook and cranny of the bunker as they try to complete the hunt. When you're done there's also an obstacle course, crafts and tons of food. Best of all, the bunker is free for the day, just make sure you catch the narrow 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. opening hours.

9. National Arts Centre:

Catch the NACs grand re-opening, as they show of the newly renovated building to the public for the first time. What would an NAC event be without music? Performances by the NAC Orchestra and Ottawa Jazz Orchestra will handle the entertainment side of things for the day. Ribbon cutting and citizenships ceremonies will also make the centre's festivities a heartwarmingly patriotic and welcoming place to celebrate for the day.

10. Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

In the true spirit of the museum, their festivities will feature live animals, tons of summer hockey, homemade ice cream and wagon rides. There will also be ice cream making for those inclined, face-painting and even tours of the Dominion City Brewing Co.. With some of the best food offerings for the day, it's also worth checking out for the awesome concerts from Kathleen Edwards, Amos The Transparent, DADS, Adam Saikaley Trio and Marc Charron.

Remember, your going to deal with road closures, longer lines to get on the hill and increased security checks so please plan accordingly.