Nowhere is Canadian patriotism on display more proudly than in Downtown Ottawa on Canada Day, and if you’ve got the stamina you can participate from morning to late at night. Start the day watching the Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill at 9am. From there the day is yours to seize. At noon there is the Canada Day Show which broadcasts live across Canada. Watch our history come alive with the Inspection of the Guard and a 21-Gun Salute. Buskers and entertainers can be found as you stroll along the closed-to-traffic streets. Next door at Major’s Hill Park you can embrace Canada’s many cultures with displays and performances throughout the day. Also, don’t miss the annual Chicken Barbecue found here as well.
Across the river at Jacques Cartier park it’s all about the kids with activities for ages 3-12. Bouncy castles, games and performances can be found here. Free shuttles run from downtown locations to Jacques Cartier Park all day. Finally you are not going to want to miss the most spectacular fireworks show from Parliament Hill at 10pm. Best locations for viewing are at Jacques Cartier Park and Parliament Hill.
Ottawa Bluesfest – July 4-14
For ten days in July, Ottawa sheds it’s uptight, conservative image and gets in touch with it’s musical side. Originally started in 1994, Ottawa Bluesfest has moved from it’s original roots of just blues to include more mainstream pop and rock artists as well. It’s also outgrown it original digs at Major’s Hill Park and has moved to LeBreton Flats where five stages accommodate the various bands,performers and fans who flock to Ottawa to participate in this world-class event.
Dixie Chicks, Weezer, The Tragically Hip, Great Big Sea, The Waterboys, B.B. King, Los Lobos, Serena Ryder and Grand Funk Railroad are just a few of this years headliners.
Mosaika– July 10 – September 7
Mosaika is the story of Canada as told through light, sound and images using the historic Centre Block on Parliament Hill as the backdrop. With a “screen” that spans 143 metres long and six stories high, you can’t help but ooh and aah as Canadians narrate their story in three acts. First, the landscape – as varied as it’s people from coast to coast, then Act Two which shares our amazing achievements and finally Act Three, which shares our strong values.
Crowds come nightly to spread their blankets on the lawn and watch this captivating, and free, show. Prepare to be amazed and moved by our incredible story.
Star Wars Identities – May 10 – September 2
This is as un-Canadian as you can get, in fact you could say it’s out of this world, but if you have a Star Wars aficionado in the house then this show is not to be missed. Housed at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, this traveling exhibition showcases over 200 original props, costumes or sets from the Star Wars series.
Feel free to dress like your favourite character but please, leave your light sabres at home.
Casino Du Lac-Leamy Sound of Light – August 10 – 24
This annual pyrotechnical event held at Casino Du Lac-Leamy, is sure to blow your mind. Experts from around the world compete to see who has the best pyromusical show. Now in it’s 18th year, the Sound of Light continues to grow bigger and better every year. This year competitors come from Dubai, Denmark, The Phillipines, and The United Kingdom. Not just about the fireworks though, you’ll also find countless food concessions and entertainment on the three different stages throughout.
Casino Du Lac-Leamy’s Sound of Light is recognized as one of North America’s Top 100 events. Not to be missed.
*Star Wars Yoda image Lucasfilms Ltd.
*All other images courtesy of Ottawa Tourism