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Your Guide to Canada Day in Ottawa

Canada Day in Ottawa is a full weekend-long celebration with concerts, activities, and events for the whole family. We’ve rounded up all of your questions to help you plan the perfect Canada Day weekend.

While there are a number of celebrations are taking place throughout the Ottawa area over the weekend, the official Canada Day weekend events are held at three official sites: Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park, and the Canadian Museum of History.

Where to Celebrate Canada Day in Ottawa

The heart of Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa can be found at Parliament Hill. Every year, The Hill hosts all-day celebrations into the evening, with the closing event of a fireworks display just after 10 p.m. on July 1st. This year, there will be a variety of activities, live performances and more. The Canadian Snowbirds will make an appearance on July 1st, flying over Parliament Hill during the day.

For more Canada Day entertainment head to Mayor’s Hill Park, just a few minutes walk from Parliament Hill, between the Fairmont Château Laurier and the National Gallery of Canada. This beautiful green space features family-friendly programming and performances.

Enjoy indoor and outdoor live entertainment at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, just across the Ottawa River from other official Canada Day sites.

Snowbirds flying overhead for Canada Day celebrations
Celebrate Canada Day in Ottawa | Skyscanner Canada

Are the Canada Day festivities accessible?

All official sites (Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park and the Canadian Museum of History) are accessible to people with special needs. With the exception of service animals, dogs and other pets are not permitted at official Canada Day sites.

More Canada Day Information

Where Are the Canada Day Fireworks in Ottawa?

Around 10:00 p.m. on July 1, the 15-minute Canada Day pyromusical fireworks show will be launched from Nepean Point (near the National Gallery of Canada and the Alexandra Bridge). The best places to see these fireworks are from:

  • Parliament Hill
  • Victoria Island by the Ottawa River
  • The central loop of Confederation Boulevard
  • Major’s Hill Park, overlooking the Ottawa River
  • The lawn of the Canadian Museum of History along the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River
aerial view of Ottawa at night during Canada Day
Celebrate Canada Day in Ottawa | Skyscanner Canada

Are the museums in Ottawa open on Canada Day?

Not only are the majority of museums in Ottawa open on Canada Day, they offer free admission to guests on July 1st (and sometimes July 2nd) to allow visitors to enjoy the city’s many world-class museums. The museums that offer free admission on Canada Day include the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian War Museum. The Canadian Museum of Nature just 10 minutes from downtown Ottawa is great for kids, as is the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

What to do in Ottawa for Canada Day with kids?

The majority of the Canada Day festivities around Ottawa are family-friendly. Visit Major’s Hill Park for Canada Day activities that include face painting, live music and cultural performances.

The National Arts Centre (NAC) will often have free activities for Canada Day including an area for kids crafts and a Canada Day BBQ. The majority of museums in Ottawa are free on Canada Day as well and will have sections and activities geared towards children.

In the west of Ottawa in Kanata, a midway is set up all Canada Day weekend-long with a number of events held on July 1st. Head to the Canada Day in Kanata website for more information.

How to Get Around Ottawa on Canada Day

There will be a number of road closures around Ottawa during the Canada Day long weekend to make the events pedestrian friendly. The easiest way to get around Ottawa on Canada Day is on foot, by bike, or by public transportation. The following options are free ways to get around Ottawa on Canada Day:

  • Free supervised bike stations at Major’s Hill Park and the Canadian Museum of History.
  • Free bus services on OC Transpo (Ottawa) and STO (Gatineau) all day on July 1.
  • Free shuttle bus on July 1, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., between Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec.
view of the Parliament Buildings by the Ottawa River in Ottawa, Canada
Celebrate Canada Day in Ottawa | Skyscanner Canada

What’s Open in Ottawa on Canada Day

  • Ottawa’s Rideau Centre is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • ByWard Market
  • Businesses at Lansdowne and in the Glebe are open on Canada Day.
  • Whole Foods Lansdowne is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Loblaws on Rideau Street is open 24 hours
  • Metro on Rideau Street
  • Four Beer Store locations in downtown Ottawa are open Canada Day. (201 Rideau St, 515 Somerset St. W., 900 Bank St. and 546 Scott St. )
  • Standalone SAQ outlets in Gatineau are open regular business hours on Canada Day.

What’s Closed in Ottawa on Canada Day

  • Place d’Orléans, St. Laurent Centre, Carlingwood Shopping Centre, Bayshore Shopping Centre, Tanger Outlets are closed July 1.
  • Les Promenades Gatineau will be closed July 1.
  • All LCBO outlets, most grocery stores, Banks, Canada Post outlets will be closed July 1.

Where to stay in Ottawa

Ottawa’s downtown is extremely walkable and pedestrian friendly. Depending on where you wish to stay downtown, these hotels are within walking distance to the majority of the major attractions.

Where to dine in Ottawa

There are a number of delicious restaurants around Ottawa to explore. The ByWard Market is scattered with so many pubs that you can take your pick. Some of the best include The Highlander and the Heart & Crown, which have plenty of drink and food options on the menu.

Indulge in some excellent seafood and Ottawa’s best fish n’ chips at The Fish Market Restaurant. About 10-minutes from Ottawa’s downtown core is Datsun, an excellent choice if you’re looking for reasonably priced Asian fare like ramen and steam buns. Some other trendy Ottawa restaurants include El Camino, Riviera Ottawa and Sidedoor.

An insider’s guide to the best restaurants in Canada’s capital city.

Book Your Hotel in Ottawa

Get planning and book your accommodation for your Canada Day getaway before it’s too late! Use our hotel search tool to get access to the best hotel deals and choose your perfect hotel in Ottawa.