Family-Friendly Activities for Canada Day in Ottawa

Canada Day in Ottawa
 photo courtesy of connie paris

photo courtesy of connie paris

It's #Canada151 this year and we have everything you need to know to plan a memorable Canada Day with your family. 

Parliament Hill

On Canada Day, dress up in red and white and join thousands of other Canadians in downtown Ottawa on Parliament Hill.  It’s the place where Canada Day festivities officially kick off (usually with the raising of the flag at 9 a.m. and the Changing of the Guard at 9:30 a.m.) and it’s the place to be if you want to listen to dignitaries and ceremonies commemorating Canada Day (this usually takes place from about noon to 1:30 p.m.).

If live musical entertainment is what you’re looking for, visit Major's Hill Park but return to the Hill in the evening as live bands countdown the fireworks display that typically goes off around 10 p.m.

Major’s Hill Park

 Photo courtesy of Jenn Beyak

Photo courtesy of Jenn Beyak

 photo courtesy of cynthia mar

photo courtesy of cynthia mar

Major’s Hill Park is the hubbub of family-friendly Canada Day activities in Ottawa’s downtown core. Visit the park for face painting, live musical and cultural performances, pop up shops, exhibitions, and so much more. This year the Tim Horton's stage will feature rising Canadian artists Elijah Woods and Jamie Fine! At the end of the day, this is a great spot to watch the spectacular display of Canada Day fireworks over the Ottawa River.

The National Arts Centre

The National Arts Centre (NAC) opens its doors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Canada Day offering various free activities, including music and dance performances, as well as kids crafts! If you’re hungry, join us for burgers and hot dogs at our Canada Day BBQ from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Jazz Festival – Confederation Park

 Photo courtesy of jenn beyak

Photo courtesy of jenn beyak

Located right across from City Hall, Confederation Park on Canada Day is home to food trucks, activities and is your ticket to some of the world's most recognized jazz artists, presented by the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival. If your family enjoys good music, Confederation Park is a must-stop on Canada Day and the entire weekend!

Mackenzie-King Estate

Mackenzie-King Estate is in the heart of Gatineau Park and makes for great photos any time of year. If your family loves the outdoors, take a walk through the wooded paths or gardens, visit historical ruins from the early 1900s or enjoy a cup of tea at the Mackenzie King Café and Tearoom. 

 Photo courtesy of Olivia Lamarre.

Photo courtesy of Olivia Lamarre.

Ottawa Champions Baseball Game

Take your kids to a ball game! The Ottawa Champions have a game at 1:30 p.m. on Canada Day. Enjoy ball game food, cheer on the local team and sing with the mascot! Seats prices are economical and it’s fun for the entire family, regardless of age (or whether or not they like baseball).

Scotiabank Canada Day Road Races

If you and your family love to run join Run Ottawa for the Scotiabank Canada Day Road Races at Walter Baker Park as part of the official Kanata Canada Day celebrations. There will be fun and friendly running events, including 5K, 10K, 1.5K Fun Run for kids aged 5 to 11 and a 100 Meter Tow Trot for kids ages 4 and under. A fun and healthy way to start Canada Day!

Visit a Museum!

Most museums in Ottawa have free admission to their general exhibitions all day July 1st and many have special events taking place just for Canada Day! This includes the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian War Museum, the Canada Space and Aviation museum, as well as the following museums:

 Photo courtesy of Lida Wellman.

Photo courtesy of Lida Wellman.

Canada Aviation and Science Museum

Over 20 organizations and special guests will be celebrating Canada Day at the Canada Aviation and Science Museum, and many visiting aircrafts will be flying in for Museum visitors. There may even be a chance to speak to the pilots! Admission is free all day on July 1, but donations are welcome.

Canadian Museum of History

On July 1st, the Canadian Museum of History will host a variety of indoor and outdoor activities with guest, Parks Canada. Get free airbrush tattoos, play trivia, and join General Patente for board and chain reaction games.

Bytown Museum

Located on the Lower Locks of the Rideau Canal, the Bytown Museum is a great little museum that also has ice cream, freshly squeezed lemonade, souvenirs, and more available in their café and boutique. Admission is free on Canada Day.

Canada Science and Technology Museum

Rain or shine, kids and adults alike will have fun exploring the newly renovated Canada Science and Technology Museum. There is always something to see and  Canada Day is a great day to check out their fantastic new special exhibition, The Art of Brick

Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

In addition to the animal barns and incredible play structure, the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum will offer visitors the chance to learn about Canadian agriculture and learn about different Canadian breeds of livestock. There will be games, a craft, ice cream making and tasting, as well samples of the Canadian classic: Nanaimo bars.

Canadian Museum of Nature

If you haven’t been to the Canadian Museum of Nature in awhile, Canada Day is the perfect chance to do so for free. Visit dinosaurs, mammals, minerals and sea life, the Canada Good Arctic Gallery and their new special exhibition Brain: The Inside Story.

 Photo courtesy of Lida Wellman.

Photo courtesy of Lida Wellman.

Celebrate Canada Day in Your Community!

If you are looking to avoid the huge crowds of Canadians in downtown Ottawa, but still want to celebrate Canada Day with others, there are plenty of community events across Ottawa, including:

Barrhaven

Sponsored by Mattamy Homes, join your Barrhaven neighbours at Clarke Fields, 93 Houlahan for a midway, food trucks, live music, amazing fireworks and much, much more! For more information: http://www.canadadaybarrhaven.ca/

Carp

Celebrate Canada Day at the Diefenbunker from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.!  This year they are excited to offer Little Ray’s Reptiles, reptile show from 11:00 to 12:00. There will be lizards, snakes, spiders and more! They will also have a BBQ with hot dogs and veggie dogs. As well as frozen treats and drinks for an affordable price! For more information: https://diefenbunker.ca/events/event/happy-canada-day

Orleans

Canada Day at Petrie Island is BACK, and East end residents are excited! Hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Orleans, the beach opens at 11am, and party-goers can expect games, children's activities, entertainment and so much more! For more information: http://www.orleanskiwanis.ca/CanadaDay/

Kanata

Canada Day in Kanata take place at Walter Baker Park in Kanata and includes live entertainment, a large family fun zone, live bands and more. Crowds of over 30,000 are known to attend this popular west Ottawa Canada Day celebration! Fireworks start around 10 p.m. For more information visit: http://www.canadadayinkanata.com/

 photo courtesy of cynthia mar

photo courtesy of cynthia mar

Osgoode

Celebrate Canada Day in Osgoode Village at the Osgoode Community Centre starting at 2 pm on July 1st. Events include a parade, entertainment, kids activities, and fireworks! For information: http://www.osgoodevillage.com/?page_id=743

Riverside South

Join the community of Riverside South at Claudette Cain Park as they celebrate Canada Day with family-friendly activities for all ages and of course, a fireworks show to finish off the day! Stay tuned to the website for information: http://riversidesouth.org/calendar/canada-day/

Stittsville

Hosted on the grounds of Sttitsville’s Sacred Heart Highschool, Stittville’s family-friendly Canada Day celebration gets bigger and better every year with activities and fun for the whole family including fireworks! For more information: http://www.stittsvilleva.com/canadaday/

How to get around on Canada Day

 PHOTO COURTESY OF ALISON  JETTE

PHOTO COURTESY OF ALISON  JETTE

Regardless of where or how you decide to celebrate Canada Day in Ottawa, OC Transpo offers free transit all day long and after the fireworks. STO offers free transit after 10 p.m. Check out their website for more information and remember to leave lots of time for travel and to have fun – Canada Day with kids make for some great memories.

How does your family traditionally celebrate Canada Day? Leave a comment and let me know!