On July 1st, each and every year since 1867, Ottawa lets its hair down for the biggest party in the country. Crowds flock downtown creating a giant street party. Kids (and not-so-much kids) get maple leafs painted on their faces. Everyone wears red-and-white. Bars are overflowing. Everyone is, or should be, in a great mood.
Festivities start bright and early (around 10AM I believe) with a changing of the guard and the RCMP (mounties) musical ride on Parliament Hill (CHARGE!!!). The Governor General arrives with a parade of mounties and military in ceremonial uniform. A stage is set up on Parliament Hill. There are two shows, one at noon and one in the evening. The noon show is family focused. Speeches are given, the highlight being the Governor General and the Prime Minister, and Canadian acts perform for the crowd. Everything finishes up with the national anthem and a fly past by the Snowbirds (Canada's Airforce demonstration team). There are a thousand other activities going on, so check at the InfoCentre or online for information.
The evening show usually has the better acts and the focus is really to party. Despite the best efforts of the Mounties, there is usually quite a bit of drinking, so families beware. It's not unsafe, but things to get messy as soon as the show finishes (how they clean up for the next day I'll never know!). OCTranspo is free, but the buses will be packed so have a place to stay downtown if possible (though you won't escape the noise outside).
Buskers and musicians perform throughout the city (notably on Sparks Street and Wellington Street) for most of the day.
Unless you get there really early, parking is really tough, so plan ahead. Bring water and suntan lotion or you're going to get crispy.
Well, we asked at the tourist info center by Parliament Hill, and were told by one of the workers of 3 places for a good view...one was behind the Parlaiment Buildings, and another was along the waterfront. I wish we had taken her third suggestion, because the park along the waterfront was closed that day after 4pm, and you couldn't get behind the Parlia because it was gated. So we ended up smushed up against a metal fence, with a lot of pushy people, and a tree blocking half the view(by the Parliament buildings - we were figuring they'd open the gates and let people back). Half way thru the fireworks, they opened one end of the gate, which started a wave of people trying to get from the far end to the other end of the gates...unfortunately, we were in the middle getting pushed and shoved...oh well, my suggestion would be (sorry can't remember the name) a park/walkway along the other side of the Rideau Canal, and get there a few hours ahead, better yet, would probably have a great view from the Quebec side of the river.
On June 20, 1868, a proclamation signed by the Governor General, Lord Monck, called upon all Her Majesty's subjects throughout Canada to join in the celebration of the anniversary of the formation of the union of the British North America provinces in a federation under the name of Canada on July 1st.
It was first referred to as "Dominion Day"..
On October 27, 1982, July 1st which was known as "Dominion Day" became "Canada Day".
Its meaning is different obviously to different people but for many its an opportunity to reflect and appreciate what it means to live in this AMAZING country....how LUCKY are we ,those that are able to call this Country home!
Culturally we are a "melting pot" of different ethnicities and cultures...indigenous peoples from the North...[Throat Singers] ....Native Canadian dancers from the West..Cape Bretton fiddlers from the East Coast..Pipe and Drum bands of Scottish heritage from ANYWHERE in Canada,Rock and Pop Musicians...you name it...its here !!When the Feds put on a show they bring entertainers in from different parts of the country and WE that are here at the time can experience it !@!
In Ottawa and elsewhere....there are parades,babecues,live performances[Canadian of COURSE] of musicians and dancers from different parts of Canada,parties and a whole lot of beer drinking Im sure!
The crowds downtown Ottawa can be quite large....and there are many different venues where things are going on...Parliament Hill...Major's hill Park...and most of the suburbs have they're own celebrations.
The Grand Finale is marked by a fireworks show that is always quite impressive!
Once a year, on July 1st, Canadians all across the world celebrate Canada Day. For once Ottawa is the spotlight and Parliament Hill is filled with hundreds of thousands of people!
Everyone is dressed in Red and White and everyone has a great time! The night features many acts from cultural exhibitions, dance acts, pop/rock performances, and is capped off by a wonderful fireworks display. If you are in Canada during this time, make sure to come to Ottawa for Canada Day, it is by far the best place to celebrate Canadian Pride. People from all over Canada and the world come together to show support for their country, and Parliament Hill is a great gathering point.
If you're planning on being in Ottawa, then come for Canada day (July 1st).. I have never seen a party of this magnitude before.. Even the fourth of July celebrations in the states do not come close. I grew up in Vancouver, and on Canada day in Vancouver, there are fireworks, then people go home. In Ottawa, people get up at 10am to start lining up at the bars. I ended up in the Hard Rock cafe in the byward market at 10:30am, and did a full drinking binge until 3am . The streets are shut down and turned into outdoor beer gardens complete with dance clubs. On Parliament Hill you'll see live bands, and tons of Canadians with their faces painted.
It's an absolutely amazing party!
Party. Thousands of people flood Ottawa to take part in both official and unoffocial celebrations of Canada Day. Official celebrations include an all day program of performances by Canadian musicians, comedians, actors, etc. on Parliament Hill, ending with fireworks around midnight.