It is Canada Day in Ottawa. Canada Day is celebrated every July 1. It is a statutory holiday, and cities and villages and towns and four-corner-gas stops join their fellow Canadians in festivities of all kinds.
I’m biased, I know, yet I do believe that if you haven’t enjoyed Canada Day in downtown Ottawa, then friends, you really haven’t experienced a real Canada Day!
This past Canada Day in downtown in Ottawa was not our first there, so we had a bit of knowledge about what to expect, and how to prepare. We are happy to share this with you.
When To Get To Canada Day in Ottawa?
When the celebrations kick off on July 1, all of the streets around Canada’s Parliament Hill are closed to non-emergency vehicular traffic. You cannot easily drive close to the Hill on Canada Day. We, typically, stay in one of the many hotels near the Hill the night before, and to be sure that we get a room for that time (all hotels are sold out as you get near that date) we booked our hotel almost a year in advance.
Early in the a.m., around 9-ish, the Parliament Hill bells begin ringing in the beginning of Canada Day and the festivities begin. Crowds gather quickly, and within an hour or so, the lineups to get onto Parliament Hill are quite long, as all persons are screened by the RCMP. The experience is similar to that of the security check one undergoes when trying to board a plane.
Is There Anything To Do on Canada Day?
Oh my goodness, just a few things! How about:
- The Chancellery of Honours
- The Carillon Concert
- The Parliament Changing of the Guard
- Canada Day Noon Show
- Major’s Hill Park Acitivities (all day)
- Jacques-Cartier Park Acitivites (all day)
- OC Transpo free bus service
- All Parliament Hill area roads closed to traffic
- Street performers everywhere
- Food carts / restaurant specials
- Free drinking water stations
- NAC open to the public
- Professional evening show
- Incredible fireworks
…and still more than these activities and shows.