Seven Things to Do in Ottawa Around Canada Day

Visit the Canadian History Hall, see an art exhibit in a shipping container and catch a show at the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival on your Canada 150 holiday

Photo by tiger_barb/Thinkstock

In addition to a huge celebration with music, food and fireworks at Parliament Hill on July 1, the city has plenty of big things planned to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary this summer. Here are seven things to do in Ottawa around Canada Day.

Learn about Canada’s past at the new Canadian History Hall

Be sure to visit the new Canadian History Hall opening on July 1 at the Canadian Museum of History across the river from Ottawa in Gatineau. The permanent, two-level exhibition will be the largest Canadian history exhibition ever mounted. On opening day, enjoy free admission as well as live music and multicultural performances. Wander three galleries that trace 15,000 years of history to view 1,200 photos and 1,500 artefacts. Sixty-five interactive elements include a walkable, large-scale map and a fur-trading game.

Watch for unusual pop-up events throughout the city

Be on the lookout for Ignite 150, a series of 17 free, pop-up events, stunts and illumination displays taking place all year in unusual public spaces throughout the city. Programming details will be revealed a few days before each event on the free Ottawa 2017 app, but highlights announced thus far include a yoga session on a floating river barge accompanied by a live orchestra and a 4-D movie screening to be held on a downtown rooftop.

Get inspired at a shipping container performance

Visit Inspiration Village, a temporary arts space constructed of more than 40 stacked shipping containers on York Street in Ottawa’s historic ByWard Market. Throughout the summer, free exhibitions and performing arts events will be held here, each one showcasing an aspect of Canada’s provinces and territories, such as education, food, music and dance.

Experience a free, multimedia display in an underground tunnel

Take a free, self-guided tour of Kontinuum, an underground multimedia experience built within an unfinished light rail transit tunnel. As construction continues on Ottawa’s new underground transportation network (launching in 2018), the project will use interactive light and sound to showcase this underground mode of travel at the future Lyon Station. Here’s a preview.

View live sculptures at Canada’s biggest horticulture event

“Mosaïculture” takes inspiration from sculpture, painting and horticulture to create sculptures made of live plants and flowers. During the free MosaïCanada 150, visitors can view 100 of these small- and large-scale creations along a one-kilometre route at Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau. Each one will represent a piece of Canada’s history and cultural diversity. Expect to see trains and buffalo, and don’t miss the massive “Mother Earth” display or “The joyous celebration of nine lions,” created by a Shanghai artist.

Take in a concert at the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival

Founded in 1980, the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival (June 22 to July 2) attracts hundreds of thousands of music lovers to watch both local and international emerging and established jazz artists. The line-up includes both free and ticketed events held at outdoor stages, intimate clubs and large-scale venues such as Confederation Park and Marion Dewar Plaza in front of Ottawa City Hall. Be sure to catch a performance on Canada Day when all shows are free.

Take in contemporary Canadian arts and culture at Canada Scene

Canada Scene is an arts and culture festival. To be held at the National Arts Centre June 15 to July 23, it will feature 1,000 artists from across Canada participating in more than 100 events. Presentations include a mix of music, theatre, dance, visual and media arts, film, circus and culinary arts. Catch 2017 JUNO Humanitarian Award recipient Buffy Sainte-Marie in concert July 3.

This story will be updated with further details as we get closer to Canada 150.


Ottawa is one of our must-visit destinations of 2017

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