By: Serge Guenette

Canada Day


Parliament Hill may be the expected Canada Day outing, but there are plenty of other options if braving the sea of revellers is not your thing on July 1 and Canada Day weekend. Here are several to choose from.

  1. An early start: Mayor Jim Watson holds his annual Canada Day Breakfast for Seniors at the Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park. While the event is free, tickets are first-come, first served, so it’s best to get them in advance.

  2. Paddle power: Cheer on competitors in the annual Rideau Canoe Club Canada Day International Regatta at Mooney’s Bay. There’s no charge and it makes for great entertainment while you relax in the sun. Note that this event happens on the Saturday and Sunday, not on Monday, July 1.

  3. Picnic in the park: The Billings Estate holds a special Canada Day picnic and lawn games event at Park Hill (the former name for Billings Estate). Enjoy old-fashioned fun and games on the lawn and leave the prep work in their hands by reserving a picnic lunch for your group or pack your own. Admission is $6.75 each if you bring your own; $12.50 if you’re reserving lunch. Order details here.

  4. Down on the farm: Like most museums on Canada Day, admission is free to the Agriculture and Food Museum, which is offering several activities from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., including games, a craft, ice cream making and tasting, as well as a chance to sample a Canadian classic: butter tarts.

  5. Fireworks fun: Watching fireworks can have a magical and hypnotic effect, like putting a giant candle on Canada’s birthday. There are several spots for watching fireworks, from downtown out to the suburbs. Check this list to find a spot close to you.

  6. Jazz it up: The popular Jazz Festival finishes up July 1 with FREE Canada Day performances by The Artichoke Hearts, the TD Jazz Youth Summit and Stingray Rising Stars, Helena Deland and Dirty Catfish Brass Band.

  7. Head to the NAC: Rain or shine, there will be lots of family fun at the NAC, including outdoor yoga, a Ukrainian dance workshop, a Powwow workout, citizenship ceremony and more.

  8. The big three: And, finally, if you do have your heart set on Parliament Hill or one of the other two official Canada Day venues — Major’s Hill Park and the Canadian Museum of History — get there early, pack light, and be patient when it comes to traffic, Ottawa police advise. Another piece of advice? Go ahead and plan your day, but be prepared to change plans at a moment’s notice if huge crowds prompt the closing of a venue.

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