Ottawa, being the multicultural capital of Canada, is home to a diverse culinary scene - especially in the summer months. When the winter ends (thank God), street vendors head to popular locations like City Hall and Sparks to host some lively festivals that celebrate our city's diverse cultures and, of course, their food.
From rib fests to shawarma fests, no food festival in Ottawa this summer is any similar to the last. Plus, being Canada's 150th, some are promising to be the biggest the city's seen yet.
We gathered a list of some of our favourite food festivals that you need to check out during this very special summer:
Ottawa RibFest on Sparks // June 14 - June 18, 2017
The penultimate of Ottawa street food festivals, Ottawa's RibFest on Sparks is a smoky ordeal that's bound to leave your fingers messy. Almost all BBQ stands also serve delicious chicken and sides of creamy coleslaw and beans. Some stands even sell salted potatoes on a stick, which as you'll see, are incredibly popular. Make sure to bring cash - most vendors don't take debit.
Capital Ukrainian Festival // July 21 - July 23, 2017
"Na zdorovia!" The Capital Ukrainian Festival sees Ottawa's Ukrainian community come together to perform music and dress in traditional national attire. All in the meanwhile, some of my favourite food, pierogies, is served in plentiful quantities. And you know you're getting good pierogies when they're made by Ukrainians. There's also a beer garden that serves Eastern European beer. Admission is free.
Ottawa Beer Fest // June 16 - June 18, 2017
Oktoberfest is still quite a way's away, but in mid-June you can celebrate the local equivalent at Ottawa Beer Fest at the Aberdeen Pavillion. You can drink up some of the region's best local craft brew and there's even a beer marathon where you get a free beer at the end. Cheers, friends.
Ottawa Lebanese Festival // July 19 - 23, 2017
Ottawa has one of the largest Lebanese communities in Canada, and it's no surprise that our city has been graced with the title of being the "Shawarma Capital of Canada." Devour some delicious chicken shawarma, hummus, falafel or eat them all up in a massive Middle Eastern platter.
Ottawa Asian Fest (2017 Chinatown Night Market) // July 28 - July 30, 2017
Set in the heart of Ottawa's Chinatown on Somerset, 40 street food vendors will set up spots on the street to serve up some delicious Chinese. Will most likely be the best weekend of my life.
TD South Asian Fest // August 11 - August 20, 2017
Take a glimpse into the rich spices of South Asian cuisine at the South Asian Fest that's happening at City Hall in mid-August. Plentiful Indian food will be served for those culinary aficionados who look their food flavourful and hot.
Ottawa Greek Fest // August 10 - August 20, 2017
Because who needs to dish out money for a flight ticket to Athens when you have a little piece of Greece on Prince of Wales Drive? Get ready to chow down on some genuine lamb, a colourful Greek salad and kebab sticks at one of the most lively festivals in Ottawa during the summer. As a former volunteer at the festival, I can assure you some of the best Greek food I've had has been right here.