Canada 150 fever is everywhere and there's no place I'd rather be on July 1st than our nation's capital, Ottawa. With celebrities like Bono and Justin Trudeau in attendance and the biggest fireworks ceremony in Canada, this Canada Day is going to be one to remember.
Who's going to be there
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, just like last year, will be on Parliament Hill at 11:40am for the opening ceremonies. Also in attendance that morning and in the afternoon will be the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.
As well, just recently announced, Bono and Edge from U2 will be performing during the opening ceremonies.
The Canada Day Evening Show will feature Canadian artists like Alessia Cara, Gordon Lightfoot, Walk Off The Earth and many more.
Where to celebrate downtown
There's three main locations for the festivities downtown:
- Parliament Hill
- Major's Hill Park
- The Canadian Museum of History
Parliament Hill, the centerpiece of Ottawa's downtown core, will have increased security measures this year. Festivities on the Hill will begin at 9am with live music until the commencement of the opening ceremonies at 11:40am.
Major's Hill Park, adjacent to the Hill and behind the famed Chateau Laurier, will start festivities also around 9:00am. Face-painting, kiosks, a BBQ and other activities will go on throughout the day. At 6:30pm, musical performances will begin.
The Canadian Museum of History, located in walking distance on the Gatineau side of the river, will be offering activities and events in and outside the building from 9:00am until midnight. Live music starts at 11:00am, including artists like The Lost Fingers and Ottawa's Souljazz Orchestra.
Admission to all the above events is totally free.
Patios will be open until 4:00am (not serving alcohol).
When to see the fireworks
The fireworks are set to begin at 11:00pm. The show will go on for 20 minutes and 17 seconds (get it). It will also be the largest pyrotechnic show in Canada's history, making it an unforgettable experience.
Fireworks will be launched from five different locations:
- Nepean Point
- Two sites in downtown Ottawa
- Two sites in downtown Gatineau
Word from a local: Parliament Hill isn't the best place to view the fireworks. I recommend watching the fireworks from Major's Hill Park, where you can get a full panorama of parliament, the Chateau Laurier and Notre Dame Basilica. Another good place to watch the fireworks is at the Canadian Museum of History, on the other side of the river. Note, though, the Alexandra Bridge will be closed to pedestrians at 9:00pm and onwards, so head to Quebec before then.
How to get to the festivities
Like all Canada Days, OC Transpo will be offering free bus services throughout the day and night. You can plan your bus route here.