Official Canada Day Weekend 2017 Festivities

Wednesday, Jun 28 03:56 AM

Don’t miss the biggest Canada Day party ever in Ottawa as we celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation over the entire long weekend, June 30 to July 2, 2017! Three official sites will feature programming over the three days, including live entertainment by a range of Canadian artists, as well as the President’s Choice® Canada Day fireworks, the largest Canada Day pyrotechnic show ever which will be taking place around 11:00 p.m. on the evening of July 1! And yes, it’s all free!

The three official sites throughout the weekend are:

Parliament Hill: The centrepiece of Ottawa’s downtown landscape, the political and cultural heart of the city, and the main site for Canada Day festivities.
Major’s Hill Park: Conveniently located just a few minutes’ walk from Parliament Hill, between the Fairmont Château Laurier and the National Gallery of Canada, this beautiful green space features family-friendly programming and performances.
Canadian Museum of History: Enjoy indoor and outdoor live entertainment at Canada’s most visited museum, conveniently located in Gatineau, Quebec, just across the Ottawa River from other official Canada Day sites.

Note: From 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on July 1, a free shuttle bus will be running between Major’s Hill Park (bus stop on St. Patrick Street, between the National Gallery of Canada and Major’s Hill Park) and the Canadian Museum of History (bus stop on Laurier Street, in front of the museum). Also, various road closures will be in effect from June 27-July 2. For details, see the complete list of road closures and interactive map.

Here’s an overview of what’s been announced so far:


Major’s Hill Park

Throughout the park:

9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.: Buskers, trivia games, airbrush tattoos, fun photo opportunities and more

On the Tim Hortons Family Stage:

4:30 p.m.: Swing dancing performance

5:00 p.m.: Performances by indigenous artists including Pukawiss dancers Performance, David R Maracle – Spirit World and Traditional Regalia Dancers

On the Tim Hortons Stage:

7:15 p.m.-10:00 p.m.: Jonathan Painchaud; Moon vs. Sun featuring Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk

Canadian Museum of History

5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.: Inflatable games, wall climbing and live wild animals, a choir and dance performances by Syrian refugee children living in Canada (5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.)

8:30 p.m.: A silent battle of the DJs featuring DJ TIZI, DJ Little Fever and DJ Rise Ashen

Parliament Hill

As preparations get underway for the July 1 and July 2 festivities on Parliament Hill, the site will not feature official programming on June 30 (though rehearsals will be taking place on the outdoor stage).


All three official sites will be buzzing with excitement all day long and a large portion of the downtown core will be closed off to motor vehicles. It’s a humongous street party for you to explore! Here’s just some of what can be expected:

Parliament Hill

This year’s programming on Parliament Hill differs slightly from other years. Here’s an outline of what’s planned on Parliament Hill and in the surrounding area:

9:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.: Public entertainment, a carillon concert, pop-up performances and more

11:40 a.m.-1:15 p.m.: Opening celebrations include:

Inspection of the Guard (note: this is taking place at the Peacekeeping Monument on Sussex Drive, near the National Gallery of Canada, and it is a different experience than the usual Changing of the Guard ceremony which takes place on Parliament Hill in the summer)
A 21-gun salute
Salute to the Canadian Armed Forces
Air Show with the Snowbirds, CF-18 and vintage planes
Special presence of: The Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, the Governor General of Canada, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston and Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, who are celebrating their first Canada Day in Ottawa as part of their Royal

Tour of Canada this summer.

Appearances and performances by various artists including Buffy Sainte-Marie, Marie-Josée Lord with Orkidstra, Marie-Mai, Laurence Nerbonne, Patrick Watson, Walk Off The Earth, Bono and The Edge, and many more!

1:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m.: Celebrate diversity and notable Canadians with a Citizenship Ceremony, CIBC Reaffirmation Program, concert featuring Kinnie Starr and others, plus notable Canadians

5:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.: Get inspired by notable Canadians and interactive programming including the Canada 150th “Sharing Dance”, street performers, a dance battle, pop-up concerts, buskers, floating decorations and more

8:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.: Don’t miss the impressive evening show featuring Canadian artists Cirque du Soleil, Alessia Cara, Marie-Mai, Walk Off The Earth, Lisa LeBlanc, Kelly Bado, Dean Brody, Louis-Jean Cormier, Serena Ryder, Kinnie Starr, Gordon Lightfoot, Mike Tompkins and more

11:00 p.m.: The President’s Choice® Canada Day fireworks begin (for details, see dedicated section below)

Major’s Hill Park

Throughout the park:

9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.: Enjoy a huge variety of family-friendly programming including buskers, trivia games, face painting, fun photo opportunities, swing dancing performances, rides for kids on the VIA Rail miniature train, the Chicken Farmers of Canada’s 25th annual Great Canadian Chicken BBQ, and much more!

On the Tim Hortons Family Stage:

9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.: Rotating live entertainment acts throughout the day

On the Tim Hortons Stage:

10:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.: Rotating family acts

6:15 p.m.-10:20 p.m.: Ruth B, Laurence Nerbonne, Mother Mother as well as DJ Rise Ashen with Lil Theland

Canadian Museum of History

From 9:00 a.m. to midnight, the museum will feature indoor and outdoor programming including inflatable games, wall climbing, live wild animals, puppet theatre, a Syrian house, plus the official opening of the museums’ new Canadian History Hall! Live entertainment includes:

6:30 p.m.: The Souljazz Orchestra

9:00 p.m.: The Lost Fingers presenting a special Canada 150 show

Other Sites

Various sites around the city are offering free admission and special programming on Canada Day including national museums (Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Canadian History Museum, Canadian Museum of Nature, Canadian War Museum, Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, National Gallery of Canada), as well as the Bytown Museum, the National Arts Centre and the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival. (For even more programming throughout the city, see our suggestions on what else is happening during Canada Day Weekend 2017.)


Around 11:00 p.m. on July 1, the 20-minute 17-second (a nod to 2017) President’s Choice® Canada Day pyromusical fireworks show—the largest Canada Day pyrotechnic show ever—will be launched from five different locations: Nepean Point, as well as four sites along Confederation Boulevard (the ceremonial and discovery route of Canada’s Capital Region) including two sites in Ottawa and two in Gatineau, Quebec. The result is a dazzling and perfectly synchronized 360-degree fireworks extravaganza! (Keep in mind the fireworks show is weather dependent.)

Best viewing spots

Parliament Hill is not necessarily the best place to see the fireworks, as the historic Parliament Buildings can block part of your view. Consider these alternatives:

The central loop of Confederation Boulevard which runs along Wellington Street, MacKenzie Avenue, Sussex Drive in Ottawa, as well as Laurier Street in Gatineau
Major’s Hill Park, overlooking the Ottawa River
The lawn of the Canadian Museum of History along the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River (note: the Alexandra Bridge, which links Ottawa to Gatineau, is closed to vehicles as of 6:00 a.m. and to pedestrians and cyclists as of 9:00 p.m. on Canada Day—subject to change without notice).


Major’s Hill Park

9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.: Most of the family-friendly activities offered on July 1 are back on July 2 including live entertainment, buskers, trivia games, face painting, fun photo opportunities, rides for kids on the VIA Rail miniature train and more.

Canadian Museum of History

9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.: The museum is offering similar indoor and outdoor family-friendly programming as on July 1 including inflatable games, wall climbing, live wild animals, puppet theatre, a Syrian house, and much more.

WE Day Canada

From 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., join notable Canadians artists, influential figures and some of Canada’s remarkable young future leaders on Parliament Hill to celebrate the next generation of Canada’s change-makers. Guests include:

Hosts: Tyrone Edwards, Jus Reign, Maripier Morin, Kardinal Offishall, Nicolas Ouellet, Inez Point, Chloe Wilde

Performers: Mustafa Ahmed, Celebrity Marauders, Marc Dupré, Barenaked Ladies, Hedley, Nelly Furtado, Tom Jackson, Les Trois Accords, Alex Nevsky, Lilly Singh, The Tenors

Speakers: National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Michael “Pinball” Clemons, Roméo Dallaire, Alexandre Despatie, Jessie Gélinas, Chris Hadfield, Rick Hansen, Aqsa Hussain, Hani Al Moulia, President Natan Obed, Penny Oleksiak, Joannie Rochette, PK Subban, Margaret Trudeau, Pearl Wenjack and many more


For full official Canada Day programming details and updates, visit the Canada Day website.

For more on what’s happening in Ottawa over Canada Day weekend, check out our article Extend Your Stay: What To Do Around Canada Day Weekend 2017.

And to know more on what to expect, how to get around the city and how to prepare for your Canada Day visit to Ottawa, consult our Canada Day Packing Guide.

Still looking for accommodations for the long Canada Day weekend? Consider the City of Ottawa’s Urban Camping Program. Select green spaces and parking lots will be converted into family-friendly sites that visitors can reserve between June 29 to July 4, 2017 for their tents and RVs. Campers will have access to showers and toilets and in some cases, can access additional amenities for a small extra fee.

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