Eleven Ottawa Events For Your Itinerary
Always bursting with activity, Canada's capital welcomes all visitors with an action-packed calendar of events. Whether you have taste in art, want to entertain the kids, or just looking for a good time, there's always something going on in Ottawa.
Don't miss these festivals and events praised by locals and visitors alike:
Known as North America's greatest winter festival, Winterlude kicks off the year in style during the first three weekends in February.
Skate along the Rideau Canal, build ice sculptures, let the kids play in the Snowflake Kingdom Children's Playground, catch live music, and much more.
2. CANADIAN TULIP FESTIVAL
Celebrating the return of spring, the Canadian Tulip Festival brightens downtown Ottawa with over a million blooming tulips.
Usually held in early to mid-May because of the blooming season, the tulips are spread throughout the entire city. Stop by the festival's greatest concentration at the flowers bed of Commissioners Park.
Canadian Tulip Festival
3. OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL
Each late May and June, the LeBreton Flatts holds the Ottawa International Children's Festival for five fun-filled days.
Experience theatre, dance, and music programs and events and be sure to participate in one of the festival's arts programs. Kids are sure to love the arts classes and curriculum.
4. FESTIVAL FRANCO-ONTARIEN
Held in June at Major's Hill Park near the Alexandria Bridge, the Festival Franco-ontarien brings together thousands of French speakers for an electric summer time celebration honoring Canada's other national language. Enjoy live music, Franco-Canadian contests, games, delicious food, and much, much more.
5. TIM HORTONS OTTAWA DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL
The largest dragon boat festival in North America gets underway each June in the Rideau Canal. Held near Mooney's Bay Park, the festival features over 200 paddle teams competing in corporate, community, and competitive races.
Watch colorful boats, costumed rowers, and trained drummers race their way up the canal. On shore, browse live music, culinary treats, artists exhibitions, and more.
RBC Royal Bank Ottawa Bluesfest
6. TD OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL
Held for 10 days at Confederation Park and the National Arts Centre, this jazz festival is staged each year from late June through early July.
It also includes a massive celebration held on Canada Day. Explore hundreds of performances in different venues, from open air, large scale venues to intimate studio spaces.
7. Canada Day
Held on the lawns of Parliament Hill, Major Hill's Park, Jacques Cartier Park in nearby Gatineau, and the closed off streets of downtown, Canada Day on July 1st is Ottawa's largest and most exciting celebration.
Don't miss a star-studded line-up of musical performers, the official flag raising and Changing of the Guards ceremony, a flyby of the Canadian Snowbirds aerial acrobatic planes, and the awe-inspiring massive fireworks celebration over Parliament Hill.
8. RBC ROYAL BANK OTTAWA BLUESFEST
Over 300,000 music lovers gather on the banks of the Ottawa River for one of the biggest music festivals in North America.
Held on the grounds of the Canadian War Museum for two weeks in July, the festival welcomes a host of eclectic performers, from Billboard charting artists to independent performers.
9. NATIONAL CAPITAL CRAFT BEER WEEK
Ten days of craft beer celebrations await visitors at this mid-August event. Held at Marion Dewar Plaza outside Ottawa City Hall, the event features small, craft beer tastings spread throughout the city.
It all culminates on the final weekend, where live music, hundreds of artisanal food booths, fun activities, and more converge into a fun party for everyone.
Christmas Lights Across Canada
10. OTTAWA WINE AND FOOD FESTIVAL
Feel sophisticated at this early November festival, where visitors can browse hundreds of wine tastings and kitchen demonstrations at the Ottawa Convention Centre.
Don't miss the pouring of over 1,400 wines and spirits and savor some of the best flavors to come from Ottawa and other internationally acclaimed fertile wine regions.
11. CHRISTMAS LIGHTS ACROSS CANADA
Starting in December and lasting until January, downtown Ottawa lights up for the dark winter days ahead. With over 60 sites involved and tens of thousands of lights, visitors can spend hours exploring beautiful and intricate displays.
Don't miss Parliament Hill, where the historic centre of government becomes even more of a must-see.