Casino du Lac-Leamy Sound of Light
When: Wednesdays and Saturdays, until August 18
Where: Canadian Museum of History, 100 Laurier St., Gatineau
What: The Sound of Light is a spectacular to satisfy the senses! Five international fireworks designers create amazing displays that light up the Ottawa-Gatineau sky during five nights filled with lights, music and entertainment.
Changing of the Guard
When: 10 a.m. daily until August 24
Where: Parliament Hill
What: See a Canadian tradition at its most colourful! The Ceremonial Guard brings stirring military drills and music to Parliament Hill. The Changing of the Guard ceremony is also educational – come early (9:45 a.m.) to learn about the symbolism, history and proceedings of this free ceremony.
When: August 17 to 26
Where: Rideau Carleton Raceway, 4837 Albion Rd., Ottawa
What: Featuring a demolition derby, a critter zoo, stunt dogs, daily magic shows, hypnotist, stage shows, monster truck shows, talent shows, and a birds of prey show, the Capital Fair has been synonymous with summer for many people since 1975. There will also be a midway, agricultural pavilion and more – something for kids of all ages!
Capital Pride Festival
When: August 20 to 26
Where: Various locations
What: Ottawa’s most colourful festival is back! Thousands of people will be coming from out of town to attend the local rainbow community’s event. The parade and show will be held on Sunday, August 26. There will be activities for all kinds of families and people of all ages. Check the website for a full list of events, times and dates.
Yoga on Parliament Hill
When: Wednesdays at 12 noon until August 29 (weather permitting)
Where: Parliament Hill, in front of Centre Block
What: Need a body break? Whether you are hanging with the kids or at work, yoga on Parliament Hill, led by Lululemon staff, is a great way to spend a lunch hour, or to re-energize yourself. Best of all, it’s free! Bring your own mat and water.
When: Sundays, from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. (times dependent on location) until September 2
Where: Various locations across Ottawa and Gatineau
What: Enjoy summer Sundays cycling along car-free roads and experience the beauty of Canada’s Capital Region in a fun and environmentally friendly way. Since 1970, the National Capital Commission has opened scenic parkways to cyclists in Ottawa and Gatineau Park. On Sundays, cycle, skate and run along Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway (9 km), Colonel By Drive (8 km) and Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway (8 km) in Ottawa from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In Gatineau from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., cyclists who enjoy steep hills can enjoy a total of 27 kilometres along the Gatineau Parkway, Champlain Parkway and Fortune Lake Parkway; and from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., a total of 3.5 kilometres north of Chemin du Lac-Meech (parking lot P8). This section is ideal for families with young children.
Northern Lights: Sound and Light Show
When: Nightly until September 3. Show starts at 9:30 p.m. in August and 9 p.m. in September.
Where: Parliament Hill, in front of Centre Block
What: Discover the stories of Canada as told through a spectacle of giant images of Canada’s physical, historical, and cultural landscapes projected the façade of the Centre Block. Northern Lights broke records last year, with more than 314,400 people in attendance in 2017. Catch it before it’s gone! Bring a blanket or chairs to sit on. This is a free bilingual evening show.
Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival
When: August 30 to September 3
Where: Baie Park, Gatineau
What: In its 31st year, the annual Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival is returning to Baie Park! Canada’s largest balloon festival features dozens of amazing hot air balloons from around the world. More than 200,000 spectators are expected to attend to take in more than 300 shows and activities. In addition to the balloons, there will be several stages with entertainment, family activities, a midway, refreshments, arts and crafts for sale, a classic car display and a graffiti contest.
City Folk Festival
When: September 12 to 16
Where: The Great Lawn, Lansdowne Park
What: This music, dance, storytelling and crafts festival highlights Canada’s rich traditions as an eclectic mix of performers share the spotlight and deliver a variety of side-stage shows. Performers include Jack Johnson, Broken Social Scene, Father John Misty, Rodriguez, Post Malone, Amanda Marshall, The Philosopher Kings, Matt Mays and more.
Canada Army Run
When: September 23
Where: Begins at Ottawa City Hall
What: The Canada Army Run consists of a half-marathon, 10K and 5K run which attracts military and civilian runners, walkers and spectators from around the world. From the cannon used as a starter’s pistol to the dog-tag medals soldiers place around all participants necks at the finish line, this unique event is military from start to finish. More than anything, though, Canada Army Run, is about Canadians and the Canadian Armed Forces – Air Force, Army, and Navy – joining together in the spirit of camaraderie and community. It’s a chance for the troops to extend the military esprit de corps to Canadians and to thank them for their support. And, it’s an opportunity for Canadians to say thanks to the men and women who serve them in so many ways at home and abroad.
The 5K race is open to families with strollers, however, they are asked to start at the back.
Music on a Mission
When: October 26, 6 p.m.
Where: Tudor Hall
What: It’s the ultimate game night! Join Family Services Ottawa for a music trivia night, one of the most highly anticipated trivia events in the city. The event helps the organization fund another 100 years of service.
The Ballet Jörgen Nutracker
When: December 12, 7 p.m. and December 13 at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Where: Shenkman Arts Centre
What: A perfect holiday treat for kids – and grown-ups – of all ages! The Nutcracker features choreography by Bengt Jörgen and the timeless music of Tchaikovsky. This holiday favourite continues to enchant audiences everywhere. Be part of the tradition this December!