Great Family Fun Events (April-May, 2018)

Parenting Times rounds up some of the best family fun in the Ottawa area.

Ottawa PoutineFest

When: April 19 through 22

Where: Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave. W.

What: You won’t want to miss this amazing food experience (and the first big festival to kick off spring), featuring traditional, exotic and extreme poutine from around the world. There will be over 100 choices of poutine, face painting, caricatures, a new poutine-eating contest, exotic poutine competition, cooking demonstration, kids fun zone, rock climbing walk, entertainment, the Poutine Sample Social with your fest pass, free entry and more. 


Ottawa Parent & Child Expo

When: April 21 through 22

Where: Nepean Sportsplex, 1701 Woodroffe Ave. (Entrance 4)

What: Gather the kids and head to the Nepean Sportsplex for a weekend of family fun and information at Ottawa’s biggest and best parenting show. Parents will find 125 of their favourite Ottawa exhibitors offering important parenting information, and kids will find the beloved Dora the Explorer, Bob the Builder, superhero characters, princesses, Little Ray’s Reptiles, live music and more. Discover friendly mascots to hug, robotics, and many other activities that focus on fun, learning and being healthy and active, including fitness demonstrations, face painting, arts and crafts, a reading corner and much more. An exciting family event where you and your children can play, learn, and explore, with free parking. Check the website regularly for more entertainment announcements! Tickets on sale at


Ottawa Grassroots Festival

When: April 26 through 29

Where: Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer Ave.

What: In its seventh year, this family-oriented gathering of folk music, dance and spoken word is run entirely by volunteers. This year’s event will feature French Canadian singer-songwriter, Jean-Marc Lalonde as the headliner on April 26. Lalonde is best known as the accordionist for the traditional group La Ligue du Bonheur, as well as the folk-rock band Deux Saisons and his latest project Hey, Wow! The festival also features daily workshops, performances and sing-alongs, with a focus on cultivating community in a fun and friendly way.


Ottawa Family Cinema movies

When: Now through the beginning of May

Where: Notre Dame Auditorium, 710 Broadview Ave.

What: Spring and summer is a busy time for most families. Wind down, put your feet up and take in a flick at the Ottawa Family Cinema, a non-profit, registered charity, with all proceeds beyond operating costs going back into the community. In addition to the movie, an outing at the Ottawa Family Cinema includes door prizes, free gifts, and other special events. Experience true movie magic in the cinema’s large, fully equipped theatre with new powerful Digital 3-D state-of-the-art projectors, Dolby Digital theatre surround sound, a huge screen and comfortable seating at low prices.


Canadian Tulip Festival

When:  May 11 through 21

Where:  Commissioner’s Park, Dow’s Lake, ByWard Market,
Garden Promenade, Lansdowne Park, Zibi-Gatineau

What: Each year since 1953, Canada’s most vibrant festival attracts over 650,000 visitors from around the world to celebrate the return of spring and take in the showcase of tulips across Ottawa and the national capital region. Millions of tulips set the stage for a celebration of authentic art, cultural, historic, culinary and family experiences.

At Commissioner’s Park – Dow›s Lake, tour the 1 km stretch of colourful and commemorative tulip beds and learn their history with guided tours or catch the Victoria Weekend fireworks. At Lansdowne Park, find Canadian handmade and international tulip art, photography and floral installations and workshops, cultural displays and international stage performances plus children’s activities. Head to the ByWard Market to tiptoe through a garden of urban tulip art, promotions and activities created and curated by artist Monique Martin. Foodies can sip and sample tulip-inspired culinary treats prepared by local chefs at Zibi-Gatineau. Explore tulips across the capital when you visit gardens on the Garden Promenade.


Ottawa Race Weekend

When: May 26 through 27

Where: Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave. W.

What: Get the entire family out to be a part of Ottawa Race Weekend. Race weekend has a HTG Sports 5K for the older kids, as well as a stroller- and walker-friendly Aquahaulics 2K in addition to the marathon, half-marathon and 10K. All registrants receive a medal.


Great Glebe Garage Sale

When: May 26

Where: Ottawa’s Glebe neighbourhood

What: The Great Glebe Garage Sale is a community event organized by the Glebe Community Association since 1986. Homeowners in the Glebe are the primary vendors working on their front lawns, driveways and porches. Collectively, they make one giant sale that has become an annual community festival attracting thousands of people to the neighbourhood.

From the start of the Great Glebe Garage Sale, the Glebe Community Association has encouraged vendors and shoppers to voluntarily donate some of their proceeds to the Ottawa Food Bank.


Italian Week

When: June 7 through 17

Where: Little Italy, Preston Street

What: The Ottawa Italian Week Festival Organizing Committee prepares to bring you yet another amazing festival offering to everyone from anywhere, the experience of “Being Italian” and celebrating all that is Italian for 10 days in June. Create new memories and share in the experience. Highlights include a Ferrari car display, Italian car parade, bike race, live music, kids’ zone, art demonstrations, operas and plays and more.


Festival Franco-Ontarien

When: June 14 through 16

Where: Major’s Hill Park

What: Bringing together thousands of French speakers as well as lovers of the French language to the heart of the National Capital Region, the Festival Franco-Ontarien is an event that welcomes and celebrates summer with an electrifying program. Highlights include live music, kids’ animation, face painting, street art and food.


Glowfair Festival

When: June 14 through 16

Where: Bank St. from Slater to James St.

What: It’s a block party unlike anything you’ve ever experienced – and it’s free! Bank Street from Slater to James Street will be closed to vehicular traffic and opened to a magical world of music, light and art. For two days and nights, every summer since 2014, Glowfair has transformed Ottawa’s retail hub into a non-stop celebration of cutting-edge music, mesmerizing entertainment and dazzling street performers.


Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival

When: June 21 through 24

Where: Vincent Massey Park, Heron Rd.

What: June 21 marks a significant time when Indigenous people across Canada traditionally gather and celebrate Summer Solstice, now officially declared National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD). For the past 20, NIPD events in the National Capital Region have created an opportunity for all residents to celebrate the culture and contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. The Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival is a family-oriented multi-disciplinary arts festival that attracts over 40,000 visitors a year. Features include headliners and workshop leaders from the Métis; Inuit and First Nations communities; a live concert; education days for registered schools; international competition Pow Wow; Indigenous long table dinners; culinary pavilion and cooking demonstrations; fashion, food and artisan marketplace; cultural pavilions; family-friendly main stage entertainment; a fun zone; an Indigenous talent competition and more.