Festivals & Events
in Ottawa

Ottawa Events and Festivals

Another great reason for visiting Ottawa or living here - the events in Ottawa are spectacular. There is always something going on.

There are so many events and festivals that take place here and at various times of year that you are almost certain to find one that interests you while you are here. Some of them are even world famous and attract visitors from all over the world.

Besides festivals, there are also a lot of different Shows and Exhibits in Ottawa such as shows on weddings, home renovations, sports and much more. There are also plenty of local Ottawa fairs to bring the entire family to.

Ottawa is a great city for supporting local (and national charities). Here we host hundreds (if not thousands) of Ottawa Fundraisers which are a lot of fun and well worth attending too!

We try our best to get to a few events, festivals or fundraisers in Ottawa each year. We love the variety! Some of them we only need to spend a few hours at but others we want to spend an entire weekend.

We don't know about all of the smaller events and festivals around Ottawa. We would love to hear about any upcoming ones that are taking place that we haven't listed below. So, please contact us if you are involved or organizing a smaller festival around the Ottawa area.


Air Show Ottawa
We hope that it returns in 2015
Air demonstrations (including the Canadian Forces Snowbirds), exhibits and fun for the entire family.

July 8 - 19, 2015
This is a truly amazing outdoor event. You'll be on your feet in no time! Read more on our Ottawa Bluesfest page.

Bon Appetit! Ottawa
May 5, 2015
5:30 - 8:30pm
Aberdeen Pavilion, Lansdowne Park, Ottawa
This unique event attracts a couple thousand people who want to sample delicious food & wine and help out some of the local charities.

Canada Day
July 1st (every year)
There are so many places where you can celebrate Canada Day in Ottawa. Besides all the fun activities planned downtown, most neighbourhoods around Ottawa also plan some events too!

The Canadian Tulip Festival
May 8 - 18, 2015
It is difficult to describe how absolutely beautiful this is. There are literally thousands of tulips of varying colour. It sure is a sight to see. But it doesn't stop at just the tulips – there are exciting shows and exhibits too. What a great way to say goodbye to winter and hello to Spring (actually at this point we are nearing the end of Spring and heading into summer). Read more about the Canadian Tulip Festival in Ottawa.

Capital Pride Festival
Dates for 2015 to be announced
Celebrating the diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Date for 2015 to be announced
Petrie Island
CARIVIBE patrons are treated to international steelbands who explode with pulsating rhythms and melodies of Calypso, Soca, Reggae and Latin vibes. Caribbean artists and dance groups alongside well known soca, reggae, Latin, R&B and hip hop DJ's are showcased.There is also an array of classic Caribbean cuisine and beverages available for patrons to satisfy their appetite as well as a showcase of arts, crafts, cultural clothing and accessories from different islands, provided by members of Ottawa's artistic community.

Carnival of Cultures
Dates for 2015 to be announced
Marion Dewar Plaza (used to be called Festival Plaza)
Parades, awesome music and delicious food!

Central Canada Exhibition (Ottawa Superex)
Dates for 2015 to be announced
Ottawa's Annual Exhibition which features amusement park rides, concerts, entertainment and much more. Read more about the Ottawa Superex.

The Changing of the Guard Ceremony
From late June to late August at 10am every morning on Parliament Hill. This is one of the most popular events in Ottawa and shouldn't be missed. If you live here and you haven't seen it yet, you really should go.

Canada Dance Festival
June 6 - 13, 2015
A collection of contemporary Canadian and international dance on film and video will also be presented at Film Dance, a collaboration with the Canadian Film Institute and Moving Pictures

Christmas Lights Across Canada
Dates for December 2015/January 2016 to be announced
If you are here in Ottawa during the month of December you should take a drive or a stroll downtown to see the beautiful lights at Parliament Hill and other sites along Confederation Boulevard! What a sight to see!

Doors Open Ottawa
June 6 & 7, 2015
Various buildings around the city
Read more about this unique event on our Doors Open Ottawa page.

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Fall Rhapsody
Gatineau Park
A celebration of the changing colours within Gatineau Park, usually taking place from the end of September until the middle of October. Visitors and residents can experience the magical fall colours in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere while hiking, bird-watching, trail exploring, picnicking and enjoying the outdoors.
Two words: Absolutely breathtaking! You haven't seen scenery until you have experienced this. The colour of the trees in Gatinau Park in the Fall is so stunning. The entire park is filled with bright, vibrant red, yellow and orange leaves. You will be surrounded by natural beauty. If we can make one suggestion - please, please don't forget your cameras.

Franco-Ontarien Festival
Dates for 2015 to be announced
Lots of activities for the whole family. Don't miss the concert that they hold each year.

Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival
Dates for 2015 to be announced
Look up! Look way up! You won't believe some of the balloons in the sky. Over 100 balloons from different countries fly high for your viewing pleasure! You can also come and enjoy the rides and see the exhibits. Read more about the Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival.

Gatineau Loppet
Dates for 2014 to be announced
Gatineau Park
Canada's largest cross country ski event

Glengarry Highland Games
Dates for 2014 to be announced
Lots of great entertainment including Highland dancing, competitions and much more! Read more about the Glengarry Highland Games.

The Great Glebe Garage Sale
Always the 4th Saturday in May
This has grown increasingly popular over the past few years for those that live here.

Help Santa Toy Parade
Date for 2014 to be announced (usually middle of November)
Held in the downtown area, this event collects toys and cash for the less fortunate children in the region.

HOPE Volleyball SummerFest
Date for 2015 to be announced
Mooney's Bay
Even if you don't play volleyball this is the world's largest beach volleyball tournament. It shouldn't be missed. Over 10,000 players play in over 5,000 games! All of it for a great cause!

Italian Week
June 6 - 16, 2013
Held every year on Preston Street (a short walk from Dow's Lake Pavilion) this festival includes great Italian food, music & fun!

Oktoberfest Ottawa
Dates for 2014 to be announced
Barrhaven's Clarke Fields Park
Food, music and of course BEER!!

Ottawa Irish Festival
Dates for 2014 to be announced
This week-long annual event celebrates Irish and Irish-Canadian culture in the National Capital Region. Residents and visitors enjoy the very best of all things Irish: music, poetry, history, song, dance, theatre, language, sport. The event coincides with the Ottawa St. Patrick’s Parade and Grand Irish Party.

Ottawa Wine & Food Festival
Dates for 2014 to be announced
Ottawa Convention Centre
One of our favourite festivals!! This is a great place to sample new wines and delicious food!

Dates for 2014 to be announced
Come and help celebrate with Ottawa's Lebanese performing artists. Try some of the scrumptious cuisine as well.

Music and Beyond Festival
Dates for 2014 to be announced
Music and Beyond offers 80 concerts and events, featuring some of the best musicians from across Canada, as well as from around the world. If you enjoy classical music, orchestras, choirs, and bands then you won't want to miss this event.

Musical Ride
Dates for 2014 to be announced
You don't want to miss out on this amazing event put on by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). More information can be found on our RCMP Musical Ride page.

National Capital Race Weekend
May 24 - 25, 2014
Walk, run or in-line skate along the Rideau Canal. There are 9 different events including a full marathon, half marathon, family run, 10k and 5k runs.

Ottawa Dragon Boat Race Festival
Dates for 2014 to be announced
Dragon boat races are a sight to see.

Ottawa Fringe Festival
Dates for 2014 to be announced

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Ottawa Jazz Festival.
Dates for 2014 to be announced
The TD Canada Trust Ottawa International Jazz Festival is the premier music event to take place in the heart of downtown Ottawa. Entering its 30th year of consecutive programming, the Festival boasts the biggest loyal audience of any event in Eastern Ontario. It has presented some of the most dynamic jazz artists on the scene, from the traditional to the avant-garde, such as Herbie Hancock, Salif Keita, Dave Brubeck, Roy Haynes, Toots Thielemans, Branford Marsalis, Béla Fleck, Kenny Werner, Stanley Jordan, Sonny Rollins, Terence Blanchard, Diana Krall, D.D. Jackson, Maynard Ferguson, and John Mayall to name only a few.

The Ottawa International Children's Festival
Dates for 2014 to be announced
For over 25 years, the Ottawa International Children’s Festival has been holding a five-day extravaganza of the finest quality theatre, dance and music for young audiences in our community. We create programs for children aged four to 15 focused on enriching school curriculum and promoting the arts as an integral part of children's education. We have hosted performers from Brazil, Kenya, Peru, Holland, France, England, Germany, Denmark and China, as well as artists from around Canada. Come and join us for an amazing performing arts experience that will excite and amaze the whole family!

Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival
Dates for 2014 to be announced
The largest chamber music festival in the world hosts musicians from Canada and the globe. Read more about the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival.

Ottawa GreekFest
Dates for 2014 to be announced
Come and eat some Greek food, watch the shows and learn some traditional Greek dances.

CKCU Ottawa Folk Festival (Summer Festival)
Dates for 2014 to be announced
Hog's Back Park
This festival hosts musicians from all over North America. Read more about the Ottawa Folk Festival

Ottawa International Animation Festival
Dates for 2014 to be announced
Come out and see the amazing animation that is presented from animators & students from around the world.

Ottawa International Writers Festival
Dates for 2014 to be announced
Authors & writers from around the globe unite to celebrate different forms of writing.

Ottawa Turkish Festival
Dates for 2014 to be announced

Remembrance Day - National Ceremony
November 11 (every year)
National War Memorial

Rideau Canal Festival
Dates for 2014 to be announced
Rideau Canal, Dows Lake, Confederation Park and the Bytown Museum
A fairly new festival in Ottawa celebrating the Rideau Canal. Not only will there be activities for everyone, it was also the first festival in Canada to be a "zerofootprint" festival.

Sound and Light Show - Mosaika
Dates for 2014 to be announced
Parliament Hill
Huge images are displayed on the Parliament buildings to words and music. It is a 30-minute, free performance that is held nightly. Read more on our Sound and Light Show page.

Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival
Dates for 2014 to be announced
Vincent Massey Park

Dates for 2014 to be announced
This is Westboro Village's annual festival which includes music, art, performances, shopping and much more.

January 31 - February 17, 2014
If you haven't heard of this amazing festival then you are in for a treat. There are so many activities for all different age groups. Check out the ice sculptures, catch a skating show, test your own skating abilities on the Rideau Canal (the world's longest skating rink) or sit inside and sip on a hot chocolate! Read more on our Winterlude page.

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If you are interested in going to a live concert than see our Ottawa Concerts page.

Enjoy one of the many events in Ottawa!

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