Ottawa is a vibrant city any time of year, but you truly can’t beat the action during the summer! Visitors and locals alike revel in the warm temperatures, the myriad attractions and the countless events that take place nearly every weekend during the summer months. Although there are so many fabulous festivals that occur in Canada’s capital, there are five festivals you just won’t want to miss!
The TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival – This 10-day festival occurs from late June through early July, always coming to a close on Canada Day (July 1st). Considered to be one of the biggest draws in the city’s festival scene, this event features an impressive array of hundreds of musical acts including big names from the world of jazz and some unparalleled ensembles from Canada and beyond. Concerts take place in a variety of venues including outdoors at Confederation Park in the heart of downtown Ottawa, as well as more intimate venues like the National Arts Centre and music clubs.
Canada Day Festival – You couldn’t ask to be in a better place than in the nation’s capital city on Canada Day! On July 1st head to Parliament Hill in downtown Ottawa to celebrate the anniversary of Confederation, which is when Canada became a separate country from the British Empire on July 1st, 1867. Eager folk may head to the festival by 9am so they can witness the carillon concert featuring the Peace Tower bells, the flag raising and the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. At noon the large stage features well-known Canadian acts and entertainers. Other major sites and attractions in downtown Ottawa are abuzz with entertainment for the entire family as well. Once the sun sets, you’re in for a treat with a fabulous fireworks display.
RBC Royal Bank Ottawa Bluesfest – This annual 11-day festival occurs in early July and brings in some of the hottest acts in the world. Don’t let the name “Bluesfest” deter you, some past acts have included The Black Eyed Peas, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison and every year the outstanding line-up brings in fans of all ages. Set along the Ottawa River on the grounds of the Canadian War Museum, just a short walk west of the Parliament Buildings, this event is known as one of North America’s most eclectic music festivals. Hundreds of thousands of festival-goers enjoy hundreds of bands on five different stages over the 11 days, and a variety of food, drink, souvenir and music kiosks are scattered around the grounds that definitely should be checked out.
Ottawa Chamberfest – Occurring annually from late July to early August, this two-week festival spans the August Civic Holiday long weekend. Chamberfest is the biggest event of its kind in the world, bringing classical music lovers and those new to the genre together to experience beautiful live music. Performances take place in ideal venues for perfect acoustics like Ottawa churches and theatres. The festival features some of the most distinguished names in solo and ensemble performances and is certainly an event to attend for those who love classical music or unique one-of-a-kind festivals.
Ottawa Buskerfest – If you haven’t attended a street performance festival, then you must head to the Ottawa Buskerfest. This annual event runs at the very beginning of August during the Civic Holiday long weekend. Buskerfest takes place in Sparks Street Village and features some magnificent Canadian and international talent including jugglers, musicians, acrobats, fire eaters, escape artists, magicians and more. This event is truly a fun experience for the entire family and those interested in a little bit of the bizarre as well.