There's nothing like a national holiday to bring the whole family together. And with Canada Day festivities taking part over two days this year, it's time to consider rounding up your kids and heading to Ottawa for the country's biggest party. With countless activities taking place on Parliament Hill and the surrounding streets, there's plenty of patriotic fun to be had.
Ottawa Tourism is a great resource to help in planning your trip. From singing 'O Canada' in between free concert sets, to soaking up culture at the National Gallery of Canada, to appreciating the finest views the city has to offer via the Rideau Canal, here are just a few of the ways you and the fam can cram more excitement into your Canada Day weekend.
Enjoy a wide range of patriotic festivities on Parliament Hill
Start the day off right by heading to Parliament Hill, where you can witness the ol' Maple Leaf go running up the flagpole at 9:00 a.m., followed by the ceremonial Changing of the Guard at the Peacekeeping Monument. Parliament Hill will also be a great spot, as it's ground zero to get an eyeful of the sky-flying Snowbirds Demonstration team at noon, and the place to be for the day-closing, fireworks finale at 10:00 p.m. There are also free concerts throughout the day to keep you in the patriotic spirit.
Take a relaxing boat trip around the Rideau Canal
Looking to cool off but stick nearby to all that capital city action? Book a cruise that travels along the Ottawa River. It'll be a nice relaxing break from the street-set crowds, and you'll get to see all the natural beauty Ottawa has to offer. Plus, if you're a history buff, a guide will fill you and the kids in on a few key facts as you sail past the Parliament buildings. If you time it right, come sunset, Capital Cruises offers a one-night-only fireworks ride, too.
Check out the best Canadian bands
'O Canada' will be ringing through the crowds at least a couple of times throughout the day, but there will be plenty of other patriotic tunes to tap your feet to on Canada Day. A series of free concert performances from beloved Canadian acts will be held at Parliament Hill and nearby Major's Hill Park, right by the Rideau Canal Locks. This year's lineup features crowd-faves the Arkells, Ruth B., Rose Cousins and many more.
Marvel at fine art at the National Gallery of Canada
There'll be plenty of contemporary culture on display during the free Canada Day concerts, but don't forget to take some time to appreciate classic works of art over at the National Gallery of Canada. Along with a stunning display of Canadian and Indigenous Art, this summer's Impressionist Treasures: The Ordrupgaard Collection brings some of France's finest painters to Canada for a limited time. Marvel at the still-lifes of Manet and the portraits of Renoir before they're gone.
Show the world your true patriot love in red and white
While you'll be wrapped up in all that Ottawa has to offer on Canada Day, you can also connect with your loved ones from far away by posting a family pic. Bust out your best red-and-white (we say the more excessive the better), throw on some Maple Leaf face paint, and mug for the camera. Make sure you use the #MyOttawa and #CanadaDay hashtags on your social feeds, and then watch the likes roll in.
Ottawa combines the thrills of an urban adventure with the rich history of a capital city. Book your visit today and start planning a one-of-a-kind summer getaway.