‘Back and better than ever’: Canada Day in-person events return in Ottawa

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After two quieter summers, Canada Day celebrations are back in Ottawa, with a weekend of festivities.

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LeBreton Flats and Place des festivals Zibi will be home to live music, performers and large crowds, but Osgoode, Stittsville, Greely, Orléans, Barrhaven and Kanata are not excluded from the fun.

With their own live shows, rides, activities and food vendors, residents have a lot to look forward to this Friday across the Ottawa region.

“We are very excited!” said Adam Polka, spokesperson for O Canada Orleans. “There really is nothing like the spirit of the Ottawa community when they come in person, ready to party and have fun.”

The organizers and volunteers of the Orléans event are looking forward to offering a “unique” and “diverse” program, including food vendors, live entertainment, beer tents and a children’s zone for the normally 20,000 visitors a year.

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“Many people want a free and safe alternative to the hustle and bustle of the inner city,” Polka said. “We designed it to be a very family-friendly destination.”

School of Rock musicians, Métis storytelling, Bollywood dance, Afro beats and a Hearts&Mines performance led by Ottawa City Councilor Matt Luloff are all scheduled for a Canada Day cake and fireworks display on the waterfront.

“Nothing beats,” said Polka. “We’re just really excited for that energy to come back and for everyone to get together and have a great party.”

The festivities do not end in Orléans. Canada Day in Kanata takes place in Walter Baker Park with a full day of entertainment including balloon art, magic show and live music. A dance party and fireworks at 10 p.m. round off the evening.

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Greely hosts a Family Fun Day at the Greely Community Center, which begins with a firefighters’ pancake brunch and a visit from the Great Arjunia Magician. The bar opens at 2pm, with music from the Vince Thompson Family Band from 3pm. Families can expect games, competitions and children’s food throughout the day and a fireworks display to round out the evening.

Canada Day in Stittsville will showcase local talent, wagon rides, reptile shows, zip-lining, aerial performers and food trucks on the Sacred Heart High School field. Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre and Progressive Conservative MP Goldie Ghamari will be on hand to address the event attendees. The fireworks finale takes place at the Cardelrec Center to cap off the festivities.

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Canada Day in Osgoode will feature a bike race at Vibration Studios, as well as a parade on Main Street. The entertainment starts at 1pm at the Stuart Holmes Arena. Kids activities, a talent show and a magic show are all on the agenda, with an evening show of Heirs of the Dog before fireworks.

Residents of Barrhaven can look forward to a senior and family breakfast, carnival rides, a children’s activity room with puppets, magic and games, an indigenous exhibit and a variety of food vendors.

The federal government’s Canada Day events will, as usual, take place downtown, but this time they will mainly be moved from Parliament Hill to LeBreton Flats and the nearby Place des Festivals Zibi in Gatineau.

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LeBreton Flats Park hosts concerts and performances throughout the day, with a daytime ceremony starting at 11:30 am. It will feature Lisa LeBlanc, Tenille Townes, Chantal Kreviazuk, Sarahmee, DJ Shub and Boogat, among others.

The evening show kicks off at 8pm, with performances by Charlotte Cardin, Salebarbes, Walk Off The Earth, Ariane Moffatt, Sarahmee, Neon Dreams and others.

However, there will also be some activities on the hill: aerial performances by the SkyHawks accompanied by the RCAF Pipes & Drums Band from 9am to 3pm and the Snowbirds air show from 3:30pm to 4pm

Artists such as Lisa LeBlanc, Jonathan Roy, ALLDAYJAM, Melissa Ouimet and others will take the stage Friday from 9am to 10:30pm at Place des festivals Zibi from 9am to 10:30pm.

The fireworks start at 10pm at LeBreton Flats Park.

Meanwhile, all afternoon, Marion Dewar Plaza in City Hall is the site of Jazzfest’s free Canada Day concerts, the last concert of which kicks off at 5 p.m.

“There’s nothing like the Canada Day spirit — the patriotism, the heritage, the entertainment — and everything coming together after such a hiatus,” Polka said. “I think everyone is ready for such an event.”

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