‘Back and better than ever’: In-person Canada Day events set to return across Ottawa

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

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LeBreton Flats and Place des festivals Zibi will be home to live music, performers and big crowds but Osgoode, Stittsville, Greely, Orléans, Barrhaven and Kanata have not been left out of the fun.

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

“We’re really excited!” said Adam Polka, spokesperson for O Canada Orleans. “There’s truly nothing like the spirit of the Ottawa community when they come in person, ready to party and have a good time.”

Organizers and volunteers for the Orléans event are looking forward to offering a “unique” and “diverse” program including curated food vendors, live entertainment, beer tents and a kid’s zone for what would usually be 20,000 annual attendees.

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“A lot of people want a free and safe alternative to the downtown crowds,” Polka said. “We designed it to be a very family-friendly destination.”

Musicians from the School of Rock, Métis storytelling, Bollywood dance, Afro beats and a performance by Hearts&Mines led by Ottawa city councilor Matt Luloff, are all on the program before a Canada Day cake and firework show on the waterfront.

“There’s nothing like it,” Polka said. “We are just really excited for that energy to come back and for everyone to rally and have a wonderful celebration.”

The festivities don’t end in Orleans. Canada Day in Kanata will take place at Walter Baker Park with a full day of entertainment including balloon twist art, magic show and live music. A dance party and fireworks at 10 pm will close off the night.

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Greely is hosting a Family Fun Day at the Greely Community Centre, kicking off with a firefighter pancake brunch and a visit from the Great Arjunia Magician. The bar will open at 2 pm, with music by the Vince Thompson Family Band beginning at 3 pm Families can expect kids’ games, contests, and food for sale throughout the day and a firework show to end the evening.

Canada Day in Stittsville will feature local talent, wagon rides, reptile shows, zip-lining, aerial performers and food trucks at the field of Sacred Heart High School. Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre and Progressive Conservative MPP Goldie Ghamari will be in attendance to address the eventgoers. The firework finale will take place at the Cardelrec Center to close off the festivities.

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Canada Day in Osgoode will feature a bike contest at Vibration Studios, as well as a parade on Main Street. Entertainment will begin at 1 pm at Stuart Holmes Arena. Children’s activities, a talent show and a magic show are all on the program, with an evening performance by Heirs of the Dog before fireworks.

Barrhaven residents can look forward to a seniors’ and family breakfast, amusement rides, a children’s activity area with puppets, magic and games, an Indigenous display, as well as a variety of food vendors.

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

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

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

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

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

The fireworks display will start at 10 pm near LeBreton Flats Park.

Meanwhile, city hall’s Marion Dewar Plaza is the location of Jazzfest’s free Canada Day concerts all afternoon, with the last concert starting at 5 pm

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

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