Ottawa-Gatineau Ottawa's Festivals Listing

Ottawans love festivals, be it spring, summer, fall or winter. Throughout the year, over 30 different festivals and annual events are put on by various local groups. There's no better way to enjoy yourself than to take in a festival.

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Ottawa International Hockey Festival

Early January

Annual tournament of Atom level hickey teams. Various area arenas and Corel Centre.


Early-mid February

National Capital Commission presents a celebration of Ottawa’s winter. Concerts, fireworks, snow and ice sculpture competitions, skating and sporting events at various venues throughout the National Capital Region. 613-239-5000 1-800-465-1867

Canadian Ski Marathon

mid February

World’s longest cross-country ski marathon for beginners and veterans of all ages. Lachute to Gatineau Park 819-770-6556

Keskinada Loppet

Late Feburary

Canada’s most prestigious cross-country skiing event with more than 2000 skiers from around the world. Gatineau Park. 819-595-0014

Rideau Speedos


mid-winter swimming competition for gay athletes

Canadian Tulip Festival

mid May

Millions of tulips bloom alongside the rivers and canals around Ottawa, a legacy of gifts 50 years ago by the Dutch royal family in appreciation of safe haven given by Canadians during the Second World War. 613-567-5757 or 1-800-66-TULIP.

National Capital Race Weekend


This is the weekend for participating in a/or watching a variety of races, including a marathon, half-0marathon, 10K, 5K and 2K runs, with something for every family member. Starts at Festival Plaza (at the new city hall) 613-234-2221

Sheep Shearing Festival

Late May

Annual sheep extravaganza, including sheep shearing, border collie demonstrations, rare sheep breeds, wool crafts and children’s activities

Strings of the Future

Late May (biennial)

This biennial festival celebrates international string quartets and chamber music. Next event in 2003. At the National Gallery of Canada 613-225-3329.

Odawa Spring Pow Wow

Late May

This festival provides a dazzling display of native culture, for natives and non-natives alike. At the Nepean Tent & Trailer Park 613-722-3811

Canada Dance Festival

Early June (biennial)

This festival celebrates the wide variety of folk and other dance styles in Canada. Next festival held in 2002, at the national arts Centre. 613-996-5051

Italian Week

mid June

Ottawa’s Italian community celebrates its vibrant culture and history with stage entertainment, music and lot so food. On and around Preston Street (by Dow’s Lake) 613-726-0920.

Ottawa Fringe Festival

Late June

Talented artists provide exciting and unique theatre and dance performances including Shakespeare, youth theatre, comedy. At the Arts Court 613-2326162

Changing of the Guard

Late June to late August

The Ceremonial Guard parades daily from the Cartier Square Drill hall to Parliament Hill (starts at 9:30) and performs the Changing of the Guard ceremony daily at 10, weather permitting. Parliament Hill 613-239-8000 1-800-465-1867

Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival

Late June

Dragon boat races, multicultural performances, exhibits and children’s activities. At Rideau Canoe Club at Mooney’s Bay 613-238-7711.

Canada Day

July 1

A variety of activities in the downtown core of Ottawa and Hull to celebrate Canada’s Birthday. Most of downtown is closed to vehicles for this pedestrian festival, with performances at Major’s Hill Park, Festival Plaze (New City Hall), Jacques Cartier Park in Hull, and of course Parliament Hill.. 613-239-5000, 1-800-465-1867

Ottawa Bluesfest

Early July

North America’s second largest blue and gospel festival, with big name performers. At LeBreton Flats (just west of downtown) 613-233-8798

H.O.P.E. Beach Volleyball Tournament

mid July

World’s largest beach volleyball tournament with 1000 teams on 79 courts for a day of fun & sun, in support of this local charity. Mooney’s Bay Beach. 613-237-1433.

International Jazz Festival

mid July

A non-stop festival with jazz artists from around the world, now over 20 years old. At Confederation Park. 613-241-2633.

Ottawa Chamber Music Festival

Late July-mid August

North America’s largest chamber music festival presents concerts in beautiful downtown Ottawa churches.. 613-234-8008

Casino Sound of Light

Late July-mid August

International fireworks competition with international teams competing for top honours. Leamy lake, Casino de Hull. 819-771-3389 and 1-888-429-338

Lumberjack & Strong Man Festival of La Pêche

Early August

Only profesional lumberjack competition in the eastern Ontario & western Quebec, with a strong man competition and a 4X4 truck pull. 819-456-3616

PRIDE Week Festival

mid August

This 10 day festival attracts gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered from all over the country. Activities including the Annual Pride Parade, at various venues around town. 613-421-5387

Central Canada Exhibition

Late August

Annual exhibition with midway, entertainment, outdoor shows, theme pavilions and agricultural programs Lansdowne Park 613-237-7222

Ottawa Folk Festival

Late August

Annual festival celebrating Canada’s rich traditions with music, dance, storytelling and crafts. Brittania Park 613-230-8234

Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival

End August

Canada’s largest balloon festival, with over 150 balloons, 200 shows and fairground rides, plus firework. La Baie Parc, Gatineau. 819-423-2330 1-800-668-8383

Making Scenes Film Festival

mid September

Gay film festival featuring entertaining and thought provoking films from around the world. Bytowne Cinema 819-556-2113

Historic Bytown days

mid Sept

Celebration of history in Bytown market area. 613-562-3325

Fall Rhapsody


Enjoy the fall colours of the trees in Gatineau Park. Fun events for the whole family. 819-827-2020 1-800-465-1867

Heritage Day

mid September

The French Embassy opens its doors to the public, to showcase its art deco décor and art. 42 Sussex Drive 613-789-1795.

International Ploughing Match

Late September

The International ploughing Match and Farm machinery Show is held in Navan ( 5 km east of Ottawa) 613-835-7569

Byward Great Pumpkin Weighoff

First Saturday in October

Competition for biggest pumpkin in the Ottawa Valley. 613-562-3325

International Student Animation Festival of Ottawa

Late September

The Ottawa International Animation Festival is the largest event of its kind in North America, offering the latest in animated films, panels, parties and free workshops for kids and teens. At the National Archives 613-232-8769

Ottawa International Animation Festival

September 2002

North America’s largest animation festival showcases the finest new producers from round the world. National Arts Centre. 613-232-8769

Haunting Season


Eerie-sistable festival of haunted houses, hayrides and stage shows. Fun for the whole family. Saunders Farm, Munster ON. 613-838-5440

Remebrance Day

November 11

Annual memorial service for those who served and died in Canada’s military service. Televised nationally.


mid November

Celebration of Lebanese culture with visual and performing arts. Festival Plaza. 613-742-6952

Welton Beauchamp Curling Championships

mid November

World’s largest cash curling bonspiel with top teams from around the world.. Various curling clubs around Ottawa. 613-234-4119

Christmas in the Country


Enjoy an old-fashioned country Christmas, complete with wagon ride, cut your own tree, and visit Santa in historic lag barns. . Fun for the whole family. Saunders Farm, Munster ON. 613-838-5440

Christmas Lights Across Canada

Early Dec – mid January

National museums, institutions, monuments, embassies and landmarks are covered in 250,000 Christmas bulbs to brighten Confederation Boulevard, Parliament Hill. 613-239-5000 1-800-465-1867

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