“Back and better than ever”: In-person Canada Day events set to return to Ottawa

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

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LeBreton Flats and Zibi Festival Square will host live music, artists and large crowds, but Osgoode, Stittsville, Greely, Orleans, Barrhaven and Kanata are no exception.

With their own shows, rides, activities and food vendors, residents have plenty to look forward to throughout the Ottawa area this Friday.

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

Orleans event organizers and volunteers are eager to offer a ‘unique’ and ‘diverse’ program featuring selected food vendors, live entertainment, beer tents and a children’s area for what would ordinarily be 20,000 annual participants.

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“A lot of people want a free and safe alternative to the crowds downtown,” Polka said. “We designed it to be a very family 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 on the program before a cake and bonfire show. Canada Day fireworks on the waterfront.

“There’s nothing like it,” Polka said. “We’re really excited to have that energy coming back and everyone coming together and having a wonderful celebration.”

The festivities don’t stop in Orléans. Canada Day in Kanata will be held at Walter Baker Park with a full day of entertainment including balloon twisting art, a magic show and live music. A dance party and fireworks at 10 p.m. will close the evening.

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Greely is hosting a day of family fun at the Greely Community Center, which will begin with a firefighter pancake brunch and a visit from the Grand Magician of Arjunia. The bar will open at 2 p.m., with music from the Vince Thompson Family Band beginning at 3 p.m. Families can expect children’s games, competitions and food for sale throughout the day and a fireworks display to end the evening.

Canada Day in Stittsville will feature local talent, wagon rides, reptile shows, ziplining, aerial performers and food trucks on the grounds of Sacred Heart High School. Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre and Progressive Conservative MP Goldie Ghamari will be on hand to address the audience. The final fireworks display will take place at the Cardelrec Center to close the festivities.

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

Barrhaven residents can expect a seniors and family breakfast, rides, a children’s activity area with puppets, magic and games, an Aboriginal exhibit, as well than at a variety of food vendors.

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

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LeBreton Flats Park hosts concerts and performances throughout the day, with its daytime ceremony starting at 11:30 a.m. 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 p.m., with performances by Charlotte Cardin, Salebarbes, Walk Off The Earth, Ariane Moffatt, Sarahmee, Neon Dreams and many more.

There will also be activities on the Hill: aerial performances by the SkyHawks accompanied by the RCAF Pipes & Drums Band from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and air show by the Snowbirds from 3:30 to 4 p.m.

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

The fireworks will begin at 10 p.m. near LeBreton Flats Park.

Meanwhile, City Hall’s Marion Dewar Plaza hosts Jazzfest’s free Canada Day concerts all afternoon, with the last concert starting at 5 p.m.

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

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Maria R. Newman