Essential Guide to Ottawa Events This Weekend

I know I’ve done a weekly post already, but there are so many exciting things going on this weekend within a small geographical area that I really wanted to highlight! If you head downtown to the Byward Market/Parliament Hill area this weekend, there are a ton of great things to see and do, all within walking distance of one another! So arrive early, find a great parking spot, and enjoy the best that Ottawa has to offer!

The fun kicks off Thursday, and with the exception of the Potato Festival, the festivities run through Monday, with some lasting for the remainder of the summer, into October even. Events start as early as 10 am, and go all day, until the last event of the evening, The Sound and Light Show at Parliament Hill at 9:30 pm.

I’d recommend starting your day with MosaiCanada 150/Gatineau 2017 at Jacques Cartier Park in Gatineau. It opens at 10 am, and runs until 7 pm. This event is getting a lot of hype, and for good reason. This is the biggest horticultural event in Canada, showcasing multiple art forms in over 40 different arrangements, spanning almost one kilometer; it is absolutely stunning.

The theme of the Gatineau exhibit is the past 150 years of history, values, culture and arts in Canada. Admission to the exhibit is free, and takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.

After Mosaic, I’d recommend walking along Sparks Street, taking in the Busker Festival. It starts at 11 am, and will highlight some of the best talent in Ottawa. The beauty of the Busker Festival is that you can do it at your own pace, starting and stopping whenever you like, all against the backdrop of the historical Sparks Street.

After checking out the Busker Festival, if you’re making your way along Sparks Street, you will arrive at Kontinuum, which is at 300 Sparks Street. Having seen Kontinuum, I can personally speak to the experience; it is really cool. One of the best parts of it for me was that you get a sneak peak of Ottawa’s new rail system, which is scheduled to be operational next year. It takes between 15 and 30 minutes to complete, with two options for which route to take through it. Many people decide to do it twice, to experience both options. Just an FYI, Kontinuum is underground, with a LOT of flashing lights, so that is something to consider if you’re affected by those things. ALSO, there are strict rules that prohibit both backpacks and water bottles, so I would recommend leaving big bags at home, and finishing any beverages before you arrive. As another option, you can check bags at the Marriot Hotel next door to Kontinuum for $5.00 each. Kontinuum runs daily from 10 am to 10 pm, and although the line may look daunting, in my experience, it was never longer than a 10 minute wait to get in, as the line moves really quickly. Have a look at a little Kontinuum teaser here:

If you’re getting hungry midday, I would suggest making your way to either Capital Ribfest at Ottawa City Hall or the Potato Festival in the Byward Market, both starting at 11 am.  If you’ve got the time (and the appetite!), check out both!

Once you’re in the Byward Market, check out Inspiration Village, which runs daily from 12-8 pm. What is Inspiration Village, you may ask? According to the website, it is ‘a series of special exhibits and performing arts events housed in converted shipping containers, showcasing Canada’s provinces and territories.’ It’s tough to describe without seeing it, so I would highly recommend just checking it out for yourself!

From the Byward Market, you’re in the perfect position to make your way over to Major’s Hill Park for B in the Park at 6:30 pm. This is one event in Ottawa that I personally will not be missing. It is being described as ‘an evening of Celtic excellence featuring The Sons of Scotland Pipe Band, Katharine Robinson School of Highland Dance, and the Cape Breton Fiddlers Association.’ This is an annual event, and although I haven’t personally been before, having read the review from past years, it sounds as if this is an event not to be missed! It runs until 8:30 pm, giving you plenty of time to make your way leisurely to Parliament Hill afterwards, for the highlight of the day!



To wind down after a long day of fun and festivities in the city, I would HIGHLY recommend attending the Sound and Lights Show at Parliament Hill. Even being an Ottawa native, this is still one of my favourite events to attend in the city. It is an incredible display of our Canadian history through a stunning visual and audio display, projected right onto the front of the Centre Bloc at Parliament. Spectators come early, lay out a blanket or some chairs on the grass, and enjoy the evening prior to the show at 9:30 pm. Trust me when I say that if there is one thing that everyone should do in Ottawa, it is this show. It is also free, which is a bonus!

Here’s a short cut to a listing of all events happening on Thursday and please feel free to scroll around to other days to see what else this weekend has to offer!

So, that is my guide to your weekend in the Byward Market/Parliament Hill area. If you enjoy a good walk, it’s a great opportunity to see a number of great events in a short span of time. Hope to see you there!


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