Travel

Celebrating Canada Day in Ottawa, Ont.

Getty Images Author: Canadian Living Credits: Getty Images

Travel

Celebrating Canada Day in Ottawa, Ont.

There I stood, sporting a patriotic red-and-white eyelet sundress, under the gargoyles in the foyer of the House of Commons—probably not where you'd expect to find a starry-eyed 11-year-old on Canada Day. But I'm from Ottawa, and I was lucky enough to spend our nation's birthday at the Parliament Hill bash in 1996. As the reverb from an outdoor concert infiltrated the stone halls, I slurped back my very first (and last) oyster while standing a few metres away from then–prime minister Jean Chrétien.

Was that my favourite Canada Day moment on record? Possibly. Or was it the time we watched the legendary fireworks show from a houseboat on the Rideau Canal? No, wait. I received my first kiss on Canada Day. Actually, scratch that; the kiss was awful. The truth is that Canada Day is magical for anyone who's in Ottawa on July 1. In the morning, there's that unexpected heart-in-your-throat moment when the Maple Leaf drifts upward on the east lawn of Parliament Hill. There's the pomp and pageantry of the Changing of the Guard and that collective sigh when the Snowbirds' CF-18s roar overhead. Plus, the day is harmonized by an all-Canadian soundtrack from noon to 10 p.m., with live performances on both the main stage on Parliament Hill and the secondary stage in Major's Hill Park.

Ottawa shares Canada Day with 350,000 visitors who unleash a brand of pride and patriotism usually reserved for the Olympic Games or a major hockey event. And the day ends on a magical note: a crescendo of more than 1,000 fireworks over the Ottawa River—and, if you're lucky, a really great kiss.

For Canada Day recipes, crafts and more, check out our Canada Day feature.

This story was originally part of "The Canadian Travel Bucket List" in the July 2015 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!
Comments
Share X
Travel

Celebrating Canada Day in Ottawa, Ont.

Login