Ottawa Events and Festivals

(Ottawa, Ontario - ON, Canada)

Ottawa is a popular city and visitors are well catered for in terms of annual festivals and local events, with plenty of things to see and do throughout the Ottawa calendar. Canada Day, on July 1st, is a national holiday throughout the country and always celebrated in Ottawa, with a number of exciting events during the day and evening.

Each year in February, the Winterlude Festival is one of Ottawa's most appealing and unusual events, where the frozen Rideau Canal becomes the world's longest ice-skating rink, attracting huge crowds of both skaters and spectators. Other notable festivals and community events in the Ottawa area include the Canadian Tulip Festival in May, the Le Franco Festival in June, Ottawa's International Jazz Festival in July, the Central Canada Exhibition in August and the Ottawa Folk Festival in August.

National Public Holidays

  • 1st January - New Year's Day
  • Third Monday in February - Family Day (Alberta)
  • Monday closest to 17th March - St. Patrick's Day (Newfoundland)
  • March or April - Good Friday and Easter Monday
  • Monday closest to 23rd April - St. George's Day (Newfoundland)
  • Monday before 24th May - Victoria Day
  • 24th June - Fete Nationale / St. Jean Baptiste Day (Quebec)
  • 1st July - Canada Day (known as Memorial Day in Newfoundland)
  • Monday closest to 13th July - Orangeman's Day (Newfoundland)
  • First Monday in August - Civic Holiday
  • Third Monday in August - Discovery Day (Yukon)
  • First Monday in September - Labor Day
  • Second Monday in October - Thanksgiving
  • 11th November - Remembrance Day
  • 25th December - Christmas Day
  • 26th December - Boxing Day

Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015


  • There are no significant festivals and events in the month of January at Ottawa


  • Winterlude / Bal de Neige - early February, held over three weekends, with a host of festivals around Ottawa's frozen canal and Dows Lake, featuring many spectacular ice sculptures
  • Canadian Ski Marathon - mid-February, held on the second weekend each February, with over 200 skiers of all abilities
  • Keskinada Loppet - mid-February, the largest cross-country skiing event in Canada, at Gatineau Park


  • There are no significant festivals and events in the month of March at Ottawa


  • Ottawa Art Festival - mid-April, a major fine arts event, with more than 100 artists from around Canada, held at the Aberdeen Pavilion


  • Canadian Tulip Festival - late May, a huge and extremely colorful event, when central Ottawa is decorated with more than 200 different varieties of tulips, freshly picked from Holland. Highlights include parades, parties, outdoor concerts, car rallies and fireworks


  • Alcatel Ottawa International Children's Festival - early June, five-day event aimed at families and children aged between 4 to 15 years old, with theatrical performances, dance and music
  • Franco Ontarien Festival - mid-June, celebrating Canada's historic French origins and culture, with music, local arts and crafts, and many interesting exhibitions
  • Fringe Festival - mid-June, with visual arts, buskers, musicians and performances by theater groups


  • Canada Day - July 1st, national holiday with many local events and celebrations throughout the area, particularly around Parliament Hill
  • Bluesfest - early July, ten-day music event, with gospel and blues concerts around the city, together with outdoor shows in Confederation Park
  • International Jazz Festival - late July, with a number of shows in both Ottawa and neighboring Hull, including more than 400 musicians
  • Ottawa Chamber Music Festival - late July / early August, the largest chamber music festival in the country, with many events, held in a number of venues and churches


  • Central Canada Exhibition - late August, held over ten days, with a carnival, plenty of entertainment and exhibitions, at Lansdowne Park
  • Pride Festival - mid-August, gay and lesbian celebration, featuring a rainbow party, parades, picnic and outdoor fair, concerts and parties
  • Greek Summer Festival / Greek Fest - mid-August, with live music, traditional Greek cuisine and free admission, hosted by the official Hellenic Community of Ottawa
  • Ottawa SuperEX - mid-August, family event at Lansdowne Park, with games, shows, animals and thrilling displays
  • Ottawa Lumière Festival - mid-August, an evening community event at Stanley Park, with lantern sculptures, musicians, professional artists, dancers and storytellers
  • Ottawa Folk Festival - late August, a two-day folk music event, attracting a large number of musicians, groups and crowds of spectators


  • Ottawa International Animation Festival - mid-September, North America's largest animation event, with screenings, workshops, famous artists and demonstrations


  • Annual Ottawa International Writers Festival - early October, held at the Library and Archives of Canada on Wellington Street, with writers, talks, discussions and famous authors


  • Ottawa Storytelling Festival - early November, with storytelling events entertaining large crowds, in both French and English
  • Lebanorama - mid-November, weekend event celebrating leading local Lebanese artists, with music, paintings, films and plenty of traditional food


  • Christmas Lights Across Canada - mid-December to early January, with colorful illuminations around Ottawa and a number of related events
  • New Year's Eve - December 31st, with parties, concerts and fireworks at midnight