How to attend Canada Day celebrations at LeBreton Flats

Fireworks go off over a large stage.
Thousands attend Canada Day celebrations at LeBreton Flats on July 1, 2023. Provided photo by Heritage Canada.

By Charlie Senack 

Tens of thousands of people wearing red and white are expected to gather at LeBreton Flats this year for the country’s largest Canada Day celebration. 

The birthday bash, which was traditionally held at Parliament Hill before it was moved due to Centre Block’s rehabilitation, will begin at 12:00 p.m. on July 1. Afternoon headliners include: Bedouin Soundclash and Marie-Mai. 

“The daytime ceremony kicks off the national celebrations with a look at our past, present and future,” according to Canadian Heritage’s website. “It underlines important anniversaries and themes while recognizing the diversity of our country.”

In the evening, a main stage performance of Canadian talent will run from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. with acts by: Chromeo, Corneille, FouKi, Kanen, Kiesza, Maestro Fresh Wes, Metric, Neon Dreams, Notorious Cree, Qattuu, Sara Dufour and Willow. 

The festivities will wrap up with a 15-minute firework display at 10 p.m. For those who want to beat the crowds, they should be visible from various vantage points across Kitchissippi. 

Ten aircraft fly in the skies over Ottawa.
The the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds rehearse on June 26 ahead of its flypast. Photo by Ellen Bond.

Eyes in the sky 

Under sunny skies, the Royal Canadian Air Force Snowbirds squadron will conduct a 20-minute flypast at 1:00 p.m. as part of its 100-year anniversary celebrations. 

Branded as the largest “parade in the sky”, it will start near the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in the east and will fly over Parliament Hill and LeBreton Flats to the west. 

According to Skies Magazine, The participating aircraft will include the CT-156 Harvard II, the CC-177 Globemaster, CC-330 Husky, CF-188 Hornets; CH-148 Cyclone, CH-147 Chinook, CH-149 Cormorant and CH-146 Griffon helicopters, among several others.  

An Avro Lancaster Mk. X and a North American B-25 Mitchell bomber from Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, and Fleet Finch Mk. II light biplane trainer, are among the historic aircraft set to take part.

If you looked up around noon on Wednesday, you may have seen or heard the planes in action as part of its rehearsals.    

Road closures  

As part of the Canada Day celebrations and the security threats associated with it, Ottawa Police have warned there will be a number of local road closures in effect. 

Maps of the road closures can be viewed here.

Party goers are being asked to plan in advance and use public transit or the city’s cycling infrastructure to get to and from the festivities near the War Museum. 

OC Transpo, which will be free on July 1, will run on a Sunday schedule but will implement increased trips on popular routes. 

Again this year, access to Pimisi Station will be limited due to the closure of Booth Street between 6:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Pedestrians heading to LeBreton Flats will need to use Wellington Street and get off the train at Lyon Station. Those with disabilities and limited mobility can get an exemption and use an entrance at the intersection of Booth and Wellington. 

Service changes 

All City of Ottawa services including libraries, art centres, and municipal childcare centres will also be closed. Community centres will be closed but most arenas and sports facilities will be open. Lifeguards will be on duty at city beaches and pools. 

If you’re looking to go shopping at an Ottawa mall for some last-minute red and white gear, the Rideau Centre and Tanger Outlets will be open. The Rideau Centre Farm Boy and Whole Foods at Lansdowne will also be open for your grocery needs. 

Admission is free to all Ottawa museums which will be open on July 1. 

You can read all Canada Day service changes on the City of Ottawa website here

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