Ottawa 2017: Celebrating Canada’s 150th Birthday

In 2017, Ottawa is where you’ll want to be for Canada’s sesquicentennial – its 150th birthday! As Ottawa is Canada’s Capital, many of the country’s biggest celebratory birthday events will happen right here. This will be the biggest Canada Day celebration the country has ever seen! But the fun will not be limited to July 1. From new exhibitions at Ottawa’s national museums, to special performances and exciting technological installations in Ottawa’s downtown core, special events will be taking place all year long. We’ll update more information about 2017 events as it becomes available, so please stay tuned! You can also find more information about upcoming events on the official 2017 Celebrations Ottawa website.


Celebrate – Canada 150 Kick Off

On Dec. 31, 2016, get ready to welcome Canada’s 150th year! There will be special activities on both sides of the Ottawa River including live music performances and a pyromusical fireworks show. This celebration will kick off festivities all across the country! More Canada 150 Kick Off details are to be announced.

Sesquicentennial Celebrations

On Dec. 31, 2016, a special launch event for Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary will take place at Ottawa City Hall. The early-evening NYE party will offer family-friendly activities and will also feature the lighting of a spectacular gas-powered cauldron in Marion Dewar Plaza. From the cauldron, students will form a human chain through Ottawa’s downtown core to symbolize youthful optimism. The cauldron, which is approximately 16 feet high and 13 feet wide, will be located near the memorial fountain next to Laurier Avenue. This event will officially launch a full year of 2017 celebrations!

Inspiration Village

This special 2017 installation will take place from May 20 to Sept. 4, 2017. Constructed out of sea containers that will be transformed into art, the Village will be located on York Street in the historic ByWard Market neighbourhood. This unique entertainment locale will host special exhibits and performances throughout the summer of 2017!

Sky Lounge

Want to know what it’s like to enjoy a meal high above Ottawa? Here’s your chance! Each day for a week in July 2017, 22 people will get to enjoy a meal suspended at 150 feet above Ottawa. This will be a fine dining experience to remember! This event has taken place in capital cities around the world such as Athens, Dubai and London, among others. Sky Lounge will take place from July 14-20, 2017. New additional dates were added: July 21-22, 2017.


This two-day live music event will take place outdoors in Ottawa over the summer of 2017. Enjoy multiple stages with various world-class music artists, including Aboriginal and Canadian artists. This event will be a tribute to Canada’s history and diversity, also including acts from France, England, Scotland and Ireland, four nations who contributed largely to the making of Canada. A venue, a date and headliners have yet to be announced.

Stanley Cup Tribute

On March 15, 16, 17 and 18, 2017, Ottawa will be the place to be for all things related to the legendary Stanley Cup! This four-day tribute will start with an evening gala with guest speakers and NHL alumni at the Canadian Museum of History. The next day, Governor General David Johnston will welcome the trophy back to Rideau Hall. On March 17, hockey fans will have the chance to meet NHL alumni and have their picture taken with the Stanley Cup at Lansdowne’s Aberdeen Pavilion. Then in the evening, a Stanley Cup 125th Anniversary Tribute Concert will take place at Canadian Tire Centre. Then finally on March 18, a ground-breaking ceremony for a new monument for the Stanley Cup and for Lord Stanley of Preston will take place!

La Machine

In the summer of 2017, downtown Ottawa will become home to larger than life, magical and mechanical creatures! Imagine Ottawa’s famous Maman making her way through the downtown core and you’ll get an idea of what you’re in for. You’ll want to have your camera ready for this truly unique, FREE and family-friendly event that is a North American first. This is the first time such an event has been presented on this continent! This is another 2017 event that you won’t want to miss. La Machine will take place from July 26-30, 2017.

Underground Multi-media Experience

In the summer of 2017, Ottawa’s Lyon Street light rail station will become home to an immersive multi-media production that also incorporates the city’s former Place de Ville theatre. Though the full concept of this multi-media experience is not yet known, world-renowned Canadian company Moment Factory – who was behind the Mosaika Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill – will be putting it together. We will share more details as they become available.

JUNO Week & the 2017 JUNO Awards

Beginning on March 27, 2017, Canada’s Capital will come alive with Canadian music. Throughout the week, enjoy various musical performances, workshops and other activities that showcase the diversity of Canada’s vibrant music scene. The week will then culminate with a grand celebration of the country’s musical elite at the JUNO Awards, which will take place at the Canadian Tire Centre on April 2, 2017. This is a Canadian music celebration you don’t want to miss! The 2017 JUNO Awards will be hosted by Michael Bublé.

Interprovincial Picnic

On July 2, 2017 (the day after Canada Day), Ottawa’s well-known Alexandra Bridge, which links the provinces of Ontario and Quebec, will be converted to a park with actual grass, inviting families and small groups to enjoy a picnic above the Ottawa River. This event can accommodate 650 people at a time and spaces can be rented for a small fee! Visit the 2017 Celebrations Ottawa website for more details.

Ignite 150

Get ready for some big surprises in 2017! Ignite 150 will present various events that will happen throughout the city all year long. To be announced on social media, these fun impromptu events will include a gourmet dinner 50 metres in the air, a yoga session on a floating barge, a movie on a downtown rooftop terrace and more. Keep an eye out for these events!


From July 1 to Oct. 15, 2017, head just across the Ottawa River to Jacques-Cartier Park to enjoy amazing gardens featuring 35 to 40 large-scale living sculptures! The sculptures will be placed around a one-kilometre walking path. Admission to this unique horticultural event is free. MOSAÏCANADA 150/2017 is being presented by Gatineau 2017. Make sure to bring a camera!

Free Entry to Canada’s National Parks in 2017

To mark Canada’s 150th anniversary, Parks Canada will waive ALL entry fees into the country’s beautiful national parks for the entire year! If you haven’t had a chance to experience Canada’s lush landscapes, this will be the year to do it. Enjoy free entry from coast to coast. But the fun doesn’t stop there! In 2017, Parks Canada will also waive lockage fees on the Rideau Canal and other waterways. Boats will be able to go through the lock system for free. Happy exploring!

The Canada 150 Tulip

On May 9, 2016, the National Capital Commission (NCC) unveiled a special red and white tulip that commemorates Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017. The flower is a gift from the Dutch people to Canada. The particular tulip can be seen in this year’s Canadian Tulip Festival beds and for next year’s festival, 300,000 will be planted. The special flower, which was developed in partnership with Dutch growers, is designed to thrive in every Canadian climate and soil. Canadians can even plant their own Canada 150 tulips for next year, as the bulbs will be available for purchase this fall at 1,100 Home Hardware locations across the country.

Beau’s Lug Tread, The Official Beer of 2017

Brewed by local brewery Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, Beau’s Lug Tread Lagered Ale is the official beer for Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations in Ottawa. Moving towards 2017, this beer will be available at various local events and will also be sold with a commemorative ‘Ottawa 2017’ wrap. Throughout 2017, Beau’s will also work with a few other local breweries to create a new, special beer each month in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday!