The Loop released a list of 150 awesome things to do in Canada to celebrate the 150th birthday of our country. You can see their full list here. We have shortened this list to 50 things you can do in Ottawa this summer!
Watch the fireworks in Ottawa.
The excitement, beauty and noise of celebrating Canada Day in Ottawa culminates in this spectacular show. If you have never been, it’s worth coming just for the evening.
Boat through the Thousand Islands.
There are 1,864 islands to explore and if you have a boat or a friend who owns a boat going on an adventure here is a great way to celebrate the best of Canada! You can check out their website for more information: http://www.visit1000islands.com/
Learn how to chop and stack firewood.
Not very glamorous, but a very practical and helpful action. If you are feeling especially Canadian maybe even cut wood for a neighbour or friend!
Buy a flannel shirt
Maybe you can wear it while you chop wood to complete the lumberjack look.
Go tree planting.
A great way to take care of God’s world while making some extra money! Definitely not easy, but certainly a Canadian experience.
Straddle the border.
The Haskell Library and Opera in Stanstead Quebec or Derby-Line Vermont straddles the border between the United States and Canada. Only 4 hours from Ottawa, it is worth the trip to go get some ice cream, see this unique location and make an adventure out of it!
Build the perfect campfire.
Unless there is a fire ban or you live in the city, then maybe avoid lighting this perfect campfire and cook marshmallows over your stove!
Light a candle at the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica.
One of the biggest and most beautiful churches in Ottawa, the Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica is right across from the National Gallery of Canada. To celebrate Canada Day, don’t forget to visit this beautiful church, light a candle and say a prayer to honour the God whose principles founded our nation.
Visit the Diefenbunker Museum and Escape Room.
This amazing Cold War museum not only offers a great experience for your whole family, but also an escape room in this same facility. You can find out all about the Diefenbunker and the Escape Room on their website: http://diefenbunker.ca/.
Place a lock on Ottawa’s Corktown Bridge.
This foot bridge is a great way to celebrate Canada 150 and mark the milestone with a permanent lock and key on this bridge by Somerset.
Eat a Jos Louis
If you didn’t know the Jos Louis is a Canadian food from Quebec. If you want to learn more about the interesting history of the Jos Louis you can check out the Vachon website https://tkmorin.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/may-west-and-a-jos-louis/.
Visit the National Gallery of Canada
Not only is this museum free on Canada day, but it is also free every Thursday evening! Be sure to check out the beautiful Canadian artwork and bring a picnic to share with friends, family or even to enjoy by yourself. You can see European paintings, Indigenous artwork, photography among other things at this incredible museum.
Take a tour of Parliament Hill
I’m always surprised how many Canadians and residents of Ottawa have not been inside of the Parliament buildings. It’s free and a great way to celebrate Canada. If you haven’t been or if you haven’t been recently it is worth going again this year!
Bannock is a traditional food eaten by the Inuit people when they were trapping. Now we can eat it over an open fire or fry it in a pan. Here is a recipe for you to try: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/6919/bannock/.
Visit Canadian Tire
Even just walking the aisles is a Canadian experience and don’t forget to stash your Canadian Tire money is a special jar or in drawers where you will find the money years later.
Fry up some Canadian bacon
Canadian bacon is one of the great joys of being Canadian. You can put it on sandwiches, eat it for breakfast and find it in your local grocery store.
See a light show on Parliament Hill
Northern Lights is a free sound and light show on Parliament Hill which begins July 11th and ends September 16th. So make a trip downtown any night of the week to see this spectacular story about our country! There is more information on the government of Canada website: http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1431092517027.
Play some lacrosse
Lacrosse is one of the national sports of Canada. Get some friends together and celebrate Canada by playing one of its national sports.
Sponsor the Terry Fox Run
The Terry Fox Foundation was inspired by the vision of Terry Fox who wanted to see a world without cancer. You can run in a race, sponsor a participant or simply make a donation to the foundation on their website: http://www.terryfox.org/.
Buy bags of milk
Even if you normally purchase bottles or cartons of milk, make an exception this time to demonstrate how Canadian you really are. Milk bags all the way!
Buy something from Roots
This truly Canadian company has a beaver as their logo, you can’t get more Canadian than that! They even have a special collection to celebrate Canada Day, so don’t miss it.You can order on their website: http://www.roots.com/ca/en/homepage.
Watch a movie with your favourite Canadian actor
William Shatner, Mike Myers, Christopher Plummer, Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds and Michael J. Fox are just a few of the Canadian actors. Maybe even try having a movie marathon with all of your favourite Canadian actors! Here is an extended list of Canadian actors: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls003056502/.
Buy a bag of ketchup chips
Not available in the United States, whether you like ketchup chips or not they are certainly Canadian!
Embrace the art of shovelling
Even in the summer you can practice your shovelling skills by digging around in the garden. We all know that winter will bring us enough snow for us to perfect those shovelling skills.
See a basketball game or play pick-up basketball
Basketball was invented by James Naismith so there is nothing more Canadian than going to watch or playing basketball in your local neighbourhood.
Make a box of Kraft dinner
Kraft dinner is the most popular grocery store item in Canada according to CBC!
Eat smoked meat
What is your favourite deli place in Ottawa? Kettleman’s Bagels has some great smoked meat sandwiches!
Drink some liquid gold (maple syrup)
Or maybe even put it on your vanilla ice cream. Delicious!
Savour a Swedish Fish
These candies are actually from Hamilton Ontario, not Swedan as the name suggests.
Drink Crush Cream Soda
Only available in Canada and a delectable pink treat!
Visit the Arctic in Ottawa
Opening June 21st is a new Arctic gallery exhibit in the Canadian Museum of Nature which incorporates an authentic experience of arctic wildlife and artifacts. It will be a permanent exhibit of the museum and you can get details here.
Tour the Canadian War Museum
If you haven’t been to this beautiful museum in Ottawa, it is definitely worth a visit. Free on Canada and Thursday evenings, this museum focuses on the Canadian involvement in many major wars. Information on hours can be found at http://www.warmuseum.ca/.
Don’t miss out on this great Canadian feature of language. Be sure to insert your ‘eh’ loudly and proudly.
Picnic in Major Hill Park
A beautiful park behind the Chateau Laurier and right across from the Parliament Buildings. Pack a little picnic and enjoy a beautiful summer afternoon or evening.
Watch a Bob and Doug Mackenzie skit
These Canadian classics are definitely worth revisiting so check them out on Youtube here.
Turn up some Canadian music
Celine Dion, Great Big Sea and many other great Canadian artists have influenced the Canadian experience. Make a list of your favourites and turn up the tunes!
Watch classic Canadian movies
Everyone has their favourites but here is a list of great Canadian movies: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls000091175/!
Play ball hockey
Nothing says Canadian like playing hockey on the road and having to move your nets away from the cars.
Swim in a Great Lake
No matter where you live, you can always find a Great Lake to jump into! Take a chance this summer to find your own Great Lakes and beaches to enjoy.
Bite into a Nanaimo Bar
Created in Nanaimo, British Columbia these bars are incredible.
Pay for someone’s order at Tim Hortons.
You can’t get any more Canadian than that: being nice and being at Tim Hortons.
Fishing is a huge part of Canadian history and it has played a role in our economy since before the inception of our country. Canada has a huge aquaculture industry which sustainably fishes salmon among other fish so it’s also a great way to support the Canadian economy (Government of Canada, 2017)!
Sing a Stompin’ Tom Connors song at Karaoke
Get some friends together and sing Stompin’ Tom Karaoke whether it is “Sudbury Saturday Night”, “Bud the Spud” or “The Hockey Song,” everyone can have a great time celebrating Canada with this music!
Watch all the “Heritage Minutes”
You can find many of them on Youtube so gather friends and family around and get your popcorn! https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1848FF9428CA9A4A
Learn all Four verses to “O Canada”
And if you want an extra challenge, make sure you learn them in both English and French.
No matter who you are or where you live in Canada, there is nothing quite like a poutine! Maybe even get some friends and try a few different places and compare their poutines. The Byward Market has tons of restaurants which sell poutine.
Wear a toque
Enough said, toques are so cute and very Canadian. Maybe even buy a nice red and white one for Canada day!
Visit Canada’s Biggest Playground!
Located near Mooney’s Bay, this playground is in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. This project will be open to the public very soon!
Paddle the Rideau Canal
The Rideau Canal is 202km from Kingston to Ottawa and there are lots of opportunities to plan paddling trips. Also lockage is free in 2017 thanks to Canada’s big birthday party and Parks Canada. You can check out the information on the Rideau River website: http://www.rideau-info.com/canal/paddling/.
Eat a Beavertail
This could be purchasing one in the Byward Market in Ottawa or making your own beavertails at home. Here is a recipe for homemade beavertails: http://www.food.com/recipe/canadian-beaver-tail-fried-pastries-119576.