From innovative underground light and sound shows to a gourmet dinner 50m in the air, Ontario is celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary in style with festivities of an unprecedented scale taking place throughout the year – culminating on Canada Day on the 1st of July 2017. Here’s a round-up of our top celebratory events in Ontario this year.
Celebrate in Canada’s capital: As the nation’s capital, Ottawa is the ultimate place to celebrate this historic milestone with festivities of an unseen scale. Ottawa Mayor, Jim Watson recently announced he predicts 10 million visitors to the city in 2017 due to the anniversary. There are a number of events and festivals happening here throughout the year including ‘Ignite 150’. This programme consists of a series of 17 epic and breathtaking stunts and gatherings including a yoga session on a barge accompanied by a live orchestra and a gourmet dinner hosted 50 metres in the air.
Another year-round celebratory event is ‘Agri 150’. Visitors to Ottawa have the opportunity to indulge their inner sommelier and visit several local wineries to sample wines, paired with local cheeses and other canapes. In partnership with the Ottawa International Writers Festival, at each stop, a local author or storyteller will entertain guests with words that reflect the rural landscape and way of life. For the eco-conscious, a cycling tour is available which will showcase the areas dedicated to sustainability, including an off-grid farm, conservation area and greenhouse vegetable production. At each point of interest, participants can enjoy locally produced treats.
From the 20th May – 4th September, visitors will have the chance to explore ‘Inspiration Village’ in Ottawa’s historic ByWard market. This village, built of sea shipping containers, will be home to a number of special exhibits and performing art events showcasing Canada’s different provinces and territories.
In June, the Red Bull Global Rallycross will race into town for the first time in its seven-year history. The course features long straightaways and wide-open corners allowing the supercars to reach incredible speeds. The paved main course and Joker Lap will merge leading into the dirt section, just before cars fly over the finish line on the series’ signature 70-foot jump. This event is unmissable for any motor head.
One of the most anticipated events will take place from June until September in the form of an underground experience with a futuristic and immersive multimedia production in one of Ottawa’s future Light Rail Transit stations. The spectacular sound and light fantasy voyage, ‘Kontinuum’, will run for ten weeks and is expected to be a sell-out experience.
On Canada Day, 1st July 2017, official proceedings take place on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and will see world leaders, royalty and A-list celebrities from the world of music and entertainment in attendance. The following day will see an interprovincial ‘Picnic on the Bridge’ where families and friends can picnic on the grass of Alexandra Bridge and enjoy spectacular views of the city and Ottawa River.
New for this year, La Machine will come to Ottawa in a North American First from 27th-30th July. The urban theatre production company is world-renowned for its extraordinary large-scale machines that will be set loose on the city and roam free. The event is free for all spectators. www.ottawa2017.ca
Be a part of TO Canada with Love: In honour of Canada’s 150th birthday, TO Canada with Love is Toronto’s year-long programme of celebrations, commemorations and exhibitions – a love letter to the country. With more than 30 events taking place throughout the year, from Doors Open Toronto to horticultural programmes, art exhibitions and indigenous performances, there’s an event or activity for every visitor, no matter their interest.
Revel in the glitz and glam of Hollywood: Toronto International Film Festival’s ‘Canada on Screen’ will see the glitz and glamour of Hollywood brought to Ontario in one of the province’s signature 150th initiatives. This programme offers 150 free screenings, live events, educational content, digital activations, and virtual reality projects based on 150 essential films, TV, music videos and commercials from Ontario and Canada. Canada on Screen is the most ambitious retrospect of the country’s moving-image heritage ever attempted and will run throughout the year. One of the most anticipated events is the screening of Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001) alongside a live orchestral performance of Chris Crilly’s award-winning score with Inuit throat singers. www.tiff.net/canadaonscreen
Cheer on your country at the Invictus Games: One of the biggest events in Ontario’s sporting calendar this year, and another of the province’s signature initiatives, will be the Invictus Games. These games will see more than 550 competitors from 17 nations battle it out for 8 days of fierce competition. All competitors will be active duty and veteran service members from participating allied nations who have become ill or injured during, or as a direct consequence, of their service. www.invictusgames2017.com
Enjoy the festivities at Niagara Falls: As one of nature’s greatest wonders, it’s no surprise that Niagara Falls is set to host a number of different events and festivals throughout the year to celebrate this historic milestone. Visitors can enjoy ‘Oh Canada Eh?’ – a dinner theatre event taking place from 27th April – 21st October 2017. The show features over 2 hours of Canadian music, food and celebrations. Music of course includes tracks from Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Avril Lavigne and Justin Bieber. Culture vultures can immerse themselves in the history of Canada at the exhibition ‘Pieces of Canada’ which showcases 150 objects from the people of Niagara to tell their story of what it means to be Canadian. For fans of the King, the brand new Niagara Falls Elvis Festival takes place this year from the 19th-21st May and will see 3 days of non-stop Elvis celebrations. http://150inthefalls.com/
Explore Ontario’s great outdoors: Home to some of the most pristine environments in the world, 334 stunning provincial parks and 6 national parks including Bruce Peninsula, Georgian Bay Islands, Point Pelee, Pukaskwa, Thousand Islands and Rouge Park; Ontario is the ultimate outdoor destination for those seeking an escape from city life with parks covering nearly 10% of the province’s surface area. With Canada’s 150th anniversary this year, Parks Canada is offering free entry to all National Parks with a Discovery Pass; there has never been a better time to visit Ontario and its great outdoors. www.pc.gc.ca
For further information on Ontario, please visit www.ontariotravel.net
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Home to the iconic Niagara Falls and bustling cities including Toronto and Ottawa; Ontario lays claim to some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. A province bursting with diversity, adventure and culture, Ontario also comprises a third of the earth’s freshwater in its 250,000 lakes, and is home to 280 national and provincial parks that are waiting to be explored. Its dynamic urban culture, nature, history and vibrant calendar of events makes Ontario a must visit destination, whatever the season.
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