Canada Day 2022 will leave Parliament Hill

Construction underway on Parliament Hill will push Ottawa’s Canada Day celebration this year to LeBreton Flats, about 1.5 kilometers to the west, Canadian Heritage has announced.

Parliament Hill last hosted the national Canada Day holiday in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic. A major renovation of Center Block has since reduced the amount of space available for public events on the expansive lawn in front of the Parliament Buildings.

The construction takes up much of the lawn of Parliament Hill. Here’s what it looked like on Monday morning. (Government of Canada)

In an email Monday, Canadian Heritage said moving the party off the Hill “will allow as many people as possible to participate in Canada Day activities.”

On July 1, afternoon and evening shows will take place at LeBreton Flats Park in front of the Canadian War Museum, with its view of the Peace Tower in the background. Less than a week later, the same venue will host the Ottawa Bluesfest, also for the first time since 2019.

Canadian Heritage said Zibi Festival Place, just across the Chaudière and Portage bridges from LeBreton Flats, will host family events on July 1. This venue has hosted Cirque du Soleil shows and the drive-in edition of Bluesfest 2020.

Parliament Hill will still host “select activities” and Canadian Heritage promises more details on this year’s Canada Day events.

The Ottawa Bluesfest main stage on LeBreton Flats in 2017. (Radio Canada)

Organizers originally planned to move the celebration off the Hill from 2020, but the pandemic has forced it online instead. Most Canada Day events in 2020 and 2021 took place virtually.

Crowds descended on downtown Ottawa last year for a Cancel Canada Day rally that urged Canadians to rethink patriotic celebrations in light of the discovery of graves at the sites of ancient boarding schools.

City officials have asked Ottawa’s Auditor General to review the response to the Freedom Convoy occupation this winter and try to prepare the resulting recommendations in time for July 1.