Ottawa

2022 Canada Day party to move off Parliament Hill

Ongoing construction work on Parliament Hill will push this year's Canada Day celebration in Ottawa to LeBreton Flats, about 1.5 kilometres to the west, Canadian Heritage has announced.

Ongoing construction pushing most activities to nearby LeBreton Flats, Canadian Heritage says

People cloaked in flags stroll down Ottawa's Elgin Street on Canada Day in 2018. The walk from Parliament Hill to the new venue on LeBreton Flats is about 1.5 kilometres. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

Ongoing construction work on Parliament Hill will push this year's Canada Day celebration in Ottawa to LeBreton Flats, about 1.5 kilometres to the west, Canadian Heritage has announced.

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

Construction is taking up a sizable chunk of the Parliament Hill lawn. This is how it looked 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 the 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 Ottawa Bluesfest, also for the first time since 2019.

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

Parliament Hill will still host "some activities," and Canadian Heritage is promising more details about this year's Canada Day events.

The Ottawa Bluesfest main stage in LeBreton Flats in 2017. (CBC)

Organizers had originally planned to move the celebration off the Hill starting in 2020, but the pandemic instead forced it online. Most Canada Day events in 2020 and 2021 were held virtually.

Last year, crowds descended on downtown Ottawa to take part in a Cancel Canada Day rally that urged Canadians to rethink patriotic celebrations in light of the discovery of graves at former residential school sites.

City officials have asked Ottawa's auditor general to review the response to this winter's Freedom Convoy occupation and try to have any resulting recommendations ready in time for July 1.

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