Looking for some Canada Day fun? We've got you covered

COVID-19 has really done a number on Canada Day celebrations. Canadian Heritage is throwing a virtual party, but there's other stuff to do, too, from shopping to camping to a cool treat at your favourite ice cream joint.

Here's a list of activities in and around the capital this July 1, even during the pandemic

A woman smiles as she participates in the annual Canada Day parade July 1, 2013. In 2020, during COVID-19, Canada Day will be a very different celebration. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

COVID-19 has really done a number on Canada Day. Big gatherings are cancelled, patio space is severely limited and there will be no fireworks lighting up the sky above Parliament Hill.

Instead, Canadian Heritage is offering up a virtual celebration, to be broadcast on CBC TV, radio and online. The party will feature musical performances from across Canada, with links to scavenger hunts and recipes including bannock, astronaut David Saint-Jacques's "space chili" and Canadian flag Popsicles.  

Everyone loves a little ice cream on a hot day. (Ben MacMahon/EPA-EFE)

There's even a 3D fireworks show you can enjoy by pointing your smart phone or tablet skyward.

"The augmented reality experience will give you the same visual and sound effects as a real fireworks display!" Canadian Heritage gushes on its website.

But in case the idea of virtual fireworks leave you feeling a bit meh, here's a list of real, live activities in Ottawa and the surrounding area.

  • Ottawa has opened Mooney's Bay, Westboro and Petrie Island beaches, with lifeguards on duty and water testing underway. You can find information about last-minute beach closures here.
  • The National Capital Commission has made it easier and safer to cycle on many of its parkways by limiting vehicles. Check out ideas for hikes and bike trips here.
  • Relive your childhood by catching a drive-in movie. Options include the Port Elmsley Drive-In and the Skylight Drive-In near Pembroke, Ont. The new Drive-In Experience Ottawa, located in Wesley Clover Park, will not be showing a movie on July 1
  • Before you spark up that "burning schoolhouse" or any other backyard fireworks, you should know Ottawa bylaw requires a $56 permit, and the paperwork had to be submitted to the fire department 30 days before the party — among other rules.
The National Capital Commission has given cyclists more room to roll by closing some of its parkways to vehicles. (Ian Black/CBC)
Pick-your-own strawberry farms are open for business, but are limiting the number of pickers allowed in each row to ensure physical distancing. (Spencer Van Dyk/CBC)
  • Looking for some retail therapy? Rideau Centre will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Canada Day, or try the nearby ByWard Market. Bayshore Shopping Centre, St. Laurent Shopping Centre and Place d'Orléans are closed July 1, as is Tanger Outlets. Some stores at Lansdowne Park and the rest of the Glebe may open on Canada Day, but call ahead
  • Pick-your-own strawberries! Check out Proulx Farm, Shouldice Berry Farm, Rochon Gardens, Richmond Nursery, Potager Eardley on the Quebec side and Miller's Farm south of Manotick.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now