Ottawa celebrates Canada Day — in person

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared more than two years ago, people are gathering in Ottawa for official Canada Day celebrations.

First official celebrations since start of COVID-19 pandemic

People in a crowd look toward a stage.
People look toward the stage during Canada Day celebrations at LeBreton Flats in Ottawa on Friday, the first official festivities to take place since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared more than two years ago, people are gathering in Ottawa for official Canada Day celebrations.

Today's festivities aren't taking place on Parliament Hill, however, as the historic seat of Canada's government is in the midst of a lengthy rehabilitation project.

Instead, they're being held near the Canadian War Museum at LeBreton Flats, just west of downtown.

"We immigrated to Canada four years ago, but we've spent almost two and a half years inside," said Peter Do, sitting with his family Friday afternoon on the festival grounds.

"[It's] the first day I'm enjoying Canada Day. I'm so excited to [be] out and share the moment with people."

The party is set to stretch late into the evening, with a slate of musical performances beginning at 8 p.m. and fireworks scheduled for 10 p.m.

Here's a look at some of today's scenes from the nation's capital.

Several people, including a man in a costume, walk through a security checkpoint.
A person dressed as Captain Canada checks their shield before walking through a security checkpoint as they arrive for Canada Day celebrations at LeBreton Flats on Friday. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)
A family sits on a grassy field at a festival.
Peter Do, in the red T-shirt, sits with his family on the grounds of LeBreton Flats. They immigrated from Vietnam to Canada four years ago, and Do says they're extremely happy to take part in in-person Canada Day celebrations. (Rachelle Elsiufi/CBC)
A crowd at a festival site is seen from the sky.
Drone footage captures the size of the celebrations at LeBreton Flats Friday afternoon. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)
People walk and shake hands with a crowd.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau are joined by their children Hadrien, Xavier and Ella-Grace as they arrive to Friday's celebrations. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
A man smiles while dancing in front of a Canadian flag.
Bhangra dancer Gurdeep Pandher was part of the long lineup of performers to take to the stage at LeBreton Flats. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
Three people stand together while taking part in a ceremony.
Governor General Mary Simon, centre, takes part in an Indigenous reflection ceremony near the banks of the Ottawa River. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
People take part in a drum circle.
People take part in a drum circle at the New Edinburgh Fieldhouse on Canada Day, part of an event to bring attention to the life and historic significance of the largely forgotten Algonquin Grand Chief Constant Pinesi. (Dan Taekema/CBC)
A child waves a Canadian flag while being lifted above a crowd of people.
A child waves the Canadian flag during Friday's festivities. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)
A rider and horse jump over an obstacle.
A rider and horse perform a jump at the annual RCMP Musical Ride on Canada Day. (Catherine Morasse/Radio-Canada)
A man walks down a street while covered in Canadian flags.
Elsewhere in Ottawa, a man decked out in dozens of Canadian flags walks down Sparks Street. (Catherine Morasse/Radio-Canada)
A crowd waves Canadian flags and carries protest signs.
A crowd of people, many of whom are protesting pandemic health mandates and other restrictions, gathers near Parliament Hill. In normal years, Parliament Hill is home to the official celebrations, but a large swath of the site is currently under construction. (Frédéric Pepin/Radio-Canada)

With files from Rachelle Elsiufi