32 free things to do on Canada Day

Pancake breakfasts, maple leaf accessories and so much dancing. Spend July 1st enjoying one of these awesome free Canada Day activities. Many places are offering free admissions, but be aware that you may have to pay for food and games once inside the event.

By Christine Shepherd

32 free things to do on Canada Day

Photo: Courtesy of City of Victoria

British Columbia

1. Spirit of 150 Victoria at Victoria’s Inner Harbour June 21 to July 1 Free admission, noon to 5 p.m.

Celebrate Canada 150 in Victoria, B.C. with 11 days of free live performances (there will be over 100 different artists to check out), plus art and local food. Join in on the all-day Canada Day celebrations by visiting the family zone from noon to 5 p.m. A First Nations blessing will be held at 3 p.m. followed by performances by the Esquimalt Singers and Dancers and the Lekwungen Traditional Dancers. There will be activities for children of all ages throughout the day before fireworks at 10:15 p.m.

More info here

2. Royal BC Museum, Canada Day: Wonder Weekend Free admission, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Bring your pennies to the Royal BC Museum for their Canada Day Old-Time Penny Carnival on the Helmcken House lawn. The  festivities include egg-and-spoon races, bean-bag tosses, and more! Enjoy live music from local performers such as the Lekwungen dancers of the Songhees Nation, Mufaro Marimba and Bučan Bučan. Festivities continue on July 2—it's double the free fun.

More info here

3. Fort Langley National Historic Site Free admission, 10 a.m. to midnight

Join Fort Langley for their official Canada Day flag-raising ceremony—plus cake! Multicultural music and dance performances will keep you moving all day long. You can fuel up with a picnic at 6 p.m. (but it’s BYOF—bring your own food). Listen to the musical stylings of M’Girl at 7 p.m. before an outdoor screening of Beauty and the Beast at dusk. The first 150 people to come to the promotions tent at 8 p.m. will receive a free #Canada150 zipper pull to mark the memorable occasion.

More info here

4. Surrey Canada Day 2017 at Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre Free admission, 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

A fun-filled day will be had by all, especially your little ones. The event at Bill Reid Millennium Amphitheatre will feature a kids’ zone with free Canada Day-themed crafts, face painting, and more. For the more daring kids, there will be a ferris wheel and rides like the Zipper and the Spider, but the amusement area requires an additional charge. If that isn’t enough fun for your kids, head over to the Cloverdale Youth Park with your skateboard, scooter or BMX bike for the Surrey Rides All-Wheels Jam from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Enjoy performances all day, including Canadian pop-rock band Hedley before a fireworks display at 10:15 p.m.

More info here

canada day parade banff Photo: Courtesy of Town of Banff


5. Canada Day Banff Free admission into Banff National Park (for all of 2017), 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Celebrate the nation’s 150th anniversary with the Canadian Rockies as your backdrop. Canada Day celebrations will kick off in Banff with a free pancake breakfast and continue throughout the day with a parade down Banff Avenue (11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) and an official Canada Day welcome from the mayor at 1 p.m. in Central Park. Head on over to the Banff Artisan and Farmers Market for local goodies at an additional cost. Be sure to return to the High School Field at 1 p.m. or 6 p.m. to catch a free performance of the Steve Harmer Magic Show. End the evening with fireworks at 11 p.m.

More info here

6. Canada Day at Fort Calgary Free admission, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Spend Canada at Fort Calgary—the birthplace of the city of Calgary—with a free pancake breakfast in the morning. There are more family-friendly activities throughout the day, including live local music, traditional Indigenous games and stories, powwow dance workshops and a food truck caravan. Wear a red or white t-shirt for the City of Calgary’s living flag event, where attendees will get together to recreate our national flag.

More info here

7. Canada Day Celebrations at Confederation Park Free admission, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There seems to be a theme going on here—Canadians really love a pancake breakfast! Start your Canada Day celebration with a free pancake breakfast with your family at Confederation Park before enjoying horse-drawn wagon rides (yeehaw!) and musical entertainment. Witness the opening of a time capsule from 1967 and enjoy the great outdoors, but be sure to pack the sunscreen.

More info here

8. Indigenous Showcase and Powwow at Prince’s Island Park Free admission, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Begin your Canada Day with a traditional morning blessing before you spend the day learning Metis dance steps and Indigenous arts and crafts. Celebrate the culture of First Nations people with a traditional powwow and other cultural programs throughout the day in teepees and Metis trapper tents. Live music will begin at 5 p.m.

More info here

fort saskatchewan legacy park canada day Photo: Courtesy of Fort Saskatchewan Canada Day

9. Canada 150 at Fort Saskatchewan 

Free admission, 8 a.m. to 10:45 p.m.

Fort Saskatchewan is the place to be for Canada 150. Festivities will be taking place across the city, beginning with a Canada Day pancake breakfast at the Royal Canadian Legion, with proceeds from the breakfast going to Muscular Dystrophy Canada. The Canada Day parade will make its way through the downtown area at 11 a.m. Visit the Farmers’ Market at the CN Station parking lot before heading over to Legacy Park for some family fun. There will be a Kids’ Korner featuring a petting zoo from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and free birthday cake and ice cream for guests at 1:45 p.m. Catch performances by the Derina Harvey Band and Glass Tiger in the evening. Fireworks will go off at the Rotary Amphitheatre in Peter T. Ream Historic Park at 10:45 p.m.

More info here

fireworks canada day the forks Photo: Courtesy of Tourism Winnipeg


10. Canada Day at The Forks Free admission, noon to 11 p.m.

With 50 acts across five stages, this will be a rocking Canada Day in Winnipeg. Family-friendly performances, including a set by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, will be taking place all day, with fireworks at 11 p.m. for a sparkling end to the night.

More info here

11. Canada Day Assiniboine Park Free admission, 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Have a day of musical fun at Assiniboine Park with live entertainment throughout the day and a kids' zone from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. to keep your little ones entertained. Opening ceremonies will take place at  3:30 p.m. and include a free Canada Day slice of cake. Wrap up the night with a fireworks display scheduled for 10:40 p.m.

More info here

12. Osborne Village Street Festival & Canada Day Celebration Free admission, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Celebrate Canada Day at Winnipeg’s longest-running street festival. Opening ceremonies will kickstart the day and feature Aboriginal drumming groups and the marching of the flags by local veterans. A giant Canada-flag birthday cake will ring in the nation’s 150th birthday (over 400 pieces of cake will be passed out!). The day will include live music and performances and a family fun zone with a petting zoo, face painting and more.

More info here

parliament hill fireworks Photo: Courtesy of Serega via iStock


13. Black Creek Pioneer Village Free admission for all on July 1, kids free on July 2 and 3, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Party like it’s 1867 at Black Creek Pioneer Village on Canada Day. Enjoy a day of 19th-century performances by fire jugglers and magicians. Then give the kids a little history lesson and watch the story of Confederation (don't worry, the show is actually quite funny!).

More info here

14. Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum Free admission, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Visit Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum in Carp, Ont., for some family-friendly activities, including face painting, a maple leaf scavenger hunt through the four-storey underground bunker and a Canada Day barbecue. There will be hot dogs, veggie dogs, frozen treats and drinks for sale.

More info here

15. Canada Agriculture and Food Museum Free admission, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum in Ottawa is a great place to have an educational July 1st. Enjoy special demonstrations where you can learn about Canadian agriculture and different breeds of livestock. Get your hands sticky with ice cream making (and tasting!) using an old-fashioned hand-crank freezer. The treats don’t stop there—enjoy a complimentary slice of the patriotic red-and-white strawberry shortcake before testing your knowledge at The Great Canadian Quiz wheel. There will be Canada Day-themed crafts and games for kids. At an additional cost, the kids can enjoy face painting, Tally-Ho Wagon Rides (pulled by Paul and Padrig—the museum’s Clydesdale horses), food by The Hot Potato Company and Dominion Day on the Farm from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. (with artisanal beer, food, local bands and Canadian games like road hockey and peach basketball).

More info here

16. Canada Aviation and Space Museum Free admission (donations are welcome), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For aviation and space enthusiasts, Canada Day at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum will include a rocket launch by the Ottawa Rocketry Group, a performance and autograph session with the Canadian Armed Forces Parachute Team, a concert by BAM! Percussion and more. It's going to be out-of-this-world fun!

More info here

17. Canadian Museum of Nature Free admission, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Canadian Museum of Nature is the best place to spend Canada Day if you're a lover of the great outdoors. Exhibits like the Canada Goose Arctic Gallery is sure to be a kid favourite. It features interactive games, specimens you can examine and amazing pictures of the animals who live in the Arctic.

More info here

18. Canadian War Museum Free admission, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, and what better place to honour our fallen heroes than at the Canadian War Museum on Canada Day? Exhibits include "Vimy—Beyond the Battle" and "The Fenians—Unintended Fathers of Confederation." After all, summer vacation does not mean the learning has to stop.

More info here

19. National Gallery of Canada Free admission, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Spend Canada Day at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Enjoy access to the gallery and art activities like making Canada Day party hats, a scavenger hunt in the gallery, and temporary tattoos.

More info here

20. TD Ottawa Jazz Festival Free admission on July 1 beginning at 1 p.m., last performance starts at 6 p.m.

Does your kid love music? Let her sing and dance her heart out with free live music throughout the day at the Ottawa Jazz Festival. Some of the amazing artists you will see include Diyet, Nefe, Blue Moon Marquee, and Groenland.

More info here

21. National Arts Centre July 1 and 2. Free admission beginning at 11 a.m., last performance starts at 8 p.m.

Head on over to the National Arts Centre in the nation’s capital to see the unveiling of its new atrium with great views of Parliament Hill. There will be an official re-opening and ribbon cutting at 2 p.m. Plus, there will be free performances and activities for all ages, and a Canada Day barbeque for an additional cost. The fun continues all weekend long with more free activities the following day.

More info here

canadian museum of history in gatineau Photo: Courtesy of mirceax via iStock


22. Canadian Museum of History Free admission, 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Visit the Canadian Museum of History on Canada Day and make your very own maple leaf headband. If fascinators aren't your thing, you can dance to French-Canadian music performed by folk group Le Grand Portag. Even if you don't speak French, everyone is invited to come enjoy the music at 1, 3:30 and 6 p.m.

More info here

Newfoundland and Labrador

23. Canada 150 in St. John’s Free admission, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Watch the Canada Day sunrise at Signal Hill from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. before heading off to the "wake up the nation" breakfast at the Visitor Interpretation Centre from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Get ready for performances by Calver Street, The Freels and the St. Pat’s Dancers while you enjoy your breakfast. Head over to King George V Park for a family fun day of live entertainment beginning at 2 p.m. with Colleen Power, Ouroboros, Eastern Owl, Denis Parker and John Clarke, Rum Ragged and the Music Collection Drumline. The kids can enjoy bouncy castles, laser tag, face painting and more. Keep the party going with a Canada Day concert featuring The Sheepdogs, The Novaks, and Mallory Johnson at Dominion Memorial Market beginning at 6 p.m., before making your way to Quidi Vidi Lake for a fireworks display at 10 p.m.

More info here

New Brunswick 

24. New Brunswick Museum Free admission, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Does your kid love learning — and air conditioning? Then head to the New Brunswick Museum for a day of exhibits exploration. Experience art from across the country that represents our diversity, while also learning about the history of our great nation.

More info here

25. Saint John Canada Day Free admission, 9 a.m. to dusk

The annual Canada Day People Parade will leave from King’s Square at 11:15 a.m. to jump-start the celebration. The official flag-raising ceremony follows in front of City Hall featuring the famous 4-by-8-foot Canadian flag cake—there's a lot of free cake on Canada Day! Enjoy free children’s activities throughout the day at King’s Square, Saint John City Market (open at 9 a.m.), Loyalist Plaza, Market Square and on the Boardwalk. The fun includes face painting, flag making, bubbles and more. Belle and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast will be meeting and greeting, as well as performing for the kids on the Boardwalk and in the Atrium. Enjoy live performances, free transit and free historic trolley rides throughout the uptown area.

More info here

green gables Photo: Courtesy of Photon-Photos via iStock

Prince Edward Island

26. Green Gables National Historic Site Free admission, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit the house that inspired L.M. Montgomery to write her beloved tale Anne of Green Gables. Explore the Haunted Woods and Balsam Hollow trails and see all of the artifacts that captured the imagination and hearts of Canadians (and the world).

More info here

27. City of Summerside Canada Day Celebrations Free admission, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

More than 40 tall ships will be sailing the waters to honour the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. You will have a chance to board the ships for a tour at no additional cost. Nearby Canada Day festivities will include live music, face painting, balloon twisting and other activities for kids. Fireworks to follow at dusk.

More info here

28. Canada Day 2017 at Seawalk Park Free admission, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Canada Day at Seawalk Park will be one to remember: live music and entertainment,  bouncy castles, a magic show, a balloon twister and an interactive pet show. Plus, special visits from Frozen princesses Anna and Elsa, and your friendly-neighbourhood superhero, Spiderman. The street parade starts at 10:30 a.m. and then the boat parade is at 6 p.m. in North Rustico Harbour.

More info here

canada day marching band Photo: Courtesy of MatthewSinger via iStock

Nova Scotia

29. Canada Day Family Fun Fest Free admission, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The Halifax Common will be the site of Maple Lodge Farms’ Canada Day celebration. Come out for a day of free entertainment and kid-friendly activities, including face painting and a magic show. The K9 Hi Flyers Dog Agility Team will also make an appearance. Catch one of their shows and come by for a sweet meet-and-greet.

More info here

kids canada day parade yukon Photo: Courtesy of Whitehorse The Wilderness City


30. Canada 150 at Shipyards Park Free admission, 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.

A pancake breakfast will begin the day of fun in Whitehorse, featuring a musical performance by Saskatchewan-born singer Hank Karr & the Canucks. The Canada Day parade will follow at 11 a.m. before the opening ceremonies at 12 p.m. The Kids' Zone will be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will include face painting and Rendezvous’ Prince and Princess competition—fancy!

More info here

Northwest Territories

31. Canada 150 Day Celebration Free admission, 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday at the beautiful Somba K’e Civic Plaza in Yellowknife featuring food and craft vendors, the North West Territories Literacy Bookmobile, bouncy castles, a photo booth and live musical performances.

More info here


32. Canada Day 2017 Free admission, all day

Celebrate Canada Day 2017 in Iqaluit at the AWG Arena and Nakasuk School field with a day of music, games, and food for sale. Start off the day with a pancake breakfast (this seems to be one of the most popular ways of celebrating July 1st!)  before watching the Canada Day parade.

More info here

This article was originally published on Jun 16, 2017

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