Noted! The Ultimate Travel Guide to Ottawa's Top Seasonal Activities.

Ottawa Seasonal Activities

Ottawa, the capital of Canada is a city that prides itself for its rich history and political importance. The city’s name originated from Indigenious peoples, specifically the Algonquian language from the word Odawa, which means ‘to trade’. 

There is so much to explore and learn in Ottawa, from state of the art museums to beautiful nature retreats. There is something for everybody to enjoy!

Seasonal activities are one of the most treasured aspects of the culture in Ottawa. They are only available for a short period of time and utilize the weather to give you the best experience. Here are the best seasonal activities you must try while on your trip!

Spring: The Canadian Tulip Festival

Ottawa Tulip Festival

The world’s largest tulip display takes place in Ottawa every spring, showing the beauty of over a million blooming tulips ranging over 100 species! This event originated from the German invasion of the Netherlands in 1940, forcing Dutch royals to flee the country for their safety. Dutch Princess Juliana and her children escaped to Ottawa, where she was kept safe and gave birth to her third daughter. After the Netherlands were liberated, Princess Juliana gifted 100,000 tulips to Canada as recognition for their aid, and the royal Dutch family continues to carry this tradition every year. 

The event is filled with tulips, music, entertainment, fireworks, and much more. Making this an experience to remember!

Summer: The Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill

Ottawa Parliament Light Show

This special light show only takes place during the summer months, using the Peace Tower and Center Block of the Parliament Hill as a backdrop. The event takes you through an unforgettable and exciting journey of Canada’s history, utilizing lights and sound (including an original score) to present the story. The journey is revealed through 5 thematic “books”, or parts, with each book having a unique artistic style.

Fall: Pumpkinferno

Ottawa Pumpkinferno

Located in the Upper Canada Village, this annual pumpkin exhibit is open from late September to the end of October. Discover over 7,000 pumpkins transformed into art by Eastern Ontario artists who carefully carve each mesmerizing piece. From mythical creatures to cultural icons, this event displays the creativity of artistry, with new exhibits introduced every year. Pumpkinferno includes dining, accessibility nights, and even potential overnight getaways, making this experience perfect for everybody, any age!

Winter: Winterlude

Ottawa Winterlude

One of Ottawa’s most awaited events, Winterlude displays all fun Canadian winter activities free of charge. The highlight of the event is its Ice Sculpture competition that presents intricate artworks of international ice carvers, resulting in the use of over 675 blocks of ice! Participants from Japan, Russia, Malaysia, France and more present their pieces every year, showing the beautiful cultures from all over the world. There are a variety of other activities as well; try national food staples from food trucks such as Beavertails, fried dough pastries, watch captivating performances by Canadian artists, or even skate in the world largest skating rink, the Rideau Canal! Winterlude is the perfect event to experience a true Canadian winter. 

Any season is a great time to visit Ottawa. There will always be thrilling events and experiences to learn about the city and explore its beauty. We wish you a great trip!

Originally Written - Nadim Kassymov

Edited - Vinita Malik