There are a ton of truly Canadian ways to celebrate our country, especially on July 1, Canada Day. The best part? You don’t have to be Canadian to enjoy them. Come for the party and discover how to celebrate Canada Day like a true Canuck. Here are our top ways to say “Happy Birthday” to this great nation.
On a boat
Head out on the water and enjoy the July weather. Wade into the turquoise waters of Georgian Bay in Ontario; float on the warm lakes in British Columbia’s Okanagan; explore over 1,000 lakes in Saskatchewan; hop in a kayak and see the fireworks from a new perspective in Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Summertime means boat time in Canada, so this is a great way to celebrate like a local.
In Canada’s capital
Of course, Canada’s capital, Ottawa, is tops for Canada Day celebrations. Here, you’ll find festivals, events, and a ton of special activities and festivities to check out. Plus, there are free concerts, fireworks, and thousands upon thousands of people wearing red and white. Head to Parliament Hill and experience it all.
At a festival
Festivals are par for the course when it comes to celebrating. But we like to think we do things a little differently in Canada. Experience the first Canada Day celebration in Newfoundland at Signal Hill as the sun rises. Head to Toronto for Redpath Waterfront Festival where you can watch a Lumberjack show and explore a Canadian Navy ship. Sample some salmon just outside of Vancouver at the Steveston Salmon Festival, “Canada’s Biggest Little Birthday Party Since 1945” — there’s also a parade, pancake breakfast, and car show. In Calgary, check out Studio Bell for a musical day of celebrating. Travelling to another city? Most have Canada day festivals, so be sure to look them up and get in on the fun.
On a mountain
Canada's mountains are more than postcard-worthy. You really need to explore them to experience their true majesty. Head for the hills and go on a day-hike or overnight trip on the Tunnel Mountain Summit Trail in the Canadian Rockies, the Caribou Mountain Trail in Yukon, the Labrador Pioneer Footpath in Newfoundland and Labrador, or one of many other trails across the country. Just be sure to look into booking a campsite in advance (if required) and make sure you have all the right gear on hand to make your experience top notch.
On a beach
Yes! Canada has beaches — a ton of them in fact. Sprawl out on the sand on the east coast at Singing Sands in Prince Edward Island or Ingonish Beach in Nova Scotia. Hit the west coast beaches on Vancouver Island to explore hidden waterfalls and awesome surfing. If you’re not on a coast, don’t fret. There are great beaches in Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec too.
At a campsite
The woods are calling! Canada is home to all sorts of camping — from car camping to back country. Many Canadians use the July long weekend as an excuse to escape urban life and reconnect with nature. Check out Algonquin Park in Ontario, Pacific Rim National Park in British Columbia, Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan, Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba, and many, many more parks and campsites across the country.
On the Great Trail
The Great Trail is the longest recreational trail in the world. This means lots of opportunities to see the nooks and crannies of Canada’s beautiful wilderness. With many sections close to major cities, you can choose to go for a short jaunt, like on the Stanley Park loop in Vancouver, or choose a longer trek, like the DesNethé Discovery Trail in Northwest Territories. Designed to be accessible, you’ll find yourself immersed in nature while still being close enough to a city to stock up on celebratory s’more supplies.
In the big city
Big cities mean big parties. Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and all the cities in between do it up for Canada Day. Hang out with crowds of people waving maple leaf flags and take it all in — everything from parades, to concerts, to fireworks. In Toronto, Nathan Phillips Square is where you want to be during Canada Days, a 4-day festival to celebrate July 1. Canada Place in Vancouver is the west coast hot spot, with entertainment and fireworks. If you’re in Montreal, stop by the Old Port for cake and concerts.