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WELCOME TO FUN TOWN. Poor Ottawa, doomed from the beginning by form and function. But, a small community of centretowners have banded together to create a vibrant little oasis of Awesome. Festivals and Celebrations.

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welcome to fun town

Poor Ottawa, doomed from the beginning by form and function.

But, a small community of centretowners have banded together

to create a vibrant little oasis of Awesome.

festivals and celebrations

Festivals and Celebrations

As the Nation’s Capital there is always a festival or celebration going on.

Here are just a few.

my birthday
  • June 3rd is my birthday and it is the most important of all Ottawa celebrations.
  • Pilgrims come from far and wide to see how I’ve aged and fattened.
  • It usually features lots of food and drinks and a mob of friends.
dance festival
Dance Festival
  • This festival features incredible dancers and choreographers from throughout Canada.
  • It cultivates dance in Canada and helps new Canadian artists.
  • One of Ottawa’s best kept secrets.
fringe festival
Fringe Festival
  • Ottawa’s Fringe Festival features non-mainstream performances by amateur artists.
  • While it is mostly original short plays, it also features all kinds of off-the-wall antics.
  • It is located in the downtown Arts Court building and at the University of Ottawa.
  • It is an annual celebration of Caribbean culture.
  • It features a parade with fabulous costumes, music and food.
chicken and ribs cook off
Chicken and Ribs Cook-Off
  • For one week in June, Sparks Street, home to government buildings, is treated to a BBQ cook-off.
  • A vegetarian’s nightmare, it is an excess of fatty meat bits slathered in BBQ sauce.
  • MmmMmm!
  • This should be a tremendously edgy, alternative festival, with sexy people moving to the thrilling vibe of the experimental notes of jazz music.
  • However, usually the audience is made up of old foggies seated in their folding chairs listening to traditional crooning jazz light.
  • Albeit the National Art Centre usually hosts a small Fourth Stage series of avant-garde jazz for my viewing pleasure.
dragon boat festival
Dragon Boat Festival
  • This festival features dragon boat races that are set up to raise money for charity.
  • While competition is fierce, anyone is able to compete.
canada day
Canada Day
  • July 1st marks Canada Day. This is the day that the British North America Act, or Constitution Act, was enacted in 1867, uniting three British colonies into the Dominion of Canada
  • Canada Day is nowhere celebrated with more pomp and more crazy than in Ottawa.
  • We’ve got fireworks, concerts, topless women and plenty of red and white.
  • This is a huge traditional music festival with various large stages and thousands of people geared up to listen to their favorite Pop-Rock artists.
  • It hasn’t quite got the headliners of a Toronto Virgin fest or a Montreal Osheaga, but it’s pretty good, given it’s old O-town.
  • If you like large crowds and outdoor stages, this is for you.
  • Moasika is a festival of lights on Parliament Hill.
  • It is shinny and pretty propaganda about our nation’s history and culture.
chamber music festival
Chamber Music Festival
  • Chamber music is classical music meant to be played by a small group of musicians, small enough to fit into a little chamber room, without a conductor.
  • The festival takes over a number of less common music venues, such as churches, which Ottawa has plenty of.
  • Since Ottawa is full of old people, they eat this shit up.
int l busker festival
Int’l Busker Festival
  • Along Sparks Street pedestrian mall, there are over 40 buskers daily featuring performances from around the world.
  • You’re encouraged to bring change to tip the performers.
  • Every year there is a large festival celebrating Canadians of Greek heritage.
  • Mostly the festival involves stuffing your face with garlicky spanikopita and boney lamb.
  • It also features fun time Zorba dancing in a round with your friends who are drunk on crappy Greek wine and disgusting Ouzo.
super ex
Super Ex
  • This traditional carnival/fair features death defying rides, sugar molded into a million different flavours, and A PETTING ZOO, with poor tranquillized goats and llamas.
  • It’s a good date night sort of thing, but the novelty wears off fast and then you’re just surrounded by Carnies and their small hands.
pride parade
Pride Parade
  • Every year there is a small Pride parade in Ottawa. This is a parade to celebrate LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer) people in our community.
  • It is always very lively and colourful and brings out the most humble to the most flamboyant in our city.
electric fields
Electric Fields
  • Ottawa’s only Electronic music and media arts festival brings innovative play between artists and technology.
  • It is organized by ArtEngine, a small Ottawa non-profit, and is put on at SAW video and gallery.
  • What transpires is sure to awe you.
folk festival
Folk Festival
  • Yet another music festival! This one features folk music, not like you’ve heard here in Spain. Rather it features twangy banjos and broken hearts.
  • Something to do in September just as school is starting up.
frosh week
Frosh Week
  • Sweet Jesus…
  • Frosh week is the week that students head to university and inundate trashy bars as they try to get in underage.
  • It is usually meant for first year students who are organized according to departments and are led by a social “prefect” of sorts who makes them play stupid ice-breaking games.
  • It is an opportunity for first year students to get drunk for the first time and have sexual encounters with strangers.
animation festival
Animation Festival
  • Calling all geeks!!
  • This male-dominated festival is a cool opportunity to come out of the closet regarding your ongoing adult adoration of comic books, video games and scifi everything.
  • Fun for men of all ages and the women who love them.
arboretu m
  • Last year’s flawless inauguration of a boutique (read hipster) music, art and food festival has left Ottawa feeling like a real city with a happening vibe.
  • It featured the best and coolest restaurants and amazing Canadian and Ottawa-based musicians.
  • Kudos!
house of paint
House of Paint
  • House of Paint is an urban arts festival featuring graffiti art, break dancing, beat boxing and DJing.
  • It features local and international talent.
  • GASP! Ottawa has “urban art”? We gangstayo.
nuit blanche
Nuit Blanche
  • A night when Ottawa cultural venues are open almost all night featuring all varieties of artists and installations.
  • The city is full of treasure seekers with maps in hand frolicking from turning off the city lights to seeing Marie Antoinette sing out of a cake.
  • It is a magical cultural night that emulates the likes of Montreal and Toronto.
  • Beau’s, a local brewery, has started to organize yearly Oktoberfests in a nearby town called Vankleek Hill.
  • This festival is a great opportunity to drink outside in the rainy cold with your friends while wearing a green alpine hat and stuffing your face with sausage.
  • It features a number of contests, including sausage eating, keg tossing and spousal carrying.
  • There’s a bus to drive you!
ottawa fashion week
Ottawa Fashion Week
  • As badly as Ottawa dresses, we do have our own fashion week.
  • It takes places in the grand and picturesque great hall of the National Gallery.
  • It features incredible young talent, like my friend Ashley Parsons of Sugarbum Design.
sugarbu m

Ashley Parsons

Founder and Designer


before I fell on the catwalk

writers festival
Writers Festival
  • The Ottawa Writers festival features Canadian and international writers of notoriety.
  • Often it will entail an interview, then a reading, and finally a question and answer period.
  • I’ve only been to a couple, but Ian Rankin, Nick Cave and JaapBlonk have not disappointed.
wine and food show
Wine and Food Show
  • This is an unofficial adult prom.
  • All the ladies get tarted up for the bus loads of unusually well dressed suburban men that they import for the event.
  • It should be a spectacular showcase of international wines and local food, but in recent years it has merely been a display of what’s already on offer at the Ontario liquor store, LCBO.
  • It’s expensive just to get in, then you have to buy tasting tickets.
  • Standing in line to get in can run you a few hours if you go late.
  • For the true wine aficionado, getting a VIP ticket to the tasting alley is well worth the extra cost. So is paying for one of the very local foodie events.
christmas in the capital
Christmas in the Capital
  • Christmas in Ottawa is beautiful. The many trees and parks are filled with lights, glowing blue, green, red and white.
  • Ottawa turns into a ghost town, as every one who lives here is mostly from away, bureaucrats go on a much needed vacation, and politicians go home to their constituencies.
  • The best you’re likely to get is some Christmas curry and movies with your Jewish friends.
  • This is a festival that embraces the cold.
  • Families from the suburbs take over the downtown.
  • They go skating on the Rideau canal, look at the ice sculptures and eat beaver tails.
  • At night, glowing Confederation Park tries to attract young people to an outdoor dance party with a DJ spinning on ice, baby.
  • This is a Sex tradeshow.
  • All your toys, all your outfits, all your pink part needs are available at this show.
  • There are burlesque shows and cocktails also on offer.
  • In sexually anxious Ottawa, this is an awkwardly laughed about to do.
tulip festival
Tulip Festival
  • Ottawa’s Tulip Festival is the largest in the world.
  • It is a celebration of Canada’s safe harbouring of the Dutch royal family throughout the Second World War.
  • The tulips were a gift from Holland and they represent perpetuity.
race weekend
Race Weekend
  • Ottawa is a running city.
  • We are a city full of bureaucrats and politicians who need to relieve stress somehow and Sexapalooza “comes” but once a year.
  • So, they are out on the streets running from stresses of work and relationships throughout the year. These are the crazy people.
  • There are official running groups, who usually occupy my tables at Bridgehead on Sundays and there are the lone wolves.
  • Race weekend allows any level of runner to compete from 5K all the way through to a marathon.