4 Cultural Festivals That Will Make It Hard To Believe You Are Still In Ottawa

Exploring different cultures is a great way to experience something new and learn a thing or two along the way! Unfortunately, travelling is inaccessible to some people because of either time or money constraints. However, here in Ottawa we are lucky to have such a wide range of cultural festivals and events throughout the year that you can experience many different cultures, all while leaving your passport at home.

The best way to get acquainted with another culture is through their food, and that’s why these festivals are absolutely full of their cultural specialties. Beyond the food, these festivals also offer live music, dancing, workshops, cultural performances and markets selling traditional goods. Sounds fun, right? Here are our top picks for cultural festivals happening this July:

Lebanese Fest

Live it. Love it. Lebanese style! The Annual Ottawa Lebanese Festival takes place on the grounds of St Elias Cathedral and is a five day celebration of all things Lebanese. Among the top attractions are the live entertainment, which will feature traditional performances as well as concert by Karl Wolf, midway rides, a marketplace, and of course lots of delicious food!

Everyone loves shawarma, but why not venture outside your comfort zone and try something new? Who knows, maybe saj, kafta and fatouch salad will become your new favourites.

July 18-22
St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral. 700 Ridgewood Avenue
Free admission until 5:00PM everyday
$2 after 5:00PM Wednesday, and Friday to Sunday
$5 after 5:00PM Thursday

Ukraine Fest


The Capital Ukrainian Festival is sure to delight! Spend a day immersed in Ukrainian culture. Eat traditional Ukrainian comfort foods (pierogis, anyone?), sing, dance and drink! Participate in workshops, browse the marketplace and dance the night away at the after parties or concerts. There are also tons of activities for children, from a petting zoo to balloon animals to arts and crafts. This festival truly has something for everyone.

This year, they have an entire tent dedicated to varenyky (pierogis), so you are such to get your fill, but if you feel like trying something new we recommend the holubtsi, patychky, and kapusta. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, try some studenetz. No matter what you order, you won’t be disappointed!

July 20-22
952 Green Valley Crescent, Ottawa
Free parking and admission.


This year’s Ottawa Asian Fest Summer Night Market takes place in Chinatown, with the beautiful Chinatown Royal Arch as the backdrop (tip: the Royal Arch makes a perfect background for all the food pictures you’ll want to Instagram). Food is the main draw of this festival, though there will be stalls with games, merchandise and kids activities. But, the food. Night Market favourites, such as Hog Kong bubble waffles, twisted potato chips, squid on a stick and bubble tea, as well as other classics like octopus balls, various buns, various food on sticks, and the infamous sticky tofu will all be there, as well as new street food vendors.

July 27-29
Chinatown, along Somerset Street
Free admission

Indonesian Festival

Indonesian Festival wants you to discover Indonesian culture, tourism destinations, products and food at this year’s event!

The two main draws of this festival are the fashion show which will showcase Indonesia’s rich heritage via modern fashion and the food festival. The fashion show will present ready-to-wear collections from up-and-coming as well as top Indonesian designers. The vibrant colours and daring designs are sure to captivate! The food festival promises to highlight the diversity of authentic Indonesian cuisine, with dishes from across the country.

July 27-29
Horticulture Building, Lansdowne Park
Free admission