July’s Free Festivals

By: Jacob Munro

There are so many different festivals around our beautiful Canada’s Capital Region that sometimes it’s hard to decide how to spend your hard-earned money. Well, while you’re saving up and deciding which paid festivals to attend, there are tons of upcoming FREE festivals around the city beckoning for you to come on out! Whether it’s sitting on Parliament Hill and taking in Canadian history in the form of a spectacular light show or celebrating any of our wonderful cultures this summer, you’re sure to have fun at all of the FREE festivals on this list – while saving yourself a little cash in the process.


HOPE Volleyball SummerFest

Where: Mooney’s Bay 

When: Saturday, July 13


One of the largest volleyball tournaments in the world is set to take place in Ottawa on Saturday, July 13, at Mooney’s Bay – perfect for those who enjoy hitting balls and hanging out on the beach! Team registration is now closed, but everyone is encouraged to attend this tournament for FREE and witness the largest collection of bumps, sets, and spikes in the Ottawa region. Stellar musical entertainment awaits all SummerFest goers, and there will be a wide assortment of food and drinks available for purchase. There are also tickets to the main stage, where you can catch artists like Hollerado, available for $25. But the best part? HOPE Volleyball is organized with our city’s welfare in mind, as the funds generated by the tournament will be directed towards some of Ottawa’s local charities. Talk about a wonderful Saturday!


Facebook: HOPEVolleyballOttawa

Instagram: @hopevballottawa

Twitter: @hopevballottawa


Northern Lights 

Where: Parliament Hill

When: July 9 – September 8

A beautiful show that lights up Parliament Hill every night and also provides a quick overview of Canada’s history – is there anything cooler than that? The Centre Block and Peace Tower provide the backdrop for this fantastic show that is one of Ottawa’s favourite FREE events of the summer, so make sure to come on out! Be sure to check the weather before you head out though, as the show may be cancelled if weather conditions are poor.


Ottawa Lebanese Festival

Where: St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral 

When: July 17 – July 21


An incredible assortment of Middle Eastern delicacies and entertainment is on tap as Ottawa’s Lebanese community comes out in full force to celebrate this five day festival. The food is so fresh and is prepared on the festival grounds, so your mouth will begin to water as soon as you set foot on the premises. Middle Eastern dance shows are also prepared to captivate audiences as they scarf down that delicious grub, while an assortment of rides and games – though ride bracelets are $25 – add a level of thrill to this fabulous cultural celebration. Make sure to get to the festival grounds before 5 p.m. if you don’t want to pay the general admission fee!


Facebook: @ottawalebanesefestival

Instagram: @lebanesefest

Twitter: @lebanesefest


Torchlight Shakespeare 

Where: A park near you

When: July 2 – August 17


Organized by A Company of Fools, the Torchlight Shakespeare in the Park series delights park audiences across Ottawa throughout our warmest months. This year’s play is Shakespeare’s famous star-crossed lovers tragedy Romeo & Juliet, which the troop will be performing six nights a week for seven weeks! That’s dedication to your craft and audience. The company performs a 90-minute version of the famous play and anyone is welcome to attend the shows, which start at 7 p.m. at a community park near you, as they perform in a different location every night. Those who worry about disposable income are also welcome to attend, as every show is pay-what-you-can!


Facebook: @foolsottawa

Instagram: @foolsottawa

Twitter: @foolsottawa


Capital Ukrainian Festival 

Where: 952 Green Valley Crescent, Ottawa

When: July 19 – July 21 


A legendary celebration of all things Ukrainian is about to hit Ottawa, as the Capital Ukrainian Festival is steadily approaching. Featuring an incredible assortment of delicious Ukrainian food, a fantastic beer garden, cultural workshops, and live music and dancing, it’s no wonder the festival describes Ottawa as the premiere Ukrainian festival destination. The irresistible smell of homemade perogies, smoked garlic sausage, cabbage rolls, and much more will permeate the air of the festival while bands such as the MAD HEADS and Zirka light up the stage with their electric performances. Entering the festival is FREE, but you’ll surely want to bring some money for food and drinks!


Facebook: @capukrfestival

Instagram: @capukrfestival

Twitter: @capukrfestival