How to get downtown on Canada Day and what not to bring


Travelling to Canada Day festivities downtown will be an extra pain this year, here’s a quick run through of the situation.

Road closures

Just about every road anywhere near Parliament will be closed.

Government of Canada

The first closures begin on Tuesday, June 27.

Wellington Street from Bank to O’Connor Streets will close from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday. Then, Wellington Street eastbound will close from 3 p.m. Tuesday until 4 p.m. on July 4.

Some more on Wednesday:

  • Elgin Street southbound, from Wellington Street to Queen Street.
  • Wellington Street turning lane, from Mackenzie Avenue to Elgin Street southbound.

And more on Friday:

  • Wellington Street, from Kent Street to Mackenzie Avenue
  • Wellington Street/Rideau Street eastbound, from Mackenzie Avenue to Sussex Drive/Colonel By Drive
  • Elgin Street southbound, from Wellington Street to Queen Street
  • Elgin Street northwest direction, from Queen Street to Wellington Street
  • Elgin Street eastbound direction, encroachment lane between the National War Memorial and the Colonel By Drive access ramp
  • Elgin Street westbound turning lane, from Queen Street to Albert Street
  • Metcalfe Street, from Wellington Street to Queen Street
  • O’Connor Street, from Wellington Street to Queen Street
  • Bank Street from Wellington Street to Queen Street
  • Queen Street westbound, from Elgin Street to Metcalfe Street

Here’s an interactive map from the Government of Canada:

Pedestrian/bike trails behind Parliament also won’t be accessible.


Transit on OC Transpo and Para Transpo is free all day. It’s a Sunday schedule, so only routes that would normally run on a Sunday will be in service, plus 91 to Orléans after the fireworks, but there will be extra buses to handle the demand.

  • The O-Train Trillium Line runs until 1 a.m.
  • Buses will detour downtown and Mackenzie King Bridge station will close after 7 p.m.
  • Buses will be available after the fireworks on Slater, Albert and Bank Streets.
  • OC Transpo’s customer service desk in the Rideau Centre will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • OC Transpo will have an info booth from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. near the corner of Mackenzie Avenue and Rideau Street.
  • Local routes will make their last departures around 12:30-1 a.m.
  • A shuttle will operation from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. between the National Art Gallery and Jacques-Cartier Park.
  • Parking will be free at park and ride lots served by routes 61, 62, 94, 95, 97, 98 and 99. Free parking is also available at Bayshore, Billings Bridge, Carlingwood, Place d’Orléans, St. Laurent Centre and South Keys malls.
  • Algonquin College and Carleton University will also have free parking, as will Canada Post HQ on Riverside Drive.


Leave early and don’t bring that

Security will be tight and you’ll have to go through screening to get onto the Hill. There are two screening tents, one on Wellington Street near the Sir John A. MacDonald Building and the other on Elgin street near Wellington Street.

Officials say you should arrive two or three hours early to get through it all.

Folding chairs are OK. But sorry, photographers, you can’t bring tripods (or bipods or monopods) as they will be confiscated. Alcohol is also not allowed.

Food vendors will be in the streets nearby and you are allowed to bring snacks and water. Refill stations for water bottles will be on the Hill.


There will be a raised platform seating area for people with special needs on the south side of the west lawn. Accessible washrooms will also be on-site.

The seating area is accessible via Metcalfe Street and a shuttle to it will be provided from the intersection of Bank and Wellington Streets.

The noon show on the Hill will also have simultaneous interpretation in American Sign Language and an induction loop system will be in place at the raised platform for those hard of hearing.

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to our free Etcetera newsletter. Every Thursday we send out a roundup of local events — this week’s will be a special Canada Day edition!

Correction: Prior to publishing, we asked the Parliamentary Protective Service whether folding chairs would be allowed; they said no. After publication, they called back to say that folding chairs would be allowed.


OttawaStart Staff


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay in the know!

Stay in the know!

Subscribe to the email digest for updates on local info & events. We promise to respect your time and your inbox!

You have successfully subscribed, thank you!