10 Activities to Have a Spectacular Victoria Day Weekend in Ottawa

10 Activities to Have a Spectacular Victoria Day Weekend in Ottawa

Usually, there’s nothing too special about weekends. Some people take time to relax, meet up with friends, do some activities for leisure, and so on. 

But come Victoria Day, things change up for a bit. The capital city becomes noticeably livelier, and you can even feel the electricity in the atmosphere. 

Besides the long weekend that it brings, the holiday also tends to bring out the spirit of community in us Ottawans. That’s why we usually have something special planned for this period. 

I’ve done quite a lot of things in the past with my friends and family when celebrating Victoria Day. From hiking, cycling, picnics, and sports, we’ve done plenty of things to enjoy the holiday and just have some quality time with one another. 

If you’re looking for some ideas to make your Victora Day even livelier, here are a few things that I can recommend. 

Participate in the Canadian Tulip Festival.

Participate in the Canadian Tulip Festival

The Canadian Tulip Festival is a well-known celebration of beauty, history, and foreign friendship that takes place every year over Victoria Day Weekend. It’s more than just an event; it’s a sign of how Canada and the Netherlands have been friends for a long time. 

The Dutch royal family gave the flowers as a sign of peace and thanks after World War II. Ever since Canada gave the monarchs shelter from the German invasion, the two countries have been very good friends. 

Now, let’s talk about the festival experience. Walking through the beautiful flower displays is like walking into a work of art that is still alive. 

The bright colors and sweet-smelling flowers make for a magical setting that is perfect for a walk with loved ones.

The festival isn’t just about the tulips, though they are the stars of the show. You’ll also find captivating cultural performances, art installations, and live music that add to the festive spirit. 

The event is a great place for people who like photography. 

I encourage you to take pictures of the beautiful tulips, the beautiful scenery, and the interesting cultural acts. Early morning or late afternoon light is the best time to take pictures of the festival’s beauty.

One fun thing to do at the event is to look at the different art installations and exhibits that are all over the grounds. These works often have thought-provoking themes about peace, history, and the meaning of the tulip, giving your trip an artistic touch.

Play sports with friends and family.

Play sports with friends and family

Victoria Day Weekend often brings the first taste of warm, sunny weather after a long Canadian winter. It’s a time when Ottawa’s parks and green spaces come alive, and we locals eagerly embrace the outdoors. 

Many Ottawans love to gather friends and family for sports and recreational activities.

Two popular options for many people are friendly games of baseball or softball. Ottawa boasts numerous parks and sports fields, making it easy to set up a casual match. 

For those who prefer something a bit more leisurely, a game of frisbee or catch can be equally enjoyable. You can head to one of the city’s parks, like Mooney’s Bay Park or Andrew Haydon Park, to toss a frisbee or a ball while soaking up the sun’s warmth.

If you’re looking for a bit more competitive action, consider a game of soccer or touch football. Ottawa’s larger parks often have open fields where you can set up your own match. 

It’s a great way to get some exercise and spend quality time together, all while enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings.

For those who enjoy water sports, why not rent a canoe or kayak and explore the Ottawa River? Paddling along the riverbanks, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the serene beauty of the water and the lush greenery that lines the shores. 

It’s a refreshing and invigorating way to bond with friends and family.

Personally, some of my fondest memories of Victoria Day Weekends involve these outdoor sports and activities. 

Be it a heated game of soccer, a relaxing afternoon on the water, or simply enjoying a picnic between matches, it’s a great experience! The sports, combined with the weekend’s warm, welcoming atmosphere is something I look forward to each year.

Go on a relaxing picnic. 

Go on a relaxing picnic

Once the Victoria Day Weekend arrives, it often marks the unofficial start of the warm, sunny season in our beautiful city. Ottawa comes alive with the vibrant colors of blooming flowers, lush greenery, and the promise of summer adventures. 

It’s a time when we eagerly embrace the great outdoors, and picnicking is a time-honored way to do just that.

We will often go to a picturesque park or riverside spot, complete with a cozy blanket spread out on the grass. Then we have our basket filled with delicious homemade sandwiches, fresh fruit, and all your favorite snacks. 

The air is filled with the fragrance of blooming flowers and the sounds of laughter and shared stories. This is the essence of a Victoria Day picnic.

One of the favored spots for picnicking in Ottawa is the expansive and picturesque Gatineau Park (what to do in gatineau park), just a short drive away. Its lush forests, serene lakes, and scenic lookouts provide the perfect backdrop for a peaceful and scenic picnic. 

Whether you choose to set up near Pink Lake or on the shores of Lac Philippe, you’ll find the tranquil beauty of nature surrounds you.

Alternatively, you can opt for one of Ottawa’s many urban parks. 

Places like the lush Jacques-Cartier Park along the Ottawa River or the charming Vincent Massey Park offer tranquil settings within the heart of the city. It’s a chance to escape the hustle and bustle and find serenity with your loved ones.

Take a cruise in the Ottawa River.

Take a cruise in the Ottawa River

The Ottawa River holds a unique charm, especially during this time of year. As the sun casts its warm, golden glow upon the water and the trees burst into vibrant shades of green, the river becomes an enchanting backdrop for a memorable cruise.

It’s a time when both locals and tourists come together to enjoy the summer. Flowers are blooming along the riverbanks, and you can feel the energy in the air of the city.

A very popular way to explore the Ottawa River is to go on a river tour. On these leisurely trips, you can see iconic landmarks like Parliament Hill, the Supreme Court of Canada, and the Canadian Museum of History. 

You also see the city’s beautiful harbor as well. It’s like seeing the city from a completely different and interesting point of view.

Grab your best rod and catch some fish. 

Grab your best rod and catch some fish

Anglers in Ottawa eagerly await the Victoria Day Weekend, as it also marks the start of fishing season. 

The city and its surroundings offer a variety of fishing opportunities, from serene lakes to flowing rivers, and there’s no shortage of pristine locations to choose from.

Many locals and tourists consider the Ottawa River to be a favorite destination for fishing during this weekend. The river is teeming with a diverse range of fish species, including bass, walleye, pike, and muskie. 

The cool waters of the Ottawa River provide a refreshing escape from the warm spring sun, making it an ideal place to cast your line and try your luck.

Gatineau Park is another popular choice for anglers. The park’s numerous lakes and ponds are well-stocked with trout and other freshwater species, offering a tranquil and scenic setting for fishing. 

It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the region while seeking that elusive catch.

One of the most appealing aspects of fishing during the Victoria Day Weekend is the sense of renewal that fills the air. Lush trees with new leaves and the gentle sound of the river or lake serve as a soothing atmosphere to your angling adventure. 

It’s a time when nature awakens from its winter slumber, and you become part of the vibrant tapestry of the outdoors.

Whether you’re an experienced angler or a newcomer, fishing on the Victoria Day weekend in Ottawa is a practice that brings you closer to nature. It is also a means for you to take in the peaceful beauty of the area. 

It’s a chance to relax, re-energize, and make memories you’ll remember for years.

Hunt for some geocaches. 

Hunt for some geocaches

Geocaching is a modern version of a treasure hunt. People use GPS data to look for hidden containers, called “geocaches,” which are often hidden in interesting or scenic places. 

With its mix of urban and wild areas, Ottawa is a great place to go geocaching for people of all skill levels.

The Victoria Day weekend is a great time to go geocaching in Ottawa because the weather is warmer and there are more daylight hours. As you start the hunt, the city’s parks, forests, and urban areas become your play areas.

One of my fondest geocaching memories involves a Victoria Day Weekend expedition with friends. We followed GPS coordinates to a cache hidden deep in the woods near the Ottawa River. 

After some creative problem-solving and a bit of bushwhacking, we found the cache—a small, weathered box filled with trinkets and a logbook. The feeling of accomplishment and the thrill of discovery made it a memorable experience that we still talk about today.

Besides that, the geocaching community in Ottawa is also a vibrant and welcoming place. You’ll find enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds who share your passion for exploration. 

It’s a fantastic opportunity to connect with fellow treasure hunters and exchange stories, tips, and advice.

Visit Ottawa’s local breweries and wineries. 

Visit Ottawa’s local breweries and wineries

During the Victoria Day weekend in Ottawa, it’s fun and tasty to check out the local wineries and breweries

Many people find that summer is the best time to visit the wineries and breweries that dot the beautiful scenery around the city. In Ottawa and the areas around it, there are more and more places each with its own style and products.

Venturing to the local wineries is a treat for the senses. As you meander through vineyards with vines bearing the promise of future vintages, the air is infused with the earthy scent of grapes and the promise of wine to come. 

Wineries like Domaine Perrault, Vignoble Clos du Vully, and Jabulani Vineyard & Winery offer tastings of exquisite wines, from whites and rosés to rich reds. When paired with the stunning views of the Ottawa Valley, you are definitely in for a treat.

Craft breweries, on the other hand, provide a casual and convivial atmosphere. Ottawa’s craft beer scene is thriving, and Victoria Day Weekend offers the perfect opportunity to explore the city’s many taprooms and brewpubs. 

Places like Beyond the Pale Brewing Company, Dominion City Brewing Co., and Kichesippi Beer Co. offer a diverse array of handcrafted beers. A few things you can find include from these stores include IPAs, stouts, sours, and lagers.

From my own experiences, my fondest memory involved a visit to a local winery with friends. We savored glasses of wine while overlooking the rolling vineyard hills, and it felt like a true escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. 

The laughter and shared experiences made the visit even more special.

Join a cycling tour. 

Join a cycling tour

Ottawa has a large network of tracks and bike paths that go through neighborhoods, along the Ottawa River, and out into the beautiful countryside.

One of the most popular cycling routes during this weekend is along the Rideau Canal. Known as the Rideau Canal Western Pathway, this scenic route offers breathtaking views of the canal. 

You can also spot historic landmarks like Parliament Hill and the lush greenery that lines the waterway. It’s a chance to immerse yourself in Ottawa’s heritage while pedaling at your own pace.

The Ottawa River Pathway, which runs along the Ottawa River, is another great choice. During the Victoria Day weekend, the riverbanks are full of growing flowers and lush greenery. 

This makes for a beautiful view as you ride along the river. Along the way, you’ll also be able to stop at parks, beaches, and lookout spots.

Cycling tours this weekend aren’t just a good way to get some exercise; they are also a chance to learn more about the city’s history. 

During the holiday weekend, Ottawa often has special events, festivals, and outdoor shows, and your bike tour can be an easy way to see them all.

Some of my favorite memories are of bike trips with friends and family over Victoria Day Weekends. We’ve explored the different parts of the city, had picnics in parks, and found secret gems that we wouldn’t have found any other way. 

Go on a hike. 

Go on a hike

During the Victoria Day weekend in Ottawa, going on a hike is a relaxing and beautiful way to connect with nature. This is also a great opportunity to get away from the noise of the city and enjoy the beauty of the area.

Ottawa and its surroundings offer a plethora of hiking trails, each with its unique charm and natural beauty.

One of my earlier hikes during the Victoria Day weekend was in Gatineau Park. The park boasts a vast network of trails that cater to all skill levels, from easy strolls to challenging hikes. 

As you ascend the park’s rolling hills, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking vistas of lush forests, serene lakes, and the Ottawa Valley.

Another favorite Victoria Day weekend hike of mine involved a trip with friends along the Pink Lake Trail in Gatineau Park. We embarked on the trail early in the morning, the air crisp and invigorating. 

As we hiked along the rugged path, we were captivated by the emerald waters of Pink Lake and the tranquil ambiance of the forest. It felt like we had entered a different world, far removed from the urban bustle.

In Ottawa itself, the Greenbelt offers an extensive network of hiking trails that wind through the city’s green spaces. This includes the Mer Bleue Bog and the Pine Grove Forest Trail. 

These trails are perfect for those seeking a serene nature escape without straying too far from the city.