As a realtor with more than 30 years of experience helping clients buy and sell homes in the Ottawa area, I’ve worked often with buyers who are re-locating from elsewhere.

Many have been transferred, and have been referred to me by re-location agencies used by their employers. During our search to find the perfect new home, I love introducing them to Ottawa and filling them in on some of the many events, attractions and festivals that make the region such an appealing place to live.

In summer, these events include major annual music festivals ranging from jazz and blues to classical and folk, Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill, equestrian events at Wesley Clover Parks, programming by national museums and performing arts centres and many neighbourhood festivals. But there are also additional intriguing events presented this year because of our country’s 150th birthday.

To give you just a taste of the exciting months ahead, here are a few major events happening in our city in the summer of 2017:

The Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments at Wesley Clover Parks

Dates and Details: If you love horses as much as I do (I’m also a competitive showjumper when I’m not selling homes) these events are definitely worth a visit! The Equestrian Tournaments include:  the Ottawa Welcome (June 21 to 25); Ottawa National (July 11 to 16) and Ottawa International (July 19-23). Formerly known as the Nepean National Equestrian Park, Wesley Clover Parks is a beautiful 500-acre park that has seen major renovations under its new management, the Wesley Clover Foundation. Under the vision of Ottawa high-tech entrepreneur Terry Matthews, the Park now hosts exciting equestrian events, and it’s only 15 minutes west of downtown Ottawa, off of Hwy. 417. Information:

TD Ottawa Jazz Festival

Dates and Details: Running June 22 to July 2, this annual festival presents jazz and other music under the stars at beautiful Confederation Park, at Elgin Street and Laurier Avenue. There are also performances at other venues, including the National Arts Centre.

Performers at the 2017 festival include Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra; guitarist Bill Frisell with bassist Thomas Morgan; and singers Serena Ryder, Mavis Staples and Feist. Information:

Canada’s 150th Birthday on Parliament Hill

Dates and Details: July 1. Celebrating Canada Day on Parliament Hill is a tradition for Ottawa-area residents and visitors, but this year, marking Canada’s 150th birthday, promises to be particularly memorable. Events on Parliament Hill include a day of music programming, with an evening show that will include star Canadian artists, including Serena Ryder, performers from Cirque du Soleil and legendary singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot.  There will also be activities at Major’s Hill Park behind the Chateau Laurier Hotel and at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau. The evening will be capped by an 11 p.m. fireworks show lasting 20 minutes, the largest pyrotechnic show ever presented in the region for Canada Day.  Information:  For Canada’s 150th birthday year, there are additional celebrations and events in Ottawa that started in January and will continue beyond Canada Day, designed to complement the national celebrations. For details, go to

Explore the “new” National Arts Centre, opened by the Prince of Wales

Dates and Details: July 1 and 2. Since 1969, the National Arts Centre has been Canada’s national performing arts showplace, with performances by the National Arts Centre Orchestra, English and French theatre productions, pop concerts, ballet and contemporary dance.

For months, the NAC has been undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation to create a spectacular new glass atrium entrance on Elgin Street, renovated and additional performance spaces and huge new windows that will allow patrons in the lobby to enjoy spectacular views of Confederation Square and Parliament Hill.

On July 1, the renovated NAC will officially re-open its doors, with special free programming. Prince Charles, in Canada for a three-day visit,  will cut the ribbon at the official opening ceremony, July 1 at 2 p.m., followed by free performances by the orchestra in the afternoon and evening. There will be additional free music performances by a range of performers July 2. Information:

Music and Beyond

Dates and Details: July 4 to 17. This annual classical music and multi-disciplinary festival presents 75 concerts and events, some of them exploring connections between music and other art forms. Performances are presented at churches and other venues, including the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park and the Diefenbunker Museum in Carp. Events include a free day of concerts and activities for families July 16 and an evening at the National Gallery of Canada July 11 with more than 100 musicians performing throughout the Gallery. Star performers at the festival this year include violinist Sarah Chang, pianist Garrick Ohlsson, cellist Johannes Moser, the Kronos Quartet and the Elmer Iseler Singers. Information:

If you’re a classical music buff, you can also look forward to the annual Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, running July 22 to Aug. 4 and offering stellar artists in dozens of concerts in churches and other venues. Information:

RBC Ottawa Bluesfest

Dates and Details: July 6 to 16. One of the largest events of its kind in North America, this annual festival attracts thousands to hear a wide range of music on the grounds of LeBreton Flats, near the Canadian War Museum. Performers include Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, country singer Toby Keith, singer Melissa Etheridge, singer-songwriter Pink and rapper 50 Cent. Information:

Experience Kontinuum at the Lyon LRT Station

Dates and Details: July 16 to Sept. 14: Many Ottawa residents are looking forward to the city’s new Light Rapid Transit (LRT) service, with the opening of the Confederation Line in 2018. The section of the line that goes through downtown Ottawa will be underground, with several underground stations. Here’s a chance to get a free sneak preview of the Lyon Station, months before it  opens. Guides will escort you to the station to experience “Kontinuum” a 40-minute multi-media presentation featuring lasers, strobe lights and projections. Organizers say it’s not recommended for children under the age of 5 or anyone sensitive to the use of strobe lights. Tickets are free, but organizers recommend reserving tickets online. Information:

Watch Two-Storey Animals stroll through Downtown Ottawa

Dates and Details: July 27 to 30. See the North American premiere of La Machine, a street-theatre company from France that creates giant, two-storey mechanical animals made of wood and steel, able to “walk” around the cities they visit. Don’t be surprised if you see a fire-breathing dragon or giant spider parading through downtown streets. Information about times and locations will be posted at, where you can see photos and videos to get an idea of why they’ve dazzled spectators in European cities.

Happy summer, everyone! If you’re thinking of buying or selling property in the Ottawa area, I’d love to hear from you and tell you about what my team and I at Nancy Benson and Associates can offer. You can reach me through my website, at, where you can have a look at my current listings, or you can give me a call at 613-747-4747.

For additional information on dozens of other festivals and events happening in our region in coming months, one good website to check regularly is the site of Ottawa Tourism, at