Zoey's Guide to Canada Day 2016

How to celebrate Canada Day 2016 in Calgary’s East Village

It’s Canada’s 149th birthday on July 1, 2016 and Calgarians are throwing a huge celebration. East Village is the perfect hub for all your Canada Day partying. There’s enough happening in and around the neighbourhood to keep you busy all day long. Paint a maple leaf on your cheek, wrap a flag around you like a cape and hit one or all of these patriotic events on Canada’s big day.

Start your day with a hearty (and free!) pancake breakfast from 9 a.m. at Fort Calgary, where there will also be music, food trucks, a petting zoo, RCMP dress up and Indigenous arts and culture displays.

If you miss out on the pancakes (or are saving yourself for Stampede week), grab a coffee and breakfast sandwich from Phil & Sebastian and Sidewalk Citizen at the Simmons or from Hear’s My Soul café and enjoy it on the RiverWalk steps on the Bow River. 

The East Village Neighbourhood Association is hosting a street fair and show & shine in the neighbourhood from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eighth Avenue will be closed to cars so you can check out art, vendors, buskers and maybe even meet some neighbours. The show & shine features vintage cars parked in a lot right beside 8th Ave.

The National Music Centre (NMC) at Studio Bell opens for the first time July 1 and you can be among the first to get a tour! Admission is free on Canada Day and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. thanks to Bell.

From 11 a.m. to noon, participate in a giant “living” Canadian Flag at Fort Calgary. Wear red or white to participate—or show up as one of the first 1,000 people and get a free red or white shirt.

Find a bit of nature away from the downtown crowds on St. Patrick’s Island. There will be a busker station at Bloom from 11am-7pm, so you might catch some music while putting your toes in the water at Trout Beach. 

The Riverfront Stage is going to be electric. During the day, Riverfront Ave S.E. will be lined with vendors, food trucks and interactive booths. Then at 7 p.m., Mayor Naheed Nenshi will launch a Canada Day concert leading up to fireworks from Centre Street Bridge at 10:45 p.m. The musical lineup includes Joel Plaskett Emergency, The Zolas, & The Grapes of Wrath. In past years, the pathway under Centre Street Bridge has been blocked off hours before the fireworks, so be prepared for a little detour.

Right outside East Village, visit:

  • The market at Olympic Plaza all day long (10 a.m. – 9 p.m.) with crafts, history, food trucks, buskers and stage performances.
  • The street fair on Stephen Avenue, along with live music and all the usual patios along the historic street (11 a.m. – 8 p.m.)
  • Eau Claire market will have things happening inside and out, including buskers, an artisan market, kids activities, beer garden, food trucks and free ice cream for the first 1,000 folks to arrive. (11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; kids activities end at 4 p.m.)
  • Chinatown to learn some history, check out local shops, eats and drinks. There's a great view of the fireworks from Sien Lok Park.

Need a map? This will help to guide you through the festivities in downtown Calgary on July 1!