Every year, Megan Wilson and her friends arrive prepared to fight the Canada Day crowds.
“Over the years, I learned to not wear flip-flops,” said Toronto resident, who is originally from Ottawa. “Even if it’s super hot, there are just too many people pushing and squeezing and you have to protect your feet.”
Also, bring your own water, because can be difficult to find water when you need it, and a cell phone, because it's easy to lose track of the people you came with, she added.
Sounds like a lot of effort, but for Wilson, it's worth it, she said.
“Downtown and on (Parliament Hill) to people-watch and watch fireworks at night is definitely the place to be on Canada Day,” she said. “I never miss it.”
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered on Parliament Hill — and through a period of rain —to celebrate Canada’s 142nd birthday Wednesday.
Events included the flag raising ceremony, the Changing of the Guard, the RCMP Musical Ride, and of course, the entertainment and the evening fireworks.
Performers included Sarah McLachlan, Marie Mai, The Respectables with Gordie Johnson, Shane Yellowbird, Marie-Jo Therio and K’naan, Chic Gamine and the Canadian Tenors.
There were also events on at Major’s Hill Park, free Ottawa International Jazz Festival shows at Confederation Park and across the Ottawa River at Jacques Cartier Park, as well as Aboriginal Experiences at Victoria Island.
Revellers also got to meet athletes at the Capital Infocentre, where there was a celebration of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Caroline Benoit, of Richmond, B.C., said Ottawa is a great place to celebrate Canada Day.
“It’s great to show the kids,” said Benoit, a uOttawa graduate who was visiting with her husband and their two daughters, Noemi and Tamara.
While the streets were full of revelers, some enterprising university students decided to provide services, all to benefit a good cause.
While Anne Honeywell and her classmates at the University of Ottawa painted faces to fundraise for bednets in Tanzania, Marc Veilleux, also from uOttawa, and about 30 others sold popsicles and lollipops to raise money and awareness for Shinerama.