Celebrations, protests take place on Canada Day in Ottawa
Thousands of people wearing red and white and waving Canadian flags packed downtown Ottawa to celebrate Canada's 155th birthday on Friday, while a group of protesters marched through the streets near Parliament Hill to protest COVID-19 vaccines and federal restrictions.
It's the first in-person Canada Day in Ottawa in three years, after COVID-19 restrictions forced the cancellation of events in 2020 and 2021.
"We have missed two years already," said Rebecca Lau, while standing in front of Parliament Hill. "We used to come here every year to celebrate for Canada Day, but the last two years because of the pandemic we had to stay home."
The main events included a daytime ceremony and evening show at LeBreton Flats, activities for families and fireworks at 10 p.m. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds were forced to cancel the annual fly-by over Ottawa on Canada Day following a recent technical issue.
Karen MacDonald is spending her first Canada Day in Ottawa.
"It's totally thrilling to me to be here in person," the Ladner, B.C. native said. "So many different people in the city are all wearing red and white, with flags. It makes my tummy hurt with pride."
Two kilometres away from LeBreton Flats, Parliament Hill and the streets around the parliamentary buildings were packed with people marking Canada Day.
"It is fabulous to see everybody here celebrating and enjoying Canada Day. It's nice to see all the patriotism going on; the good kind, the positive kind," said Todd Salter, visiting Ottawa from Erin, Ont. "There's protesters here; but they seem calm right now which is a nice change. It feels a little bit normal and really nice to be back."
Canada Day festivities come months after "Freedom Convoy" demonstrators occupied streets around Parliament Hill, protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Hundreds of people gathered on Wellington Street in front of Parliament Hill just after 3 p.m. for the "March to Freedom", an event hosted by Freedom Fights Canada to protest COVID-19 mandates and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government.
"We're going to lawfully assemble, we got this. We're holding the line because they're going to lock us down again," said a speaker as participants chanted "Freedom."
"No matter who they put in government they will always have to deal with us, we are now the fringe and we are a force to be reckoned with. We are unafraid, you cannot intimidate us and scare us through the media not to show up on our day," said the speaker, referencing the increased security in downtown Ottawa.
"We are Canadian and we are winning."
The group marched along Wellington Street past Parliament Hill and through downtown streets to the National War Memorial, where they sang O Canada. Participants held Canadian flags and signs of "Freedom", while chanting "Freedom", "Liberte", "End all Mandates", "Canada" and called for Trudeau's resignation.
The Freedom Fighters Canada website said the "March to Freedom" would be followed by speeches, live music and DJs on Parliament Hill.
Just before 1 p.m., dozens of people gathered on Wellington Street in front of Parliament Hill and chanted "Free Pat King." Pat King was one of the organizers of the "Freedom Convoy", and remains in jail on charges connected to his involvement in the three-week protest.
CTV News' Mackenzie Gray reported some protesters tried to set up a table in front of Parliament Hill, with protesters signing a petition calling for the prime minister to be charged with treason. Bylaw Services officers came in and ordered them to remove the table.
The Canadian Press reported two women with a group called Stand For Thee, which had been handing out copies of the Bill of Rights and calling for the arrest of the prime minister, were selling merchandise from a table when Bylaw officers moved in. The Bill of Rights was superseded in 1982 by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
A "Family Day Picnic" hosted by the group Police on Guard for Thee at a nearby park was cancelled, with organizers citing "a recent incident in Ottawa." However, there were no further details provided.
A small crowd gathered at Strathcona Park despite the picnic being cancelled, and People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier planned to deliver a speech to supporters in the area. Several vehicles with Canadian Flags were parked in the parking lot.
There is a visible police presence patrolling the parliamentary precinct and the roads around downtown Ottawa, with a motor vehicle control zone set up to prevent vehicles from stopping or engaging in protests.
Any vehicles stopping or parking in the control zone will be ticketed and towed, while police say any vehicles participating in protests will be prohibited from entering the area.
As of Friday evening, Ottawa Bylaw Services officers had issued 284 parking tickets and towed 79 vehicles from the vehicle control zone. Three tickets have been issued for encumbering a highway and two tickets were handed out for unlicensed mobile refreshment vehicles.
Bylaw officials have also increased fines for unusual noise, shouting, urination or defecation on roads and sidewalks, blocking a highway and idling. Fines are now $1,000.
Mayor Jim Watson is hoping everyone will follow the rules through the evening.
"When the sun goes down, the party has come out and we want people to have a good time. They have to do so responsibly," Watson told CTV News Ottawa on Canada Day.
Despite the presence of protesters, Ottawa police says it is safe for families to come downtown for Canada Day events.
"Come, don't be worried. This is a festival. This is to celebrate Canada, that's why we've gone to the extent we have to put the plans in place and the resources around it," interim Chief Steve Bell told The Evan Solomon Show on Thursday. "It's going to be a safe environment, that's why we're here to ensure that."
Four people were arrested following an incident at the National War Memorial Thursday, shortly after Canadian Forces veteran James Topp completed his cross-country march to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
"We are reviewing video and investigating the incident at the National War Memorial this evening," police said on Twitter Thursday evening. "The initial investigation finds that an interaction with officers became confrontational and 1 officer was choked. Other officers immediately responded, 4 people were arrested."
Some Ottawa residents decided to skip a trip downtown for Canada Day, celebrating at one of several community events across the capital.
"This is local, it's easy and they have a lot of activities targeted towards the little ones," Steven Knapp said while attending the Barrhaven Canada Day event.
At Petrie Island in Ottawa's east end, people enjoyed a day at the beach and Canada Day festivities.
"It’s a day we all go together, have fun and just enjoy this day together."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is calling on Canadians to recommit to the country's values on Canada Day, including respect, hope and kindness.
In his official Canada Day message, the prime minister said July 1 is an opportunity to commit to the values that the Maple Leaf represents.
"It's also a promise — a promise of opportunity, a promise of safety for those fleeing violence and war, and a promise of a better life," he said.
With files from The Canadian Press and CTV News Ottawa's Natalie van Rooy and Jackie Perez
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
The fatal film-set shooting of a cinematographer by actor Alec Baldwin last year was an accident, according to a determination made by New Mexico's Office of the Medical Investigator following the completion of an autopsy and a review of law enforcement reports. The medical investigator's report was made public Monday by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office along with numerous reports from the FBI on the revolver and ammunition that were collected following the shooting.
While many Canadians don’t support moving away from the metric system of measurement, many continue to use imperial measurements in their daily lives, according to a recent online poll.
For the second time in less than a month, a resident of Ashcroft, B.C., died while waiting for health care after having a heart attack mere metres from a local ambulance station.
With inflation on the rise and central banks poised to increase rates, CTVNews.ca speaks with experts on whether Canada will experience a recession, and if so, what it would look like.
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development of Canada Karina Gould is discouraging people from making fake travel plans just to skip the line of those waiting for passports.
A diving accident at 14-years-old left Brian Parker paralyzed from the chest down. Now at age 49, he's without the person who was caring for him full-time until just last week, after his 68-year-old mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Actress Bryce Dallas Howard said she was paid 'so much less' than her co-star Chris Pratt for their work in the 'Jurassic World' films.
Opponents of the Coastal GasLink pipeline currently under construction in Northern B.C took to the streets of Vancouver Monday, briefly blocking north-bound traffic on the Cambie Street Bridge.
'Nightmare without end': Action needed to address rights abuses against Afghan women and girls, advocate says
The international community needs to step up to hold the Taliban accountable for human rights abuses in Afghanistan, a year after the militant Islamist group took control of the country and limited the rights of women and girls, according to Heather Barr, associate director of the Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch.
Nova Scotia is reporting a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for the month of July, while the number of deaths decreased compared to previous months.
Rocca said an examination of dental records was being conducted Monday afternoon in hopes of identification.
‘I feel positive about the whole thing’: Growing number of Maritimers opting for medical assistance in dying
Five years after it was introduced in Canada, it seems more Canadians are seeking a doctor's assistance in ending their own lives.
Toronto Pearson International Airport has shown signs of improvements in recent weeks, but a traveller and aviation expert says he was disheartened to see 'mountains' of bags and triple stacked security lines at the airport over the weekend.
As the Canadian National Exhibition prepares to return to Toronto this week, organizers say they worry ongoing labour action could deter people from attending the fair and hamper its revival following a two-year hiatus laden with financial setbacks.
When Airbnb first launched 14 years ago, it changed the way many people book their vacations as they travel locally and around the world.
Quebec health authorities are launching another COVID-19 booster vaccination campaign on Monday, targeting people living in CHSLDs and private seniors' residences (RPAs). The recommended interval between baseline vaccination and a first booster dose is three months or more, while the suggested interval between each subsequent booster dose is five months or more.
Several experts note that the number of whales observed this summer on both sides of the St. Lawrence River is low, even though the observation season is not over.
With one week to go before the start of the new school year, the CSQ is concerned that some CEGEPs will be unable to offer certain services and even some courses due to a lack of staff.
Lisa LaFlamme is leaving CTV News. The network announced today that the Chief Anchor and Senior Editor is departing after more than 30 years with the company.
Recycling not only benefits the earth, but record prices of certain recyclable products are generating some extra cash for the City of North Bay.
A 72-year-old downtown Sudbury businessman has entered the pool of candidates running for mayor in the City of Greater Sudbury, bringing the number of contenders to nine.
Multiple emergency crews responded after a vehicle crashed into a One Plant cannabis store in south London Monday evening.
In serious pain, Randy Van Puyenbroeck had trouble sleeping. He was cycling with a group of members from the London Cycling Club on White Oak Road Sunday morning when he and a fellow rider were involved in a crash with a truck.
Antony Centeno-So, the man wanted for his alleged involvement in the murder of Devon Cherrey-Rooke earlier this month, is in the custody of London police Monday.
The tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings issued in parts of southern Manitoba Monday evening have ended, though severe thunderstorm watches remain.
Southern Manitoba municipalities are gearing up for fall elections, but in areas where the current mayor or reeve is not running, some communities could be short on candidates.
Three people have been arrested after police officers executed a search warrant, which resulted in an armed and barricaded situation that lasted almost 10 hours.
As staffing shortages affect several sectors across the province, local non-for-profits say they’re facing a shortage of volunteers.
Some parents are calling for the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) to disclose more details about a data hack that saw what the board describes as “certain” student information accessed.
The death of a 63-year-old woman last Friday at a Strathmore care home was a homicide, said Strathmore RCMP in a release issued Monday.
A building along Seventh Avenue S.W. will soon be decorated with a large mural.
An Alberta man drowned over the weekend at a popular lake in British Columbia, Mounties confirmed Monday.
Bear spray incidents at the Saskatoon Ex have prompted Prairieland Park to look at beefing up security measures at the gates.
A judge is reserving decision in an animal abuse case that saw a dog die after being thrown into a metal clothing rack.
The search for a 74-year-old woman lost in the forest northeast of Smeaton has come to a tragic end.
City council approved a $15.2 million investment to fund a joint dispatch centre in Chinatown, with some hoping the province would help pick up the tab.
Edmonton City Council decided to halt the Prairie Sky Gondola project for the time being.
The 29-year-old was charged with two counts of impaired operation causing death, impaired driving and possession of an illegal substance.
Due to mounting pressures on staff, the emergency department at Vancouver's UBC Hospital will be scaling back its hours starting Tuesday.
An 87-year-old Metro Vancouver woman was so convinced that the man on the other end of the phone was an attorney, she gave him $10,000.
Calls to ensure timely emergency response after another Ashcroft resident dies waiting for ambulance
For the second time in recent weeks, a resident in the village of Ashcroft has died while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. The tragedy is leading to calls for more immediate action to ensure timely emergency response in the community and across the province.
A recent regulatory amendment now allows First Nations to operate on-reserve cannabis stores without a permit from the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA). However, some First Nations do not think it will change the way current shops already operate.
A Regina woman has died following a two vehicle collision near the town of Qu’Appelle on Highway 1.
Severe thunderstorms brought tennis ball and golf ball sized hail to parts of southern Saskatchewan overnight.