On July 1, 2023, if you are looking to attend some block parties, chill in a park while surrounded by so much activity, or see a spectacular drone show with Winnipeg’s skyline as the backdrop – you’re in luck.
Canada Day festivities are back this year throughout the city, with so many of the events centred around Indigenous and multicultural performances and education. Here’s where to find them and what’s in store.
Big Annual Events
‘Finding our North Star’ – Canada Day 2023 at The Forks
Winnipeg’s largest Canada Day celebration always features a full day of live music, food and events, all culminating in a huge nighttime show – and this year is no different. Starting at noon and running until 10:30 p.m., all of The Forks’ 52-acres will be brimming with activities, offering a little bit of everything for everyone.
Live music fans will be treated to two stages – The Forks' classic outdoor CN Stage, and a Forks Market Main Stage – with a lineup curated by Manitoba Music featuring a number of worldly acts. Within The Market you can see Juno-nominated Indigenous supergroup Indian City (headlining at 9:30 p.m.); along with multiple award-winning Cree country singer/songwriter Jade Turner; Afrobeat talent Tommyphyll; Filipino power-pop trio The 12/21; psych-pop artist Lev Snowe; and Argentina singer/songwriter Onna Lou. It all starts at noon with hand-drumming extraordinaire, Darryl Buck.
During the day, the CN Stage will be home to fun events for the whole family. There will be workshops, tours of The Forks grounds, along with a huge soccer tournament on the field. The whole scene will also be serviced by plenty of food trucks.
Unlike previous years, the evening won’t end with fireworks. Instead, we’ll be treated to Winnipeg’s first-ever drone show. Using 100 drones reaching heights of 400 feet, Acakos (ah-cha-kos), meaning “star” in Cree, will tell the story of the North Star as curated by Elder Wilfred Buck, a member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation who is a star Knowledge Keeper. It will be a visual feast that you won’t want to miss.
Best of all – all of the programming is FREE! Plus, there will be a bike valet onsite. For more details click here.
Canada Day Celebration at Assiniboine Park
Winnipeg’s largest park is also offering up a huge amount of entertainment on Canada Day – and all for FREE too!
All across Assiniboine Park you’ll be entertained starting at 10 a.m., beginning with a citizenship ceremony (which is always such a touching event) on the Lyric Stage. From there, the Lyric Stage will feature Latin band Son D’Arranke (11:15 a.m.); Cassidy Mann (12:15 p.m.); Richard Inman Band (1:15 p.m.); Madeleine Roger (2:15 p.m.); and everyone’s favourite local troubadour, JP Hoe at 3:15 p.m.
Surrounding the Lyric Theatre, you can also shop from a huge makers’ market featuring more than 30 vendors, including many Indigenous artists. The Lyric Theatre will also have bouncy castles, food trucks, face painting and plenty of other fun things for the kids.
Within the Performance Garden (located right outside The Leaf, along the path that runs to the outside of the Park) you can also catch intimate performances from some of the city’s best. This includes Juno Award-winning Andrina Turenne (from Chic Gamine fame) kicking things off at 11:15 a.m.; Slow Leaves at 12:15 p.m. (come on, he’s so good!); DJ Co-op & K-Chedda’s Whacky Doodle Dance Party (two of the nicest people who are guaranteed to kids and parents moving with their curated jams); Ojibway jazz musician Chuck Copenace at 2:15 p.m.; and Shay Wolf at 3:15 p.m.
The Indigenous Peoples Garden (directly connected to the Performance Garden) will also host fire teachings from Cree Crowchild throughout the day.
For more details, click here.
Canada Fireworks and Festival at Assiniboia Downs
Fans of fireworks and headlining acts like Elliott Brood should do The Downs on Canada Day.
Winnipeg’s horse racing track and events centre has a full day of activities from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., featuring food trucks, plenty of live entertainment, and one of the only spots in the city to catch a huge firework display from Canfire Pyrotechnics at 11 p.m.
There will be plenty of kids’ activities, beer gardens for adults and more than 100 artisans to shop from at its makers’ market. On top of music headliners Elliot Brood, you can also catch Vox Rea, Fire & Smoke, Bobby Dove, and The Incredibly Hip – to name but a few.
Tickets are just $10 and kids five and under are free. Here’s the ticket link.
Oak Hammock Marsh
Everyone’s favourite local wetland always packs a full day of family friendly activities into its Canada Day programming. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oak Hammock will be offering guided canoe adventures where you’ll encounter many fascinating species that live amongst the cattails from the centre’s expert guides. Canoe rentals are also available onsite should you be looking to explore the wetlands at your own pace.
For kiddos, there will be fun activities like getting your favourite local creature painted on your arm, plus Oak Hammock now has bike rentals so you can take to the trails that surround the marshlands. The café will be open for lunch and will be slinging free freezies too.
Here’s all the info.
Osborne Village has teamed up with Folklorama for a multicultural-focused day of activities on July 1 from noon to 4 p.m. For live entertainment, there will be two stages – The Gas Station Arts Centre Stage, located right in front of the theatre on River Avenue, and The Belltower Stage, on the corner of Stradbrook Avenue in that parking lot where you’ll find this cool mural on the ground by Alex Plante.
At the Belltower, you can catch acts bringing beats from around the world, including the Drum Café, Rockalypso, Duo Chochi and Papa Mambo. At The Gas Station, the talent includes the Dirty Catfish Brass Band; fashion shows form The Overflow clothing store; the Winnipeg Steel Orchestra; a family dance party with DJ JPQ (who you can find spinning regularly at The Beer Can if you can’t make it on July 1); and a Little Monsters Open Dance Class to get everyone moving.
Plus, you’ll be in Osborne Village, meaning there will be plenty of places to shop, eat and have a drink while you watch all the festivities.
The West End is hosting a block party for Canada Day in Central Park. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. you can catch a number of performances that represent Winnipeg’s most worldly neighbourhood, including Japanese drumming from Fubuki Daiko; folk dancing from Casa do Minho Portuguese Centre, Salnam Dance and the Quidel Chilean Dance Group; and music from Papa and Epp. There will be a free hot dog lunch, along with face painting and a weaving blanket from Graffiti Gallery. Here’s the deets.
Transcona Biz is staging its Canada Day celebrations in Buhler Recreation Park (135 Murdoch Rd.) featuring plenty of family fun, including the Transcona Biz WhoDunit scavenger hunt during the day. Come evening, the gates open at 9:30 p.m. for a fireworks show by Archangel Fireworks.
And finally, there’s Fête du Canada in Saint-Boniface. Located in the charming Le Patio 340, the free event (no cover) runs from 5 p.m. to midnight and will feature concerts from À La Mode, Ben Tamana, Éemi, and Amélie Tétrault. The bar at Le Patio 340 is fabulous and there will be food vendors too. Les détails.