Every year, we try to get downtown before the insanity starts. In Ottawa, Parliament Hill and the streets below and on either side, Major's Hill Park, and the Byward Market are all places to avoid on Canada's birthday, especially if you're venturing out with wee ones.
I always shake my head at those foolish enough to attempt the throngs of red-and-white-clad visitors with strollers or pets on leashes. Those folks are looking for punishment, assuming others in the crowd will think of looking downward before moving.
It's a given: little ones get stepped on, downtown, on Canada Day. They also get things spilled on them. They may also get burned by negligent smokers who seem to feel it's perfectly all right to light up in a crushing crowd.
So, we avoid that nonsense. We get downtown early and we stay on the outside of the mob, we visit the Québec side, and we avoid The Hill like the plague.
In the afternoon, we return to the suburban tranquility, where the kids can play with friends, in safety. We meet with neighbours, who bring their barbecues to the centre island of our cul-de-sac, where we share food, beer, and good company. Being situated along the flight path to the airport, we almost always see the Snowbirds fly overhead: they aren't performing exciting maneuvers but they pass lower to the earth than they do over the Peace Tower. We can see the detail of their red and white Canadair CT-114 Tutors.
And we don't feel any less Canadian for not witnessing them, packed among hot and sweaty strangers.
However you celebrate the birthday of our nation, be safe, my friends.
Happy Canada Day!