Colonel By Day is a free, one-day, family-friendly heritage celebration which commemorates Lt-Colonel John By and the builders of the Rideau Canal. This fun-filled day boasts a wide variety of heritage-themed events and entertainment, including blacksmithing, lace making, and musketry demonstrations, interactive tabletop exhibits, costumed characters, free admission to the Bytown Museum, and more! The event has grown enormously since its inception in 1995, and since 2008 has attracted an average of over 5,000 visitors annually!
Colonel By Day is held on the August Civic Holiday Monday in order to commemorate the Colonel’s birth date of August 7th, 1779. The event runs Monday August 4, 2014 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, at the entrance locks to the Rideau Canal in downtown Ottawa (beside the Bytown Museum, between and below Parliament Hill and the Fairmont Chateau Laurier).
Live entertainment is presented throughout the day, including performances by local musicians, dancers and costumed characters. Games, crafts, and era-appropriate toys are available for children to experience. Visitors can take place in guided walking tours which explain the history of the site and neighbouring landmarks. At 2:00, visitors are invited to witness the re-dedication of the Celtic Cross, which commemorates the over 1000 workers who died helping to build the Rideau Canal. Colonel By Day also features a large exhibitors and vendor area, where local heritage organizations have the opportunity to provide interactive tabletop displays showing off their activities, programs, and heritage-related products. Almost 30 community heritage organizations participate in Colonel By Day annually, taking advantage of the opportunity to reach out to the general public and to promote Ottawa’s local heritage.
Colonel By Day is presented by the Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa (CHOO/COPO) in partnership with Parks Canada and the Bytown Museum. The event has been running continuously since 1995, and has attracted a dedicated following of volunteers, participants, and visitors, who return year after year.