Grey Cup fever never ends in Ottawa


Calgary Stampeders vs Ottawa REDBLACKS.July 8, 2016..PHOTO: Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photography

Former Redblack Connor Williams carrying the flag for the home team. (Photo Courtesy Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photography / Ottawa Sports and Entertainment)

Story by Rod Charles Deputy Editor

Last year I was able to enjoy the Grey Cup Festival in Ottawa, a marvelous week of fun and frolic capped by the Toronto Argonauts thrilling 27-24 nail-biter over the Calgary Stampeders.

It was my first Grey Cup Festival and I have to say it was a blast. The city of Ottawa did a fantastic job with the event as thousands of football fans from across Canada enjoyed a week long party capped by an unforgettable game.

The Grey Cup Festival may have moved on to Edmonton but the party atmosphere certainly hasn’t left Ottawa for a good reason – this year the hometown RedBlacks are lining up against the Stampeders, a team that is salivating for redemption after coming ever-so-close to glory last year.

Edmonton Eskimos vs Ottawa REDBLACKS.August 6, 2016..PHOTO: Greg Kolz/Freestyle Photography

Ottawa Redblacks ready to take the field at TD Place Stadium. (Photo Courtesy Greg Kolz/Freestyle Photography)

If you are able to get to Ottawa this weekend there are many places where you can watch the game but ground zero will certainly be Lansdowne Park. Big Joe and Redblacks Cheer and Dance Team will be there and handing out prizes. Fans can enjoy the game at one of several locations including the CRAFT Beer Market (a great spot with more than 100 craft beers on tap – dozens of them locally sourced – several TVs and a fun atmosphere) and Jack Astor’s Bar & Grill Lansdowne.

Other sweet spots where you can binge on football, good food and cold beers are Industria Pizzeria + Bar, JOEY Lansdowne, South St. Burger, Crust & Crate (a great local option, serving wood-fired oven pizza, pastas, and other treats) and LOCAL Public Eatery.


Winnipeg Blue Bombers Cheerleaders strutting their stuff at the 2017 Grey Cup Festival in Ottawa. (Rod Charles/

If you are unable to get to Lansdowne Park there are several other options. Most visitors to Ottawa eventually find themselves in the bustling ByWard Market and the surrounding area during their stay. One of the finest markets in the world, ByWard will certainly be an outstanding place to watch the big game and hang out.

Sens House and Lowertown Brewing Company are located in the same building (Sens House on the second floor, Lowertown on the main floor). While Sens House usually skews to hockey there is no doubt football will be the main event during the Grey Cup on Sunday. Great craft beer awaits downstairs at Lowertown.

Ottawa’s oldest tavern, the Chateau Lafayette (also known as The Laff) is a real old-school watering hole with an eclectic clientele. You will enjoy the experience of visiting Laff as much as you will enjoy the game, or so I’ve heard.

Another downtown option is Elgin Street, a vibrant street that is the place to be during any sporting event involving an Ottawa team. Although better known as the Sens Mile, this Sunday Elgin belongs to the RedBlacks.


Always ready for a great time! These happy fans had no problems showing their true colours. (Rod Charles/

One option is MacLaren’s because they have huge TV sets as well as several pool and billiard tables so revelers can multitask. Sir John A. Pub will appeal to both lovers of sports and politics… and craft beer, of course. Finally there’s Lieutenant’s Pump, a convivial British pub with lots of little cubby holes, great local craft beers, and friendly staff.

If you are lucky enough to be heading to Edmonton and want to hang out with the Redblacks, check out the official CelebRNation Party at Revel Bistro. You can also click here for a full listing of all the events at Grey Cup Festival.

– With thanks to Ottawa Tourism and the Ottawa Redblacks.


Ottawa Redblacks website:

Ottawa Tourism website:

Restaurants | TD Place / Lansdowne Live:


Rod has previously worked for and is currently freelancing for Huffington Post Travel. He’s also written travel articles for the Toronto Star and Up! Magazine. Living in Toronto but raised in the small central Ontario village of Holstein, Rod is a country boy at heart who has never met a farmer’s market he didn’t like.

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