Special event permit (outdoor with over 500 people)

Before you begin

A special event permit is required for outdoor events where the attendance is expected to be at least 500 people at one time including staff and volunteers.


  • fairs
  • cultural festivals
  • music festivals
  • competitions
  • parades
  • running events
  • fundraising walks
  • cycling events
  • other similar events

Application timelines

Review the details below to find the timeline for your event. If the event does not include any of the items listed, the application deadline is 30 days before the event.

90 days before the event if the event includes:

  • Alcohol sale and/or service
  • Use and/or closure of a roadway/highway
  • Occurs on Victoria Day, Canada Day, Remembrance Day, New Year's Eve, or in alignment with an event of known significance

60 days before if the event does not include any of the above, but does include:

  • Property owned or leased by the Provincial or Federal government
  • Requests a noise exemption
  • Uses or includes aircraft, watercraft, or helicopters
  • Temporary structures or equipment, such as large tents

30 days before if the event does not include any of the above, but does include:

  • Pyrotechnics or fireworks
  • Food/beverage preparation, storage and/or sale
  • Vendors of any type 
  • Uses City property
  • Requires a specific event open air fire permit


  • Attendance is expected to be at least 500 people at one time (peak attendance) including staff and volunteers
  • Event organizers must book the event location before applying

What you need

Organizers must provide:

  • Confirmation that a location has been booked for the event
  • Site plan and/or route plan
  • Emergency plan
  • Certificate of insurance in the name of the permit holder and listing the City of Ottawa as an additional insured

Depending on the event size and activities, other support documents may be needed. Refer to the Event Guide for document examples and templates.


There is no cost for this permit.

Note: There may be costs associated with traffic control measures or paid duty resources depending on the nature and complexity of the event.


My ServiceOttawa special events portal

Note: A My ServiceOttawa account is required to complete the application

A step-by-step special events portal guide is available to help complete the application.

What's next

Once the application package has been submitted through the online portal, an event advisor will be assigned to your application and will contact you by email within 5 business days about next steps and permit requirements.


Event Central Office
613-580-2424 extension 14613