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Planning an outdoor special event

Special Events

Outdoor special events are governed by the Special Events on Public and Private Property By-law No. 2013-232 and the Special Events on City Streets By-law No. 2001-260.

Event Central

  • Works with event organizers to ensure special events are successful and contribute positively to the community 
  • Assists in the coordination of all city services involved with special events
  • First point of contact for event organizers and provides assistance in facilitating permit approvals with the Special Events Advisory Team (SEAT)
  • Provides feedback on emergency preparedness and site and/or route plans in advance to mitigate the event's possible impact

Contact us

If you are interested in planning an outdoor event and have questions, please contact us at 613-580-2424 ext. 14613 or

Event Central
City of Ottawa
101 Centrepointe Dr
Ottawa, ON K2G 5K7

Special event permit

When to apply

The following criteria are used to determine if an event is required to complete the Application for Special Events:

  • Outdoor event with expected attendance of at least 500 persons at any one time;
    • Examples include: fairs, festivals, competitions, or beach events;
  • Any event that uses the City Right-of-Way (streets/sidewalks);
    • Examples include: parades, processions, runs, walks, or bikes

For smaller events (such as block parties, demonstrations/marches, or street murals) please complete the corresponding application:

Application timelines

Conditional approval of the event location must be obtained from the property owner prior to applying for a special event permit.

30 days

60 days

90 days

  • 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

Should a special event not include any of the factors listed in paragraphs (1) to (3), the application deadline shall be 30 days.

Once the application form is complete please submit the application and any supporting documents to Event Central. If the event will have over 500 attendees a draft Emergency plan and Site plan and/or Route plan are required.

Event Guide and templates

Event Central has developed several tools in collaboration with City Services to assist you in completing your application and support documents.

Serving alcohol at events

Events occurring on City property must meet the conditions of the Municipal Alcohol Policy. Please consult the Guide to Serving Alcohol at your Event for more information.

To obtain a permit to sell and/or serve alcohol at your event, please consult the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).

Notification to local authorities

For outdoor events, the AGCO will require the applicant to provide notification to local authorities such as police, fire, building code and public health departments. To notify the municipality that you will be serving alcohol outdoors, please complete and submit the online notification form.

If the event is open to the public and the applicant is neither a registered charity nor non-profit organisation, a Letter of Municipal Significance is required to obtain a Special Occasion Permit. For inquires, please contact Event Central.