No day at the cottage is just any day. There’s always something new and exciting to do! This July 1st, we want to help you make the most of your Canada Day cottage activities by offering up some fun, festive and unique ideas. Perhaps best of all, our suggestions are affordable, easy and perfect for kids or kids at heart.

7 Fabulous Canada Day Cottage Activities:

Most of us already break out the sparklers and bust out the fireworks, but there’s more to Canada Day than burning your eyebrows off – though that’s definitely a tradition for some! Let’s take a look at some other Canada Day activities that are ideal for cottagers.

canada day activities

photo credit: Andrew Beeston

Canada Day Lawn Bowling

Fill up 10 empty 1L plastic pop bottles with water and then use a few liberal drops of red food colouring to tint the water in five of the bottles red. Voila! Instant festive red and white bowling pins to enhance your Canada Day cottage activities.

Option: Break open red and white glow sticks and pour them into the bottles for glow-in-the-dark night action. Alternatively, you can just drop the glow sticks in the water.

Tip: Lighter weight balls aren’t as effective when it comes to knocking over the water-loaded ‘pins’, so use a heftier ball or knock over the bottles, like a basketball (or, of course, an actual lawn bowling ball or bocce ball if you have one).

bryan adams

photo credit: Derick Hatfield

Canadian Music Playlist

What would Canada Day cottage activities be without a sweet set of tunes from our nation’s finest musicians to provide some background ambiance? We know that musical preference is pretty subjective, so we’ll leave you to make your own mix of melodies. This said, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions just in case you need a little assistance. As you will see, our artist choice is pretty varied, so feel free to use this list of Canadian tunes as a full list, or just as a guide to help you make your own compilation. It is by no means comprehensive, so add your own songs to satisfy your musical palate.

  • Barrett’s Privateers – Stan Rogers
  • All Uncovered – The Watchmen
  • Fare Thee Well – The Rankin Family
  • Hi Friend – DeadMau5
  • Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
  • Load Me Up – Matthew Good
  • Snowbird – Anne Murray
  • Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire
  • American Woman – The Guess Who
  • Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams
  • Good Mother – Jann Arden
  • Carefree Highway – Gordon Lightfoot
  • Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
  • Ice Cream – Sarah McLachlan
  • What a Good Boy – Barenaked Ladies


finger painting

photo credit: Nick Pelletier

Finger Paint Canada Flag T-Shirts

This Canada Day idea is great for the kids and they make a great memento of the day to cherish for years to come! All you need is a white shirt, a hand, and some red paint to create an original piece of cottage couture. Use your child’s handprint to create the leaf in the middle of the flag, and then simply paint (or finger paint) two rectangles on either side to create the red borders. Simple as that!

This is one of our messier Canada Day cottage activities, which makes it perfect for the great outdoors. Just make sure the paint you are using is non-toxic and watch your wee ones at all times during the creative process. Crayola has a wonderful selection of paints that are guaranteed kid friendly. Tip: You can pick up your shirts (tanks, T’s, long-sleeve) at almost any dollar store!

canada day face paint

photo Credit: Bruce Guenter

Zinc Face Paint

Show your love for the country and protect your skin from harmful UVs at the same time. Creating a festive and protective look is as easy as picking up some red and white zinc at the drug store.

canada day cupcake photo credit: beaumontpete

Red & White Picnic

A day full of Canada Day cottage activities wouldn’t be complete without a spread of red and white themed food. You can go for refreshments that are already red and white, like strawberries and cream, raspberry and cream cheese bagels, red and white freezies, red punch or strawberry shortcake. Alternatively, you can use red food colouring to make your picnic festive. Don’t forget the red and white gingham table cloth or picnic blanket for a truly decked-out Canadian affair! (You can use a Canadian flag print tablecloth or blanket – just DON’T use the flag itself. It’s against flag etiquette.

Canada Day Pinwheels

Deck out your deck in style with easy to make pinwheels. Kids love them and they provide hours of entertainment. Make as many as you’d like in as many sizes as you’d like. Stick them in flower pots, gardens, on your dock or deck, or put them at the bow and stern of your canoe while taking a leisurely paddle to bring a bit of festivity to the whole lake.

Canada Day Scavenger Hunt

What would Canada Day cottage activities be without thoroughly embracing nature? Create your own Canada Day Scavenger Hunt and add a competitive edge to your long weekend. (It will also help entertain your kids for a couple of hours!)

The items on your list will depend largely on where your cottage is located, since local foliage and wildlife can be quite location specific, but we can certainly help you with some general ideas. You will notice that we don`t encourage taking any living thing from nature. When planning your Canada Day Scavenger Hunt (or any Canada Day cottage activities), aim for a no-impact or low-impact approach that will not compromise the natural environment.

TIP: For a no-impact option, arm your troops with a camera – this way they can take pictures as proof of their finds without disturbing nature.

Canada Day Scavenger Hunt List:

  • Maple leaf
  • Drift wood
  • Beaver chewed stick or branch
  • Quartz
  • Acorn
  • Pine Cone
  • Feather
  • Picture of a Trillium or your province’s flower
  • Something shaped like a ‘C’ (that is not alive!) or a picture of something that is alive
  • Picture of something red
  • Picture of something white

No matter how you choose to approach your Canada Day cottage activities, it’s vital to remember that holidays exist to enjoy, so don’t overwhelm yourself with huge, complicated tasks that will eat up your whole day. Do what appeals to you. Don’t like baking? Then don’t try to whip up a 3-tier red and white cake with flag fondant. Don’t like crafts? Then skip the paint and paper contingent. What’s most important is that you have fun! If you’re enjoying yourself, so will everyone else. Revel in your long weekend so you can create festive and stress-free memories for years to come.