What began as a weekend of outdoor jazz in Major’s Hill Park back in 1980 has evolved into one of the National Capital Region’s most highly anticipated musical events of the summer, the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival.

The Ottawa Jazz Festival was founded in 1980 by local musicians Bob Misener and Tony Pope who wanted to throw a summertime jazz festival to celebrate and develop the popular jazz scene in Ottawa.



Jazz festivals were still a relatively new phenomenon in Canadian cities, and there really was no grand design behind Ottawa’s first edition.

TD Ottawa Jazz Festival grew quickly, attracting such international names as Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, Herb Ellis, Bob Brookmeyer, Wynton Marsalis and Milt Jackson.

Larger and larger crowds came out each year, and the Festival began to stretch beyond traditional jazz and attract new supporters.

Expanding beyond its outdoor venue TD Ottawa Jazz Festival ventured into indoor satellite events and the late night jam sessions that are so popular today.

By the mid-1980’s the Festival’s organizational direction was shaped by Programming Manager Jacques Émond and Doug McNab took over the volunteer brigade.


Ornette Coleman

More and more big names were booked, including Sonny Rollins, Jack DeJohnette and Ornette Coleman.

In 1989, the Festival moved to its own stage in Confederation Park.

The Festival experienced a passing of the guard as Jacques Émond retired in 2010 and Petr Cancura was appointed as the new Programming Manager early in 2011. Petr is only the second programming manager in its 32 years.

The Ottawa International Jazz Festival is the premier music event to take place in downtown Ottawa and we are proud to be part of the continuing tradition of bringing jazz to the National Capital Region.

Set on a bold path, trailblazing the most dynamic programming and innovations TD Ottawa Jazz Festival continues to present the finest musicians from across Canada and around the world in all genres and inspirations of Jazz.

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