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Ontario

New Year’s Eve in Ottawa

The capital rings in the new year with a plethora of parties.

The capital rings in the new year with a plethora of parties.

FREE HOGMANAY
The Scottish Society of Ottawa is dedicated to keeping the Celtic spirit alive in the capital, and what better way to do it than to replicate a traditional Scottish New Year’s celebration? This year’s Hogmanay entertainment includes the Glengarry Pipe Band, the Ottawa Celtic Choir, Bobby Watt, and Glass Tiger; there will also be fireworks, skating on the outdoor rink at Aberdeen Pavilion, and Scottish food, whisky, and beer.
•Aberdeen Pavilion, Lansdowne Park, 1015 Bank St., 613-580-2595. thescottishsocietyofottawa.com

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25 Great Things to Do in Toronto with Kids

BY CARA SMUSIAK

Things to do in Toronto with Kids

Friendly, safe, and packed with fun attractions, Toronto is terrific city to travel to with the whole family. Don’t believe us? These 25 great things to do in Toronto with kids ensure everyone’s time in town will be filled with excitement and discovery.

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Contemporary Cuisine at Courtyard Restaurant

Situated in a historic building in the heart of the ByWard Market, Courtyard Restaurant serves up contemporary Canadian cuisine with international flavours.

Situated in a historic building in the heart of the ByWard Market, Courtyard Restaurant serves up contemporary Canadian cuisine with international flavours.

In the heart of the ByWard Market, the Courtyard Restaurant has been serving fine contemporary cuisine for over 30 years. Housed in a handsome limestone building that dates back to 1837, the restaurant exudes a comfortable, yet refined, ambience that is matched by chef Ian Reed’s menu. Here, you’ll find beautifully plated wild boar, pan roasted Pacific halibut, and bacon-wrapped elk striploin. —Amy Allen
•21 George St., 613-241-1516, courtyardrestaurant.com 
Map and reviews

Ottawa Weekend Calendar for Dec. 19 to 21

Singer-songwriter David Myles performs new and classic Christmas songs at the National Arts Centre. (Photo: Hiep Vu)

Singer-songwriter David Myles performs new and classic Christmas songs at the National Arts Centre. (Photo: Hiep Vu)

Friday, Dec. 19

In Freezing, a special holiday performance presented at the Gladstone, the lovable characters that populate the Snow Globe Kingdom work together to defeat the evil Hans, who threatens peace and stability in the realm. Complete with singing, dancing, and lots of humour, it’s great fun for the whole family. Tickets are $42.

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Discover the Lost Dhow at the Aga Khan Museum

Dragon-headed ewer (photo: Aga Khan Museum)

Dragon-headed ewer (photo: Aga Khan Museum)

DECEMBER 13 TO APRIL 26  We often think of globalization as an explicitly modern concept—the world and its diverse peoples connected by airplanes and computers—but its origins can be traced back more than a millennium, when ancient empires in the Middle East and Asia forged important trade routes across both land and sea.

A fascinating new exhibition at the Aga Khan Museum focuses on ocean-going commerce and its resultant cultural connections. The Lost Dhow: a Discovery from the Maritime Silk Route assembles artifacts from a 9th-century Arab trading vessel that were salvaged from the bottom of the Indian Ocean in 1998.

On display for the first time in North America, the ship’s contents speak to the transcontinental exchange of goods, but also of culture and language, long before Europeans entered the region in 500 years later. The majority of its recovered wares are mass-produced bowls and containers of Chinese origin, but which boasts Middle Eastern design influences; some pieces, however, are one-of-a-kind luxuries, and possibly signal evidence of diplomatic ties between the Tang and Abbasid empires. Other exhibited artifacts may well have belonged to members of the boat’s (apparently multi-ethnic) crew, and include the likes of a bone gaming die, carved fishing hooks and more.  —Craig Moy

Photos by Craig Moy except where noted

• Aga Khan Museum, 77 Wynford Dr., 416-646-4677; agakhanmuseum.org
Map and reviews

5 Vegetarian Restaurants in Ottawa

BY AMY ALLEN

This hearty chili is just one of many tasty vegan dishes on offer at SimplyRaw Express. (Photo: Courtesy of SimplyRaw Express)

This hearty chili is just one of many tasty vegan dishes on offer at SimplyRaw Express. (Photo: Courtesy of SimplyRaw Express)

In this day and age, plenty of restaurants include at least one vegetarian item on the menu. But wouldn’t it be nice to sit down at a place where the entire menu caters to those who have foregone meat altogether? Well, never fear — the Ottawa region has plenty of delicious options for vegans and vegetarians.

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Rustic Charm at MeNa

MeNa serves up elegant, French-inspired cuisine in a cozy, rustic setting.

MeNa serves up elegant, French-inspired cuisine in a cozy, rustic setting.

Named for owner Bryan Livingston’s wife, MēNa serves French-inspired cuisine in a cozy setting. With an emphasis on small menus and portions, the restaurant delivers such delicious options as lamb leg, arctic char, pork shoulder, beef flank, and corn flan with gnocchi. They also have a sommelier on hand to explain the wine menu and make pairing suggestions. —Amy Allen
•276 Preston St., 613-233-6462, menarestaurant.com

Game, Set, Match: Real Sports Bar and Grill

Real Sports is a great place to take in the big game, or just kick back and relax with friends.

Real Sports is a great place to take in the big game, or just kick back and relax with friends.

Take in the big game at Real Sports Bar & Grill, where sporting events are displayed on a 27-foot big screen and 99 additional HD televisions. Part sports bar, part lounge, it’s the perfect place to not only catch the game on the big screen, but also catch up with friends. The extensive menu boasts traditional and upscale bar fare, and the patio and second floor terrace offer the opportunity to kick back and relax. —Amy Allen
•90 George St., 613-680-7325, realsports.ca/barandgrill
Map and reviews

Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo

Little Ray's has over 150 animals on display, including alligators, pythons, cobras, rattlesnakes, and more. (Photo: Matthew Belyea/MTKS Adventures)

Little Ray’s has over 150 animals on display, including alligators, pythons, cobras, rattlesnakes, and more. (Photo: Matthew Belyea/MTKS Adventures)

With the cooling weather, consider cozying up to some of the world’s cold-blooded creatures. Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo is the largest reptile rescue group in Canada, and displays over 150 live animals every day, including alligators, cobras, giant pythons, and rattlesnakes. The zoo is heavily invested in animal education and outreach, and has 25 permanent exhibits along with 20 feature exhibits that rotate every six months. —Amy Allen
•Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo, 5305 Bank St., 613-822-8924. raysreptiles.com
Map and reviews

15 Great Reasons to Visit Toronto in 2015

BY CRAIG MOY

Perhaps you’ve heard: Toronto is one the most dynamic cities in the world. An endlessly fascinating place to live; an equally amazing destination to visit. Whether you’re an international jetsetter or on a cross-Canada excursion, travelling within Ontario or just looking to be a tourist in your own hometown, there are literally thousands of compelling reasons to visit Toronto. And for 2015, here are 15 more.

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Breeding Champions at the Canadian Museum of History

Breeding Champions explores the life of E.P. Taylor, whose prize racehorse Northern Dancer captured the Kentucky Derby. (Photo: Tony Leonard)

Breeding Champions explores the life of E.P. Taylor, whose prize racehorse Northern Dancer captured the Kentucky Derby. (Photo: Tony Leonard)

Canadian business magnate E.P. Taylor was a prolific man. He launched his career by building the largest brewing company in the world and went on to become a famous breeder of thoroughbred racehorses. His stallion Northern Dancer was the first Canadian-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby. Breeding Champions, an ongoing exhibition at the Canadian Museum of History, explores how Taylor built his stable, Windfields Farm, and became one of the best breeders in the world. On display until Jan. 18, 2015. —Amy Allen
•Canadian Museum of History, 100, rue Laurier, Gatineau, 819-776-7000. historymuseum.ca
Map and reviews

Northern Exposure: Arctic Voices

How much do you really know about the Arctic? This exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Nature will challenge your perceptions about Canada's northern ecosystem.

How much do you really know about the Arctic? This exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Nature will challenge your perceptions about Canada’s northern ecosystem.

There’s more to the Arctic than meets the eye. It’s not a barren wasteland of ice and snow; it’s home to a surprising diversity of wildlife and many different indigenous groups. Through photographs, videos, specimens, and interactive experiences, visitors to Arctic Voices will challenge their perceptions about the Arctic and discover the ecological impact this remote northern region has on the entire planet. On view at the Canadian Museum of Nature from Dec. 5 until April 30, 2015. —Amy Allen
•Canadian Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod St., 613-566-4700. nature.ca
Map and reviews