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What to Do Ottawa

Harry Potter Fans Rejoice: Potted Potter Comes to Ottawa


Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience comes to Ottawa March 10 to 13 at the National Arts Centre (Photo: Brian Friedman)

The Harry Potter series may have ended, but the fascination with the wizard and his friends continues with Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience, which comes to Ottawa. Presented by the National Arts Centre, the parody, featuring two-time Oliver Award-nominated actors, Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, attempts to condense all of the books, including a game of Quidditch, into 70 minutes of hilarity, which is fit for ages 6 and up. Fans of J.K. Rowlings’ fantastical world won’t want to miss this!
Potted Potter: The Unauthorized Harry Experience runs from March 10 to 13 at the National Arts Centre, 53 Elgin St., nac-cna.ca

Matthew Harrison

This Is War at the Great Canadian Theatre Company


Hannah Moscovitch’s play This Is War is on at the Great Canadian Theatre Company from Feb. 4 to 23

Four Canadian soldiers recount their own version of an ill-fated mission in the most volatile region of Afghanistan. More than just a retelling of accounts, the story — on stage at the Great Canadian Theatre Company — reveals how personal relationships can affect the outcome. This Is War provides a glimpse into the devastated psyche of a contemporary soldier. Written by Hannah Moscovitch, a brilliant young playwright, and directed by Eric Coates.
• This Is War runs from Feb. 4 to 23 at the Great Canadian Theatre Company, 1233 Wellington St. W, gctc.ca

Winterlude 2014 Transforms Ottawa from Jan. 31 to Feb. 17


Confederation Park is turned into a beautiful Crystal Garden during Winterlude 2014 (Photo: Canadian Heritage)

Winterlude 2014 will transform Ottawa into the liveliest city in the country from Jan. 31 to Feb. 17. As you explore Ottawa during the festival you’ll probably end up at one of these three official Winterlude sites. Don’t worry, that’s a good thing — they return each year for a reason.

WHERE: Confederation Park. Within walking distance of Parliament Hill, Rideau Centre, and the National Arts Centre.
WHEN: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. | Feb. 17, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
WHAT: This is where world-class ice-carving masters turn blocks of ice into works of art. See them in action during the 27th International Ice-Carving Competition, Jan. 31 to Feb. 2. And definitely plan on walking through the park during the evening — special lighting enhances the sculptures and other artwork displayed during the duration of Winterlude.
MORE: This is also Opening Ceremony central! Festivities kick-off on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. And the park also hosts Sub-Zero DJ Nights every Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m. throughout Winterlude.

WHERE: Jacques-Cartier Park. A couple minutes over the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge in Gatineau, down the street from the Canadian Museum of History.
WHEN: Open Mondays and Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sundays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The park is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
WHAT: The largest snow playground in the world! Your kids will fall in love with the variety of snow slides — a tube slide, one built for groups to speed down together, and another for the littlest of kiddies. And there will be special winter sports and games so your kids can join in on the Olympic fever.
MORE: The XTREME Zone opens on weekends, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., for thrill seekers and boundary pushers. The area includes a zip line, pedal go-carts on snow, a bungee trampoline, and a giant maze.


Skate along the Rideau Canal during Winterlude 2014, the world’s largest naturally frozen ice rink (Photo: Canadian Heritage)

WHERE: Throughout Ottawa. Major entrance points include Mackenzie King East and West, across from Confederation Park; Somerset East and West, by the University of Ottawa; and Fifth Avenue in the Glebe neighbourhood
WHEN: Chalets open Sunday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
WHAT: The world’s largest naturally frozen ice rink is one of the centrepieces of Winterlude 2014. Glide along the 7.8 km Skateway, grab a delicious BeaverTail (sold on the Canal!), and grab a seat in one of the chalets to catch your breath and people watch. Didn’t bring your skates? Well, there are rental spots right on the Canal!
MORE: The Giant Tiger Interactive Hockey Zone, every Saturday and Sunday by the Fifth Avenue entrance, lets you test your skills at the hardest shot, most accurate shot, obstacle course, and more.

Kim’s Convenience Comes to Ottawa


Award-winning play Kim’s Convenience runs from Jan. 22 to Feb. 8 at the National Arts Centre (Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann)

Quintessentially Canadian, Kim’s Convenience follows the trials and joys of first-generation Korean immigrants who are trying to navigate western society. The play, which has quickly garnered awards and a loyal following, comes to Ottawa from Jan. 22 to Feb. 8 at the National Arts Centre. The story centres around the family’s convenience store, touching on the interplay of old-world culture bumping up against new-world influence; the pressure of having a strong parental figure; and the enduring strength that only a family can provide. It was a huge hit during the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival and won Best Canadian Play at the 2012 Toronto Theatre Critics’ Awards.

Christmas Events in Ottawa: 11 Must-See Performances This Holiday Season



Soprano Measha Brueggergosman is joined by a number of choirs for her special Christmas concert on Dec. 19 at the National Arts Centre (Photo: Mat Dunlop)

Christmas is just around the corner and tis’ the season to attend concerts! Ottawa hosts some great performances this holiday season and WHERE Ottawa wants to help you by offering our picks of the must-see Christmas shows this season.

Ottawa Christmas Events: The Messiah
Nov. 22 and 23
The first is a 20th anniversary performance by the combined choirs (Men and Boys, Women and Girls) of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church. Conducted by Kirkland Adsett and accompanied by a professional orchestra, the choirs will sing with the finesse and intelligence the last 20 years of Messiah performances have taught them.

Dec. 17 and 18
The National Arts Centre Orchestra’s production of Messiah features choristers from across the city, including the Cantata Singers of Ottawa. A highlight of this performance will be the Bass arias sung by Ottawa native and rising superstar Philippe Sly.

Ottawa Christmas Events: The Glory of Baroque
Nov. 30
Lisette Canton and her Ottawa Bach Choir, accompanied by Montreal-based period-instrument specialists Ensemble Caprice, present The Glory of Baroque at St. Matthew’s Anglican Church. The concert features works by many masters of the era, including a fantastic Magnificat by Marc-Antoine Chapentier and the cantata Meine Seel Erhebt den Herren by that greatest of Baroque composers, J.S. Bach.


The Royal Winnipeg Ballet presents a special rendition of The Nutcracker from Dec. 4 to 8

Ottawa Christmas Events: The Nutcracker
Dec. 4 to 8
Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker is the ballet everyone associates with Christmas. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Canada’s premiere ballet company, performs the timeless story of a young child’s Christmas fantasy at the National Arts Centre. Expect several Canadian twists choreographed by Galina Yordanova and Nina Menon.

Ottawa Christmas Events: Big Soul Project Holiday Concert
Dec. 4
If you’re looking for great Christmas music but are tired of the same old stuffy carols, then Big Soul Project has the concert for you.  The self-described “gospel and groove choir and band,” directed by Roxanne Goodman and featuring steel pans virtuoso Bert Boldon, is bringing gospel and reggae Christmas music to Dominion-Chalmers Church.

Ottawa Christmas Events: Requiem et Lux
Dec. 6
Recently formed in 2009, the Capital Chamber Choir has been making a name for themselves in Ottawa with their excellent performances and repertoire of modern music. Their concert at Knox Presbyterian Church, Requiem et Lux, explores the transition at this time of year from darkness into light. Pieces include Herbert Howells’ Requiem and the premiere of a new work by Ottawa composer Timothy Mott.


The Barenaked Ladies share some of their hits, alongside Christmas classics, on Dec. 13 and 14

Ottawa Christmas Events: Barenaked Ladies
Dec. 13 and 14

It won’t cost you a million dollars to see the biggest holiday pop concert in Ottawa this season, but it may be worth it. The Barenaked Ladies peroform on back-to-back nights at the National Arts Centre.  The band will perform many of their massive hits as well as some holiday favourites, many likely originating from their Barenaked for the Holidays album.

Ottawa Christmas Events: Centralaires Concert Band
Dec. 15
The Centralaires Concert Band, directed by Peter Archibald and comprised of former military band members as well local musicians, will perform their annual Christmas and Holiday Favourites concert in the beautiful hanger of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

Ottawa Christmas Events: Measha’s Magical Christmas
Dec. 19

World-class Canadian Soprano Measha Brueggergosman will be joined by the National Arts Centre Orchestra, the Ottawa Choral Society, and the Boys Choir of Christ Church Cathedral for a night of beautiful holiday favourites including White Christmas, O Holy Night, and Little Drummer Boy. The audience will also be invited to join Measha and friends in some sing-along caroling.


The Tenors take over the National Arts Centre on Dec. 23 for a special Christmas concert

Ottawa Christmas Events: Nine Lessons and Carols
Dec. 22

Experience the magic of an English Christmas without the plane ticket. Matthew Larkin and the combined choirs of Christ Church Cathedral present their annual Nine Lessons and Carols service, England’s favourite Christmas rite. Listen to the classic Christmas lessons accompanied by timeless English carols and such modern masterpieces as A Hymn to the Mother of God by the late John Tavener.

Ottawa Christmas Events: The Tenors Christmas show
Dec. 23

The Tenors Christmas show at the National Arts Centre will be a night of beautifully arranged Christmas carols and holiday songs sung by one of Canada’s premiere quartets. These four young Canadian tenors bring an adult contemporary pop sound to their vocal arrangements which, combined with their beautiful voices and Grecian good looks, create a night of fun music at high classical music standards.

Canadian War Museum Presents Korea 60


A Canadian gunner hands candy to a Korean boy at the rail yards in Tokchon, South Korea. Korea 60 at the Canadian War Museum chronicles Canada’s involvement in the Korean war. (Photo: George Metcalf Archival Collection/Canadian War Museum)

Canadian veterans from the Korean War recently descended upon the Canadian War Museum, just west of downtown Ottawa, for the unveiling of Korea 60. This important new exhibition, running until January 5, 2014, features a series of photographs taken during the Korean war — including photos taken by soldiers themselves — illustrating Canada’s involvement in the conflict that eventually led to the Korean Armistice Agreement. The exhibition also serves to add to the museum’s current display on the Korean War.
• Canadian War Museum, 1 Vimy Place, 819-776-7000, warmuseum.ca
Map and reviews

West End Ottawa Guide: Where to Eat, Drink, and Shop West of Parliament Hill



Mountain Equipment Co-op is the shop in Ottawa’s west end to get the latest outdoor gear (Photo: MEC)

The neighbourhoods of Hintonburg, Wellington West, and Westboro are home to a number of the city’s hottest restaurants, shops, and more. Head west to discover these diverse and innovative spots!


Ottawa’s Great Canadian Theatre Company Presents Like Wolves


Ottawa’s Great Canadian Theatre Company presents Like Wolves from June 4 to 23

Ottawa theatre is in full swing this spring. Under the direction of Peter Pasyk, the Great Canadian Theatre Company presents the world premiere of Like Wolves. After 54 years of marriage, Vera and Sam return to their honeymoon destination to discover the once charming rural B&B has become corrupted by urban sprawl. From there, the vacation takes some strange turns.

2013 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival Expands, Lineup Full of Surprises



2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival: Wayne Shorter brings his quartet to this year’s Ottawa Jazz Festival

The TD Ottawa Jazz Festival continues to be a joyful surprise.

The annual foray into jazz and surrounding genres has become one of the biggest draws during Ottawa’s festival season. In recent years, heralded performers such as Esperanza Spalding, Elvis Costello, and Branford Marsalis have headlined. If they repeated this format for 2013 — a lineup of big name, genre-defying artists and top-notch jazz musicians — the jazz festival would have received the same type of enthusiasm it’s experienced in previous years. Not one eyelash would have been batted, not one complaint filed. This year, though, they’ve decided to expand their boundaries, adding a brand new series that will take place in a stellar venue.

TD Ottawa Jazz Festival 2013 teaser from Adam Hughes


Mr. Potato Head Comes to the Canadian Children’s Museum


The Adventures of Mr. Potato Head opens at the Canadian Children’s Museum on June 8 and runs until Jan. 5, 2014.

Calling all explorers! The Canadian Children’s Museum invites its most courageous patrons to join The Adventures of Mr. Potato Head. He recently stopped by the museum, which is located inside the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and asked the staff to help him assemble a tater team of brave explorers to accompany him through land, space, and sea. Adventurers will join Mr. Potato Head and uncover what happened to King Tato’s lost vegetable kingdom, sail on the deep blue sea with the Potato Captain, and travel to space to repair the S.P.U.D. space station! This top tater moves around about as often as his appearance changes! The fun begins June 8 and runs until Jan. 5, 2014.

The Adventures of Mr. Potato Head at the Canadian Children’s Museum, 100 Laurier St., Gatineau, 800-555-5621. civilization.ca/childrens-museum
Map and reviews


Ottawa’s Arts Court a Hotbed of Culture


Arts Court in Ottawa’s downtown houses the city’s most eclectic arts groups. (Photo: Gabriel Hébert)

Built in 1871, Ottawa’s Arts Court has a vibrant past and remains a lively presence in the city’s downtown. It currently houses 26 independent arts organizations, including the Ottawa Art Gallery and SAW Gallery. Frequently hosting performances, exhibitions, and special events, Arts Court also offers multi-purpose spaces for rent, suitable for a
number of artistic presentations. This May, check out A Company of Fools’ presentation of White Rabbit, Red Rabbit (on until May 25) in the Library of the Arts Court.

2 Daly Ave., 613-564-7240. www.artscourtottawa.ca
Maps and review

Hey Ocean! On Tour, Play Ottawa’s National Arts Centre


Hey Ocean! bring their infectious pop-rock sound to Ottawa‘s National Arts Centre this Saturday.

The trio of Ashleigh Ball, David Beckingham, and Dave Vertesi are riding a wave of success. Last year Hey Ocean! jumped on Kickstarter to crowd-fund enough to embark on their first world tour. And earlier this year the Vancouver-based band was nominated for Breakthrough Group of the Year at the 2013 Juno Awards off of the strength of their latest album Is.

Hey Ocean! roll into Ottawa for what will be a colourful show of party-pop and lyrical ballads. Molly Thomason opens.