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What to Do Ottawa

Ottawa Weekend Calendar for April 17 to 19

See beautiful Japanese flower arrangements at Ikebana, an exhibition that's on at the Canadian Museum of Nature this weekend.

See beautiful Japanese flower arrangements at Ikebana, an exhibition that’s on at the Canadian Museum of Nature this weekend.

Friday, April 17

Ikebana, the ancient Japanese art of flower arrangement brings beautiful blooms to the Canadian Museum of Nature for a special weekend exhibition. Dating to the sixth century, the practice relies on minimalism and includes branches, dried flowers, leaves, and other natural materials. On until April 19. Included in regular admission to the museum ($13; seniors and students, $11; children three to 12, $9).

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Ottawa Weekend Calendar for April 10 to 12

Synth-pop artist Valery Gore performs at the National Arts Centre on Saturday night. (Photo: Valery Gore)

Synth-pop artist Valery Gore performs at the National Arts Centre on Saturday night. (Photo: Valery Gore)

Friday, April 10

Jane Urquhart is one of Canada’s most beloved writers, and her novels and poems touch on themes of love, loss, family attachments, art, and war. At the Writers Festival’s Literary Luncheon, Urquhart chats about her latest novel, The Night Stages, in which a woman reflects on her affair with a man obsessed by the disappearance of his brother. Tickets are $85, and includes lunch at the Metropolitain Brasserie and a signed copy of The Night Stages.

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Down the Rabbit Hole: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

The National Ballet of Canada brings Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to the capital. (Photo: Bruce Zinger)

The National Ballet of Canada brings Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to the capital. (Photo: Bruce Zinger)

APRIL 9 TO 12 Using puppets, cinematic projection, and other optical illusions, the National Ballet of Canada breathes new life into Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Part of the charm of the production is its breathtaking special effects — thanks to a team of dancers (made invisible by their black leotards), the Cheshire Cat can detach its limbs and head and put them back together again.
•National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-2787. nac-cna.ca
Map and reviews

Windows to Memory at La Petite Mort Gallery

The Windows From Prison Project portrays locations that hold meaning to U.S. federal inmates. (Photo: Mark Strandquist, Windows From Prison Project, Courtesy of La Petite Mort Gallery)

The Windows From Prison Project portrays locations that hold meaning to U.S. federal inmates. (Photo: Mark Strandquist, Windows From Prison Project, Courtesy of La Petite Mort Gallery)

In 2012, artist Mark Strandquist embarked on a project called Windows From Prison, with a goal of showing inmates in a more humane light. He asked them one simple question: “If you could have a window in your cell, what place from your past would it look out to?” Photographers then went out to capture those places, and the resulting images — both surprising and touching — ranged from supermarkets to hallways in childhood homes. On at La Petite Mort Gallery from April 3 to 26.
•La Petite Mort Gallery, 306 Cumberland St., 613-860-1555. lapetitemortgallery.com
Map and reviews

Gerry Dee at the National Arts Centre

Stand-up comic Gerry Dee, star of the CBC show "Mr. Dee", performs at the National Arts Centre.

Stand-up comic Gerry Dee, star of the CBC show “Mr. Dee”, performs at the National Arts Centre.

MARCH 31 Prior to his career in stand-up comedy, Gerry Dee was a high school phys ed teacher. It’s an experience that is echoed in a lot of his work: in his CBC sitcom, Mr. D, he portrays a social studies teacher locked in an imaginary feud with another member of staff who is well-liked by his students. He relies on similar experiences to fuel his stand-up shows.
•National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-2787. nac-cna.ca
Map and reviews

M.C. Escher Distorts Reality at the National Gallery of Canada

(Photo: M.C. Escher, Relativity, July 1953, lithograph on cream laid japan paper, 39.3 x 40.3 cm; image: 27.9 x 28.9 cm, Gift of George Escher, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, 1990, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. M.C. Escher’s “Relativity” © 2014 The M.C. Escher Company-The Netherlands. All rights reserved. www.mcescher.com. Photo © NGC)

(Photo: M.C. Escher, Relativity, July 1953, lithograph on cream laid japan paper, 39.3 x 40.3 cm; image: 27.9 x 28.9 cm, Gift of George Escher, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, 1990, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. M.C. Escher’s “Relativity” © 2014 The M.C. Escher Company-The Netherlands. All rights reserved. www.mcescher.com. Photo © NGC)

Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher is one of the world’s most recognizable illustrators, and his portfolio has been influential on science, art, and pop culture. Many of his works turn perspective on its head and portray impossible realities; others play with the idea of 2-D and 3-D, sometimes combining the two into trompe l’oeil images. On at the National Gallery of Canada until May 3.
•National Gallery of Canada, 380 Sussex Dr., 613-990-1985. gallery.ca
Map and reviews

Historic Moments: Canadian Confederation at the Museum of History

Take a trip back in time and explore the events that led to Canadian Confederation. (Photos: Steven Darby, © Canadian Museum of History)

Take a trip back in time and explore the events that led to Canadian Confederation. (Photos: Steven Darby, © Canadian Museum of History)

July 1, 1867 marked the culmination of a 30-year effort to unite Canada’s colonies under one flag. 1867: Rebellion and Confederation explores the moments that led to the drafting of the British North America Act — moments of violence, negotiation, and compromise that helped lay the foundation for the Canada we know today. Using over 200 historical artifacts, the exhibition covers key events such as the Charlottetown, Quebec, and London Conferences. On at the Canadian Museum of History until January 2016.
•Canadian Museum of History, 100, rue Laurier, Gatineau, 819-776-7000. historymuseum.ca
Map and reviews

Climbing at Altitude Gym

The innovative Clip N' Climb activity space at Altitude Gym is a great place to bring the kids for spring break.

The innovative Clip N’ Climb activity space at Altitude Gym is a great place to bring the kids for spring break.

A climber’s paradise, Altitude Gym offers bouldering walls, outdoor climbing structures, and space for belaying. Plus, it boasts Clip N’ Climb, an innovative activity space that started in New Zealand that’s part climbing wall, part theme park. The brightly-coloured obstacles and climbing challenges are perfect for kids — and they’ll love dropping safely from the top of each climbing wall using the gym’s self-belaying system.
•Altitude Gym, 35, boul. Saint-Raymond, Gatineau, 819-205-0959. altitudegym.ca
Map and directions

Feel the Beat: Kodo Drummers

One of the most esteemed taiko troupes in Japan, the Kodo Drummers bring their Mystery tour to Ottawa. (Photo: Takashi Okamoto)

One of the most esteemed taiko troupes in Japan, the Kodo Drummers bring their Mystery tour to Ottawa. (Photo: Takashi Okamoto)

MARCH 9 Kodo is the Japanese word for “heartbeat” and “children of the drum”, so it’s only appropriate that the world’s most successful and influential taiko drumming troupe should carry the name. Created by famed Kabuki actor Tamasaburo Bando, Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery explores percussion as the source of all rhythm and movement.
•National Arts Centre, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-2787, nac-cna.ca
Map and reviews

Ottawa Weekend Calendar for Feb. 6 to 8

Ottawa rockers Amos the Transparent plays the Black Sheep Inn on Friday night.

Ottawa rockers Amos the Transparent plays the Black Sheep Inn on Saturday night.

Friday, Feb. 6

The Bright Nights: Baltic-Nordic Film Festival is a celebration of cinematic contributions by Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Iceland, Lithuania, and Norway. On Friday night, catch Latvia’s The Lesson, a film about a teacher who goes a little too far to befriend her unruly students. On Saturday, see Norway’s I Am Yours, in which a Pakistani expatriate enters a relationship with a Swedish filmmaker, and on Sunday, catch Finland’s The Good Son, a film that chronicles the unsettling and unusual relationship between a teenager and his actress mother. See website for schedule and ticket prices.

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Skating at Rideau Hall

The Rideau Canal isn't the only place for wintertime skating — try the outdoor rink at Rideau Hall! (Photo: MCPL Evan Kuelz © Office of the Secretary to the Governor General)

The Rideau Canal isn’t the only place for wintertime skating — try the outdoor rink at Rideau Hall! (Photo: MCPL Evan Kuelz © Office of the Secretary to the Governor General)

While the Rideau Canal provides the quintessential skating experience for outdoor enthusiasts, those seeking quieter ice might try their luck at the Rideau Hall skating rink. Originally opened in 1872, it’s one of the oldest rinks in the city, and was the site of many skating parties hosted by Canada’s third governor general, the Earl of Dufferin. Public skating takes place on weekends from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. —Amy Allen
•Rideau Hall, 1 Sussex Dr., 866-842-4422. gg.ca
Map and reviews

 

Fighting in Flanders at the Canadian War Museum

This German howitzer was just one of many machines of war that Canadian troops had to contend with in Belgium. (Photo: Canadian War Museum)

This German howitzer was just one of many machines of war that Canadian troops had to contend with in Belgium. (Photo: Canadian War Museum)

Canada’s military contributions to World War I cannot be underestimated. It was largely thanks to Canadians that Allied forces managed to hold the line at the Battle of Ypres for as long as they did; similarly, they were instrumental in the capture of Passchendaele in 1917. Fighting in Flanders — Gas. Mud. Memory explores the many challenges that Canadian troops faced during these pivotal battles in Belgium. On display at the Canadian War Museum until April 6.
•Canadian War Museum, 1 Vimy Place, 819-776-7000. warmuseum.ca
Map and reviews