This is your mission, should you choose to accept it: solve a series of puzzles and escape a locked room, with nothing but a walkie talkie, your wits, and possibly a flashlight to help you. Sound like your idea of a great night out? You’re not alone. The escape room phenomenon has exploded in popularity across North America in the past few years. Here, we highlight six escape adventures Ottawa has to offer — just in time for Halloween.
Join forces with your friends to escape The Prison, The Wine Cellar, The Asylum, and The Darkness. A limited edition fifth room, Apocalypse, challenges players to find the cure to a zombie outbreak. The owners have gone to great lengths to make it a cozy place to hang out before and after your escape experience: they’ve acquired a liquor licence, and the lounge is stocked with an assortment of brain-teasing games. The first four rooms can accommodate up to six players, while Apocalypse accommodates up to 12. The time limit is 45 minutes. $21 per person. 201 Queen St., 613-695-1655, escapemanor.com.
BY AMY ALLEN AND NICOLINA LEONE
Hear terrifying tales of Ottawa’s ghostly history on the Haunted Walk.
THE HAUNTED WALK
Oct. 9 to 31. Experienced guides tell spine-tingling tales from the city’s past during extended versions of the Haunted Walk’s permanent tours. The Original Haunted Walk takes visitors to sites around town, including the Bytown Museum, while Ghosts and the Gallows goes inside the Ottawa Jail Hostel. Ready for a real fright? Try Incident at the Bunker, an interactive zombie adventure at the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum. See website for schedule and ticket prices. 461/2 Sparks St., 613-232-0344, hauntedwalk.com
BY AMY ALLEN AND NICOLINA LEONE
Emily Pearlman returns to Ottawa with her play I think my boyfriend should have an accent, which won Best Of Fest in the 2015 Ottawa Fringe Festival. (Photo: Joshua Pearlman)
Ottawa Maker’s Market
Ottawa has a thriving artisan community, and Ottawa Maker’s Market is proof of that. On Thursday, Oct. 8, head over to Orange Art Gallery for After Hours, a special late night edition of the market. Peruse skin care products (Scrub Inspired), jewellery (Strut and Wildtree), pottery (Clay Pigeon Design), ice cream truffles (Moo Shu), preserves (Lowertown Canning Co.), and more, all while you chow down on gourmet Asian food by Angry Dragonz and delicious plantain chips by Plátanos. Admission is pay-what-you-can. See Facebook event page for more info. Orange Art Gallery, 290 City Centre Ave., 613-761-1500, orangeartgallery.ca.
Virtuoso cellist Matt Haimovitz performs at the Black Sheep Inn. (Photo: Stephanie McKinnon)
OCT. 3 Cello prodigy Matt Haimovitz began his career at the age of 13 as a student of Leonard Rose at the Juilliard School. Over the next decade, he went on to perform with some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra at the tender age of 15. Since then, however, he’s taken to playing in unusual venues such as bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, performing a selection of classical and non-classical tunes.
•The Black Sheep Inn, 753 Riverside Dr., 819-459-3228, theblacksheepinn.com
BY AMY ALLEN, NICOLINA LEONE, AND MATT HARRISON
Take a ride on the ferris wheel at the Metcalfe Fair.
If there is one thing I learned this summer while doing the Weekender, it is this: most of our rural fairs are older than our country. The Metcalfe Fair will be celebrating its 159th anniversary this year, beginning on Thursday, Oct. 1 and running until Sunday, Oct. 4. Check out agricultural and culinary competitions, a dairy cattle show, a midway and games, a demolition derby, musical performances, a kids’ tent, a pony show, dancing, and even a wrestling match. Daily rates and event passes vary in price; check the website for schedule and ticket info. Metcalfe Fairgrounds, 2821 8th Line Rd., Metcalfe, 613-821-0591, metcalfefair.com.
The classic Barber of Seville gets an update, thanks to Ottawa’s Opera Lyra. (Photo: Edmonton Opera and Nanc Price)
SEPT. 26 TO OCT. 3 Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville is one of the world’s most enduring and popular operas, and Ottawa’s Opera Lyra updates it for modern audiences. The amorous Count Almaviva is single-mindedly obsessed with winning the heart of Rosina, a beautiful young actress at a 1940s movie studio. With the help of the studio’s stylist, Figaro, he hatches a plot to win her from the clutches of Bartolo, the studio’s overbearing owner.
•National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-2787. nac-cna.ca
•Map and reviews
BY AMY ALLEN AND NICOLINA LEONE
Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World is just one of several social justice documentaries being screened at the One World Film Festival.
One World Film Festival
Off the coast of British Columbia, the archipelago of Haida Gwaii is the ancestral home of the Haida people, who have inhabited its twin islands for more than 10,000 years. Their recent history, though, has been turbulent. Diseases, spread by European colonists in the 1800s, wiped out 90 percent of the population; in the ensuing decades, unsustainable logging and over-fishing have wrought further havoc on the land’s pristine beauty. But the Haida people are fighting back. In Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World, director Charles Wilkinson shows how they have exerted their sovereignty to stop industry from running roughshod all over the islands.
Haida Gwaii won the 2015 HotDocs Award for Best Canadian Feature Documentary, and it’s just one of many films with a social justice bent that will be screened at this year’s One World Film Festival, which launches on Thursday, Sept. 24. On opening night, catch My Enemy, My Brother, a Canadian short about two men who fought on opposite sides of the Iran-Iraq War and who later became friends, and Democrats, which chronicles an uneasy alliance between two officials in Zimbabwe’s government.
Admission is pay-what-you can, with a suggested donation of $15. Films screen at the National Gallery of Canada from Thursday, Sept. 24 to Saturday, Sept. 26, and Saint Paul University on Sunday, Sept. 27. See website for complete schedule. National Gallery of Canada: 380 Sussex Dr., 613-990-1985. Saint Paul University: 223 Main St., 613-236-1393, oneworldfilmfestival.ca.
The ByWard Market is one of the top spots in the city for dining, shopping, and sightseeing. (Photo: ByWard Market BIA)
In 1826, when Lieutenant Colonel John By arrived in Ottawa to start construction on the Rideau Canal, he established as his base the area now known as the ByWard Market. Since then, it has existed in one form or another as a farmers’ market, which makes it the oldest continuously operating market of its kind in Canada. But there’s more to it than just produce — it’s home to dozens of bars, restaurants, shops, and clubs, and it’s one of the most happening places in the city past sundown.
BY AMY ALLEN AND NICOLINA LEONE
Canadian producer AA Wallace spins some sweet tunes at the fourth anniversary of Kitchen Party, on at Cafe Nostalgica on Sept. 18.
From Folk Fest to CityFolk! The name change came with an added bonus, too: Marvest, a musical harvest. Part of CityFolk (Sept. 16 to 20), the free festival will run from Thursday, Sept. 17 until Sunday, Sept. 20. It spotlights over 60 local bands and singer-songwriters, who will perform at the Aberdeen Pavilion as well as various restaurants and shops along Bank Street. Venues include The Wild Oat, Metro Music, Octopus Books, Black Squirrel Books, House of Targ (the only paid show — a steal at $5), Kunstadt Sports, FarmTeam Cookhouse & Bar, David’s Tea, The Unrefined Olive, Original Burger Joint, Whole Foods, Local Public Eatery, and Irene’s Pub.
According to the CityFolk website, “the focus of Marvest is to present Ottawa with a feast of locally produced music, food and drink — everything from within 100 miles of the region.”
Nine bands from the area were chosen to release their new albums at Marvest. The performances will cater to a variety of audiences, with Saturday afternoon shows being more family oriented. Check the schedule for more details. The Glebe, cityfolkfestival.com.
In Noel Coward’s comedic play about a séance gone wrong, author Charles Condomine contends with the ghost of his deceased wife.
SEPT. 15 TO OCT. 3 In the comedic play Blithe Spirit, author Charles Condomine invites a medium, Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a séance as research for a novel he’s writing. But pandemonium ensues when Madame Arcati inadvertently summons the ghost of Condomine’s first wife, Elvira, who does everything in her power to disrupt his current marriage. The chaos increases two-fold when Elvira sabotages Condomine’s car and accidentally kills his new wife, Ruth.
•Ottawa Little Theatre, 400 King Edward Ave., 613-233-8948. ottawalittletheatre.com
House of PainT incorporates the four pillars of hip hop: DJing, MCing, break dance, and graffiti art.
SEPT. 10 TO 14 Graffiti art, break dancing, DJing, and MCing — these are the four pillars of hip hop, and House of PainT brings all of them to the forefront in its annual celebration of street culture. Hear slam poets go head to head for prizes, watch break dancers and beat boxers battle it out, catch concerts by high profile DJs and MCs, see graffiti artists at work, and browse clothing, jewellery, food, and crafts at the open air arts market. There are plenty of family friendly activities to keep the kids entertained, too.
•Dunbar Bridge, Bronson Avenue at the Rideau River. houseofpaint.ca
BY AMY ALLEN
Jen Grant and Erica Sigurdson are just two of the witty, wonderful female comedians appearing in My Jokes Are Up Here at the Ottawa Little Theatre.
Sharon VanStarkenburg’s Debutantes
A debutante is a young woman who is presented to society (typically at a big to-do such as a debutante ball or a cotillion) when she “comes of age.” Back in the day, it signified that a young woman had left childhood and was now eligible for marriage; in modern times, it’s more about introducing new adults to society.
In her startling oil paintings, Sharon VanStarkenburg captures the transition of these young women from adolescence to adulthood. She focuses particularly on the ways in which society “sexualizes, frets over, censors, exploits, and admonishes young women.” The girls in her paintings meet the viewer’s gaze directly, their faces and bodies marked by garish makeup that at times looks eerily like blood. In some cases, their bodies are mutated, almost alien.
The exhibition opens on Thursday, Sept. 10 at Wall Space Gallery and runs until Thursday, Oct. 1. Admission is free. See website for more info. Wall Space Gallery, 358 Richmond Rd., 613-729-0003, wallspacegallery.ca.