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What to See Ottawa

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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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

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

Lifecycles: Meaghan Haughian at La Petite Mort Gallery

Meaghan Haughian's mixed media art explores the dualities of life. (Photo: Tom Evans)

Meaghan Haughian’s mixed media art explores the dualities of life. (Photo: Tom Evans)

Meaghan Haughian’s art is simultaneously personal and universal. She uses old family photographs as the basis of each work, which lends her pieces an autobiographical element. The themes she explores, however, tackle much broader issues, such as the cyclical nature of life, history, identity, and memory. On at La Petite Mort Gallery from Dec. 5 to Jan. 4, 2015. —Amy Allen
•La Petite Mort Gallery, 306 Cumberland St., 613-860-1555. lapetitemortgallery.com
Map and reviews

Lovely Lyrics With Alejandra Ribera

Alejandra Ribera performs at the National Arts Centre on Dec. 6.

Alejandra Ribera performs at the National Arts Centre on Dec. 6.

DEC. 6 Alejandra Ribera’s sound is difficult to define. She first captured public attention in 2009 with the release of her debut album, Navigator, Navigather, which was comprised mainly of untamed, Latin-styled music. Now, she’s back with album number two, La boca, and it’s a more mature, deliberate offering. While it retains some of its Latin influences, Ribera also sings in French and, primarily, English. —Amy Allen
•National Arts Centre, Studio, 53 Elgin St., 888-991-2787. nac-cna.ca
•Map and reviews

Christmas Events in Ottawa: 9 Must-See Performances

The Alberta Ballet's production of The Nutcracker is sure to delight. (photo: Darren Makoivichuk)

The Alberta Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker is sure to delight. (Photo: Darren Makoivichuk)

Christmas only comes once a year, and with it, some truly spectacular, entertaining, and engaging holiday shows. Here are some of our picks for the season’s best performances.

THE NUTCRACKER
December 3 to 7
A Christmas classic, The Nutcracker returns to the National Arts Centre courtesy of the Alberta Ballet. With exquisitely painted backdrops and bejeweled costumes, the company brings Tchaikovsky’s timeless masterpiece to life. From $25.
•National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., 888-991-2787, nac-cna.ca 

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What to Do in Ottawa: Can’t Miss Events in December

The National Arts Centre English Theatre performs Alice Through the Looking Glass. (Photo: David Krovblit)

The National Arts Centre English Theatre performs Alice Through the Looking Glass. (Photo: David Krovblit)

Come December, the city’s stages play host to an assortment of holiday-themed acts. But fear not — there are plenty of non-Christmassy shows to catch if you’re not feeling the holiday spirit quite yet. (Come back on Monday for a roundup of our can’t-miss holiday events!)

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Lights in the Night

Since its launch in 1985, Christmas Lights Across Canada has been illuminating Ottawa's cold winter nights.

Since its launch in 1985, Christmas Lights Across Canada has been bringing warmth and holiday cheer to the capital.

In December 1985, the government of Canada launched a Christmas lights program on Parliament Hill to bring warmth and colour to the long winter nights. Since then, the program has expanded to include every province and territory across the country. The lights can now be seen at over 40 sites along Confederation Boulevard in Ottawa and Gatineau. An illumination ceremony on Dec. 3 will include a spectacular light show, carols, and on-site performances. See website for details. —Amy Allen
•Downtown Ottawa/Gatineau. christmaslights.gc.ca

Abstract Emotions: Centrepointe Theatre Gallery

In her new exhibition, JungHee Lee Marles explores the spiritual and emotional responses to the ups and downs of life.

In her new exhibition, JungHee Lee Marles explores the spiritual and emotional responses to the ups and downs of life.

Mother Nature and human nature are the main themes of Inner Strength, a new exhibit by JungHee Lee-Marles. The artist uses bright colours and textures to highlight the conflict between tranquility and chaos, but her abstract images aren’t meant to represent any physical forms. Instead, they express contrasts in inner emotion. On display at the Centrepointe Theatre Gallery from Nov. 28 to Jan. 7, 2015. —Amy Allen
•Centrepointe Theatre Gallery, Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Dr., 613-596-5783. ottawa.ca/arts
Map and reviews

Alternate Reality at Trinity Art Gallery

Ralph Nevins uses the slit-scan photography effect to produce his surreal images.

Ralph Nevins uses the slit-scan photography technique to produce his surreal images.

Photographer Ralph Nevins uses his homemade camera to capture some unusual images of people, places, and things. In Timeslice, Nevins brings engineering and art together in a display of abstract landscapes. He will also be demonstrating the “slit-scan” photography effect, which he used to capture his unique images. On at Trinity Art Gallery from Nov. 27 to Jan. 6, 2015. —Amy Allen
•Trinity Art Gallery, 245 Centrum Blvd., 613-580-2787. ottawa.ca/arts
Map and reviews

Gordon Lightfoot at the National Arts Centre

Gordon Lightfoot is one of the most influential folk artists of all time. He performs at the National Arts Centre.

Gordon Lightfoot is one of the most influential folk artists of all time. He performs at the National Arts Centre.

NOV. 22 As one of Canada’s most beloved singer-songwriters, Gordon Lightfoot hardly needs an introduction. With a career spanning five decades, he’s inspired everyone from Bob Dylan to Jimmy Buffett, and his songs have been covered by dozens of musicians. The legendary, 15-time Juno-winning artist brings his 2014 Canadian Tour to the capital for what’s sure to be an entertaining night. —Amy Allen
•National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., 888-991-2787. nac-cna.ca
Map and reviews