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What to See Ottawa

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.

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.

The Best 8 New Summer Attractions in Canada

Best New Summer Attractions Awards 2013: Calgary

Best New Summer Attractions Awards 2013: A shot of Calgary’s winner

Each year, the editors of Where from across Canada release their picks for the summer’s most anticipated attractions. Winners of the Best New Summer Attractions Awards could be brand new, significantly improved, or celebrating major milestones. From graceful sports temples to rich explorations of science and history, this year’s coast-to-coast list offers a set of thrilling diversions for travellers planning their summer vacations in Canada.

See the winners of the Best New Summer Attractions Awards for 2013 »

Museum of Civilization Commemorates Champlain, the St. Lawrence River



The Canadian Museum of Civilization commemorates the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s arrival
to the Ottawa-Gatineau region. The astrolobe pictured here is one of the many artifacts on display. (Photo: CMC/Marie-Louise Deruaz)

Imagine embarking on a journey with no known destination, and without a map or GPS. For renowned explorer Samuel de Champlain, this was life.

On June 4, 1613 Samuel de Champlain arrived on the banks of the Ottawa River, in what is now known as the Ottawa-Gatineau region. To commemorate the 400th anniversary of this historic occasion, the Canadian Museum of Civilization presents Champlain, the First Account.

Champlain, the First Account
Champlain, the First Account displays the difficult journey up the Ottawa River and the impact Champlain had on the Aboriginal Peoples who inhabited this area before his arrival. The Canadian Museum of Civilization exhibit showcases more than 50 artifacts from differing time periods, including Champlain’s invaluable astrolabe that is said to have helped guide him to this area.

“Samuel de Champlain is one of the most important figures in our country’s history,” says the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. “On the road to 2017, Canada’s 150th birthday, we encourage Canadians across the country to visit museums, to learn from them, and to reconnect with their history.”

Moving with the River
The Canadian Museum of Civilization also presents Moving with the River, developed by Parks Canada, which complements the Museum’s exhibition on Champlain.

Moving with the River outlines the history of the St. Lawrence River and its direct link to the settlement of Canada. The mighty waterway, first inhabited by the First Peoples, was a major passageway to the Great Lakes and western Canada.

“The history of the St. Lawrence River is crucial to understanding how our country was developed,” says Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation.

Moving with the River is divided into four historical periods: the ancient Iroquoian presence in the land; Franco-Aboriginal alliances; the expansion of French settlement in the St. Lawrence Valley; and how Québec City became a gateway for waves of European immigrants.

Moving With the River is on display until March 24, 2014, and Champlain, the First Account runs until April 27, 2014.

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 Music Guide: Top 12 Ottawa Venues For Live Music



Ottawa Music Venues: Rich Aucoin gets up close with the crowd at Café Dekcuf (Photo: Ming Wu)

OTTAWA MUSIC VENUES: Babylon Nightclub
This Ottawa music venue in the city’s Centretown neighbourhood is home to artists of all kinds, showcasing hip hop groups one night and indie rockers the next. There’s plenty of room for dancing, but also lots of comfy seating for those who enjoy catching up with friends. See what’s on this week by clicking here.
• Babylon Nightclub, 317 Bank St., 613-594-0003, babylonclub.ca
Map and Reviews


Canadian Tulip Festival Begins This Weekend in Ottawa


Canadian Tulip Festival: Friday May 3


The Canadian Tulip Festival begins this weekend in Ottawa

The 61st Canadian Tulip Festival begin today!

The festival will start this morning with the Commemorative Cavalcade of Classics. This procession of vintage vehicles runs from Dows Lake and continues all the way to Tulip Plaza at City Hall on Laurier Street. This time-honoured tradition was founded as a way to welcome soldiers home from the Second World War, as well as mark the beginning of the very first Tulip Festival.

The Cavalcade will be greeted by the boisterous sounds of jazz and swing music as the seven-piece band The Jivewires kick-off this 18-day festival. For those who jump and jive, or even for those who just want to sit and listen, this free show is sure to have you toe-tapping in no time.

In the evening Ottawa’s very own Hollerado hits the stage at Tulip Plaza. This young band, originally from Manotick, Ontario, a small town just outside of Ottawa, has exploded onto the music scene over the past couple of years. The show is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. with opening acts Hotel Morphée and Pandaléon. This will be a monumental kick-off for the 61st Canadian Tulip Festival.

Canadian Tulip Festival: Saturday May 4

The BULB, or Big Urban Living Boutique, is scheduled to be at the Tulip Plaza beginning at 10:00 a.m. The BULB gathers over 20 artists to showcase everything from arts, crafts and handmade soaps to photography, fashion, and jewellery.

Canadian Tulip Festival: Sunday May 5

Something new to the Tulip Festival this year is the addition of the Tulip Route Bike Ride, in partnership with Capital Vélo Fest. Choose to ride with friends and family, or participate in a guided tour. Both are free of charge and conducted by festival volunteers.

This 16-kilometre tour begins on Preston Street in the Little Italy section of the Tulip Festival and loops around Ottawa and Gatineau.



Ottawa Weekend Calendar for April 19 to 21


Ottawa Weekend Calendar: The Caverners capture the essence of The Beatles.

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Friday, April 19

Once you’ve thrown in the towel on the workweek, head over to the Ottawa St. Anthony Italia Soccer Club and watch opponents go toe-to-toe at Beaver Boxing’s Big Fight Night in Little Italy. Fighters will be bobbing and weaving for a good cause, as proceeds go right back into the organization’s Beaver Boxing Club Youth Boxing Program. Come find out who will go the distance!

Return to Yesterday and get the total Beatles experience with The Caverners. From the Liverpudlian accents, to the hair, clothing, and classic Ludwig Ringo drum kit, Canada’s premier Beatle’s tribute band offers a Ticket to Ride back in time and experience The Beatles in concert once again. Grab your friends and Come Together for this sentimental show at the Centrepointe Theatre this weekend.

An interactive learning experience for adults, Arctic Armchair Adventures are offered by the Museum of Nature to help you explore and understand the Arctic without having to buy a new winter jacket. Tonight only, check out breathtaking imagery and footage as you embark on a virtual expedition led by several Students on Ice alumni.

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Saturday, April 20


Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Pick up a one of a kind present for Mother’s Day at the OVCC show.

Join the Ottawa Valley Craft and Collectibles Show where 70 local artists, artisans, and crafters are selling their wares at Library and Archives Canada. The show’s strong commitment to “thinking local” extends to the Ottawa Humane Society, the charity of choice which will receive all the proceeds of the silent auction. Peruse the crafts market, antiques and collectibles, explore the art exhibition, and grab a bite from the OVCC Café when you’ve struck up an appetite.

The Meeples Republic brings people together for the sole purpose of enjoying each others company! Join friends and strangers at the Shopify Lounge to partake in an evening of fun that everyone can agree on: party games, Kichesippi beer, and snacks from local producers. If mingling with good people isn’t prize enough for you, there are door prizes to be won from Emulsify, Games for All, and the Comic Book Shoppe.

Pop-rock and ballet combine in a flash of sequins for the Alberta Ballet‘s production of Love Lies Bleeding. Set to 14 classic songs sung by Sir Elton John, this extravagant show at the NAC explores the inevitable hardships that go hand-in-hand with super stardom.

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Sunday, April 21

Got the Sunday blues? A pair of talented Canadian singer-songwriters at the Black Sheep Inn will almost certainly lift your spirits. Offering a variety of pop and rock with folk influences, Toronto singer-songwriter Matthew Barber has seven albums worth of material to choose from for his lineup. Joining him is 18-year-old Nova Scotian Molly Thomason, who herself already has two albums of hook-laden songs under her belt.

You’ll be transfixed by arabesques and axels as national champion figure skaters take Scotiabank Place by storm. This year’s Stars on Ice tour brings household names such as Kurt Browning, Patrick Chan, and Joannie Rochette to Ottawa for a spectacular show.

Star Wars Identities Comes to Ottawa: A Sneak Peek of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum Exhibit


Star Wars Identities Ottawa

Darth Vader in Star Wars Identities (Photo: © 2012 Lucasfilms Ltd. & TM)

Star Wars is coming to Ottawa! The Canada Aviation and Space Museum presents the blockbuster exhibition Star Wars Identities. From Yoda to Han Solo, this special exhibit explores the world of Star Wars with over 200 costumes, props, and models. The exhibition also looks at the identities of all your favourite Star Wars characters, and allows you to create your own Star Wars hero.

Star Wars Identities opens in Ottawa on May 10 and runs until October 14 at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. Here we take a sneak peek at some of the incredible sights that are part of this exhibition!

Start our slideshow for a sneak peek of the Star Wars Identities exhibition »


Ottawa Weekend Calendar for April 12 to 14



Ottawa Weekend Calendar: The company from Peggy Baker Dance Projects performs Piano/Quartet

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Friday, April 12

At the end of a long week, allow music and dancing to sweep you away. This weekend, an outstanding group of dancers from Peggy Baker Dance Projects take the stage at the NAC to showcase their new major work Piano/Quartet. Accompanied by celebrated pianist John Kameel Farah, this exquisite show showcases the transcendent qualities of contemporary dance and live music.

Have you ever wanted to completely recreate yourself? Chamber Theatre Hintonburg’s presentation of Edmond may convince you to think again. Written by David Mamet in the 1980s, the play tells the tale of the unhappy, mild-mannered Edmond Burke as he embarks on a journey to create himself anew. The results are ruinous. Don’t miss this thought-provoking production at The Carleton Tavern.


Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Ottawa’s Hollerado opens for Billy Talent at Scotiabank Place

Rock rumbles into town this weekend as groups Billy Talent, Hollerado, Sum 41, and Indian Handcrafts play at Scotiabank Place. The boys are slowly winding down their cross-Canada tour, which kicked-off on the west coast in mid-March.

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Saturday, April 13

Bring the whole clan and discover the buzz of spring on the farm. The Canada Agriculture Museum has all kinds of fun daily activities lined up this month. Kids can learn to cook with chocolate, how to milk a cow, and how to make butter. There are also plenty of opportunities to get acquainted with furry, fluffy, and feathery friends.

Roots, soul, and rock n’ roll can be found at the Black Sheep Inn this Saturday. On tour promoting their new album Ghosts of your Charms, Toronto based New Country Rehab is joined by special guests Jack Pine and The Fire. The groups complement one another well, each putting their own unique twist on the sounds of folk and alt-country.


The National Women’s Show is celebrating women at the Ottawa Convention Centre this weekend. Whatever being a woman means to you, something’s bound to tickle your fancy at this two-day extravaganza. Watch fashion shows! Enjoy food and wine! Seek home renovation advice! With so much to do, and so little time, you’ll want to show up early. A limited number of gift bags is further incentive to get an early start.

Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Sunday, April 14

Learn how to spruce up your summer retreat with all the bells and whistles at The Cottage and Backyard Show at the Ernst and Young Centre. Learn about building and renovating, and shop for new toys as you prepare for grilling season. By the time summer comes around, all you’ll have left to do is relax.


Ottawa Weekend Calendar: Get your outdoor space ready for summer at The Cottage and Backyard Show

While Dad browses The Cottage and Backyard Show, bring the kids over to Kidsfest: The 12th Annual Capital Parent and Kids Show! The show is packed with fun for everyone with shows, exhibits, and educational demonstrations. Parents can peruse summer camp exhibits and save on great family products and services. Also, Diego and his friend Dora the Explorer will be there. They’re kind of a big deal!