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What to See Ottawa

The Written Word: Akram Zaatari at the Carleton U Art Gallery

Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari explores the act of letter writing during the Lebanese Civil War.

Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari explores the act of letter writing during the Lebanese Civil War. (Photo: Akram Zaatari, Letters From Askalan (2007), C-print, courtesy of the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery)

Written correspondence may be a dying art in this day and age, but Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari brings it to the forefront in a new exhibition at the Carleton University Art Gallery. All Is Well explores themes of friendship, love, historical events, and political resistance in Lebanon from the early 1990s to the present, with a special focus on letters received by political detainee Nabih Awada during his time in an Israeli prison. On display until March 29.
•Carleton University Art Gallery, St. Patrick’s Building,1125 Colonel By Dr., 613-520-2120. cuag.carleton.ca
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Disney on Ice Brings Fantastic Worlds to Ottawa

Beloved characters skate to songs from four classic Disney tales.

Beloved characters skate to songs from four classic Disney tales.

FEB. 25 TO MARCH 1 This winter, four beloved tales from the Disney archives come to life on the rink with Disney on Ice: Worlds of Fantasy. Join Mickey and Minnie Mouse on a roadtrip, where they encounter characters from Cars, The Little Mermaid, Tinker Bell, and the Toy Story franchise. The show is the perfect combination of modern and classic Disney, and it’s great for the whole family.
•Canadian Tire Centre, 1000 Palladium Dr., 877-788-3267. canadiantirecentre.com

Shine a Light

Shine a Light features the best of the National Gallery of Canada's acquisitions over the past year, including this painting by Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. (Photo: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun Red Man Watching White Man Trying to Fix Hole in the Sky, 1990 acrylic on canvas, 142.3 × 226.1 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo © NGC)

Shine a Light features the best of the National Gallery of Canada’s acquisitions over the past year, including this painting by Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. (Photo: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, Red Man Watching White Man Trying to Fix Hole in the Sky, 1990 acrylic on canvas, 142.3 × 226.1 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo © NGC)

Canadian and Indigenous artists get their moment in the limelight in a new exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada. Shine a Light highlights best of the best of the gallery’s acquisitions over the past year, including works by artists such as David Armstrong Six, An Te Liu, Jutai Toonoo, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun (pictured), and others. On display until March 8. —Amy Allen
•National Gallery of Canada, 380 Sussex Dr., 613-990-1985. gallery.ca
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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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Big Sugar at Shenkman Arts Centre

Big Sugar, Canada's resident reggae rock band, brings their unplugged tour to Shenkman Arts Centre. (Photo: Michael Maxxis)

Big Sugar, Canada’s resident reggae rock band, brings their unplugged tour to Shenkman Arts Centre. (Photo: Michael Maxxis)

JAN. 30 Reggae rock group Big Sugar was popular in Canada throughout much of the ‘90s. Their sophomore album, Five Hundred Pounds, sold 10,000 copies through word of mouth alone, based on their reputation as a live band. After a six-year hiatus, they reunited and have since produced one live and two studio albums. The band performs some of their best-loved songs, plus new material from their latest album, Yardstyle, in an entirely acoustic setting. —Amy Allen
•Shenkman Arts Centre, 245 Centrum Blvd., 866-752-5231. shenkmanarts.ca

Dystopian Dance: The Royal Winnipeg Ballet Performs The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood's classic dystopian novel about a fundamentalist regime is translated to the stage by the National Ballet of Canada. (Photo: Réjean Brandt)

Margaret Atwood’s classic dystopian novel about a fundamentalist regime is translated to the stage by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. (Photo: Réjean Brandt)

JAN. 22 TO 24 The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s novel about a concubine dissatisfied with the fundamentalist regime she lives in, is perhaps one of the most important works of speculative fiction ever written. With help from celebrated choreographer Lila York, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet transforms it into a compelling visual drama about forbidden desires and emotional honesty. —Amy Allen
•National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-ARTS. nac-cna.ca
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Centre Stage: Compagnie Marie Chouinard in Ottawa

Choreographer Marie Chouinard brings two dance routines to the National Arts Centre. (Photo: Marie Chouinard)

Choreographer Marie Chouinard brings two dance routines to the National Arts Centre. (Photo: Marie Chouinard)

JAN. 17 Gambolling in the ice and snow might not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially when temperatures drop and the blizzards start howling. Thankfully, there’s plenty to do indoors, with dancers from around the world heating up the capital’s stages. Try Henri Michaux: Mouvements and Gymnopédies by Compagnie Marie Chouinard (pictured). In their performance at the National Arts Centre, members of the troupe form silhouettes that match projections of drawings by poet and artist Henri Michaux. —Amy Allen
•National Arts Centre, Theatre, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-ARTS. nac-cna.ca
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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
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Dark Tranquillity at Mavericks

Dark Tranquillity, one of the original bands from the Gothenburg death metal scene, performs at Mavericks on Jan. 10. (Photo: Daniel Falk)

Dark Tranquillity, one of the original bands from the Gothenburg death metal scene, performs at Mavericks on Jan. 10. (Photo: Daniel Falk)

JAN. 10 The Gothenburg death metal scene evolved in the early 1990s, and Dark Tranquillity is considered a pioneer of the genre. Fusing aspects of death metal, progressive metal, and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, they continue to prove the formula works — after all, they have 10 studio albums to their name, and remain one of the most successful bands from the original Gothenburg scene. —Amy Allen
•Mavericks, 221 Rideau St., 613-562-3941. mavericksbar.com
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Surreal Sights at Trinity Art Gallery

Alena Liapko's paintings bring the capital's sights to surreal life. (Photo: Courtesy of the Artist)

Alena Liapko’s paintings bring the capital’s sights to surreal life. (Photo: Courtesy of the Artist)

Alena Liapko’s stunning watercolours of Ottawa’s landscapes depict at once the familiar and the unknown. The luminous colours and undulating lines of the Gatineau Hills and the ByWard Market bring an element of fantasy to the city, where the buildings themselves seem to surge with an inner life. The exhibition features the best of Liapko’s work from 2014. On display from Jan. 8 until Feb. 10. —Amy Allen
•Trinity Art Gallery, 245 Centrum Blvd., 613-580-2787. ottawa.ca/arts

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
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