Friday, June 17
Cheer on 5,000 paddlers from more than 190 teams at the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, the largest of its kind in North America. This free, three-day party boasts non-stop racing, kid-friendly activities, and live music (performances include Steven Page from the Barenaked Ladies and Ash Koley). Watch in awe as teams of 20 (plus a drummer and a steersperson) propel these massive boats forward with lightning-fast times. The festival runs until Sunday.
Centre d’exposition L’Imagier debuts its latest exhibition today, called “Hommes en voie de distinction.” This group show invited eight artists to take a personal and current look at the notion of “gallantry,” and showcases eight very diverse perceptions of this word. The exhibit takes a fresh look at what gallantry could be in a present-day context, and is presented in a variety of mediums that include installation, painting, photography, audio art, and video.
In honour of National Aboriginal Day, the Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival offers a chance to experience and celebrate diverse Aboriginal cultures. The usual festival activities are on the bill (pony rides, a petting zoo, bouncy castles), but you can also explore an artisan village, which features interactive arts workshops, demonstrations, vendors, and traditional food. There will also be live performances taking place throughout the weekend, with an international competition powwow, a headline show by Shane Yellowbird, an “Aboriginal Canada We’ve Got Talent!” competition with more than $15,000 in prize money, and a cultural showcase featuring traditional and contemporary Aboriginal arts. It starts today and runs until Sunday, rain or shine. Note: the festival is free but donations are gratefully accepted.
Saturday, June 18
Singer/songwriter Lindi Ortega from Toronto brings her upbeat, folk-infused brand of country to Cafe Dekcuf after the recent release of her latest album, Little Red Boots. A unique genre she refers to as “a roadside motel love affair between old school outlaws and country darlings,” her tunes will have you swaying in your seat and tapping your (cowboy boot-clad) toes. Interesting fact: she’s opened for UK band Keane and Kevin Costner’s band The Modern West.
Carnival comes to the city during Carivibe, a celebration of Caribbean culture. Kick off the day with a parade down St. Joseph Boulevard at noon, and then head to the beach at Petrie Island, where you’ll find beats by steel pan bands, costumed masqueraders, traditional Caribbean cuisine, and activities for the whole family.
Ladies and gentlemen, step right up to one of the greatest shows on earth! This is the last day to see the NAC Orchestra team up with spectacular circus performers for a show that mixes the best of live classic and contemporary music with the acrobatic wonders of circus performers in NACO Pops: Cirque de la Symphonie. Mimes, strongmen, and aerialists perform as the orchestra plays carnival themes like “Night on Bald Mountain.” The circus never sounded so good. Performances run June 16 to 18.
Sunday, June 19
For the third year in a row, the Canadian Museum of Nature presents the exhibition Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year. Opening June 17, visitors can see the 30 winning photographs from the 2010 Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year contest, organized by Canadian Geographic. Judges select the top photos from an astounding almost 3,800 entries. The photos capture the unique, bizarre, beautiful, and dangerous character of the natural world, with images that range from a garter snake to a grizzly bear.