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Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for the Long Weekend (May 20 to 23)

A piece from the exhibition "JAPAN: Tradition. Innovation." Photo credit: Designer- Toshiyuki Kita. Manufacturer- Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan 2002. Photo- Luigi Sciuccati.

Friday, May 20
The Canadian Museum of Civilization launches its newest exhibition today, entitled “JAPAN: Tradition. Innovation.” We’ve heard many stories about this country since it was struck by a devastating tsunami and earthquake on March 11; now, learn more about the enterprising spirit that has defined Japan in the past and will continue to define it in the future. The show is comprised of five themes: travel, automation, social status, consumer culture, and entertainment, and provides rare insight into the creative character of Japan by comparing contemporary designs with historical artifacts.

Saturday, May 21
Starting today and running until Monday, visitors can learn about the surprising world of wool at the Canada Agriculture Museum. Watch sheep-shearing demonstrations given by an expert shearer, and learn how many different objects we use in everyday life are made by washing, carding, dying, spinning, and knitting wool. You can also watch border collies take part in agility competitions, try your hand at knitting (with a little help, of course), and kids can make some fun sheep-themed crafts to take home.

Here’s the premise for Ottawa’s third annual Ottawa Rock Lottery (and if you don’t know about this, you should!): There are 25 musicians from different genres and bands. Five bands are determined by randomly pulling names out of a hat. The newly formed groups have 24 hours to create a 20 – 30 minute set of all original music, which will be performed that very night. Some added cool for this year includes a burlesque performance, door prizes, and a free rock’n’roll photo booth. How does it get better? Oh yeah, all proceeds go to a local charity!

Ottawa Fat Cats. Photo credit: Michael Gauthier/Freedom Photography.

The city’s cheekily-named Intercounty Baseball League team, the Ottawa Fat Cats, kicks off the season with their first home game tonight. The team plays Kitchener at home Saturday and Sunday, followed by a double header against both Kitchener and Toronto. It’s a great family outing and tickets are a bargain at $12 for general admission and a variety of student, senior, child, and online discounts. Now that should get you singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in no time!

Sunday, May 22
Today is the day all cyclists love: The start of Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bikedays. More than 50 kilometres of road will be closed to cars on Sunday mornings until early September, so you can explore the scenic views of the Ottawa River Parkway, Colonel By Drive, the Rockcliffe Parkway, and Gatineau Park, all without having to fight traffic.

After almost a month on display at the city-run Atrium Gallery, “Young at Art” ends May 24. Check out the stunning artwork by young visual artists (between the ages of 12 and 19), whose pieces were chosen in the annual citywide, juried exhibition.

The Canadian Tulip Festival. Photo credit: Ottawa Tourism.

Monday, May 23
It hasn’t been ideal weather, but the Canadian Tulip Festival won’t let a gray sky slow down this international celebration. The event wraps up today, but before it does there are a plethora of cultural events and activities to see and participate in. Just some of the performances on the bill include an orchestra from India, a dance troupe from the Philippines, Aboriginal Experiences, Brazilian samba, and Japanese drumming. You can also play in the community LEGO Garden, experience music in the tulip beds, enjoy an evening Kaleidoscope party with a DJ, and much, much more.

Wrap up your long weekend with the Victoria Day Festival, which runs all week until May 23. Indulge in some good old fashioned family fun with midway rides (kiddie rides are their specialty) and a petting zoo, while local live entertainment rocks out on stage. You can even check out tulips from the Canadian Tulip Festival at nearby Commissioners Park. The long weekend festival closes with a bang with a fireworks show at 10:15pm.

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