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Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for the Long Weekend

The Rideau Canal Festival offers up a variety of fun family activities.

Friday, July 29
Everyone in Ottawa knows the Rideau Canal is the grand dame of the city, a scenic waterway that winds its way through downtown. Both locals and visitors alike can celebrate this historic landmark at the Rideau Canal Festival, now in its fourth year. The five day party offers non-stop activities, including a cycling fashion show, sculptural installations, canal cruises, and Colonel By Day celebrations with musical acts and children’s games. The festival kicks off July 28 and runs all weekend.

Saturday, July 30
Jugglers, comedians, storytellers, fire-eaters, magicians, musicians, clowns, and many other strange and wonderful performers convene on the Sparks Street Mall for five days of outdoor entertainment at Buskerfest, running July 28 to Aug. 1. Don’t forget to bring plenty of change to drop into the hats of those who most tickle your fancy.

Missed seeing the Beatles the first time around? Then take in The British Invasion, a tribute show that will take you on a nostalgic trip through time. John, Paul, George, and Ringo impersonators will journey through the hits of the Fab Four from their early days in Liverpool to their last moments as a band, all in a spectacular multi-media production. Plays July 28 to 30.

The Patrick John Mills Contemporary Fine Art Gallery hosts its legendary Big Art Party in the gallery’s exhibition space and sculpture garden. Every art form will be performed in this massive community event, which includes music, dance, poetry slam, and a large collective collage work.

Tonight, enjoy an outdoor screening of video vignettes called My Precious Novella, put on by SAW Video. The nine videos, which all run under ten minutes, range from dream-like parables to performance art to sharply edited mini-documentaries. The films put a twist on traditional narrative forms, presenting personal stories with unexpected turns.

Sunday, July 31
Explore the career of Alexander J. Wyse, whose exhibition “Wyse Works: Exposing the Inevitable” will be on view at the Ottawa Art Gallery. A staple in the local arts community since the ’70s, the exhibit highlights more than five decades of his unique work. Wyse’s style often humorously depicts human follies and failures, which take the form of whimsical objects, handmade sculptures, and mixed media paintings.

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