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Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bikedays

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for August 31 to September 3

Friday, August 31

The Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival.

This year marks the 25th edition of the renowned Hot Air Balloon Festival at parc de la Baie in Gatineau. Colourful hot air balloons fill the sky, while an amusement park, circus entertainment, and more fill the rest of the weekend. With a lineup of nightly performances, including KC and the Sunshine Band and Quebec’s own Simple Plan, this festival is staging an unforgettable anniversary.

Come out for a haunting night at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum with a throw-back drive-in screening of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1939 film, The Hound of the Baskervilles. Site opens at 8pm, screening at 9pm.

With the end of the Classic Theatre Festival’s third summer season comes Labour Day weekend and back-to-school admission specials for the festival’s comic hit “Mary, Mary,” a comedy of second chances, and a product of the era that brought us TV’s Mad Men. From Wednesday, August 29 to Sunday, September 2, students get in for free with any parent who purchases tickets, and in honour of Labour Day, all union members and public servants get a 20% discount on tickets for the last week as well.

Saturday, September 1

Legendary impressionist and stand-up comic Rich Little.

Ottawa-born comedian Rich Little is hitting the stage for a special Ottawa Little Theatre benefit show. The legendary impressionist will be performing his one-man show “Jimmy Stewart and Friends” for the audience, where he impersonates everyone from Katharine Hepburn to John Wayne.

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Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for July 27 to 29

Friday, July 27

Estonia’s Arsis Handbell Ensemble plays Ottawa Chamberfest on Friday night.

The Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival is back for another season of international music from the boldest names in ensemble and solo performance. Concerts are held in churches, arts centers, and other downtown venues. Featured artists on opening night include the Arsis Handbell Ensemble, the Gryphon Trio with Julie Nesrallah, and poetry and interviews with Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent. Until August 9.

Odyssey Theatre is presenting The Game of Love and Chance, Marivaux’s classic comedy, in this 2012 season of Theatre Under the Stars. Enjoy the ambiance of the great outdoors as this 18th Century comic farce takes you on a journey through the tale of two lovers, caught up in intrigue, disguises and forbidden passion. Until August 26.

The Ottawa Little Theatre presents the last weekend of Black Coffee, one of Agatha Chrisite’s lesser-known mysteries. With many twists and turns, the audience is brought through a case that will tantalize both die-hard Christie fans and those who are new to her work.

Saturday, July 28

Steering Towards Hope showcases unique cars and motorcycles at Scotiabank Place. The Steering Towards Hope team and the Kidney Foundation of Canada are working together to make this the biggest event in its history, and the only event in the National Capital Region to involve cars, big trucks, and motorcycles. General admission is free; however, a non-perishable donation to the Ottawa Food Bank is welcome.

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Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for May 18 to 20

Friday, May 18

Dutch DJ Nicky Romero plays Elektrik Tulipe on Friday.

The end of The Canadian Tulip Festival this weekend brings electronic music event Electrik Tulipe. In collaboration with the festival, world famous DJs will set the stage this Friday with performances by Steve Angello of the famed Swedish House Mafia, Dutch DJ/producer Nicky Romero, and Size Records DJ Third Party.

Nightwalking is an exhibit by artist Julie Berthelot that explores Canadian landscapes through large-scale abstract paintings of trees, fields and forests. The exhibit runs through June 3. Artist vernissage will take place this Thursday at Orange Art Gallery.

The 40th annual MusicFest Canada is a five-day event that celebrates over 10,000 young Canadian musicians through performance. Friday’s lineup features the 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert with performances from Canadian artist David Clayton-Thomas from the band Blood, Sweat & Tears, jazz vocalist Ranee Lee, drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez from Santana, and Yamaha pianist Oliver Jones.

Saturday, May 19

The four-day-long Sheep Shearing Festival at the Canada Agriculture Museum teaches children (and adults alike) about the many uses of sheep’s wool. Activities include sheep shearing and herding, sheepdog agility, wool carding, and felt making. Children will also be able to help Little Bo Peep find her sheep. (more…)

Fit Fun in Ottawa!

A roundup of the best outdoor fitness excursions the city has to offer.
By Misa Kobayashi

Yoga on Parliament Hill

EASY WAY TO INNER PEACE
Yoga lovers will adore the mega sessions that take place on Parliament Hill during summer. Led by instructors from the athletic apparel store lululemon athletica, these fabulously fun (and free!) classes attract all fitness levels and are a great way to get some much-needed sunshine while enjoying the historic scenery on Parliament Hill. Gather your friends or family, or go it solo, and join the more than 200 people who participate each week. Try it out for yourself on Wednesdays from noon to 1pm (regular classes begin in June, though may start earlier depending on the weather, see www.lululemon.com/ottawa/rideaucentre for details).

The Rideau Canal. Photo credit: NCC/CCN.

REMARKABLE RUNNING ROUTES
One of the most popular places for walking, jogging, and biking is along the Rideau Canal. This man-made waterway is centrally located, offering up a route in the middle of the city that’s bordered by plenty of greenery. Check out the Rideau Canal Western Pathway and the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway. Both offer 8 kilometres of flat paved terrain that go into the downtown core. The former offers views of Queen Elizabeth Driveway and access to the National Arts Centre, while the latter runs along Colonel By Drive with access to Hartwell Locks and Mooney’s Bay Park and Beach. For more information see www.canadascapital.gc.ca/biking.

Cycling past Parliament Hill. Photo credit: Ottawa Tourism.

LIKE TO BIKE
Starting May 22, tons of people will hop on their bikes or strap on their rollerblades for Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bikedays. This annual event takes place every Sunday until September and allows people to run, walk, blade, and bike without worrying about traffic, as more than 50 kilometres of scenic parkways are closed to cars for the morning. Popular routes include the Ottawa River Parkway (5.5 kilometres) and Rockcliffe Parkway (8.4 kilometres). This is just one way to experience Ottawa on wheels, but throughout the year you can also enjoy more than 220 kilometres of recreational pathways, as Ottawa is home to one of North America’s largest networks of cycling paths that link parks, gardens, museums, and other local attractions. If you didn’t bring your bike with you, check out RentABike (www.rentabike.ca) for downtown rentals. (more…)

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! (more…)