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12 Fabulous Winter Festivals Across Canada

Photo courtesy of Travel Manitoba

Canadians don’t hibernate in winter. Far from it!

We use the season to our advantage with fun-loving festivals from Atlantic Canada to the Yukon packed with wintry pursuits like ice sculpting, skating, and the age-old traditions of chainsaw chucking and beard growing. (more…)

16 December Festivals Across Canada

Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge. Photo by Tyler Ingram

By Kristina Breckon

Grab your parka and your toque and explore Canada this month. Following is a list of events across the country that are guaranteed to get even the biggest Scrooge into the holiday spirit. (more…)

10 Canadian Festivals this November, from Steer-Roping to Wine-Tasting

Nova Scotia Music Week (Photo by Pam Sampson)

By Kristina Breckon

The drop in temperature doesn’t mean an end to festival season. From the traditional (Christmas Tree Festival) to the delicious (Oyster Festival) here are 10 ways to beat the winter blues this November. (Festivals are listed in chronological order.)

Laurie Blue Bluegrass Festival – Summerside, PEI

Enjoy round-the-clock jams and traditional bluegrass music performances during this annual music festival, created in memory of local bluegrass legend John Laurie Blue. Nov. 3–6

A Happy Event is one of the films on the schedule for 2011's festival (Source: Cinemania)

Nova Scotia Music Week – Yarmouth, Nova Scotia

Celebrating its 15th year, Molson Canadian Nova Scotia Music Week brings together the music industry and the public for four jam-packed days of performances and more topped off with a gala awards show. Nov. 3–6

Cinemania Film Festival – Montreal, Quebec

Montreal cinephiles come together to enjoy 10 days of French film during the 17th annual Cinemania Film Festival. English speakers can enjoy all the festivities, too, as all films are shown with English subtitles. Nov. 3–13


Hot Dates: For art lovers

Sobey Art Award finalists at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

•    October 15: Nocturne, the “art at night” festival, brings art to the streets of Halifax between 6pm to midnight. The free event celebrates the visual arts scene in Halifax with exhibitions in galleries and public spaces throughout the city.
•    Continuing through January 8: The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street showcases works by artists short-listed for the Sobey Art Award. It’s the pre-eminent prize for Canadian contemporary art.

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for Aug. 19 to 21

Les 7 doigts de la main. Photo credit: Christian Tremblay.

Friday, Aug. 19
There’s no big tent, but Loft by Les 7 doigts de la main is an edgy, modern show that pulls from the best of the circus. Following the story of seven friends who take up residence in a loft to escape from the outside world, members of this collective use acrobatics, juggling, clown acts, aerial performances, poetry, and song to entertain themselves and their roommates. Music by a DJ is the backbone of the performance, with tunes that range from swing to rap to tango. On at the Casino du Lac-Leamy this Thursday and Friday and Aug. 24 to 27.

File this under “things that are really cool to watch but too scary to try” when the World Championships of Slalom Skateboarding comes to town. Slalom skateboarding involves racing down a hill on a skateboard while maneuvering between tightly placed cones. The world championships of this fast-paced sport are being held in Ottawa this year — the first time since Expo ’86 that they’re taking place on Canadian soil. More than 70 racers from 12 countries and three continents will convene in the capital to vie for the top spot in men, women, juniors, and masters classes — the latter category being for racers over 45. The event is partnered with, and will be making a donation to, United Way Ottawa. Takes place all weekend.

Make the most of the quickly dwindling summer evenings with a visit to the Ottawa Night Market. The only one of its kind in the city (this is its inaugural year, too), the market aims to promote multiculturalism by exposing visitors to the best that local businesses have to offer. Bring your appetite, as plenty of food vendors — Thai Flame, Taste of India, and My Sweet Tea, among others — will be on hand to tempt your taste buds. Visitors can also pick up some one-of-a-kind crafty creations, or just stroll along Somerset Street West, listen to some tunes, and take in the atmosphere. Takes place Friday starting at 6pm and Saturday starting at noon, with both nights running until  1am.

Saturday, Aug. 20
Adore Japanese culture? (And who doesn’t? This is, after all, the culture that brought us sushi). Then head on over to the seventh annual Japanese Summer Festival at Vincent Massey Park. The annual celebration showcases martial arts, flower arranging sessions, traditional dances, tasty food (like a hot dog with Japanese toppings!), a children’s tent with face painting, origami, and games, and a performance by Japanese pop star Blaise Plant of Monkey Majik. The pièce de résistance? It’s all free! (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for Aug. 12 to 14

Campfire & Storytelling takes place Friday nights through August.

Friday, Aug. 12
Snuggle up ‘round the fire and let your imagination run wild at the weekly Campfire & Storytelling event. The Ottawa Storytellers host an evening of oratory for both young and old at Billings Estate National Historic Site. These artists continue the age-old old tradition of storytelling, no book or paper in sight. Enjoy tales for adults and separate stories and songs for children, as well as plenty of marshmallows to roast.

Give date night a lift by grabbing snacks and laying out a blanket on the grass of Dundonald Park for the Centretown Movies Outdoor Film Festival. On Friday night, follow Harry and the gang in the second last installment of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1. On Saturday night the magic continues with awkward goofball Michael Cera in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, about a teenager who must win the heart of a girl by defeating her seven evil exes. This is the final scheduled two-night showing of the festival, with Aug. 19 as a make-up date for any rained out films and Aug. 20 either a make-up date or a surprise film.

Blues fans and rib lovers come together for the aptly titled Calabogie Blues & Ribfest. This brand new event boasts talent such as Kelly Prescott, Anders Drerup, and MonkeyJunk. There’s also a beer garden, a vendor’s area, a kids’ zone with face painting and rides, Canadian and American “ribbers” who are vying for the honour of best ribs in town, and fireworks. There are even spots for camping so you can make a weekend of it.

Saturday, Aug. 13
Remember the board game Clue? Well Miss Scarlett, Colonel Mustard, Mr. Green and the rest of the motley crew are getting together again for a dinner party, only this time you’re invited! Suzart Productions presents Clue: The Musical, a hilarious dinner theatre show based on the popular game, in which audiences receive clues to help them figure out the mystery of who killed Mr. Boddy, in what room, and with what weapon. Show runs Thursday, Aug. 11, until tonight. (more…)

Summer Weekend Getaway Ideas

Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia. Photo: Corbin Fraser

Welcome to our first slideshow feature! We will be showcasing awe-inspiring photos across Canada to help you plan your travels, whether it’s for a short break or for a well deserved vacation.

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.


Calgary Folk Music Festival: Thursday, July 21, Day 1

Gates open at 4:30 pm, close at 10 pm.

Here’s the lineup for tonight’s mainstage at the Calgary Folk Music Festival:

5:30 pm Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band (USA) (more…)

10 Things to Do for $10 or Less

Who says you have to break the bank to have fun? Not us, that’s for sure! Here are just a few activities you can do in Ottawa on the cheap.
By Misa Kobayashi

The ByWard Market. Photo credit: OTCA.

1) Outdoor markets: $0-$10
This city has an awesome selection of farmers’ markets from which to score baked goods, fresh produce, flowers, jewellery — you name it. Located in the heart of downtown, the historic ByWard Market is a must for its bustling shops and vendors. Another top pick is the Ottawa Farmers’ Market on Sundays in the Glebe neighbourhood. We love the many restaurants that set up shop in the outdoor food court. See www.byward-market.com or www.ottawafarmersmarket.ca.

2) Downtown art galleries: Free
Check out a contemporary art exhibit at the City Hall Gallery, Karsh-Masson Gallery, or Ottawa Art Gallery, all of which are located within walking distance of each other in the downtown core. Even better? All offer either free admission or pay-what-you-can. See the gallery listings for more info.

3) Splash pads: Free
Beat the heat on a hot day with your kiddies at one of the city’s splash pads. Our favourite is Brewer Park (100 Brewer Way), for its excellent picnic spots, sprinklers, mini water slide, and three different play structures. A list of splash pads can be found at www.ottawa.ca.

Buskerfest on Sparks Street.

4) International Busker Festival: Pay-what-you-can
This annual fest lights up Sparks Street Mall from July 28 to Aug. 1, when performers from around the world strut their stuff. Enjoy daily shows that captivate and delight with performances that are all about unusual — and often daring — talents. See www.sparksstreetmall.com.

5) Lunch at Di Rienzo: $5-$10
This authentic grocery and deli, located in Little Italy, is part corner store, part sandwich shop. Locals arrive in droves at lunchtime, so there’s often a line-up out the door. Choose your bread, your toppings, and your meat, and grab a seat at the park across the street, or take a stroll through the charming neighbourhood. 111 Beech St., 613-729-4037. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for July 22 to 24

Elaborate costumes are part of the fun at Odyssey Theatre.

Friday, July 22
Odyssey Theatre‘s annual Theatre Under the Stars production celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Players take to the stage of an open-air theatre to present The Fan by Carlo Goldoni – a comedy about misconceptions, gossip, meddling, and intrigue. The real joy, though, comes form the fantastical costumes worn by the actors, the bizarre masks, and the stunning set.

Classic flicks, recent blockbusters, and family films are all on offer at the Centretown Movies Outdoor Film Festival, which kicks off this weekend and runs until Aug. 13. Give date night a lift by grabbing snacks and laying out a blanket on the grass of Dundonald Park. Every Friday and Saturday night the festival will screen a movie at 9pm, starting with Eat, Pray, Love and Despicable Me.

Saturday, July 23
People from all communities are invited to Festival Haïti en Fête, a celebration of the beauty and uniqueness of Haiti. Highlights include a Caribbean band and other local and international performers, children’s activities, Caribbean food, a barbecue, a soccer tournament, and more. The event begins on Friday night with a dance party, followed by entertainment and sports for the family on Saturday (and another dance party Saturday night!), plus cultural sports and activities on Sunday.

The Urban Art Show is a juried event showcasing the original offerings of local artists and artisans. This year’s show puts emphasis on the “urban” element, with photography, new media, graphic design, live graffiti art, a DJ, an interactive art tent in conjunction with the Ottawa Art Gallery, and more. (more…)

Hot Date: Folk Fest

Blue Rodeo

July 21 – 24

Every July, Calgarians flood Prince’s Island Park for four days of live music at the Calgary Folk Music Festival. Although its name suggests only folksy, acoustic performances, expect a tapestry of genres including country, blues, soul, indie, bluegrass, hip-hop and alternative. In all, there are 68 artists from 14 countries playing on seven stages throughout the day, including evening headliners K.D. Lang and Blue Rodeo. For tickets, call 403-233-0904, or purchase at the gate.