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Gatineau Park

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for September 28 to 30

Friday

Crystal Pite’s “The Tempest Replica” is being staged at at the NAC on Thursday and Friday. Photo © Jörg Baumann

Vancouver-based contemporary dance company Kidd Pivot will present the full-length work The Tempest Replica tonight at the National Arts Centre. Choreographed by Crystal Pite, the performance is a narrative retelling of the iconic Shakespeare play – dance, original music and film work together in this creative adaptation. As a special bonus, Pite will be available after Friday’s show for a post-performance chat! Audience members are encouraged to join in and share their thoughts on the work.

Beau’s Oktoberfest returns to the Vankleek Hill Fairgrounds. Tickets for Saturday have sold out, but there’s still time to get in on Friday night’s festivities. Featuring music by Ottawa’s The Flaps, Change of Heart, Elliott Brood and Hollerado, the entertainment lineup alone is worth the $18 admission price. If you’re in the mood for some rowdier fun, sign up for any one of the event’s epic competitions: there will be keg tosses, stein-holding competitions, spouse-carrying races and sausage-eating contests going down on Friday night. For an even more authentic experience, stop by Oktoberfest on Sunday for traditional folk dancing by Schuhplattlergruppe Alpenland, and polka music by Walter Ostanek.

This weekend, volunteers from across the country will band together to help promote the arts in Canadian communities. The third annual Culture Days weekend will feature thousands of free, interactive events that offer the public a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the lives of local artists, historians, architects, designers, curators and more. It all begins tonight with the Culture Days launch at the Ottawa Art Gallery. For the full schedule of events in your area, visit www.culturedays.ca.

Saturday

Fall Rhapsody in Gatineau Park. Photo © National Capital Commission

The annual Fall Rhapsody celebrations begin this weekend in Gatineau Park! Organized by the National Capital Commission, the event invites visitors to set out and explore over 90 kilometres of trails located on the park’s grounds. Throughout the season (which runs until Oct. 14), there will be plenty of free family activities and educational programs taking place at the Visitor Centre. And don’t forget to grab your camera: Lookouts at various points along the trail offer unbeatable views of the Ottawa Valley and the Gatineau Hills.

If you are of the mindset that one Oktoberfest per weekend just isn’t enough, well, you’re in luck: Oktoberfest Ottawa 2012 – a three-day celebration of beer, Bavarian food and oompah music held at Clarke Field in Barrhaven  – will be taking place this Friday through Sunday. The event will feature musical performances by Bearshark, Julian Taylor Band, and The Bushpilots, among others. Also on the bill is a special guest appearance by actor George Wendt, who is best known for his portrayal of Norm on the popular TV sitcom Cheers. 

The Manly Man Ramp Jam is taking place this Saturday afternoon at Legacy Skate Park. Hosted by Ottawa-based skate shop Antique, Vans, and Gatineau’s En Équilibre, the event will see some of the city’s top pro and amateur skaters judged on their “style, skill and sexiness.” The youth competition begins at 2pm, with the adult category (or “old man jam,” as they like to call it) taking over at 4pm. Local DJ Skellzo will be putting together a mix for the day, and there will be plenty of barbecue to go around!

Sunday

Last year’s Harvest Noir was held outside the Museum of Civilization. This year’s location is still under wraps! Photo © Byfield Pitman Photography

Following the trend set by cities like Paris, New York, Amsterdam and Berlin, Ottawa will be hosting its very own Harvest Noir this Sunday night. Set in a secret location that will be revealed just hours before the event begins, Harvest Noir invites guests to dress up in their best black clothing, and honour the autumn harvest with an outdoor picnic and pop-up parade. Featuring locally sourced food (which guests prepare and bring themselves), wine, beer and bubbly, the epic feast will be followed by a massive dance party at a separate undisclosed venue.

Today’s your last chance to check out Doors Open Gananoque! This is a great opportunity to experience a variety of heritage sites around eastern Ontario, many of which are rarely seen by the public. Stops on this year’s tour include the former home of Gananoque’s first mayor, William Byers; the Athlone Inn; and the Gananoque Spring and Axle Company. There are plenty more Doors Open Ontario events planned for this year, as well. Visit their website for a full list of participating towns and cities.

The Merrickville Artists Guild is hosting its final studio tour of the season this weekend. Now in its 28th year, the tour has grown to be one of the largest events held annually in Merrickville and the surrounding area. The tour is free and self-guided, and offers visitors the chance to meet and interact with 26 artists in 23 different work spaces. This year’s selections include paintings, hot glass, jewelry, pottery, sculpture, textile arts, metalsmithing and letterpress printing.

Four Best Places to See the Fall Colours in and around Ottawa

When summer turns to autumn, few places on earth see as spectacular a transformation as Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. Here are just a few of our favourite spots to see the changing fall foliage in all its red, green, yellow, and orange glory.

Fall Rhapsody in Gatineau Park. Photo © National Capital Commission

GATINEAU PARK
Slip on your hiking shoes, pack a picnic lunch, and get ready for one stunning nature walk. Hundreds of kilometres of footpaths wind their way through 361 square kilometres of unspoiled land, making Gatineau Park the ideal way to spend a day outdoors. For those who prefer to travel on two wheels, much of the park is also bike-friendly. Several points offer awe-inspiring views — stop and catch your breath at Étienne-Brûlé Lookout, Eardley Escarpment, or the Mackenzie King Estate. Be sure to grab a map from the park’s visitor centre in Old Chelsea before you go. After something a little more organized? The National Capital Commission also offers free educational programs with Fall Rhapsody. 613-239-5000; 819-827-2020, www.gatineaupark.ca

 

Changing leaves along the Rideau Canal. Photo © Ottawa Tourism

RIDEAU CANAL
Though it may be best known for being the world’s largest skating rink in winter, this Ottawa landmark serves a purpose year-round. In autumn, the trees that line the Rideau Canal turn vibrant colours, providing a beautiful backdrop for anyone walking, jogging, or biking along the historic waterway. For an active afternoon, nature lovers can rent a bike and spend the day cycling beside the canal. If you’d prefer to be right on the water, consider a boat cruise, or paddle yourself around on a kayak. 613-239-5000, www.canadascapital.gc.ca

 

The Dominion Arboretum.

THE DOMINION ARBORETUM
Where better to observe beautiful greenery than at a site that’s devoted to it? Over 2,400 varieties of trees and shrubs (some of which date back as far as 1889) on 26 hectares of land can be found at the Arboretum. Two lookout points — one on the southeast side and another at the northeast end — offer gorgeous views of the Rideau Canal and Dows Lake, respectively. Located right in the middle of the city (on the grounds of the Central Experimental Farm), it’s the perfect place to see fantastic fall leaves without leaving town. Experimental Farm Dr., www.friendsofthefarm.ca

 

Autumn at Mont Tremblant. Photo © Louis Prud’homme

MONT TREMBLANT
It’s a bit of a drive from Ottawa (about two to two and a half hours), but the stunning views at this popular Quebec resort are well worth the travel time. Through the fall, the snow-free ski hills and surrounding forests make a dramatic transformation. Take a gondola ride to the top of the summit to experience one of the most breathtaking sights in the region. While you’re at the resort, check out the bevy of fall activities on offer. If you’re looking to stay the night, Tremblant offers plenty of accommodations right in the pedestrian village. Mont Tremblant, Quebec, 866-356-2233, www.tremblant.ca

 

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for July 6 to 8

The Sound and Light Show runs nightly through September 6 on Parliament Hill

Friday
The Sound and Light Show kicks off tonight and sees the façade of the Parliament Buildings become the backdrop for a 30-minute audio and visual experience that highlights Canada’s cultural and physical landmarks. The current showing is entitled “Mosaika: Canada through the eyes of its people.” Running until September 3, this bilingual event is held nightly on Parliament Hill, and admission is free.

A trip to Ottawa in July is incomplete without a night at Bluesfest. The fest runs from July 4 to 15, and Friday night features artists such as City and Colour, Arkells, Sleigh Bells, David Grey, and Tommy Lee and Dj Aero, just to name a few.

The NAC Orchestra performs the award-winning score from The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring as the film is projected on a 60-foot screen. The show, running Thursday to Saturday, provides avid fans and newcomers alike with a fresh experience of the film.

Saturday
Urban Craft, Ottawa’s first and only monthly craft market features pieces from hip and fresh vendors. Come out for some great finds, from gourmet and local food to body products and accessories, even handmade toys for the kids. The event is held the first Saturday of every month from 10am-2pm at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.

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14 Romantic Winter Escapes

Emerald Lake Lodge in Yoho National Park, AB (Photo courtesy of Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts)

By Carissa Bluestone

You don’t have to run off to Aruba to celebrate Valentine’s Day or beat the winter blahs: there are plenty of options for romantic long weekends within our borders. Revel in unearthly icy beauty or hide from it in front of a roaring fireplace. (more…)

Hot Attraction: Skiing in Gatineau Park

Gatineau Park makes for a serene skiing destination. Photo credit: National Capital Commission.

Want to get outdoors, but don’t want to go far? Look no further than Gatineau Park. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa, this conservation park has more than 50 cross-country ski trails ranging in both length (7.9 km- 40 km) and level (beginner to advanced). There’s nothing like gliding over fresh snow on a winter morning. Marvel at the forests and open fields as you fly by, then warm up by a wood burning stove at one of the 10 shelters, which are outfitted with picnic tables so you can enjoy a snack from home.

Fantastic Fall

When summer turns to autumn, few places on earth see as spectacular a transformation as Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec. Here are just a few of our favourite spots to see the changing fall foliage in all its red, green, and orange glory. By Kristin Braginetz.

Lovely views abound at Gatineau Park. Photo credit: Ottawa Tourism.

GATINEAU PARK
Slip on your hiking shoes, pack a picnic lunch, and get ready for one stunning nature walk. Hundreds of kilometres of old Indian footpaths wind their way through 361 square kilometres of unspoiled land, making Gatineau Park the ideal way to spend a day outdoors. For those who prefer to travel on two wheels, much of the park is also bike-friendly. Several points offer awe-inspiring views — stop and catch your breath at Étienne-Brûlé Lookout, Eardley Escarpment, or the Mackenzie King Estate. Be sure to grab a map from the park’s visitor centre in Old Chelsea before you go. 613-239-5000; 819-827-2020, www.gatineaupark.ca.

RIDEAU CANAL
Though it may be best known for being the world’s largest skating rink in winter, this Ottawa landmark serves a purpose year-round. In autumn, the trees that line the Rideau Canal turn vibrant colours, providing a beautiful backdrop for anyone walking, jogging, or biking along the historic waterway. For an active afternoon, nature lovers can rent a bike (see “Outdoor Adventures & Sports” on p.64 for a couple options) and spend the day cycling the length of the canal. If you’d prefer to be right on the water, consider a boat cruise, or paddle yourself around on a kayak. 613-239-5000, www.canadascapital.gc.ca. (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…)

Hot Date: Cross-Country Ski Competition

Thousands compete in the Gatineau Loppet.

Feb. 18 to 20. On your mark, get set, go! In February, Gatineau Park bustles for the Gatineau Loppet, a cross-country ski competition that attracts about 3,000 participants from around the world (and plenty of cheering fans). As part of the World Loppet league, which includes 14 international cross-country ski events, this competition draws the best of the best to battle it out.