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Hot Dates

Here & Now: What To Do In Winnipeg in July and August

Our picks for must-see and do activities during your stay.

Credit Joey Senft

Credit Joey Senft

Folk Fun

July 6-9 – The revered Winnipeg Folk Festival gives the stage to local and big‑name talent (pictured). Camp out for the whole weekend or escape for a day and see shows by Feist, City and Colour, Barenaked Ladies, and Foy Vance. Eat, drink, shop and dance to live music at nine stages throughout the park. Free shuttle buses depart every 30 minutes from the bus stop at 389 Balmoral Ave, downtown Winnipeg. Birds Hill Provincial Park, visit winnipegfolkfestival.ca for tickets.

Fringe interest

July 19-30 – The 30th annual Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival takes over the Exchange District for two and a half weeks. The celebration of independent theatre boasts more than 180 creative and boundary-pushing shows from across Canada and the world. Old Market Square is the festival’s main gathering spot with live music and local vendors selling food and drinks. Tickets available at the door or with a 7 or 14-show pass. Various venues. 204‑943‑7464 or winnipegfringe.com for full schedule.

Movies on the beach

July 26-30 – Travel North of the city and join thousands of people at the 18th annual Gimli Film Festival. More than 100 dramas, documentaries and short films are screened at indoor venues or on the beach at sunset. See popular movies like American Graffiti and Footloose. Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to movie start time. Rush seating. Various locations. Tickets and festival passes available in advance at gimlifilm.com or at the door.

Go for gold

July 28-Aug 13 Get into the fast paced action this summer and watch young athletes compete for gold in 16 different sports at Canada Games. During the Games, The Forks will act as a central hub showcasing Canadian talent every night with headliners such as Ontario’s Kardinal Offishall, Quebec’s Coeur de Pirate, and Manitoba’s Sierra Noble. Various venues. For tickets and info visit 2017canadagames.ca

Cross the globe

Aug 6-19 Travel the world—no passports required—at Folklorama, the world’s largest and longest running multicultural festival. Enjoy entertainment, such as the flaming limbo at the Caribbean pavilion, and traditional meals, like perfectly pinched perogies and scratch made kolbassa at the Ukrainian show. With 41 pavilions to explore, take a VIP Tour to bypass line-ups and visit multiple pavilions in one night for the ultimate world tour. For information, visit folklorama.ca or call 204‑982‑6210.

My my, how can i resist you?

Aug 10-31 Watch as sunny and funny Mamma Mia! unfolds on a Greek island paradise. The jukebox musical tells the story of a mother, a daughter and three possible dads, all set to the tunes of ABBA. Rainbow Stage, Canada’s largest and longest‑running outdoor theatre tucked away in Kildonan Park is the setting for this hilarious musical show. 2021 Main St. For tickets, call 204‑989‑0888 or visit rainbowstage.ca

My kind of rodeo

Aug 18-20 Music festival Interstellar Rodeo pairs artists such as Beck and Father John Misty with gourmet beer and wine for a full VIP experience. Don’t miss the local food trucks on site. This outdoor celebration takes over The Forks, with weekend and single day attendees free to wander Winnipeg’s meeting place. The Forks, 1 Forks Market Rd. Visit interstellarrodeo.com for tickets and info.

Lots of laughs

Aug 24-27 The 3rd annual Oddblock Comedy Festival returns to South Osborne featuring more than 50 comedians. Catch acts from The Late Late Show writer Eliza Skinner and returning festival favourite Matt Braunger (pictured). Venue-hopping attendees can grab a bite from nearby restaurants and food trucks or relax at streetside beer gardens. Join in the fun during the free open mic nights on Friday and Saturday, 8 pm-12 am. Various locations. 204‑478‑7275 or oddblock.ca for tickets.

More Winnipeg Stories:

20 Free Things To Do in Winnipeg
Why You Need To Visit The Canadian Museum For Human Rights
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5 Winnipeg Shopping Districts

Hot Date: Harvest Noir

Sept. 30

Last year’s Harvest Noir was held outside the Museum of Civilization.
Image © Byfield Pitman Photography

In what’s quickly becoming one of the hottest events on Ottawa’s social calendar, Harvest Noir combines an elegant harvest celebration, a secret picnic in a public place, a pop-up parade, and a dance party. Guests, dressed head to toe in their finest black attire, prepare a picnic feast and bring it to a yet-to-be-disclosed location in downtown Ottawa, where they mingle and revel with hundreds of other diners. A mass flash mob is held at local farmers’ markets (again, the location is secret!) a few days before the event, and the picnic is capped off with a massive party. Tres Parisienne!

Visit www.harvestnoir.com for details and ticket info.

Hot Date: Stay Up All Night at Nuit Blanche Ottawa

Artist Daniel Lehan will roam through the Nuit Blanche zones, writing cardboard poems based on stories told to him about the night.

Saturday, September 22

With the city as its canvas, Nuit Blanche brings beauty to Ottawa through a magical night of visual and performance art. Following in the footsteps of cities such as Paris, New York, and Toronto, the free all-night event (Ottawa’s first) sees local art and cultural venues — as well select restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars around the city — stay open into the wee hours. Public and private spaces are transformed into temporary galleries and performance venues, where art lovers can view thought-provoking works by artists from Ottawa and beyond. A free bilingual program is provided, and visitors will be transported between neighbourhoods on special shuttles.

Hot Date: Arboretum Music and Arts Festival

Ohbijou play at Arboretum on Saturday. Photo © Reynard Li.

Saturday, September 15

Celebrate the sights, tastes, and sounds of Ottawa — and stretch the sunny season out for just one more weekend — at the Arboretum Music and Arts Festival. Billed as Ottawa’s newest boutique music and arts festival, the first-ever Arboretum is held in the courtyards of the Ottawa Jail Hostel and Arts Court and features over 20 musical acts including Ohbijou and Jokers Of The Scene; amazing food from local restaurants (The Whalesbone Oyster House, Town, Murray Street, and Chez Edgar, to name a few), regionally brewed craft beer from Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. and Kichesippi, fabulous visual arts, and more. It’s the perfect way to sample Ottawa’s best, brightest, and tastiest, all in one place.


Hot Date: House of PainT Festival

Photo © Ming Wu

This annual outdoor event showcases urban art, dance, and music from across Canada and abroad. There’s a lot to see and do over the four days of the event — a photo exhibit, a poetry slam, masterclasses — but the (free!) 4 Disciplines of Hip Hop Main Event is held on Saturday at the site of Canada’s largest legal graffiti wall (under the Dunbar Bridge on Bronson Avenue). The day-long, all ages celebration is presented as an old-school block party that showcases hip hop’s four core artistic disciplines: DJs, MCs, graffiti artists, and breakdancing. On Sunday, a concert under the bridge features performances by Shad, Maestro Fresh Wes, Kid Koala, and more.

See www.houseofpaint.ca for the full lineup.

Hot Date: La Bohème

Ottawa’s Joyce El-Khoury stars as Mimi in Opera Lyra’s La Bohème. Photo © Dario Acosta

After a brief hiatus last year, Opera Lyra is back and starting its new season with a bang — a production of one of the most beloved operas ever composed. Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème tells the tale of young bohemians in Paris’ Latin Quarter in the 1840s. The part of Mimi, the mortally ill seamstress, is played by Ottawa’s own Joyce El-Khoury, whose international career has been thriving and landing her gigs at the likes of the Met Opera in New York and the Welsh National Opera.

Sept. 8, 10, 12, and 15. National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., www.nac-cna.ca.

Hot Date: Freewheelin’ at Folk Fest

Ben Harper plays the Ottawa Folk Festival tonight, along with Matthew Good, Matt Mays, Danny Michel, and more.

With a lineup that includes the likes of Lindsey Buckingham, Bon Iver, Ben Harper, Matthew Good, Kathleen Edwards, Great Big Sea, Dan Mangan, Patrick Watson, and lots more, the Ottawa Folk Festival keeps true to its roots while luring crowds with some big names. Hundreds of folk, roots, blues, and pop-rock performers take to the stage during the five-day fest. Folk Fest also offers interactive and performance workshops, which allow curious beginners and experienced musicians alike to try their hands at a new craft or learn some tips from the pros in a laid-back environment. Food and drinks, family-oriented entertainment, and lots more are also on the bill. Sept. 6 to 10.

Hog’s Back Park, 613-599-3267, www.ottawafolk.com

Hot Date: Wakefest

A fire spinner. Photo © Melanie LussierIt’s a weekend-long party in the oh-so-charming village of Wakefield during Wakefest, an annual celebration that covers music, theatre, visual art, literature, and everything in between. The festival kicks off tonight with a launch party and fashion show at Café Earle Pub, and continues through to Sunday. Over the course of the weekend, visitors can brush up on their theatrical talents at improv and acting workshops, learn to hula hoop, watch a film projected on the town’s famed covered bridge, and tons more.

Check out the events section of the website for full details.


Weekend Roundup: Aug 3 – 6

On Friday night, the Calgary Fringe Festival kicks off with uncensored, non-juried performances featuring both local and international playwrights and actors. Where recommends Push in Case of Emergency by local playwrights Kyle Schulte, Brett Gartley and Talore Peterson. This comedy-drama explores the interactions of group of strangers unexpectedly trapped in an elevator. The show begins at 6:30 pm at Lolita’s Lounge, tickets $12.

After opening with a stellar concert lineup at Shaw Millennium Park on Thursday night (more…)

Editor’s Picks: Must-See Performances at the Calgary Folk Music Festival

Second only to The Calgary Stampede in its size and cultural importance as a summer festival, the 2012 Calgary Folk Music Festival invades Prince’s Island Park July 26 through 29.

The crowd at the CFMF. Photo: Dave Kenney.

Though festival attendance is rite of summer treasured by dedicated, perennial fans, the Calgary Folk Music Festival’s talent roster is a serious draw as well. Rock ‘n’ roll crooner Chris Isaak is the consummate showman; piano troubadour and film-score composer Randy Newman exists in his very own American folk music genre; and Saturday-night headliner Gillian Welch (in duet with guitarist Dave Rawlings) turn country music into something sweet and soulful. (more…)

Hot Dates: Fasten Your Seatbelts!

Image Courtesy Edmonton Indy

July 20–22

Get ready for the hottest weekend of the summer as the 2012 Edmonton Indy® speeds into the City of Champions! The new racecourse, that made its debut in 2011, will be torn up by the world’s best drivers of the IZOD IndyCar® Series including Marco Andretti and Canada’s own James Hinchcliffe. The event also features the Firestone Indy Lights Series, the Star MAZDA Championship (featuring Edmonton driver Stefan Rzadzinski), and the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series.

Soak up some adrenaline-fuelled pre-race buzz in the paddocks, and catch a glimpse of behind-the-scenes, on-track action parked in the Global Edmonton Pit Walk Alley (pass required). Regardless of where you wander, expect a guaranteed hit of exhilaration! City Centre Airport (north side); prices vary. Call 1-855-350-INDY (4639) or visit www.edmontonindy.com for tickets.


Hot Date: Shakespeare in the Park

A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo: David Cooper

Following a one-year hiatus, Mount Royal University’s Shakespeare in the Park returns to Prince’s Island Park for its 25th anniversary and a five-night performance run of Shakespearian classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Set in a magical forest—Prince’s Island Park—the play follows the romantic intrigues of four Athenian lovers and a troupe of actors who are put under a spell and manipulated by the faeries of the forest. The production features a cast composed of Mount Royal Theatre Arts students and is directed by Victoria’s Belfry Theatre artistic director Michael Shamata.

Performances run Wed to Sun until Aug 10 at 7 pm. Weekend matinees at 2 pm. Weather permitting. No performances July 25 – 29. Admission is by donation.

– Sarah Sussman