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museums

Hot Attractions: Tales from the East Coast at the Canadian War Museum

Just one of the archival photos from "New Brunswickers in Wartime." Photo credit: Chorus girls, Fundy Follies, around 1944. NBM, Murdoch Family fonds, F6.

New Brunswick may be hundreds of kilometres from Ottawa, but its war history is relevant to all Canadians. Until April 9, the Canadian War Museum is hosting an exhibit entitled “New Brunswickers in Wartime, 1914-1946.” Here you will find a wide selection of artwork, artifacts, and images that illustrate the stories of the people from this province during the First and Second World Wars — at sea, on land, in the air, and at home. Whether you’re from the east coast, have family there, or just take an interest in this country’s history, this exhibit will shed light on one province’s people and how they dealt with adversity during trying times.

Hot Attraction: Whales Take Over the Canadian Museum of Nature

These mounted sperm-whale skeletons are one of the breathtaking features of the new exhibit. Photo credit: © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2008.

Dive into the ocean with “Whales Tohorā,” a blockbuster exhibit on view at the Canadian Museum of Nature starting March 2. The spotlight is on whales in the South Pacific — the diversity, biology, and adaptation of these mammals; the impact humans have on them; and the special relationship between whales and the Māori people of New Zealand, who view these creatures as both friends and food. Discover how science and culture overlap, and prepare to be wowed by the sheer size of two mounted sperm-whale skeletons that are a central to this fascinating exhibition.

The Insider Guide to Quebec City’s Musée National des Beaux-Arts

By AMANDA HALM

Photo: Sandra-Cohen Rose and Colin Rose

With almost 35,000 works of Quebec art dating all the way back to the 17th century, the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec is a must-see for art lovers. Go for the paintings and stay for a prison tour. Afterwards, play on the Plains of Abraham or shop the gift shop. (more…)

Exhibition Roundup: What’s On at the Museums

Still got out-of-towners visiting? Check out our rundown on some of the coolest and most fascinating temporary and long-term exhibits in Ottawa.

"Awesome Arctic" is now on view at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Photo credit: © Doug Barber (Yorkton, SK).

The Canadian Museum of Nature has recently unveiled a new exhibit, Awesome Arctic, which features a collection of more than 50 photographs taken over several decades during the museum’s Arctic research adventures. The exhibit, which runs until next fall, displays fascinating visuals of Canada’s North, as well as researchers documenting marine life, plants, fossils, and minerals.

The Canada Aviation and Space Museum brings you its most recent permanent exhibition Living in Space, which is all about adapting to daily life in zero gravity. Learn about what astronauts do in space, whether it’s work or play, eating or sleeping, or keeping up their personal hygiene. This highly interactive exhibit presents the technical, psychological, and physical challenges of living in space. You can also check out Green Skies Ahead, on view until June 2017. This exhibit takes you on a tour to discover the carbon-friendly technology of tomorrow. With so much focus on the environment, this is your chance to learn about energy production and consumption in today’s world, as well as get a taste of what the future holds through displays of energy-efficient aircraft designs.

The Canada Science and Technology Museum presents Energy: Power to Choose, an interactive display all about energy production and consumption, running until June 2017. Learn all about the social, economic, and environmental consequences of exploiting resources and get inspired to make a change. This exhibit even lets you produce your own electricity with a human hamster wheel. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out SiO2: The Science of Glass, on view until April 9, where you can see the true and brute strength of glass. Find out all about the chemical properties of glass and the role of glass in the history of civilization. Last but certainly not least, until January 20, you can snag your last chance to check out Braille: Knowledge at your Fingertips, which explores the language of touch for those who have lost their sight. (more…)

Take 5

Wildlife photos at the Royal BC Museum

Head Indoors for these Winter Escapes.

Victoria is indeed a beautiful city no matter what the season, but during the winter, it’s inevitable we’ll have at least a few days that aren’t ideal for outdoor activities. Luckily there’s plenty of indoor options to both inspire and entertain! Here are five of our favourites…

1. Make it the museum. Victoria is blessed with several fine museums that make it easy to while away an hour, an afternoon or a day! Overlooking the harbour is the Royal BC Museum, with its natural history, First Nations and settlement displays. This winter, meet animals around the world with the visiting exhibit Wildlife Photographer of the Year, from London’s Natural History Museum. Around the harbour, the Maritime Museum of British Columbia explores all things nautical, from pirates to the BC Ferries and everything in between!

2. Take in a movie – IMAX style! Also at the Royal BC Museum is the six-storey tall screen of the IMAX Theatre, showing both the ever-popular IMAX films as well as Hollywood movies given a whole new look with the theatre’s state-of-the art technology.

3. Enjoy a little family fun. No matter what your age, who can resist an entertaining stroll through history and literature at Miniature World or the fascinating world of insects and arachnids presented at the Bug Zoo, both within a few minutes’ walk of the Inner Harbour.

4. Chill out at the rink. Victoria boasts two great choices for hockey, the WHL’s Victoria Royals and the BC Hockey League’s Victoria Grizzlies. The Royals heat up the ice at  downtown’s Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, while the Grizzlies entertain fans at the Bear Mountain Arena in Colwood.

5. Get inspired in the garden. The world famous Butchart Gardens is a joy any time of year. In addition to the outdoor gardens, the New Year also brings two indoor features, Spring Prelude and the annual historical exhibit. Take a tropical vacation without ever leaving Vancouver Island with a visit to the beautiful Victoria Butterfly Gardens, also on the Saanich Peninsula. With colourful birds, butterflies, fish and flowers, it’s impossible to visit and not be inspired.

30 Things We Love About Toronto This August

1. Quadricycles on the Toronto Islands

1. Pedalling around the Toronto Islands on a four-seat quadricycle.

2. Baked goods like baby banana bread with chocolate made from scratch at Delica Kitchen (1440 Yonge St., 416-546-5408).

3. The distinctive facade of City Hall (100 Queen St. W.)—two half moon-shaped towers encircling a dome, which resembles an eye from the sky.

4. Examining the quirky novelty items at Rolo, from wind-up mugs to animal nesting dolls.

5. Indulging in a gooey Canadian classic at Poutini’s House of Poutine (1112 Queen St. W., 647-342-3732).

6. Riverdale Farm

6. Visiting with the animals at scenic Riverdale Farm—lambs, piglets, horses and more. (more…)

Hot Dates: Rainy Day Escapes

Discovery Centre. Photo: Jon Reis

• Discovery Centre on Barrington Street: The hands-on science centre features lots of exhibits for kids to play with and experiment.
• Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Lower Water Street: Halifax’s seafaring history comes to life—explore the Titanic disaster, the world wars, the Halifax Explosion and more.
• Museum of Natural History on Summer Street: Meet Gus the tortoise, visit the Butterfly House and much 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…)

Hot Attraction: Canada Aviation and Space Museum

The museum offers biplane tours during the summer.

Check out two new fascinating exhibits at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. In “Living in Space,” you can learn about daily life among the stars and what it’s like to live on the International Space Station, while “Green Skies Ahead” explores the revolutionary eco-friendly technology that will change aviation as we know it. Even cooler, now that the weather is nice, visitors can take an awe-inspiring journey over Ottawa in a 1930s-era biplane. Strap on your flying goggles and bundle up, because this open cockpit plane is the experience of a lifetime. Flight packages range from $60 to $160, and are worth every penny.

Hot Dates: Anchors Aweigh!

The "Hello Sailor" exhibition explores "gay life on the open wave."

It’s a side of nautical history that hasn’t gotten much attention in local museums, up until now. Adapted from an exhibition created by National Museums Liverpool (U.K.), Hello Sailor explores “gay life on the ocean wave.” The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic on Lower Water Street hosts the exhibit throughout the summer. Additional displays present a Canadian and Nova Scotian perspective.

Hot Dates: In the Navy…

Adapted from an exhibition created by National Museums Liverpool (U.K.), Hello Sailor explores “gay life on the ocean wave.” The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic also highlights a Canadian and Nova Scotian perspective from May 19 to November 27.

30 Things We Love About Toronto This April

3. Ultra

1 Celebrating Prince William’s wedding on this side of the pond with a cup of the royal wedding blend tea from Majesteas.

2 The quiet confines of the Toronto Sculpture Garden.

3 Dramatic 15-foot-tall renderings of roosters in the dining room at Ultra.

4 Crispy thin-crust pizza from Mercatto.

5 A rejuvenating soak in the hot green tea pool at Body Blitz Spa.

8. Woodbine Racetrack

6 The retractable roof at the Rogers Centre—you can gaze at stars in the sky or at the Toronto Blue Jays on the field.

7 Heading lakeside to explore the Harbourfront.

8 The thundering sound of hooves on opening day at Woodbine Racetrack.

9 Admiring the “Canada” bowl, circa 1725, the first depiction of this country in ceramic, at the Gardiner Museum.

10 The adventurous rotating menu at Beast, which has included oven-roasted bone marrow.

11. Purdy's Sweet Georgia Browns

11 Sweet Georgia browns from Purdy’s—toasted and salted pecans with caramel and milk chocolate all in one morsel.

12 Warm and doughy bagels from St. Urbain at St. Lawrence Market.

13 Getting lost in the curated stacks at Type Books, a favourite of resident bibliophiles.

14 The fervor of the “scramble” at Yonge and Dundas, where you can cross the street in any direction.

15 Designer Kimberley Newport-Mimran’s favourite things—an international collection of goods from New Zealand to Sweden at Seventy-Seven.

13. Type Books

16 Reveling in the smooth sounds of jazz at The Trane Studio, named for saxophonist John Coltrane.

17 Inventive Japanese fare at Ginza Sushi, with offerings like sashimi boats.

18 Seeing the city on your own schedule with Gray Line’s Hop-On, Hop-Off City Tour.

19 Local retail therapy at Shopgirls, which stocks items by many Toronto fashion, accessory and decor artists.

20 Sampling a variety of vintages courtesy of Eight Wine Bar’s “buck an ounce” program on Friday nights from 4 to 9 p.m.

19. Shopgirls

21 The homey interior of Bobbette & Belle, where framed whisks and vintage plates adorn the walls as art.

22 Slurping back a freshly shucked oyster from Rodney’s Oyster House.

23 The upscale diner ambience of The Counter, which serves all-day breakfast and more.

24 Strolling along Canada’s Walk of Fame and counting how many names you recognize.

25 Inspecting the intricate and ornate silver art deco doors of the Design Exchange.

26. Real Sports Bar & Grill

26 Catching playoff hockey action at the ultimate man cave, Real Sports Bar & Grill.

27 Tracing the career of silent film star Mary Pickford in an exhibit at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

28 Shopping for vintage finds for less at Haute Classics. You might find classic Chanel and Chloé pieces.

29 The melodious church bells of St. James Cathedral.

30 Soaking in the academic vibe on the University of Toronto’s bustling campus.