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National Arts Centre

Theatrical Event Metamorphoses Opens this Week

Set in and around a large swimming pool, Metamorphoses examines the consequences of our deepest desires.

Myths come to life in a new, fascinating show at the National Arts Centre. Metamorphoses, based on the Myths of Ovid, is set in and around a massive swimming pool, adding a unique element to this theatrical event that will let audiences experience the consequences of our deepest desires. Mary Zimmerman reimagines 10 classical myths to achieve this end, including Midas and his impulsive greed, and Orpheus’ attempt to rescue his bride from the Underworld.

Metamorphoses runs from Jan. 29 to Feb. 16 at the National Arts Centre.

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for November 30 to December 2

Friday, November 30

Take a wagon ride at the 12th annual Alight at Night celebration in Upper Canada Village.

The 12th annual Alight at Night celebration kicks off in Upper Canada Village this weekend. This incredible display of roughly a million lights has grown to become one of the most sought after events in the Cornwall region. With wagon rides, holiday music, festive goodies, a life-sized toy train and romantic carriage rides for two, there is sure to be something for everyone.

SKETCH — the annual holiday fundraiser of Ottawa’s SAW Gallery – returns this Friday evening with an amazing assortment of one-of-a-kind treasures. Sponsored by Scotiabank, this year’s sale will feature work from 175 Canadian artists, along with a three-hour silent auction and a live DJ performance. Looking for an extra-special gift idea? Local girl Melanie Yugo (of Spins and Needles) will be on hand creating personalized colour-by-number portraits.

The 27th European Union Film Festival comes to a close this weekend at Library and Archives Canada. This is your last chance to check out some of the region’s top films of the year, including full-length works from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. Worried about the language barrier? Don’t be: all showings come complete with English subtitles. Click here for the full weekend lineup.

Saturday, December 1

Loreena McKennitt performs in Ottawa at the National Arts Cetnre this weekend.

After a five-year absence, Canadian Celtic musician Loreena McKennitt returns to the National Arts Centre this weekend for a two-night engagement. Joined by longtime friends Hugh Marsh (violin), Brian Hughes (guitar), Caroline Lavelle (cello) and Ben Grossman (percussion), McKennitt will perform songs from her nearly two-decade-long career.

The Ottawa Tea Festival returns to the nation’s capital this Saturday. This annual event features an impressive selection of teas from around the world, as well as several workshops, musical performances and cultural ceremonies. As usual, the festival will be teaming up with a great charity, too. The non-profit organization Asha for Education Canada, which supports under-privileged children in India, has been chosen as this year’s recipient.

Though Ottawa-based singer-songwriter Jeremy Fisher has been releasing records since the early 2000’s, it wasn’t until the quirky stop-motion video for his hit song “Cigarette” went viral that he gained the international recognition he’s long deserved. Fisher concludes his latest tour with back-to-back gigs at Wakefield’s renowned Black Sheep Inn this weekend. Ticket information can be found here.

Sunday, December 2

Ottawa Little Theatre presents Mr. Pim Passes By as part of their 100th season celebation.

Now in its 100th season, the Ottawa Little Theatre is celebrating with 10 great plays from 10 decades. From Nov. 27 to Dec. 15, A.A. Milne’s Mr. Pim Passes By has been chosen to represent the 1910’s. Directed by Joe O’Brien, this comedy tells the tale of an elderly gentleman whose casual comment throws a couple’s life into complete disarray.

The Ottawa Chamber Music Society will present Baroque Christmas around the World this Sunday afternoon at Dominion-Chalmers United Church. Featuring the Juno-winning early music group Ensemble Caprice, the show will introduce audiences to various musical traditions from throughout Europe, Mexico and South America.

Today’s your last chance to check out Centrepointe Theatre‘s production of Footloose. This popular musical centres on Ren, a high school student from Chicago, who is forced to move to a rural farming town where dancing has been outlawed. Featuring an Oscar- and Tony-nominated score — along with some great new songs written for the stage — this thrilling performance is sure to impress.

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for October 26 to 28

Friday, October 26

Brazilian dance company Grupo Corpo present two Ottawa premieres Friday at the National Arts Centre

Contemporary Brazilian dance company Grupo Corpo return to the National Arts Centre this weekend with a double-bill of Ottawa premieres. First is Sem Mim, an ebbing and flowing ballet set to music inspired by a medieval Galician-Portuguese songbook. Following that is Ímã, a high energy exploration of attraction and repulsion, featuring music by Brazilian trio +2.

The Ottawa Shakespeare Company stages Julius Caesar, the epic tale of power and politics, at Centrepointe Theatre from October 24 to November 3. Actor Eugene Clark (of Toronto’s The Lion King) makes his Ottawa debut in the leading role, while Stratford Festival alumni Mac Fyfe and Ottawa’s Sarah McVie add to the strong cast.

CTV’s Lloyd Robertson will present The Kind of Life It’s Been as part of the Ottawa International Writers Festival. The longest serving TV news anchor in Canadian history, Robertson has covered everything from royal weddings, to the moon landing, and the Montreal Massacre. Stop by Knox Presbyterian Church for a night of storytelling with one of our nation’s finest.

Saturday, October 27

Rose Cousins plays the NAC on Saturday evening.

PEI native Rose Cousins will grace the stage of the National Arts Centre this evening in support of her latest album, We Have Made a Spark. Since debuting in 2006, the multi-award-winning singer/songwriter has captivated audiences with her piano-driven folk-pop sound.

Looking for something completely different (and totally spooky) this Halloween weekend? Watson’s Mill in Manotick is hosting its very own Paranormal Investigation on Saturday night. Join Daniel Touchette, president of the Ottawa Haunting and Paranormal Group, as he reveals the secrets of this creepy craft. Tickets are $25, with proceeds going toward general upkeep of the Mill.

Canadian-music fans will feel right at home this Saturday night at Zaphod’s. The Indie Rock Halloween Party features an exciting lineup of Canadian up-and-comers, including PEI’s Paper Lions, Montreal’s Danielle Duval and local boys Ashleys. Costumes are encouraged, so don’t forget to dress up!

Sunday, October 28

Jonathan Goldstein, host of CBC’s Wiretap, speaks at the Ottawa International Writers Festival on Sunday

Jonathan Goldstein — host of CBC’s Wiretap and contributor to GQ, The Walrus, The New York Times and The National Post — will take part in a special one on one chat as part of the Ottawa International Writers Festival. Join the bestselling author as he humourously recounts his last year in his 30s.

Today is your last chance to experience Maya: Secrets of their Ancient World at the Museum of Civilization! Learn all about the Mayan’s writing and counting systems; explore the roles of their divine rulers; and, most importantly, discover the truth behind that pesky end-of-days legend.

The Canada Agriculture Museum will host its family-friendly Barnyard Halloween event this Sunday. From 10 am to 2 pm, the general public is invited to explore the grounds and try their hand at a variety of fall-themed activities. Choose from pumpkin decorating, a costume parade, a scavenger hunt, wagon rides, and a variety of animal-care demonstrations. 

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for October 19 to 21

Friday, October 19

Bruce Springsteen brings his Wrecking Ball tour to town

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band will rock the stage of Scotiabank Place this evening as part of their North American Wrecking Ball tour. The Boss, who made a name for himself in the mid-70s with hits such as “Born to Run,” is known for putting on electrifying live shows. Don’t miss your chance to experience one of America’s musical greats.

Consider yourself a wine connoisseur? Put your know-how to use this Friday at the city’s first ever taste-and-buy. Hosted by the sommeliers over at Savvy Company, the Outstanding in their Fields event will showcase wineries from Niagara’s renowned Twenty Valley region. Guests can sample (and ideally purchase!) goods from nearly 25 large and boutique wineries, including Peninsula Ridge Estates, The Good Earth Food and Wine Company and Flat Rock Cellars.

Houston Ballet captures the fascinating, albeit controversial, life of French Queen Marie Antoinette in the Canadian premiere of Marie at the National Arts Centre. Choreographed by Stanton Welch and set to the music of Dmitri Shostakovich, the performance boasts beautifully crafted period costumes, talented actors and a riveting storyline.

Saturday, October 20

Matthew Barber plays two nights at the National Arts Centre

Toronto-based singer/songwriter Matthew Barber concludes his Tour for the Haunted Hillbilly at the National Arts Centre this weekend. Featuring songs off his newly released self-titled album, the two-night engagement will highlight the young musician’s 60s- and 70s-inspired folk-rock sound.

If you’ve ever had an interest in dance – or you’re just looking for a more creative way to exercise — Saturday Salsa at the Ottawa Arts Court may be just the thing you’re looking for. Created by ComeSalsa.ca, this monthly event offers beginners the chance to sharpen their Salsa skills in a relaxed and welcoming environment. Though classes are typically $5, first-timers are invited to test the waters this evening with a free workshop.

The Ottawa Valley Crafts and Collectibles Show is perfect for those looking to get a head start on their holiday shopping. Located at Library and Archives Canada, the event will feature a wide selection of fine art, books, home décor, beauty products, culinary giftware, and antiques.

Sunday, October 21

Hog’s Back Park is one of the sites for this year’s Explore Geoheritage Day

In celebration of National Science and Technology Week, Carleton’s Earth Sciences department is teaming up with the Ottawa Gatineau Geoheritage Project for Explore Geoheritage Day 2012. Guests are invited to join the volunteer guides at Champlain Lookout, Brebeuf Park, Hog’s Back Park and Cardinal Creek Karst to discover how geological processes have shaped the region’s landscape.

Enriched Bread Artists’ Open Studio is celebrating its 20th anniversary – and you’re invited to join in on the fun. The cooperatively run studio space, which at any given time houses the work of roughly 20 contemporary artists, will be opening its doors to the public throughout the month of October. Stop in today for an artist talk with EBA member Sally Sheeks, or visit their website for a full list of events.

The biannual Antiquing in the Fieldhouse sale returns this weekend to Carleton University with 40,000 square feet of unique vintage finds. On offer will be retro handbags by Gucci, Prada and Fendi; vintage Tiffany’s, Cartier and David Yurman jewelry; and works of art by 20th century artists such as George Barbier and Georges Lepape. Tickets are $10 per person, and re-admission is free.

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for September 28 to 30


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.


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!


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.

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: WICKED

WICKED plays at the NAC from July 11 to 29. Copyright: Joan Marcus

July 11-29

You’ve heard all about the wizard, but how well do you know the witches of Oz? Learn what happened long before Dorothy dropped in when blockbuster musical WICKED returns to Ottawa after a sell-out run here in 2008. The show tells the story of two unlikely friends who meet in the Land of Oz — one with emerald-green skin who is smart, fiery, and misunderstood, the other a beautiful, ambitious, and popular blonde — who later become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good. If you don’t already know what all the fuss is about, this is your chance to find out!

National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., 888-991-2787, www.nac-cna.ca.


Hot Attraction: Downtown Rideau

Photo credit: Nina Iouguina

Dining, entertainment, and shopping — what more could you ask for? Downtown Rideau spans a 23-block area and includes 475 businesses and organizations that contribute to the eclectic urban vibe. Some highlights from this district include the two-storey Urban Outfitters store (the only one in Ottawa), the Rideau Centre (home to 180 stores), an assortment of restaurants, and artistic venues such as the National Arts Centre and the Ottawa Art Gallery. The beauty about this area: you can buy an outfit, go out to dinner, and catch a show, all within a few blocks.

Photo credit: Nina Iouguina

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for May 25 to 27

Capital Chill is a collaboration between musicians and artists that celebrates contemporary arts in Ottawa. Some of the performers include Matt Dorgan Project, Adam Saikaley, and Graciellita, as well as artists Stefan Thompson, Etienne Gélinas, Mat Dubé, and more. Art will be available for purchase at the event, which is being held at Arts Court in Ottawa’s downtown core.

The Ottawa Storytellers will recreate the traveling Chautauqua of the 20th century this Friday evening at Billings Estate National Historic Site. The tent show features music, comedy, politics, and culture.

The Bolshoi Ballet performs Don Quixote at the NAC this weekend.

Guests will witness astonishing feats of Russian ballet when the Bolshoi Ballet performs Don Quixote. The show, which is based on the novel “Don Quixote de la Mancha,” will dazzle audiences with a mix of dance, costumes, and set design. A special pre-ballet show takes place this Wednesday evening with former Royal Winnipeg Ballet instructor Kathryn Jones, who will discuss the history and cultural significance of this performance.

The Great Glebe Garage Sale is an annual event open to visitors which aims to raise money for The Ottawa Food Bank. This community garage sale sets up shop on front lawns, driveways, and porches and attracts thousands to the Ottawa neighbourhood of The Glebe. Visitors are encouraged to bike or walk over, and bring cash to support a local charity.


Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for April 27 to 29

Friday, April 27
The biannual Ottawa International Writers Festival takes place this weekend and will feature world-renowned writers speaking about their experiences in the field of history, science, fiction, poetry, and more. Some of the big-name draws include Giller Prize-winning author Vincent Lam and CBC correspondent Nahlah Ayed.

In an event that will showcase young Canadian performers, Handel’s opera Giulio Cesare tells the story of seduction and politics. The semi-staged production, put on by Thirteen Strings, is the highlight of the orchestra’s season.

Ana Miura plays at the first-ever Ottawa Grassroots Festival

Saturday, April 28
Folk music takes centre stage at the first-ever Ottawa Grassroots Festival. The event features local talent and includes Ottawa artists such as The Bytown Ukulele Group and Ana Miura.


Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for March 30 to April 1

Chic coats, cool jewellery, and plenty to decorate the home are on offer at this weekend's Ottawa Antiques Show.

Friday, March 30
The Ottawa Antiques Show is back for its annual spring edition, bringing with it a slew of great finds. But make no mistake: this isn’t your grandma’s show. While it does boast an assortment of century-old antiques, it’s also the place to find designer goods and hidden treasures. Vendors carry a selection of retro and vintage products; think designer jewellery by Tiffany & Co., haute couture accessories from Chanel and Hermès, handbags by Prada, and Rolex watches. Happy hunting!

Celebrate Canada’s diverse musical talent with Classical JUNOs in Concert, where JUNO nominated performers, such as Susan Hoeppner and Christina Petrowska Quilico, break out an array of instruments to perform classical pieces, including those by nominated composers. The afternoon concert is free and held in the lobby of the National Arts Centre.

Saturday, March 31
Step into the fantastical world of Tara Luz Danse – Les Billes, a creation of choreographer Anik Bouvrette, at the Shenkman Arts Centre. Here, dancers incorporate unusual objects into their movements: large marbles, lit hoops, and Chinese lanterns that resemble planets. In this lush performance of contemporary dance that has charmed both children and adults – not an easy task – the audience gets swept up in the question “When I close my eyes, in my imagination, I see…”

Come and be astounded by the magic of world-class illusionist Greg Frewin in his Vegas-style show, Beyond Belief, at the Théâtre du Casino. Frewin is the only magician to have won every major magic award in North America, and he has performed throughout the world. His show, featuring tigers, showgirls, and amazing illusions, will undoubtedly leave you beyond belief, just as it’s name promises. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for March 9 to 11

Rococode from Vancouver is just one of the bands playing at Mavericks this weekend. Photo credit: Robyn Jamieson.

Friday, March 9
Start your weekend off right by partying it up with some fun indie bands at Mavericks. This is the LP release show for Anchors, the newest album from Ottawa indie rock band and show headliner Kalle Mattson. Also on the bill: Rococode, a three-boy and one-girl band from Vancouver that strives to make exciting and meaningful pop music; The Richardson Band, an Ottawa indie/folk band that just recorded its first EP; and the Ashleys, another Ottawa indie/rock band.

Get lucky at the first late night performance of Third Time Lucky, performed by Toronto-based comic storyteller Paul Hutcheson at The Gladstone. Pornography, an allergic reaction to shellfish, and orgies are just some of the topics Hutcheson covers in this solo show. Hutcheson has performed in more than 25 fringe festivals, winning awards in New York, San Francisco, Montreal, and Ottawa.  This play is part of the Black Box Set Theatre Festival, which runs until March 17.

Get in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day a few days early with Ottawa Irish Week. The week-long festival and longstanding Ottawa tradition invites you to celebrate Ireland through music, poetry, history, dance, theatre, and sport. This Friday, get entertained and eat Irish fare at The Erin Luncheon at St. Patrick’s Home of Ottawa. Various events run from March 8 to 17.

Saturday, March 10
Laugh, cry, and support a good cause at The Vagina Monologues this Saturday. Carleton University’s own Vaginas Against Violence are once again putting on a fantastic show, which is run and performed by Carleton students. All proceeds from ticket sales go towards  the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre and the international V-Day campaign, which supports victims of sexual violence in Haiti in an effort to end gender-based violence locally and globally. If you’ve never seen this show that serves up story after story to honour the female anatomy, you’re missing out. (more…)