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National Gallery of Canada

Epic Journey – Don McCullin’s New Exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa

“Don McCullin: A Retrospective” on now at the National Gallery of Canada (Photo: Near Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin (1961) ©Don McCullin/Contact Press Images)

British photojournalist Don McCullin has spent his life covering some of the world’s most infamous conflicts, including those in Cyprus, Vietnam, the Congo, and Lebanon. But his latest exhibition — a collection of 120 black and white photographs — sees the artist travelling inward, recounting his own journey from working class Englander to foreign correspondent.

Experience “Don McCullin: A Retrospective” at the National Gallery of Canada until April 14. 

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for November 2 to 4

Friday, November 2

Augury by Melanie Authier, on display as part of Builders: Canadian Biennial 2012 at the National Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada will showcase over 100 recent acquisitions in their latest exhibition Builders: Canadian Biennial 2012. The show, which runs until January 2013, honours the tireless efforts of Gallery curators to build a thorough collection of contemporary Canadian art. Though the exhibition officially opens on Friday, and runs until January 20.

Cuban-Canadian singer-songwriter Alex Cuba has booked a two-night stint at the National Arts Centre in support of his latest album, Ruido En El Sistema / Static in the System. Experience Cuba’s uniquely refreshing blend of rock, soul, pop and Latin-funk on the NAC’s intimate Fourth Stage.

Ottawa-based choir Seventeen Voyces will present an adaptation of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent classic, The Passion of Joan of Arc, this weekend at St. Matthew’s Church. The film, which dates back to 1927, will be projected on a large screen at the front of the church, and the choir, accompanied by director Matthew Larkin on organ, will provide the soundtrack.

Saturday, November 3

Polaris Prize-nominated Zeus play Zaphod’s Saturday night

It’s fitting that one of Zaphod’s first big shows of November features four guys with four serious moustaches. Toronto-based Zeus — the Polaris Prize-nominated indie rock quartet that’s been topping CBC charts since debuting in 2009 — will be dropping in the nation’s capital for one last Canadian show before heading off on a major European tour. Pre-sale tickets are just $12 at Ticketweb.ca.

The Ottawa Valley Cat Show returns to the Nepean Sportsplex this weekend with two full days of feline entertainment. The event will showcase a number of purebred cats, including Maine Coon, Siamese, Cornish Rex, and Bengals. Take part in animal care workshops, browse for pet-sitters, and maybe even pick out the purrfect Christmas gift for that special cat in your life.

Hintonburg’s Urban Craft — a hip and modern market that takes place on the first Saturday of every month — is back this weekend with an exceptional new lineup of vendors. On the bill are Purple Urchin Soap, Bake Mob, VersaTile Design and Strut Jewelry, to name a few. The show begins at 10 a.m., and the first 25 guests to arrive will receive a free gift!


Sunday, November 4

Adam Cohen visits the Canadian Museum of Civilization Theatre to share songs from his latest record Like a Man

Adam Cohen, son of Canadian music legend Leonard Cohen, is set to perform at the Canadian Museum of Civilization Theatre this Sunday. Known for his vulnerable yet charismatic stage presence, Cohen will be sharing songs off his latest record, Like a Man — an album he descrives as his “proudest artistic achievement yet.”

This weekend’s Fall National Women’s Show promises to be “the ultimate girls’ day out.” Featuring delectable food and wine samples, cooking demos, free makeovers, renovation advice and travel ideas, this two-day event has a little something for everyone.

Today is your last chance to experience Disney’s Beauty and the Beast live at the NAC. Based on the Academy Award-winning film, the hit Broadway musical captures all the magic and music of the animated classic. Witness the extraordinary characters, costumes and musical numbers that have made this show such a smashing success.

Long Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for October 5 to 8

Friday, October 5

Check out nearly 4,000 (artificial) pumpkins at Upper Canada Village during Pumpkinferno.

This weekend marks the grand opening of Pumpkinferno at Upper Canada Village. This month-long extravaganza will feature nearly 4,000 artificial pumpkins that have been hand-carved by students from the Cornwall area. The polyurethane carvings come in 14 sizes, each cast from the mold of a real pumpkin. Guests are invited to wander through 28 different themed exhibits, and marvel at the impressive displays of artistic talent. Some of the scenes, which are designed to represent various elements of the village, consist of roughly 200 individual pumpkins!

Ottawa’s biggest bake sale returns to Billings Bridge Shopping Centre this Friday for its 12th annual event. Featuring goodies donated by local church groups and bakeries, the Just Bake It! fundraiser will benefit the Christmas Exchange Program. This family-friendly event will offer a cake decorating demonstration, a best-tasting pumpkin pie contest, face painting, and the chance to win a $500 Billings Bridge gift card. It’s also the perfect opportunity to stock up on yummy treats for Thanksgiving.

Ever since its debut at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre in 2007, Daniel MacIvor’s How it Works has been winning over audiences and critics alike. Set in Halifax, the family drama centres on a cop and his ex-wife as they attempt to deal with their drug-addicted daughter. Under the direction of Stewart Matthews, the four-person play will be running at The Gladstone from October 5 to 20. And, thanks to an impressive Indiegogo fundraising campaign, the theatre will be giving away 82 tickets to at-risk youth in the community.

Saturday, October 6

Margaret Watkins, The Kitchen Sink, c. 1919. Palladium print, 21.3 x 16.4 cm
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Purchased 1984 with the assistance of a grant from the Government of Canada under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act.

Margaret Watkins: Domestic Symphonies,” which recently opened at The National Gallery of Canada, features an assortment of prints, drawings and photos by the late Modernist photographer. Known for her ability to turn everyday objects into beautiful works of art, Hamilton-born Watkins rose to fame in the 1920s while working as a commercial advertiser in New York City. This will be the first-ever retrospective of her work.

What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving weekend than with a family day trip to the country? Log Cabin Apple Orchard in Osgoode has an incredible selection of seasonal goodies ready to be picked. Stock up on all your fall baking essentials (Cortland and McIntosh apples are currently in season); hop on and enjoy a free hayride; and choose the perfect pumpkin for this year’s jack-o-lantern. Got a hankering for something sweet? Stop by Yazmin’s Bakery: this on-site shop offers a delicious spread of hot apple cider and freshly made pies, cakes, and candy apples.

For the second weekend in a row, the O-Town Hoedown — Ottawa’s alt-country musical celebration — will be taking over Irene’s Pub and The Rainbow Bistro. Hosted by local musician Lefty McRighty, the annual concert series is a mixed bag of bluegrass, country, rockabilly, folk-rock, and everything in between. There will be a number of exceptional local acts on the bill this year, including Old Whiskey Road, Jack Pine & The Fire, Mabaleka Brothers and James Leclaire.

Sunday, October 7

The Third World Bazaar in Manotick Station will begin its 2012 season this weekend. Fresh off a buying trip that saw them travelling to Bali, Java, Bangkok, Chaing Mai, Hanoi, Kerala and Delhi, the Bakker family has returned with a grand assortment of unique, fairly traded merchandise that’s now ready to be sold! Whether you’re looking for art, furniture or musical instruments, you’re sure to find something that piques your interest at the Bazaar. This year, they’ve also paired up with a number of charities: Guests can buy coffee in support of Habitat for Humanity; donate non-perishables to the Shepherds of Good Hope; or purchase a pumpkin to raise money for Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders.

A still from “Flight of the Butterflies,” which begins October 5 at IMAX.

Follow hundreds of millions of monarch butterflies as they make their annual migration from Canada to Mexico in Flight of the Butterflies 3D at IMAXThough the monarch weighs in at less than a penny, it makes one of the longest migrations on earth across a continent to a place it has never known. The film offers breathtaking cinematography, amazing 3D imagery, and a fascinating look at one of nature’s most mysterious and captivating phenomenons.

The Ottawa Fall Colours Run is taking place this Sunday in Cumberland Heritage Village. With several race lengths to choose from (they range from one kilometre children’s runs to a 42.2 kilometre marathon), the event promises to be fun for the whole family. Participants are encouraged to move along at their own pace and take in the exceptional scenery that surrounds this historic community. However, there will be prizes for the top three finishers, so be prepared for a little friendly competition! Complimentary T-shirts, snacks and Gatorade will also be made available to all runners.

Monday, October 8

Help celebrate the fall harvest (and the long weekend!) by checking out the Harvesting Energy exhibit at the Canada Agriculture Museum. Learn how energy is harvested (wind power and bioenergy demonstrations will be held throughout the day); make your own apple cider; attend a grain elevator demonstration; and get to know some rare breeds of Canadian poultry. Top if all off with a ride on the Tally-Ho Wagon. Pulled by the museum’s Clydesdale horses, Ted and Merrill, the activity is always a huge hit with the kids.

In addition to being on the big screen (see IMAX listing above), butterflies are taking over the greenhouses of Carleton University’s Biology Department. It’s the final day of their Annual Biology Butterfly Show, a spectacular display of roughly 1,300 butterflies! Arriving in five separate shipments over the course of the 10-day exhibit, the show will feature 41 species from around the world. Wear some colourful clothes (butterflies love to land on bright things!), and don’t forget your camera — there are sure to be some amazing photo opportunities.

Hot Art: Catch the Van Gogh exhibit before it’s gone!

Vincent van Gogh, Almond Blossom, 1890. Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)

Labour Day marks your last chance to see the amazing work of Vincent van Gogh at the National Gallery of Canada, the first major exhibition of the artist’s work in the country in more than 25 years. Entitled “Van Gogh: Up Close,” the exhibit offers the opportunity to see more than 40 works that focus on the Dutch artist’s relationship with nature and the unique and detailed ways in which he chose to portray it. From Thursday, August 30 to Monday, September 3, the Gallery is offering extended hours to view the exhibit and will remain open until 8pm.

Van Gogh Takes the Capital

Vincent van Gogh, Almond Blossom, 1890, oil on canvas, 73.5 x 92 cm. Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation)


From “The Starry Night” to “Sunflowers,” the artwork of Vincent van Gogh is known the world over. This May, the artist’s paintings are heading to Ottawa for the first major exhibition of his work in Canada in more than 25 years.

Vincent van Gogh, Iris, 1889, oil on thinned cardboard, mounted on canvas 62.2 x 48.3 cm. National Gallery of Canada Photo © NGC

Entitled “Van Gogh: Up Close,” this exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada offers the opportunity to see the Dutch artist’s work in person at the show’s only Canadian venue. Running from May 25 to Sept. 3, the exhibition will highlight more than 40 paintings from private and public collections around the world, as well as a selection of Japanese woodblock prints, 19th century photographs, and works on paper — many of which have rarely been shown publicly. The exhibition will delve into Van Gogh’s love of nature and his incredible talent for interpreting the world around him and creating something beautiful in response. You will see how the painter often departed from traditional painting techniques, opting instead for bright colours, modernized brushstroke, and experimentation with depth of field and focus that brought subjects into the foreground (or “up close”). The works he created before his death at just 37 years old ranged from still lifes to portraits to landscapes, and changed the course of modern painting forever.

Tickets $25; seniors: $22; students: $15; youths (12 to 19): $10. 380 Sussex Dr., 613-990-1985.


Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for May 18 to 20

Friday, May 18

Dutch DJ Nicky Romero plays Elektrik Tulipe on Friday.

The end of The Canadian Tulip Festival this weekend brings electronic music event Electrik Tulipe. In collaboration with the festival, world famous DJs will set the stage this Friday with performances by Steve Angello of the famed Swedish House Mafia, Dutch DJ/producer Nicky Romero, and Size Records DJ Third Party.

Nightwalking is an exhibit by artist Julie Berthelot that explores Canadian landscapes through large-scale abstract paintings of trees, fields and forests. The exhibit runs through June 3. Artist vernissage will take place this Thursday at Orange Art Gallery.

The 40th annual MusicFest Canada is a five-day event that celebrates over 10,000 young Canadian musicians through performance. Friday’s lineup features the 40th Anniversary Celebration Concert with performances from Canadian artist David Clayton-Thomas from the band Blood, Sweat & Tears, jazz vocalist Ranee Lee, drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez from Santana, and Yamaha pianist Oliver Jones.

Saturday, May 19

The four-day-long Sheep Shearing Festival at the Canada Agriculture Museum teaches children (and adults alike) about the many uses of sheep’s wool. Activities include sheep shearing and herding, sheepdog agility, wool carding, and felt making. Children will also be able to help Little Bo Peep find her sheep. (more…)

JUNO Mania: The JUNO Awards Come to Ottawa

It's all about glitz and glamour on awards night. Photo credit: CARAS/iPhoto).

The JUNO Awards celebrate the best of the best in Canadian music, and after eight years away the celebrations are back in Ottawa with a week of events that run March 26 to April 1. As musicians from around the country descend on the city, we highlight some of the hip happenings taking place around town. By Misa Kobayashi.

Roll out the red carpet! Taking place on April 1 at Scotiabank Place, the awards show will be broadcast live on CTV. With William Shatner hosting and big name nominees such as Michael Bublé, Justin Bieber, Drake, Arcade Fire, Hedley, Avril Lavigne, and The Sheepdogs vying for top honours, it’s certain to be a night of glitz and glamour for the Canadian music industry. Also on the bill are performances by JUNO Award winners City and Colour, Deadmau5, and Feist. Blue Rodeo will also take the stage and are being honoured as the Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees.

Singers, such as Michael Bublé, vie for top honours at the 2012 JUNO Awards, which will be hosted by William Shatner.

Can’t make it to the awards show? There’s still lots to see and do at these signature JUNO Week events. (more…)

Hot Art: Immersive Experiences at MOCCA

An image from Tasman Richardon's haunting Necropolis (photo by Alex Grigorescu)

FEBRUARY 4 TO APRIL 1 The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art kicks off its 2012 season this weekend with a trio of engrossing installations.

Three years in the making, Tasman Richardson‘s Necropolis is an immersive multimedia project that addresses the modern world’s loss of emotional engagement through six audio-visual installations set within a darkened, winding superstructure. Curated by Rhonda Corvese, each installation segment offers scenes from films re-contextualized into themes of narcissism, idolatry and oblivion, and their mounting sense of dread transforms the exhibition into a visceral experience. Richardson conceived the display as a response to what he terms “death culture,” or video and culture as a “false intimacy where moments are becoming emotionally oversimplified.” The use of odd frame rates and interlacing further emphasize real experience over than consumption of life through a screen. “Everything that can be recorded,” says Richardson, “is a kind of pseudo-death.” (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: Special Canada Day Edition

In honour of Canada’s 144th birthday, we’ve rounded up an assortment of activities that get you in on the action, whether you’re looking for one day, or a whole weekend, of fun. Happy Canada Day!

Parliament Hill is just one place to celebrate Canada Day this weekend. Photo credit: NCC/CCN.

Friday, July 1
Everyone knows downtown is the place to be if you want to be in the thick of things, and everyone should experience Canada Day on the Hill at least once. Today, some of the highlights include the pageantry of the Changing of the Guard, the noon show, featuring the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, plus musical acts from across the country, and an evening show with plenty of live entertainment. Major’s Hill Park and Jacques-Cartier Park are good places to take the family, with activities that include a VIA miniature train, kite flying, an outdoor sculpture gallery, an international village, a Great Canadian Chicken BBQ, dance classes, fireworks, and — we can’t even believe we’re saying this — so much more!

Located right downtown, the National Arts Centre will be hosting an array of activities that are fun for the whole fam. If you need a breather from carousing on Parliament Hill, head here for some free fun that includes storytelling, breakdance performances by Culture Shock, music by the NAC Orchestra and 250 choiristers, plus entertainment by the Ottawa Stilt Union.

Earning a visit on the Royal Tour, you know the Canadian War Museum has serious cred. While Wills and Kate will stop by here on July 2 for a private function for veterans, there’s plenty of fun programming to be had on Canada Day for the country’s grand fete. Activities include military marches and highland tunes with the museum’s “wandering piper,” temporary tank tattoos for the kids, lectures about battlefield medicine, and more. Even better? For today only admission is free.

The National Gallery of Canada sure knows how to throw a party: Local ogranization Fresh Beat will be pumping up the jams on the plaza with techno and house music in the outdoor amphitheatre. This day of electronic music will feature well-known DJs from the region, such as Akash, Yan Larouche, Dr. Phil, Martin Diotte, Chris Falardeau, Jason Jesse, and Steve Martin. Also on site will be a barbecue and gelato, plus it’s the perfect place to grab a prime seat for the fireworks show at 10pm. (more…)

Hot Art: Caravaggio Comes to Canada

Photo credit: Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi Da), “The Musicians", 1595, oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

From June 17 to Sept. 11, “Caravaggio and His Followers in Rome” will be showing exclusively in Canada at the National Gallery of Canada. The major exhibition explores the artist’s unique and provocative style and showcases works from the Baroque period that will debut for the first time in this country. The exhibit also displays pieces by other great European artists whom Caravaggio influenced. His tableaux, painted during his time in Rome, are inspired by mythology and religion and will be hung beside the art of his followers.

Hot Art: Street Photography

Photo credit: Fred Herzog's “Jackpot," 1961, Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa.

Acclaimed German-Canadian photographer Fred Herzog is known for his bright, Kodachrome snapshots of working class Canadians. The exhibition “Street Photography” is a collection of almost 30 photographs captured in the 1950s and 1960s. Un-posed, honest, and colourful, his images depict the best of the West, showing Vancouver, Victoria, San Francisco, and Banff. The exhibit will be on view at the National Gallery of Canada from June 13 to Sept. 5.