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Ottawa festivals

Winter Wonders: Winterlude


Winterlude kicks off with an ice carving competition at Confederation Park. Stop by to see some beautiful works of glacial art! (Photo: Canadian Heritage)

Winterlude kicks off with an ice carving competition at Confederation Park. Stop by to see some beautiful works of glacial art! (Photo: Canadian Heritage)

Ottawa’s frosty winters offer visitors and residents the opportunity to experience things those living in southern climes can only dream of. Winterlude was created in 1979 as a way to celebrate the fact that, although winter can be cold and dark, it can also be beautiful and fun. This year’s festival runs from January 30 to February 16, and there’s plenty to do, see, and eat at its three major sites.


2013 TD Ottawa Jazz Festival Expands, Lineup Full of Surprises



2013 Ottawa Jazz Festival: Wayne Shorter brings his quartet to this year’s Ottawa Jazz Festival

The TD Ottawa Jazz Festival continues to be a joyful surprise.

The annual foray into jazz and surrounding genres has become one of the biggest draws during Ottawa’s festival season. In recent years, heralded performers such as Esperanza Spalding, Elvis Costello, and Branford Marsalis have headlined. If they repeated this format for 2013 — a lineup of big name, genre-defying artists and top-notch jazz musicians — the jazz festival would have received the same type of enthusiasm it’s experienced in previous years. Not one eyelash would have been batted, not one complaint filed. This year, though, they’ve decided to expand their boundaries, adding a brand new series that will take place in a stellar venue.

TD Ottawa Jazz Festival 2013 teaser from Adam Hughes


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 Dates: Rideau Canal Festival

Aug. 3 to 6

Rideau Canal Festival

The Rideau Canal is one of Ottawa’s most recognizable landmarks, as well as one of the most historically significant features of our city. The Rideau Canal Festival celebrates the 180th anniversary of this wonderful waterway with activities for the whole family along the length of the canal, from the Ottawa Locks and the Bytown Museum to Dow’s Lake Pavilion. Catch a parade of lights, a crafter’s market, walking tours, a flotilla, and lots more, plus food trucks, wine and beer, and live entertainment. The party also honours the 5th anniversary of the canal’s UNESCO World Heritage designation.

The Best Canadian Beer Fests of 2012


Cask Days, Toronto (Photo: Crystal Luxmore)

With summer upon us, there are beer festivals sprouting up in nearly every city and town across the country and 2012 is shaping up to be a dream year for the Canadian beer lover. The beer scene in Canada is currently going through a transition, with small craft brewers and microbreweries getting more confident and exploratory with their brews, meaning the range of flavours and styles of beer has never been better. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for June 15 to 17


Lady Antebellum plays Scotiabank Place on Friday

Lady Antebellum will be performing with guests Darius Rucker and Thompson Square on Friday night as part of their Own The Night 2012 World Tour. Guests can expect to hear the band’s latest number one hit “We Owned The Night,” as well as “Just A Kiss.” The Grammy Award-winners rose to fame with the 2009 country-pop smash “Need You Now.”

A Musical Taste of Our Canadian Heritage is in its 12th year in Ottawa, celebrating Canadian culture, arts, and music. Audiences will enjoy over 50 performers showcasing the history of Canada in a bilingual performance of song and dance. The performance includes everything Canadian, from the historical First People, to the RCMP, to our country’s contribution to music, television, and film over the past century.

Get ready to rock with D-TOX Rockfest, Quebec’s largest rock music festival. Located in nearby Montebello, the event features some big names with over 100 bands performing on indoor and outdoor stages. Friday’s lineup includes Korn, Bad Religion, Goldfinger, The Planet Smashers, a Black Sabbath tribute band, and many more. Also in attendance will be local artisans, vendors, and demos.


Carivibe, an annual celebration of Caribbean culture, is back again in the capital this Saturday. The event, which is hosted on Petrie Island in Orleans, will include Caribbean food and drinks, a children’s play area, masqueraders, entertainers, DJs, dance groups, steel bands, drummers, arts and crafts, and more throughout the day. At night the party continues with “Beach Ball,” a theme party requiring attendees to dress in beach-appropriate wear (golf shirts, Hawaiian shirts, straw hats – the works!). (more…)

Hot Art: Chinatown Remixed

Colin White, Untitled #2

Celebrate one of Ottawa’s most vibrant communities with Chinatown Remixed, an annual art festival that takes place on Somerset Street West in Chinatown. Local artists are paired with more than 40 local businesses (Umi Café, Koreana, ZenKitchen, and more) to help put Chinatown on the map as a creative community worthy of exploration. Artwork stays up until June 12.



Best of the Fests

Tulips bloom during the Canadian Tulip Festival. (Photo: Ottawa Tourism)

Ottawa buzzes with excitement as festival season kicks into high gear. From performing arts to cultural celebrations — and everything in between — here are just a few top picks for May and June.

May 4 to 21
Enjoy the stunning landscape, decorated with millions of tulips, in honour of this annual festival, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2012. As always, Major’s Hill Park, Commissioners Park, and other areas around town will showcase the colourful blooms. This year’s festival programming will be moving into various neighbourhoods for community activities and celebrations. Popular programming that celebrates the theme of international friendship will be offered and includes dance, music, cuisine, and arts from diverse cultural communities, as well as interactive activities for families from galleries and museums.
Various locations.

May 30 to June 3
Children — and those young at heart — will delight in the fantastical shows on offer at this annual fest. Award-winning artists from around the globe bring their acts to town for five days of performing arts. Performances include 2 Dimensional Life of Her, a performance made of drawing, animation, puppetry, projection, and paper; Black Violin, a slick combination of classical and hip-hop music; Head à Tête, a play about two strangers, one French, one English; and plenty more exciting shows. There will also be family activities at the fairgrounds before and after the performances.
Lebreton Flats Park and the Canadian War Museum. Tickets: $12.50; three-show pack: $30.


Top Canadian Summer Music Festivals


Osheaga Festival Musique et Arts, Montreal (Photo: ©Tim Snow)

Sure, it’s still technically spring, but if you want to attend some of Canada’s biggest music festivals, you’ll have to get your tickets (and book a hotel or campsite) now. Mark your calendars!


The Best of Ontario Spring Festivals and Events


Canadian Tulip Festival (Photo: John Talbot)

As the weather warms in March and April in Ontario, there is a bit more spring in our steps, a renewed bustle on sidewalks and park trails and a general loosening of the scarves.


Winterlude: A Canadian Tradition

Skating on the Rideau Canal is an essential Ottawa experience. Photo credit: NCC.

From Feb. 3 to 20, Ottawa transforms into a winter wonderland. This annual festival offers an abundance of indoor and outdoor activities, so we’ve rounded up some of the highlights from this classic Canadian event. By Misa Kobayashi. (more…)

12 Fabulous Winter Festivals Across Canada

Photo courtesy of Travel Manitoba

Canadians don’t hibernate in winter. Far from it!

We use the season to our advantage with fun-loving festivals from Atlantic Canada to the Yukon packed with wintry pursuits like ice sculpting, skating, and the age-old traditions of chainsaw chucking and beard growing. (more…)