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Ottawa museums

Ottawa Family Fun

Whether you’re looking for something to do together, or an exciting activity to keep the kids busy, we’ve got your guide to good old-fashioned family fun. By Misa Kobayashi.

The Artissimo program. Photo credit: National Gallery of Canada.

If you want to get your little ones interested in art early, there’s no better way than the Artissimo program at the National Gallery of Canada. Every weekend and on statutory holidays from 11am to 4pm, children three and older and their parents can take part in building their own “Super Structures,” using the unique architecture of the gallery as inspiration. Other hands-on activities include making artwork to take home or display in the Artissimo gallery, and going on a self-guided search with mom and dad for paintings in the national collections that feature animals and children. Included with gallery admission. 380 Sussex Dr., 613-990-1985.

Ottawa’s maple syrup season is something to write home about. With several sugar shacks in the region less than an hour away, there’s no shortage of outdoor adventures to be had in the spring. Indulge in the heavenly sweetness of taffy on snow or a hearty pancake breakfast, take a horse-drawn sleigh ride, and see demonstrations of how syrup is made. A couple of our favourite places to visit are Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm, which is open weekends until April 24, and Proulx Farm, open weekends until April 25. See websites for holiday schedules and full lists of activities. Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm, 2452 Yorks Corners Rd., Edwards, 613-821-2751, and Proulx Farm, 1865 O’Toole Rd., Cumberland, 613-833-2417. (more…)

Hot Attraction: You’ve Got Mail

A sample of the postcards and first-day covers on view at "Philatelic Treasure from Liechtenstein."

Technology and its futuristic advancements may be all the rage, but slow down for a moment to celebrate the international mail system—and its effect on everyday life—by heading over to the Canadian Postal Museum. While you’re there, check out the exhibit “Philatelic Treasures from Liechtenstein.” Philatelists (those who study stamps and postal history) will be keen on this showcase of 27 first-day covers and postcards from the German-speaking principality. Afterwards, go ahead and write that letter to grandma. Exhibition runs until Feb. 28. Canadian Postal Museum (within the Museum of Civilization), 100 rue Laurier, Gatineau, 819-776-8200.

Hot Attraction: Currency for the Kids

Comic book drawings from "The Good, the Bad, the Fake."

Often referred to by visitors as a hidden gem, the Currency Museum of the Bank of Canada is opening a new educational exhibit called “The Good, the Bad, and the Fake” about the dangers of token trickery. Targeting youth, it uses a comic-book visual style to teach what to look for in counterfeit bills. Follow teenage characters Zoe and Dave as they learn to distinguish between what’s real and what’s fake. On view Jan. 11 to Aug. 11.

Six Ways to Escape Winter

It might be a snowy wonderland outside, but if the chilly temperatures are getting you down, WHERE’s got just the ticket to chase away the winter blues.

It's easy to stay warm at the Caribbean-inspired Savana Café.

1. Get tropical at Savana Café. With the brightly coloured walls, old-school chandeliers, and mismatched tablecloths, you’ll instantly feel better walking in the door of this lively brownstone-turned-eatery, and that’s before you’ve even tried the food. Inspired by flavours from the Caribbean and South-East Asia, the cuisine is comforting and delicious, with just the right amount of kick. 431 Gilmour St., 613-233-9159. (more…)