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Ottawa Nightlife

See the Wizard at the National Arts Centre

(Photo: Luk Monsaert)

The classic Wizard of Oz musical comes to the National Arts Centre. (Photo: Luk Monsaert)

DEC. 29 TO JAN. 3 The holidays are a great time for a getaway, so why not let yourself be transported to a different world? You won’t even have to leave Ottawa, we promise. Just in time for the New Year, The Wizard of Oz arrives at the National Arts Centre — join Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion as they travel the Yellow Brick Road, singing and dancing all the way. This production features songs from the movie, as well as new compositions by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.  —Amy Allen
•National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-2787. nac-cna.ca
Map and reviews

Life Lessons in Angel Square

Angel Square is a classic coming-of-age story by Ottawa writer Brian Doyle.

Angel Square is a classic coming-of-age story, adapted for the stage from the novel of the same name by Ottawa writer Brian Doyle.

DEC. 3 TO 20 The year is 1945. The Second World War has only just ended, and racial tensions are still present in the streets of Ottawa. Tommy, a young boy living in the seedy, multi-ethnic neighbourhood of Lowertown, is on a mission: to find the perpetrator of a savage crime against his best friend’s father. He conducts his investigation in Angel Square, where French, Irish Catholic, and Jewish kids constantly duke it out. Based on the beloved novel by Brian Doyle, this play tackles some difficult issues — namely, the dangers of racial prejudice, the struggles of the working class, and the awkward transition from childhood to adolescence. But at its heart, it’s about learning to understand one another. —Amy Allen
•The Great Canadian Theatre Company, 1233 Wellington St. W., 613-236-5196. gctc.ca

A Canadian Tale: Anne & Gilbert

The adventures of Canada's favourite red-haired heroine continue in Anne & Gilbert, the musical. (Photo: Louise Vessey)

The adventures of Anne Shirley, Canada’s favourite red-haired heroine, continue in the musical Anne & Gilbert. (Photo: Louise Vessey)

DEC. 1 TO 19 Anne Shirley, the ebullient, red-haired orphan from L.M. Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables, is poised to start her new teaching job at the Avonlea school. To complicate things further, her former rival and childhood friend, Gilbert Blythe, proposes to her — but he doesn’t quite live up to her sentimental ideal of true love. What’s a girl to do? Through music and dance, Anne & Gilbert: The Musical chronicles the continuing adventures of Canada’s favourite redhead. The play was written and premiered in Prince Edward Island, and its music has received an East Coast Music Award. —Amy Allen
•National Arts Centre, Theatre, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-2787. nac-cna.ca
Map and reviews

Sword of Wisdom: An Extraordinary Journey

Sword of Wisdom is a breathtaking tale of courage and discipline. (Photo: Courtesy of U-Theatre)

Sword of Wisdom is a soaring, spectacular tale of courage and discipline. (Photo: Courtesy of U-Theatre)

NOV. 24 Sword of Wisdom, a lavish, breathtaking production by Taiwanese dance company U-Theatre, blends drama, dance, and music to tell the story of the Brave One as he faces his fears and overcomes adversity. Set to the beating of many drums, the story traces the Brave One’s traces journey through precise movements and gestures commonly found in the sacred dances of India and Central Asia. The dancers’ soaring movements, the incredible beauty of the performances, and the discipline of the entire company make it a must-see. —Amy Allen
•National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-2787. nac-cna.ca
Map and reviews

Canada’s Oldest Bars: 12 Historic Pubs Still in Operation Today


The Olde Angel Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake was founded in 1789 (Photo: Tourism Niagara-on-the-Lake)

Determining Canada’s oldest bars is a delicate matter. First, it depends on the meaning of “oldest”: Is it the oldest continuously operating pubs? The first bars to open in Canada, despite having closed for a period or having changed names and/or locations?

And then there are the establishments with a fuzzy history: they may have closed, they may not have—no one is quite sure. Not to mention that Canada wasn’t even technically Canada until 1867, so—if you’re one to split hairs—bars opened before that date weren’t Canadian.

You see the problem. (more…)

Best Bars in Ottawa: Winter Edition

Best Bars Ottawa—Winter

Best Winter Bars in Ottawa: the Earl of Sussex (Photo: paellaking)

When the temperature drops, Ottawa residents are not deterred: they bundle up and brave the elements in order to socialize and have fun. Visitors can do the same, using our list of the best bars in Ottawa to head to in winter. These are cozy places that will make you feel welcome and warm—no matter what the weather’s like outside.

See the list of the best winter bars in Ottawa »


Best Bars in Ottawa’s Byward Market

Best Bars in Ottawa's Byward Market

Best Bars in Ottawa’s Byward Market: the disco balls spins at the Mercury Lounge (Photo: Greencolander)

Any local will tell you that the place for nightlife in Ottawa is Byward Market. The area is packed every weekend, and offers a huge diversity of bars, pubs, clubs and live music venues. For visitors looking for the best bars in Byward Market, our experts have put together this guide with options that will please any taste.

See the list of the best bars in Ottawa’s Byward Market »


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