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Ottawa

Hot Drink Hot Spots

By Joseph Mathieu

These aren’t your grandma’s coffee shops. Although she’ll probably like them too. Here’s a quick roundup of some of the more unique and fun spots to warm up as the spring slowly comes around.

 Photo by Laura Jasmine

The Vanitea Room

The gilded mirrors, regal chandeliers and plush chairs make every visit to The Vanitea Room an opulent affair. The atmosphere is Victorian flair with a modern twist, epitomized by a large flowery mural. The salon serves afternoon tea five days a week, with a dazzling array of over 150 teas from around the world. Teatime isn’t complete without their elegant three-tier serving tray teeming with edible delights, from macarons to panna cotta. They also offer breakfast, lunch, and tea parties for kids, as well as an all-day brunch (bubbly, anyone?) with savoury meals like eggs benedict or French toast and sweet goods like scones and cakes baked in-house. 551 Somerset St. W., thevanitearoom.com

Sutherland

Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this hybrid cafe is quite versatile: appealing to those looking for a casual space, one area has a cozy nook, a wall bench, and a pastry case full of freshly baked goods, while the remaining space is dedicated to the dining room where Ottawa-renowned chef, Warren Sutherland, serves up his eclectic take on South American, Asian, and Caribbean dishes. For lunch, try the eggs of North Africa, served with a chickpea stew, and the smoked salmon toast makes for a hearty breakfast. They serve many hot drinks, but their Jamaicano is the surest way kick start a drowsy day: made with steamed milk and two espresso shots sweetened by an ounce of condensed milk. 224 Beechwood Ave., sutherlandrestaurant.com

Feline Café

A great way to enjoy a coconut oil-infused bulletproof coffee or a matcha latte is with the companionship of rescued cats. The Feline Café has three separate sections: the entrance with a barn-board wood counter from which to order, another filled with cubbyholes and scratching posts for cats to play with the public, and a third just for cats to sleep or hide. There are on average six cats at the café, and every single one is available for adoption. A bulletin board displays all adopted cats that went on to their forever home from here. The café supports the foster operation, so feel good about ordering an organic tea, a vegan-friendly dishes like the jackfruit taco rice bowl, or any baked goods from several of local bakeries. You can bring food into the public cat lounge, but keep the kitties from taking nibbles! 1076 Wellington St. W., felinecafeottawa.com

Dreamland Café

This Italian food counter feels like a little oasis with its cloud-like lamps and wispy hints of pink, purple, and yellow. Though it specializes in homemade pizza and pasta, Dreamland is always creating new syrup-based coffees and teas to go or enjoy at their window bar. They have familiar flavours like mint cocoa latte and a classic matcha, and those looking for a health boost should try their hot lattes made with beetroot or turmeric — both root-based drinks are high in antioxidants. Run by two local sisters, their amazing sauces, like pancetta pesto and shrimp lemon garlic, are based on their grandmother’s recipes. 200 Laurier Ave. W., dreamlandcafe.ca

The Ministry of Coffee

This duo of coffeehouses are both built to be cozy and chic, with wood-wrapped espresso bars and several two-seat tables. Elgin’s spot is intimate and low-key while Hintonburg’s is more spacious and communal. The latter is known as The Ministry of Coffee and Social Affairs because of its liquor license, later hours, and events, concerts, and fundraisers. Both aim to serve the best coffees from around the world, and to showcase some of the finest Canadian roasters. They regularly feature coffees from the likes of Burlington’s Detour Coffee Roasters, Calgary’s Phil & Sebastian, and Anchored Coffee from Nova Scotia. 297 Elgin St. & 1013 Wellington St. W., theministryofcoffee.com

A post shared by blumenstudio (@blumenstudio) on

blumenstudio

This friendly café and flower shop feels like a private greenhouse, with a myriad of shelves and tables covered in plants. It’s owned by a second-generation flower aficionado from Dresden, Germany, and managed by Klaus, her mini schnauzer mix (seen napping, above). The owner changes her floral wares each season, but her yummy coffees remain consistent. Every espresso is made with a certified organic and fair-trade coffee bean blend that’s roasted with green technology. The studio serves a great Americano with only one or two ounces of water, and claims to be the first in Ottawa to pour cortados: half espresso, half steamed milk. On top of selling planters and cut flowers, the shop also hosts floral arrangement workshops such as making succulent gardens and seasonal bouquets. 465 Parkdale Ave., blumenstudio.ca

 

Between a Rock and a Cold Place — Ottawa’s Rock & Ice Climbing

By Sam Chilton

Who says this time of year is just about hibernation or hitting the slopes? Rock climbing is a great way to stay active and have a blast in the colder months. The region is home to three comprehensive indoor rock-climbing gyms and a wealth of frozen cliffs for every level of climber. Whether you wish to harness the wild in wilderness, or tackle standing puzzles safe from sub-zero temperatures, Ottawa-Gatineau can rock your world.

Photo and featured photo: Kristina Corre

Coyote Rock Gym

Coyote is Ottawa’s oldest climbing gym and a go-to for beginners and advanced climbers alike. Housing an impressive array of climbing walls and programs for adults and youth, it also has five areas dedicated to bouldering — short, artificial rock walls where one can focus on technique without the aid of ropes or harnesses. 1737-B St. Laurent Blvd., coyoterockgym.ca

Vertical Reality

Vertical Reality’s walls tower 54 feet high, and features climbable edges, ceilings, and a number of overhangs. This gym focuses on intermediate to advanced top rope and lead climbing, but there are plenty of options for beginners. Hone your chops on the “Moonboard,” a universal training wall set at a 40-degree angle, with an accompanying app and website that allows users from all over the world to climb and train on the same problems. 161 Middle St., Victoria Island, verticalreal.com

Photo: Marc Fowler – Metropolis Studio

Altitude Gym

This gym operates two locations, each with themed climbing routes, a day camp for kids, and an emphasis on family fun. The Gatineau location has something for everyone: 100 different climbing routes up to 45 feet high and 2,000 square feet of bouldering. It sports Willy Wonka-inspired walls, ladders, ropes, and aerial installments for soaring across and above the gym, Tarzan-style.

Altitude’s Kanata location is a brand new bouldering oasis with a stretch of walls specifically designed with kids and beginners in mind, and one for advanced climbers running parallel. “Ninja Warrior,” a parkour-style obstacle course, features foam fixtures, nets, monkey bars, and swinging platforms. 35 Saint-Raymond Blvd., Gatineau &  501 Palladium Dr., Kanata, altitudegym.ca

Photo: iStock-Slmonker

Ice Climbing

For true thrill-seekers, the Ottawa region also offers a number of breathtaking destinations for ice climbing. Just north of Ottawa are 64 spots across the Eardley Escarpment, forming the south-western boundary line of Gatineau Park. This includes the 100-metre stretch of Luskville Falls, which is transformed into a dense, climbable expanse come winter. South-west of Ottawa, Calabogie possesses a handful of favourites — cliffs boasting ice consistently two to three meters thick, and a swathe dubbed “The Green Fang,” the steepest and most dependable ice in the area.

Access to many of these areas is limited due to the dangerous nature of the sport. It goes without saying (or it should) that this is incredibly weather dependent. Knowledgeable guides curate training opportunities and weekend excursions from the Ottawa chapter of the Alpine Club of Canada. alpineclubottawa.ca

Neat Spots for Gin, Vodka & Rum

By Katie Shapiro

Gin, vodka, and rum may not commonly be enjoyed on their own, but with the consumption of premium spirits on the rise in Canada, that seems to be changing. But what makes a spirit achieve “top-shelf” status anyway? There are no strict standards or benchmarks, but premium spirits should be sippable, made from quality ingredients, and full of flavour. These spirits aren’t meant to be thrown down your throat; they’re silky and bold and they stand alone. (Oh, and premium doesn’t have to mean unaffordable.)

Gin

Stephen Flood Riviera

Stephen Flood had a vision — and 20 years of bartending experience — when he set up the bar at Riviera. “I wanted us to be a gin bar, because this,” he waves to the high ceilings, long gold bar, and sleek light fixtures, “is such a period thing, and gin is the most elegant of all the spirits.”

Flood also posits that gin is the most interesting of all spirits. With few requirements, other than that juniper must be the predominant flavour, the ingredients list can vary widely.

While the long drinks list at Riviera includes many options, it really is a gin bar: there are 25 European gins and 11 North American varieties on offer.

A favourite of Flood’s is Sacred Gin by Sacred Microdistillery, which features 11 botanicals including juniper, cardamom, and citrus. This unique mixture results in a very balanced, creamy gin.

In contrast, Flood suggests the Californian St. George Terroir, made with Douglas fir, California bay laurel, and coastal sage, invoking a real sense of place. Flood likes to engage folks at the bar to pick the perfect gin for one of the “holy trinity” of gin cocktails — a martini, a negroni, or a gin and tonic.

Vodka

Alex Yugin Avant Garde Bar

It should come as no surprise that this Soviet-themed bar — complete with propaganda art posters on the walls and borscht on the menu — boasts a fine vodka list with many Russian vodkas.

Since vodka can be made from just about any organic base material (potatoes, fruits, or grains), Yugin says that the best ones will use a quality base ingredient and the purest water available. Most sophisticated vodkas will be distilled more than once and filtered, often through charcoal, to remove any impurities.

When it comes to choosing a sipping vodka, Yugin, who is from St. Petersburg, singles out Zubrowka Bison Vodka from Poland.

Distilled from rye, Zubrowka is flavoured with a tincture of bison grass, which gives it a distinct herbaceous character along with a faint yellow hue. Each bottle contains one long blade of the grass, which is traditionally harvested in northeastern Poland. With notes of coconut, dill, and vanilla, this spirit totally dismantles the myth that vodka is flavourless and boring. Yugin serves Zubrowka in an icy glass and recommends enjoying sips of premium vodka in between, and — why not? — nibbles of crunchy pickles.

Rum

Julia Hussien and Zach Smith Salt

Though admittedly more of a bourbon bar, Salt’s rum selection is nothing to sneeze at. The Preston Street restaurant offers an assortment of white and brown rums (the latter are darkened by extra aging).

Salt’s bartenders advise that a good rum should be semi-sweet (it is a sugarcane spirit, after all) and will usually feature warming spices — think cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg. To enjoy simply, Hussien likes to serve it over ice with a little brown sugar; Smith suggests ice and a hint of lime juice to brighten the spirit.

Though rum cocktails might transport you to the Caribbean, Smith calls autumn and winter “rum-sipping season.”

For newcomers to rum-sipping, the bartenders suggest Flor de Caña Centenario 12, from Nicaragua, or Brugal 1888, from the Dominican Republic; the former is aged 12 years in American oak barrels (which previously held whisky and bourbon), while the latter is aged in American oak before being finished in Spanish oak sherry casks. Both are smooth, buttery, and slightly toasty with notes of caramel and baked apple; the Flor de Caña offers notes of vanilla and spice, while the Brugal has a hint of smokiness.

The 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

Everyone has their own idea of the perfect holiday. Some like to cook up a storm, others head for the hills. And then there are those for whom holidays mean dressing up and hitting every fabulous party. No matter how you like to wile away the time, our holiday gift guide has you covered.

Party Time

Diamond Earrings at Howard Fine Jewellers, 220 Sparks St.

Sparkle like a red-carpet star with these stunning dangle earrings, which feature round and yellow enhanced diamonds. $19,500.

Dirty Jokes at Stomping Ground, 728 Bank St.

Take your cocktail party banter to a new level with this collection of adult jokes. $11

Ace Face Shoes at John Fluevog Shoes, 61 William St.

These fancy lace-up derbys by the celebrated Canadian designer will ensure that you step out in style. $349.

Appliqué Minaudière Purse at Nordstrom50 Rideau St.

Add texture and shine to an evening outfit with this pint-sized purse. $169.

Silk Ties at E.R. Fisher199 Richmond Rd.

Dion neckwear has been making high-quality silk ties ($95-$135) and pocket rounds ($65) out of Toronto for 40 years.

Cook

Cheese Board at Boogie & Birdie, 256 Elgin St.

Show your national pride with this made-in-Canada bamboo cheese board. $106.

Reusable Bags at terra201304 Wellington St. W.

Be a wise owl and use these cute reusable bags, which come in a package of two. $15.

Japanese Blade at Knifewear, 800 Bank St.

The Mugen Santoku is a multi-purpose knife perfect for slicing, dicing, and mincing vegetables. $500.

Wood Finish at Maker House Company, 987 Wellington St. W.

Enhance and protect your wooden utensils and cutting boards with this all-natural beeswax product. $8.

Food Storage at The Chef’s Paradise1314 Bank St.

This alternative to plastic wrap uses the heat of your hand to create a seal. $30.

Play

Mountaineering Board Game by Family Pastimes

Watch for avalanches, overcome frostbite, and grapple with other challenges in this cooperative, locally-made board game. $21.

Poop Coaster at Maker House Company, 987 Wellington St. W.

This coaster protects furniture — and lets guests know you’re not that uptight. $22. 

Good Gorilla at The Modern Shop, 541 Sussex Dr.

Hanno the gorilla can hold poses and hook onto furniture, bringing a touch of fun to any space. $150.

Snoopy Backpack at Simons, 50 Rideau St.

This Peanuts backpack by Vans features a padded back and adjustable strap. $45.

Phone Case at Boogie & Birdie, 256 Elgin St.

Is it mixed tape or mix tape? Regardless, transform your iPhone into an icon with this throwback case. $36.

Cozy Up

Earmuffs at the Hudson’s Bay Company50 Rideau St.

These faux fur earmuffs from the Canadian Olympic Team Collection feature a cozy knit headband. Also available in red. $30.

Box of Chocolates by Bernard Callebaut314 Richmond Rd.

This collection features handcrafted chocolates, five of which are award winners. $24.

Grand Teapot at Le Creuset517 Sussex Dr.

This teapot has a capacity of four cups — so your reading (or Netflix-binging) time won’t be interrupted by the need to put the kettle on. $60.

Canadian Club 40 YO at the LCBO, various locations

Toast Canada’s 150th with limited-edition Canadian Club Whisky that has been aged for 40 years. $250. 

Wool Blanket at The Opinicon1697 Chaffeys Lock Rd.

Handmade in Canada, this 100 per cent virgin wool blanket is the same one that graces the beds at the historical Opinicon Resort. $195.

Explore

Weatherproof Pad at Lee Valley, 900 Morisson Dr.

The Rite in the Rain notebook will not absorb water, nor will it curl or wrinkle. $9.50.

Craft Beer at the LCBO, various locations

Get adventurous with your tastebuds with beer from Ontario’s Collective Arts and Flying Monkeys. About $3.

Rab Microlight Alpine Jacket at Bushtukah, 203 Richmond Rd.

This lightweight down winter jacket is ideal for when the temperatures drop and weight is a concern. $350.

Eton Grundig Executive Satellite Radio at MEC, 366 Richmond Rd.

This device receives AM, FM, long and shortwave, VHF, marine, and HAM signals. $200.

The Bripe at Equator Coffee Roasters, 412 Churchill Ave. N.

You don’t want to lug a coffee pot to the great outdoors but need a caffeine fix. This copper apparatus and its kit allows the user to brew up an espresso in just a few minutes. $99.

A Taste of Ottawa: The Capital’s Signature Dishes

BeaverTails, shawarma, poutine, perhaps pho. The capital isn’t lacking for acclaimed fast-food options. But stop for a minute and take your taste imaginings to a higher plane. What restaurant dishes are Ottawa classics?

These are unique to a particular dining room, and beloved by legions of fans who extol their virtues far and wide. Signature dishes might be innovative and complex, but they could just as easily be simple. Nevertheless, they have two things in common: they’re instantly cherished and nearly impossible for the chef to remove from the menu.

Any debate over a definitive list could last well into the night, so we’ll just start here with six picks.

Les Fougères’ Duck Confit

783 rte. 105, Chelsea, Quebec, 819-827-8942, fougeres.com

Chef Charles Part’s duck confit is legendary. Little wonder, since the chef-owner has been refining it for upwards of two decades. It boasts a skin that’s deliciously crisp, and the accompanying potato galette is always perfection.

Benny’s Bistro Salmon Gravlax

119 Murray St., 613-789-6797, frenchbaker.ca/reservations

Benny’s Bistro has been serving up “French fast food done right” for years. Its house-made salmon gravlax is a thing of beauty, with an oozy sunny-side-up egg, a warm fingerling potato salad, and olive tapenade on the side.

Mariposa Farm’s Foie Gras

6468 County Road 17, Plantagenet, 613-673-5881, mariposa-duck.on.ca

This farm’s ethical farming practices produce tons of delightful goodies, but none quite as delicious (or coveted) as the duck foie gras.

The SmoQue Shack’s BBQ Chicken

129 York St., 613-789-4245, smoqueshack.com

There’s barbecue and there’s the way chicken’s done in Kentucky: a spicy rub, a sugar and honey brine, and an apple wood smoke. The SmoQue Shack’s secret sauce? A bourbon glaze with hints of vanilla.

Absinthe’s Steak Frites

1208 Wellington St. W., 613-761-1138, absinthecafe.ca

Absinthe sees a large and devoted following for chef-owner Patrick Garland’s steak frites. Its marinated hanger steak paired with hot fries is a don’t-you-dare-take-it-off-the-menu staple.

Allium’s Banoffee Pie

87 Holland Ave., 613-792-1313, alliumrestaurant.com

This yummy pie has a graham cracker crust filled with layers of creamy toffee, sliced banana, and heaps of whipped cream, all topped with chocolate shavings.

Bytown’s Best Beers

By Matt Harrison

It’s a golden age of sorts. Golden suds that is. Awash in beer, the capital’s not quite drowning but rather happily drifting along in a frothy sea of microbrews. Last count finds the area home to at least two-dozen breweries and growing.

Not confined to area pubs and bars, the breweries themselves have become tourist destinations such as Beau’s Oktoberfest in September (less chance of snow!), or Les Brasseurs du Temps, a beautiful stone brewery located in Hull’s former waterworks building with patios overlooking — fittingly — Brewery Creek, an arm of the Ottawa River.

What’s driving this industry? The answer is found in the hardworking brewmasters who pride themselves in being natural and authentic. But to stand out, you also have to be a little quirky (the Broadhead team brags about giving up shaving for its craft) or take a mad-scientist approach to experimenting (an Earl Grey Marmalade Saison anyone?), or get creative with naming beers (Bog WaterPink FuzzHeller Highwater).

We asked some of the city’s top brewers to talk about what makes this city’s suds scene so great.

Father-son team, Tim and Steve Beauchesne of Beau’s Brewery. Photo courtesy of Beau’s.

Beau’s Brewing Co. (Since 2006)
Steve Beauchesne, co-founder, and CEO

What makes your brewery unique?
Our close-knit family and friends, company culture, and each of the beers we brew.

What is your favourite beer?
Bog Water. It started us on a path of experimentation, and has spawned so many interesting projects. When we decided to brew a Gruit beer [brewed with herbs other than hops], I don’t think we fully realized how much it would impact our brewery. Now with a full-time Gruit program, and as originators of International Gruit Day, it is something that many brewers [worldwide] look to us as experts on.

Les Brasseurs du Temps (Since 2009)
Alain Geoffroy, president

What makes your brewery unique?
BDT is the first craft brewery established on the Quebec side of the Outaouais. It is literally a temple of beer brewing more than 35 different types of beer [always 17 fresh beers on the menu], located in a heritage centennial building and featuring a self-guided beer museum.

What are your most underrated and favourite beers?
Underrated: L’Allumante is our nut brown ale. Despite the fact that it is our second best-selling beer [OK, not really underrated!], it remains, to my point of view, one of the best American-style nut brown ales you can find: a subtle nutty flavour sustained by a long and smooth bitterness. Favourite: La Framboyante, our raspberry pale ale. Fruit beers tend to be oversweet to my taste. La Framboyante has a perfect balance of bitterness [like biting into the raspberry seed] and sweetness of the fruit.

Brewery Kichesippi Beer Co. (Since 2010)
Paul Meek, co-owner and president

What makes your brewery unique?
Our commitment to brewing rare global styles and making them available to our customers. Logger (Pennsylvania Porter), Wuchak UK (British IPA), Donny’s Dort (Dortmunder), Phoenix and the Cat (Rauchbier), and Dartmouth Common (Steam Beer) are all great examples of [our] hard-to-find global styles.

What are your most underrated and favourite beers?
Underrated: Probably our Kichesippi Logger. The style is a Penn Porter, which was a style created by Yuengling in the U.S. It is a not a traditional British Porter or Baltic Porter as it uses a lager yeast instead of an ale yeast. Favourite: Our Kichesippi 1855. The great thing about this beer is that it teaches the customer that the colour of the beer is not directly related to its flavour. When you try this amber ale with your eyes closed, you would never guess that it’s a darker beer in the glass.

Laura Behzadi, co-owner of Bicycle Craft Brewery.

Bicycle Craft Brewery (Since 2014)
Laura Behzadi, co-owner

What makes your brewery unique?
We pride ourselves on sourcing local ingredients when available and our passion for craft beer ensures that our beer is delicious every time it’s poured. We are also avid supporters of women in the brewing industry and celebrate International Women’s Day every year with Freedom Machine, our cherry pale ale that’s named after the suffragette name for the bicycle.

What are your most underrated and favourite beers?
Underrated: Vinternat Liquorice Stout. The added raw liquorice root gives the beer a crisp finish that cools the mouth and is very thirst-quenching and refreshing. Most people are surprised when they try it. Favourite: Velocipede IPA. It’s our flagship beer and is inspired by the original name for the bicycle. Hoppy, with citrus notes and a refreshing bitterness — it’s perfect any time of year.

Whiprsnapr Brewing Co. (Since 2014)
Ian McMartin, founder, co-owner, head brewer

What makes your brewery unique?
We have a baby system (150L) and a big system (2000L). The baby system allows us to play a lot and have lots of different beers on tap, while the big guy lets us get our beers into the LCBO and The Beer Stores. We also have a great front-of-house area [for] events.

What are your most underrated and favourite beers?
Underrated: Our Carol Anne Irish blonde ale. There’s just so much flavour in it for such a light, easy drinking beer [4.7 percent]. It’s got a lot of body from wheat and honey malts, and loads of hops give it a real spring-like aroma. Favourite: Our ginger coriander cream ale. It’s based on some of the travel I used to do to China, Malaysia, and Singapore, and the flavours they use in their foods: ginger, coriander, lemon, and honey. The beer is light, crisp, bright, vibrant, packed with flavour, but still balanced.

Canadiana Shopping in the Capital

By Nicole Bayes-Fleming and Chris Lackner

You can visit Canada’s capital, and take a small piece of the country home with you. Loosen your patriotic purse strings at the following shops and boutiques.

 

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Patriotic Payment

Spend like a true Canadian with coins made in honour of the country’s 150th celebration. The Royal Canadian Mint has unveiled a collection of coins designed by Canadian artists, featuring national imagery such as the CN Tower, the beaver, and First Nations artwork. The toonie’s depiction of two canoeists gazing upon the northern lights also comes in a glow-in-the-dark version. Check your change, or purchase the limited editions designs at the Mint.

320 Sussex Dr., 613-993-8990

Sizzling Souvenirs

Kitschy souvenirs are easy to find in Ottawa. Ditch those maple syrup bottles and Mountie key chains for something from Maker House Co. The handmade items retain Canadian sentimentality, while supporting local artisans. You’ll find gear by North Standard Trading Post, bookmarks made of birch bark, and prints of different Canadian cities and provinces.

987 Wellington St. W., 613-422-6253

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First Nations’ Art

This purveyor of genuine First Nations’ fine arts and crafts from the Arctic and Canada’s West Coast has been a fixture on Sparks Street since 1963. At Snow Goose you’ll find original works of art, including soapstone carvings and masks, along with a large selection of dreamcatchers, original Inuit prints and carvings, Indigenous jewellery designs, and leather goods.

83 Sparks St., 613-232-2213

Wrap Yourself in the Flag

Victoire: Mainly Canadian designers, plus pop-culture accessories in a store aesthetic self-described as, “Rock ’n’ Roll tea party”.

Ottawa_Necklace (1)

Magpie Jewellery: The majority of their accessories are Canadian, including First Nations designers. If you’re feeling really patriotic, pick up the Ottawa Necklace from local designer Lissa Bowie.

Flock Boutique: Unique and handmade garments from over 150 Canadian designers; also visit their sister store in the market Workshop Boutique.

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Boogie + Birdie: Feels cosy and Canadian with largely local products — from scented candles to animal mugs to artisan crafts, colourful scarves, small ceramics and one-of-a-kind jewellery.

Homegrown Gifts

J.D. Adam Kitchen Co.: Set the table with Canadian and local kitchenware at this colourful, dynamic shop in the Glebe.

Market Organics: This health food store in the ByWard market carries plenty of local goods, from body care and nutritional products to local food purveyors. Their built-in kitchen even offers daily specials.

 

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Roots: Roots is living up to its name with special merchandise for Canada’s 150th. Locations include Westboro and three shopping centres: Rideau, St. Laurent and Bayshore.

Ottawa the Bold: 2017 in the Nation’s Capital

By Joseph Mathieu

Summer in the capital always enchants, but this year will be truly spellbinding. Canada’s 150th birthday finds Ottawa exploding with red and white, cascading with culture and embracing the extraordinary. Artists and performers from afar will highlight their cultures while celebrating their ties with Canada, the downtown core will ignite with fiery, fantastical beasts completing a quest, and a rift in the space-time continuum will be discovered and explored underground. We are talking about an Ottawa awash in magic, wonder and revelry — a city breaking with tradition and showing off just what it can do. Why not? You only turn 150 once, right?

Kontinuum: An Underground Journey Through Time

Kontinuum (July 16 to Sept. 14)
This free, interactive, immersive experience built around the construction of the new light-rail train system in Ottawa is the brainchild of Moment Factory, the wizards behind more than 400 multi-media productions around the world. The company is proud “to tell stories in unusual environments,” says MF’s Marie-Claire Lynn. The Lyon Street transit station is a case in point. Kontinuum centres on city workers finding a “breach” in the space-time continuum while digging to erect the station. This tear in reality allows visitors to experience alternate dimensions and invisible frequencies – auditory, visual and vibrational. Guests traverse three floors of architectural anomalies and life-like panoramic projections, and have the opportunity to visualize their own, unique “frequency,” which then becomes part of Kontinuum’s ever-evolving visual and auditory DNA.

La Machine’s Long-Ma & La Princesse

La Machine (July 27-30)
Get ready for the streets, buildings, and trees of downtown Ottawa to become a stage for two towering beasts. “The Spirit of the Dragon-Horse, With Stolen Wings” stars a 20-metre-long spider named La Princesse and a 12-metre-high horse-dragon named Long-Ma. With skin and features of sculpted wood, the massive pair’s mechanical guts and skeletons of steel move with the help of 33 operators. The monumental, four-day play will be the first North American performance by La Machine, a French production company based in Nantes. “Every driver has one role, one function and all together [they] make the machines emotive as well as mobile,” says La Machine’s Frédette Lampé. “The link between the operators and the machines is not dissimilar to that of a marionnettiste to its marionette, but we call them architecture in movement.”

Inspiration Village on York Street

Ottawa Welcomes the World (March until December) lives up to its name. All year long, the capital’s embassies and high commissions are marking their country’s national celebrations at the Aberdeen Pavilion and the Horticulture Building in Lansdowne Park. Enjoy music, food and art from around the world — but no jet lag. For programming, visit Ottawa2017.ca. Meanwhile, Inspiration Village on York Street (May 20 until Sept. 4) is home to 20 sea containers converted into a multi-use space featuring 880 hours of programming. You’ll discover special exhibits, live performances showcasing our provinces and territories, and activities for kids such as a costume photo booth, and photo cutouts of popular Canadian animals.

Ottawa Welcomes the World

Ottawa Welcomes the World

The International Pavilion (June 27 to Dec. 8)
A new building at 7 Clarence Street welcomes various countries, including summer hosts like Germany, Ireland and Belgium to will showcase their culture and traditions, and promotes their ties to Canada. With inspiring stories from immigrants and ex-pats, examples of partnerships leading to innovation, interactive presentations, and dynamic storytelling, the pavilion will serve as a enjoyable way to see how other countries perceive our own. For programming, visit the National Capital Commission site.

Terre Mère at MOSAÏCANADA 150

MOSAÏCANADA 150 (June 30 to Oct. 15)
Mosaïculture is the intersection of tapestry and topiary, the latter of which is the pruning of hedges into recognizable shapes. In other words, it’s all about creating living artwork with plants. For 107 days, Jacques-Cartier Park will host the biggest horticultural event in Canada, with MOSAÏCANADA 150/Gatineau 2017. The free exhibit’s themes will reflect on 150 years of history, values, culture and arts in Canada through some 40 different organic wonders.

6 Easy Weekend Getaways from Montreal

By LAUREN CRACOWER

Golf Le Diable (Photo: Tourisme Mont Tremblant)

Golf Le Diable (Photo: Tourisme Mont Tremblant)

With so many long weekends on the horizon this summer, now is the time to jump into the car and discover what local gems lie just beyond Montreal. Here are our top six picks for an impromptu last-minute getaway.

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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.

Google Chooses Three Canadian Sites as World Wonders

By SHANNON KELLY

Google counts Ottawa

As part of its new World Wonders Project, Google has chosen three Canadian heritage sites to share the spotlight with Versailles, the ancient temples of Kyoto in Japan and Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. as some of the top heritage sites around the globe worth seeing—virtually, at least. (more…)

Lightning Across a Purple Sky: Ottawa, Ontario

Every Friday we feature an inspirational travel photo of a Canadian destination taken by one of our readers.

Why we chose it: This stunning shot says two things: patience and timing. (Well, maybe three things: patience, timing and a tripod.) The purple sky is simply amazing, the treeline silhouette is a perfect frame and the clarity in the clouds at the centre of the image are fantastic. Bring on the rainstorm season! (more…)