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weekend roundup

Weekend Roundup: February 12 to 15

Kyle Lowry

Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors takes part in the 65th NBA All-Star game. (photo: NBA Photos)

This is the first time that the NBA All-Star Weekend has taken place outside of the U.S., so Toronto is rolling out all the stops for basketball’s biggest stars.

February 12  The All-Star Celebrity Game sees Toronto’s own Drake coaching a Canadian squad that includes NBA analyst Rick Fox, HGTV’s Drew and Jonathan Scott, and tennis ace Milos Raonic. Team U.S.A. sees actor Kevin Hart coaching the likes of fellow thespians Jason Sudeikis and Anthony Anderson (blackish), and America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannnon.

February 13 The State Farm All-Star Skills Challenge features three events that put NBA players to the test. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge sees the likes of Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets and Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics in a three-round contest of dribbling, passing and three-point shooting. The Footlocker Three-Point Contest sees sharpshooter Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors defending his 2015 title against the likes of Chris Bosch of the Miami Heat, while the Verizon Slam Dunk contest has Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves up against Will Barton of the Denver Nuggets, Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic, and Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons.

February 14 Tip-off for the 65th NBA All-Star Game takes place at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. The Eastern Conference team, comprised of hometown hero Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors (fellow teammate DeMar DeRozan is on the reserve list), LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat, squaring off against their Western Conference rivals, Kobe Bryant of the L.A. Lakers and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Sting performs during the half-time show.

Quince Flowers

Order an arrangement from Quince Flowers in the east end for delivery.

February 14
It’s a special day of roses, chocolates and candy hearts for all those in love. If you’re in town with your partner, try these 6 Effortlessly Romantic Things to Do in Toronto for date ideas. And for a candlelit dinner for two, these restaurants to Wine and Dine on Valentine’s Day (or any other time of year in fact).

Looking to send someone a beautiful floral arrangement? These three Toronto florists can put together some lush blooms for a special delivery.

Prefer to lavish your sweetheart with well, sweets? Soma Chocolatemaker has a special V-Day Tiffin box with four tiers of treats including a berry chocolate bark, chocolate tumbled cherries, damask rose truffles and whipped honey butter cloud truffles, while Nadège Patisserie has a Valentine’s Day boutique that includes a “Je T’aime” box of their signature macarons, which come in a range of delectable flavours including pistachio, matcha green tea and raspberry chocolate.

Singletons looking to do commiserate (or celebrate) with fellow consciously uncoupled individuals can sing their achy breaky heart out at Good Enough Live Karaoke at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.

Family Fun Fest

Family Fun Fest at Downsview Park has bouncy castles and arcade games for the whole family.

Though Monday is the official holiday, most activities are on throughout the weekend.

February 13 to 15  Head to Downsview Park for Family Fun Fest, an indoor amusement park and carnival for kids ages two to 12. Inflatable castles, rides, slides, arcade games, live entertainment, and face painting ensure everyone has a good time.

February 14 and 15  The Toronto Premium Outlets celebrates love and family with professional photo sessions in their food pavilion and complimentary roses for visitors. For the first time ever, the discount shopping destination is open on Family Day for those looking for brand name looks.

February 15  Rising rink rats are MVPs on Family Day when they’re granted free admission (when accompanied by an adult) to the Hockey Hall of Fame. A mecca for hockey fans, the popular destination lets sports enthusiasts call the action on a game in the TSN/RDS Broadcast Zone and pose with the coveted Stanley Cup. Built up an appetite? Head over to Lone Star Texas Grill on King Street West, where kids receive a free meal with the purchase of an adult entrée.

—Linda Luong Luck

Ottawa Weekend Calendar for Oct. 24 to 26


Alt-rock band The Trews hits Mavericks on Friday night.

Alt-rock band The Trews hits Mavericks on Friday night.

Friday, Oct. 24

Fries, piping hot gravy, and a generous heaping of cheese curds — what better way to cap off the work week than with a bit of comfort food? The fall edition of Poutine Fest is happening on Sparks Street this weekend, with nine restaurants and 17 street vendors peddling countless varieties of greasy goodness. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available to those with dietary restrictions. Admission is free.

Take a peek beyond the veil at the Billings Estate, where psychic Connie Adams leads a small group of paranormal enthusiasts through an Edwardian séance. Ghostly surprises are sure to abound in Ottawa’s oldest wood-frame house — so be sure to register before space fills up. Tickets are $30.

Hard rock band The Trews originated in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and have been playing together for over 10 years. Their latest, self-titled album was released in April 2014. They play at Mavericks on Friday night. Tickets are $38.

Saturday, Oct. 25

Choreographers Amber Funk Barton and Josh Martin lead a dance masterclass at the National Arts Centre on Saturday morning. (Photo: Chris Randle)

Choreographers Amber Funk Barton and Josh Martin lead a dance masterclass at the National Arts Centre on Saturday morning. (Photo: Chris Randle)

Want to learn how to dance like a pro? On Saturday morning, Amber Funk Barton and Josh Martin, two young choreographers from western Canada, teach a dance masterclass at the National Arts Centre. Bonus: they’re performing three original routines from Oct. 23 to 25. Tickets for the class are $25; tickets to performances start at $31.

When summer festival season ends, Ottawa’s film community comes to life. This weekend, the Inside Out Film Festival is showing films by, for, and about the LGBT community. Saturday’s schedule includes Regarding Susan Sontag, Tribeca 2014’s choice for best documentary, and the multiple award-winning 52 Tuesdays. Venues vary. See website for details and ticket prices.

Winnipeg’s Royal Canoe has been moving audiences with their indie pop tunes for just four short years, but in that time, they’ve managed to snag themselves a Juno nomination for Alternative Album of the Year. They perform at Mavericks on Saturday. Tickets are $12.

Comedian Darrin Rose brings his stand-up show to the Ottawa Little Theatre on Sunday night.

Comedian Darrin Rose brings his stand-up show to the Ottawa Little Theatre on Sunday night.

Sunday, Oct. 26

Comedian Darrin Rose has made quite a name for himself, with appearances on the Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson, his role as Bill on Mr. D, and as host of Match Game. He brings his new show, My Dad’s Other Son, to the Ottawa Little Theatre. Tickets start at $17.

Ottawa’s soccer team plays its last home game of the season on Sunday night. Catch the Fury as they take on Indianapolis at TD Place in Lansdowne Park. Tickets start at $15.

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for January 25 to 27

Friday, January 25

Get your dancing shoes on for the Canadian Museum of Nature’s Nature Nocturne event.

Night owls can dance the night away in the storied halls of the Canadian Museum of Nature during Nature Nocturne, the museum’s after-hours event for adults. DJ TDot and classical guitarist Chris Milne will get your feet moving while you take in interactive art exhibits by the Luminartists, heARTbeatgal, and Greta Grip. Don’t worry about all that moving and perusing making you hungry: food and drink will be available for purchase.

Kick off the weekend with a birthday celebration. Your local Royal Oak pub honours Scotland’s favourite son, poet Robbie Burns, in the traditional way: lively music and an ode to a haggis. Check out their website for artist listings by location and don’t forget to wear your kilt!

In “The Way We Feel,” a full cast of award-winning roots musicians comes together at the Centrepointe Theatre to honour Gordon Lightfoot, one of Canada’s most beloved and enduring musicians. Hear Cadence, Lori Cullen, Oh Susanna, Suzie Vinnick, and many others as they offer their takes on Lightfoot’s iconic songs.

Saturday, January 26

Rae Spoon plays the National Arts Centre.

Coming to the National Arts Centre: author, musician, and voice for change Rae Spoon. The transgendered artist’s latest offerings has move into the realm of experimental and electronic music. Their writing and music – Spoon encourages the use of the gender-neutral pronoun – explores the emotions of grief and hope, and the experience of growing up queer in evangelical Alberta.

Ottawa Dance Directive is Ottawa’s newest professional dance centre, supporting the local contemporary dance community. Come out and see what the IN House Company choreographers are up to and support their residency program with BODYSPEAK RoughCuts at the Arts Court Theatre.

Artistic Director Zhu Liying brings together local art troupes, community organizations and artists in the China Wind 2013 Spring Festival Show, a celebration of China’s many cultures and landscapes. Celebrate the upcoming Chinese New Year at Centrepointe Theatre with song, dance, and breathtaking costumes.

Sunday, January 27

The National Arts Centre orchestra plays at the National Gallery of Canada for a special Sunday afternoon event.

The National Gallery of Canada pairs up with the National Arts Centre Orchestra to present Music for a Sunday Afternoon. Hear five musicians perform three pieces, including Messaien’s “Quartet for the End of Time,” in the Gallery’s picturesque Great Hall.

Hockey’s back! Watch the Ottawa Senators trounce the Pittsburgh Penguins at Scotiabank Place. It’s fun and games for all with the Metro Family Game: everyone gets to enjoy a non-alcoholic drink and hotdog included with each ticket purchase, and the kids get extra fun with mascots, face painting, and more.

Not quite ready to brave a traditional haggis feast? Mark Robbie Burns Day with a whisky tasting event at the Billings Estate Museum. Sommelier Geoffrey Skeggs, a “beer and scotch guy,” leads the tastings and their perfect food pairings.



Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for January 11 to 13

Friday, January 11

The Back-Talk Organ Trio play Irene’s Jan. 11 
(Photo: Scott Doubt)

The Back-Talk Organ Trio + 1 (featuring Ian Babb and Iyono Ede) has an eclectic style that’s hard to pin down, other than to say that it’s full of jazzy goodness. If you love jazz, soul, R&B, gospel, experimental, or just good music in general, come have a listen at Irene’s in this Friday.

Local artist Lilith Ohannessian specializes in organic figures done in a minimalist, calligraphic style, Sumi-e, which she uses to infuse the principles of Tai Chi and Zen into her work. You can see her “Drawing the Line” exhibit for free at the Atrium Gallery this weekend (101 Centrepointe Drive).

Currently celebrating its 100th season, The Ottawa Little Theatre is putting on “Ten Great Plays from Ten Great Decades.” From January 8 to 26, Joan Sullivan Eady directs a cast of nine in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, the play that put Miller on the map as one of the greats (but also in hot water: it lead to him being called before the House Un-American Activities Committee).

Saturday, January 12

Bring the whole family to see Music Under a Midnight Moon

Peter Duschenes, Artistic Director of the Platypus Theatre, teams up with the National Arts Centre Orchestra to bring you Music Under a Midnight Moon. Originally commissioned for school audiences in 2001, the show has since gained international success, and now returns for a special hometown performance.

It’s a new year and it’s time get healthy, right? The Ottawa Health and Wellness Expo at the Shenkman Arts Centre has all the info and products you need for the healthy-new-you is to attend. A special bonus: this year’s Expo features the New York Times best-selling author of Wheat Belly, Dr. William Davis, as a keynote speaker.

A comedy show featuring local talent is a great way to drive away any post-holiday blues. The Chris Timms Comedy Cabaret promises a mix of music and stand-up that will get your 2013 off to a smiling start.

Sunday, January 13

The National Gallery of Canada gives you an opportunity to experience Canada’s best contemporary artists in Builders

Builders highlights important moments in contemporary Canadian art —established, new, provocative, and topical — and it has been extended until Monday, Feb. 18. It’s a rare opportunity to see more than one hundred up-coming and established, influential artists all in one place. So if you haven’t had the chance to see it yet, then now is a great time to head to the National Gallery of Canada.

How about something that’s fun, fit, informative, and FREE? Gatineau Park is offering a two-hour crash course on Animal Tracking on Snowshoes, guided by an experienced naturalist. And the free course also includes snowshoes for the two-hours! Reservations are recommended.

If, perhaps, your tastes run opposite of snowshoeing, check out the Ottawa International Motorcycle Show at the Ernst and Young Centre from Jan. 11 to 13. Of course, there’s a heavy focus on two-wheelers, but there’s lots more happening throughout the weekend: music, a fashion show, and even a “tattoo alley.” Plus, new this year is an area geared specifically to women, “Riding ‘HER’ Way.”

Long Weekend Roundup October 5 to October 8

Patricia Piccinini. Still Life with Stem Cells, 2002. Courtesy of the Artist.

Friday, October 5  If you’re looking for activities the whole family can enjoy this weekend, check out Fairytales, Monsters and the Genetic Imagination at the Glenbow Museum. The exhibition is comprised of works by contemporary artists who are inspired by the fantastic stories and characters of myths, fairytales and science fiction in which the boundaries between human and animal are blurred. The exhibition includes approximately 60 paintings, photographs, sculptures and video works by contemporary artists from Canada and around the world. The exhibition will run until January 2nd. Tickets are $14 adults, $10 senior, $9 student and youth $9. 

Scared yet? Screamfest 2012 starts this weekend. Photo: Courtesy Screamfest.

Friday, October 5 and Saturday, October 6 This Friday and Saturday, check out the first weekend of Screamfest. During the month of October, Stampede Park transforms into a carnival of carnage. This Halloween festival includes six terrifying haunted houses, a renovated Bates Motel, indoor maze, rides, musical entertainment, food vendors and contortionists. Tickets are available at Ticketbud and range from $20 to $40. The event runs from 7 pm to midnight.

On Friday and Saturday, check out Soulocentric Festival 2012 at Vertigo Theatre. The festival showcases independent performing artists that are creating new and original solo works in dance, theatre, music and multi-media. Start times vary. To purchase tickets, call 403-221-3708 or visit the festival’s website. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: September 28 to 30

Fun free events going on at Olympic Plaza on Saturday. Photo: Adele Brunnhofer.

Friday, September 28 TELUS Spark celebrates its first birthday with Monster Mash-up. This family-friendly special event will include a scavenger hunt, pumpkin decorating, face painting and a station for children trick out their Halloween costumes. This celebration is great for the whole family

Check out Alberta Culture Days 2012 Kick Off Tailgate Party from 5 pm to 7:30 pm. The evening will feature live music by Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, The Collective, Calgary Youth Chorus, Kugakai Lion Dance Team as well as b-boys Grim Reminder. The event takes place at the East Tailgate Parking Lot of McMahon Stadium. No football ticket needed to join in the festivities!

Don’t miss the closing weekend of Next to Normal at Max Bell Theatre, at the EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts. The much-talked-about Broadway musical Next to Normal was the winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play follows a family as they deal with the struggles of a mother’s mental illness. Tickets start at $25. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Thursday Sep 20 – Sunday Sep 23

Dean and Britta at performing until Saturday. Photo: Courtesy Theatre Junction GRAND.

Thursday, September 20 Be sure to check out the Calgary Home + Design Show at the BMO Centre, running until Sunday, September 23. The weekend event will feature inspirational design solutions and helpful home advice. The show will host over 350 exhibitors and a variety of industry experts including Sarah Daniels and Philip DuMoulin, hosts of HGTV’s Urban Suburban; Bruce Hopkins (more…)

Weekend Roundup September 7 – 9

Friday, September 7 Catch the opening weekend of the fall exhibit Reclamation at The Artist Proof Gallery. An opening reception will be held Sep 7, at 5:30 pm. The evening will begin with a public lecture from the artist.  The exhibit features detailed etchings and lithographs by Georgia-based artist Curtis Bartone. The gallery is located at 2010F 11 St SE. For more information call 403-287-1056.

For a night full of laughs this weekend head down to Yuk Yuk’s and check out stand-up comedian Bob Beddow. His homespun humor will be taking the stage September 6 – 8. For tickets and show times, call the Yuk Yuk’s box office, 403-258-2028.

Saturday, September 8 Stage West presents Sexy Laundry by Michele Riml. The play is an entertaining evening for men, women and couples alike. (more…)

Weekend Round-up August 24 – 26

Friday 24 – Sunday 26  The annual Expo Latino festival of local Latino and Hispanic culture kicks off Friday night at Prince’s Island Park. The festival features local and international dance troupes and musicians, including headlining Chilean superstar Americo, 7:15 pm Saturday. Food and merchant vendors on site. The festival runs Fri 6 am – 11 pm, Sat 11 am – 11 pm and Sun 11 am – 9 pm. Admission $15 per day, $30 for the weekend, available at the gate. Seniors and children under 12 free.

Courtesy CJSW 90.9 FM

Saturday 25  Head to Olympic Plaza on Saturday evening for CJSW 90.9 FM’s second summer concert series, 7 pm until 10 pm. The concert features performances by western-punk group Agnostic Phibes, folk rocker Ship Shape, folk-pop singer Forest Tate and experimental indie-pop outfit Boreal Sons. Admission is free.

Saturday 25 – Sunday 26  The Calgary Dragon Boat Race and Festival begins at North Glenmore Park, 7305 Crowchild Trail SW. Teams of 22 people race along the Glenmore Reservoir in 12-metre-long boats. Winners qualify for the Canadian Dragon Boat Championship in Vancouver. Various live music and dance performances take place throughout the festival. Admission is free. Free parking available at North Glenmore Park and Mount Royal University. Shuttle buses run between Mount Royal University and the festival site until 6 pm, daily.  – Sarah Sussman 

Weekend Roundup August 10 – 12

Enjoy Calgary’s beautiful August weather at these great outdoor events this weekend and relax on Sunday by watching the Summer Olympics’ closing ceremonies.


On Saturday, the Afrikadey! Festival at Prince’s Island Park celebrates Calgary’s rich African culture, 10 am until 10 pm. Merchants and food vendors will be set up around the park, and the main stage features a star-studded lineup including Sudanese hip-hop act Emmanuel Jal and contemporary Ethiopian ensemble Krar Collective. Tickets $25 adult, $20 youth, available at the gate.

MARDA GRAS Sunday Aug 12

Experience that vibrant New Orleans Mardi Gras atmosphere right here in Calgary at this weekend’s annual Marda Gras festival. The event will be held between 33rd Avenue and 34th Avenue SW in the Marda Loop neighbourhood. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: Aug 3 – 6

On Friday night, the Calgary Fringe Festival kicks off with uncensored, non-juried performances featuring both local and international playwrights and actors. Where recommends Push in Case of Emergency by local playwrights Kyle Schulte, Brett Gartley and Talore Peterson. This comedy-drama explores the interactions of group of strangers unexpectedly trapped in an elevator. The show begins at 6:30 pm at Lolita’s Lounge, tickets $12.

After opening with a stellar concert lineup at Shaw Millennium Park on Thursday night (more…)

Weekend Roundup: May 4-6

Calgary International Beerfest, Friday and Saturday at the BMO Centre

Sample some of the best brews available in Calgary, and mingle with beer connoisseurs at Calgary International Beerfest. The two-day festival starts Friday, May 4 at the BMO Centre at Stampede Park. Event tastings feature 200 beer varieties and a variety of seminars are available for those who wish to try their hand at home brewing. (more…)