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What to Do Ottawa

Norse Sagas: Museum of History’s Vikings

(Photo: Swedish History Museum)

The Canadian Museum of History’s new exhibition, Vikings, tells the complex story of one of history’s most misunderstood eras. (Photo: Swedish History Museum)

Popular depictions of the Vikings tend to portray them as bloodthirsty barbarians, pillaging their way up and down the countryside with axes in hand and wearing horned helmets. And while some of this may be true (the pillaging part, anyway — there is no evidence that they ever wore horned helmets into battle), history tells a very different story. Thanks to recent archaeological discoveries, we now have a better understanding of who they were and how they lived. As the exhibit Vikings illustrates, they weren’t mere raiders — they were also explorers, traders, settlers, mercenaries, and skilled seafarers. Their history and identity is explored through almost 500 artifacts — including jewellery, weapons, and religious artifacts — that have rarely been displayed outside of Sweden. On display at the Canadian Museum of History from December 3 until April 17, 2016. —Amy Allen
•Canadian Museum of History, 100, rue Laurier, Gatineau, 800-555-5621. historymuseum.ca
Map and reviews

Creepy, Crawly Bugs at the Museum of Nature

(Photo: Outhouse Exhibit Services)

Get the inside scoop on the smallest members of the animal kingdom at Bugs: Outside the Box. (Photo: Outhouse Exhibit Services)

Insects are among the smallest denizens of the animal kingdom. For the most part, they live among us unnoticed, but we’re usually quick to squish them when they enter our space. But these tiny creatures play a larger role in the ecological processes of our world than many of us realize. They may look small, simple, and uncomplicated, but their biologies are in fact quite complex. In Bugs: Outside the Box, master sculptor Lorenzo Possenti re-creates these biologies in large scale, showing the hardened exoskeletons, sensitive antennae, and intricate digestive systems of the world’s various insects. On display at the Canadian Museum of Nature until March 27, 2016. —Amy Allen
•Canadian Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod St., 613-566-4700. nature.ca
Map and reviews

The Magic of Film at Mirror Mountain

The documentary Lost Conquest investigates claims that the Vikings once settled in Minnesota (say what?!).

The documentary Lost Conquest — just one of many films screening at Mirror Mountain Film Festival — investigates claims that the Vikings once settled in Minnesota (say what?!). 

DEC. 4 TO 6 Mirror Mountain Film Festival is a newcomer to Ottawa’s festival scene. With a focus on independent, underground, and alternative cinema, it screens horror, science-fiction, and fantasy films alongside critically acclaimed dramas, indies, and documentaries. In its inaugural year, it’s showing Lost Conquest, a full-length documentary that investigates claims that the Vikings — a sea-faring people, remember — once settled in the land-locked state of Minnesota, as well as Der Spaete Vogel (The Late Bird), a German film in which a 71-year-old woman exchanges her mundane life for adventures in outer space. —Amy Allen
•Various venues. mirrormountainfilmfest.com

Hit the Slopes!

Located just two hours northeast of Ottawa, Mont Tremblant opens for ski season on November 20. (Photo: Mont Tremblant)

Located just two hours northeast of Ottawa, Mont Tremblant opens for ski season on November 20. (Photo: Mont Tremblant)

Come November, many enthusiastic skiers eagerly anticipate the first significant snowfall of the season. But there’s really no reason to wait — not when Mont Tremblant, located just two hours northeast of Ottawa, gets a head start on the season with its snow-making machines. The mountain’s ski season opens on November 26. With 96 downhill runs geared toward skiers of varying skill levels, we’re confident you’ll find something to get your blood pumping — whether you’re taking your first steps on the mountain or skiing for the thousandth time. —Amy Allen
•Mont Tremblant, 1000, ch. des Voyageurs, Mont Tremblant, 866-356-2233. tremblant.ca
Map and reviews

Six things to do the weekend of Nov. 19 to 22

BY AMY ALLEN AND NICOLINA LEONE

Basia Bulat performs at Library and Archives Canada on Thursday, Nov. 18.

Basia Bulat performs at Library and Archives Canada on Thursday, Nov. 19.

Basia Bulat at the Ottawa Jazz Fest’s Benefit Concert
Basia Bulat is a rising star in the Canadian folk scene. She has been nominated for two Juno Awards — in 2011 for New Artist of the Year and again in 2014 for her album Tall Tall Shadow. On Thursday, Nov. 19, she performs songs from her upcoming album, Good Advice, at the Ottawa Jazz Festival’s annual benefit concert and live auction. Prizes at the live auction include vacations, spa packages, gift cards, concert tickets, shopping trips, and more. Tickets $50. See website for more info. Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington St., ottawajazzfestival.com.

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10 Holiday Events in Ottawa

BY AMY ALLEN

(Photo: Samantha Katz)

Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet pirouettes into town with its beloved interpretation of The Nutcracker. (Photo: Samantha Katz)

Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet: The Nutcracker
DEC. 2 TO 6 Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker has been a holiday classic since the 1950s, and Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet stages a thoroughly Canadian version by setting it in early 1900s Winnipeg. You’ll see more than just sugar plum fairies dancing across the stage this time around — think hockey players, Mounties, and a pack of adorable polar bears. From $20. National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-2787, nac-cna.ca.

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Sounds of Istanbul

(Photo: Aylin Gungor)

Beckie Foon and Bruce Cawdron, alumni of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Godspeed You! Black Emperor (respectively), are founding members of Esmerine. (Photo: Aylin Gungor)

NOV. 15 The members of Montreal post-rock chamber band Esmerine are alumni of some heavy-hitting experimental groups. Co-founder and cellist Beckie Foon was once a member of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, while percussionist and co-founder, Bruce Cawdron, was involved with Godspeed You! Black Emperor for many years. Their music relies mostly on the use of percussion, cello, and marimba, and much of it is influenced by musical traditions from around the world. Their Juno Award winning album, Dalmak, was recorded almost entirely in Istanbul. The resulting strains are at turns hectic and introspective, haunting and uplifting, and harsh and gentle. —Amy Allen
•The Black Sheep Inn, 753 Riverside Dr., 819-459-3228. theblacksheepinn.com
Map and reviews

Eight things to do the weekend of Nov. 12 to 15

BY AMY ALLEN AND NICOLINA LEONE

(Photo: Andrew Alexander)

In a double bill, (Off) Balance and Feelers tell two stories of women’s experiences in modern society. (Photo: Andrew Alexander)

Signatures Show
Signatures Show is one of the largest craft fairs in Ottawa, and more than 150 artisans come from the Ottawa region, Montreal, and Toronto to sell their stuff. Scented soaps and candles, upcycled clothes and accessories, whimsical art and stationery, tasty gourmet foods and cuddly children’s toys — Signatures has everything you need to find gifts made with love for everyone on your list. The show kicks off on Wednesday, Nov. 11 and continues until Sunday, Nov. 15. General admission is $10. Shaw Centre, 55 Colonel By Dr., signaturesottawa.ca.

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Six things to do the weekend of Nov. 5 to 8

BY AMY ALLEN AND NICOLINA LEONE

In the darkly comedic Liza, the Fox-Fairy, a woman is cursed by her imaginary friend, the ghost of a long-dead Japanese pop singer.

Cellar Door Film Festival
Speculative film fest Cellar Door ventures into the fantastic, the futuristic, and the downright frightening. On opening night, Thursday, Nov. 5, catch Liza, the Fox-Fairy, a Hungarian black comedy about a 30-something woman who gets turned into a fox demon by her imaginary friend — the ghost of a Japanese pop star, who is jealous of her love life. Soon, all the men she dates start to die in bizarre and mysterious ways… The festival runs until Saturday, Nov. 7. Advance admission $9; on-site admission $12 (cash only); festival passes $40. See website for complete schedule and venue info. cdff.ca.

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Open House at Enriched Bread Artists

(Photo: Tavi Weisz, No End in Sight, 2014, 48x72, oil on canvas)

(Photo: Tavi Weisz, No End in Sight, 2014, 48×72, oil on canvas)

NOV. 6 TO 8 Travel down Gladstone Avenue just west of Preston Street and you’ll come across a stark white building that used to be home to the Standard Bread Company. For almost a decade, the company flourished in Little Italy, until its fortunes were suddenly reversed during the Great Depression. Though bread production on the premises has long since ceased, another type of production altogether has taken its place — it’s now the studio for the Enriched Bread Artists, a collective of 22 talented painters, sculptors, illustrators, photographers, and film and installation artists. They open their studio to the public but once a year — drop by to see what they’ve been working on. —Amy Allen
•Enriched Bread Artists, 951 Gladstone Ave., 613-729-7632, enrichedbreadartists.com

Modern Masterpieces: Monet at the National Gallery of Canada

Monet: A Bridge to Modernity displays the Impressionist artist's brilliant images of daily life in Argenteuil. (Photo: Claude Monet, The Railroad Bridge at Argenteuil, 1874, oil on canvas, 54.3 × 73.3 cm. The John G. Johnson Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art)

Monet: A Bridge to Modernity displays the Impressionist artist’s brilliant images of daily life in Argenteuil. (Photo: Claude Monet, The Railroad Bridge at Argenteuil, 1874, oil on canvas, 54.3 × 73.3 cm. The John G. Johnson Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art)

Claude Monet’s Le pont de bois, painted in 1872, is one of the iconic Impressionist’s earliest paintings. It depicts a funeral procession crossing a wooden bridge on a gloomy day, not long after the end of the Franco-Prussian War — a conflict that devastated the French countryside and spurred the fall of the French Empire. It is just one of many paintings Monet did both of bridges and of Argenteuil, a small town north of Paris, during this turbulent time in France’s history. In Monet: A Bridge to Modernity, Le pont de bois and 12 other paintings testify to Monet’s skill at linking past and future, in both the technical and thematic aspects of his work.

The gallery complements Monet’s work with a history of Argenteuil — including photos, guidebooks, and postcards from the time — as well as prints by Japanese artists Hiroshige and Hokusai, both of whom inspired Monet. The exhibition is on display at the National Gallery of Canada until Feb. 15, 2016. —Amy Allen
•National Gallery of Canada, 380 Sussex Dr., 613-990-1985. gallery.ca
Map and reviews

Eight things to do the weekend of Oct. 29 to Nov. 1

BY AMY ALLEN & NICOLINA LEONE

Lindi Ortega

Lindi Ortega brings songs from her new alt country album, Faded Gloryville, to the National Arts Centre on Oct. 29.

Lindi Ortega
Nicknamed “Indie Lindi” by the music scene in her hometown of Toronto, Ortega’s music is an eclectic blend of country, jazz, rock, and folk. She’s just released her latest album, Faded Gloryville, and she performs in support of it on Thursday, Oct. 29 at the National Arts Centre with special guest Sam Cash. $30. National Arts Centre, Fourth Stage, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-2787, nac-cna.ca.

After Funk

Toronto funk band, aptly named After Funk, performs at the Rainbow Bistro on Oct. 29.

After Funk at the Rainbow Bistro
After Funk, a Toronto-based power funk group, are known for putting on a fun show. With their progressive funk and soul sound, they’ve opened for the likes of Walk Off the Earth and Kung Fu, and they’ve played on festival stages alongside Lauryn Hill, Zeds Dead, and Flying Lotus. The four core members provide vocals, keyboard, bass, guitar, and drums, but often bring in other elements such as a horn section. Catch them at the Rainbow Bistro on Thursday, Oct. 29 with special guests Guru Jambalaya and LOVEGOOD. The show starts at 10pm. Tickets are $10 at the door. For more info, see Facebook. The Rainbow Bistro, 76 Murray St., 613-241-5123, therainbow.ca.

(Photo: Tim Matheson)

Playwright and performer Julia Mackey portrays four characters in Jake’s Gift. (Photo: Tim Matheson)

Jake’s Gift 
The destruction of war goes well beyond blasted buildings and ravaged countryside. It also leaves scars on the psyche, and Jake’s Gift, a one-woman play by Julia Mackey, is the story of a veteran who finally comes to terms with his demons when he befriends a 10-year-old girl on the shores of Juno Beach. The play opens on Thursday, Oct. 29 and continues until Sunday, Nov. 15. Tickets from $31. See website for info. Great Canadian Theatre Company, 1233 Wellington St. W., 613-236-5196, gctc.ca.

Wine and Food Show
The Food and Wine Show marks its 30th anniversary this year, and it’s still touted as one of the city’s most appetizing events. From Friday, Oct. 30 until Sunday, Nov. 1, you can drop in, socialize, and sample some of the yummiest food and drink this city has to offer. If you stop by after 5.30pm on Halloween, come in costume because they will be having a Haute Halloween party complete with cocktails, dancing, and prizes. Tickets from $20, which can be purchased here. See website for info and complete schedule of events. Shaw Centre, 55 Colonel By Dr., 613-563-1984, ottawawineandfoodfestival.com.

The Boar King

The Boar King chronicles a woman’s search for answers after she loses her husband in a typhoon.

Taiwan Film Night
In a Taiwan village, a woman’s life is swept away by a typhoon. She loses her husband, and her business is on the verge of collapse, too, when she receives a message that makes her doubt whether her husband is really dead. The Boar King, the second film by Taiwanese director Chen-ti Kuo, is a gripping mystery, but it’s also about loss, second chances, and finding the courage to make a fresh start. The film screens on Friday, Oct. 30 as part of the Canadian Film Institute’s Taiwan Film Nights. Admission is free. See website for info. Carleton University, River Building Theatre, 1125 Colonel By Dr., cfi-icf.ca.

Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a cult classic and perennial Halloween favourite — at least around these parts. Each year, the Mayfair Theatre holds a Rocky Horror viewing party that includes shadow casts (a group of costumed fans who act out the movie while it’s playing), call backs (live commentary by audience members), and bubbles. Costumes are encouraged. And remember, they use real butter on their popcorn! Screenings take place on Friday, Oct. 30 at 9.15pm and 11.55pm, with further screenings on Saturday, Oct. 31. See website for full schedule. Tickets are $15. The Mayfair Theatre, 1074 Bank St., 613-730-6552, mayfairtheatre.ca.

(Photo: Marc Labreque)

Ottawa pop band The PepTides performs at St. Alban’s Church for Halloween. (Photo: Marc Labreque)

PepTides
Ottawa’s very own PepTides have the distinction of being voted best live performance in the city. Their upbeat, avant-garde pop, characterized by exciting choreography, layered vocal harmonies, and colourful performances, is often juxtaposed with more serious, thoughtful lyrics. This Saturday, Oct. 31, they play a Halloween show, Disco Apocalypse, at St. Alban’s Church. Tickets are $12 in advance on their website and $15 at the door. St. Alban’s Church, 454 King Edward Ave., 613-235-4351.

Owning with the Gaze explores our relationship with technology and land. (Ayumi Goto, in sonorous shadow of Nishiyuu, Photo: Ashok Mathur)

Owning with the Gaze explores our relationship with technology and land. (Ayumi Goto, in sonorous shadow of Nishiyuu, Photo: Ashok Mathur)

Owning with the Gaze 
We live in a photo-obsessed world, where people often whip out their phones and take a snap of whatever they want with little thought to what they’re doing. Owning with the Gaze, a curated exhibition by Cree/Métis artist Cheryl L’Hirondelle, features the work of seven indigenous and non-indigenous artists as they tackle questions surrounding this issue — particularly with regards to technology use and our responsibility to the land. The vernissage, which includes live tattooing by artist Dion Kaszas, is on Saturday, Oct. 31. The exhibition continues until Saturday, Nov. 28. Admission is free. See website for info. Gallery 101, 51B Young St., 613-230-2799, g101.ca.