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Where to Go Ottawa

WINTERLUDE: Free Pancake Breakfast!

On Feb. 2 at 10 a.m. stop in at Marion Dewar Plaza for a free pancake breakfast, as part of this year’s Winterlude festivities! (Photo: NCC)

Free food. Yes, free food! The best way to stay warm and energized during all your winter fun is to eat a hearty breakfast. For the ninth year in a row, show up at Marion Dewar Plaza at Ottawa City Hall on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 10 a.m. for a free pancake and hot chocolate breakfast. The early bird gets the pancake, though, because it’s only while supplies last! This is a great way to start your day before heading across to see the ice sculptures in Confederation Park or go for a skate on the Rideau Canal.

WINTERLUDE: Spectacular Ice Sculptures on Display at Confederation Park


Confederation Park transforms during Winterlude, as spectacular ice sculptures take over during the two-week festival. (Photo: National Capital Commission)

Get ready to “ooh” and “ahh” as professional and amateur ice carvers create fantastical creatures out of blocks of ice. The theme for Winterlude’s ice-carving challenge in Confederation Park is “Imaginary Garden,” which is just what the park will turn into once these chainsaw-wielding artists have completed their masterpieces. Show up at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 1 to watch the award ceremony. There will be plenty more ice carving during Winterlude, too, including the 26th International Ice-Carving Competition (Feb. 1 to Feb. 3); the Ice-Carving Championship (in three rounds on Feb. 9: 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.); a Public Ice-Carving Challenge where amateurs can register to take part (Feb. 16, 11:30 to 2:30 p.m.); and one for the kids: Young Sculptors at Work (Feb. 17, 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.). And be sure to walk through the park at night to see these beautiful ice sculptures in their best light!

WINTERLUDE: Norway and the Northern Lights


Hunting Aurora is on display at Confederation Park during Winterlude (Photo: Fredrick Broms)

Canada isn’t the only country celebrating Ottawa’s Winterlude with great gusto: our fellow northerners and friends at the Royal Norwegian Embassy are offering up a variety of events during the festival. Head over to Confederation Park from Feb. 1 to 18 for their exhibit on one of nature’s wonders, The Northern Lights. The exhibit Hunting Aurora: Northern Lights, Nature’s Own Magical Lantern showcases Fredrick Broms’ spectacular images, while astrophysicist Pål Brekke provides advice on the best way to track them down.

On Winterlude weekends (Feb. 2-3; 9-10; 16-17) at Confederation Park you will also find live Folklore and Storytelling in a lavvo, or Norwegian tent; you’re invited to contribute to the magical atmosphere by making snow-lanterns. For some grown-up fun, head over to the Ottawa Art Gallery on Friday, Feb. 8 for On the Rocks. The $20 ticket ($17 if you buy online in advance) includes a mug of mulled wine, or gløgg, a shot of traditional flavoured spirits, or aquavit, and Norwegian treats like cheeses and smoked salmon. Don’t forget to say “skål” as you toast!

WINTERLUDE: New and Returning Events During the 35th Winterlude Festival


Confederation Park will become the brightest spot in the city with a beautiful outdoor lantern tunnel, similar to this one from the Jinju Namgang Yudeung Lantern Festival, in South Korea.

Ottawa knows how to embrace winter. Instead of retreating indoors, the city throws a massive outdoor party — one of the best you’ll find nationwide. Celebrating its 35th year, Winterlude, which takes place Feb. 1 to 18, transforms Ottawa into a literal winter wonderland with activities for all ages. Taken from WHERE Ottawa’s January/February issue, we highlight some of this year’s new must-see additions, as well as a few well-known favourites that can’t be missed. Enjoy!


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.



Taste in the Glebe celebrates 15th anniversary

One of the sweeter sights from last year’s Taste in the Glebe (Photo: Armand Tsai)

Gear up, food and drink lovers: it’s time for the 15th annual Taste in the Glebe, hosted by the Glebe Community Centre and benefitting the Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group (GNAG) on Jan. 17. With over fifty local favourites lined up, there will be plenty of food and drink available. Expect a good variety, too, reflecting the diversity of flavours found in the Glebe and around the city: you’ll find not only restaurants packed in shoulder-to-shoulder – and there will be plenty of those – but brewers, butchers, bakers, vintners, and local farmers, too. This isn’t an all-day event, however, so you’ll want to arrive at 5:30 p.m. on the dot and stay until closing at 8 p.m. if you want to ensure a chance to hobnob with all the chefs and taste everything on offer. Tickets to the Premier Seated Tutored Tasting event are sold out, but you can still buy tickets to the main event for $50.

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.”

New Vale Earth Gallery opens at Museum of Nature

The Canadian Museum of Nature‘s newly renovated Vale Earth Gallery boasts 8,000 square feet of geological wonders. Long known for its world-class collection of rocks and minerals, the museum also offers several interactive games and simulations. Guests are invited to explore a limestone cave — complete with stalactites, stalagmites, and trickling water — and to look inside a smartphone to see what minerals are used in its manufacturing process. Round out your visit by building a volcano, creating an earthquake, and cooling magma to make granite.

Admission $12; Seniors and Students (13+): $10; Children: $8; Tiny Tots (under 2): Free.

The Canadian Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod St., www.nature.ca

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for December 14 to 16

Tokyo Police Club play Ritual Night Club with local boys Hollerado on Friday night.

Friday, December 14

Tokyo Police Club stops off at Ritual Nightclub with local boys Hollerado. The indie rockers from Newmarket, Ont. have been touring incessantly since releasing Champ in 2010. Known for putting on highly nuanced and energetic live shows, this is sure to be a party you won’t want to miss.

The NAC Orchestra turns up the heat with Cuban sensations Tiempo Libre and vocalist Malena Burke. A Night in Havana transcends musical boundaries, resulting in the perfect blend of classical, jazz, and Cuban flare. The three-night engagement ends this Saturday night.

Ottawa Art Gallery hosts its annual Winter Delights Art Sale, on now until Jan. 19, 2013. Featuring work from dozens of area painters, sculptors, jewelers, and more, the show promises a little something for everyone. And with all items priced at $400 or less, there’s no better time to finish up your holiday shopping.

Saturday, December 15

Illusionist Criss Angel stops in at the Royal Oak Pub.

Award-winning magician Criss Angel — of the popular television series Criss Angel Mindfreakstops off at downtown’s Royal Oak Pub. Labelled “The Best Illusionist in the World” by Jay Leno and “The Best Magic Show in Vegas” by the BBC, Angel’s performances often centre on his mind-boggling levitation abilities. Very freaky, indeed.

Taboo Eats‘ new cooking competition, My Neighbourhood Bites, debuts at Cube Gallery. Amateur chefs, home cooks, and foodies from the Centretown area will vie for the title of “Best in the Neighbourhood.” From now until May 2013, chefs from 12 Ottawa communities are set to join in on the fun. Winning recipes will be published in a cookbook, which will be sold in support of the Ottawa Food Bank.

The Nepean Student Players present a production of Woody Allen’s famed Broadway play, Don’t Drink the Water at Centrepointe Theatre. When a Canadian family vacationing in eastern Europe unknowingly photographs a restricted site, they are mistaken for spies by the local authorities. Hilarity ensues as they scurry to the Canadian Embassy for protection.

Sunday, December 16

Quirky comedy TheNumber 14 is on stage at the Irving Greenberg Theatre. (Photo: David Cooper)

Don’t miss your chance to experience The Great Canadian Theatre Company‘s presentation of The Number 14 at Irving Greenberg Theatre. This quirky comedy — which ends today — centres on the hilarious misadventures of a busy Vancouver bus. Now celebrating its 20th anniversary, the play is fun for the whole family.

The National Arts Centre kicks off the holiday season with a Christmas FanFair Concert and Carol Sing-Along. Conducted by opera superstar Measha Brueggergosman, this annual event supports both The Snowsuit Fund and the Ottawa Food Bank. This year, The NAC Players’ Association is aiming to donate $30,000, so guests are encouraged to give generously!

Hollerado Comes Home to Ottawa

Hollerado return to Ottawa this week, opening for Tokyo Police Club.

Though Toronto-based quartet Hollerado has been living in The Big Smoke for a few years now, their foray into music began right here in Ottawa. The band members —Menno Versteeg on vocals and guitar, Nixon Boyd on guitar, Dean Baxter on bass, and Jake Boyd on drums — grew up on the same street in Manotick, a small suburb in the south end of Ottawa. Before becoming the infectiously catchy power-pop group Hollerado, though, they were the not-so-glamourous Haulerado, a moving company that operated out of an old van. In 2009, having been a band for just two years, they won Live 88.5’s Big Money Shot, a local battle-of-the-bands competition with a cash prize of $250,000. With their bank accounts comfortably padded, the guys set out to conquer the Canadian music scene — and they haven’t looked back since.

Hollerado’s Menno Versteeg chats with WHERE Ottawa’s Erica Eades about growing up in Ottawa, the band’s favourite local venues, and their upcoming tour with Tokyo Police Club — which stops off in Wakefield at the Black Sheep Inn on Dec. 13, and in Ottawa at Ritual Nightclub on Dec. 14.

What was it like growing up in Manotick?
Well, back then there was no bus linking Ottawa to Manotick. There was nothing for us to do! Sometimes we could cause trouble; other times we’d play guitar.

When did you start making music together?
We always just kind of jammed. Growing up on the same street, it was something that happened all the time. We didn’t really decide to be a band until 2007, though.

Where did you perform when you started playing gigs around Ottawa?
We would play anywhere that would have us. You don’t really get to be too choosy when you’re starting out as a band. We booked a lot of gigs just by showing up and asking to play. We ended up at a lot of house parties, and at community events and parks.

What were some of your favourite local music venues growing up?
They used to have shows at the Legion in Manotick, but it eventually got shut down. With all-ages venues like that, people don’t really care about going to see bands and being part of it; they just go because that’s what’s happening on a Friday night in Manotick. But if I could convince my parents to drive me into Ottawa, I would see shows at SAW Gallery. And there used to be a place called Liquid Monkey that had all ages shows.

Do you remember the first concert you ever saw in Ottawa?
Oh, totally. One of the first shows I saw was a band called Punchbuggy. But the first big concert I ever went to (I think it was the summer after grade six) was Another Roadside Attraction at Landsdowne Park. It was The Tragically Hip, Midnight Oil, and April Wine.

What are your go-to spots when you’re back in Ottawa?
Going for a drink at The Dominion Tavern is often on the schedule if we’re going to see old friends. In Manotick there’s a place called Hard Stones – it’s the one pub in town. My wife is from Ottawa also, and we like to go to the chip truck at Bank and Sunnyside [M&G’s Chip Wagon] to get poutine.

When you play Ottawa this week you’ll be opening for fellow Canadians Tokyo Police Club. How did this come about?
They’re just buddies of ours. They live around the corner, and we always have barbecues at each other’s houses and hang out. It made sense that when it came time to play some shows we play together.

What else should people know about Hollerado?
We have a new record coming out on February 26 called White Paint. We haven’t put out an album in four years, so I’m really excited to get it out and show everyone what we’ve been doing since then.




Miracle on 34th Street opens at The Gladstone Theatre

The Gladstone presents Miracle on 34th Street: The Radio Show from Dec. 14 to 23.

It’s two weeks until Christmas. Yes, two weeks. We say it every year, but it really is hard to believe that the holiday season is nearly here. While it may mean hectic shopping trips for some, and potentially dangerous driving conditions for all, it also means the familiar sights and sounds of Christmas classics that we have come to love.

From Dec. 14 to 23, The Gladstone brings new life to the heartwarming Christmas tale Miracle on 34th Street: The Radio Show. Audiences are brought back to the golden age of radio through the tale of a Macy’s department store Santa who might just be the real thing. The show is presented by Plosive Productions, a local company that produces high-quality contemporary and classic works.

Tickets available from The Gladstone’s website and in person at their box office. $39; Seniors: $34; Students, Artists and Unwaged: $23.

The Gladstone, 910 Gladstone Ave., www.thegladstone.ca


Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for December 7 to 9

Friday, December 7

Leonard Cohen returns to Ottawa, performing at Scotiabank Place in support of this latest album Old Ideas.

Renowned singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen returns to Ottawa this weekend, performing at Scotiabank Place. Presented by CBCMusic.ca, the show will honour Cohen’s 12th studio album, Old Ideas, which recently debuted at No. 1. Known for his poetic lyricism and baritone vocals, Cohen is an inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the recipient of a 2010 Grammy for lifetime achievement. Don’t miss your chance to experience one of Canada’s musical greats.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas here in the nation’s capital: holiday tunes on the radio, festive décor in the shops. We even had some snow, albeit briefly. But the city will be stepping things up a notch this week as Confederation Boulevard is lit by roughly 300,000 lights. National museums, monuments, embassies and more will remain illuminated until Jan. 7. Come celebrate the Christmas season in style!

The 25th Annual Contemporary Canadian Jewellery Exhibition kicks off at L.A. Pai Gallery this week. The longest-running show of its kind in the area, this year’s event will feature work from both new and established artists. Also debuting at the gallery will be work recently exhibited at the International Art Fair SOFA Chicago 2012.

Saturday, December 8

The Alberta Ballet presents The Nutcracker this weekend at the National Arts Centre.

It’s a tradition unlike any other. Holiday favourite The Nutcracker returns to the National Arts Centre for a spectacular five-night engagement, Dec. 5 to 9. Danced by the Alberta Ballet and set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score, this is a show you won’t want to miss.


Country music superstar Carrie Underwood graces the stage of Scotiabank Place. The American Idol winner (and wife of former Ottawa Senator Mike Fisher) is currently on tour promoting her latest album Blown Away. Underwood will be donating a portion of each ticket sold to support Red Cross disaster relief.

This weekend is your last chance to view November, a quirky political comedy now on stage at The Gladstone. Directed by John P. Kelly, the play is a no-holds barred take on the state of America and the lengths to which people will go to win. Please be warned: this performance is for adults only.

Sunday, December 9

The Story of Holly and Ivy – a great holiday production for the whole family.

Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre presents a holiday performance for the whole family. Based on the book by Rumer Godden, The Story of Holly and Ivy tells the tale of a doll who wishes for a child; a couple who wish for a daughter; and an orphan who wishes for a doll, a grandmother and a place to go for Christmas. On stage this Friday through Sunday at the Shenkman Arts Centre.

Today was set to be the final showing of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice at the National Arts Centre. However, with tickets in high demand, the NAC has arranged a handful of extra performances (a matinee and two evening showings) for early next week. Experience the courtship of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy in this classic tale of life, love, and the politics of marriage.

Love the holidays but hate the stress that comes along with big box-store shopping? The Museum of Civilization has the cure: Its annual Christmas Market returns this weekend with nearly 40 vendors! Mingle with local artisans, be wowed by the incredible assortment of homemade goodies, and, most importantly, cross a few names off your holiday shopping list.