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Where to Go Ottawa

Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for November 30 to December 2

Friday, November 30

Take a wagon ride at the 12th annual Alight at Night celebration in Upper Canada Village.

The 12th annual Alight at Night celebration kicks off in Upper Canada Village this weekend. This incredible display of roughly a million lights has grown to become one of the most sought after events in the Cornwall region. With wagon rides, holiday music, festive goodies, a life-sized toy train and romantic carriage rides for two, there is sure to be something for everyone.

SKETCH — the annual holiday fundraiser of Ottawa’s SAW Gallery – returns this Friday evening with an amazing assortment of one-of-a-kind treasures. Sponsored by Scotiabank, this year’s sale will feature work from 175 Canadian artists, along with a three-hour silent auction and a live DJ performance. Looking for an extra-special gift idea? Local girl Melanie Yugo (of Spins and Needles) will be on hand creating personalized colour-by-number portraits.

The 27th European Union Film Festival comes to a close this weekend at Library and Archives Canada. This is your last chance to check out some of the region’s top films of the year, including full-length works from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. Worried about the language barrier? Don’t be: all showings come complete with English subtitles. Click here for the full weekend lineup.

Saturday, December 1

Loreena McKennitt performs in Ottawa at the National Arts Cetnre this weekend.

After a five-year absence, Canadian Celtic musician Loreena McKennitt returns to the National Arts Centre this weekend for a two-night engagement. Joined by longtime friends Hugh Marsh (violin), Brian Hughes (guitar), Caroline Lavelle (cello) and Ben Grossman (percussion), McKennitt will perform songs from her nearly two-decade-long career.

The Ottawa Tea Festival returns to the nation’s capital this Saturday. This annual event features an impressive selection of teas from around the world, as well as several workshops, musical performances and cultural ceremonies. As usual, the festival will be teaming up with a great charity, too. The non-profit organization Asha for Education Canada, which supports under-privileged children in India, has been chosen as this year’s recipient.

Though Ottawa-based singer-songwriter Jeremy Fisher has been releasing records since the early 2000’s, it wasn’t until the quirky stop-motion video for his hit song “Cigarette” went viral that he gained the international recognition he’s long deserved. Fisher concludes his latest tour with back-to-back gigs at Wakefield’s renowned Black Sheep Inn this weekend. Ticket information can be found here.

Sunday, December 2

Ottawa Little Theatre presents Mr. Pim Passes By as part of their 100th season celebation.

Now in its 100th season, the Ottawa Little Theatre is celebrating with 10 great plays from 10 decades. From Nov. 27 to Dec. 15, A.A. Milne’s Mr. Pim Passes By has been chosen to represent the 1910’s. Directed by Joe O’Brien, this comedy tells the tale of an elderly gentleman whose casual comment throws a couple’s life into complete disarray.

The Ottawa Chamber Music Society will present Baroque Christmas around the World this Sunday afternoon at Dominion-Chalmers United Church. Featuring the Juno-winning early music group Ensemble Caprice, the show will introduce audiences to various musical traditions from throughout Europe, Mexico and South America.

Today’s your last chance to check out Centrepointe Theatre‘s production of Footloose. This popular musical centres on Ren, a high school student from Chicago, who is forced to move to a rural farming town where dancing has been outlawed. Featuring an Oscar- and Tony-nominated score — along with some great new songs written for the stage — this thrilling performance is sure to impress.

The Roast with the Most

Head to Bridgehead Roastery, which recently opened in Ottawa’s Little Italy neighbourhood, to see the inner workings of this fair trade café.

Over the last decade, Bridgehead has gone from a little-known cafe to a major presence in the city. The fairly traded, organic coffees it serves are delicious, and the food is equally enticing (and healthy, to boot): breakfast offers staples such as steel-cut oatmeal, while sandwiches, soups and salads are available for lunch. The baked goods are hard to turn down; the carrot cake especially is to-die-for. A massive new roastery was recently opened in Little Italy, and it’s worth a visit just to see the inner workings — and try a mug or two at the roastery’s brew bar, of course.

130 Anderson St., 613-233-1221, plus 14 other locations; www.bridgeheadroastery.ca.

Best Bars in Ottawa: Winter Edition

Best Bars Ottawa—Winter

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

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

See the list of the best winter bars in Ottawa »


Best Bars in Ottawa’s Byward Market

Best Bars in Ottawa's Byward Market

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

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

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


Halloween Roundup: Best Best for October 31

Haunted Walks will have eight tours on Halloween. Be prepared to witness the unexpected!

What better time to take in one of Ottawa’s many haunted walking tours than on the spookiest day of the year? Haunted Walks Inc. will be offering eight tours on the 31st, stopping off at the city’s most haunted sites and sharing creepy ghost stories along the way.

It’s not every day you get to brush shoulders with Canada’s Governor General, but you and your family can do just that this Halloween. The Right Honourable David Johnston will open his doors to trick-or-treaters from 5 p.m to 8 p.m. on Wednesday night for the annual Halloween at Rideau Hall’s Haunted House. Johnston will hand out goodies to the little ones, and guests are invited to wander through the haunted visitor centre — if they dare.

The annual Chills for CHEO fundraiser has found a new, permanent home at Fun Haven! This event, which has traditionally been held in residential areas throughout the city, will feature a 3,000 square foot haunted house experience. Tickets range from $5 to $20, with all net proceeds going directly toward the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

This Wednesday is your last chance to experience the one and only Haunting Season at Saunders Farm! Hop on the renowned Haunted Hayride; save the world from a zombie apocalypse at the zombie paintball shooting gallery; or wander through the spooktacular Barn of Terror. But be warned: the evening haunt is not recommended for kids under the age of 10.

The Phoenix Players are bringing Warren Graves’ The Death of Dracula to life this Halloween season at The Gladstone. Directed by Jo-Ann McCabe, this Gothic romance centres on Count Dracula in an epic battle between good and evil. Tickets start at just $15.

The Wooden Sky Return to Ottawa for Intimate Concert


The Wooden Sky play First Baptist Church in Ottawa this Wednesday, Oct. 24

The Wooden Sky have had a busy year. The Toronto-based rock quintet released their third full-length album Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Son in February. The release has taken them across North America, through the summer festival circuit, and into Europe. Instead of taking a break, they’re back on the road again – filling their calendar with a score of dates across Canada and the States. And once again Ottawa is on their schedule.

On Wednesday, Oct. 24, The Wooden Sky play First Baptist Church with openers Wildlife. WHERE Ottawa editor Travis Persaud speaks with lead singer and songwriter Gavin Gardiner about their tour-filled year, his favourite Ottawa spots, and what he likes to pack when on the road.

The band just came back from Europe. How did the tour go?
It was really awesome. We’ve been over a few times before, and it always felt like a paid holiday. But this time it definitely felt like there’s some momentum there. We just signed a record deal [in Europe], which is great. We have a team on the ground and they’re excited about the record.

It’s a bit strange, because the record came out here in February, but it came out in Europe in October. Bu it’s kind of neat to do the whole interview process again. I’ve sat with the record a bit, and it was nice to visit that again.

What have you learned after sitting with the record for the past eight months?
That’s a good question! [laughs] It’s anything you make it. There’s a period of questioning it. And definitely with this record, people are looking to be critical, in an analytical way. So it’s interesting to read that and see how that influences how I view the record. What I’ve really learned is to be more open about the process and the subject matter. I used to feel so guarded about that stuff. I’ve had more fun talking to people when I’m open about what the songs are about and what it means to me.

What is the touring experience like in Europe?
Touring the U.K. is pretty comparable to touring in Canada and America. But touring in mainland Europe is pretty different. There’s a different structure for musicians, and the audience is a part of that. People who run the shows are really committed at making the whole experience really positive for everyone. When you get there people are ready for you; the hospitality is fantastic; the audiences just come because something is happening. Not to completely compartmentalize everything, but the whole singer-songwriter thing in North America feels pretty common and it doesn’t always feel like you’re doing something new. But in Europe, especially in Germany, it’s not as prevalent. So it feels pretty new – there aren’t many expectations that we felt.

The band has been on the road a lot this year. Why did you decide to do another North America tour?
Well, what else are we going to do? [laughs] This tour is very different than the last one we’ve done. I love playing rock shows, but it doesn’t allow us to shine in every aspect that the band can shine in. The whole idea behind this tour is to take what we do in our annual Christmas show in Toronto, where we play in a church, and bring that experience on the road.  From a financial standpoint it’s a bit harder to do because the rooms are more expensive, but the experience for us, and hopefully the audience, is worth it. It allows us to have a lot more flexibility. There’s only so much dynamic range you can have at a place like Ritual. I get off the energy of playing at Ritual, but this is a different kind of party and fun.

This will be the band’s fourth show in Ottawa this year [including their concert at The Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield]. What keeps you coming back?
I really like Ottawa. I’ve spent a lot of time there. My girlfriend grew up in the area. And the audience has been really fantastic for us.

Are there any places you love to visit or eat at when in town?
I was doing some pre-production in Ottawa and went to Raw Sugar a lot. I’ve been to the Elgin Street Diner a lot of times… There’s a place in the market we like to for sandwiches as well, La Bottega. I want to go to the Whalesbone as well. I follow Rolf from The Acorn on Instagram and he’s constantly posting pictures of food from spots in Ottawa.

What are your travel essentials when on the road?
I bring way to much stuff on the road! I’m actually taking out stuff from my suitcase right now. But I can’t go without my laptop and hard drive. I’m constantly working on demos and mixing on my headphones, which isn’t the most desirable setting, but it makes me feel a little closer to home.

What’s next for the band after this tour?
We took so much time off before we started touring, so we were getting antsy and booked ourselves up. Now, everyone’s excited to get home and work on a new record. We’re talking about making a new record in January or February, and have it done in March.

 The Wooden Sky play First Baptist Church on Wednesday, Oct. 24. For ticket information visit Spectrasonic.





Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for October 12 to 14

Friday, October 12

Comedian Gerry Dee performs at Centrepointe Theatre on Friday.

Though Canadian comic Gerry Dee is well known for his starring role on the hit CBC show Mr. D, his career in comedy didn’t happen overnight. Instead, the high-school-teacher-turned-comedian had to work his way up, and it wasn’t until 2007 (when Dee placed third on the American reality series Last Comic Standing) that he became a household name. You can experience Dee’s inimitable sense of humour tonight at Centrepointe Theatre as part of his Life After Teaching Tour.

The One World Film Festival is an annual collaborative project that sees local filmmakers, activists, and students coming together in support of human rights and environmental sustainability. The 23rd installment, which runs from October 11 to 14 at Library and Archives Canada, will feature documentary film screenings (including the Canadian premieres of The Eyes of Thailand and Words of Witness), panel discussions, Q&A sessions, and presentations from NGOs.

Billing itself as “the best food, wine and spirit show in town,” Le rendez-vous des saveurs invites guests to experience the incomparable tastes of the Gatineau region. Now in its 16th year, the event is bringing in some big-name exhibitors to please even the most distinguished diners. Vendors include Restaurant l’Orée du Bois, Le Tartuffe and Chelsea Pub, as well as Ernest and Julio Gallo Winery, Fromagerie Montebello and Érabeille Artisan. (more…)