WEEKENDER: Six things to do on the weekend of August 21 to 24


Truck at Party

Arboretum = Awesome Food
Okay, it’s been three years now and I’m still hearing from the odd person, “Is Arboretum at the Arboretum?” (grrr.) The annual curated August festival, which brings a plethora of great indie bands, also has an impressive lineup of food served up by some of the city’s top chefs. On Friday, August 21, while you enjoy music by Kevin Drew, HILOTRONS, and Yips, sink your teeth into some backyard BBQ served up by Murray Street, town, and Rideau Pine Farms — we’re talking BBQ corn, a pig roast, and harvest sides. Yum. Along with an impressive all-day lineup (Constantines, Chad Vangaalen, Pony Girl, etc.), Saturday, August 23’s tasty treats include Ottawa Streat Gourmet (how about their Arancini, deep fried risotto cakes w/ sauce), Merry Dairy (fresh frozen custard), and Gonfu Bao (try their deluxe pizza bao w/ SeedToSausage bacon, St. Albert cheese curds, veggies, & house pizza sauce). Dee-lish. Kitchissippi Beer will be pouring throughout the event. Glug, glug. More info, tickets, etc. visit here.
Arts Court is a 2 Daly Ave.


Theatre that spans the nation — not just a catchy tagline boasting of universal appeal, LANDLINE (yes, all caps) is an interactive theatre play that connects Ottawa participants with another audience member a thousand kilometres away — in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to be exact. Intrigued? Here’s how it works: you head over to the Ottawa’s Arts Court (2nd floor), where you book a time slot (they’re every 15 min.). You’ll be given an audio guide, where a voice will guide you through a walk in the city, telling you stories and giving you instructions, which includes texting with another audience member who’s doing the same thing, but in Dartmouth — yes, you’ll need a cellphone (regular text messaging charges apply). How you interact and how far you go with the project is up to you… The “play” is about 60 min., and it takes place outdoors. Created by Adrienne Wong and Dustin Harvey, this pioneering project is a one-day event, happening from Thursday, August 21 and Friday August 22 from 6 to 8:45 p.m., and on Saturday, August 23 and Sunday, August 24 from 3 to 5:45 p.m. Tickets are $12; $10 for Fringe pin holders.
Arts Court is at 2 Daly Ave.

Rainbow Cupcakes FREE!
I know, it’s a cheap way to grab your attention — and this event will serve up free cupcakes; that’s no lie — but ‘book launch’ just doesn’t scream par-tay. Though, this might. As part of Pride Week in Ottawa, there’ll be a book launch on Thursday, August 21 for Canadian anthology OUT PROUD: Stories of Pride, Courage, and Social Justice: a collection of essays on LGBTTIQQ2SA, which stands for (take deep breath now) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgendered, Intersexual, Queer, Questioning, 2-Spirited, and Allies. There will be short readings (including signings and Q&A) by contributing writers Jennifer Barnett,
Lukayo Faye, Estrella
 Jaclyn Haynes, and
 David Le, Aunti Loo’s rainbow cupcakes, and a surprise musical guest. Event starts at 6:30 p.m., with musical guest. Book stuff gets underway at 7 p.m. Get your complimentary tickets (free) here. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/free-ottawa-launch-of-out-proudstories-of-pride-courage-social-justice-tickets-12570888867 Any funds from sale of beverages or donations will go towards Venus Envy Bursary Fund, which helps women and trans folks attend University or College in Ottawa.
SAW Gallery is a 67 Nicholas Str.

Twist Fibre Festival
This past weekend’s autumn-like weather gave us — unfortunately — a taste of what’s to come: cool, blustery days, where the idea of wrapping oneself up inside something wooly is sublime. And so, with those fall days around the corner, take a short drive into the Quebec countryside and head on to Saint-André-Avellin for Twist Fibre Festival. The two-day festival, which takes place on Saturday, August 23 and Sunday, August 24, showcases all things fibre, and includes workshops, vendors, activities, and exhibits — it’s a perfect event for enthusiasts, producers, fibre animal breeders, artists, artisans, and pretty much anyone who’s interested in fibre — the kind you wear, not eat. Animals will be there, and on Saturday, musician Klö Pelgag plays (9 p.m.; $28). See the event’s website for more details. http://www.festivaltwist.org/en/ Held indoors, rain or shine. Entrance fee is $7; free for kids 11 and under.
Saint-André-Avellin is east on the 50, north on the 321

Urban Agricultural Bike Tour FREE (sort of)
In a city that’s increasingly densifying, gobbling up empty lots like a condo-crazed version of Hungry, Hungry Hippo, community gardens have been, and continue to be a staple of the developer’s diet. Remember Bugs Garden, just off Catherine Street a block away from the Museum of Nature? Years ago, it was demolished for a condo-project on that corner. Which makes community gardens — in an increasingly urban Ottawa —not only rare, but also important, especially when it comes to making local food accessible. In that vein, Just Food is offering a bike tour of some of the city’s community gardens this Saturday, August 23. The tour is at 10 a.m. and leaves from Strathcona Park’s parking lot. There’s a shorter family-friendly option as well. Though it’s technically free, organizers are asking for a $5 (or pay-what-you-can) donation, which goes towards the Ottawa Food Bank.
Strathcona Park’s parking lot is just off Range Road in Sandy Hill

Canadian Stone Carving Fest (FREE!)
The fifth annual Canadian Stone Carving Festival kicks off at the corner of Metcalfe and Wellington Streets Saturday, August 23 and Sunday, August 24. The festival gives the public the opportunity to see professional carvers at work and get a sense of what a historical construction site might have looked like. Using hand tools only, carvers will have 16 hours to complete a sculpture. On Sunday, finished pieces will be auctioned off, and proceeds will be donated to Habitat for Humanity.
More info, visit here.



DAYTRIPPER: Merrickville — popular stopover on summer circuit



Leather purses by Rowland Leather. Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen

The picture-perfect historic village of Merrickville, on the Rideau Canal system less than an hour southwest of Ottawa, is a popular stopover on the summer boating circuit. Packed with antique shops, galleries, and cafés, this is a town that charms tourists while maintaining a laid-back hippie vibe courtesy of the many artists who have settled here.

Blockhouse Museum
Mill Street (at the lock station)
The blockhouse was originally commissioned by canal builder Lt.-Col. John By. Designed as a miniature fort, it’s strong enough to withstand small-cannon fire and also served as a house for the lockmaster. It’s now a museum, with the first floor dedicated to the history of the canal. The second floor is furnished as it would have been in the 1800s, when the lockmaster’s family lived here.

Yellow Canoe Café
108 St. Lawrence St.
In summer, visitors head to this simple café, just off the main strip, for the fine patio overlooking Merrickville and the Rideau River. Food has a hippie sensibility — home-cooked soups, sandwiches made with local ingredients, and a good selection of vegetarian and gluten-free options. Desserts run to carrot cake, scones, and date squares. Arrive early: it fills up fast.

The Grotto Artworks
110 Main St. E.
Merrickville certainly doesn’t lack for galleries — the committed art enthusiast could spend hours browsing the town’s main strip. What makes The Grotto stand out is that it’s a co-operative, carrying works by about two dozen local artists. That makes it a good spot for one-stop shopping for a wide range of fine-art and artisanal finds. It’s also housed in a lovely building, circa 1862, with classic tin walls and ceilings.

Rowland Leather
159 St. Lawrence St.
Designer/craftsman Michael Rowland has been producing handmade leather products (mostly bags) for nearly 40 years, his success a testament to his ability to adapt to the trends. This year it’s all about detail work — the most recent collection features little hits of glam with subtle inserts of colourful leather. Our pick: the iPad Bag is a classic design for the
modern world.

Mrs. McGarrigle’s Fine Food Shop
311 St. Lawrence St.
Mrs. McGarrigle’s is an institution, founded on a mustard empire but now a retail store with shelves bursting with gourmet foods, kitchen gadgets, and housewares. Anglophiles will gravitate to the wall of English sweets and tins of Devon custard and sticky toffee pudding, but the store is also renowned for carrying dozens of lines of local mustards, jams, chutneys, sausages, and cheeses. Yum.

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