It’s Ottawa’s first ever Winter Jazzfest. Chill music will be performed by internationally-recognized jazz artists and heaps of local talent; acts include Oliver Jones, the Quinsin Nachoff’s Quartet, the Christine and Ingrid Jensen Quintet, Rémi Bolduc Jazz Ensemble, Megan Jerome, and Renée Yoxon. Visit the Ottawa Jazz Festival website for tickets and schedule information. The festival runs Thursday, Feb. 2 through Saturday, Feb. 4 in venues across downtown.
After 8 is local artist Andrew King’s fourth solo show. It was inspired by a recent trip off the highways of the U.S., specifically the ‘after 8′ scene, when small town diners and motels are take on a surreal atmosphere. His media explores the journey through an era of Americana that is now fading. The exhibit marks eight years of painting for King. Vernissage: Saturday, Feb. 4, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Exhibit runs until Saturday, Feb. 25. Wall Space Gallery, 358 Richmond Rd.. www.wallspacegallery.ca
Fancy yourself a culinary critic? This Friday, sample stews from Byward Market businesses and pull for your favourite entry in the People’s Choice Awards. Bundle up, bring the family, and be a part of the 20th anniversary of this annual celebration. For $10, it’s all you can eat stew, with all the proceeds going to a local charity. In front of Café 55, 55 ByWard Market Square. Friday, Feb. 3, 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. www.byward-market.com
NAUGHTY NOVELISTS (FREE!)
Get hyped for a happy Valentine’s Day with scintillating readings from three Ottawa novelists. Barbara Sibbald (The Book of Love), Jasmine Aziz (Sex and Samosas), and Patricia K McCarthy (The Crimson Time — a Vampire Crawl) will discuss sexy subjects and read from their provocative novels. Thursday, Feb. 2. 7:30 p.m. Venus Envy Sex and Bookstore, 320 Lisgar St. www.venusenvy.ca
WINTERLUDE OPENS (FREE!)
Watch fireworks light up the first night of Winterlude. This year’s theme is “Fire and Lights From 1812 to 2012: Forging the Canadian Spirit.” The official opening ceremony will feature historical characters, drummers, and storytelling around cozy firepits. Fireworks are at 9 p.m., followed by an outdoor DJ dance party with Kytami and The PhonoGraFF! Friday, Feb. 3, activities start at 5 p.m., Canadian Museum of Civilization, 100 Laurier St., Gatineau. http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/celebrate/winterlude
NEW BRUNSWICKERS IN WARTIME
Get interactive with this exhibit that explores history through the touching stories of maritime Canadians: build your own miniature para-trooper using household materials, get a closer look at some of the equipment and clothing displays, or take a walk along the Ottawa river in snowshoes. (A guide will take you through the history of snowshoe technology, but bring your own snowshoes.) Activities take place on weekends throughout the month of February. Canadian War Museum, 1 Vimy Place. www.warmuseum.ca
WINTERLUDE COMES TO OTTAWA THEATRES
Suburbanites can enjoy Winterlude closer to home this year thanks to a partnership with community theatres. One of the highlights of this series is Alberta-born country singer Paul Brandt, who brings his Give It Away Tour to Centrepointe Theatre’s main stage to kick off the festivities. Other events will run through Winterlude’s three weekends at both Centrepointe Theatre and Shenkman Arts Centre. Paul Brandt tickets: $56.75. Friday, Feb. 3, 8 p.m. Centrepointe Theatre, 101 Centrepointe Dr.