WEEKENDER: Six things (plus one) to do on the weekend of July 30 to Aug. 3


Buskerfest photo

Busker’s performing at Ottawa’s 2014 festival

The Ottawa International Busker Festival
Street performances are no new source of entertainment. Busking, coming from the Spanish word “buscar”, dates back throughout ancient history and has been done all over the world by almost every culture. From England to France to Japan and North America, many of the same talents were performed hundreds of years ago as they are today.

Fast forward to 2015 and you can check out some of the international acts right here on Sparks Street with stages set up between Elgin and Lyon. Performers are coming from coast-to-coast; check out Silver Elvis from Toronto or the Circus Firemen from Australia. Crowds of over 225,000 will visit one of Canada’s oldest and biggest busker festivals.

Show times are between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. starting Thursday, July 30 and running through the long weekend. Check out the website for the schedule and don’t forget to vote for your favourite performer.

It’s free for all (but remember to bring your gratuities); save for an adult-only portion taking place Sunday, August 2 at the Marriott Hotel, 100 Kent St where our international buskers will be collaborating with some of Ottawa’s top burlesque acts! Tickets are $20 with only a limited quantity available. And don’t miss the grand finale on Monday, August 3, 6 p.m.
Sparks St., ottawabuskerfestival.com

Capital Ribfest
Smell that? It’s the tantalizing aroma of ribs — lots of ribs! — slathered with barbecue sauce and smoking on an outdoor grill. Brought to you by Capital Ribfest, this meaty smorgasbord features a half dozen ribbers and grillers from Canada and the United States who, over the course of the long weekend, are cooking up a feast of beef ribs, pork ribs, chicken, and pulled pork sandwiches. You can also treat yourself to corn on the cob, salads, pizza, fries, doughnuts, ice cream, and a handful of gluten-free and vegetarian treats.

Up on stage, entertainment includes old-time jazz band the Boxcar Boys, local indie rockers Amos the Transparent, country rock duo Sons Command, and much more.

The festival is on at City Hall’s Festival Plaza from Thursday, July 30 until Monday, Aug. 3. Admission is free, but you pay for what you eat. The event is cash-only, with an ATM on site. See website for more info.
Festival Plaza, City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave. W., capitalribfest.ca.


Union Duke set to perform at the Black Sheep Inn Friday, July 31

Union Duke
Union Duke’s second studio album, Cash & Carry, is full of songs that wouldn’t be out of place at a campfire sing-along — which isn’t too surprising, given that it was recorded at a cabin in the Ontario wilderness.

The bluegrass/folk/country quintet has been playing together since they were 13 years old. Between their rollicking foot-stompers and only slightly slower paced reflections on love, it’s clear they’ve used that time well to perfect their rich vocal harmonies and master their finger picking skills. They perform at the Black Sheep Inn on Friday, July 31. Tickets start at $10.
The Black Sheep Inn, 753 Riverside Dr., Wakefield, 819-459-3228, theblacksheepinn.com.

I’m not Jewish but my mother is
If the title of this play has any insight to the type of humour we can expect, I’m thinking irony. Gladstone owner, Steve Martin (for the foreseeable future anyway, as he has just listed the historic building for sale) wrote and features in this comedy with Rebekah Shirey and Barbara Seabright-Moore. Premiering Wednesday, July 28 and running through to August 8, Martin, playing Christopher, has a hot date and a (Jewish) mother who is getting in the way. Tickets are $30 and as it is general admission, be sure to arrive well before the curtain rise to have time to grab yourself a drink and a good seat.
The Gladstone, 910 Gladstone Ave., 613-233-4523, thegladstone.ca

Full Moon Yoga – Free
Do you like to do yoga? Or are you one of those people that says you like to do yoga but never actually gets around to it (me)? Well, clear your schedule this Friday, July 31, 9 p.m. because it is free! With the full moon, and a blue moon at that, Rama Lotus will be hosting an event for all levels at Lansdowne outdoors, weather permitting, and indoors if necessary.
TD Place, 1015 Bank St., 613-234-7974, ottawayoga.com (phone number and website for Rama Lotus)

Street Eats
“Creating Food Events With You In Mind.”

I sincerely felt that TW Events had me in mind when they created Street Eats. On Saturday, August 1 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., head to the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum to indulge in such big name foodie brands as Ad Mare, Brew Bar, Mill Street, Beaus, and more. Street Eats is also giving back to the community by giving a scholarship fund to one lucky Algonquin student.

Tickets are $20 for entry, and food and beer tickets are on special if you purchase online in advance: $15 for 20 tickets or $20 for 20 at the door.

Your ticket will also get you admission to the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, an opportunity to win giveaways, enjoy live music by The Lionyls, participate in beer and food challenges, and be a part of the Street Eats video.
Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, 11 Aviation Pky., twevents.ca/streeteats/

Ottawa’s Hidden Gems
A placid lake in the midst of urban chaos, a boardwalk winding through greenery on the banks of the Rideau River, a solitary pine surrounded by stunning autumn marshes — these are the aspects of Ottawa that are rarely seen, but deserve a little love.

In Cube Gallery’s Hidden Gems, a group of six painters capture the beauty of Ottawa’s nooks and crannies, from Lemieux Island in the Ottawa River to Patterson Creek in the historic Glebe. The vernissage is on Sunday, Aug. 2. The exhibition continues until Sunday, Aug. 30. Admission is free. Visit the website for more info.
Cube Gallery, 1285 Wellington St. W., 613-728-2111, cubegallery.ca.

WEEKENDER: Six things to do on the weekend of July 23 to 26



Image by Georges Jacotey

Ways of Something
“When the camera reproduces a painting, it destroys the uniqueness of its image. As a result its meaning changes. Or, more exactly, its meaning multiplies, fragments into many meanings.” — John Berger, 1972, Ways of Seeing 

More than four decades later, Berger’s observations — taken from his iconic four-part BBC mini-series, Ways of Seeing — is being reexamined by Canadian and other international artists: 110 of them, to be exact. Culled together by Toronto-based artist Lorna Mills, her mammoth art project, Ways of Something, will present video, 3D renderings, animated gifs, live web cams, and digitally manipulated visuals in the context of the 21st century (hence the Lana Del Rey collage), along with Berger’s original narrative and voiceover, in an effort to ask the question: is Berger’s ground-breaking 20th century presentation still relevant in the 21st century? Find out this Thursday, July 23 at SAW Video from 6pm to 11pm. Admission is free. For more information, visit website.
SAW Video is at 67 Nicholas St. 

The Creation of the World and Other Business
We all know the story: God created Adam and Eve, who ate the forbidden fruit offered by Lucifer, only to be ejected from the Garden of Eden as punishment for their transgression. But how did things get to this point? 

Read the rest of this story »

DAYTRIPPER: Caving in Vals-des-Monts


This article originally appeared in the Summer 2015 print edition of
Ottawa Magazine


Monkey for a Day: Visit Arbraska Laflèche Park for aerial adventures — in Val-des-Monts

To Play
For a day of adventure close to town, head to Arbraska Laflèche Park, just north of Cantley in Val-des-Monts. Play in an aerial park that includes wobbly suspension bridges, lianas (vines), monkey bridges (rope bridges), swings, and long, long zip lines.


What Lies Beneath! Visit Arbraska Laflèche Park for some spectacular spelunking

Had enough of swinging? Head underground to squeeze through tiny passages and glimpse majestic underground caves. This one’s not for claustrophobics!

To Rest
From Laflèche Park, head west for 20 minutes toward Wakefield to La Grange, a converted barn that offers four rustic, stylish bedrooms with access to a common kitchen, sitting room, large garden, and sun-filled yoga studio.


The sun-filled yoga studio of La Grange — Wakefield


La Grange’s converted barn — Wakefield

New this year: an organic vegetable garden that produces fresh-picked goodies for breakfast.

To Eat
Also in Wakefield, The Village House offers superb local, seasonal food. In summer, enjoy your dinner on a tiny terrace overlooking the Gatineau River. Favourites include honey-roasted beets, beef short ribs, and local Le Coprin mushrooms.

To Distract
If your muscles are sore or your nerves jangly after a day spent in the treetops and underground caves, head a short distance south (15 minutes) to Amerispa Cantley. A small, contemporary Nordic spa, the baths offer the perfect place to relax, enjoy a massage, or simply lounge in a hot tub surrounded by nature.


WEEKENDER: Six things to do on the weekend of July 16 to 19



5 / 12 Neville Smith (Ottawa, Canada), Title: Pandora’s Box Pandora’s Box, Bump and Grind Revue 1978, 36-7/8 x 24-5/8 inches. Screenprint, Signed, Limited Edition

Bedtime Stories
“Here goes nothing” — words a woman utters as she peaks under her husband’s jammies whilst in bed. Bedtime Stories, which opened this week at Ottawa Little Theatre, explores six separate tales revolving around the bed, a mattress — even a chaise longue. The comedy, by Norm Foster, plays nightly at 7:30 p.m. until August 1. For more info, including ticket prices, visit here.
Ottawa Little Theatre is at 400 King Edward Ave.

Let Us Entertain You
Still reeling from the War of 1812, the powers that be over in England wanted a new, more secure, supply route between Montreal and Toronto. In 1826, construction began on the Rideau Canal. Hundreds died building it, and Ottawa (known in those days as the rough and tumble Bytown) grew up around it.

This is just one part of the tapestry that makes up Ottawa’s rich history. Ottawa StoryTellers traces the capital’s evolution from the days of street brawls between the Irish and French Canadians to the more docile times of diplomacy and politics. Performances run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 16 at the Bytown Museum as part of its Let Us Entertain You series. Each performance covers a different topic and runs for 10 minutes. Admission is free. More info, visit here.
The Bytown Museum is at 1 Canal Lane (beside the Chateau Laurier)


Neville Smith (Ottawa, Canada), Title: Exhibition Saw Gallery 1972, 27-1/2 x 45 inches. Screenprint

Neville Smith
He’s worked with renowned Canadian artist, Gerald Trottier; he spent time at Crawley Films as an animator (famous for the ‘75 academy-award winning doc, The Man Who Skied Down Everest); he worked on design for Expo ’70 in Osaka Japan; he founded his own group with fellow Canadians — Norman Takeuchi and Morris Danylewich; and he has subsequently won numerous accolades for his own work — Neville Smith returns to Ottawa for a showing of his art at La Petite Mort, which will launch the exhibit with a vernissage on Friday, July 17, from 7 to 10 p.m.

Smith will be in attendance — as will his striking illustrative work, which spans his career. Pieces will also be for sale. The exhibit is up until July 23. More info, visit here.
La Petite Mort is on 306 Cumberland St.

Behind Closed Doors FREE
Body of Evidence — not the unwatchable piece of 80’s celluloid that starred Madonna (remember the “hot wax and champagne scene”?). Rather (and thankfully) this is the title of Gallery 101’s summer art exhibit. Both, ironically, deal with criminality — Body of Evidence stole my innocence and ruined forever my respect for Willem Dafoe; Behind Closed Doors: Body of Evidence looks at the artist as a criminal. Specifically, Natascha Niederstrass, the artist behind the exhibit, wonders about the artists’ research process and their way to oscillate between the acceptable rules and limits of art without transgressing them. Er, what now? It’s a piece based on one of Marcel Duchamp’s work with added components that suggests that the late French artist was involved in the murder of the “Black Dahlia.” Intrigued? Check it out — the vernissage is this Saturday, July 18. The exhibit is on until August 15. More info, visit here.
Gallery 101 is at 51 B Young St.

rachel-sermanni-credit Ian Wallman

Rachel Sermanni, plays at the Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield on Saturday

Rachel Sermanni
Rachel grew up in a small town in the Scottish Highlands. Surrounded by music, her father taught her to play the penny whistle when she was young. She eventually graduated to the guitar, and, inspired by the Highlands’ magical, mountainous terrain, she also began to write her own songs.

Now, at the tender age of 23, Rachel Sermanni has two folk-noir albums to show for her years of hard work — Under Mountains, a dreamy release full of fairytale imagery, and Tied to the Moon, an earthier, grungier collection she wrote while she was living in Nova Scotia. Check out this video for “The Fog.”

Rachel performs at the Black Sheep Inn on Saturday, July 18 at 8:30 p.m. Tickets start at $10. More info, visit here.
The Black Sheep Inn is at 753 Riverside Dr.

Ice Cream Festival
Until well into the 1800s, ice cream was a treat enjoyed only by the very wealthy who could afford to keep food cold. But in the mid 19th century, a Swiss entrepreneur named Carlo Gatti came to London to sell ice cream on street corners for a penny — and the rest, as they say, is history.

During the Ice Cream Festival at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, you can try your hand at making this tasty treat yourself. It runs from 9.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 19. Stop by to get the scoop on old-fashioned ice cream making, learn about the development of milkshakes and the soda shop, see how farmers separate cream from milk, and much more. Festival is included with museum admission ($10; $8 for students and seniors; $7 for children aged three to 12; free for children under three).
The Museum is at 901 Prince of Wales Dr.



WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of July 11 and 12



Death on wheels — the sport of Roller Derby, on display this Saturday in front of City Hall. Photo: Terrence McNally, courtesy of Flickr

Derby Day at City Hall
When two deaths occurred at Madison Square Garden in New York City at a six-day roller derby competition, it marked an ominous start to a relatively new sport — one which would wax and wane in popularity for more than a century. Those deaths also demonstrated how demanding this sport can be, requiring speed, endurance, and sheer athleticism in order to compete — something both the Capital City Derby Dolls and Rideau Valley Roller Girls know all too well.

That athleticism will be on display this Saturday, July 11 when the two teams compete in a fun demonstration of the sport at City Hall. They, along with four other teams, will compete in a series of short games with a full-contact co-ed game concluding the day. It’s free, and will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Food trucks will be on-hand for snacking. More info, visit here.
Marion Dewar Plaza is at 110 Laurier Ave.

Spins & Needles 10th Anniversary
The glue gun’s hot, the pints are pulled, the needle is threaded — just as the other needle is about to drop — Spins & Needles is set to celebrate their 10th anniversary (geez, can it really be that long ago?) this Saturday, July 11.

If memory serves me correctly, I took my future wife to a pub on Sparks Street in the dead of winter in 2005 for what was a unique twist on “going out.” Melanie Yugo and Jason Pelletier, the initial creators, offered up a chance to hear eclectic beats and drink and craft; a sort of post-rave experience for burn-outs. Some sewed, some glued buttons, some cut shapes with scissors — I think I came home that night with fridge magnets. Whatever it was, it was fun.

Ten years on, and Spins & Needles is celebrating a milestone with a party at SAW Gallery, which includes: DJs Jason Skilz, Kurt Yates, Calkuta and Memetic will be spinning; there’ll be a special anniversary DIY project kit featuring one of Spins & Needles’ favourite DIY art/craft/design projects; selected local artists, designers, and makers will be hosting interactive graphic art stalls where you can drop by and participate in additional projects; plus more fun including illustrative sketches, zines, silkscreening, and linocut stamps. Entrance is $15. More for beer. Need to know more, visit here.
SAW Gallery is at 67 Nicholas St.

Classical music gets a makeover with the Wolfgang Sessions, a collaboration between the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Mercury Lounge that aims to infuse the genre with a bit of youthful exuberance. Accompanied by DJs and with visuals by video projection artists, the orchestra performs pieces by innovative young composers.


The NACO performs Missy Mazzoli’s Lies You Can Believe In on Saturday as part of the Wolfgang sessions.  Photo by Marylene Mey

On Saturday, July 11, catch this season’s third and final Wolfgang session, where the orchestra performs Lies You Can Believe In by Missy Mazzoli, whom the New York Times lauded as a “consistently inventive and surprising composer”, as well as Sarah Kirkland Snider’s wistful Daughter of the Waves, Tansy Davies’ Loure, Marie-Pierre Brasset’s Dyea, and Jocelyn Morlock’s Vespertine. The show takes place at Mercury Lounge. Tickets start at $10 and are available through the National Arts Centre.
Mercury Lounge is at 56 ByWard Market Square

DJ Skratch Bastid

Halifax-born DJ and record producer Skratch Bastid hosts a BBQ this Saturday, July 11 at TD Place

Skratch Bastid’s BBQ
Beats and barbecue — they’re such simple things, but truly, what more do you need to pull off the perfect summer party? Halifax-born DJ and record producer Skratch Bastid grills up some goodness with Skratch Bastid’s BBQ, a massive open-air shindig that brings a bunch of DJs and EDM artists to the stage — including Green Lantern, Thugli, Poirier, Bear Witness, DJ Magnificent, Acro, and Iggy Smalls. The party gets started at TD Place on Saturday, July 11. Tickets start at $10. More info, visit here. Check out his latest mix:
TD Place is at 1015 Bank St.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

“The March Hare took the watch and looked at it gloomily: then he dipped it into his cup of tea and looked at it again: but he could think of nothing better to say than his first remark, ‘It was the best butter, you know” — Alice in Wonderland

Insanity. Sheer madness. And hats. Colourful, fanciful, outlandish, weird, and whacky. And tea. Lots of it. There should also be food and fun — the makings of a Mad Hatter’s tea party. Come out to this year’s Alice in Wonderland-themed party on Sunday, July 12 at Windsor Park from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. All ages welcome, simply bring your favourite ‘hat’, a picnic blanket, and a penchant for silliness — tea, cups, and activities will be provided. It’s free. More info, visit here.
Windsor Park is just off of Riverdale and Belmont Avenues, east, near the Rideau River in Old Ottawa South


WEEKENDER: Six things to do on the weekend of July 2 to 5


Bear&Co. presents The Tempest - Zoe Georgaras as Ariel

Zoe Georgaras as Ariel in The Tempest, a play by Bear&Co being performed at various parks throughout Ottawa throughout July

Festival of the Night Sky
Over the past century, as the world has grown and cities expanded, light pollution has dimmed the stars and forced darkness from the night. This has had adverse affects on human health and the world’s ecosystems, not to mention altered our perception — perhaps even our awareness — of celestial objects. At Cube Gallery, Nocturne VII: Festival of the Night Sky seeks to celebrate the beauty of starlight with lectures, music, and sidewalk telescope parties.

On Thursday, July 2, Mike Moghadam of the Ottawa Centre Royal Astronomical Society of Canada shows us that the night sky is about more than just the moon and a handful of stars. He leads a discussion on the wonders that can be found in the heavens — constellations, auroras, distant planets, comets, even the Milky Way. The lecture takes place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Cube Gallery, and is followed by a sidewalk telescope party at 9.30 p.m.

On Sunday, July 5, the gallery hosts a vernissage for a new exhibit, E=MC Cubed, by artist Denis Larouche. Art and science, the artist’s twin passions, come together in an exploration of his travels throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

The festival continues until July 9. Here, for complete schedule. Admission is free.
Cube Gallery is at 1285 Wellington St. W.

Bear&Co. presents The Tempest - Isaac Giles as Ferdinand and Hannah Ehman as Miranda

Isaac Giles as Ferdinand and Hannah Ehman as Miranda in The Tempest, which will be performed at Ottawa parks throughout the summer

A Stormy Start to Summer Stagecraft
It’s a rite of summer; something that occurs all over the English world annually. Bear & Co., a traveling theatre company will be making a stop in Ottawa between July 3 to July 26 to deliver The Tempest — a play considered to be perhaps the last play The Bard wrote, and also his most musical and most lyrical — at parks throughout Ottawa, beginning this Friday, July 3 in Strathcona Park.

Unfolding in real time (the events in the play take place in the span of a few hours), The Tempest tells the tale of Prospero, the rightful Duke of Milan, who plots to restore his daughter, Miranda to the throne. Using magic, he summons a storm to lure his usurping brother as well as the complicit King of Naples to the island in order to reveal true intents and redeem the King through a marriage with Miranda. It’s all set on an isolated island.

Some see The Tempest as a comment on colonialism; others read into it a psycho-analytical theme; some have even suggested that Prospero represents Shakespeare who’s renunciation of magic is The Bard saying ‘farewell’. Suggested donation is $20. It starts at 7 p.m. Bring a blanket, chair, and a … water gun?!? There will also be food trucks serving up pizza, paninis and frozen custard. More info on the weekend / month-long schedule (it plays at different parks on different days ), visit here.

… and The Bard’s Comedic Mistake
Twenty-five years ago, A Company of Fools tackled Shakespeare’s A Comedy of Errors as their first full-length theatrical production. For this season’s annual foray into the outdoors, the Company is putting on A Comedy of Errors — it will be an opportunity to see how far they’ve come, whilst filling the stage with colourful costumes, slapstick, word play, romance, and rhyme. The performances are in parks throughout Ottawa over the summer, from July 2 to August 15, from this Thursday, July 2 at Strathcona Park, moving to Anthony Vincent Park in Manor Park on Friday, July 3, and Alexander Grove Park in Stittsville on Saturday, July 4. Suggested donation is $15. All shows start at 7 p.m. More info, including where they’ll be performing, visit here. Again, make sure to bring insect repellant, blankets, chairs, etc.


Pokey LaFarge who plays on Friday, July 3 at Ritual Nightclub. Photo: Joshua Black Wilkins

Something in the Water — Pokey LaFarge
When he was growing up in the American Midwest, Pokey LaFarge developed a love for history and American literature — particularly works by Jack Kerouac and Ernest Hemingway. They’re interests he carried forward into his songwriting. With his mandolin in hand, LaFarge takes you back to the days of swing and ragtime blues, but without sounding dated. Touring songs from his latest album, Something in the Water, LaFarge plays at Ritual Nightclub on Friday, July 3. Tickets $20. Ritual Nightclub is at 137 Besserer St.

Music and Beyond, Festival
Music: it’s said to be the food of love, the strongest form of magic, the universal language of mankind. Music and Beyond hits all of these notes and more with two weeks of programming that bring together orchestras, small ensembles, bands, choirs, and baroque groups.

On Saturday, July 4, the opening gala at Dominion-Chalmers United Church features music by the grand masters, including Mozart’s Quartet in G minor, Schubert’s Quartettsatz, and Debussy’s The Girl With the Flaxen Hair.

On Sunday, July 5, catch esteemed conductor Boris Brott as he leads the National Arts Centre Orchestra in a rousing rendition of Beethoven’s Overture to Prometheus, plus selections by Mozart and Brott’s composer father, Alexander.

The festival continues until July 17. Various locations. Here, for venue information. Tickets from $30.

Farm Beer Bash
Owned and operated for more than 100 years, one of the oldest, still working farms in the area is Hendricks Farm in Old Chelsea. Clocking that kind of mileage certainly earns a refreshing cold one — or several. Thankfully, the Marché des Brasseurs (Quebec Brewery Market) is brewing up a beer bash this Saturday, July 4 at Hendricks Farm. The event will showcase Quebec’s finest such as BDT, Dunham, Le Castor, Microbrasserie Goudale, and Gainsbourg. Plus food from local eateries Tante Carole, The Village House, and Patisserie La Toque! Drive away with some fresh veg from their farm store too. Admission is free; it’ll be held, rain or shine, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. To book a shuttle from Ottawa, visit here. More info on the farm, here.
Hendricks Farm is at 3 chemin, Chelbrook, Old Chelsea, just up Hwy 5.




WEEKENDER: Four things to do on the weekend of June 25 to 28


One Last Plug For Fringe Fest
Zach Zultana: Space Gigolo, Supervillians Don’t Wear Stilettos, The Black and the Jew Go Bhuddist, Two Girls, One Corpse … with titles such as these aren’t you just a little curious? Maybe a lot? Which is good, because there’s still time to take in oddball theatre at this year’s Fringe Fest.

This is the last weekend — Thursday, June 25 to Sunday, June 28 — of the Festival. Visit here for the schedule, ticket info, etc.
Arts Court Theatre is at 2 Daly Ave.

Dragons Are Cool, Even Boats
One of the most ancient and nearly universal myths is that of dragons. Perhaps it stems from the discovery of dinosaur fossils that were inexplicable at the time, or an exaggerated representation of the ‘serpent’, or just how cool Daenerys Stormborn looks riding one of these creatures — regardless, we are in awe of dragons, whether they be dinosaurs, on HBO, or coursing swiftly through the water; the latter being the case this weekend when North America’s largest dragonboat festival takes place in Ottawa.

Tim Hortons’ Dragon Boat Festival — a four-day affair — happens from Thursday, June 25 to Sunday, June 28 at Mooney’s Bay Park. Obviously, it involves lots of racing, but other events as well, including such musical acts as Jim Bryson (Thursday); Franklin Electric, Hey Rosetta! + (Friday); The Acorn, The Rural Alberta Advantage + (Saturday), and Tokyo Police Club + (Sunday). Lots of family-fun too throughout the weekend. For a full list of bands, events, and teams, visit here. Times and more info can also be found at that link.

Multiculturalism — Not Just Another ‘Day’
The tragedy this past week in South Carolina highlights the ongoing importance of promoting and celebrating multiculturalism. Saturday, June 27 is Canadian Multiculturalism Day, which was first celebrated in 1971 — Canada was also the first country in the world to hold such an event. On Saturday, the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity is hosting an evening of celebration at the Anglican Church of St. John the Evangelist, which will involve music, song, comedy, dance, and food — from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Family-friendly events happen between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. It’s free. More info, visit here.
Anglican Church of St. John the Evangelist is at 154 Somerset Street West

… And In That Same Spirit
The following day, channel some of that same spirit of inclusivity at The Community Cup — an annual event that welcome new Canadians by putting on a day of fun for all ages that includes a soccer tournament, sport demonstrations, and activities for kids, music, dance, and food. Held on Sunday, June 28, it takes place in Brewer Park and runs from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., though the official opening is at 10:30 a.m. It’s free. More info, visit here. http://www.communitycup.ca/homepage/


WEEKENDER: Four things to do the weekend of June 18 to 21


_UnCouth_ (Photo Credit Lynne Fried) III

Windy Wynazz in UnCouth, one of many performances during Ottawa’s Fringe Fest. Photo: Lynne Fried

Ottawa Fringe Festival
While there’s much that remains a mystery about UnCouth — one of the many theatrical offerings at this year’s Ottawa’s Fringe Fest — here’s what others are saying about Windy Wynazz’s performance: it’s “eccentric,” “gut-wrenchingly funny,” melding circus-style comedy, puppets, and “burlesque phantasmagoria” into a one-woman extravaganza. She “makes clowning sexy,” remarked one person — a head-scratcher for sure, but admittedly I’m curious. The critically-acclaimed, California-based performer will be in Ottawa at the festival for six nights, beginning on Thursday, June 18 — it runs until Saturday, June 27. Tickets are $12 with purchase of a $3 Fringe button.

… More Fringe

Ever had to wrestle with a leaky sink? One man does, as he struggles with the question of whether to put his or society’s needs first. For more info on Sink, here.

If Gravity’s impossibly silly space antics didn’t turn you off of galactic adventure, check out Mars, a play whereby two astronauts “make some unexpected choices when a navigational error throws them miles off target.” More info, here

For full schedule, tickets, parties, etc., visit here.

LetterGrandchildrenCoverFinal.inddSuzuki’s Letters to His Grandchildren
Billed as his most important book since The Sacred Balance, David Suzuki’s newest offering, Letters to My Grandchildren, presents the future with a lifetime of insight and experience as only one of Canada’s most fearless and outspoken activists can offer. Hear Suzuki speak/read from his book on Friday, June 19 at Centretown United Church. It happens at 7 p.m. and tickets are $10, or less for students and lower income attendees. Get tickets at Octopus Books or online here.
Centretown United Church is at 507 Bank St.

Solstice Aboriginal Festival & Competition Pow Wow
Not to throw a damper on the significance of this weekend, but as some of us celebrate, or at the very least make a mental note of the summer solstice which occurs on Sunday, June 21, keep in mind that this day marks the apex of the sun. In other words, after June 21, the sun starts to move farther away. So, being a half-empty kind of guy, I can’t help but twitch a little (yep, that nervous kind of twitch developed after our recent looooong winter), thinking that it’s all downhill from here — in terms of sun; not in terms of fun. This weekend’s Pow Wow is case in point.

Celebrate the beginning of summer with the Solstice Aboriginal Festival and Competition Pow Wow at Vincent Massey Park. It starts on Friday, June 19 and runs until Sunday, June 21. Lots to see, hear, and experience, including workshops highlighting First Nation, Metis and Inuit Cultures; an educational Pow Wow to learn about the cultural teachings behind the grand entry dance styles and drum — as well as drum and dance competitions; bungee trampoline, bouncy whatnots, bubble soccer (what-the-what?!?); the “Endangered Ontario” show featuring Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo, and more.

photo_4473_0-6DJ Shub (formally of Tribe Called Red), will be spinning, along with musical acts Nelson Tagoona, Prairie Fire Jiggers, and Inuit Throat singers — including theatre, pyrotechnics, even an Aztec Fire Dance group from Mexico.

Turning white-clothed runners into moving Pollack paintings happens Saturday, June 20 in either the kiddie, 2.5K, or 5K Colour Race. Proceeds from the race benefit The Odawa Native Friendship Centre. More about the run, here.

The events are free. It’s runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday; from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. More info, visit here.
Vincent Massey Park is near Carleton University, just off Riverside Dr.

“Don’t mind Pierce and Hunnicutt, they’re both first rate surgeons. Sure, they’ll show up to role call in their bathrobes. They keep a still in their tent. Once they ran all my underwear up the flagpole. But I want you to understand it’s an honor to serve with these men” — Margaret Hot Lips Houlihan, M*A*S*H*

While Pierce, Hunnicutt, and Hot Lips won’t be on hand, the B*A*S*H* (Bear Ambulatory Surgical Hospital) surgical team will — they’ll be at CHEO’s annual Teddy Bears’ Picnic to conduct triage on any wounded teddy bears in need of minor repair. Bring Tedz, Mr. Ted, Teddy, etc. to the party on Saturday, June 20 at Rideau Hall. The day features entertainment, clowns, rides, and games. Fuel up on flapjakes served up ‘celebrities’ (think Jim Watson not Bono) at the pancake breakfast. It’s all free. Happens from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. More info, visit here.
Rideau Hall is at 1 Sussex Dr.




WEEKENDER: Four things to do on the weekend of June 11 to 14


Art in the Alley (FREE)
Browse some art en plein air at Art in the Alley, an outdoor exhibition of local artists. The show features the art of AliCat owner Alison Fowler — who paints striking landscapes and florals — as well as that of Andrew King, painter Ross Rheaume, photographer Jason Fournier, and Dave Merritt. The show is on in the alleyway next to AliCat Art Studio in Wellington West from Friday, June 12 to Sunday, June 14. Admission is free. For more info, visit here.
AliCat Art Studio is at 1395B Wellington St. W.

Photo courtesy of Bruce McCulloch

Bruce McCulloch: Young Drunk Punk
Bruce McCulloch is perhaps best known as a member of Canada’s beloved comedy troupe Kids in the Hall. In his solo stand-up act, he regales with stories from his youth, covering his pyjama pants-wearing teenage years in Calgary, his flannel-clad adult years in Toronto, and his adventures in fatherhood in the Hollywood Hills. Catch him at the National Arts Centre on Thursday, June 11 and Friday, June 12 as part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival. Tickets are $30.
The National Arts Centre is at 53 Elgin St.


Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur.

Just For Cats Film Festival (FREE)
Love cats? You’re not alone. Over the years, the Internet has gone wild for the perpetually disdainful Grumpy Cat, the box-obsessed Maru, squishy-faced Lil Bub — even Nyan Cat, the animated feline with a Pop Tart for a body who’s famous for flying through space on a rainbow. Just For Cats harnesses this phenomenon for a good cause. The main event is a compilation of the Internet’s best cat videos, but there are also workshops, lectures, a silent auction, and exhibitors to check out. The festival is on at the Lansdowne Park Horticulture Building on Saturday, June 13 from 10am to 6pm. Admission to the festival is free, but tickets for the video screenings are $10 in advance and $15 on site. Proceeds support the Canadian Federation of Human Societies and the Ottawa Humane Society. For more info, visit here.
The Horticulture Building is at 1015 Bank St.

Summer is here, which means your backyard could probably use an “Alderaandack” chair — that is, a chair crafted in Darth Vader’s likeness. You can find one at Handmade Harvest’s ManMade, a craft show that puts Ottawa’s male artisans in the limelight. Besides pop culture lawn furniture, you’ll also find graphic t-shirts, bow-ties, recycled vintage radios, cocktail mixes, ice cream, and much more. And since the event is taking place at Mill St. Brew Pub, there will also be free beer samples! Who doesn’t love that? The show is on from 10am to 3pm on Sunday, June 14. Admission is $5. For more info, visit here.
Mill St. Brew Pub is at 555 Wellington St.

WEEKENDER: Four things to do on the weekend of June 4 to 7


Public Servant - Papers Flying - L-R Sarah McVie, Haley McGee, Amy Rutherford - photo GCTC Andrew Alexander-1

The Public Servant (Left) Actresses Sarah McVie, Haley McGee, and Amy Rutherford. Photo: Andrew Alexander

The Public Servant
Those of us who’ve never graced the halls of power might wonder what it is, exactly, you public servants do, every day inside those asbestos-lined, 1950s Brutalist architectural walls. I mean, how do those golden handcuffs feel, day after day?

Aiming to pull back the veil on the mystery that is the Ottawa bureaucratic machine is The Public Servant, a new play debuting this weekend at the GCTC.

Director and one of the writers, Jennifer Brewin, asks us to follow Madge, a “young, idealistic and enthusiastic civil servant as she gets ready to write her first official memo.” Thrilling stuff… But perhaps as a nod to Kafka’s The Trial, Madge’s memo “brings to light all the inner-workings and absurdities of government bureaucracy.” The play runs until June 21. Visit here for showtimes. Weekend matinees at 4 p.m. on Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
GCTC is at 1233 Wellington St. W.

Prose in the Park FREE
Word on the Street.

When I saw those words, the first thing I thought of as the parent of a five-year-old is Sesame Street’s Word on the Street, a short vingette that’s hosted by the furry red monster named Murray — Not Toronto’s National Book & Magazine festival, which is the model for this weekend’s Prose in the Park — an event happening on Saturday, June 6 in Parkdale Park.

“There is something really magical about hundreds of authors, volunteers and organizers coming together to give birth to a new literary festival,” says Prose in the Park’s Ian Shaw.

The new lit-fest is being billed as “Ottawa’s largest single-day writers’ event ever” and will feature 150 Canadian authors (many of them local, including Francophone), 15 authors’ panels, and special events (including an all-day open-mic stage). More than a dozen publishers and three independent bookstores will also participate. Some highlights include: Giller Prize Winner Vincent Lam (Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, 2006), Governor-General Winner Rosemary Sullivan (Shadow Maker, 1995), and Yves Breton (Drôle de vie que voilà !: Pulsions, 2014), among others. It’s entirely free, and goes from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. More info, visit here.
Parkdale Park is at Somerset and Parkdale Ave.


Rideau Hall, one of many landmarks participating in Open Doors Ottawa this weekend

Open Doors Ottawa FREE
“If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is: infinite” — William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven & Hell, 1790-93

Drawing from Blake to set up this weekend’s Doors Open Ottawa may be setting up unrealistic expectations. After all, unless you tour this thing high as a kite, I doubt, very much, you’ll experience the “infinite” whilst peering inside the U.S. Embassy, Le Cordon Bleu, or the Carleton Masonic Lodge.

Regardless, you may see more clearly — at least inside spaces where you would otherwise not normally venture. The 14th annual event happens this Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s free, there’s a cycling component, maps, and a list of buildings that are open, i.e. my house is not. Of interest, Rideau Hall, Royal Canadian Mint, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Roman Catholic Parish (simply because it has quite possibly the longest name for a church, ever). Beware, entrance to some buildings requires pre-registration.
More info, visit here.

WTFveganfoodVeg Fest
Four years ago, Kristin Lajeunesse quit her job, purchased, reno’d, and moved into a Chevy van (dubbed Gerty), and set out across America with the intention of eating at, and writing about every vegan restaurant. After 50 states and almost 600 restos, Lajeunesse is able to explain “How Eating at Every Single Vegan Restaurant in the U.S. Changed a Young Woman’s Life” — the title of her talk, which she’ll give on Sunday, June 7 at 12 p.m. as part of the speakers series being offered this weekend at the annual Veg Fest.

In addition to the speakers series, Veg Fest — happening on Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7 — offers a cornucopia of offerings from farmers, cooks, chefs, artisans, and other vendors, including health products and services, and cooking demos (the lineup includes: The Green Door’s Ron Farmer, Strawberry Blonde Bakery’s Erin Daminato, and Auntie Loo’s Treats’ Amanda Lunan, among others). Admission is by donation. It’s at the RA Centre on Riverside Dr., and takes place, both days, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More info, visit here.
RA Centre is at 2451 Riverside Dr.