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Weekend Roundup: Social distancing edition

By Amanda Armstrong on March 19, 2020




Spring has arrived, although it looks a whole lot different this year. This might be the first weekend that we are suggesting you *don’t* get together with friends, rather, that you stay home—or at least as far away from other humans as possible.

Covid-19 has changed the way we have to go about things, but Apartment613 still has your weekend in mind, and we’re here with ideas to keep your wits about you while you exercise a little social distancing.

While staying informed about the current situation is something you definitely want to do, it is important that you don’t spend your entire day on news websites; and give yourself something else to think about. Here are our suggestions.


We are sure that everyone has at least a few books lying around waiting to be read. Now is the time to do it! If you’re on the hunt for something new, Black Squirrel Books is offering free local delivery of Surprise Boxes of either 4 or 8 books. You can choose the genre, or let BSB play the wildcard.

If audiobooks are more your speed, Audible has a free trial option and your first audiobook is free. If you are looking for suggestions as to what to listen to, the Giller Prize was awarded last November and there are plenty of great titles on both their long list and short list as well. The Ottawa International Writer’s Festival has been cancelled this spring, but there are plenty of great authors listed on their website for you to explore.


Journal, write poetry, dream up a great piece of short fiction, or get started on that novel you’ve always wanted to write. The options are as boundless as your imagination. If you need a little help getting started, or a motivation to keep going, there are a plethora of writing prompts and challenges available online. Maybe NaNoWriMo comes early this year?

Make Art

Now is the time to fill your world with beautiful things. Make art. Paint, sculpt, draw, collage, whatever your heart desires. If you are in need of some supplies, you canstill  order online from Wallack’s Art Supplies on Bank Street and pick them up at their door (or have them delivered, of course). There are even ways to make art with friends online, using sites like Flockdraw, which let you draw online with friends.

Board Games

If you are lucky enough to be cooped up with a roommate, family member, or partner, roll the dice and get into board games. If it’s just you at home, you can still play board games with friends online using Board Game Arena or Pogo. A lot of board games have online versions as well; try typing in the name of your favourite game and—fingers crossed—you just may find it exists!

Outside Things

Just because you have to keep your distance from other people, doesn’t mean that you have to stay indoors! There are plenty of great trails in and around Ottawa, where you can enjoy a little fresh air and soak up some vitamin D in the forest. Gatineau Park is still skiable, the trails are still being groomed, and the park has waived their fees; so hop in the car and head out for a little cross country.

Travel from your living room

There are many great places to explore from the comfort of your living room. Several museums around the globe are offering free virtual tours. If art is your thing, you can check out the Guggenheim, the National Gallery of Art, the Louvre, or the Met. Into animals and the natural world? Visit the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, take a home safari with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botannical Gardens, check out the creatures of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, or explore national parks. The world is at your fingertips! Some other food for thought: why not plan the best trip, for when we can all travel again?

Online social gatherings

You may not be able to gather with your friends IRL, but there are many ways you can connect with them through the interwebs. There’s Facebook Video Chat, Skype, Google Hangouts, and—if those won’t cut it for you—countless other options that are only a quick Google search away.

Live music streams

For those of you who would normally be out enjoying great concerts on the weekend, you can still enjoy some live music from the comfort of your home. Ottawa Live Music Streams on Facebook has an ever-evolving list of great gigs to choose from.

Caribou may have had to postpone their concert in Ottawa this Sunday, but you can still catch a LiveStream of their concert from the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto this Thursday night, March 19th. They will be playing to a venue full of empty seats, but many will be watching from their couches, so be sure to register ahead of time to ensure your spot.

A packed and sweaty basement dance party may be a thing of the past, for now, but Timekode will still be holding us down this Friday. The details are a little sparse as of yet, but there will also be a Saturday night Living Room Space Party Cat Dance with Kitchen Party’s DJ Sweetcheeks. Ottawa’s DJ AL Connors is streaming daily on Twitch.


When you feel like zoning out and unwinding in front of the television, Netflix has you covered. There are a ton of shows to choose from, depending on how you’re feeling. You can even watch your favourite shows with friends, using Netflix Party.


Have you ever wanted to learn a new hobby? Have some projects laying around that you hoped to get started, but never quite got to? Now is your chance! Pick up that guitar, those knitting needles, that calligraphy set, the baking supplies, or that camera. Whatever it is you want to try; just give it a go! If you’re not quite sure where to start, head to the internet. There are plenty of how-to videos to help you along while you learn.

Send Some Love

During this trying time, show some love to the many amazing small businesses around town that have had to close their doors as a result of this nasty virus. Buy gift cards to use when the storm has cleared. Order from their online stores. Check out @supportlocalottawa on Instagram for some ideas on what is still available.

Now is also the time to connect with loved ones. Call your mother. Check in on your friends. When you do have to go out for supplies, ask your neighbours if they need anything, and be sure to thank the cashiers and people who are still out there every day, making sure we have things we need to keep going.

Spring Cleaning

Maybe not the most “fun” activity, but ‘tis the season—and ‘tis especially important this year! Throw on some tunes and get into a good groove while you get your place into tip top shape. You’ll be spending a lot of time inside in the weeks to come, so why not have it looking its best and feeling great.

Eat Well

Now is as great a time as any to try new recipes at home. Spend time in the kitchen and come up with something delicious. If you miss the days of heading out to a restaurant for dinner and are on the hunt for some great local grub, be sure to check out @bytown.bites on Instagram; they’ve a whole list of tasty options in their “COVID Recs” section.

Might we make a special Sunday night dinner recommendation? Grunt makes an incredible Sunday Roast (on the menu this week is lamb) and is offering take out and delivery while the dining rooms around town are closed. One of our favourite breweries, Dominion City will also be hosting an all-weekend Pop-Up Drive-Thru with Holly’s Hot Chicken, so go for a drive and enjoy a hot chicken sandwich while you stock up on your DC favourites.

Self Care

Times are hard right now. The world looks like a bit of a scary place and cabin fever is real. Be sure to make the time to treat yourself to a little self care. Run a hot bath or take a long shower. Have an at-home spa day. Sleep late. Head to your porch or balcony and look up at the stars. Meditate. Journal. Hug your pets. Whatever lightens your load, as the weight can be hard to carry.

Stay Active

PranaShanti Yoga Centre is holding free online yoga classes, beginning today! They have afternoon and evening classes in a variety of different styles. Pure Yoga also offers over 150 classes on demand. The first 15 days are free and they are currently offering monthly subscriptions for a reduced rate of 10$.

Bodies By Phil, who celebrates their second anniversary today, is offering free daily at-home workouts, which can be viewed from their Instagram page @bodiesbyphil613. Don’t have a home gym? Don’t worry; these workouts require little equipment.

There are also several free apps you can download with all sorts of on-demand workouts, to keep your body moving in these stagnated times.

Although your weekend plans may not be quite as exciting as they usually are, enjoy yourselves. There are still a whole lot of ways to stay busy. Keep us in the loop and post some photos of your self-isolating using the hashtag #apt613. As we sign off, we can’t say this enough, but stay safe everyone and wash your hands!

For more of what’s happening in Ottawa, stay tuned to @apt613 on Twitter. Out snapping photos? Tag us on Instagram @apt613 for a chance to be featured on our feed. Be sure to use the hashtag #APT613 so we can share your photos!