With another wintry weekend at home around the corner, have we reached our limit for cozy indoor virtual fun? Gosh, I hope not. Despite mixed messaging about the safety of outdoor activities, real winter arrived late and for the snow bunnies among us, it is time to get outside and work off some rust. Whether you are still living couch-to-fridge on a vampire’s schedule or have nailed down a solid 9–5 routine involving real pants, I am proud of you. Stay safe, stay healthy, and keep checking on the extroverts and huggers in your life. These are dark days.
For the Outdoorsy
The NCC is maintaining trails in Gatineau Park and the Greenbelt for outdoor activities, with an updated trail map for information about trail conditions and safety measures. Whether you are breaking out the skis, the snowshoes, or just the Sorels, keep safety in mind and keep your eyes open for wildlife! Two weeks ago, the Roundup mentioned bird-watching as a key winter pastime, and now I can’t stop taking (terrible) pictures of birds. Who’s with me?
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Skating is a classic Ottawa activity, and our obsession with it stems directly from the Rideau Canal and all of its glory. While the canal isn’t open yet for skating, work is ongoing to get our precious waterway ready for all of our commutes and Instagramming. Follow the NCC on social media or bookmark their skateway page for updates on the ice surface and all restrictions. Other than the canal, there are rinks open all over the 613, and our resident weekend warriors have compiled a comprehensive list of neighbourhood ice for your convenience, closest to your home.
For the Indoorsy
The Bicycle Film Festival 20th Anniversary tour wraps up this weekend with a program of short films curated for Ottawa and available for screening online. Ticket prices are on a sliding scale of $10 to $20 for access to international films and the opportunity to “experience a birds-eye view of a BLM bicycle protest ride in New York” or ” the first BMX crew in Nigeria” according to the festival website. This sounds like the perfect night-in binge watch, so grab some takeout and step away from the Netflix.
Suzart is back with an entirely virtual performance of “Emma: A Pop Musical” this weekend premiering Thursday and closing on Saturday. Watch at your own convenience from the safety of home, with the volume cranked to eleven. Tickets are available online with a login to the Broadway on Demand site.
Plan ahead! The Bytown Museum is launching their Beyond Bytown virtual lecture series on Ottawa’s history, and next week they are hosting the first lecture, “LGBTQIA2+ History in Ottawa” with Emma Awe, a dynamic public historian and Community Coordinator from the Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity. Take it from me that she is a beautiful storyteller, and this promises to be an interesting dive into a history of our city that rarely gets explored. Tickets are pay what you can, so register this weekend for the lecture next Wednesday January 27 at 7pm.
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The Ottawa Jazz scene is alive and well. On Friday night, join local guitarist Justin Duhaime as he leads a tribute to the great saxophonist and composer, Wayne Shorter. Hosted on the syncspace live platform, this interactive livestream will be the perfect way to unwind from the week and ease into the weekend. Tickets for “The Shorter Way” are $9 and the show begins at 7:30pm.
For the Foodies
The Ottawa Farmer’s Market is still open as an essential service, so even if it is not normally on your schedule, take time this weekend to stroll around Lansdowne and get some local products directly from the producers. Surprisingly, there is still fresh produce available, and a number of excellent take-home meal options, as well as the inevitable heaps of baked goods. None of us are really baking much anymore, right? No shame.
You may have noticed that we have begun a new weekly column on Fridays, Takeout Talk. Featuring contributors and friends of the blog, we are casually sharing our takeout inspirations and favourites to whet your appetite for some local fare that we have happily quality-tested. From kebab in Nepean to BBQ chicken in Vanier and all of the best Centretown has to offer, check out this week’s picks if you’re running out of cool local businesses to support.
CA Paradis/Chef’s Paradise is continuing to offer online classes, and this Saturday you can enjoy a mixology class with a well-loved Ottawa drink maker. No N’ Low Cocktails will feature non alcoholic and low-alcohol concoctions for those of us who are looking for an alternative to boozy drinks. Tickets to the live streamed event are $35 and the instruction begins at 5:30pm. Plan for a fun night of mixing and a way to treat yourself to something special while streaming cool local content online in your jammies.
For the Bored
Check out something completely different. “as I collapse” is an online installation described as “a choreographic work for one human and millions of microscopic beings.” Brought to us in Ottawa by our friends at the SAW Nordic Lab, this event promises that “via camera close-ups, performer Nelly Zagora’s body will turn into an imaginary landscape where water becomes a life-giving link between species.” Tickets for the event are limited, PWYC and going quickly, so just go for it! I have so many follow-up questions, which I could never hope to answer for you, so I’ve shared the choreographer’s introduction here. *mind blown*
Online trivia is still alive and thriving in the lockdown, but have you joined any yet? Outside The Box Trivia is a simple local platform for trivia enthusiasts to give their brains a bit of a workout. The next round is Saturday night at 8pm, so wrangle your friends (virtually), come up with a team name, and play along with the secret theme trivia. The event is also Pay What You Can, which can make it much cheaper than the pub trivias that usually end up costing the equivalent of a plate of nachos, a few beers and an unplanned Uber home.
Get back to taking lunch breaks! The NAC is starting up their NACO Lunch Break performances again this week, after a holiday hiatus. Take time away from your desk at noon to enjoy live classical music by some of the city’s most talented musicians. I’ve loved the variety of the performers and the pieces that they choose. While it will be awhile until we are seeing the NACO again live in Southam Hall, this is a pretty excellent substitute.
This Sunday is the first Creative Sunday of 2021! Story submissions were due in this week, so expect to see some great new creative content getting shared on Sunday. Every month we are looking for short fiction or creative non-fiction submissions from local wordsmiths to share with our audience and spread a little bit of that creative spark around. If you missed this month’s call for submissions, put us in your calendar for February!
Take care of yourselves this weekend, friends. Call your parents, check on your friends with children, break out a good book and unclench your jaw. The Cheeto-in-chief from south of our border shouldn’t be haunting our nightmares anymore, so rest your weary eyes from all the doomscrolling and focus on your own joy.