Things are starting to look up for us, Ottawa. Both the days and the Rideau Canal Skateway have gotten longer this week, and we may be on the precipice of a cautious reopening. (Maybe. Don’t quote me.) February is the shortest month of the year, so let’s get through it gracefully, with heart and some optimism for the approaching spring! This weekend you can take some time to get outside and have some fun, or set the time aside to relax, have a laugh or two, and expand your mind. Whatever you get up to, friends, wash your hands, wear your mask, and please don’t venture far from home. This has been a long slog, but we’re doing it and before you know it, we’ll be together again in public doing whatever the heck we want.
Have Some Fun
Did you know this is the opening weekend of Winterlude?! Surprise! It’s the 43rd Winterlude, actually, which is both mind-blowing and bit sad for those of us who only look forward to the late-night Beaver Tails. Like all great things, Winterlude has gone online this year. Exploring Canada’s Winter Traditions! is a national virtual show premiering this Saturday, February 5 at 7pm that will take Canadians on a cross-country journey for a celebration of all things winter, featuring Canadian musicians and artists. The ice-carving competition is still happening, and you can vote online for the best sculpture, being made in one of seven cities in Canada by professional art carvers.
As part of the Winterluding, the Ottawa Ice Dragonboat Festival also lives on virtually, with musical performances from the likes of local bilingual darlings Moonfruits performing on Friday at 8pm. Despite the lack of actual dragonboats this year, the festival is still issuing a fitness challenge to those who can’t go a season without some healthy competition. Shiver ‘N Giver challenges registered participants to skate, ski, snowshoe, walk, or run from any location in the world for a cumulative distance of 21k to be completed over the duration of Winterlude 2021. Registration is $50 and holy moly good luck to you all.
There is a huge hole in our hearts the size of Ottawa’s live music scene. But the development of a cool new technology by a local jazz musician means that live jazz is back! Syncspace makes jam sessions possible again, in turn making improvisational jazz possible again! This Friday from 7:30-8:30pm, check out Alex Moxon as he plays a series of songs he wrote during lockdown about optimism, as part of a set of five musicians. Tickets for Eyes on the Horizon are $9 and available online.
Sock ‘n’ Buskin Theatre Company is back, and virtual! Carleton’s longstanding theatre troupe opens a new show this weekend, All in The Timing, a series of comedic vignettes. They sell the show thusly: “If you like once-in-a-lifetime encounters, English lessons, or the deaths of historical figures, check out All in the Timing to make fun of all of them.” I’m in for all three of those things. The show runs online Friday and Saturday at 7pm, and Sunday at 2pm. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for everyone else.
Do Some Good
Supporting local is at the centre of what we do here, so let me direct your attention to a contest that Downtown Bank Street is having right now. From Feb. 1–14, leave a 5-star review on Google, Facebook, or Yelp for a business on Bank Street between Wellington and Catherine, and you could win prizes from Bank Street businesses, including a diamond ring! (Whaaat?) Their “Share the Love” campaign is an easy excuse to get online and gas up your favourite places. Mooshu Ice Cream and Kitchen, Bread & Sons, Gongfu Bao, and Book Bazaar are just a few of my personal favourites if you need ideas.
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It seems like we have all resorted to the simpler winter pleasures, like snowmen, skating, and fort-building. When was the last time you made a snow angel? Enter the Snowsuit Fund Snow Angel Challenge. Make an angel, and upload a photo of you doing it to social media. Register and tag the Snowsuit Fund in your post, challenging your friends and neighbours to do the same! They are awarding prizes for snow angels and also accepting donations to provide snowsuits to children in need in Ottawa. Challenge your distanced friends or coworkers to donate and make the best angel. Tag us too, why not?
I have great news. This Saturday is National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day and we’re already hunkered down in our jammies 80% of the time, so this is just what we need. The Merry Dairy has declared this holiday every year, and this year they are reopening just in time to offer pickup and delivery of their famous treats. Treat yo’self to ice cream for breakfast, at home, snug as a bug.
Check back for this week’s Takeout Talk for more awesome suggestions about where to eat in the 613 this weekend and beyond. Think past the kinds of foods that you would normally have gotten as takeout in the before-times (pizza, Chinese, shawarma) (no shade, I want all of those things now) and make a list of the businesses that you want to support, to be sure to see them again in person. Consider your favourite brunch spot, fancy date-night bar, or weekly wing hangout. Are they offering takeout? Probably. Is the experience as amazing as dining in? Probably not. Will you be heartbroken if they don’t make it through the shutdowns? Definitely. So get the tacos to go. Download the menu for your go-to sushi place. Spend a silly amount of money on a five-course dinner that you will eat in your sweats. Support your places!
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Bird-watching is making a huge comeback, but how much do you really know about birds? Luckily for us, the Royal Canadian Geographic Society is offering a discussion with renowned Canadian bird expert David Bird (brilliant name). Thursday at 8:30pm, tune in to hear Dr. Bird present on his efforts to have the Canada Jay named as our national bird in 2017. To be honest, these jays seem much friendlier than Canadian Geese, so I think an excellent choice was made here.
Does a sex survey count as being nerdy? Maybe? Either way, I’ve committed to my subtitles, so here we are. Apt613 has launched its 2021 Big O-Town Sex Survey, partnering with Venus Envy to find out how and why 613ers are getting sexy (or not). (If you’ve been keeping to yourself because of the pandemic and have little to report – thank you for keeping your loved ones safe from COVID stranger danger.) All experiences are welcome on the survey, so take a minute this weekend and let inquiring minds know what you’ve been up to and into this past year. *cartoonish wink*
First a party promoter, then a record label, and now also a weekly show on the FM airwaves. Welcome to Mapped Out Radio presented by the folks behind Music.Art.Ppl. Featuring interviews with creatives and local change-makers, join host Jordan David as he and the M.A.P. crew uncover what’s unique about the arts scene in Ottawa and hear firsthand from folks who are working to reshape our city’s cultural landscape. The show premiered last week, so get in on the ground floor! Check it out at 11:30am Fridays on CKCU.