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Weekend Roundup: Quoi faire?

By Hannah Manning on February 18, 2021

Well Ottawa, we’re back in the Orange zone. With that change comes new opportunities to enjoy arts and culture in town, while putting into practice all those social distancing/proper hygiene techniques we’ve been perfecting over the last year. Looking back, Winterlude 2020 was one of the few events that went as planned. The 2021 edition is a bit different, but there’s still plenty to do. Read on for some picks for the final weekend of Winterlude as well as some arts and culture highlights.


It’s hard to think of winter in Ottawa without thinking of Winterlude, the annual winter celebration that brings us ice sculptures, sledding, skating, ice dragon boating and more. This year, Winterlude has gone virtual and is taking place from February 5-21. The Rideau Canal is open for skating (check the latest conditions here), we’ve got plenty of snow for sledding, but what about the ice sculptures? For the first time in its history, Winterlude challenged professional Canadian ice sculptors to compete simultaneously in 7 cities across Canada. They each had 28 hours to transform 8 blocks of ice into an artwork on the theme of the joys of winter. You can check out their creations online and vote for your top 3 favourite sculptures until February 21.

Up for a challenge? The Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival has a virtual event called Shiver ‘n Giver that has participants skate, ski, snowshoe, walk or run, from any location in the world, for a cumulative distance of 21km to be completed over the duration of Winterlude. Funds raised will go towards local charities. 21km outside in Ottawa winter not your thing? This Thursday, enjoy music from DJ Shub as part of the free concert series hosted by the festival from the comfort of your living room. In case you missed it, OrKidstra at the Ice Dragon Boat Festival was this week’s video of the week.

The Ottawa Art Gallery is hosting a Virtual Winterlude Happy Hour with a sneak peek at the OAG’s next exhibition, Sheltered in Place: Portraits of self, family and community. The workshop is free to attend, and participants are asked to gather objects that are meaningful to them to draw or photograph. The event’s signature cocktail will be a Pomegranate and Lemon Rum Fizz paired with homemade spiced mixed nuts, which you can order from My Catering Group via the Eventbrite page. PS — the OAG is reopening on February 20 and you can pre-book your free admission here.


From February 20 to March 7, enjoy Emergent, a showcase of recent and new work by the 2020 graduates of the University of Ottawa’s Masters of Fine Arts program. Working in a variety of mediums and across diverse disciplines, the exhibition highlights the work and unique practices of five artists: Julie Caissie, Nic Cooper, Carol Howard Donati, Martin Godin and Zainab Hussain. The virtual opening reception is Tuesday, February 23.


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Under the new restrictions, museums and galleries are allowed to reopen. Be sure to check for admission details before you go: pre-registration is often required. One of the museums that’s reopened is the Canadian War Museum. They’re also hosting a virtual workshop called Make Do and Mend where you’ll learn about visible mending techniques.

Not technically the weekend, but this Monday, the Great Canadian Theatre Company is inviting all singers, regardless of experience, to a Choir Info Session for an online choir, hosted by Eric Coates and Saeideh Rajabzadeh, a local musician and uOttawa student. Missing the GCTC? Learn about their playwright in residence in an interview posted here.

It’s been quite a year (or two) and we could all use a laugh. Join actor and comedian Pierre Brault online for an interactive experience where you’ll learn the basics of creating and performing live stand-up, joke construction, timing and delivery over a six week period. Whether you’re looking to perform a set live or just want to learn to laugh, the Afternoon Funnies is no joke!

The Rideau Canal is open for skating… and raves? Very intrigued by Rave on the Canal 2.0, which will feature music blasted through a boombox on a sled. Stay up to date on the latest COVID rules here and remember to give skaters the social distance they need to bust a move or two.

Enjoy a Mardi Gras livestream this Friday at 8pm, featuring The Ball And Chain Trio with Jody Benjamin, Michael Ball, and Antoine Laroque. Hosted by Irene’s Pub as part of their Listen Pass series, you can also tune in Saturday night from 7-9pm for their weekly Saturday night revue with Jamieson MacKay, Birdie Whyte, C.A. Jackson, Sal Valley and Sonny Aiken. Check out the calendar for all upcoming concerts.


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It’s 2021 which means everything is virtual, including LEGO. Good news about virtual LEGO? You can’t step on the pieces! The City of Ottawa is hosting a virtual LEGO and 8-Bit art workshop. Get all the details about system requirements and registration here.


Pick up some local produce at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market at Lansdowne, then tune in to Cooking 4 Mental Health, a fundraiser for The Royal Ottawa with chef Walid El-Tawel and CA Paradis/The Chef’s Paradise. And ok, maybe crab and avocado (the key ingredients for the cooking lesson) aren’t your typical farmer’s market find… but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a few new tricks for the kitchen!

Each year, the Coldest Night of the Year raises for charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger. This year’s event is a virtual walk with donations going to four local organizations: the Youth Services Bureau, the Ottawa Mission, Jericho Road and Capital City Mission, and Cornerstone Housing for Women. It’s not too late to register—get all the details on the CNOY website.

Anyone else missing the wood fires along the canal? One of the best ways to warm up mid-skate or while enjoying a Beavertail, in my opinion! Not a winter person? Dreaming of summer and bonfires at the cottage? Recapture those warm fuzzy feelings… and then prepare for a fright with Haunted Walk Ottawa this weekend as they host virtual haunted campfires. This weekend’s feature is the Laurier House, aka a haunted mansion that was the home of two former Prime Ministers.

Tune into the National Art Centre for the Canadian premiere of Body and Soul, choreographed by the 2020 Order of Canada inductee Crystal Pite for the legendary Paris Opera Ballet. The program features a pre-show conversation with Crystal Pite, followed by the full-length recording of the 2019 premiere night performance of Body and Soul at the Palais Garnier, Paris, France. The NAC has done a great job of moving programming online and supporting local and Canadian artists throughout a difficult 2019-2020 season. Learn more about their efforts and their plans for the future at their Annual Public Meeting, Thursday at noon.

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!