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Photo: Kiersten Vuorimaki.

Weekend Roundup: Quoi faire?

By Kiersten Vuorimaki on March 4, 2021



It seems like March has stumbled in like a lamb despite the cold temperatures, and while I have no real idea what that means, I do know that we are just one week closer to real Spring. Even with the loss of the Rideau Canal, there are still plenty of outdoor activities available for our adventures, but the real highlight of this weekend is the TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Fest, which should be the perfect cozy night in to enjoy some great local takeout. With an exciting mix of in-person and virtual events this weekend, hopefully there is something for all of us, friends! As we creep closer to 12 months in pandemic mode, take some time to recharge, hydrate, and check in on your friends who haven’t been in the group chat much lately. If you haven’t yet seen the results from The Big O-Town Sex Survey, maybe start with those now, and see if you get any further weekend inspiration. *winky face*

All Weekend

Headlining this weekend is this year’s edition of TD Ottawa Jazz Fest. Over the course of the weekend, the festival offers six FREE live streamed shows available online and through the app. If you’re looking for the full date-night experience, they’ve teamed up with local restaurants to offer curated menus specifically for Jazz’N’Dine. You could go for poutine and milkshakes from Zak’s, a rack of ribs from the Smoque Shack, or all-out decadence with Potato Mantovani from North & Navy. Make a night of it and get your jazz on!


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Do you remember those glorious Thursday evenings of yore, when we would all traipse around the museums and galleries of the capital for free after regular hours? The Museum of Nature has brought back this timeless tradition, with Nature after 5! Time slots need to be booked in advance, but entry between 4 and 7pm is free on Thursdays again! Rejoice!

If you are interested in something more sombre, the Canadian War Museum opened their new exhibit this week: Anne Frank – A History for Today. This travelling exhibition was developed by the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, and will only be in Ottawa until April 24. Tickets for Thursday evenings are free, but do need to be reserved online ahead of time.

Winter Jazz Fest kicks off at 6pm on Thursday with a performance by Montréal artist Rebecca Foon, who co-founded the Juno award-winning contemporary chamber group Esmerine and has performed in a variety of different genres and groups throughout her career. At 8:30pm, Ranee Lee takes over the live stream. This Top Canadian Female Jazz Vocalist is bringing with her a fun quartet of musicians to school us in the ways of upbeat jazz and top-notch vocals.


Get yourself ready for International Women’s Day with Feminist Trivia Night on Friday beginning at 7pm hosted by the EmpowHer Network. The questions will range from pop culture to politics to people, with a feminist flair. Join with your own team of 4-6 people, or join a team at the virtual event! Tickets are a pay-what-you-can donation to Ottawa Abortion Doula Collective, a pro-choice group of compassionate volunteers who provide support to people undergoing abortions.

JazzLab Orchestra from Montreal will be filling our homes with original pieces and big sounds, as the ensemble streams live as part of TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Fest. Starting at 6pm, their set entitled “Thinking of Charles Mingus” will feature eight jazz musicians and a constantly evolving sound and direction. This feels like the perfect warm-up for the rest of the evening!

Pierre Brault just keeps knocking out amazing one-man shows throughout the shutdowns, and this Friday night you can expect a spooky, chilling version of The Scottish Play and murder most foul! ( If it’s being live streamed into my home, can I say M*cbeth out loud safely, or does the curse apply even in virtual times? One can never be too safe.) The show is technically free, but tips are always welcome, especially as Brault is taking his life into his own hands with this doozy of a gothic classic.


The Haunted Walk is back with more Virtual Haunted Campfire Zoom sessions. This Saturday experience the spookiness of Fort Langley, a former Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading post that sits along the misty shores of the Fraser River in British Columbia. Starting at 8pm, enjoy harrowing tales of ghosts, goblins, and the mysteries that plagued the remote gold rush outpost. Tickets are $13 per device, so turn down the lights and huddle under the covers with your Zoom machine for some good old-fashioned ghost stories.

Canadian treasure Ron Sexsmith will round out Jazz Fest and I could not be more excited. Streaming live into our homes at 8:30pm on Saturday, this free concert will be the perfect companion to a fabulous meal and a bottle or two of wine. While his work will be a total pivot from the other exuberant ensemble groups of the weekend, you need only watch this classic music video to get all of the feels, and set a reminder for his live stream.

Would you rather go out on the town instead? (Remember what that was like?) Priyanka is holding court at the LookOut this Saturday for a night of drag featuring Yaya Torres, with special guests Shea D Ladie and our current Miss Capital Pride, ICESIS COUTURE. Tickets are sold by table in advance for $35 per person, with all COVID restrictions in place. The party starts at 6:30pm and tickets sell quickly!


What is better on a lazy Sunday afternoon than a nice beer and a good book? Dominion City is launching its Spring Book Club this month, and now is the time to get yourself all signed up! Each month this spring, you’ll receive a new book and a mixed six-pack of Dominion goodness to keep yourself busy. For $55, you can have the care package delivered for free in Ottawa to your home, or perhaps the home of a beer-loving bookworm in your life? (me?)

** Monday Bonus ** International Women’s Day

Since Women’s Day falls on Monday, I’m taking the liberty of adding some fun events to this Roundup. Why not?

The NAC is live streaming the documentary Forte, featuring an entirely female ensemble cast that explores success through the lens of three international musicians.  Following the film, there will be a live panel discussion with the artists, producer, and director, hosted by NAC Orchestra music director Alexander Shelley.

Freewheeling Craft is back at it with another online market specifically for Women’s Day. After the success of the Christmas and Valentine’s markets, this is another opportunity to support local artisans from the comfort of your home. The website is easy to use, and they offer same-day delivery and pickup through a local company. Treat yourself or the special ladies in your life to some nifty new goodies!