After what seemed like neverending rain, cool weather, and grey skies, the sun is finally out and it looks like it will be sticking around and bringing warmer temperatures this weekend. While we may still be in lockdown mode here in Ottawa, this is a chance to get outside and enjoy our beautiful city, keeping safely away from others. The virtual events, which have become the norm, are in shorter supply, but there is still plenty to do to turn your mood around and we’ve got some great ideas to help get your weekend started.
The Tulip Festival officially begins this weekend and, due to the current COVID situation, is taking place predominantly online. If you want to stop and smell the flowers, there are plenty of places to do so; from Commissioners Park, to Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park, the Olympic Garden, and several other spots around town. The NCC has created this handy interactive map to help you in your quest for tulips. For the photographers out there, the beautiful blooming tulips make for perfect photos to enter into Ottawa Tourism and IgersOttawa’s Spring Vibes #VirtualMeet613, which runs until May 26th. As always, a friendly reminder to keep your distance and wear your mask while admiring the tulips. You can also take in the tulips’ beauty virtually, by signing up for one of the many Zoom tours available online. There are also many photos and video footage of the gardens available to view. If you’ve got questions about the tulips and Tulip Festival in general, chances are you will find your answers within the In the Garden series. You will also find colouring pages for the kids and online paint nights for the older crowd. There are all kinds of ways to enjoy the festival, despite it looking a bit different this year.
It is also a beautiful weekend for biking with even more opportunities to enjoy a car-free cruise along some of the city’s more scenic routes, with NCC Weekend Bikedays. Ever a fan of interactive maps, I’ve yet another to recommend checking out, which will show you all the Weekend Bikeday routes, along with some other handy information like the hours the routes remain open for non-vehicle use and the length of the routes in question. Beyond these parkways, there are countless other bike trails around the city that you can get out and enjoy. While definitely less user-friendly than other maps, this one will show you all the multi use pathways throughout your neighbourhood. A suggestion: print out the map and plan your route from there.
While on the topic of bicycles, it is important to mention that this year there is not only a shortage of bikes, but also of bike parts. Make sure to love your bike a little more this season and take it in for a tune up at one of the local bike shops around town – like Fresh Air Experience, McCrank’s Cycles and Skis, or Full Cycle. The wait times can be lengthy, so make the arrangements today to help keep that beloved bicycle of yours running smoothly through the summer.
Our beloved farmers’ markets have returned for the season, bringing with them the opportunity to snag delicious local produce, preserves, and even some local libations from Dominion City (keep reading for where to find them). The Byward Market Farmers’ Market is open seven days a week, but you’ll be able to find an extra special guest there every Saturday from 8am to 1pm. Head out on Saturday morning and you can pick up some tasty Dominion City drinks alongside your usual farmers’ market finds. The Lansdowne Farmers’ Market takes place on Sundays and they’ve plenty of precautions in place to keep folks safe. Capacity is limited and people are stocking up, so be sure to arrive early for the shortest wait times and best selection. One bit of advice, as it is different than in previous years; don’t bring the pooch along with you, as they are not allowed into the market this season. Can’t make the Sunday market? The Westboro Farmers’ Market is in full swing on Saturdays from 9am to 3pm. As if this trio of markets were not enough, there is also the Kiwan Farms Farmers’ Market being held this Saturday and Sunday and they’ve got a garden centre full of flowers and vegetable plants to choose from (and the weather may finally be hospitable for our outdoor plant friends).
Ottawa’s oldest cinema, the Mayfair Theatre, is feeling the Covid crunch and needs our help to keep the place afloat while it cannot fill its seats with spectators. Tune in on Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon for a Save the Mayfair concert featuring over 20 different artists. You can purchase tickets ahead of time to attend the Zoom event, or tune in on Youtube with the option to donate throughout. There is also an online auction, which begins on Friday, where you can snag yourself some sweet swag while helping to support our beloved local theatre.
With Covid abound, more of us are looking to spend our time outside this summer. To help us along in our outdoor adventures comes a new initiative: the Ottawa Outdoor Gear Library. Hoping to begin loaning items in June, the Ottawa Outdoor Gear Library will offer everything from fishing rods, to hiking boots, bicycles, and binoculars. They will also offer all the necessary gear to enjoy winter in the city, once the time comes (but let’s forget about winter for a while). In order to help flesh out their gear library, they are hosting a Gear Drive this Saturday and Sunday, and they’ve a wishlist of items they are looking for. If you happen to have some items to spare, please take a minute to swing by 877A Boyd Avenue and drop them off between 10am and 3pm. You’ll be helping spread the joy of the outdoors to others this year.
As the weekend approaches, we’ve some very exciting news for all folks over 40 in Ottawa. This, perhaps, should have been the first thing we mentioned. As of this Thursday at 8am, anyone 40 or older in Ottawa will be able to book a vaccine using the provincial booking system. For those who have not yet entered their 40s, you may still be able to book an appointment; people over the age of 18 with postal codes beginning in K1T, K1V, and K2V are able to book appointments through the provincial booking system and pop-up clinics are springing up in high priority neighbourhoods for those over the age of 18. To find out whether your neighbourhood qualifies, check out this list of high priority neighbourhoods. You will learn about these neighbourhood pop-up clinics through local initiatives, so be sure to keep your ear to the ground to learn of those happening in your next of the woods. If you find yourself in the know, be sure to spread the word so that others can also get vaccinated. It has been a long run, but it seems we are finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sunny skies alongside an increased opportunity to be vaccinated makes this weekend one of the best we’ve had all year!
While most events featured in this weekend’s Roundup span the whole weekend, there are a couple of special mentions that will only take place on Saturday. Gigspace will be streaming an online concert of the Rebecca Noelle Quartet this Saturday. Ottawa’s own Rebecca Noelle will perform alongside pianist Clayton Connell, bassist Ken Sealy, and drummer Jamie Holmes. Tickets for this hour-long concert can be purchased online.
This Saturday is also International Astronomy Day and there will be a virtual event to celebrate. The day-long event will take place on Zoom and will feature many presentations and demonstrations from local astronomers. In addition to some great talks about astronomy, there will be a chance for you to witness some stunning views of the Sun, the Moon, planets, and even some deepsky objects from the comfort of your couch. All you need to do to take part in this awesome free event is sign up beforehand here.
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!