Ottawa’s vibrant local arts, culture and recreation scene is part of what gives the city its charm. With an abundance of world-renowned museums, galleries and theatres, Ottawa’s eclectic mix of cultural venues showcase a wide variety of Canadian and international art, combining our French and English ancestries with our multicultural heritage. Moreover, Ottawa’s many winter festivals touch on almost every interest across the spectrum: from Canada’s biggest outdoor party to comedy shows and concerts, there’s no shortage of events for all ages. Throughout 2017, several sporting events will take place across the city in honour of Canada’s 150th and the centennial of the National Hockey League. Look forward to some of these activities and events taking place in Ottawa this winter:
Trudeau Stories: Presented by the Great Canadian Theatre Company from January 10th to 29th, Trudeau Stories is based on the true-story of an unlikely friendship that developed between a young Canadian theatre student and Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Through journal entries and correspondence, the play offers personal insights into the former Prime Minister’s life.
National Skating Championships: Between January 16th and 22nd, Ottawa will host the 2017 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships at the TD Place Arena in Lansdowne Park. The all-Canadian event will feature 250 skaters in the men’s, women’s, pair, and ice dance disciplines, competing across the novice, junior and senior levels.
Onegin: Between January 19th and 21st, enjoy beautiful costumes and sets as the National Ballet of Canada presents Onegin at the National Arts Centre. Set in Imperial Russia to music by Tchaikovsky, the classic ballet is based on the 19th century novel “Eugene Onegin” by Alexander Pushkin that tells the story of an arrogant Russian aristocrat and a passionate landowner’s daughter.
The Colony of Unrequited Dreams: If English theatre is more your thing, don’t miss The Colony of Unrequited Dreams at the National Arts Centre between January 25th and February 11th. Set in 1949, this political drama follows the soon-to-be Premier Joey Smallwood as he propels the Dominion of Newfoundland into union with Canada.
Mary Poppins: From January 27th to February 4th, enjoy a screening of the Broadway production of Mary Poppins, one of the most popular Disney movies of all time, at the Centrepointe Theatre. Nominated for nine Olivier and seven Tony Awards, this child-friendly musical follows the Banks family and the arrival of their new nanny, Mary Poppins, who takes the children on some unforgettable adventures.
Davis Cup: Between February 3rd and 5th, watch your favourite tennis stars compete at the Davis Cup, the largest international team competition in world sport. The prestigious event gives players the chance to represent their country in an otherwise individual sport.
Winterlude: The city’s biggest winter season event, the three-week Winterlude festival runs from February 3rd to 20th and offers everything from giant ice slides to stunning ice sculptures to the famous Rideau Canal Skateway. With most events FREE, it’s no surprise that more than half a million people take part in Winterlude activities every year.
Crackup Comedy Festival: Taking place at the TD Place Arena at Lansdowne Park from February 7th to 18th, the Alterna Savings Crackup Comedy Festival offers something for everyone from improv to stand-up to intimate and interactive shows. Featured comics include Ron James, Mary Walsh, Johnny Harris, Derek Seguin, Mark Forward and many more!
Canadian Ski Marathon: Celebrate the Canadian winter by taking part in the two-day, 160 kilometer Canadian Ski Marathon from February 10th to 12th. The longest and oldest ski tour in North America, the trail winds through the picturesque Laurentian Mountains and has an over-night stop in Montebello.
Winter Jazz Festival: The sixth edition of the TD Ottawa Winter Jazz Festival runs from February 9th to 12th at La Nouvelle Scène – the newly rebuilt theatre at 333 King Edward Avenue. This year’s featured artists include celebrated Canadian guitarist Tony Wilson, GRAMMY nominated saxophonist Miguel Zenón, and JUNO Award winning songstresses Emilie-Claire Barlow and Sienna Dahlen.
To Kill a Mockingbird: Based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, watch Christopher Sergel’s stage adaptation of the classic To Kill a Mockingbird at the Ottawa Little Theatre between February 15th and March 4th. Seen from the point of view of two small children and their friend, the drama tells the story of a black man accused of raping a white woman in a fictional Alabama small town in the 1930s.
Ice Dragon Boat Festival: The first event of its kind in North American, the inaugural Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival will introduce the new sport of ice dragon boating to Ottawa and surrounding areas on February 17th and 18th. Watch athletes from as far as California and Florida race dragon boats down the frozen Rideau Canal Skateway and across Dow’s Lake.
Ottawa Winter Brewfest: Located in the elegant Horticulture building at Lansdowne Park, the third Annual Winter Brewfest brings to Ottawa more than 100 microbrewery beers from across Ontario and Quebec. From February 17th to 19th, treat yourself to some small-batch beers, gourmet dishes, and live music while dancing around the festival’s focal bonfire.
Hockey Day in Ottawa: On February 18th, celebrate all things hockey at Hockey Day in Ottawa. Enjoy a day of skating, pick-up hockey, and physical fitness at more than 250 participating outdoor rinks throughout the city.
Traces of the First World War: Newfoundland and Labrador: The Canadian Museum of War’s introspective Traces of the First World War: Newfoundland and Labrador exhibit presents a dozen evocative stories from Atlantic Canada that reveal the war’s deep impact on the people, communities, and ideas of Newfoundland and Labrador. On until February 26th, this unique exhibit is not to be missed.
Red Bull Crashed Ice: Mark your calendar for Red Bull’s Ice Cross Downhill World Championships. On March 3rd and 4th, come see the world’s best athletes compete for the ultimate title along the Rideau Canal locks.
Hockey in Canada: More Than Just a Game: Starting March 10th, check out one-of-a-kind artifacts, video clips of historic highlights, and personal memorabilia at the Canadian Museum of History’s Hockey in Canada: More Than Just a Game exhibit celebrating hockey, its evolution over the decades, and its widespread appeal.
Catch Me If You Can: Presented by the Orpheus Musical Theatre, Catch Me If You Can follows the adventures of Frank Abagnale Jr., a suburban teenager in the early 1960s, who successfully posed as a Pan American Airways pilot, a Georgia doctor, and a Louisiana parish prosecutor – all before his 19th birthday! Enjoy this award winning play at the Centrepointe Theatre between March 10th and 19th.
Nice Women Don’t Want the Vote: Running until March 12th, the Canadian Museum of History’s Nice Women Don’t Want the Vote exhibit examines how women homesteaders, authors, journalists and activists came together to achieve voting rights for women. Using historical artifacts and photos, the interactive display introduces the arguments and personalities on both sides of the struggle.
Stanley Cup Tribute: Between March 15th and 18th, enjoy a series of events organized to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup. Join NHL alumni and special guests for the Stanley Cup Evening Gala inside the Canadian Museum of History (March 15th), or have your picture taken with the Stanley Cup as the iconic trophy is welcomed back to Rideau Hall by Governor General David Johnston (March 16th). Finish off the week by meeting your favourite NHL players inside the Aberdeen Pavilion in Lansdowne Park and watching the Stanley Cup 125th Anniversary Tribute Concert at the Canadian Tire Centre (March 17th).
Marion Bridge: From March 22nd to April 8th, enjoy the Canadian drama Marion Bridge at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Based on the 2002 Canadian film of the same name, Marion Bridge follows three estranged sisters in their thirties who return to the East Coast to care for their dying mother. The arrival of the middle sister sets in motion a chain of events that forces the family to reconnect with the world –and one another.
Written by Danuta Whetton