WARM UP TO OT­TAWA

En­joy a mind-bog­gling va­ri­ety of sum­mer festivals, shows and events in Canada’s cap­i­tal.

Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine - - Table Of Contents - BY LAURA BYRNE PAQUET

The city’s many na­tional mu­se­ums are mount­ing nu­mer­ous en­tic­ing shows. At the Na­tional Gallery of Canada, Im­pres­sion­ist Trea­sures: The Or­drup­gaard Col­lec­tion (May 18 to Septem­ber 9) fea­tures 76 paint­ings from a fa­mous Dan­ish mu­seum. At the Cana­dian Mu­seum of Na­ture, the big draw will be Brain: The In­side Story, an ex­hi­bi­tion from the Amer­i­can Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral His­tory (May 18 to Septem­ber 3). And the Cana­dian Mu­seum of His­tory delves into one of Canada’s most fa­mous sto­ries of ex­plo­ration with Death in the Ice: The Mys­tery of the Franklin Ex­pe­di­tion (un­til Septem­ber 30).

SUM­MER HEATS UP

When it comes to festivals, June is packed. One of the first is Ot­tawa Ital­ian Week from June 7–17, which cel­e­brates Ital­ian mu­sic, food, theatre, com­edy, art and more. Over­lap­ping the first part of Ital­ian Week is West­fest, a free mu­sic and arts fes­ti­val at Tom Brown Arena and Park (June 8–10).

Hot on the heels of those events is the Ot­tawa Fringe Fes­ti­val for fans of off-the­wall theatre (June 14–24); the Ot­tawa Beer Fest for craft beer lovers (June 15–16); the Fes­ti­val Franco-on­tarien, which cel­e­brates the prov­ince’s fran­co­phone culture (June 14–16); and the Sum­mer Sol­stice Indige­nous Fes­ti­val (June 21–24) fea­tur­ing a two-day Pow Wow.

The 2018 TD Ot­tawa In­ter­na­tional Jazz Fes­ti­val (June 21 to July 1) will take place at the Mar­ion De­war Plaza, across from its usual home in Con­fed­er­a­tion Park, which is un­der­go­ing some con­struc­tion this year. Per­form­ers at this year’s event in­clude Ali­son Krauss, Her­bie Han­cock and Boz Scaggs.

Fans of thrilling aerial ac­ro­bat­ics should head to the Cana­dian Tire Cen­tre be­tween June 27 and July 1 for Cirque du Soleil’s Cor­teo. Also at the end of June are the RCMP Sun­set Cer­e­monies (June 27–30). Spec­ta­tors can watch the famed Mu­si­cal Ride, then see the Cana­dian flag low­ered at dusk. Bring a chair and a blan­ket, and come early, as this free event is wildly pop­u­lar.

On July 1, down­town Ot­tawa be­comes one mas­sive pedes­trian mall and en­ter­tain­ment venue on Canada Day. Most ma­jor ar­ter­ies are closed to cars but they are wide open to strolling en­ter­tain­ers, food trucks, con­cert stages and hordes of peo­ple fes­tooned in red and white, and tak­ing it all in.

Through­out the sum­mer, Par­lia­ment Hill is a hive of free ac­tiv­ity, in­clud­ing guided tours of the fa­mous build­ings, the Chang­ing of the Guard cer­e­mony ev­ery morn­ing, noon-hour yoga classes on the lawn once a week, and a light-and-sound show each night at dusk.

The grand­daddy of Ot­tawa mu­sic festivals, Bluesfest (July 5–15), has ex­panded far be­yond its blues roots to en­com­pass just about ev­ery genre of mu­sic. Acts this year in­clude Foo Fight­ers, Bryan Adams, Beck and Naughty by Na­ture. If you like your tunes a bit more se­date, try Cham­ber­fest, one of the world’s largest cham­ber mu­sic festivals (July 26 to Au­gust 9).

The long week­end in Au­gust brings fire eaters, jug­glers and con­tor­tion­ists to town for the Ot­tawa Busker Fest (Au­gust 2–6). Mid-month, the Cap­i­tal Fair’s mid­way is a mag­net for kids (Au­gust 17–26). And dozens of colour­ful bal­loons float­ing over Ot­tawa at the Gatineau Hot Air Bal­loon Fes­ti­val (Au­gust 30 to Septem­ber 3) al­ways sig­nal sum­mer is com­ing to a close.

FALL VENUES

Just be­cause the kids go back to school doesn’t mean the fun stops, how­ever. Folk mu­sic fans have five days of shows from which to choose at the Ci­ty­folk fes­ti­val (Septem­ber 12–16). Coun­try su­per­star Keith Ur­ban per­forms at the Cana­dian Tire Cen­tre on Septem­ber 14, and El­ton John plays the same venue two weeks later (Septem­ber 28).

When the leaves start to change, leaf peep­ers head to Gatineau Park. And the Ot­tawa RED­BLACKS, 2016 Grey Cup cham­pi­ons, play home games at TD Place at Lans­downe Park from May 31 to Novem­ber 2.

LEFT: Par­lia­ment Hill and the Fair­mont Château Lau­rier ho­tel glow in the twi­light. BOT­TOM: RBC Bluesfest draws crowds of mu­sic lovers to Le­bre­ton Flats ev­ery July. © Ot­tawa Tourism

RIGHT: Ot­tawa’s Cham­ber­fest is the world’s largest cham­ber mu­sic fes­ti­val. © Ot­tawa Tourism

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