Here are our contributors’ picks for the best events in Ottawa for the week of December 15-21. Share your picks for great Ottawa events in the comments below.
Laura Nicol, aka @311Laura:
SHOPPING: The holiday season is upon us – why not support some great local stores with your holiday purchases? This Thursday from 6 – 9 pm check out the Dalhousie Holiday Shopping Night where stores like Victoire, Workshop, Milk, Nest and more are offering great promos. Also – if you bring in a warm coat to donate enjoy an extra discount!
Amanda Earl, poet & publisher:
MUSIC & READING: Bah! House Band Reading Series Christmas Edition is on Thursday, Dec 15 at 9:00pm at Raw Sugar (692 Somerset St. W).
DJ Komsomol & McNally in the band, with Special Guests Cameron Anstee and Dave Currie. Brendan McNally always puts on a fine event. He tells stories that are more like acts of a play than short fiction & the DJ adds beats. if that isn’t cool enough for you, add the fine writing of Misters Anstee & Currie to the mix & you have a fine evening. Not to mention Raw Sugar is a great venue with Beau’s on tap and delicious baked goods. I just sampled the coffee cake recently & it was divine.
Max Keeping, CTV Ottawa’s Community Ambassador:
RELIVE THE MEMORIES: Anyone who remembers The Esquire Show Bar in Montreal (Stanley & Ste Catherine) will know the best R &B and soul artists of the 50s, 60s, and 70s played there. I saw James Brown, Ray Charles, Joe Tex, Percy Sledge, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin perform on the stage – in the middle of the bar. Sixteen Quebec artists have revived the sound in a 54-song musical tribute, called simply Esquire Show Bar, that plays the Theatre of Casino Lac Leamy Friday (Dec 16) and Saturday (Dec 17) nights. There are only a few tickets available. The revue is also playing there on New Year’s Eve. I’ll see you Saturday night.
Yasir Naqvi, MPP Ottawa Centre:
PASTA DINNER: This week, I am really looking forward to attending the Dovercourt Recreation Centre 6th Annual Christmas Pasta Dinner on Friday, December 16 at 6 pm. Always a fun event, this pasta dinner helps raise money for the Ottawa Mission and is a great way to celebrate the season with your neighbours. Tickets are only $10 and can be purchased at the Dovercourt Recreation Centre (411 Dovercourt Avenue).
(Also recommended by Denise Deby, who writes for Green Living Ottawa)
Jean Labelle, Photographer:
TOYS: Lay the foundation for the “do-it-yourself” spirit in your child with an opportunity to build a special feature project at Lowe’s. This Saturday is the Lowe’s holiday train! This Train Engine includes stickers and a pullback motor!
Andrew King, artist:
SPIES: Spies rarely take a holiday, and Christmas is no exception, especially if you are the most evil spy of all… the GRINCH. On Sunday December 18 (1pm-3pm) visit the headquarters of all things secret and espionage-like right here in Ottawa at the Diefenbunker Cold War Museum where agents will assist and improve your Grinch spy skills! This event for kids 5-7 years old takes place in the once super top secret underground facility in Carp, where kids will learn how to be a spy by closely examining and discovering the Grinch’s spy skills. Children will participate in story time and arts and crafts, while learning about spy skills and the Diefenbunker. Cookies and hot chocolate will follow for all to enjoy. I wish I was 7 years old so i could partake in this cool mission…The Diefenbunker is an amazing Cold War relic from an era of spies and international espionage. A cool underground facility in itself, the Christmas spy theme makes it even more cool. Free with admission to the museum.
(also suggested by Gordon Dewis aka KeeperOfMaps.)
Tanya Snook, aka Spydergrrl:
VICTORIAN SCIENCE: This weekend, the Canadian Science and Technology Museum kicks off the holidays with a look at Victorian science. This sounds like so much fun: period bikes, costumes (try one on and get your picture taken!), a storyteller recounting Alice in Wonderland, a hands-on lab, an illusionist, Morse code, a scavenger hunt… the list goes on and on. The activities vary throughout the holidays, so check the site before you head out to see what’s on tap that day.
Ryan Bresee, radio host of CKCU’s Whatever’s Cool With Me:
MUSIC: On Saturday night, Jim Bryson (http://www.jimbryson.org/media/) is hosting his 12th annual Christmas show at the Black Sheep Inn. It’s a great tradition by an amazing Ottawa talent. He’s invited along with The Weather Station. If you’ve never heard her, have a listen. On Sunday there will be an all-ages matinee at 4 p.m. Ho, ho, ho!
Arne Berg, photographer:
MUSIC: The Pack A.D. with Becky and Maya will be blowing the roof off the Live Lounge on Saturday December 17 at 8pm. They rocked it hard in the rain at Westfest this summer. They were amazing at Cafe Dekcuf in October. You really have to see them live. They are my favorite band. High energy and an amazing sound. Watch their video “Take” here.
Gordon Dewis aka KeeperOfMaps:
MUSIC: Rideau Park United Church’s annual choir Christmas concrt, Ornaments of Christmas: A Festival of Carols, is being held at Rideau Park United Church (2203 Alta Vista Drive at Cunningham Avenue) this Sunday afternoon at 4pm. It features Rideau Park’s Chancel Choir, Northwinds Brass, A Touch of Brass handbells. Admission is free, with a freewill offering.
Josee from Frugal Fun Ottawa:
ART: Creative Sundays continue at the Ottawa Art Gallery (2 Daly Avenue) between 1 and 3 pm. These drop-in art-making workshops are great for the whole family – this week kids and adults can create a star blanket using contemporary materials. I love this activity because it gets us out of the house and allows the kids to get crafty, but I don’t have to pick up the mess!
Don from foodieprints:
FOOD: This Sunday, December 18 please come to the Aberdeen Pavillion at Lansdowne Park ($5 flat rate for parking) and shop at the fourth and last of the “Christmas at Lansdowne” Ottawa Farmers’ Markets (9am-3pm) this season. Dozens of vendors will be on hand with gift ideas for the food enthusiast on your Christmas list from wooden spoons to cookies, cakes, donuts, artisan meats, and rendered lard (great for pastry!). There will even be gift-wrapping services, hosted by the 1st Metcalfe Rangers. Christmas at Lansdowne is important because it is the first ever indoor farmers’ market Ottawa has seen. This festive season, buy unique gifts, made with care, by local independent entrepreneurs.
Jessey Bird from Local Tourist Ottawa:
STORYTELLING: This weekend I’m thrilled to be attending (for the third year in a row) Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe Christmas. Every year McLean’s storytelling awakens the Christmas spirit in everyone who attends. Even better? This year Hawksley Workman, one of my very favourite performers, is the musical act.
Have a great week!