Isn’t New York supposed to be the city that never sleeps? Apparently, once Victoria Day hits, Ottawa takes over the mantle. I guess we just want to make the most of the blink-of-your-eye summer. In any case, every time I think I’m going to make a “quick post” about what’s on next weekend, I find there are about 1000 things to write about. Jeez, Ottawa, slow it down a little!
Here’s what’s going on next weekend, June 2/3. For info on what’s happening this coming weekend, see here.
One of Ottawa’s biggest festivals, the Ottawa International Children’s Festival, starts on May 30 and runs through June 3. There are a ton of plays and performances going on – you can buy tickets for specific shows on their website. But even if you haven’t bought tickets for a sit-down play, you can just wander over to the festival grounds at Lebreton Flats Park and catch lots of fun stuff, like buskers, face painting, story telling, crafts, and bike riding. There’s lots to see and do; it’s well worth checking out.
Also next weekend is one of my all-time favourite Ottawa events – Doors Open. You can get behind-the-scenes access to dozens of city-owned and heritage buildings that are otherwise not open to the public. We’ve been to the city’s traffic control building and its water treatment plant; you can see everything from churches to yacht clubs to radio stations to the Central Archives. COOL. Now, here I have to admit that there’s quite an educational component to Doors Open and my kids are sometimes, shall we say, LESS than appreciative. But I adore this event, and every year my husband limits me to just one location so I spend hours thinking about which special place will win my heart this year. Word to the wise: although the event is on both Saturday and Sunday, many buildings only participate on the Saturday, so check the website carefully for days and times. Oh, and it’s all free.
Also all next weekend: Orleans Festival, featuring bands, carnival rides, artisans, food samples from local restaurants, and free stuff for kids including bouncy castles, crafts, face painting, and OH MY GOD, meet your favourite princess on Saturday! That’s a win right there. The action takes place in and around the Shenkman Arts Centre.
Or, you can spend the weekend at the New Art Festival, which used to be called Art in the Park and will be so to me until the DAY I DIE. I dragged my family to this last year because I am determined to get some real art in here, instead of just posters of Lightning McQueen. However, it was a bit of a bust because it was very hot, there was very little shade, and it’s basically a shopping mall set up in a park and our kids were super bored. There are some spontaneous musical performances, snack locations, and even some cute crafts on sale that our kids could spend their pocket money on. But still, I would recommend this for an older pre-teen or teenage crowd who is interested in shopping. (Stupid children.)
Dear Lord. I’m less than halfway through the list and I’ve already written 1000 words. Time for the speed round!
Saturday: Spend the day learning about bike repair and decorating your bike at Capital Velo Fest, then older kids and families can join in on Tour La Nuit, a car-free bike ride through city streets ($20 for adults for the Tour La Nuit, preregistration requried). If you’re a dad (or mom) who has a motorcycle, you can sign up for The Ride for Dad, a tour through the city to fundraise for prostate cancer; if you don’t have a ride of your own, perhaps your little motorcycle lover would like to just come out and watch. Watson’s Mill in Manotick is open as part of Doors Open, but is also celebrating Dickinson Days with a parade on Friday, and crafts and trade demonstrations throughout the weekend. Lastly, if you have a baby or are expecting one soon, you’ll probably want to check out Infant Information Day, a free event put on by the city featuring a variety of classes, sessions, and company displays at South Fallingbrook Community Centre.
Sunday: Visit the Enchanted Tea Party at the RA Centre – pick any time between 11am to 5pm to start your hour-and-a-half long adventure through several activity stations. The $20 ticket price for kids includes various games, crafts, performances, and a tea party finish; adults cost $10 for just the tea party. All proceeds go to the Children’s Wish Foundation. Or, enter your (slightly) older kids in the Pokemon tournament put on by toy store Toys On Fire – it’s apparently an “officially sanctioned” tournament so I guess if you’re looking to raise a professional Pokemon-er, this is your first step. The entry fee is $5 and there will be prizes (and, presumably, GLORY). Personally, I am super excited about the Classic Auto Show in the Byward Market, because I love old cars and my son does too.
And now I have to go lie down and gather my strength, because heavens, there is a LOT of can’t miss stuff going on out there. Whew!