Happy holidays, everyone!
The week between Christmas and New Year is a time when many of us have some welcome days off of work, parents have children at home from school, and we are sometimes in search of fun things to do.
In Ottawa, it’s a great time to get out and take advantage of the many activities in our region, from ski hills and skating rinks to national museums and performing arts venues.
As a Realtor in Ottawa for more than 30 years, I’ve worked regularly with buyers who are new to the city, and I’ve always loved sharing the many options for recreation and entertainment.
Here are just a few things you can see and do over the holidays this year:
See the Hit Canadian Musical Come from Away
If you haven’t seen the award-winning Canadian musical “Come from Away,” here’s your chance: the touring production is appearing at the National Arts Centre Dec. 27 to Jan. 8.
The musical tells the stories of what happened when 38 planes, carrying 7,000 passengers, had to land unexpectedly in the small town of Gander, Newfoundland because of the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
The community welcomed the frightened passengers with open arms, helping to house and feed them as they waited. The musical weaves stories of passengers, locals and crew, adapted from real stories of the people involved. The show has had acclaimed, lengthy runs on stages around the world, including five years on Broadway.
Performances are Tuesdays to Sundays. Tickets at the NAC box office, website (www.nac-cna.ca) or 1-888-991-2787.
The Pathway of Lights
Along the ceremonial route known as Confederation Boulevard, you’ll see lights in areas that include the Supreme Court of Canada and Parliament Buildings, the Garden of the Provinces and Territories at Wellington and Bay Streets, the War Memorial and Confederation Park on Elgin Street and Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau.
For many Ottawa residents, a much-loved tradition is enjoying the spectacular display of coloured lights in downtown Ottawa and Gatineau, as Canada’s Capital region gets dressed up for the holidays. The lights are on view through Jan. 8.
From Thursdays to Mondays, you can also take in a multi-media projection of Canadian images and landscapes on the exterior of the Parliament Buildings. Lasting about 15 minutes, the projection runs in a loop from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., until Jan. 8. Details and maps: https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/winter-lights.html
Skate on an Outdoor Rink:
What could be more Canadian than ice skating in the open air? Ottawa has several refrigerated outdoor rinks where you can go for a twirl, for free, day or night.
Because they are refrigerated, they stay frozen and open even in milder weather. They are fun to visit, and they’re a great option if the famed Rideau Canal Skateway is not yet opened for the winter or has closed temporarily because temperatures are too mild.
These rinks include the Rink of Dreams, in front of Ottawa City Hall on Laurier Avenue. It’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. At night, the rink lights up with coloured lights. On weekends, you can purchase warm pastries and can rent skates from kiosks. If you work up an appetite, the many restaurants of Elgin Street or the ByWard Market are a short walk away.
Other refrigerated rinks include the popular Skating Court at Lansdowne Park, open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
For details on locations and hours, search “outdoor rinks” at www.ottawa.ca
TV Nostalgia at the Canadian Museum of History
The Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau is a popular destination for families with children, as it also includes the Canadian Children’s Museum, which is full of fun activities and exhibitions.
Among the exhibitions on view at the museum is “From Pepinot to Paw Patrol: Television of our Childhoods.” Running through September of 2023, the exhibit traces 70 years of children’s television in Canada, and includes film clips from many programs, as well as original puppets, costumes and more.
Another exhibition is “Unexpected! Surprising Treasures from Library and Archives Canada.” On view until November of 2023, the exhibition includes dozens of artifacts from four centuries of Canadian history, including maps, paintings, prints, diaries, codebooks and classified documents, each with a story about the country’s history.
If you have children interested in visiting the Children’s Museum, note that admission is timed and should be booked online in advance.
While at the museum, check the films that are showing on the museum’s giant-screen cinema, included with your admission. “Paw Patrol: Jet to the Rescue” was scheduled to open in the cinema Dec. 24.
See a Movie at a Historic Cinema:
Many people enjoy seeing movies over the holidays.
And many Ottawa film buffs will tell you their favourite cinemas in the city are the ByTowne and the Mayfair, which have been showing movies for more than 70 years and feature period character and charm you won’t find at the multiplex.
Both present classics, documentaries and feature films from around the world, along with Hollywood films. If it’s been too long since you’ve seen a film on a big screen with spectacular sound, check their schedules to see what’s on.
A movie theatre since 1947, the ByTowne Cinema is at 325 Rideau St., east of King Edward Avenue. Films during the holidays include “The Banshees of Inisherin” and “The Whale,” both Golden Globe-nominated. www.bytowne.ca
The Mayfair Theatre, which opened in 1932, is Ottawa’s oldest active cinema and was designated a heritage property by the City of Ottawa for its charmingly atmospheric “Spanish Revival” interior, including stained glass windows, faux balconies and ornamental plaster. It’s at 1074 Bank St., in Ottawa South. Titles over the holidays include “She Said” and a documentary on singer-songwriter Neil Young. www.mayfairtheatre.ca
If you’re considering selling or buying property in the coming months, I’d be happy to meet and chat with you about the current market and conditions in your area of the city. I’ve assisted hundreds of buyers and sellers and negotiated on their behalf in a wide range of market conditions.
You can read more on my site, www.nancybenson.com.
Feel free to give me a call, at 613-747-4747.
Wishing you all the best for the new year!