Axe throwing, art talk and spy tracking on your weekend activity list

If you're not up for skating on the canal, then escape rooms, axe throwing and a gallery exhibit are also good opportunities to get out of the house this weekend.

Mystery games, axe throwing and art talks a few of the things to do in Ottawa

Matt Wito of BATL Ottawa demonstrates winning axe throwing technique. 0:17

It's the calm before the storm of Winterlude 2017 activities coming our way at the end of the month. Until then here are a few interesting group activities to get you out of the house.

1. Axe throwing

Pull out the plaid shirt, channel your inner lumberjack and hurl some axes at a wooden target. The old fashioned test of strength and aim is back big time across the country, and Ottawa has its own BATL (Back alley Axe Throwing League) warehouse in the east of the city.

BATL Axe Throwing, an age old tradition with an urban edge. (Sandra Abma/CBC)

Axe throwing was an early hit with hipsters, for its retro, quirky vibe, but the popularity of the activity has attracted participants of all ages, eager to compete, test their skills or just have fun. The secret to the enjoyable event is the conviviality of the BATL hosts, who coach, keep score and encourage, keeping the competition friendly and safe. 

WHERE: BATL 2615 Lancaster Rd., Unit 29  (613) 686-6642

WHEN: Open seven days a  week — from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., but make sure to make reservations. The competition works best with a big group.

COST: Admission runs from $34.96 a person on weekdays, to $42.86 on the weekend.

Calvin Joy invites you to crack the case in the 'Man on Sussex' Room. 0:48

2. Unlocked Ottawa

It's the familiar premise of a popular game franchise — a group locked in a room, frantically races against the clock to solve the clues that will lead to escape. Beating the clock depends on the ability for the group to cooperate, brainstorm and solve clues together.

Unlocked Ottawa in Kanata delivers the same kind of experience with a twist — cops-and-robbers style, two teams are pitted against each other. While one team struggles for freedom, the other investigates evidence that will keep them in jail.
Co-owner Calvin Joy in one of the mystery rooms in Unlocked Ottawa.

For fans of the intrigues of Homeland and The Bourne Identity, another room dubbedOur Man on Sussex provides a trail of clues that may prove that an Ottawa bureaucrat is guilty of espionage.

WHERE: Unlocked Ottawa, 329 March Rd., Suite 202 (2nd floor) in Kanata.

WHEN: Open on Thursday and Friday 4 p.m. to 9 p.m, Saturday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

COST: Prices range from $17 to $23 per person.        

Anna Frlan's steel sculpture Lancaster's Nest, from the Stories Nearby exhibition at Karsh-Masson Gallery. (Sandra Abma/CBC News)

3. Walk and talk with Artists

Meet with the two local artists behind an intriguing and varied show at Karsh-Masson Gallery, called Stories Nearby.

Gail Bourgeois and Anna Frlan explore the impact of war on humanity, in a mixed media exhibition of towering steel sculptures, delicate installations and drawings.

It's the last weekend to see the show, and these articulate and passionate artists want to share their thoughts about the art with others, before it closes.

WHERE: Karsh-Masson Gallery at Ottawa City Hall.

WHEN:  Artist talk takes place Sunday at 2 p.m.

COST:  Admission is free.

About the Author

Sandra Abma

Journalist

Sandra Abma is a veteran CBC arts journalist. If you have an event or idea you want to share, please do at sandra.abma@cbc.ca.