Ottawa·The Weekend List

Let your imagination run wild

This weekend in Ottawa: the creative power of young imaginations, reflecting a unique neighbourhood in art and song, and the power of pansies.

Paper, tape and a kid's creativity power the Ottawa Children's Festival

All you need is some paper, tape and a lot of imagination to create a world of wonder in Ottawa this weekend. (Sarah Walker)

This weekend in Ottawa: the creative power of young imaginations, reflecting a unique neighbourhood in art and song, and the power of pansies.

Powered by imagination

At the Ottawa Children's Festival, you won't encounter any children glued to glowing screens.

Instead, you'll find them laughing and playing, climbing walls or making hand puppets, and eagerly taking part in interactive theatre from around the world.

At Planet Paper, from Melbourne, Australia's Polyglot Theatre, the sets are designed to stimulate imagination. With such simple materials as paper, cardboard and masking tape, the players have constructed an elaborate jungle world for kids to indulge in make-believe, and where they can build their own costumes and creations.

"It's only limited by your imagination."

4 years ago
Duration 0:30
Actor Nick Barlow explains how imagination powers the world of Planet Paper.

"They can change themselves into characters. They can make plants and things to put into trees," said Nick Barlow, an actor masquerading as a bunny rabbit. "It's a whole space with creative energy."

  • Where: Ottawa Children's Festival, LeBreton Flats Park/ Canadian War Museum,1 Vimy Pl.
  • When:  Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Purchase of a theatre ticket includes access to outside festival events. Theatre tickets are $13 and can be purchased here.

Awesome arts

Professional artist Claudia Salguero works with students on a mural that will hang inside York Street Public School in Lowertown. (Bill Juillette)

It's both an arts project and an exercise in civic pride. 

A wide range of professional artists, musicians, poets and videographers have joined forces with the kids and seniors of Ottawa's Lowertown community to paint, write, rap and make videos about the place they call home. 

A Place to Call Your Own

4 years ago
Duration 1:16
Excerpt from video by MASC and the youth of Lowertown

Awesome Arts is organized by MASC, a group dedicated to bringing the joys of art-making to under-served schools and communities. For three months they've been collaborating with youth and seniors, creating huge, colourful murals and a collection of songs and video poems based on the experiences and words of the people living in the neighbourhood.

The result is a celebration of what makes their neighbourhood unique. 

They're showing off their accomplishments — and their community spirit — with a presentation on Friday evening and a block party on Sunday.

  • When and Where: Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Awesome Arts Festival at Patro d'Ottawa, 40 Cobourg St.
  • Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Community barbecue with music and dance. Jules Morin Park, 400 Clarence St. E.
  • Cost: Free.

Marking an LGBTQ milestone

The Pansy Project adorns the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa in Little Italy. (SPAO)

Fifty years ago, homosexuality was decriminalized in Canada. This weekend, an exhibition featuring some of the most influential photographers from the LGBTQ community is on display at exhibition space at the School of the Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO), to commemorate the milestone.

Kent Monkman's black and white photograph Emergence of Legend features his alter-ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle. (Kent Monkman)

Summer Camp: Celebrating 50 Years of LGBTQ2+ Artists in Canada includes large-scale photographs by Evergon and Kent Monkmon, and video works by Michelle Mohabeer and the artistic team of Shawna Dempsey & Lorri Millan.

The garden at the entrance of SPAO has been planted with brightly coloured pansies and photographs by British artist Paul Harfleet.

Harfleet travels the world planting pansies at the sites of homophonic crimes, then documents them with his camera. He's bringing his Pansy Project to Ottawa for the first time.

  • Where: SPAO, 77 Pamilla St.
  • When: The exhibition opens Friday at 6 p.m.  The shows runs until July 1.
  • Cost: Free


Sandra Abma


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