Ottawa·The Weekend List

NAC brings the noise this Family Day weekend

A different kind of music festival made for kids, standup comedy with a romantic twist and a thought-provoking art exhibition top this weekend's list.

Standup guy Arthur Simeon hits Absolute Comedy, and food for thought at Carleton

Kids can go for a stroll in these 'stepstruments' at the NAC this weekend. ( Kristof Lauwers)

A different kind of music festival made for kids, standup comedy with a romantic twist and a thought-provoking art exhibition top this weekend's list.

Make some noise!

Europe's Big Bang Festival returns to the National Arts Centre this weekend to make a racket. It's a musical adventure where kids from five to 12 can explore a wide spectrum of sounds and engage in hands-on music-making. 

Expect circus antics, chirping birds and squeaky footwear — it's all music to the ears.


Part of the adventure is finding all the different activities squirrelled away throughout the building, including backstage and even the loading dock. Just follow the noise!  

Belgium's Pacman is a frenzied mix of juggling and drums. (Sandra Abma/CBC)
  • Where: National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin St.
  • When: The festival officially takes place Sunday and Monday, but there will also be free tours and musical performances Saturday from 1 p.m. to  4 p.m.
  • Cost: The festival offers a number of free shows. Ticketed shows run from $6 to $20. Check here for more information.

Funny man

"Canadians are the most polite and welcoming people on the planet," comedian Arthur Simeon observes. "You're also the craziest people I know because you are still surprised by winter." 

Arthur Simeon strikes a pensive pose. (supplied by Arthur Simeon)

Simeon, a popular comiedic competitor on CBC radio's The Debaters, finds plenty of humour in his experiences as a newcomer to Canada — the cultural differences, the misunderstandings and of course, the weather. 

This Valentine's Day weekend, he's tailoring his routine to stories about love and other misadventures.

  • Where: Absolute Comedy, 412 Preston St.
  • When: Friday 8 p.m., Saturday 8 p.m. and 10.30 p.m. and Sunday at 8 p.m.
  • Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

Food for thought

Indigenous artist Meryl McMaster returned to the land where herds of buffalo once roamed. (Meryl McMaster)

A new exhibition at the Carleton University Art Gallery brings together a group of female black and Indigenous artists to share experiences about food and history. They Forgot That We Were Seeds, curated by Ottawa artist Kosisochukwu Nnebe, sets the table with photographs, installations and video works.  

The exhibition confronts "issues of land, migration, food justice and sovereignty," Nnebe said.

'They Forgot That We Were Seeds' is a multi-media exploration of lost food traditions at Carleton University Art Gallery. (Sandra Abma/CBC)
  • Where: Carleton University Art Gallery, St. Patrick's Building
  • When: The exhibition runs until April 19.
  • Admission is free.

About the Author

Sandra Abma


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


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.