Getting inside the visionary mind of the ultimate Renaissance man

See a genius's vision brought to life, immerse yourself in Canada's inspirational landscapes or sound off in an air guitar throwdown in Ottawa this weekend.

Leonardo da Vinci — 500 Years of Genius tops this weekend's list

Many of the ideas and inventions da Vinci sketched in his note books have been constructed for the exhibition. (Sandra Abma/CBC)

See a genius's vision brought to life, immerse yourself in Canada's inspirational landscapes or sound off in an air guitar throwdown in Ottawa this weekend.

Awe-inspiring genius

Five centuries ago, Leonardo da Vinci dreamed of flying machines and deepsea diving. His notebooks were filled with detailed plans for machinery and engineering feats that wouldn't be "invented" for hundreds of years.

The Italian artist behind the world's most famous painting was the ultimate polymath: a scientist, architect, inventor and visionary. 

Da Vinci imagined future weapons of war including this tank. (Sandra Abma/CBC)

Now, visitors to the Canada Science and Technology Museum can interact with 3D constructions of the great man's notions in Leonardo da Vinci — 500 Years of Genius. 

Scholars and engineers have decoded da Vinci's plans to meticulously build tanks, mechanical birds and diving suits according to the artist's precise specifications. 

  • Where: Canada Science and Technology Museum,  1867 St. Laurent Blvd.
  • When: Open daily from  9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The exhibition runs until Sept. 2.
  • Cost: Adults $22, seniors $18 and youth $15. Family and group packages are available at the box office.

Duelling axes

2017 Canadian air guitar champ Genevieve 'The Phoenix' LeBlanc demonstrates her winning style at House of Targ. (Sandra Abma/CBC)

Channel your inner Joan Jett or Jimmy Page, or cheer some brave make-believe guitar gods on to glory as the fifth annual Ottawa Air Guitar Championships rock House of Targ this Saturday night.

"I love all the beautiful weirdos that engage in this incredibly silly thing that we do," said Genevieve "The Phoenix" LeBlanc, 2017 Canadian air guitar champ and organizer of the event.

"We're all in on this joke," said LeBlanc of the range of competitors who pump out power chords on invisible guitars in front of judges and encouraging crowds. "We know that it's goofy, but that's what makes it fun."

Serious prizes await: the Canadian champ will represent the country at the world air guitar championships in Finland. 

  • Where: House of Targ, 1077 Bank St.
  • When: Saturday, 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
  • Cost: Tickets are $9.50 and can be purchased here.

Landscape of architecture

Immerse yourself in the landscape that inspires Indigenous architects and designers in UNCEDED: Voices of the Land. (Sandra Abma/CBC )

The rocky coastlines, silent forests and rushing rivers of the Canadian landscape have inspired a new generation of Indigenous architects and designers who are also guided by the wisdom of their elders and community traditions. 

UNCEDED: Voices of the Land is an immersive installation at the Canadian Museum of History that allows visitors to wander through a timeless natural world. At the same time they encounter human creations and hear from the architects and designers who made them. 

Architect Douglas Cardinal. (Sandra Abma/CBC)

Douglas Cardinal, the museum's architect, designed the exhibition alongside his associates.

  • Where: Canadian Museum of History, 100 Laurier St., Gatineau.
  • When:  Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays until 8 p.m.  The exhibition runs until March 2020.
  • Cost:  Adults $20,  seniors $18, students $16 and youth $12. Family packages are also available. Tickets can be purchased here.

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