You don’t need to head to the airport or embark on a cross-country odyssey to make summer memories with your family. Why not explore the wonders of Canada’s capital city and take short trips to enjoy the amazing offerings in eastern Ontario?
World-class attractions are all around. It doesn’t matter how many years you’ve lived here, odds are you haven’t had the opportunity to play tourist with your loved ones at many of the diverse landmarks, museums, parks, events, festivals and special places.
Celebrate the culture, heritage and contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples at the 2019 Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival. It’s happening from June 20 to 23 at Vincent Massey Park. An all-ages event, the free, multi-disciplinary arts festival will include family-friendly activities and events, cultural offerings, live entertainment, culinary experiences and a pow wow. Learn more: www.ottawasummersolstice.ca
Introduce the younger set to classical music at Music and Beyond, an annual multi-disciplinary arts festival slated for July 4 to 17. The showcase presents classical music, including orchestras, choirs, bands and ensembles, along with other cultural disciplines and arts, such as dance, drama, visual art, food and wine. There’s a broad range of family-friendly programming, and festival director Julian Armour says you shouldn’t be afraid to take kids to a concert. He advises you to get an aisle seat, listen for a little while and let the children take it in.
What’s more, Music and Beyond presents Ottawa Family Music Expo July 7 on the grounds of the University of Ottawa. This free event, slated for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., offers over 150 mini-concerts and hands-on opportunities for all to try out new instruments. Learn more: www.musicandbeyond.ca
The city’s incredible museums offer sights, sounds and marvels to fascinate both youngsters and oldsters. The Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum, the Museum of History, the National Gallery, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canada Science and Technology Museum and the Canadian War Museum are just a few of the choices.
For outdoor fun, check out Valleyview Little Animal Farm at 4750 Fallowfield Road, or the Central Experimental Farm; and if you’re penciling in a few day trips, tour the fascinating Bonnechere Caves in Eganville or head to Kingston to visit Fort Henry and the Kingston Penitentiary.
And for a magical experience you’ll all cherish, head to Stanley Park August 24 for the Lumière 2019 Festival of Light. Scheduled for 5 to 10 p.m., Lumière is a fun, free, family-friendly festival that literally glows. Focused on traditional paper lanterns, it’s also a night of live performances by musicians, acrobats, dance troupes and other entertainers. Since food trucks are on site, you can arrive at 5 p.m. and stay until the lanterns are lit at dusk. There are workshops on site the day of the event so you can craft a lantern to add to the festival’s collection or you can bring your own paper lantern. For children there will be a lantern maze, face painting, an activity centre, and lantern-making opportunities. Young and old are encouraged to come in costume. Glow sticks and glowing balloons will be available for purchase on site. Learn more: www.lumiereottawa.ca