21 road trip ideas: Theatre in Perth, snowmobiles in Kemptville, Brad Paisley and 20 kinds of stew!

From hockey and film festivals to country music, art exhibitions and beer, there’s a little something for every taste this week. I’ve even got the scoop on a hockey game between teams of top Montreal and Toronto chefs! Happy travels, as always.

Catch a documentary in Wakefield


On weekends throughout February, the Wakefield Doc Fest will be showing an intriguing range of documentary films from around the world. Choices include So That You Can Stand, chronicling the fight waged by a group of young Inuit and Cree in the 1970s against the James Bay project; Fire at Sea, focusing on the Italian island of Lampedusa and the African refugees who try desperately to reach its shores; and The Islands and the Whales, looking at the complex intersection of environmental issues and traditional hunting in the remote Faroe Islands.

Get your country music fix in Carleton Place, Calabogie, Kingston or Peterborough

The 26th annual Ron McMunn Country Music Heart Jam at the Carleton Place Arena (Sunday, February 5) looks like a talent-packed event. More than a dozen acts, several of them Ottawa Country Music Hall of Fame members, will take to the stage to raise money for the Ottawa Heart Institute.

Canadian country artist Kelly Prescott will be playing the Valley Food and Drink Company in Calabogie on Saturday, February 4.

And country superstar Brad Paisley brings his boot-stomping Life Amplified World Tour to the Peterborough Memorial Centre on Friday, February 3, and Kingston’s Rogers K-Rock Centre on Saturday, February 4.

Warm up with stew in the ByWard Market

Henry Burris Redblacks ByWard Market Stew Cook-Off

Celebrity judge Henry Burris of the Ottawa Redblacks with the chefs of Tucker’s Marketplace, winners of the Judges’ Choice Award at the 2016 ByWard Market Stew Cook-Off. Photo courtesy of the ByWard Market Business Improvement Area.

Almost two dozen ByWard Market restaurants will be dishing up warming stews during the Winterlude Stew Cook-Off on Friday, February 3 (11:30am to 2pm). For $10, you can sample as many stews as you like and vote for your favourite (with a deal like that, no wonder this is the event’s 26th year). Proceeds support the Lowertown Community Resource Centre.

Attend an art opening in Chelsea or McDonald’s Corners

On Saturday, February 4, from 4pm to 7pm, La Fab Arts Centre in Chelsea is holding a vernissage for its February show, featuring four of the artists who work in its studios: painters Hanneke Boadway and Alisha Reilly-Roe, sculptor Uwe Foehring, and textile artist Sophie Guindon.

The MERA Schoolhouse in McDonald’s Corners is holding an opening for its latest art show on Sunday, February 5, from 2pm to 4pm. Out of the Woods features three local artists: Ankaret Dean (who uses natural materials and basketry techniques), textile artist Rosemary Kotze and painter Greta McDonald.

Hit the snowmobile trails in Kemptville and Morrisburg

Snowarama Kemptville Easter Seals

Photo of the 2015 Snowarama event in Kemptville courtesy of Snowarama.

The Snowarama snowmobile rally is taking place in two nearby locations this weekend: in Morrisburg on Saturday, February 4, and in Kemptville on Sunday, February 5. Even if you wouldn’t know a snowmobile from a snowman, you can still come out and enjoy a fundraising breakfast. Proceeds go to the Easter Seals Society.

Take in an intriguing thriller in Perth

The crew of a modern fishing trawler rescues a woman in Edwardian garb from an iceberg off the coast of Iceland. She can’t be a Titanic survivor…or can she? That’s the intriguing premise of Scotland Road, a play running at the Studio Theatre in Perth from February 2 to 12.

See an LGBT-themed movie in Kingston

This is your last week to catch a movie at Reelout18, Kingston’s queer film and video festival (until Sunday, February 5). The wide range of comedies, dramas, documentaries and more that will be screening include Girl Gets Girl, a comedy from Spain about a woman who leaves Miami to deal with some messy relationships in her hometown of Madrid; Check It, an American documentary about a street gang of black gay and trans teenagers in Washington, D.C.; and Play the Devil, a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of Trinidad’s Carnival.

Sip some beers in Gatineau and Montreal


Feeling thirsty? Check out the Festibière d’Hiver at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau (February 3 and 4). As well as sampling some of the 100 brews from 35 breweries, you can take in a concert, warm up around an outdoor bonfire, or learn more about your brews at a workshop. Just make sure you are taking transit or have a designated driver (the STO is offering free transit to the event with proof of ticket purchase).

Meanwhile, in Montreal, raise a glass of your favourite brew during the second annual Avenue Mont-Royal Taverne Tour (February 2 to 4). More than a dozen participating bars will be offering live music ranging from prog rock to Delta blues punk to entertain you as you imbibe; you can buy tickets online before you go.

Browse for antiques in Kingston

In a cocooning mood? Then you can shop for all the cozy home accessories you need at Cabin Fever, an antiques show taking place at the Portsmouth Olympic Harbour Centre in Kingston this weekend (February 4 and 5). Dealers from across Ontario and Quebec will be selling furniture, folk art, china, glass, silver, jewellery, textiles, collectibles, books, ephemera and more.

See a tale of Newfoundland in Ottawa

The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, a play based on Wayne Johnston’s popular novel about Newfoundland’s entry into Confederation, is on at the National Arts Centre until Saturday, February 11.

Watch chefs face off in Prince Edward County—and see Ken Dryden!

The Barn Burner hockey game (Saturday, February 4) is a one-of-a-kind event: watch chefs from Toronto and Montreal face off in an exhibition hockey game in Prince Edward County, then indulge in a “strolling dinner” featuring dishes by Jamie Kennedy, Garde Manger, Joe Beef and many others. Special guests include hockey legends Ken Dryden and Mike Krushelnyski. It’s all organized by the Drake Devonshire hotel.

Catch a musical double bill in Wakefield

On Saturday, February 4, you can kick back to a double bill at the Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield, featuring OM Street’s blend of reggae, dancehall, funk and more, as well as Old Man Grant’s bluegrass, folk, blues and harmonies.

Enjoy a winter festival in Ontario or Quebec

Winterlude sculpture Ottawa

Flickr/Creative Commons photo of Winterlude by John Vetterli.

It’s another jam-packed week for winter festivals. Along with a little event you might have heard of called Winterlude (February 3 to 20), carnivals on the calendar include Feb Fest in Kingston (February 2 to 5); the Morewood Winter Carnival, southeast of Ottawa between Russell and Chesterville (February 3 to 5); the Carnaval St-Bernardin, east of Ottawa between Casselman and Vankleek Hill (February 4); Shiver Fest in Hudson, Quebec (February 3 to 11); and the Fête des neiges de Magog in Quebec’s Eastern Townships (February 4 to 12). Looking for more ideas? Check out my big winter festivals roundup.

Want more tips on road trips from Ottawa—including info on hotel discounts, contests, festivals and other cool news? Subscribe to my free weekly e-newsletter! I will never spam you—promise.

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