17 road trip ideas for the week: Colin James, Chagall, ghosts, skiing, bouncy castles and beer!

Love the outdoors? Head to the Gatineau Loppet in the Outaouais, a fishing derby in Alexandria or Winter in the Wild in Algonquin Park. Theatre more your thing? Try a play in Carleton Place, Perth or Cornwall. Blues and the Beatles, Chagall and some real-life Ghostbusters, bouncy castles and beer (not at the same time!)—it’s all on the agenda this weekend. Wherever your travels take you, have fun.

Hum along to Joseph in Cornwall

The Seaway Valley Theatre Company is presenting Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Aultsville Theatre in Cornwall (February 17 to 25). This perennially popular Biblically themed musical features tunes in all sorts of genres, from country and rock to calypso.

Raise a glass in Ottawa


Winter Brewfest gives you the chance to sample more than 100 craft beers at Lansdowne Park (February 17 to 19). Along with trying beers galore, you can nibble on tacos, pulled pork sliders, and mac and cheese, and enjoy DJ beats around a bonfire.

Track ghosts in Aylmer

Want to spend a few hours with Ottawa’s real-life Ghostbusters? Hang out with the spectral detectors from Bytown Paranormal as they case the Symmes Museum in Aylmer for proof of things that go bump in the night. There are two sessions on Saturday, February 18: one at 6pm and another at 9pm.

See Aladdin Jr. in Carleton Place

The Mudds Kids—the youth troupe of the Mississippi Mudds theatre company—is presenting its stage version of Disney’s popular Aladdin Jr. (February 17 to 25). The musical involves 40 performers aged nine to 18, and performances take to the stage at the Carleton Place Town Hall.

Hit the ski trails in Gatineau

Gatineau Loppet cross country skiing

Flickr/Creative Commons photo of the Gatineau Loppet by ActiveSteve.

Here are some people who are probably delighted by the recent deluge of snow: the organizers of the Gatineau Loppet (February 17 to 19). Billing itself as Canada’s largest cross-country ski event, it features a wide variety of skiing and snowshoeing races. After skiing, you can check out the ski equipment show and watch adventure movies on the big screen.

Treat the kids to bouncy castles in Rockland

Do your kids have February cabin fever? The Bouncy Castle Festival (February 19 and 20) at the Jean-Marc Lalonde Arena in Rockland may be just the cure. As well as bouncing inside air-filled structures of all descriptions, they can nosh on popcorn, chips and cotton candy, and get their faces painted.

Catch a mystery farce in Perth

George M. Cohan was best known for his musicals, but he had good luck with at least one non-musical as well: 7 Keys to Baldpate has been made into at least six movies. This month sees the farcical mystery on stage at the Full Circle Theatre in Perth (February 17 to 26). The plot? A thriller writer pledges to pen a novel in 24 hours while staying in a mountaintop hotel, but odd circumstances intervene…

Kick back to the blues in Westport, Brockville or Montreal


The Hogtown Allstars are playing the Cove Inn in Westport on Friday, February 17, as part of the Blues on the Rideau fundraising series. The band—featuring members of the Downchild Blues Band and Fathead—is a perennial fave at this venue. Proceeds go to support Friends of Foley Mountain.

Speaking of the blues, you can catch Colin James on his tour to promote his Blue Highways tour, which pays tribute to blues giants such as Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson and Buddy Guy. James plays the Brockville Arts Centre on Wednesday, February 15, and Place des Arts in Montreal on Thursday, February 16.

Celebrate winter with fire and ice in Perth

At Fire and Ice at the Crystal Palace in Perth on Saturday, February 18, you can raise a toast with local beer and vodka at an ice bar, dance to the Riq Turner Band, marvel at a fire dancer, and ooh and ahh at fireworks.

Twist and shout in Aylmer

Enjoy a British Invasion at the British Hotel in Aylmer on Saturday, February 18, when the Capital Beatles tribute band revs up the crowd with a string of Fab Four hits during a free show.

Admire Chagall works in Montreal

Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Backdrop design for Daphnis and Chloe (Act II), 1958, gouache, graphite, coloured pencil and tempera on paper, 56 x 79.5 cm. Private collection. © SODRAC & ADAGP 2017, Chagall ®. © Archives Marc et Ida Chagall, Paris

Marc Chagall (1887–1985), Backdrop design for Daphnis and Chloe (Act II), 1958, gouache, graphite, coloured pencil and tempera on paper, 56 x 79.5 cm. Private collection. © SODRAC & ADAGP 2017, Chagall ®. © Archives Marc et Ida Chagall, Paris.

Chagall: Colour and Music opened at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in late January and runs until June 11, 2017. The show brings together some 340 artworks, as well as related artifacts, to document the life and career of the Russian-born artist. Many of the rooms feature music as well, since Chagall drew inspiration from music throughout his life.

Sample international dishes in McDonald’s Corners

The MERA Schoolhouse in McDonald’s Corners hosts the second of its Canada 150 celebratory meals on Friday, February 17. Around the World on a Dinner Plate: The Canadian Mosaic will feature a range of international dishes, from cabbage roll casserole and hummus to pasta pomodoro and green tea. Advance reservations required.

Fish for prizes in Alexandria

Sitting out in the cold dangling a fishing line through a hole in the ice isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but the Alexandria Ice Fishing Derby (Saturday, February 18) offers extra temptations to lure you off your warm, cozy couch, including $40,000 worth of prizes and brunch.

Revel in winter in Algonquin Park

Algonquin Park Winter in the Wild

Snowshoeing in Algonquin Park, Ontario, during Winter in the Wild. Photo courtesy of Ontario Parks.

Algonquin Park celebrates Winter in the Wild on Saturday, February 18, with guided birding and snowshoeing hikes, marshmallow roasts, winter camping demonstrations, skating, a wildlife tracking talk, chili, a barbecue and more. There’s even the possibility of a wolf howl.

Get wedding ideas in Ottawa

Tie the Knot: The Urban Wedding Show comes to the Ottawa Convention and Event Centre on Saturday, February 18. Billing itself as a show for the “urban, modern, trendy and hip” couple, it will feature booths from a range of wedding suppliers.

Ski for kids at Mont Ste. Marie

Mont Ste. Marie’s annual Ski for Kids event (Friday, February 17) is a fundraiser for CHEO and the Children’s Aid Foundation of Ottawa. Teams of four compete for great prizes, and registration includes breakfast, lunch, après-ski refreshments, lift tickets and more.

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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2 Responses to 17 road trip ideas for the week: Colin James, Chagall, ghosts, skiing, bouncy castles and beer!

  1. France Gagnon February 14, 2017 at 10:19 am #

    If I send you activities that will be happening in Orleans in French, would you post them?

    • Laura Byrne Paquet February 14, 2017 at 10:42 am #

      Please do! The site and the newsletter are only in English because, unfortunately, my written French isn’t great. However, I can read French pretty well and would be happy to share information you send. Lots of readers are bilingual, so I do post events that are in French (even though I write about them in English).

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