25 road trip ideas: Scavenger hunt, book sale, nighttime ziplining, dryland racing and Shakespeare!

Dryland dog racing, urban dance, a Russian royal who fled to Canada, Shakespeare in Carleton Place and Perth, waffles and used books in Chelsea, a parenting show, an offbeat scavenger hunt, ziplining by moonlight and all sorts of art sales are among this week’s reasons for a road trip. (And if you’re looking for Halloween fun, don’t forget to check my ever-expanding list of spooky events.) Happy travels!

Enjoy waffles and books in Chelsea

A whisk, two brown eggs, flour and heart-shaped waffles.

Flickr/Creative Commons photo by Wall Boat.

An event in Chelsea this weekend sounds as though it will wrap up two of my favourite things in one tasty package: books and home baking! At Cooks and Books at St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church (Saturday, October 28), you can browse for used books, bid at a silent auction, and feast on waffles, chili and baked goodies. It runs from 9am to 2pm, and admission is free.

Learn about the Old West in Montreal

Are you fascinated by stories of the Wild West? Then a new exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts may be right up your alley (or corral, I suppose). Once Upon a Time…The Western (running until February 4, 2018) focuses on images and representations of the American West in art and film.

See Twelfth Night in Carleton Place

This weekend (October 27 and 28) is your last chance to catch a performance of Twelfth Night—Shakespeare’s comedy of twins, shipwrecks and mistaken identity—at the Carleton Place Town Hall Auditorium, presented by the youth section of the Mississippi Mudds community theatre company.

Check out top street dancers in Ottawa


Hot on the heels of the popular World of Dance reality show on NBC this summer comes World of Dance Live!, which brings top urban dance artists to TD Place on Monday, October 30. The lineup includes Eva Igo, DNA, Elektro Botz and Diana Pombo.

Celebrate chocolate in Almonte

On Saturday, October 28, Hummingbird Chocolate Maker in Almonte is celebrating its fifth anniversary with discounts, a raffle, a costume contest, chocolate-making activities and more.

Relive the ’50s in Morrisburg and Gananoque

It’s a throwback musical weekend at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque, with The Legendary Patsy Cline Show on Friday, October 27, and The Elvis Concert on Saturday, October 28.

Meanwhile, at the Upper Canada Playhouse in Morrisburg, Rockin’ All Night: Buddy, Ritchie & The Big Bopper (October 24 to 29) features songs made famous by Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, who all died in a plane crash in 1959.

Browse for art and crafts in Gatineau, Smiths Falls, Renfrew or the 1000 Islands


The Before the Rush Show at the Ivy Restaurant in Leeds and the Thousand Islands, just east of Gananoque, features 22 local artists, craftspeople and designers (see video above). It runs from October 27 to 29.

Gatineau en Couleurs (October 27 to 29) is a multidisciplinary art show and sale where you can see artists at work and buy their creations. More than 70 painters and sculptors from across the Outaouais and beyond will be participating in the event, which is taking place at the Doubletree by Hilton.

The Art Journey show and sale in Smiths Falls (October 28 and 29) features carvers, jewellery designers, painters, potters and many other artists. This show also offers demonstrations by artists.

The Rural Artisans Handmade Art and Craft Fair in Renfrew (Saturday, October 28) features both new items and upcycled pieces.

Check out a parenting show in Nepean

Your kids can meet Dora the Explorer, see a magic show, check out the critters from Little Ray’s Reptiles, jump in a bouncy castle and enjoy storytime at the Ottawa Parent & Child Expo at the Nepean Sportsplex this weekend (October 28 and 29). Exhibitors at the show include schools, tutors, child care centres, summer camps and more.

See dogs and cyclists race together in Bristol

Video by Maximilian Eckmann on Vimeo.

So you think your pet is the one taking you for a walk whenever you go to the dog park? Check out the race dogs pulling cyclists along the course at the Bristol Dryland Canadian Championship Dog Race (October 27 to 29) and you’ll never complain about Fido tugging a bit on the leash again. These teams really move! (The video above is from a 2015 event, so ignore the dates in the video.)

Learn about Russian royalty in Smiths Falls

This weekend is your last chance to learn a bit about a little-known Canadian story. The Last Grand Duchess, an exhibition at the Smiths Falls Heritage House Museum, showcases a collection of photographs, textiles and memorabilia related to Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, sister of Russia’s Tsar Nicholas II. After living on a farm in Denmark for decades, she and her second husband emigrated to Ontario after the Second World War. It’s a fascinating tale. The show concludes on Sunday, October 29.

See two one-act comedies in Perth

Studio Theatre in Perth is presenting An Evening of One-Act Plays from October 26 to 29. The evening includes Hamlette, a comic retelling of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy in less than 60 minutes, and Virtual Reality, is an absurdist comedy by Alan Arkin.

Catch an unusual guitar concert in Arnprior

Guitars Alive Quartet with their instruments.

Photo courtesy of Guitars Alive Quartet.

It’s not often that an ensemble combines Latin, acoustic, electric and dobro guitars, but that’s what you’ll get if you see the Guitars Alive Quartet in concert at Grace St. Andrew’s United Church in Arnprior on Saturday, October 28.

Try a unique scavenger hunt in Hintonburg

This may well be the quirkiest scavenger hunt of the year. On Saturday, October 28, eagle-eyed sleuths will be making their way around Hintonburg in search of miniature food items (replicas of dishes from local restaurants) hidden throughout the neighbourhood. The first person to submit photos of all five tiny artworks will win a prize. To participate, you need to follow the miniature-making artist on Instagram or Facebook (links are in this Kitchissippi Times story).

Zip through the dark in Val-des-Monts

This Saturday, October 28, is your last chance this season to try the Night Trek at Laflèche Park in Val-des-Monts. Strap on a headlamp, clip yourself into a harness and zipline through the treetops under cover of night. Reservations required.

Support environmental conservation in Kingston

The Forever Green Gala at the Senior Officers’ Mess in Kingston on Saturday, October 28, is the annual fundraiser for the Cataraqui Conservation Foundation. Enjoy live music, dinner, and silent and live auctions, all in aid of environmental education.

Enjoy a capella tunes in Brockville


Ever heard four guys recreate classic tunes—including the instruments—with nothing but their voices? If you haven’t but you’d like to, check out the concert by Cadence at St. John’s United Church in Brockville on Friday, October 27.

Toast a good cause in Orleans

Grab your favourite cocktail dress, suit or Halloween costume—the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orleans is hosting a swanky benefit called ARTinis on Thursday, October 26. The event, which raises funds for local arts organizations, will include carnival games, a costume contest, signature cocktails, a silent auction and a three-course tasting menu dreamed up by chefs from Bar Laurel, Salt and St. Martha’s Brasserie.

Shop for crafts in Carleton Place

The Captain Hooper Chapter of the IODE is hosting a charity craft sale (featuring 40 crafters) at the Carleton Place Arena on Saturday, October 28, from 10am to 3pm. Items for sale will range from jewellery and photographs to charcoal drawings, candles and honey. Admission is free, and there’s a home-cooked lunch.

See world cinema in Ottawa

The Canadian Film Institute is hosting not one, but two, international film festivals in Ottawa over the next two weeks: the African Film Festival of Ottawa (October 28 to November 5) and Taiwan Film Nights (October 27 to November 3).

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.

Are you promoting an upcoming event you’d like to see in a future weekly road trip roundup? Please email me the details at least two weeks in advance of the event, and I’ll add them to my files. If you have a horizontal photo or two I could use, even better. Thanks!

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