25 road trip ideas: Wayne Rostad, figure skating, French comedy, a wellness fest and the Grey Cup

Sure, this week’s post is packed with Christmas fun, such as the CP Holiday Train and the annual illumination of the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum. However, there’s much more to enjoy in and around Ottawa this weekend, from a health and wellness fair in Almonte and a singer-songwriter show in Morrisburg to a fundraising dinner in McDonalds Corners, a family puppet show in Orleans, a cutting-edge music festival in Kingston and a skating championship in Lake Placid. Along with all that, there’s some kind of football game coming to TD Place at Lansdowne Park. You may have heard something about it. 🙂 Wherever the road takes you this week, have fun!

Focus on wellness in Almonte

Black and white photo of woman stretching her hands over her head.

Photo by Jade on Unsplash.

If you would like to learn more about yoga, reiki, chiropractic, essential oils, fitness and other wellness topics, the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum’s first-ever Health and Wellness Fibrefair on Sunday, November 26, may be just your cup of herbal tea. The free show will feature exhibitors, a cafe and a silent auction.

Celebrate all things football in Ottawa

Throngs of football fans will be pretty much impossible to miss in Ottawa this week, as the Grey Cup comes to TD Place at Lansdowne Park on Sunday, November 26. If you don’t have your tickets already, be prepared to splurge: the remaining seats start at $275.

The big game isn’t the only amusement awaiting visitors, though. The Grey Cup Festival (November 21 to 26) includes three nights of concerts in the Arena at TD Place (country acts on Thursday night, alternative bands on Friday and classic rock on Saturday); a three-day party hosted by Budweiser in the Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park (November 23 to 25); a Capital Pride Grey Cup party at the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park on Thursday; and a women’s event at the Shaw Centre on Saturday. And the free outdoor Nissan Titan Street Festival at Lansdowne Park features all sorts of live music (November 23 to 25), giveaways and other fun.

Hear six rising singer-songwriters in Morrisburg

The Intimate Acoustics concert at the Upper Canada Playhouse in Morrisburg on Saturday, November 25, features six up-and-coming singer-songwriters from Ottawa, Montreal and Cornwall: Jack Pine, Lilah Woods, Bentley Young, Christine Brady, Nathanael Larochette, and Jessica Pearson and the East Wind. They draw their inspiration from artists as diverse as Tom Waits, the Eagles and Loreena McKennitt.

Treat the kids to puppets and pizza in Orleans


Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia brings its puppet adaptation of two beloved children’s books—Guess How Much I Love You and I Love My Little Storybook—to the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orleans for a 4pm matinee on Saturday, November 25. If you reserve by November 22, you can also book tickets for a post-show pizza party (including a piece of pizza, salad, a cupcake and a drink) for $5 a person.

Hear Wayne Rostad in Vankleek Hill

Musician Wayne Rostad—still fondly remembered by many for his CBC show On the Road Again—will be back in front of fans this weekend. He’ll be playing a fundraising concert for the Arbor Gallery Cultural Centre on Saturday, November 25, at the Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute.

Have a wild dinner in McDonalds Corners

A Taste of the Wild is a fundraising dinner for the MERA cultural centre in McDonalds Corners on Friday, November 24. For $15 and a dessert donation, guests will nosh on wild leek pesto, smoked fish, fiddlehead soup, roast venison and more.

Admire the lights in Cumberland

Illuminated Christmas tree.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.

On Friday, November 24, the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum launches its Vintage Village of Lights. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until December 17, the village’s historic buildings will be lit up with more than 30,000 lights, and you can enjoy activities such as carolling, cookie decorating and horse-drawn wagon rides.

Laugh at a comedy show in Orleans

Francophone comedian Phil Roy brings his first-ever solo show to the stage of the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orleans on Thursday, November 23.

Browse for finds in Russell

The new Russell Flea Market is holding a sale at Russell High School on Saturday, November 25, from 9am to 3pm. Vendors will be selling fashions, baked goodies, handmade goods, vintage decor and more.

See the CP Holiday Train in Finch, Merrickville, Smiths Falls or Perth

Photo courtesy of the CP Holiday Train.

Every year, two CP holiday trains roll across North America—one entirely in Canada, and another that travels back and forth across the U.S.–Canada border. They’re both setting off from the Montreal area this weekend, and they will be stopping in Finch, Merrickville, Smiths Falls and Perth on Monday, November 27. For the full schedule of stops in Quebec, upstate New York and Eastern Ontario, see my CP Holiday Train post.

See Santa in Carleton Place, Rockland, Gananoque and beyond

Santa Claus parades continue this weekend with nine events, including parades in Carleton Place, Rockland and Gananoque. See my Santa Claus parades post for the full list.

Enjoy Bach in Montreal

Artists from around the world come to Montreal each year to celebrate the music of Johann Sebastian Bach during the Montreal Bach Festival (November 17 to December 3). This year, the choices include a children’s concert (November 25), a performance showcasing works by Bach, Purcell and Britten (November 27), and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (December 3).

Buy a decorated tree in West Lake

Close-up of red and gold round ornaments on a decorated Christmas tree.

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash.

Don’t want to decorate your own Christmas tree? You can buy one fully decorated—and support a good cause—at the Festival of Trees at the Isaiah Tubbs Resort at West Lake in Prince Edward County from November 24 to 26. As well as a silent auction of some 200 decorated trees, there will be a bake sale, live entertainment, draws, appearances by Santa and more. Funds raised will support cancer care at the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital in Picton.

See a musical in Carleton Place or Ottawa

The Mississippi Mudds theatre company is staging Anne of Green Gables at the Carleton Place Town Hall from November 24 to December 3 (shows take place from Friday to Sunday). Here in Ottawa, this is the last week to catch Orpheus Musical Theatre’s production of the musical version of Shrek at Centrepointe Theatre (nightly from Tuesday, November 21, to Sunday, November 26).

Shop, shop, shop in Westport, Brockville, Perth and Pakenham

Boutiques in the pretty village of Westport will likely be thronged on Friday, November 24, during the Holiday Hop and Shop event. You can get entries in a prize draw by visiting a range of local merchants. Other fun on the menu includes bonfires, carolling, and horse and buggy rides.

Also on Friday, stores across downtown Brockville are participating in a Black Friday event by offering discounts on everything from lingerie and e-bikes to comics and clocks.

The next day—Saturday, November 25—Perth is hosting a Festival of Good Cheer VIP shopping event. Stop by the Crystal Palace, beginning at 10am, to pick up a goodie bag (available to the first 200 visitors) before exploring the stores and restaurants. Hop on a horse-drawn wagon if your feet get tired, and enjoy Christmas music playing throughout downtown, and tastings from Top Shelf Distillery and Perth Brewery.

Things will also be lively that day during Pakenham Country Christmas, which involves much more than shopping. There will also be carolling, cookies with Mrs. Claus, a tree lighting, a harp concert and more.

Cheer on top figure skaters in Lake Placid

Close-up of a skater's feet with white figure skates (ice skating).

Pixabay/Creative Commons photo by Manfred Richter.

The 2017 Bridgestone Skate America championships are coming to the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, New York, from November 24 to 26. The 56 competitors from 12 countries include eight Canadian athletes, who will compete in women’s, men’s, pairs’ and ice dancing events.

Hear cutting-edge music in Kingston

Looking to shake up your musical senses? Then Tone Deaf, an avant-garde music and sound festival in Kingston, might do the trick. Just to give you an idea of what you could hear, one of the attractions is billed as “a collaborative sound installation exploring the magnetic fields of household electronics.” The festival runs until November 26.

Take a horse-drawn Christmas lights tour in Belleville or Picton

From November 23 until January 5, the County Carriage Company will be running one-hour Christmas lights tours by horse-drawn trolley. Most of the tours take place in Belleville, but there are several in Picton as well. You can also book a private tour.

Check out even more craft fairs!

A plate with beige handmade soaps tied with string.

Photo by Kristina Balić on Unsplash.

It is Christmas craft fair-a-palooza this weekend, people. If you’re looking for unique handmade items, you’ll probably never find more of a selection than you will in the next seven days. My giant list of Christmas craft fairs and art shows includes 42—yes, 42!—events taking place this week, from the Glebe and Gananoque to Smiths Falls, Arnprior, Pembroke, Vankleek Hill and Oka.

Celebrate Christmas in the Adirondacks

Indian Lake is about 3.5 hours southwest of Ottawa in the Adirondacks, and for the 20th year it’s hosting the Country Christmas Tour, a weekend festival of arts, crafts and family fun (November 24 and 25). You can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, check out a display of decorated trees, and do a little Christmas shopping.

Also about 3.5 hours from Ottawa, but a bit further west, Adirondack Christmas on Main Street (November 24 to 26) takes place in two small communities, Inlet and Old Forge. A light parade, a candy cane hunt, a kids’ film festival and more should keep families amused.

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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