15 road trip ideas: Theatre in Ottawa, a photo show in Manotick, music in Kingston and a dance in Almonte!

So the cold has broken—at least for a few days. And we have lots of snow! Time to get out there and revel in winter (or, if you’re not a fan of the white stuff, find a good indoor play or exhibition to enjoy). This week’s choices include a musical comedy in Kingston, an extreme sports festival in Montreal, several wine and food events, a nighttime snowshoeing race at Upper Canada Village, and a magical puppet show for families in Ottawa. Happy road tripping…and stay warm!

Try a crazy winter sport in Montreal

snowskate Barbegazi extreme sports Montreal

Snowskating is one of the extreme winter sports you can try at Barbegazi in Montreal. Photo by Babas/Barbegazi.

A Montreal festival called Barbegazi aims to chase away the winter blues with two long weekends of fun in the snow (January 13 and 14, and January 20 and 21). From snowskating to Christmas tree tossing, it looks a bit like the Winter Olympics designed by a video game maker. Note that it is at Olympic Park this year (previously, it was downtown near The Bay). Try an extreme winter sport for free—or just sample the fare from the onsite food trucks.

Catch a play in Ottawa or Kingston

When Inspector Goole shows up at the Birling family’s front door, at first they think it must be a mistake. After all, how could a young woman’s suicide have any relation to their placid, upper middle class lives? All is revealed, in a devastating way, in J.B. Priestley’s popular play, An Inspector Calls, opening this week at the Ottawa Little Theatre (January 10 to 27).

Looking for a midwinter giggle? Then The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a musical comedy at the Grand Theatre in Kingston (January 10 to 21), may be just the ticket. Six tweens (well, adults playing tweens) vie for lexicographical supremacy. Only one can win. Audience participation is encouraged!

Raise a toast in upstate New York or Niagara

Flickr/Creative Commons photo by AI404.

The Seneca Lake Wine Trail is running two events this weekend: Halftime Pairings Weekend (January 12 to 14), a sports-themed tasting weekend pairing finger foods with local vintages at participating wineries; and Bargain Bash (January 6 to 15), where wineries are selling everything from clothing to wine at discounted prices (just make sure to check the rules for how much you can bring back across the border before you go crazy).

A bit further afield, the Albany Chefs’ Food and Wine Festival (January 11 to 13) features 70 restaurants and chefs, and gives you the chance to sample some 250 craft beers, wines and spirits (not all at once, please).

In the Niagara region, the Niagara Icewine Festival (January 12 to 28) runs for three consecutive weekends and celebrates one of Ontario’s signature wine products: icewine. Check the website for the full list of activities and attractions, which range from gala dinners and a cocktail competition to outdoor concerts.

Snowshoe through Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg

Grab your headlamps! The Dion Ignite the Night Snowshoe Race takes place at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg on Saturday, January 13, with 5K and 10K routes. Even though Alight at Night is officially over, the village’s million-light display will be switched on for the race.

Get wedding ideas in Ottawa

With all those engagement rings under Christmas trees, January is definitely high Wedding Planning Season in Ottawa. This weekend, you can gather ideas for dresses, catering, honeymoons and more at the Wedding Palace Bridal Show at the Shaw Centre (January 13 and 14).

Meet a photographic artist in Manotick

Applecrate Galleries in Manotick is hosting a vernissage for “Following the Light—A Photographic Journey,” a new exhibition of the large-format photography of photographer Tim Watts. He will be on hand during the event on Saturday, January 13, and Applecrate will be serving complimentary refreshments throughout the evening. The exhibition runs until March 2.

Dance the night away in Almonte

Need to work off some of that holiday fruitcake? Dancing sounds like more fun to me than the treadmill at the gym. If you agree, put on your dancing shoes and head to the Almonte Fair Board’s annual dance at the Almonte Civitan Hall (Saturday, January 13). You get live music, a light lunch and a silent auction, all for $12 in advance or $15 at the door.

Get outdoorsy in the Adirondacks

If you’re the type who yells “Bring it on!” when the mercury dips way below zero, then two events in Lake Placid might just have you reaching for your thermal undies and warmest toque. At the IBSF North America’s Cup (January 11 to 14), you can cheer for top bobsled and skeleton athletes as they compete on Lake Placid’s famous Olympic run. (And if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to go down that bobsled track yourself, check out the video above. Yes, mere mortals can use the track, when it’s not being used by competitive athletes.) Meanwhile, in Keene Valley, the Adirondack International Mountaineering Festival (January 12 to 14) features slideshow presentations, climbing clinics and more.

Enjoy a magical matinee in Ottawa

Couldn’t you and your kids use a little magic in the darkness of winter? Here’s your chance: The Enchantment Theatre Company is making its National Arts Centre debut on Saturday, January 13, with The Firebird. The company will spin a tale of an enchanted tree with golden apples, an evil magician, a beautiful princess and a magical unicorn, featuring life-sized puppets, masks, magic and Stravinsky’s captivating music. There will be two performances, at 1:30pm and 3:30pm.

Enjoy Korngold, Beethoven and Shostakovich in Kingston

An afternoon concert by the Kingston Symphony at the Isabel Bader Centre in Kingston on Sunday, January 14, will feature three works by composers who were seeking redemption as they wrote these works: Beethoven endlessly revised Overture to Leonore No. 3; Korngold wrote his Violin Concerto as a way to get back to “serious” work; and Shostakovich composed his Fifth Symphony while dealing with Soviet censorship.

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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