25 road trip ideas: Casino night in Perth, Governor-General’s winter fest and Robbie Burns Day!

This week, if you’re a “get out and enjoy it” type when it comes to winter, you can learn about winter camping, take the kids to a snowy festival or try a skating-and-running marathon. If you’d rather keep warm indoors, you can choose from half-a-dozen Robbie Burns events, a casino night, and two film festivals. You can stay in town or venture forth to Petawawa, Brockville or Prince Edward County. Wherever your travels take you, drive safely! (P.S.: One of this site’s sponsors, Bemac Collision Group, has some great winter driving tips.)

Try your luck at a Perth casino night

As I type this, there are still a few tickets left for the Perth and District Community Foundation’s new fundraising event, a Casino Night on Friday, January 26. The evening at Code’s Mill on the Park in Perth will feature live casino games, appetizers, drinks and prizes, and guests will get a charitable receipt for a portion of the ticket cost.

Hang out with the Governor-General at Rideau Hall in Ottawa

There’s lots of outdoor fun to be had at the Governor-General’s Winter Celebration on Saturday, January 27, from 12:30 to 4pm. Free activities include skating, kicksledding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and a snowball challenge. Thanks to the participation of a wide range of embassies, visitors can also learn about everything from Bavarian curling and Chinese New Year celebrations to Nordic films and Japanese origami. Want to warm up? Take a tour of Rideau Hall.

Enjoy live music and lumberjack lore in Fort Coulonge

The Spruceholme Inn in Fort Coulonge is holding a lumberjack dinner on Friday, January 26. Hear tales of Ottawa Valley lumberjacks and enjoy live music by Gail Gavan and Louis Schryer.

Learn to camp in the cold at Frontenac Provincial Park

Green and yellow tent in winter in front of pine trees. https://unsplash.com/photos/f5sdemaT7XE

Photo by frigid on Unsplash.

Curious about winter camping? Frontenac Provincial Park is offering a warm winter camping workshop on Saturday, January 27, to help you plan such a trip, buy the right equipment and camp safely. If you want to dive in right away, there’s an option to stay in the park overnight. For the overnight option, you have to provide your own equipment, but they’ll tell you what to bring. To attend the workshop and/or the overnight experience, you need to register in advance by calling the park office at (613) 376-3489.

Catch a movie in Cornwall or Watertown

The Aultsville Filmfest in Cornwall (January 26 to 28) will screen seven independent movies over three days, including films from Canada, the U.S., France, Belgium, the U.K., Israel, Colombia and Switzerland. Pass holders will get treated to refreshments and a cocktail reception, too. It’s a fundraiser for the Aultsville Theatre.

The Snowtown Film Festival in Watertown (January 26 and 27) includes a Friday night “flannel casual reception” and showings of a wide range of movies with a connection to New York state or Eastern Ontario (such as a documentary about Kingston’s favourite hometown band, the Tragically Hip).

Eat, drink and watch hockey in Prince Edward County

The Barn Burner Hockey Game in Wellington on Saturday, January 27, is a match with a twist: Both teams are made up of chefs from some of Toronto and Montreal’s top restaurants. You can nosh on snacks such as veg and pork buns from Momofuku and sushi from Pick Six during the game, then repair to the Drake Devonshire Hotel for a feast catered by the competing chefs’ restaurants.

Raise a toast to Robbie Burns in Ottawa and the Outaouais

Robert Burns, Robbie Burns

Robert Burns [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Admirers of the Scottish poet Robert Burns are celebrating his birthday in style this week. The Scottish Society of Ottawa has a whole page of local Burns Day events, including a five-course dinner at the Andaz Hotel in the Byward Market on Thursday, January 25; a concert by Hibernia Celtic Music at Kitchisippi United Church on Saturday, January 27, that will be repeated at the Mill Road Community Space in Chelsea on Sunday, January 28; and a show by Ecosse at the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield (complete with haggis and whisky) on Sunday, January 28.

The Ottawa Senators Foundation is hosting a Robbie Burns Supper for Roger Neilson House at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club on Saturday, January 27. The event starts with a Macallan whisky tasting, and business or traditional Highland attire is requested (dig out those kilts, lads!).

And the Mill Street Brew Pub Ottawa is running a five-course beer-pairing dinner in honour of the Scottish bard on Friday, January 26, which will feature live entertainment.

Enjoy country-pop classics in Gananoque

The Thousand Islands Playhouse is presenting Classic Country Goes Pop, a concert featuring the music of country stars who have crossed over into pop (such as Linda Ronstadt and Roger Miller) performed by Michelle Kasaboski, Cliff Edwards, Dan Kasaboski, Tim Hallman, Mark Wilkins, Al Briscoe and Doug Gravelle (January 27 and 28).

Sip cocktails with butterflies at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa

Photo copyright Laura Byrne Paquet.

Have you heard about the very cool Nature Nocturne nights at the Canadian Museum of Nature? After dark, once a month, the museum turns into a one-of-a-kind dance club, with DJs and a cash bar. There’s even a lounge with bottle service. This week’s event on Friday, January 26, is called the Butterfly Effect and takes place in the museum’s current free-flying butterfly exhibition.

Play in the snow from Greely to Quebec City

There’s lots of winter festival fun in the region this week: the Alice in Winterland Carnival in Laurentian Valley (until Saturday, January 27); Cabin Fever in Petawawa (until January 28); the Embrun Carnival (until January 28); the Greely Winter Carnival (January 25 to 27); Laval en blanc (January 26 to 28);  Shiverfest in Manotick (January 26 and 27); the Lanark Highlands Frosty Fling (January 26 to 28); and Winter Fun Day in Brockville (January 27). A bit further afield, you can visit the Carnaval de Quebec in Quebec City (January 26 to February 11).

Looking for festival ideas later in the winter? Check out my list of more than 30 winter carnivals.

Skate, run, drink and raise money for a good cause in Ottawa

The rowdy Carleton Cup Marathon (motto: Skate – Run – Drink) takes place on Saturday, January 27. This fundraiser for cystic fibrosis research includes a few kilometres of skating on the Rideau Canal (weather permitting), a 1K run through the ByWard Market, and post-race beers at the Aulde Dubliner and Pour House.

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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