10 Gifts That Don’t Involve More ‘Stuff’

I don’t know about you but I’m already getting a bit anxious about all the ‘stuff’ that is about to come into my home in a little over a month’s time.  You know what I’m talking about:  toys.  Plastic toys that emit random, repetitive, rage-inducing noises, toys that will break approximately one week after they are removed from their packaging, toys that will lay forgotten in the playroom corner by February, toys, toys, toys.

We know how overwhelming it is for our families to find just the right gift for our kids (heck…it’s hard enough for us to know what to get them) so this year we will encourage family members to offer gifts of experience rather than stuff.  Here are a few ideas that might work for your family:

Time

An afternoon with the gift giver – movie, mini-golf, bowling, skating, skiing, museum, pedicure, afternoon tea at the Chateau Laurier, etc.

Lessons

My boys have been asking for karate lessons for months now (I suspect this has something to do with Power Rangers).  This seemed like a good idea until I researched some options.  Turns out karate is quite an expensive sport, as most sports are.  Why not get family members to contribute to lessons?  Other options:  skiing, snowboarding, musical instrument, cooking, etc.

Museum Memberships

Skiing/snowboarding lift passes

There are many great hills in and around Ottawa, such as:

Mont Cascades

Vorlage

Camp Fortune

Edelweiss

Recreation

Recreation gift certificates from the City of Ottawa : Can be used towards literally hundreds of activities across the city (including March Break camps).

Sports Equipment

Even better than new, try Play It Again Sports or ask in your Buy Nothing group!

Entertainment tickets

Ottawa Senators 

Ottawa 67s 

NAC 

Shenkman Arts Centre,Centrepointe Theatre 

Ottawa Little Theatre

Movie gift certificates

Art lessons

Nepean Creative Arts Centre

4 cats 

Mud Oven 

Monart Art School of Ottawa

Ottawa School of Art

Their very own star

Buy them a star and name it after them: https://www.starregistry.ca/ (my oldest son would think this is the coolest thing ever!)

Toy Rentals

A toy rental from PlaneteFun. Host a sleepover or fun party for a group of your child’s friends, and rent something really fantastic!

The Hockey Sweater: A Musical

Many Canadians, young and old, are familiar with Roch Carrier’s story, The Hockey Sweater. In 1940s Quebec, life centred around school, church and the hockey rink and every kid wore the number 9 Habs sweater as a tribute to the legendary Maurice Richard. But when young Roch outgrows his, he’s mistakenly sent a Maple Leafs sweater instead…

Roch Carrier’s timeless tale, The Hockey Sweater, has been transformed into an energetic and magical musical for the whole family. Presented as part the National Art’s Centre Holiday programming , The Hockey Sweater: A Musical is suitable for all ages and the story of finding your own way in the world will resonate with hockey fans and theatre lovers alike.

The Hockey Sweater is not only a great way to introduce kids to the fun of musicals, but it’s also a fun way for fans of opposing hockey teams to come together and celebrate what everyone can agree has become a classic Canadian tale!

Don’t miss out! Make The Hockey Sweater a part of your holiday plans this December! Tickets start at only $29 and the show runs from December 5th to the 23rd. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the NAC official website.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by the National Arts Centre.

Trick or Treat to a Wicked Beat!

Looking for something fun and different to do this Halloween season? On October 27th and 28th at 2:30pm the National Arts Centre will be hosting a fun bilingual family event called Trick or Treat to a Wicked Beat! A great way for the entire family to sing and dance in the Halloween season!

Dress up and join Samara the Witch, dancers and the NAC Orchestra as they perform spooky classics like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Danse Macabre, The Witch’s Dance and many more. 

Trick or Treat to a Wicked Beat is part of the Family Adventures with the NAC Orchestra series. Geared to kids aged 5+ this fun and interactive series introduces children to the wonders of orchestral music. Each bilingual performance lasts one hour and features the NAC Orchestra and special guests! Be sure to arrive 45 minutes early to participate in hands on pre-concert activities!

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the NAC official website. And be sure to learn more about the Family Adventures series and upcoming performances.

Canada Day 2018 in Canada’s Capital Region

Looking for information on the official Canada Day 2018 festivities? Canada Day celebrations start June 30th at Major’s Hill Park and on July 1st at three official sites: Parliament Hill and Major’s Hill Park in Ottawa, and the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau.

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Parliament Hill

Known as the place to see on Canada Day, this year won’t disappoint with Canadian musical performances, a musical workshop, fun-filled activities, and more! Guests can enjoy Canada day on the Hill starting at 8 a.m.

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Hosted by Lisa Charleyboy and Marième, the Canada Day Noon Show will include remarks from dignitaries, a fly past by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds and performances by Canadian artists: Arkells, Lights, Brigitte Boisjoli, Iskwé, Jean-Marc Couture, Rose Cousins, Martina Ortiz Luis and Queen Ka.

At 5:30 p.m., there will be an aerial show by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.

The Canada Day Evening Show will feature artists: Arkells, Lights, Brigitte Boisjoli, Iskwé, Jean-Marc Couture, Ruth B, Klô Pelgag, The Dead South, Rose Cousins, Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine, DJ Shub and Boogát.

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The evening will end with a dazzling 15-minute President’s Choice pyro-musical show at 10 p.m.

New this year on the Hill: the main entrance to the Hill is at the Supreme Court of Canada (corner of Wellington and Kent). To ensure a quick security screening process, only pack light and bring your Canada Day essentials, such as a hat, sunscreen and a reusable water bottle.

Major’s Hill Park

Canada Day celebrations start Saturday, June 30th on Major's Hill Park with all day activities for the whole family, including circus performances, games and a community culinary experience.

Kids can enjoy a ride around the park aboard a VIA Rail Miniature Train or get a unique musical ride aboard a bicycle made out of recycled material. 

You can also cheer on top Canadian artists at the Art Battle Canada live painting tournament (11 to 11:30 am) that celebrates creativity, courage and community in the visual arts. Their masterpiece is created before your eyes in only 20 minutes as you vote to help decide the winner!

Then enjoy local musical talent, including: Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine; MEGAPHONO Showcase featuring LeFLOFRANCO, SeiiizMikk and Jah’kota; and in the evening, Andréanne A. Malette and River Town Saints.

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Then, on Canada Day itself, the activities and performances continue!

Jump up to 30 feet in the air on the Jumpaï (“jump high”). It's made up of four separate trampolines. Adults and kids over 36 inches tall can do an unlimited number of jumps—a mix of trapeze, bungee and acrobatics with a guaranteed wow factor!

There will also be performances by Charlotte Cardin, the Noubi Trio, The Beaches, Logan Staats, Jacobus and La Bronze, and so much more!

Canadian Museum of History

Head to the Canadian Museum of History on July 1st and enjoy free family-friendly programming and activities and then stay well into the evening to watch the pyro-musical show as it lights up the night sky over Ottawa–Gatineau.

Canada Day Fireworks

During the day, activities include Hinterland's Who's Who where guests can find out about Canadian wildlife and meet a few wild critters in person; a nature-art workshop with Mélodie Coutou, La Ressourcière, where guests are invited to co-create a forest made from the interbreeding of different tree species; free airbrush tattoos, games and much more!

Canada Day celebrations in Canada’s Capital Region are made possible thanks to official sponsors President’s Choice, Manulife and Tim Hortons, as well as the valuable support of more than 500 dedicated volunteers.

To stay up to date regarding any changes or cancellations to the Canada Day schedule, click here.

This Canada Day post was sponsored by Canadian Heritage/Patrimoine canadien. 

What to do in Ottawa for Father’s Day

On Sunday, June 17th celebrate fatherhood, paternal bonds, and all the father figures in your life with quality dad time. To help you plan ahead here is a list of things to do and see in Ottawa on Father's Day.

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Billings Estate National Historic Site - Vintage Car Show

Check out the antique cars on display from local exhibitors and don’t miss out on viewing the Billings’ 1959 Cadillac Sedan de Ville! Enjoy a guided tour of the museum and explore our latest exhibition — City in Motion. Kids can take up our scavenger hunt challenge and our compass building activity is sure to be fun for the whole family! Cash BBQ and snacks will be available for purchase. Cost: $6.50 single; $10.75 pair; $17.25 family

Fairfields Heritage House - Father's Day BBQ: From Grain to Grass

Bring the family to the Fairfields heritage House for therr Father’s Day community BBQ! Explore the history of beer and how it is made. Taste wort (unfermented beer), learn about the various kiln levels of barley, and smell different strains of hops. Brian Gunther, a silver and bronze medal winner in Beau’s 2017 brewing competition, will share his knowledge on beer production. Cost: $6.50 single; $10.75 pair; $17.25 family.

Cumberland Heritage Museum: 'Pop' Culture

Explore all things ‘pop’ culture at the museum this Father’s Day! Learn to dance the Charleston and the Foxtrot, print your own newspaper advertisement, and more! Cost: $7.50 adults, $5.50 seniors and students, $19.25 families (2 adults + children), children 5 and under are free. 

Pinhey's Point Historic Site: Settler Survival

Head to Ottawa's far west end this Father's Day and find out if you have what it takes to survive the ‘Ottawa Trail’?. Take up the challenge, gather your provisions, and navigate scenarios that will recreate some of the historical challenges and turns of fortune faced by early settlers like Hamnett Pinhey as they made their new homes in the Ottawa region. Cost: Cost: $6.50 single; $10.75 pair; $17.25 family

Canadian Museum of Nature Father's Day Brunch

For the price of Museum admission plus the cost of brunch for each guest, you can treat the dads in your life to delectable breakfast fare, followed by a tour around the museum’s galleries. Don't forget - the Museum's new special exhibition Brain: The Inside Story will also be open! For more information and to book your spot, click here!

Ottawa Fringe Festival

On from June 14th to the 24th is Ottawa's Fringe Festival - a unique festival that brings artists and the audiences together. Find out if this is something your dad might enjoy here: http://ottawafringe.com

2018 FCA Ottawa Ferrari Festival

This annual festival takes place over Father's Day weekend and is a must for any Ferrari fan! Take a look at 75 Ferraris and keep your eyes out for the HRH Prince Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia of the Italian Royal Family during the festival. 

Italian Week Festival

Father's Day lands on one of the last days of Ottawa's Italian Week. Head down to Preston Street and Little Italy for celebrations, great food and more!

Carivibe

Ottawa’s biggest Caribbean beach festival is back on Petrie Island from June 15th to the 17th. Join thousands of people of all ages enjoying non-stop entertainment and plenty of Caribbean cuisine.

Ottawa Beer Festival

Celebrate Father's Day on Friday, June 15th or Saturday, June 16th at Aberdeen Pavilion, Lansdowne. Share a craft beer with your dad or learn about beer at Beer School. There is also the National Capital Home Brew Competition, fantastic food and music.