Art events you won’t want to miss

Downtown Rideau is full of arts and culture.

With so much art to see, musicians to listen to, theatre to watch, and events to attend, there is surely something for everyone. We’ve rounded up some of the best upcoming events that you’ll want to add to your calendar right away!  

Arts Court

2 Daly Avenue 

Arts Court has a rich history within the City of Ottawa.  

Built in 1870, the building’s original purpose served as the Carleton County Courthouse and was one of four legal buildings in Ottawa’s downtown core, until the Ontario Government scheduled the Court House for demolition in 1980. By 1988 the building had come back to life as Ottawa’s central arts hub. 

Today, Arts Court is a newly renovated, historic landmark turned arts centre. It is a venue for people to come and enjoy theatre, dance, concerts, film, talks, exhibits, and workshops, along with a space which welcomes artists to experiment and collaborate. 

Arts Court houses many art organizations, including: 

  • Ottawa Arts Council
  • Canadian Film Institute,
  • Ottawa Dance Directive,
  • Artengine, and many more!

For an up-to-date calendar of events, click here. To glance the Arts Court floor plan for a full list of organizations, click here.


National Arts Centre

1 Elgin Street 

The National Arts Centre (NAC) is Ottawa’s go to venue for presenting, creating, producing, and coproducing preforming arts programming. The NAC is a beautiful building, steps away from the Rideau Canal. The glass panels of the NAC can often be seen lit up and decorated to reflect current themes and statements represented by the Centre.  

From the NAC Orchestra, dance, English Theatre, French Theatre, Indigenous Theatre, to popular music, the NAC has a preforming arts genre for everybody. 

Upcoming Events: 

Cabane: Saturday July 2 to Sunday July 3, 2022. 

  • An intriguing new structure has popped up at the NAC in the middle of the night, and it’s the perfect little cabin fort. It’s unlike any other, and yet all you want is to go inside. An impressive mountain of rocking chairs, with a soft carpet in the middle; they stack and nestle together like all the generations that have rocked in them. 
  • For more info, showtimes, click here. 

Powwow Workout Class: Thursday July 7 at 12 p.m. 

  • A powwow is a gathering to celebrate First Nations culture through dance, songs, food and crafts, and is open to all. 
  • This 30-minute high-intensity workout will incorporate powwow dance steps from different styles of powwow dance and the sounds of contemporary and traditional powwow music into a simple, follow-along workout. The class is open to all people and all ages. 
  • For more info, click here. 

The NAC has programming events in person and online daily. For an up-to-date schedule of events, please click here.


Ottawa Art Gallery

50 Mackenzie King Bridge 

Founded in 1988, the Ottawa Art Gallery tells the story of Ottawa’s evolution through art, helping to create a positive vision for the City’s future. OAG’s exhibitions present regional art within a national and international context.  

On top of the numerous exhibitions, events, talks, and the Art Auction, the OAG proudly supports educational programs, activities, wellness, and community programs as well. 

Upcoming Events: 

Don Kwan: Tuesday February 22, 2022 to Sunday January 22, 2023 

  • Don Kwan is a queer third-generation Chinese-Canadian artist, whose work explores place, identity, representation, and family memory across time. In this exhibit, Kwan explores the question; what does it look like to belong in the Canadian landscape? 
  • For more information, click here. 

Yinka Shonibare: Saturday March 26 to Sunday August 14, 2022 

  • Yinka Shonibare’s exhibit Mr. and Mrs. Andrews without their Heads examines social, economic, and political identity within a British landscape. Shonibare clothes the figures in 18th century fashions in attempts to defy concepts of authenticity in relationships to class, race, and gender in both art and history. 
  • For more information, click here. 

For an up-to-date calendar of events, click here.


Ottawa Little Theatre

400 King Edward Avenue 

The Ottawa Little Theatre (OLT) is the oldest, continuous community theatre in North America, operating for over 107 years.  In the last century, the OLT has produced over 1,000 plays. 

Fun fact: All directors, designers, actors, stage, and front of house crew are volunteers. 

Upcoming plays: 

The Columnist: Wednesday July to Saturday July 30 

  • Only the Queen of Mystery could have conceived such a suspenseful courtroom drama! A young man stands accused of murdering a rich widow in post-war England. Shocking testimony, impassioned outbursts, and the threat of the hangman’s noose will keep you on the edge of your seats.
  • For more information click here. 

For an up-to-date calendar for the 2022 season, click here.



67 Nicholas Street 

SAW is a prime destination in the Ottawa-Gatineau region for contemporary art, with over 30,000 visitors each year. SAW promotes Canadian and international artists, both emerging and established, from diverse cultural backgrounds. The organization engages in innovative programming, outreach, and exchange initiatives.   

Started by a local group of artists in 1973, SAW Gallery was originally displayed in Le Hibou, a café located on Sussex Drive. The SAW acronym comes from the term Sussex Annex Works. Today, SAW is housed in Arts Court and runs two initiatives, Club SAW and Nordic Lab. 

Nordic Lab is in partnership with Canada Council for the Arts, a research and production space for artists from circumpolar nations. Club SAW is a performance space for artists and musicians. It features a bar, state of the art sound system, and is used for screenings, concerts, conferences, theatre plays, and much more. 

Current and Upcoming Events: 

SAW Prize for New Works: Friday May 6 to Thursday July 16 

  • An exhibition which showcases 17 never seen before works and installations and engages in themes of identity and place. 
  • For more info, click here. 

Spectrasonic: Emo Night Ottawa: Saturday July 16 at 11 p.m.

  • Emo Night Ottawa is coming back to Club SAW with the best in emo, pop-punk, screamo, metalcore and rock bangers.
  • For more info, click here. 

Downtown Rideau

A 53-block area representing over 600 thriving businesses and organizations, the main goal of the Downtown Rideau Business Improvement Area (D.R.B.I.A.) is to position the district as a high-street destination for shopping, dining, and culture.

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