the NAC Orchestra’s "Ideas of North Festival"

The new and modernized National Arts Centre is so welcoming and inviting! The renovated space is in full swing and has kicked off autumn with an excellent showcase of performances and activities.

It was wonderful for us to stroll through the different areas of the building this past week and to hear echoes of music and activity throughout. We loved seeing a mixture of patrons and new attendees, and families with children participating in the events. It’s impossible not to stop to admire the views of our city from within, and we observed their enthusiasm as they interacted with the space. It now truly feels like “Canada is our stage!”

We were there to attend the launch of the NAC Orchestra’s “Ideas of North Festival”, running to October 14th, which celebrates Canada’s 150th and Finland’s 100th birthdays through the music and culture of the North. This unique event features 23 concerts, in addition to lectures, post concert parties, pre-concert discussions and a mini-Sibelius cycle performed by some of the finest Canadian and Finnish artists. There are performances for every age range, from noon hour to classical music concerts to DJ nights, many of which are free and take place in the open spaces of the building.


We also had the opportunity to visit Le Café, the NAC’s restaurant, and to try their very delicious Nordic menu, prepared especially for the occasion, by Chef Kenton Leier. It was easy to get lost in the mouthwatering flavours of the Nordic clam chowder, the beet cured gravlax and the gingersnap crusted venison loin. What a treat! We also loved the Ungava Arctic Fizz cocktail and the apple and almond bread pudding. Yes, we are on a diet for a few days, but it was so worth it!

“Ideas of North” offers a great opportunity to visit the new NAC, if you haven’t yet dropped by, and if you have some free time or guests in town for the long weekend. Make sure to take advantage of the free family day activities taking place this Saturday and Sunday. There will be music and dance of the North and Inuit visiting artists, as well as workshops. Join in on fascinating vocal traditions, step along to traditional dances, and watch the artists perform in the noon-hour concerts. Next week will also be activity filled with many more free events, as well as a presentation on Nordic architecture and design.

The festival will come to a close with two impressive performances, the Lapland Chamber Orchestra’s first-ever North American concert, on October 12th and the “grande finale” concert with Conductor Alexander Shelley and Principal Guest Conductor and violinist John Storgårds, featuring Jean Sibelius’ final symphony, on October14th with the NACO.

If you want to participate in an extraordinary classical music experience, be sure to follow us on social media as we will be giving away three sets of tickets to the “Shelley and Storgårds” concert on the14th!

© Dwayne Brown and Anita Ruivo - the loveOttawa project

© Dwayne Brown and Anita Ruivo - the loveOttawa project