So long winter; hello spring, with all your fresh contrasts and beautiful colours. Ottawa's art scene is appropriately blossoming with newness too, with exquisite exhibits, street installations and reimagined (and far larger) facilities.
Here are just a handful of the city's best spots, handpicked by Ottawa Tourism to help you soak up some inspiring art this season.
National Gallery of Canada, 380 Sussex Drive; runs from May 18-Sept. 9
While Copenhagen's famed Ordrupgaard Museum undergoes some home renos, 75 master paintings take up their extended stay in Ottawa. The on-loan offering will include works by Monet (The Chailly Road through the Forest Fontainebleau) and Manet (Basket of Pears), among others from the Impressionism and Post-Impressionism periods.
Throughout Ottawa region; ongoing
It's safe to say Ottawa's urban art scene is booming. Just spend a day ambling through Hintonburg, the ByWard Market or Glebe neighbourhoods and you'll be awestruck by the volume and vibrancy of murals and graffiti. A creative mix of local talent and acclaimed international artists are to thank, plus some clever community programming. Paint It Up!, for example, encourages large-scale artists to practice on three dedicated graffiti walls throughout the city.
Commissioners Park Dow's Lake; runs from May 11-21
Yes, the award-worthy tulips are the main eye-candy at this perennial fest, but that's only the beginning. Over 1000 artists and performers descend on the event to offer even more beauty, from the The World Friendship 5-Foot Tulip Garden at Lansdowne to local artisans in the ByWard Market neighbourhood. Take a guided tour, rent a bicycle or just stroll the city centre for the spectacular sights, eats and activities throughout the festival.
Ottawa Art Gallery, 50 Mackenzie King Bridge; runs from April 28-Sept. 16
From larger than life LED screens to sparkling new community spaces, the reimagined Ottawa Art Gallery is nothing short of brilliant—and is worth a visit for the architecture alone. Oh, and then there are the spectacular exhibits, too. Covering four general themes—bodies, bridges, mapping and technologies—this highly anticipated collection interweaves the layered narratives of Anishnābe (Algonquin), French and English works.
Remic Rapids Park; ongoing
Beckoning spectators to the water's edge for over 20 years now, John Ceprano's rock sculptures balance the beauty of the natural world with artistic imagination. The picturesque setting is equally ideal for Instagram photo ops and contemplative strolls along the Ottawa River.
Throughout Ottawa; ongoing
Art is everywhere in Ottawa. Case in point: Scour the city for miniature food sculptures, created by an anonymous artist, take in a collection of Indigenous totem poles, or find all 18 Wellington Marbles. The hand-carved marble and limestone works by Marcus Kucey Jones and Ryan Lotecki fuse fire-hydrants with everyday objects, like musical instruments and tools, to create playful pit stops in the trendy Wellington West neighbourhood.
Put Ottawa on the top of your to-do list this spring, to explore a world of exciting new art works and exhibitions.