The Ottawa International Children’s Festival ran from May 4 to 13, 2015 at Lebreton Flats. My daughter’s birthday was last week so it was a perfect way to celebrate.
I went to see Les Parfaits Inconnus, a circus and live music show from Quebec. They incorporated humour, live music, bike tricks, acrobatics and juggling into the show which made the show very engaging for all ages, including adults. My daughter, who just turned four years old, was particularly in awe of the bike tricks and acrobatics and the other kids who joined us, including a 10 year old girl, were also excited by the show.
Nina’s dad and I returned on Sunday with her which was also Mother’s Day, to catch a concert and see some of the other attractions. It was kind of cool and rainy so after warming up in the War Museum, we made our way to the Pentalum Luminarium, which is an air sculpture designed in the UK. It’s inspired by Islamic art and once you walk inside, you are immediately drawn in by the lumination in red, green and blue. The sculpture was quite big and seemed unique in each section we entered. You could see kids and adults alike rolling on the glowing ground or resting against the walls. This particular attraction was an extra fee to enter and while I wasn’t sure what to expect, it was well worth the money to experience such a phenomenal piece of architecture.
We also saw the French folk band Bon Débarras. My daughter, Nina, loves music and especially loves anything lively and folky, so she really enjoyed this act that incorporated guitars, banjo, upright bass, harmonicas, washboards and foot and body percussion. Nina’s father and I are not French speaking but their performance was bilingual and very dynamic, combining not only traditional French folk music, but also Cajun music from New Orleans. They did a great job engaging the audience, teaching them how to do a jig and body percussion.
Other attractions at the Festival included face painting, balloon animals, as well as the Long and McQuade Instrument Petting Zoo where kids can try out different instruments. Nina has seen this exhibit before but is always excited to try out the horns and drum kits.
What I really enjoyed about this festival is its aim at trying to expose kids of all ages to the arts from across Canada and around the world. This is a very unique festival and truly enjoyable for kids and parents alike. Next year, I’d like to try to take Nina to one of the plays, which she didn’t get a chance to do this time around, mostly because I wasn’t quite sure if she would sit through it quietly (even though they make a point to hold plays for all ages, as well as specific plays for older kids). She was very entertained by the musical shows she saw though and I would recommend this festival to anybody.
For more information about the Ottawa International Children’s Festival, visit their website!