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Things to do in Ottawa this week: A Sri Lankan feast, a musical fundraiser for the Ottawa Food Bank and the CP Holiday Train

Citizen arts writers Lynn Saxberg and Peter Hum share their best bets for the last week of November

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Citizen arts writers Lynn Saxberg and Peter Hum share their recommendations on things to do in Ottawa this week: Nov. 24-30.

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A who’s who of Ottawa-area songwriters are joining forces at Red Bird Live, 1165 Bank St., this weekend to raise money for the Ottawa Food Bank. The music runs over two nights, with Lynne Hanson, Silent Winters, Tara Shannon, Shaun Francisco and others on Friday, starting at 7 p.m., and Ian Tamblyn, Lynn Miles, OK Naledi and Paul Weber among the performers on Saturday, starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are available by donation, with all of the ticket money going to the food bank. Each artist has redirected their fee to the cause, too. Buy tickets at


The Ottawa-born rocker Jacquie Neville, former frontwoman of The Balconies, steps into the spotlight with If You Get Lonely, her first solo album. “This album is a celebration of the importance of staying true to yourself and finding beauty amongst the chaos,” said the 35-year-old musician when it was released. Written over the last six years, the new songs are stylistically diverse, with themes that range from mental health and dead-end jobs to love and loss, characterized by Neville’s soaring voice and knack for melody. She brings her band to the Rainbow Bistro, 76 Murray St., on Saturday, with guests just fine and Craig Mainprize. The music starts at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 plus fees, available at

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After two years of online festivities, the 37th installment of the European Union Film Festival will be a hybrid affair, with films available online, and in-person events taking place at the Ottawa Art Gallery’s Alma Duncan Salon. Of the 27 films on the program, including drama, comedy, action and documentary, one highlight will be a screening of the Polish film, I Never Cry (6:30 p.m. Nov. 25), followed by an in-person Q & A with the director, Piotr Domalewski. The festival continues until Dec. 3. For tickets and schedule info, go to


Alberta country singer Tenille Townes and Indigenous singer-songwriter Aysanabee are riding the rails on this year’s CP Holiday Train, a fundraising initiative that’s chugging through the Ottawa Valley on Monday. At each stop, the musicians will give a 30-minute concert and donations of cash or non-perishable food will be collected for each town’s local food bank. Show times are 5 p.m. in Merrickville (at the rail crossing at East Broadway and County Rd. 2), 6:30 in Smiths Falls (at the train station) and 8 p.m. in Perth (at the CP rail yard on Herriott Street). For more information, go to 

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The CP Holiday Train pulling into Finch, at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Photo on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, Ont. Todd Hambleton/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia
The CP Holiday Train pulling into Finch, at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Photo on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, Ont. Todd Hambleton/Cornwall Standard-Freeholder/Postmedia Photo by Todd Hambleton /Todd Hambleton/Standard-Freehold


The two Steves of Ottawa’s jazz scene — trombonist and vocalist Steve Berndt and pianist Steve Boudreau — team up Saturday night at GigSpace Performance Studio. The partnership picks up where Berndt’s long-standing collaboration with the late Ottawa pianist Brian Browne left off. The two-set concert starts at 7:30 p.m. and 40 tickets for in-person attendance are available at Due to GigSpace’s close seating, wearing masks is strongly recommended. The concert will also be streamed, and tickets for the online show are $19.


Some of Ottawa’s top bartenders will square off Monday night at the regional finals of the Made With Love cocktail competition at Savanna Lounge on Besserer Street. Among the competitors will be drink-making talents from Mati, Back to Brooklyn, Alora, Savanna Lounge, Ward 14, and Tavern on the Falls. The tasting runs from 6 to 11 p.m. and tickets available at  are $60 for a limited time before the price rises to $70.

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A star Sri Lankan-born chef is visiting this Ottawa this weekend and serving a special six-course dinner inspired by his homeland Friday and Saturday nights at Dhruvees in New Edinburgh. The meal from Chaminda Ambagaspitiye, now the executive chef at the REAL District in Regina, Sask., will include papadum corn with a ginger pineapple froth, stuffed peppers with turmeric rice, pandan chicken with curry sauce, tuna with a savoury imbul kiribath, “egg-hoppers” with sous-vide egg and watalappam with spicy cardamom glaze. Vegetarian options are available. The cost for dinner is $77 per person and reservations for tables after 5:30 p.m. each night can be made by calling 613-744-7888 or at


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The Idle Hands Art, Craft & Vintage sale is back this year after a pandemic hiatus, and it’s a perfect opportunity to kick off your holiday shopping and support local businesses at the same time. The meticulously curated show brings more than 50 indie artists, crafters and vintage vendors from Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto together under one roof for one day. The focus is on top-quality, original products, including artwork, jewelry, clothing, furniture, home decor, toys, edible delights and more. The show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St. Anthony’s Hall, 523 St. Anthony St., off Preston. Admission is $5.,

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