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THE WEEKENDER: Cirque du Soleil, Toopy and Binoo, harvesting energy, and four more ways to enjoy a sunny long weekend

DARK TIMBER BY ANNA WILLIAMS (FREE!)
Discover your connection to animals through this sculptural mixed-media installation. The young Canadian artist is quickly gaining notoriety for her skilled craftsmanship with metals and her intriguing cultural insights; her realistic creations prompt consideration about what society has lost in its transition from nature to modern culture. Thursday, Oct. 6 to Sunday, Nov. 20. Karsh-Masson Gallery, 136 St. Patrick St. www.ottawa.ca

Michael Jackson the Immortal World Tour by Cirque du Soleil. ©2010 Cirque du Soleil inc.

MICHAEL JACKSON THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR
Two fantastical worlds collide in this new show by Cirque du Soleil. On one hand you’ve got the incredible music of a pop legend, and on the other the bizarre, otherworldly acts of modern circus performers. When the two meet, it can only be magic. Friday, Oct. 7 to Sunday, Oct. 9. 8 p.m. From $50. Scotiabank Place, 1000 Paladium Dr. www.scotiabankplace.com

PERTH AUTUMN STUDIO TOUR (FREE!)
Take a drive to the charming town of Perth for this annual arts event, which showcases a selection of contemporary fine arts and crafts. Visit 20 artists in eight rural studios —beautiful craftsmanship abounds with works that include jewellery, etchings, canoes, pottery, furniture, stone sculpture, and wood carvings. Saturday, Oct. 8 to Monday, Oct. 10. Various locations; see website for map. www.perthstudiotour.com

TOOPY AND BINOO AND THE MARSHMALLOW MOON
On this weekend that’s all about family, your kids will love the kooky adventures of these fun-loving characters. The live production follows Toopy and Binoo, telling their stories through music, theatre, dance, puppetry, and multimedia. Saturday, Oct. 8. 1 p.m. From $29. National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 54 Elgin St. www.nac-can.ca

JAPAN: TRADITION. INNOVATION
After the devastating earthquake and tsunami that shook Japan in March, the country earned a place in the hearts and minds of people around the world. This weekend is the last chance to check out the comprehensive exhibit that looks at the Land of the Rising Sun through five key areas — travel, robotics, social status, consumer culture, and entertainment. Until Monday, Oct. 10. $12, seniors and students $10, children (3 to 12) $8. Museum of Civilization, 100 Laurier St. www.civilization.ca

HARVESTING ENERGY AT THE CANADA AGRICULTURE MUSEUM
Celebrate the holiday with this educational exhibit that invites visitors to see renewable energy in action through the museum’s newest outdoor display, Energy Park: Nature at Work. At this time of year, many Canadian farms are harvesting the food crops that will sustain us throughout the winter. Get an inside look at, and a better understanding of, how these farms produce energy from sources such as the sun and wind. Saturday, Oct. 8 to Monday, Oct. 10. $7, seniors and students $6, children (3 to 14) $4, children under 3 free. Canada Agriculture Museum, 861 Prince of Wales Dr. http://agriculture.technomuses.ca/

OTTAWA FALL COLOURS RACES
Lace up your sneakers for Ottawa Fall Colours runs. About 2,000 runners will set the pace for the races, which include full and half marathon events, a marathon relay, and 3km, 5km, and 10km courses — as well as the “most excellent turkey trot” (a 1km event for kids). The certified course is considered an official qualifier for the Boston and New York City Marathons. Instead of trekking through the big city, runners compete in a peaceful rural setting — a turn of the century village done up for Thanksgiving. Family events are scheduled to take place on the grounds of the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum. See website for registration fees and start times; race day registration restricted. Sunday, Oct. 9. Races start at 10 a.m. Cumberland Heritage Village Museum, 2940 Old Montreal Rd., Cumberland. http://somersault.ca