INTERNATIONAL BUSKER FESTIVAL (FREE!)
Jugglers, comedians, storytellers, fire-eaters, magicians, musicians, clowns, and many other strange and wonderful performers convene on the Sparks Street Mall for five days of outdoor entertainment. This year’s acts include Peter Rabbit, who performed on Kanye West’s College Dropout Tour, and contortionist Bendy Em, a national gymnast from Australia. Don’t forget to bring plenty of change to drop into the hats of those who most tickle your fancy. Thursday, Aug. 2, until Monday, Aug. 6. Sparks Street Mall, www.sparksstreetmall.com.
RIDEAU CANAL FESTIVAL
Party it up for the Rideau Canal’s 180th anniversary (and the fifth anniversary of its UNESCO World Heritage Site designation), featuring tons of activities for the whole family: live music, a flotilla, fireworks, and lots more. Festival goers will even get free cupcakes, because it’s not a party unless there are baked goods around. The festival will close with Colonel By Day at the Bytown Museum. We should all have this big a party when we turn 180. Friday, Aug. 3, to Sunday, Aug. 5. Full festival passport $10 or $20 for families. Some activities free. Dow’s Lake Pavilion, 1001 Queen Elizabeth Dr., and Bytown Museum, 1 Canal Lane, www.rideaucanalfestival.ca.
WORLD PRESS PHOTO 12 (FREE!)
A thought-provoking collection of press photos will be shown at the Canadian War Museum beginning this Friday. Creative and high-quality photojournalism can inspire, spark discussion, and draw attention to otherwise overlooked events. This exhibition includes 160 photographs, including many shot during recent or ongoing military conflicts. Friday, Aug. 3, to Sunday, Aug. 26. Canadian War Museum, 1 Vimy Place, www.warmuseum.ca.
URBAN ART SHOW (FREE!)
This annual outdoor artist-run festival showcases the original offerings of local artists and artisans. The new director is refocusing this year’s show toward the true meaning of urban art. They’ve called on local artists that represent urban culture and life as an artist in the city, either through their medium or their imagery. Swing by this weekend to support local arts and pick up something cool for your collection. Saturday, Aug. 4, 9 a.m. Minto Park, Elgin Street at Gilmour Street, www.urbanartshow.ca.
CASINO DU LAC-LEAMY SOUND OF LIGHT
Masters of creating brilliant colour and big sound in the night sky – their medium is fireworks – convene for five evenings of intense competition. Participants from around the world vie for bragging rights as they showcase spectacular pyrotechnics accompanied by music throughout the month of August. Now that’s a date night! Saturday, Aug. 4, and four later dates. $10 for general admission, children free. Casino du Lac-Leamy, 1 Boulevard du Casino, Gatineau, www.feux.qc.ca/en.
MOVE TO THE BEAT (FREE!)
Olympics lovers who couldn’t make it to jolly old England have the chance to get in on the fun here in Ottawa. This Sunday, Coca-Cola brings its “Move to the Beat” double decker bus tour to the capital. With it comes an Olympic-sized party, featuring interactive games, dance activities, and a free show by Hollerado and other acts. Sunday, Aug. 5 at noon. ByWard Market, 55 ByWard Market Square, www.movetothebeatcanada.ca/facebook.
24 HOUR LUMIÈRE PHOTO MARATHON (FREE!)
Love taking photos, or just challenging yourself? Join this photo marathon, presented by the Lumière Festival, and put your creativity, photography, and quick-thinking skills to the test. Contestants receive a card on Saturday with 10 different themes, and must return the next day at the same time with pictures representing each theme. The top three photographs in each category will be displayed at the Field House in Stanley Park the following weekend. Saturday, August 4 at noon, to Sunday, August 5, at noon. Starting point is the Eight Locks’ Flat, 191 Colonel By, www.lumiereottawa.com/24-hour-photo-marathon.