ARBORETUM LAUNCH PARTY
Don’t wait until September for a taste of this cool new boutique festival. Arboretum is hosting a reveal party and fundraiser this Thursday, ahead of its main event — an arts, music, and food festival to be held Sept. 15. Toronto acts Ohbijou and Sandro Perri have already been confirmed, and the rest of the line-up will be announced at the launch. Thursday, June 7, 9 p.m. Admission by donation. Babylon Nightclub, 311 Bank St., www.arboretumfestival.com.
It’s an all-out street party at this annual extravaganza that sees Westboro Village become a hub for arts and culture. Covering 10 city blocks, this year’s festival includes musical acts The Hidden Cameras, who will provide tunes for a dance party, and Steven Page of Barenaked Ladies fame. There will also be an “Ottawa Day” that promotes local talent, such as teen band Riot Police and a 100-person choir called the Ottawa Big Soul Project. Not confined to the stage, the fest also boasts activities for families with On the Street programming that ranges from roaming performers to games. June 8, 5 p.m., to June 10, 10:30 p.m. Richmond Road, www.westfest.ca.
THE SECRET GARDEN
This enchanting story has always been a kid-favourite, and now it can be seen live in a magical stage production. The Secret Garden tells the story of two children, Mary and Colin, who discover a secret door to a hidden garden. Along their journey they find friendship, belonging, and learn lessons about family. Wednesday, June 6, to Sunday, June 10, various times. $29, seniors $24, students $20, kids $16. The Gladstone Theatre, 910 Gladstone Ave., www.9th-hour.ca.
THE MUSIC OF ABBA PERFORMED BY RAJATON
ABBA’s legendary pop music has inspired musicals and movies, and now can be experienced all over again, live in Ottawa. Finnish a cappella ensemble Rajaton will be performing the greatest hits by the Swedish band this weekend at the National Arts Centre. Dancing queens welcome, of course. Thursday, June 7, to Saturday, June 9, 8 p.m. $20-$95, students $11-$49. Southam Hall, National Arts Centre, 53 Elgin St., www.nac-cna.ca.
The Rainbow’s second annual retro pin-up model search is being combined with a blues concert this time around. Canadian blues legend JW-Jones will be performing at the Rainbow this Friday to celebrate the release of his seventh album, aptly named Seventh Hour. Jones recorded this album in his very own living room and teamed up with multi-Juno-Award-winning producer Steve Dawson. Friday, June 8, 9 p.m. $15. The Rainbow Bistro, 76 Murray St., www.therainbow.ca.
ORLÉANS ART TOUR (FREE!)
For the sixth time, east end artists are opening their studios to the public for a free exhibition. Nineteen unique artists have created pieces that range from paintings of landscapes and portraits, to abstracts, mixed media, photography, and work in soapstone. This annual event gives Ottawans the chance to support local artists in a friendly, relaxed environment. Saturday, June 9, and Sunday, June 10, 10 a.m. Various artists’ studios in Orléans and Blackburn Hamlet, see website for details www.oast.ca.
INGRID VENINGER FILM FESTIVAL
The Canadian Film Institute is celebrating the career of Canadian independent filmmaking legend Ingrid Veninger with a series of screenings this weekend. Veninger has written, directed, produced, edited, and acted in dozens of films, after beginning her career as a young actress on a CBC show. Thursday’s screening will be followed by a reception with the artist herself, and the launch of the latest book in the Film Institute’s series, Intimacies: The Cinema of Ingrid Veninger. Thursday, June 7, until Saturday, June 9, 7 p.m. $12, seniors, students, members $8. Auditorium of Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington St., www.cfi-icf.ca.
Support a good cause and give your little ones an exciting day. Loud horns, big trucks, and flashing sirens may sound like a headache for parents, but kids will no doubt love the chance to see a huge variety of trucks up close. Sunday, June 10, 10 a.m. $6. Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre, 2525 Carling Ave., www.mothercraft.com.