Looking for fun and easy alternatives to your virtual book club meeting, online happy hour or family Zoom chat? Or are you planning an online get-together for a special occasion, holiday party or teambuilding event? Virtual activities like trivia, wine tastings and cooking classes are a few of the many options offered by Ottawa-based innovators. Stay connected with friends, family or co-workers near and far with these entertaining virtual experiences.
Create a bonding experience with your group by taking a virtual cooking class together.
- C’est Bon Cooking: In addition to socially distanced in-person instruction, this ByWard Market-based cooking school offers online classes. Sign up for a group or private session. Before the class, you’ll receive a list of equipment and ingredients. Then, over Zoom, chef Georges will walk you through dishes such as sautéed shrimp with tomato and garlic coulis, or black bean and root vegetable stew.
- Rebels in the Kitchen: Chef Rawan Al Wadaa presents private online cooking lessons largely focused on Lebanese specialties, such as falafel, shawarma and kibbeh. Before the class, you’ll get a grocery and equipment list, along with instructions.
- The Urban Element: Choose from a wide range of online classes, such as sessions on holiday cookies, Thai food or Québécois tourtière. The price includes all the ingredients you need, which will be delivered in advance to your home. You can usually also add on goodies such as appetizers, dessert and wine.
- The Cultural Kitchen: Chef María Amalia Garza shares the flavours of her native Mexico—as well as many other countries, including Thailand and Spain—via online cooking instruction for small groups. She can customize sessions for birthday parties, team-building and other events.
Raise a glass
Fire up your video-conferencing program, open your bottles, stage an online happy hour and share your tasting notes, all without having to pick a designated driver.
- Brew Donkey: Plan a virtual private tour of Ottawa breweries—a great option for corporate or personal online gatherings of 15 people or more! The live events feature inside info on the beer-making process, a virtual tour of each local craft brewery, and a Q&A session with representatives. The online platform also allows participants to video mingle at virtual “tables”. Beer suggestions are provided and Ontario-based participants can request matching beer delivery through Brew Donkey.
- Montgomery Scotch Lounge: An oatmeal café by day, this small Old Ottawa South spot becomes a scotch lounge by night. You can order flights of single malts for at-home tastings, for pickup or for delivery. The bar will even lend each household special glasses and a tasting board.
- Savvy Company: This specialty provider puts together regularly changing Savvy Care Packages featuring Ontario wines, ciders, craft beers and more—many not available in retail outlets. Some packages include admission to exclusive online events, such as a virtual tasting with a sommelier. For extra fun, you could sign up for Savvy’s cheese-of-the-month club, featuring all-Canadian cheeses.
- Bar From Afar: Recreate the feeling of sipping craft cocktails at a trendy bar with this company’s home-delivered kits, which include liquor, mixes, garnishes and even ice. Open up a video chat, get out your cocktail shakers, and compare your successes in whipping up drinks like spiced pear sours or mango margaritas. For a full party experience, you can also order appetizers and full meals from MyCateringGroup.
Show off your trivia chops
If you’re an ace at Trivial Pursuit or Jeopardy!, round up your fellow factoid fans for a game of virtual pub trivia. These can be great teambuilding events for your office!
- Outside the Box Trivia: Teams of up to six people can sign up for a weekly Saturday night online game featuring six rounds of questions, each with a secret theme. You can also book a private event with some questions tailored to your group.
- Trivia Hall of Fame: This company has run live pub games across Ottawa for more than 20 years. Now, it has taken the fun online, offering customized trivia parties for private groups on Zoom, as well as twice-weekly Facebook Live games.
Enjoy a show
Why not invite some friends to attend an online concert, play or other live performance, and then chat about it afterward over text, video chat or even an old-school conference call? Here are some great places to find the latest livestreams.
- Live Music Lovers Ottawa: This account posts lots of links to online (and real world) concerts by a wide range of Ottawa bands and musicians.
- La Nouvelle Scène: This downtown theatre is presenting a diverse schedule of real-world and virtual performances for audiences of all ages, including plays for adults and storytelling events for kids. Most are in French, but there are some English shows, too.
- National Arts Centre: The NAC presents English, French and Indigenous productions. Through its #CanadaPerforms series, the centre is livestreaming theatre, music, dance and other types of shows—from its own stages and from venues across the country.
- GCTC: This theatre in the Wellington West neighbourhood is offering some creative ways to access cutting-edge theatre, such as tickets to online audio performances of classic Canadian plays.
- Ottawa Symphony Orchestra: The group invites you to watch and listen to videos of recorded concerts, and keep informed about their special upcoming online or live events.
- Michael the Magician: Ottawa magician Michael Bourada has logged five national tours and more than 4,000 shows over the last 20 years—he’s even performed on TV with Penn and Teller. These days, he’s entertaining audiences online and even offering virtual magic classes.
Other fun virtual gathering options
From dance clubs and escape rooms to spa days and date nights, Ottawa promoters are finding cool ways to bring the experience right to your home.
- Escape Manor: While still running real-world, socially distanced experiences in locations across Ottawa, this entertainment organizer is also offering online escape adventures where people in multiple households can collaborate.
- Party in a Box: Plan a memorable virtual event by sending participants carefully assembled boxes containing items such as glassware, a curated playlist, snacks, drinks, and access to a virtual photobooth. Many local Ottawa products and custom options are available. Themed packages include corporate and team building, partnerships and fundraising, celebrations, and more.
- Little Ray’s Nature Centre: This local animal sanctuary offers several “Zoo-Zoom” online experiences including private live tours, live shows, birthday parties, field trips, corporate events and educational sessions.
- Funny Business: The talent providers for Yuk Yuk’s Ottawa comedy club can make your personal or corporate event memorable (and hilarious!) with their virtual “hire a comic” option.
- Arthur Murray, Dance with Alana, Broadway Workout and Moov Ottawa: These are among the dance studios offering online classes for social dancing like swing and salsa, solo styles like tap, hip hop and jazz, as well as private options.
- Flowers Talk Tivoli: Join an online workshop about the art of working with plants and flowers. Learn about floral arrangements, terrariums, planters and centrepieces. Private options available.