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 in-person instruction, this ByWard Market-based cooking school offers online classes (group or private sessions are available). Before the class, you’ll receive a list of equipment and ingredients. Then, over Zoom, chef Georges will walk you through preparing the dishes.
- 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: Both locations of Oat Couture Oatmeal Cafe focus on oat-based dishes by day, and transform into a scotch lounge at night. You can pre-order flights of single malts and pick them up for at-home tastings. The bar will even lend each household special glasses and a tasting board. Contact the lounge to organize in advance.
- 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 or cheese fondue party. 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..
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. The experience features full chat and video.
- 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 weekly public Zoom 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 local account posts lots of links to online (and real world) concerts by a wide range of Ottawa bands and musicians.
- 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.
- Music & Beyond: This festival hosts several virtual events throughout the year based on a variety of themes.
- 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.
- Dance with Alana, Broadway Workout and KV Dance Studio 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 fitness and private options.
- City of Ottawa virtual programs: The city offers dozens of online, interactive classes for kids, youth, adults and seniors which are all meant to promote physical and mental well-being. Options include fitness, cooking, arts, games and socializing events.
- 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.