The Ottawa Children’s Festival wants to ROCK your community!

Ottawa Children’s Festival Contest – #OCFRocks PHOTO: SARAH AND HENRY HAMLIN

By Joni Hamlin

The Ottawa Children’s Festival exists to surround young people with excellence in performing arts that excite their instinctive creativity, their boundless imaginations and encourage individual expression.

Join us May 8–12 as we celebrate the world’s finest performing arts for young audiences and their families.

Our 34th festival lineup consists of highly acclaimed Canadian and international productions from across the globe.

They Called Her Vivaldi is the story of a girl named Cecilia Maria, called Vivaldi by many for her musical gifts, and her father, Edward M. Haberdasher, who makes her a hat which she calls Capello. Through the eyes and ears of this gifted young girl, the audience goes on an adventure to discover the gifts and talents hidden within the town of Triste. (Ireland, ages 7+)

Fly is a poetic journey into a circus universe with strange characters, big emotions and captivating puppet imagery. (Denmark, ages 5+)

Kaschtanka, a young dog, loses her master and cannot find her way back home. George, a circus clown and trainer, discovers Kaschtanka on the street and takes her to become a member of his unusual circus troupe. Together with a goose, a cat and a pig, they live a life of adventure, thrill and fame. Curtains up for a piece of world literature for kids with live music, real actors and incredible tricks. Immerse yourself in the world of circus! (Germany, ages 7+)

With puppetry and animation, the story of A MANO is brought to life with only clay and fingers. Young or old, this amazing show will captivate your interest. Countless lessons on the value of friendship, love and sympathy guide us to the most important things in life. A MANO is a must see! Let this little terracotta adventure take you by the hand and lead you on a journey to a unique little world! (Spain, ages 6+)

Andy Cannon, Scotland’s beloved performer for young audiences, brings Shakespeare to Ottawa with Is This a Dagger? The Story of Macbeth. A one-man show with a compact set and original music, Cannon provides plenty of entertainment as he transforms from one character to the next. This compelling and critically acclaimed adaptation makes understanding and appreciating Shakespearean literature fun and easy for everyone! (Scotland, ages 8+)

Paper Planet, a beautiful, gentle installation, is filled with tall, strange cardboard trees, paper leaves, boulders, birds and creatures. The artists aid children with their creations and explore the intersection between play and performance in this evolving world, accompanied by a live soundscape that transports everyone deeper and deeper into this fantastical shared creation! (Australia, all ages)

Les Parfaits inconnus is an adventure through the circus arts where comedy, acrobatics, imbalance and juggling come together to the rhythm of live music. Seven crazy characters carry us through a rock ’n’ roll performance for an hour of delirium! (Quebec, all ages)

The main festival site is located outdoors at Lebreton Flats Park where you’ll find lots of activities on site to keep the kids entertained. Confirmed animators include Cirque du Soleil, Altitude Gym, Miss Mills’ Puppet Workshop, Kromatik face painting, Archery Games, Salsa Kids, Pedalheads, Let’s Talk Science, Zorbs, Little Ray’s Reptiles, Springfree Trampolines, Tim Holmes, Orbital Talent with their “Alice in Funderland Tea Party” and much more to discover!

For the second year in a row, Nature Canada will be celebrating World Migratory Bird Day at our festival on Saturday, May 11.

Buy your tickets, pack a picnic (or visit one of our food vendors) and spend a magical day at the Ottawa Children’s Festival (group rates also available).

CONTEST! During the month of April through the first week of May, we are holding a contest in your community called #OCFRocks. It is twofold; first, you might win a family pass to our festival by painting a rock and writing our hashtag #OCFRocks on it. Then simply hide it in your local park and share a photo of it on social media, tagging us. Second, we will be placing special rocks in neighbourhood parks.

Help spread a little joy in your neighbourhood. Kids who find a rock will also have a chance to win. Full details are on our website under “Events” and “Community Contests.”

The purpose of this project is to celebrate creativity, inclusion and the importance of community. Please visit for more details and to purchase tickets.

I would love to hear directly from you and help you plan a day with us! You can reach me at

Hope to see you at the Festival!

Joni Hamlin is a media marketing coordinator with the Ottawa Children’s Festival de la jeunesse. She animates workshops, performs outreach in communities, and coordinates media and marketing needs. When her children were young, she volunteered in their school, local community centres and with community activities.

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