Looking back on an eventful year

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
– Søren Kierkegaard

It may seem odd that we’re mulling over the words of a 19th century Danish philosopher and theologian as we move into a brand new year, but they’re worth sharing. It’s always good to have a quick look back before we lurch forward.

These twelve excerpts from the past year highlight what Kitchissippi was all about, what defined and connected us, and perhaps they will help guide our future together as we move into a new year.

As always, we love to hear from our readers. What would you like to see more of in 2014? What kind of community should we strive to become as we “live forwards”? Send your thoughts to editor@kitchissippi.com. Don’t forget to include your full name and contact information.

January

Area schools bursting

Well over one hundred parents attended the Ottawa Carleton District School Board’s Near West Accommodation Review meeting on January 23 at Fisher Park PS.

Both Devonshire Community Public School and Elmdale Public School are currently operating at over capacity. Devonshire is at 112% and Elmdale is at 166%. The Board offered four possible short-term solutions at these French Immersion schools for September 2013. A more extensive review is in place to come up with solutions for September 2014 and beyond. (From the January 31 issue.)

February

Project Stove, Guatemala bound

“Imagine yourself living inside your fireplace,” says Westboro’s Karen Secord, “with creosote dripping from the ceiling in a hut with no running water, no windows and a dirt floor.” This is the state of homes Secord has visited in Guatemala.

Secord left on February 9 for a three week visit to rural Guatemala with a six person team of volunteers for her second trip to help indigenous people in remote villages build stoves for themselves as part of the Guatemala Stove Project. (From the February 14 issue.)

March

Celebrating 10 years strong

Westfest is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, running from June 6-9 inclusive. Great things await the approximately one hundred thousand people who typically attend Westfest each year.

A large and enthusiastic crowd gathered at Westboro Clocktower Brew Pub on March 22 for the official unveiling of this year’s Westfest program. (From the March 28 issue.)

April

WEB-TrevorPritchard-Edit-blanksign
Investigative neighbourhood blogger Trevor Pritchard at Hintonburg Park. 
Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen

Write where you live

Pritchard, 33, is an associate producer with CBC Radio in Ottawa and an editor with local arts and culture website, Apartment613. He is one of a dozen bloggers from Whitehorse to St. John’s who have been chosen to write about the changes and challenges facing the Canadian neighbourhoods they call home, in a new series entitled Hyperlocal launched on April 3.

“We’re all telling stories about our neighborhoods, what’s changing, how things are evolving for the good or the worse,” says Pritchard, who has been keeping a close eye on the local scene for years.

Hyperlocal is a five-week project to collect stories from all over Canada. Along with the twelve professional bloggers who will be submitting weekly stories, anyone can submit their story in the form of text, photos, audio or video. The goal is to spark a national conversation about our changing environment.
(From the April 11 issue.)

May

ArtsPark: The urban village fair turns ten

To celebrate 10 years of Hintonburg’s now famous ArtsPark, we caught up with Charles Reynolds, one of the founding members of the Hintonburg Community Association’s arts committee who envisioned and created the free, low-key festival celebrating art, craft, music, poetry, dance, theatre and neighbours. Now living in his great-grandfather’s renovated 1898 country home in Hartland, New Brunswick, Reynolds described the festival’s beginnings.
“Initially it was kind of spur of the moment,” said Reynolds. “We had established the notion of an Arts district in Hintonburg and we knew there were lots of artists in the neighbourhood, so we made some arrangements with Parkdale Market. I also remember chaos and being in the park at 5:30 am to close the streets. But it all magically came about. Everyone who participated was well pleased.” (From the May 9 issue.)

June

Retelling his lyrical neighbourhood

Blaine Marchand sits in the dining room of The Bagel Shop on Wellington West, recounting the days when the room we are sitting in served as a funeral home. “That was the chapel back there (he points to the kitchen and line of people ordering coffee and toasted bagels). If you look at the window at the back you can see it’s like a church window.”

It is Marchand’s ability to look back into the past which has inspired his latest work: a series of prose poems that explore Wellington West the way he remembers it as a child growing up in the 50s and 60s. (From the June 20 issue.)

July

Transitway bus diversion impacts everyone

Plans to redirect buses from the Transitway to Scott Street during light rail construction must address local area impacts, residents told organizers at an information night on June 18.

The meeting, held at the Hintonburg Community Centre, responds to concerns over a plan that would send some 300 Transitway buses per hour, at peak times, along residential Scott Street. (From the July 4 issue.)

August

“I think there’s a lot that we can learn about what works and what doesn’t work from studying the results of (Pierre Elliot) Trudeau’s career,” says West Wellington author, historian and policy consultant, Bob Plamondon.

Popular yet controversial – just like its subject who is consistently ranked as both Canada’s most favourite and least favourite Canadian – The Truth about Trudeau has garnered Plamondon interviews in newspapers, on political shows across the country.

“The book isn’t a rant and I don’t look at his personal life,” says Plamondon, who hopes his book will spark a genre of evidence-based examinations of the careers and policies of our politicians so that we can learn what has and hasn’t worked. (From the August 1 issue.)

(The Truth About Trudeau was published by Great River Media which also publishes the Kitchissippi Times.)

September

by Anita Grace
Friends Alecia O’Brien (left) and Amanda Taylor, holding son Graham (3 months), appreciate that the community event has appeal for kids and adults alike. Photo by Anita Grace

Music and Friends at Music in the Park

On Sunday, September 15, more than 200 people gathered in McKellar Park to enjoy a free open-air concert.

“I think this is awesome,” said Amanda Thompson, who brought her two sons to the park from their home just a block away. “I like anything that gets the community together.”

Event organizer Patti Church said she had always wanted to bring music to this beautiful park. When her daughter Kayla introduced her to Craig Cardiff’s indie folk music, she knew that he was the perfect musician for this event. She also asked her friend and fellow Kitchissippi resident, singer/songwriter Lee Ann McLellan, to play the opening set. (From the September 26 issue.)

October

Going the distance

Close to 400 athletes participated in the inaugural Wellington Mile race on Thanksgiving Monday, October 14.

“The mile is historic,” said Samantha Calder-Sprackman, who was the first woman across the line in the first heat. She noted that it is a great distance for a community run as it brings together many levels of runners, from amateur to elite.

“Anyone can run a mile,” she said. The diversity of participants certainly proved her point. Warren Sloan completed the entire mile (1.6 kilometres) on crutches, not letting a broken leg hold him back. Blind runner Shelley Ann Morris ran with her guide and sister Colleen Bird. “What a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving, and be thankful for good health,” she said. Many families also took advantage of the achievable distance to introduce their kids to timed races. (From the October 24 issue.)

November

All’s Well in the West End: Excitement builds for community co-operative

A new community-owned café and organic grocery will be part of the streetscape on Wellington St. West next spring. The West End Well Co-op will also offer a coffeehouse-type performance space, cooking, yoga and other classes, and even a library, say the co-operative’s co-founders, a group of residents who decided the time was right to create a place for people interested in environmental sustainability to connect with and support their community.

The centre will operate as a social enterprise, using a business model to achieve social objectives, explained West End Well co-founder Bill Shields at one of the co-op’s information sessions. “We wanted it to have its own self-sustaining economic engine; we didn’t want to be relying on grants that came and went.” (From the November 7 issue.)

December

Going beyond the classroom

Shauna Pollock is passionate about preparing her students for the 21st century. In recognition of her dedication and avant-garde approach, the Churchill Alternative School teacher recently received the Prime Minister’s Teaching Award for Excellence.

Churchill principal Megan Egerton describes Pollock as a teacher who “puts in 150%” and who is “preparing kids for the 21st century by integrating the technologies that are available now.”

“She is constantly looking for ways to engage and improve,” Egerton adds. For example, Pollock is using the money she received with the award to attend the Google in Education Montreal Summit where she will learn about even more ways to integrate new apps and technology in her classroom.
(From the December 5 issue.)

These are just some of the threads that bind us together. There were many more stories that unfolded in 2013, and this list barely scratches the surface of the hundreds of articles about area development, local businesses, cultural events, and charitable causes.

If you’d like to view all of the 2013 issues in one place, they are all archived right here.

 

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