Kitchissippi Q & A: Roll out the barrel

Q: A few years ago there were rain barrels for sale at Dovercourt. Do you know if this will be happening again this year?

A: We’ve had a rain barrel for years, and I love it. Rain barrels capture and store rainwater (chlorine- and fluoride-free!) from downspouts. It’s great for flower pots, vegetables, lawns, shrubs and trees. It also helps conserve water during the hot dry months and reduces runoff when it rains.


The rain barrel sale you mentioned was a few years ago, and it was organized by the Westboro Community Association (WCA) as part of their annual Wild Wild Westboro garage sale, which takes place outdoors at Dovercourt every spring. (Get the details about it in the community calendar on page 15.)  They aren’t selling rain barrels this year, but you can obtain one from the Ottawa Riverkeeper. Rain barrels are $55 each and orders must be placed in advance, either online at or by calling 613-321-1120. They’ll be ready for pick up at Elmdale Public School (49 Iona Street), on Saturday, May 10 from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. Funds raised will support the upcoming Stormwater Education Campaign in both Ottawa and Gatineau.

I love what Ottawa Riverkeeper and Executive Director Meredith Brown had to say about it in a recent email: “This is a really easy first step homeowners can take to reduce the impacts of stormwater on our river,” writes Brown. “I challenge you to take this one small action to help make swimmable, drinkable, fishable water a reality because we all drink water from the Ottawa River.”

When ordering barrels from the Riverkeeper, you can select the colour and model of their rain barrel, and add any accessories, such as downspout diverters and rain barrel stands. Each barrel is equipped with all the parts needed to put it together, so you can start collecting water right away. It’s really easy.

These rain barrels have been recycled too, which is pretty neat. Originally used to transport fruits and vegetables, they have been repurposed to be used as rain barrels. They will  last for years. Purchasing a barrel will save you some pocket money and help the Ottawa River, an important part of our local culture and heritage.

Thanks for your question!

Andrea Tomkins,

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