Kitchissippi Reads: It’s a non-fiction pick for this “news junkie” 

By Andrea Tomkins – 

Those of us who enjoyed the SJAM Winter Trail along the Ottawa River this past winter probably already know that Kitchissippi’s Dave Adams, also known as Groomer Dave, was instrumental in its planning and upkeep. The snow melted long ago, but it doesn’t mean that Dave is resting on his laurels.

Kitchissippi Times caught up with Dave Adams at Gifford Automotive. Photo by Andrea Tomkins

The groomer (not Dave the groomer, but the Ski-Doo, a.k.a. the towing unit) is currently getting a tune up at Gifford Automotive on McRae Avenue, but the summer months are not just about equipment prep. There are also strategy sessions for a fundraising campaign to launch in the fall, which will hopefully build on the momentum that has been generated to date. Dave has big plans for the future of Kitchissippi’s newest recreational winter trail.

“I want to make [the trail] bigger and better every year,” says Dave. “I also want to make the trail sustainable. Right now we have a volunteer staff, and we’re cobbling together a grooming program and trying to prove ourselves. This year we’ve shown the potential of the trail. Now we just want to build upon that.”

Happily, this is not an “all work and no play” situation for Dave and there is still time to read.

Dave gravitates towards non-fiction and contemporary political histories. Biographies are a special favourite; so is news. “I’m a practical guy,” laughs Dave. “I’m kind of a news junkie.”

The New York Times is at the top of his news reading list. In fact, it was the election of President Donald Trump that drove him to make the leap to paying subscriber. His book recommendations come from similar high-level sources – the CBC and The Globe and Mail – and he enjoys reading both paper and electronic books.

Dave is currently reading a book he borrowed from the Ottawa Public Library called, Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel.

“It follows four servicemen coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq, and their six-month tour of duty,” describes Dave. He points out that the ones who make it home have a mountain to overcome. “These were perfectly sane people, and then they returned permanently scarred,” he says.

“The introduction is written by my hero, Canadian Romeo Dallaire and the prologue is written by [CBC radio host and journalist] Carol Off,” he says. He is a keen admirer of both. Dave takes a moment to read a favourite paragraph from Carol Off’s introduction out loud:

“War –and its carefully disguised sister, peacekeeping – is an encounter with evil. Those who are exposed to it see the worst of what humans are capable of, and they learn what they themselves are capable of, all in the most extreme circumstances. It changes you forever. And it’s almost impossible for families to understand what afflicts these returning troops.”

It’s not light reading, that’s for certain, but as a self-described news and political junkie, it seems to fit the bill for Dave.

SJAM fans are encouraged to stay tuned to the official trail website at for fundraising info and other seasonal updates as they arise.

This post is part of our annual summer reads issue. Read all of our 2017 profiles right here.

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