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Kitchissippi year in review (2017 edition!)

By Anita Grace – 

2017 was a year of big news: Floods, fires, Donald Trump. But while these headlines grab our attention and sometimes keep us up at night, there are other things happening here in this community that we call home.

Here’s where we look back on the year that was: a year in which local businesses banded together and rallied the community to help homeless women; arts and music festivals closed the streets and gathered us together outdoors; the local restaurants expanded, won awards, or opened their doors for the first time. This was a year the community debated grassland that may be paved over, parking and transit issues, and, of course, infill and development. 2017 was also the year that many community newspapers suffered a blow, but we will continue to share Kitchissippi’s stories as long as you are reading them.

As we begin a new year, here’s a look back on our cover stories of 2017. Is there anything we covered that you’re still wondering about, or stories you want us to write about in 2018? Let us know. Send an email to editor@kitchissippi.com. And from all of us at Kitchissippi Times, Happy New Year!

[Click on the links below for the full story.]

November 23
Shoppers encouraged to ‘pay it forward’

On November 24, on what is commonly known as Black Friday, eight Wellington West businesses encouraged people to ‘pay it forward.’ They handed out tote bags and asked clients to fill them with items which would be given to women served by Cornerstone Women’s Shelter and The Caldwell Family Centre.

Kitchissippi shoppers are encouraged to give back to the community with a “Pay it Forward” campaign. Grab a tote bag, fill it for women in need, and drop it off at a participating retailer in exchange for a special gift.  Photo by Ellen Bond

Christina Ballhorn of Flock Boutique, Renee Morr and Sophie Beaudoin of Viens Avec Moi Boutique, Reginé Paquette of Victoire, and Bridget Remai of Flock Boutique encouraged residents to fill a tote bag for women in need. Photo by Ellen Bond

“We feel like it’s important to help women in need,” explained Laura Twiss, co-owner of Twiss and Weber. “If we help women, we help our community to be stronger.” The other participating businesses were Viens Avec Moi, Bloomfields Flowers, Muriel Dombret, Victoire, Kindred, JV Studios, and Flock. Shout out as well to the Wellington West BIA for their support helping print the bags and spread the word.

Sue Garvey, Executive Director of Cornerstone Women’s shelter, says the initiative had many positive impacts. “For the women themselves, to receive gifts like this is a reminder that people out there care, that they’re not alone.”

As Cornerstone will open a new location in the former Jeanne d’Arc Institute in Westboro this summer, Sue says this initiative also helps make the women, and the organization, feel welcome in what will be their new neighbourhood.

Laura says about 75 percent of the bags handed out were returned to the participating businesses and were filled with “really beautiful, thoughtful, and useful gifts.”

The ‘Pay it Forward’ initiative will be back in 2018, hopefully with a few more participating businesses and even more tote bags in circulation. The merchants are also hoping to generate more of a community buzz by engaging schools, bloggers, and others, to help spread the word.

“It’s very exciting,” says Sue, who looks forward to continuing to build relationships with Kitchissippi businesses and residents.

November 9
Five things about the new Executive Director of the WWBIA

Dennis Van Staalduinen became Executive Director of the Wellington West Business Improvement Area (WWBIA) in October. The business consultant and thespian is already well known in the community, and to the thousands of followers of @denvan on Twitter. So familiar is he with Wellington West that Dennis says taking on this role in an association he helped found was “like coming home.”

Meet Dennis Van Staalduinen: Longtime Kitchissippi resident, marketing consultant, performer, family man, and more. Photo by Ted Simpson

“I love this street. I love these neighbourhoods. I’m inspired every day by the store owners and the entrepreneurs I meet.”

WWBIA represents over 600 businesses and property owners, and Dennis helps with beautification, street management, funding, and other concerns. But he also says it’s important to him that the BIA is not so much a commercial entity as it is a “good neighbour.”

What’s planned for the year ahead? “Keep doing what works,” says Dennis, adding that he is always looking for new opportunities to build networks and connections.

In case you are curious about what happened to the 12-foot dragon Dennis was building when we last checked in with him, he proudly reports it was a hit at the Orpheus production, SHREK The Musical, inspiring theatre critic Jamie Portman to suggest it launched “the audience on unexpected transports of delight.” Not bad for a backyard project and an inner ‘maker streak.’

October 26
Going for gold

In November, chef-owner Briana Kim of Café My House in Hintonburg was invited to compete at Ottawa’s prestigious Gold Medal Plates culinary competition.

“It was such an honour to be a part of the competition,” says Briana. “And it was great to be able to prove that hard work pays off.”

Photo of Chef Briana Kim by Ted Simpson.

Briana won the competition and will be representing Ottawa at the national event in Kelowna BC in February. She will be the only female chef among the 11 contestants and winning would make her only the second woman to capture the title.

She and her staff worked on their dish for months, a process which she says required a lot of commitment and dedication. But this commitment paid off, and now they are even more motivated to work harder to get ready for the national competition.

Patrons to the popular vegan restaurant in Hintonburg can try the winning dish on the Chef’s five-course tasting menu. Visit cafemyhouse.com to make reservations.

October 12
Prepare for a whole new view of Rochester Field

Rochester Field, currently an expanse of undeveloped grassland and footpaths, is facing an uncertain fate, although change is certain. What exactly that change will look like is still a matter of debate.

On October 4, Lucie Bureau, Acting Director of Planning and Federal Approvals at the National Capital Commission (NCC), delivered the Commission’s plans for redevelopment of Rochester Field to an unappreciative audience packed into the Van Lang Field House.

“This proposal mows over – paves over – everything,” remarked Lawrence Wolofsky.

Under a deal signed in 2015 with the City of Ottawa, the NCC has the right to develop Rochester Field. Two thirds are to be ‘general urban’ land use, and one third is to be retained as parkland. This deal was struck in exchange for the NCC land taken for the light rail project and to settle an outstanding Ontario Municipal Board appeal.

At the open house, residents heard plans to re-zone land north of Richmond Road in the area NCC wants to develop, which potentially could include buildings to a height of six storeys. NCC’s proposal also included a 15-metre wide pedestrian walkway to allow access to the river, as well as a new park that would have a public art garden and walking trails.

Concerns raised at the meeting ranged from the loss of trees, traffic and parking issues, to the proposed size and position of the buildings. Councillor Jeff Leiper has also since expressed concern that the “green corridor” promised by the NCC in the signed deal “is not, by any reasonable definition, evident in the current
park concept.”

In response to this proposal, Debra Huron of Champlain Park wrote to Kitchissippi Times, calling for “a two-year halt to infill in this ward while our community associations’ leaders and municipal councillor determine how to maintain the health and well-being of citizens into the next decade.”

An updated proposal from NCC, regarding Rochester field, is expected early in this year. The community will have opportunities to provide feedback to Councillor Leiper.

September 14
Who lives here? The house with the white picket fence

In 1991, Anne Hamilton purchased a small cottage-like home on Edison Avenue near Princeton for $131,000. At the time, the real estate agent warned her that the place lacked a basement, washer and dryer. “She obviously didn’t think that I’d be interested without those,” said Anne. “It obviously didn’t deter me.”

Our popular “Who Lives Here” series continued with a look at one of the original Westboro homes and its longtime owner. Photo by Andrea Tomkins

Anne fell in love with the home, which reminded her of her grandparent’s house. Over the years she has remodeled the bathroom and kitchen, created a cozy den and installed hardwood flooring. Renovation projects turned up a page of the Ottawa Evening Journal dating from 1908, placing construction of the house at the turn of the last century.

Anne has lived happily in her home for 26 years, enjoying the spacious backyard with her playful dog Katie, and the walkable lifestyle that Westboro offers. Does this sound like your perfect little  home? You are out of luck. “There is no offer that would attract me [to sell],” she says.

September 14
Meet this year’s West End Studio Tour artists

The annual West End Studio Tour is a great chance for Kitchissippi residents to get to know local artists and see where they work. This year we asked participating artists to describe each other, and the comments we received illustrate not only the talent of the artists, but the respect artists in our community have for one another.

Photographer Paul Wing was one of the artists on the 2017 West End Studio Tour. Photo by Andrea Tomkins

Photographer Paul Wing was one of the artists on the 2017 West End Studio Tour. Photo by Andrea Tomkins

“Walking into an Andrew King art exhibit is like walking into another world,” said Paul Wing.

“Paul’s work is truly wonderful, and I mean, ‘full of wonder’,” enthused Paula Zoubek of photographer Paul Wing.

David W. Jones’ “style is a refined distillation of formal study and over 35 years as a professional painter,” said Choleena DiTullio. “He’s done so much!”

“Visiting Paula [Mitas Zoubek] is always a joyful and thought-provoking celebration of everyday things,” wrote Deidre Hierlihy about the photographer and acrylic painter.

Margaret Chwialkowska’s palette-knife painting has “mastered a spontaneity and freshness that few other styles can match,” said Choleena DiTullio.

The West End Studio Tour is held annually in September. Stay tuned to westendstudiotour.ca for dates in 2018.

August 31
Raise a glass to Kitchissippi breweries

On September 16, Tastes of Wellington West embraced the craft beer craze that has been fermenting in Kitchissippi and beyond for the past few years. A Brewery Market at Hintonburg Park, and a Brew Donkey tour bus brought brewers to residents and residents to brewers.

It was a big year for local beer, and our local breweries and pubs were ready to pour a cold one or two during Tastes of Wellington West on September 16.
 Photo by Jacob Hoytema

“The concept behind the Brewery Market is that you come, and you can grab a beer from the person who’s actually brewing it, and who’s involved in the process, and who knows the most about that beer,” explained Taralyn Carver, who ran the event.

Meanwhile, the Brew Donkey bus took beer fans to three local breweries: Tooth and Nail, Vimy Brewing, and Beyond the Pale. And yes, we know that Beyond the Pale has moved from their flagship Hintonburg location to bigger digs across the O-Train tracks, but their heart is still local.

Many Kitchissippi pubs and restaurants are also proud supporters of local breweries. Most local breweries also offer tours and tastings.

August 17
Fill the streets, at Westboro FUSE

Westboro Fuse, the annual street party on Richmond Road, had almost 200 participating businesses on the August 26-27 weekend.

Produced in collaboration with the Westboro Village Business Improvement Area, Westboro Fuse offered free kids activities (climbing wall, bouncy castles, photos with princesses!), pop-up shops, live music and entertainment. With many restaurants and pubs taking advantage of the closed-to-traffic streets, there were also patios everywhere on which to catch a meal or a pint with friends.

MaryAnne Petrella is Manager and Buyer for Canopy (358 Richmond Rd.) and CIEL (285 Richmond Rd.) and is on the Westboro BIA Board of Directors and the FUSE event task force. She’s pictured here at Winston Square in Westboro.
Photo by Andrea Tomkins

MaryAnne Petrella, member of the BIA and Fuse event task force said they were “proud of our membership for coming out and wanting to be so involved.”

Notable events included Legend Records’ pop-up shop where people could buy, swap and sell vinyl records, Hot Holy Yoga inside All Saints United, and a pig roast in Winston Square. Local urban artist Robbie Lariviere joined as the director of ‘Artcatel’ to organize art pop-ups, muralists and workshops. Check out our special photo gallery right here.

August 3
A taste of the Maritimes at Spadina Dina

Mark McLaughlin brought a taste of the Maritimes to Hintonburg at his newly opened Spadina Dina on the corner of Spadina and Gladstone.

“I’ve got a lot of Maritimers coming in,” says Mark. “The donairs are flying right out the door.” (For those not in the know, donairs are shaved meat sandwiches served with a sweet garlic sauce.) Mark boasts that his is the only place he knows of which rolls out the bread in front of the customers. “People are loving it,” he says. “We’re getting rave reviews.”

Mark McLaughlin brought new food options to a former convenience store. Photo by Ellen Bond

Since the grand opening on October 24, Spadina Dina has been going full tilt. Mark has hired six staff, all of whom are from the Hintonburg area. The former Corner Express was fully renovated, and is continuing to evolve. The mostly grab n’ go menu of salads, stews and soups will expand in the coming months.

Already giving back to his community, Mark is supporting the Growing Futures initiative of the Parkdale Food Centre by sponsoring a hydroponic growing system and helping to educate local kids about growing and selling produce.

“There are a lot of wonderful people in this neighbourhood,” says Mark. “And I’m excited to feed them.”

July 20
Kitchisssippi reads

As per Kitchissippi Times tradition, this summer we checked in with a few local notables to see what was on their reading lists.

It was a non-fiction kind of summer for the Ottawa Riverkeeper Meredith Brown. Her book picks explored some of the issues she encounters on the job. Photo by Ted Simpson

It was a non-fiction kind of summer for the Ottawa Riverkeeper, Meredith Brown. Her book picks explored some of the issues she encounters on the job. Photo by Ted Simpson

Ottawa Riverkeeper Meredith Brown picked two Canadian non-fiction books for her summer reading: The Inconvenient Indian by Thomas King and One River by Wade Davis. She explained that the first might help her better understand the history of the Ottawa River and its connection to Indigenous peoples, while the second offered a look at the Amazon River in South America.

Carleton Raven’s basketball star forward Heather Lindsay was absorbed in Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. It is a book about a teenage girl, born in India but raised by adoptive parents in San Francisco, who travels to India to learn about her origins. Heather says at first she did not find she had much to relate to in the story, but by the end she was “very captivated.” Currently on her list is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. “I really love historical fiction,” explains Heather.

Other examples of summer reading lists from Kitchissippi locals include SJAM Winter Trail groomer Dave Adams pick of Thank You For Your Service by David Finkel. Local mystery writer Brenda Chapman had a stack of British crime novels for her summer reading, while Jeopardy champ Grant McSheffrey was catching up some classics: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

You can read all of our 2017 profiles right here.

July 6
Remembering Tom Thomson’s last spring

Tom Thomson, the famous Canadian painter whose work influenced the Group of Seven, died mysteriously on July 8, 1917. One hundred years later, he returns to haunt social media on Twitter as @TTLastSpring. He tells the stories of his final days on earth, reveals paintings and sketches, and comments on historical events.

Kitchissippi’s Tim Bouma found a unique way to share an artist’s legacy, 100 years after his death. Photo by Ted Simpson

If this all sounds too fantastic to believe, that’s only because it’s just half true. There is a Twitter account meticulously documenting Tom Thomson’s last days, but it is not run by a tech-savvy spirit. The man behind the ghost is Westboro Beach resident Tim Bouma.

Since 2011, Tim has been telling and re-telling detailed accounts leading up to the landscape painter’s unsolved and untimely death on a routine trip on Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park. Was it an accident? Was it murder?

“The facts and the circumstances don’t really add up to a neat and tidy conclusion,” said Tim, who does not disclose his own theories about Thomson’s death. Each year Thompson’s voice is a little more defined, and each year the mystery of his death becomes more fascinating.

The 2017/18 edition is already underway on Twitter.

June 22
What did Kitchissippi look like 150 years ago?

As a nod to Canada 150, local historian and Kitchissippi columnist, Dave Allston, presented a look back at Kitchissippi at the time of Confederation. Back then, there were fewer than 50 houses in all of what is now Kitchissippi and the population was only around 220. The region was mostly comprised of farm properties stretching south from the Ottawa River.

This is what Richmond Road looked like in the late 1890s. It’s about as old a photo of Richmond Road as you can get, says Dave Allston.

Richmond Road, made of compacted crushed stone, was the only east-west road through the region, and Woodroffe, Churchill and Parkdale cut across it. People travelled by horse or by foot as trains had not yet arrived here.

Few buildings are still standing today that were around in 1867. These include the McKellar-Bingham house at Windermere and Richmond, Maplelawn a little further east on Richmond, and the Aylen-Heney House on Kirkwood. Three other notable buildings of the time that still stand are All Saints Church and ‘The Elms’, which later became the Convent, and part of what is today the Holy Rosary Church on Wellington.

Visit kitchissippimuseum.blogspot.ca for more information of the region’s history, including photos dating back more than 150 years.

June 8
A taste of Italy in Hintonburg

Much to the delight of foodies and gelato lovers, Stella Luna set up shop on Wellington this year. With one bustling café in Old Ottawa South, husband and wife duo Alessandro and Tammy Giuliani chose Hintonburg for their second location.

We checked in with Tammy to see how their new location is doing, and she says they are “loving” west end life.

The folks at Stella Luna are pretty happy to be scooping up the sweet stuff for Kitchissippi residents. Chef Tammy Giuliani, is in the forefront. Photos by Ellen Bond

The folks at Stella Luna are pretty happy to be scooping up the sweet stuff for Kitchissippi residents. Chef Tammy Giuliani, is in the forefront. Photo by Ellen Bond

The offering of 24 gelato flavours is, of course, the star attraction. In 2016, Tammy won Best Gelato in Canada. In 2017, she took home the prestigious International Journalist’s Choice Award for Best in the World at the Gelato World Tour in Italy with the ‘Rich Chocolate with Bourbon, Truffle Swirl and Maple Candied Pecan.’ But Tammy says that gelato isn’t the only draw. Lunch has become popular with the business crowd. European breakfast with buttermilk waffles and crepes is a huge weekend draw.

“If only my grandmother were alive to see her recipe bring smiles to families every weekend,” Tammy remarks.

Stella Luna also pours Italian wines, Prosecco and local craft beer. They launched a dinner menu in November and offer table service Monday through Sunday evenings. They are bringing to Hintonburg not just Italian flavours and wines, but traditions too. Try the spuntini, an assortment of small plates like the Spanish tapas. Or stop by after work for an aperitivi – a glass of wine, craft beer or non-alcoholic cocktail accompanied with complimentary savoury snacks. Saluti!

May 25
Westfest and the local music scene

KT spoke with Erin Benjamin, Executive Director of Music Canada, a passionate advocate for local artists. Erin confirmed what many already know, that the music scene in Kitchissippi is “fantastic.”

Photo of Erin Benjamin by Ted Simpson.

When it comes to talking about Westfest, we can’t look back without looking forward too. The big news for 2018 of course is that The Pursuit of Happiness will be Westfest headliners, and giving their first festival performance in over 20 years.

It’s going to be a big year for the little festival that grew. Westfest will be celebrating its 15th anniversary and moving to a new location. Originally a street festival on Richmond Road, Westfest moved to Laroche Park in 2016. Due to soil decontamination work at the park, the festival is setting up at Tom Brown Arena in 2018. The new venue will allow for indoor after-hours parties on Friday and Saturday nights.

Despite all the announcements and changes, one thing has stayed the same: Westfest remains Ottawa’s only free music and arts festival. Everyone is welcome. “It’s a safe space… for people of colour, queer people, people with disabilities,” says Westfest founder Elaina Martin. “It’s something I’ve been working on for 15 years, making different people feel comfortable.”

To keep the festival free and accessible, Elaina launched an IndieGoGo campaign with the goal of raising $20,000. Donations of $20 and up come with perks such as VIP tickets and chances to win an Ultimate Westfest Experience Package.

The festival runs June 8-10, 2018 at Tom Brown Arena. For more info, or to donate, go to westfest.ca.

May 11
Capital Greens

Mathew Levinson, owner-operator of Capital Greens Urban Farm, is turning lawns into gardens across McKellar Park and Westboro.

Last summer was Mathew’s second year of growing pesticide-free produce on residential properties. He enters into agreements with homeowners, then prepares, tends and harvests the gardens. In return for their land, homeowners receive a share of the produce each week throughout the growing season. Mathew sells the rest locally.

Mathew Levinson is the owner of Capital Greens. His business enjoyed some new growth last season. Photo by Andrea Tomkins

Mathew Levinson is the owner of Capital Greens. His business enjoyed some new growth last season. Photo by Andrea Tomkins

If the promise of fresh produce isn’t enough to convince you, Mathew touts other environmental benefits of his operation. “The food is growing right in the city, so I avoid the emissions from shipping food long distances,” Mathew explains. He also uses his bike and trailer to transport tools and harvested produce.

Although 2017 was a difficult growing season for farmers across the Ottawa region, Mathew worked on about 2,500 square feet – more than double the 1,000 square feet he started with when the operation began in 2016.

“It’s just such a clever use of space,” says Anne Donald whose property Mathew has gardened for two seasons. “I’m so happy I don’t need to cut the lawn anymore.”

Capital Greens already has three new properties signed up for 2018, two of which are front yards. For those interested in joining the urban gardening movement, Mathew is looking for more properties to farm. Find out more at capitalgreens.ca.

April 27
THUNK!theatre bakes up community connections

In May, a partnership between THUNK!Theatre and the Parkdale Food Centre (PFC) offered a tasty combination of theatre and breadmaking. Two dramatic performances presented stories of breadmakers and gave audience members a chance to leave with their own small loaf that had been made during the play.

Geoff McBride and Karen Balcome of THUNK!theatre. Photo by Andrew Alexander Photography

Geoff McBride and Karen Balcome of THUNK!theatre. Photo by Andrew Alexander Photography

THUNK!theatre duo Karen Balcome and Hintonburg’s Geoff McBride first staged bread at the GCTC in 2013. They adapted the show for the PFC performances by weaving in the stories of some new Canadian neighbours from South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Egypt.

“We are inspired by the idea of neighbourhoods changing, the people who live in those neighbourhoods and their stories,” explains Karen.

“Bread is a basic human experience,” says PFC Executive Director, Karen Secord. Bringing people together to share their stories of bread served to create powerful connections and reminders of how much we all share. It also gave some of PFC’s neighbours an empowering chance to showcase their own baking talents, through the stories told during the performance and in five breadmaking workshops held earlier.

The two performances of bread were part of Neighbourhood Arts 150 and Hintonburg’s Happening festival. The Happening will be back in the spring of 2018.

April 13
What shops and services are needed in Westboro?

In April, we opened up a discussion on the KT Facebook page about what new shops and services were needed in Westboro. The conversation was prompted by empty storefronts, such as the ground floor of the office building on the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and Richmond Road.

Residents responded with a flurry of ideas, including a seafood shop, Tim Horton’s, and an independent bookstore. Local business owners also responded to remind residents that many of the things people wished for are already here.

“Three requests were for what we already offer – butchery, cheese, and take-home food,” says Dave Neil, owner of the Piggy Market. “It’s what we do.”

Molly van der Schee, owner of The Village Quire on Richmond Road, says work must be done to protect small businesses.

Obviously attracting clients is key, but so is having good relationships with landlords and other businesses. “It’s important we support each other,” says Molly.

With several commercial buildings still empty, we wonder what new shops and services might open in Kitchissippi this year.

March 30
SJAM winter trail recap

The Sir John A. MacDonald (SJAM) Winter Trail wrapped up its successful inaugural season in March. Stretching from Westboro Beach to the Canadian War Museum, SJAM offered more than five kilometres of groomed trail ideal for skis, snowshoes, winter bikes, or simply a pair of boots.

Westboro area resident, Dave Adams, first approached the National Capital Commission (NCC) with the idea of a groomed, multi-purpose winter trail back in 2016. With their support, and help from the Dovercourt Recreation Association, the Westboro Beach and Champlain Park Community Associations, and Kitchissippi Councillor Jeff Leiper, Dave’s idea became reality. He and a team of volunteers established and then maintained the trail throughout the winter.

Dave Adams (a.k.a. Groomer Dave) spent the winter of 2017 keeping the SJAM Winter Trail is in top shape for skiing, cycling, snowshoeing, and strolling. Photo By Ellen Bond

The whole length of the trail is perfect winter playground, but ‘Groomer Dave’ has some favourite spots, such as the Kitchissippi Forest, Remic Park, Champlain Woods, Selby Plains and Bayview Heights. Upwards of 500 people used the trail each day last winter, drawn from across the ward, the city and even the wider National Capital region.

Changes for the 2017/18 edition of SJAM include the incorporation of the Champlain Park fieldhouse as an indoor space for warming up or changing into gear while the skating rink is open. For more information about the trail, or to make a donation towards its maintenance, visit wintertrail.ca. Don’t miss the fantastic photos that were submitted by readers as part of this story!

March 16
Open doors, open hearts, at the Ottawa Mosque 

In the wake of a deadly shooting at a Quebec City mosque in January, local community associations rallied to show support for the Muslim community and Ottawa Mosque. In February, the Champlain Park Community Association organized a symbolic and protective human chain around the mosque during Friday prayers.

Later that month, and again in March, the Ottawa Muslim Association opened their doors to the community, inviting people in to learn more about Islam, take a tour of the building, and enjoy homemade food.

Caddy Ledbetter and her daughter. Photo by Ellen Bond

There were opportunities to ask volunteers and Imam Samy Metwally questions about religion, women’s rights, the hijab, and fasting during Ramadan. “People are pleasantly surprised when I explain to them that Islam, Christianity and Judaism have common roots,” said the Imam, “and that Islam is inherently peaceful.”

Caddy Ledbetter from the Bayswater area said she and her two young daughters felt warmly welcomed. “My kids are going to have such a wonderful memory of visiting the mosque; they’ll remember that they met lovely smiling people.”

March 2
New biz roundup

Several new businesses opened their doors in Kitchissippi in 2017. Premium Performance Fitness offers personalized fitness training, while Crossfit Hintonburg continues to draw people in to the popular fitness regime. Anouk by Outpost Original provides handmade furniture, pillows and interior design pieces. Those looking for unique and eco-friendly accessories now have stores like CIEL, and Kindred Shop and Studio.

One popular and successful new business is Fabrications, a store for all things fabric and sewing, including patterns and classes. Co-owner Faustina Konkal says their first year has been “better than any of our most optimistic projections.” They’ve hired four new people, renovated the store, and still managed to create new classes and offerings. Looking ahead to 2018, Faustina says there will be new classes, more crafty options available to customers, and the possibility of an off-site weekend getaway.

Faustina Konkal and Catherine Fournier are owners of Fabrications. Faustina says their first year has been “better than any of our most optimistic projections.” 
Photo by Ellen Bond

Feline Café is another new addition to Kitchissippi. Owner Josée Cyr also says the year has defied expectations, not just for the coffee shop business, but for the rescue cats. There have been nearly 100 cat adoptions through the café. “People are really excited,” says Josée. “There’s been a lot of buzz.”

In addition to these new shops and services, a few familiar businesses moved to new locations last year. Legend Records shifted from Wellington Street West to Winona Avenue, and Bridgehead closed their flagship location on Richmond Road and opened shop in the new building on McRae Avenue. MHK Sushi moved to a new address on Richmond Road a few blocks east but has not yet reopened. 2017 also saw the closure of some businesses in Kitchissippi, such as Simple Coffee & Wine, Yogurty’s, and Swiss Pastries.

February 16
Wall of H’arts

Alison Fowler’s fourth annual Wall of H’arts was held on February 10 at Twiss and Weber. The popular show and sale featured 200 5” x 5” heart-themed canvasses, perfectly timed to offer reasonably priced art for Valentine’s Day.

Artist Alison Fowler says she’s thrilled with the community’s excitement and support. “I sold out last year, so I knew it was going to be another great year, but I was definitely overwhelmed with the response,” she says. “We’re already thinking about what to do next year! This neighbourhood is so great. I love it.”

Artist Alison Fowler says she’s thrilled with the community’s excitement and support. “I sold out last year, so I knew it was going to be another great year, but I was definitely overwhelmed with the response,” she says. “We’re already thinking about what to do next year! This neighbourhood is so great. I love it.”

Alison reports the 2017 H’arts sold out in record time. She also raised close to $300 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation through the raffle of a special ‘H’art’ painting.

Although best known for pop-up ventures such as this, as well as her signature bright poppies, Alison is also launching a new venture with Twiss and Weber. Together they will be printing fabric with her art, and creating clothing from these prints.

Alison is also already preparing for the February 2018 Wall of H’arts, hinting that they want to do something special this year to mark the fifth anniversary of the event.

“It’s such an incredible collaboration,” says Alison. “We all look forward to this show.”

February 2
Eat and be merry, with the Westboro Supper Club

In February, we announced the launch of the Westboro Supper Club, an informal group that draws people together and supports restaurants here and around the city.

“Food unites people,” says founder Mary Marquardt. Their first event was held in April at the Wellington GastroPub. Four more events followed in 2017, usually every second month. In addition to restaurant dinners they have hosted tastings as well: wine and cheese, and balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

Attendance averages between 15 and 25, with events typically on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening. “It’s been nice to meet new people,” says Mary, adding that while there is a core group of regulars, there are new faces at each event.

“Our goal is to support restaurants throughout Ottawa,” she explains. They often choose Kitchissippi area restaurants but have also talked about venturing into Gatineau and the Outaouais.

You can keep up with the foodie adventures through twitter.com/westborosupclub and  instagram.com/westborosupperclub. Membership inquiries are best emailed to westborosupperclub@icloud.com.

January 19
Community Associations need you

There are 10 community and neighbourhood associations in Kitchissippi, made up of dedicated volunteers who do everything from planning neighbourhood BBQs, organizing art festivals, flooding rinks, to spending hours on zoning proposals. In January, we echoed their call for people to join them.

Back row (L-R) Gary Ludington from the Westboro Community Association and Wayne Rodney of the Hintonburg Community Association. Front row: Lorrie Marlow of the Mechanicsville Community Association and Karen Wright of the Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association. Photo by Ellen Bond

Back row (L-R) Gary Ludington from the Westboro Community Association and Wayne Rodney of the Hintonburg Community Association. Front row: Lorrie Marlow of the Mechanicsville Community Association and Karen Wright of the Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association. Photo by Ellen Bond

“I encourage everybody to join their community association,” said Gary Ludington, President of the Westboro Community Association. “Membership determines influence at City Hall. When a community association says ‘on behalf of our 600 members,’ that means a lot. Memberships help to change the perception that it’s not just the individual standing in front of us.”

Lorrie Marlow of the Mechanicsville Community Association was pleased to see a positive response to KT’s article in 2017. “We now have a full board,” she says, noting this is a first for the small association. “They are young, engaged, smart people.” She is optimistic that this new board can speed the efforts to improve the neighbourhood, such as replacing the community centre and cleaning up industrial waste beneath Laroche Park.

Larry Hudon, President of the Hintonburg Community Association, says that while they enjoy a robust membership, they are always looking for new members to better represent the community.

 

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