Summer is a time to make life-long memories 

Charlie and his grandmother play on a swing
Kitchissippi times editor Charlie Senack with his grandmother Patricia Oborne at a park in White Rock, British Columbia. Provided.

By Charlie Senack 

Summer is a time to make memories. Whether it’s family vacations aboard or staycations at home, we all have at least one moment that sticks out above all else. 

For myself, it was a trip to White Rock, British Columbia in 2008 to visit my grandparents. It was my first time on a plane, and I was both excited and nervous. My mom and I went to Dollarama days before to stock up on all the essentials: playing cards, markers, coloring books and chewing gum.

I was in awe of the Rocky Mountains that greeted us from the plane window as we flew over Alberta. Once in Vancouver, I got to see the ocean for the first time at White Rock Beach, learn about sea creatures at the Stanley Park zoo, and take a short ferry ride over to Victoria Island. 

It was two of the best weeks of my life. Vancouver was abuzz as the city prepared for the approaching 2010 Winter Olympics. 

My grandmother Patricia developed Alzheimer’s soon after and my grandfather Obie, who I only met a few times, passed away a few years later. It’s one of my only memories I have with them together. 

The Kitchissippi Times reached out to community members to share their stories of summers passed. 

A man flies a kite on a beach.
Joel Harden at Juno Beach in France. Provided.

“Last summer our family had an extraordinary trip to France, with memories to last for a lifetime. A highlight for me was visiting Juno Beach in Normandy, where my grandfather landed five days after D-Day in 1945. It was peaceful last summer, but I can’t imagine what it was like as a generation of people risked everything to stop the spread of Nazi hatred. Words are hard to describe as I think of my gratitude for them. Walter, my grandfather, was a lifelong joker — we called him the teaser geezer — so in his honor I made the decision to fly a kite on Juno Beach,” – Joel Harden, Ottawa Centre MPP. 

“Some of my favourite summer memories come from something we started during COVID times — an outing affectionately known as “Bike Night.”  As lockdowns lifted, the only place for people to gather were public places, like parks. So a bunch of neighbourhood dads assembled on bikes, and we would tour around the city. We’d often meet at Fisher Park, and venture off from there. We’d make a few stops per night, hitting key locations like the Arboretum, Dow’s Lake, Chaudiere Falls, the locks at Carleton and  the naval monument near Victoria Island. We’ve continued the Bike Night tradition every year since then, heading out a couple times a month,” – Peter Joynt, local public speaker. 

“What do Kichi Sibi Winter Trail Folks do during summer? Pollinator Gardens! We partner with the Westboro Beach Community Association and together develop the initiative. Volunteers rip out the invasive European Buckthorn, and replace it with native plants that are also important pollinators for the wild world around us. Sometimes, these native plants are already present and all they need is our help to remove the nasty buckthorn that is stealing their sun and soil nutrients. It is absolutely rewarding work and as our community develops more residential towers, our engagement numbers are growing with volunteers showing up,” – Dave Adams, groomer of the Kichi Sibi Winter Trail. 

A black and white photo of five kids on a beach.
Dan Stringer with his family during a beach outing at Norway Bay. Provided.

“Norway Bay’s summers were golden for us kids. Nana rented our first cottage because things were tight. An orange, round-backed Pontiac bus dropped us at Pop Welch’s store. After it drove off, our new friend, the Ottawa River, stood beckoning. My brother Tom and I did everything together, picking clams in the water, catching minnows with our towels, watching Dad swim way out, discovering that pinecones make great fire starters, seeing the beans we planted sprout, breakfasting on toasted, fresh cut, Quyon bread. Tom and I and our sisters Suzanne and Terry all learned to swim at the wharf,” – Dan Stringer, Kitchissippi resident. 

A man and a woman pose for a photo with their bikes.
Barb Clubb and Kevin Burns recently completed a 280 Bike n Barge trip in France. Provided.

“In our senior years we have taken up longer distance bike riding. With our e- assist bikes we have been able to explore many of the Ottawa trails like Petrie Island, which is a 72 km round trip with a stop at the new River House. Inspired by our successful experiences in the Ottawa area, we have just safely concluded a 280 km Bike n Barge trip down the Rhone river paths from Avignon to Aigues-Mortes in France with 20 other cyclists of all ages and abilities and a guide. This was not the Tour de France but a great memory,” – Barb Clubb and Kevin Burns, Kitchissippi residents. 

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