Safety Village consultation in Kitchissippi

Safety Village. Photo by Kristy Strauss
A new Safety Village could be back in the City of Ottawa – and the Ottawa Safety Council wants to make sure residents across all neighbourhoods have their suggestions heard, including in Kitchissippi. Story and photo by Kristy Strauss.

 

“(Kitchissippi) is one of the up and coming areas of the city. There’s a lot of new development, and you’ve got to concentrate on an area of the city that people are coming to,” says Damien Coakeley, a member of the Ottawa Safety Council’s board of directors.

Between 1972 and 2006, the council was involved in delivering children’s educational and safety programming through a Children’s Safety Village in Britannia Park. It was also a partnership between the city, police and fire services and taught more than 500,000 children valuable lifesaving skills. However in 2006, there were significant repair requirements and loss of key funding that led to the closure’s facility.

Seven years later, the Ottawa Safety Council is committed to bringing the safety village back to the city – which includes children’s programming, but also a centre where all community members’ needs can be met.

Coakeley and project developer Kate Boyd were available at the Hintonburg Community Centre on July 23 to hear suggestions from the community on what they would like to see in the potential safety village.

“We’re going across the city to get feedback and generate ideas to make sure our vision is correct,” says Boyd. “There are a lot of young families and seniors, so we’re hoping to get those different perspectives on different programs.”

Coakeley, a retired police officer and Westboro resident, thinks Kitchissippi residents could particularly benefit from a Safety Village in Ottawa that teaches bicycle safety.

“A big thing around here is cycle safety, as far as I’m concerned,” he says. “I see it all the time, and it’s a pet peeve. There are people who disobey cycling laws, but if you want to change people’s behaviour, you won’t change adults or teens.”

He says he would like to see the Safety Village teach young children bicycle safety tips, and rules for cycling.

“I think that’s certainly the key for this area, with all the new people and condos being built,” he says.

Boyd adds that cycle safety could be an important component of the safety village, especially since it’s also a city-wide issue.

“There’s certainly been a prevalence of accidents with the young and elderly, and there can be tensions between cyclists and drivers,” she says, adding that each community in the city will have different needs. “Once we’ve had the community’s input, we’ll go back and look at the information we’ve gathered and make sure the vision we have is accurate and reflective of the community.”

Coakeley adds that he hopes the Village will become a reality, and once they have found a potential spot, it will play an important role in the city.

“There are new dangers we always face in life, whether it’s disaster planning or teaching kids proper hand signals on their bikes,” Coakeley says. “The laws are forever changing, and we need an outlet to educate people. There’s so much to learn, and so much to know.”

Residents are welcome to submit their suggestions for the Safety Village by contacting info@ottawasafetycouncil.ca. until Wednesday, Aug. 14.

The community can also connect with the Ottawa Safety Council and stay up-to-date on their progress on Facebook, or on Twitter by following @SafetyOttawa.

Sitting pretty: Community couch draws neighbours together

Dwayne Brown and Patti Church lounge on the iconic couch. Photo by Denise Deby
Dwayne Brown and Patti Church lounge on the iconic couch. Photo by Denise Deby

 

A faded but elegant sofa has popped up recently on a busy Hintonburg sidewalk, a quiet Westboro street and a leafy Glebe park. Curious passers-by come to sit, stand and even jump on it. Kids and pets try it out. People ask questions and stay to chat; some pose on the couch for photos that are posted on a Tumblr site. It’s the Community Couch, and buzz about it is spreading by word of mouth and through social media.

Patti Church, who’s a Westboro resident, consultant  and marketing and business professor at Algonquin, was interested in doing something innovative and community-oriented, so she approached Shawn MacDonell, a Glebe-based creative campaign developer and owner of Creativision, and Dwayne Brown, a Hintonburg resident, commercial and corporate photographer and community blogger. The three dreamed up the Community Couch project during a “beerstorming” at the Hintonburg Public House.

Although they’ve each worked on creative initiatives, it’s the first time the three have collaborated, and the project is evolving as they engage with people and each other. “It’s organic,” says Brown. That interactive and flexible approach means that couch appearances aren’t announced in advance, although people can follow @communitycouch on Twitter for updates.

When people come across the couch, they usually stop to find out what it’s all about. Church says that’s the idea—to get neighbours talking with each other. “This is about connecting people, and making memories for them,” explains the long-time community builder.

“The fact that it’s a little odd and a little quirky makes it stand out a bit more,” says Brown, who’s done other interactive photography projects in the ‘hood.

“We all live in these neighbourhoods where we see the same people every day but don’t really get to know them,” explains MacDonell. “Stopping to talk just makes life a little bit better.”

Brown says the idea is also to build bridges across neighbourhoods, so the couch will continue to pop up in Kitchissippi and surrounding communities this summer.

The Community Couch benefits the co-creators as well as the community, they say. “To me it’s no different than going to a yoga class—it’s for me, and it’s not work. Except instead of going for a bike ride we put a couch in a truck and carry it around,” laughs Church.

“We’re not doing this for money, obviously—we’re doing it for fun,” says Brown.

The Community Couch team includes Patti’s daughter Kayla, who’s an aspiring photographer, and Maija Hirsimaki, who works with Brown. Other family and friends, and the Dovercourt Recreation Centre, have helped get the couch where it needs to go.

“It’s all about community spirit,” says Church. “It creates a whimsical, fun spirit, which I believe we feel our neighbourhoods all have. We’re just adding flavour to it.”

Amanda Rheaume: new album sparks storytelling

 

 “I also love painting and would do more of it if I had more time,” says singer-songwriter Amanda Rheaume from her home off Parkdale Avenue just before launching Keep a Fire. Photo by Ted Simpson
“I also love painting and would do more of it if I had more time,” says singer-songwriter Amanda Rheaume from her home off Parkdale Avenue just before launching Keep a Fire. Photo by Ted Simpson

 

Although she’s the first to admit she loves her phone and the instant connections it facilitates, Hintonburg singer and songwriter Amanda Rheaume thinks that unplugging from technology and sitting around the dinner table, sharing stories and learning about your family history is a tradition well worth rekindling.

On her latest album, Keep a Fire, Rheaume has done just that. The album is full of her family’s stories and the intention behind its name is that we keep a fire alive for those who have come before us – both for their benefit and ours.

“When you look backwards, you can understand more about yourself,” says Rheaume who spent many hours speaking with her family, especially her grandfather, in the process of creating these songs and discovered that her urge to move on to the next interesting project and her love of travel may be hereditary.

Flying over the Northwest Passage in 2011, on her way to perform for troops at Alert, Rheaume thought about her Poppa, Thomas Arthur Irvine, who navigated the H.M.C.S. Labrador through the same waterway. “I knew he travelled through there, but until I saw the Northwest Passage myself, I didn’t think about what he did. Not everyone gets to see that body of water.”

Because he had already passed away, Rheaume couldn’t talk to her Poppa about this glimpse she’d seen of his life or hear about his travels on the remote waterway from his perspective. But the moment inspired her to ask her surviving relatives about their lives and about their collective family history.

“I called my Grandpa in Okanagan and asked him about his mother and about his brother. I spoke to his sister. We looked through old family pictures about growing up in God’s Lake where the planes would come in twice a year,” says Rheaume who describes this grandfather as kind, generous and warm. “I never met his mom, my Ojibwe great-grandmother, Stella Rheaume, who died a month before I was born, but a number of the songs are about her, and I really wanted to get them right.”

After collecting stories, Rheaume contacted her friend John MacDonald who hand built her favourite guitar. Slowly and thoughtfully, the two turned the stories into songs that would resonate for audiences across the country. “This wasn’t about the fast, easy song. It’s about telling family stories, but keeping them accessible. It took almost a year,” she says of the process. “I don’t think I could have gotten these stories into song without him.”

Audiences deeply connect with both Rheaume’s process and her music.

“After a concert, people often come up to me and tell me their stories,” says Rheaume who longs to find a way to share these stories. “We’re Canadian and I feel that, but I think we’re still trying to define what Canadian means. For many of us, we came over from somewhere unless we’re First Nations.”

Keep a Fire launches at Wakefield’s Black Sheep Inn on July 26. To accommodate her neighbourhood fans, Rheaume has arranged a shuttle bus with a stop at Tunney’s Pasture: amandarheaume.com

Theatre in Kitchissippi's Parks: A Company of Fools

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This summer, a Company of Fools will be taking over Hintonburg Park for the tenth anniversary of their summer Torchlight Shakespeare series with their production of Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Hintonburg’s own Catriona Leger.

“Downton Abbey meets Bugs Bunny, and they all get together and eat some jellybeans,” are the words Leger uses to describe her latest work with the Fools.

The Merry Wives of Windsor is a classic comedy that tells the story of Shakespeare’s rouge, Falstaff, a con man with a penchant for drink and women and his failed attempts to woo two married women.

“Shakespeare is something that particularly as a director I find I’m doing more and more of,” says Leger. “I love directing Shakespeare because the text is so rich and the stories are so engaging, but it’s also open to interpretation and fantasy.”

Leger’s interpretation brings the story to England’s Edwardian period, a period where women are just starting to find freedom. This is exemplified as we see the merry wives use and abuse Falstaff for their own amusement. Everything is presented with a heavy dose of saturated colour from the costumes and backdrop.

The constant challenge facing a Company of Fools production is putting together an entire cast of characters with only six actors. In this production 19 characters are split between the crew. “It’s a challenge that I embrace,” says Leger.

One of the actors in this summer’s production is John Doucet, also of Hintonburg. Doucet has three roles in the Merry Wives: Parson Hugh Evans, Mistress Quickly and the host of the Garter Inn.

“Catriona has been very good about making sure that we stay within her rules and we’ve been very good about making sure we push her boundaries,” says Doucet.

For added chaos, the play’s final scene requires all characters to be on stage at once. One of Leger’s clever solutions has been to replace actors with puppets, incorporating a ventriloquist style into the production.
“One of the things I love about the Fools, is they take these big plays and they figure out how to do them with only six people. To me that’s exciting theatre,” says Doucet.

Company of Fools received a special honor earlier this month, when Mayor Watson declared July 3 Company of Fools Day in Ottawa.

The Fools are touring the show through parks in every neighbourhood in the city, arriving at Hintonburg Park for performances on July 26 and 27 and Clare Gardens in Westboro on August 6. Doucet is looking forward to opportunity to perform close to home, “Hintonburg park is great, my wife and kids come and we make a picnic of it.”

The performances start at 7 p.m. and run for 90 minutes. The show is free, but donations are greatly appreciated as the support keeps local theatre alive.

Look for Doucet again this September as Company of Fools continues the adventures of Falstaff in Margo MacDonald’s adaptation of Henry IV, Hal & Falstaff.

Frances Cutler: Appointed to the Order of Canada

 

Frances Cutler, 71, is a Kitchissippi resident who has devoted much of her life to changing people’s perception of the term “legally blind.”

“It’s a very misleading term, I don’t like the term at all,” says Cutler, who although being legally blind herself, still has a surprising range of vision.

“I can see everything in this room,” she explains. The living room of her Hamilton Avenue home is lit by a bay window and beautifully adorned with artwork and a large bouquet of roses left over from her fiftieth anniversary with her husband, Maurice, just last week. “But if I fixate on that painting, it disappears into the cream coloured wall,” she says.

“I’m using the outside of my vision, peripheral vision,” Cutler explains as she moves her eyes constantly to keep my face visible. “The cone cells, the ones that provide the detailed, center vision are dead.”

It is a condition so rare that most Ophthalmologists would only see one or two cases in their lifetime. In most cases vision loss sets in during early adolescence, Cutler was fortunate to maintain most of her sight until her mid 20s.

In spite of her vision loss, Cutler was able to complete her education and begin a prestigious career as a broadcast journalist with CBC Radio. A position she held until the mid 90s, contributing documentaries and current affairs reports to such programs as Capital Report, a precursor to the current program, The Sunday Edition.

In the early 80’s Cutler felt a calling to use her experience, education and skill as a communicator to help others who are affected by vision loss. She began volunteering at the local level with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and began a journey of outreach and advocacy that has lasted through to the present day and will continue, it seems, for as long as she is capable.

“When I found the combination of low vision aids I had, I realized how hard it was for me to get that information, what would it have been like for anyone without that level of education and awareness,” says Cutler.

Her arsenal of visual aids has increased over the years and range from low to high tech. A monocular with eight times magnification hangs from her neck, used to define bus numbers and street signs. In her pocket is a powerful magnifying glass that allows her to read text in a magazine when held close to her face.

High contrast text seen through a magnifying lens is the only way for most people with limited vision to be able to read. “Magnification is the key,” says Cutler.

Upstairs, Fran shows me her collection of high-tech gadgets and monitors. Her primary reading tool is a CCTV unit that projects text from a newspaper or any other printed medium onto a large screen where she can adjust the magnification and apply a range of high-contrast filters such as black on white or yellow on black. This allows her to read any font at any size.

Cutler’s experience with the CNIB took her all the way to a position as Chair of the National Board of Directors for the organization from 2000-2003. It was an exciting time, as breakthroughs in technology swept through the world, the opportunities for the CNIB to help their clients – numbering over 150,000 – became even more abundant.

“As technology has become more available and more refined, I’ve realized that technology is the key to independence for people with vision loss,” says Cutler. She recalls a quote from Jim Sanders, former CEO of the CNIB who was also blind, as he addressed those who had sight, “For you the information revolution makes access to information easy and fast, for me, it makes it possible.”

“The CNIB can provide the tools and skills for people with vision loss to live their lives with dignity and independence, and genuine joy,” says Cutler. “When you lose your vision you lose more than just the sight, you lose your self-esteem, it’s a big shock for anybody. The CNIB is there to help people with vision loss to achieve their goals.”

For much of the 90s Cutler worked simultaneously with the CBC in addition to her volunteer role. She spent the later part of her career in broadcasting, mentoring young journalists and working with the CBC to make the workplace more accessible for people with all forms of disability.

Where Fran really shines is on the advocacy and policy level, she is a strong communicator who seems truly without fear. “I’ve taken on Census Canada, Elections Canada and Elections Ontario to make sure that the voting experience is accessible and independent for anyone with any degree of vision loss,” she says. She was also involved in the program that made descriptive video for movies and television programs mandatory through the CRTC.

It is for these decades spent devoting her own to life to enriching the lives of countless others that Cutler was recently honoured with the appointment of Officer of the Order of Canada. This honour is presented to individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding level of talent and service to Canadians. Fran’s name is added to an extensive list that features musicians, doctors, scientists and heroes.

“I received a phone call about six weeks ago from Government House to tell me I had been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for my work developing and mentoring broadcast journalists and for helping to make the workplace more accessible, also for my work with CNIB and the National Broadcast Reading Service,” she said. “The recognition is overwhelming, I must say, I’m finding it all exhilarating.”

Cutler feels that this recognition belongs not only to her, but to all the other volunteers that take on such vital tasks as reading to the elderly, or helping people with tasks like grocery shop or driving. “It’s a recognition of the importance of that work in the community,” she says.

Even into her seventh decade, Cutler is still doing advocacy, “There are still barriers to be broken down, still work to be done,” she says proudly.

There are two pieces of advice that Cutler offered, for those living with disability and those trying to make our city an easier place to live for everyone.

For people with disabilities, she says, “Eating right and keeping in good shape is very important, otherwise you don’t have the physical and emotional resilience as you go through the day to react to unfamiliar situations.”

And to business owners, members of government or anyone who contributes to public space there is one simple message to keep in mind when preparing signage, menus or any printed information, “Bigger, brighter, bolder.” It’s a small consideration that can go a long way for so many people.

Theatre in Kitchissippi's parks: Bear & Co.

 

We all know parks are for playing in but this summer parks in Ottawa are turning into stages for a different kind of play—Outdoor Theatre. Kitchissippi parks will be hosting Bear& Co. for Shakespearian fun and entertainment.

This season in a park near you enjoy the outdoors, bring some food and have a laugh with the western themed production of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors.

We caught up with the troupe at Iona Park, where Kirkwood neighbours and visitors from far away gathered in a circle with food and drink.

Jeanette Etel and her sons Jory and Josh Guptill from Kengsington Avenue shared some food and laughs at the park performance. It was her first time watching this troupe with her kids. I loved it. I thought it was great, it was enough slapstick to hold the boys’ attention,” she said. “Jory is only three and he’s tired, but he was totally into it.”

“I picked this location as a central location because we are all at different places,” says Danielle Nowe. She hails from Bells Corners. Her and her friends Natalie Leduc and Iricilla Padaratz are English Lit majors, so Shakespeare in the park is a summer time must see. “It was our second Shakespeare this year and we’ll be seeing at least three more.” The group brought snacks, and enjoyed the performance together.

“Last year was our first year as a professional show,” says Anna Lewis, director and actress in the production. She worked with Salamander Theatre for Young Audiences before branching off with some other eager actors to start their own production.

“We usually do a three quarter thrust stage but this year we did four sides,” she says, explaining the setup. The rounded stage makes the play very inviting and even more intimate. “When the audience gets a chance to see the reactions of the rest of the audience, it’s almost like permission to enjoy or to react, and you get to see how other people are doing that, and it creates a sense of an event,” says Lewis.

Ryan Jackson biked down from Kirkwood Avenue. His ride made the perfect seat to enjoy the outdoor performance. “Yeah, it was good. Never seen the plays in the park,” he says. “I heard about them years ago, but I didn’t actually hear about one again until now.”

During the performance, a loud plane flies overhead, unexpected but welcomed by the quick-witted actors. It becomes a part of the performance and everyone erupts in laughter. Lewis says this is what outdoor theatre is all about—organic moments that make every performance special.

“It is really the actors reacting, when you are in a park there are so many things you can’t control that it makes you be really present and audiences pick up on that,” she says.

Upcoming Kitchissippi performances:

July 19: Hintonburg Park, 7 p.m.
July 20: Clare Gardens Park, 7 p.m.
July 30: Reid Park, 7 p.m.

Leuro Open Badminton Tournament 2013

 

The Hintonburg Community Centre is full of people, crowded around on the edges, watching birdies fly back and forth across the court. On Saturday, July 13, the Luero Open Badminton Tournament is in full swing. There are prizes, of course: a raffle to be won and bragging rights to all the winners, but the Luero Open is about more than just winning.

Run by the Hintonburg Badminton Club, the Luero Open is an annual memorial game. The courts are opened to honour Eric Luong. Eric Luong was one of the original members of the Hintonburg Badminton Club. The club began thirteen years ago, as a small circle of friends. However, over the years, the club has grown into a sizable and diverse community that meets biweekly to practice and play. When Eric Luong passed away in April of 2010, the club knew they wanted to honour their friend and fellow athlete.

All the proceeds from the tournament go to charity. Since it began in 2010, the Luero Open’s players and local sponsors have donated to multiple charities. The club annually raises more than five hundred dollars. In 2011, they raised one thousand dollars for CHEO. This year, the proceeds will be donated to the Ottawa Mission and organizers Jozzepi Foo and Roy Hoople are optimistic for an even greater impact for the community. In its fourth year now, the tournament has grown by thirty three percent, with over one hundred players.

 

At the end of the day – when the scores are counted, wrists are exhausted, and players have worked themselves well out of breath – the club is just happy they can do good in honour of their friend’s memory, and even happier that the community is there to support them as well.

Gnome-napping in Westboro

p 8 Where's Walden

 

When Andrea Tomkins placed Walden – a garden gnome complete with shades, jeans, and arms crossed in clear attitude – in a local flowerbed, she wasn’t expecting a gnome-napping. The well-known Westboro blogger had intended to hide Walden in various locations around the neighbourhood throughout the summer, and had invited her followers to join in, tracking Walden and discovering his hiding places.

Andrea Tomkins described the game as a mix of geocaching and a continuation of her previous Trust Experiment. In March of 2007, Tomkins left a wallet with a ten dollar bill in a local coffee shop and waited to see whether someone would take it or not. The wallet lasted eleven days. Walden lasted one.

“It is disappointing,” Tomkins says. She had been hopeful that Walden would become an incentive for people to get outside and explore their neighbourhood. Walden’s first – and last – location had been outside the local Highland Lawn Bowling Club, and Tomkins had intended to place him in other Westboro landmarks and places tied to local history or modern trivia.

“I was going to have him up at Dovercourt, under a stand of Saskatoon berries,” Tomkins says, mentioning that most people aren’t aware that the berries are edible. Walden’s premise was an example of synthesizing the virtual world with the local community. An experience that had the quality of an inside joke for local followers of her blog, and one that would have had to be experienced both online and off.

“I live a lot of my work life within social media, and I think there’s a huge value to getting off the computer and doing something ‘in real life’.”

Tomkins’ blog, “A Peek Inside the Fishbowl,” has become a popular source of family projects and local life. “Fishbowl” is another example of that intersection point between virtual spaces and reality. “I think blogs and twitter are really important in a neighbourhood setting. Quite often, big media aren’t covering the neighbourhoods in the same way, so the smaller media becomes even more important.”

In her eyes, social media has become a way to spread local news and more grassroots initiatives. “That kind of stuff is really important to a lot of people.” The trick is not just spreading the news, but encouraging neighbours to come out and also be a part of it. In an age where social media is so instantaneous and easily accessible, one can quickly become a spectator instead of a participant.

Little projects, like what Walden could have been, are surely a part of continuing to connect and encourage neighbourhoods to strengthen their ties across modern mediums. Though Tomkins happily insists she starts these activities simply to satisfy her own curiosity, it’s always “more fun” once people get involved or follow along.

Now, with Walden travelling on his own, Tomkins doesn’t know where she’ll apply herself next.
“I don’t have anything in mind, but my brain is a wonderful place! So there might be something around the corner. I don’t know yet!”

Merry marchers on Byron Tramway, 2013

 

Four-year-old Dylan Fournier was the parade conductor.
Four-year-old Dylan Fournier was the parade conductor. Photo by Anita Grace

 

On Saturday, July 13, the 3rd annual Byron Path Parade wound its merry way from the Byron Linear Tramway Park to Iona Park. More than 50 people, most of whom were young families from the surrounding neighbourhoods, joined in.

Strolling down their path. Anu Lindeman of Hilson Avenue walks beside her daughter Tea, 6 and 4-year-old Ellis Blythe. Photo by Anita Grace.
Strolling down their path. Anu Lindeman of Hilson Avenue walks beside her daughter Tea, 6 and 4-year-old Ellis Blythe. Photo by Anita Grace.

 

The first parade in 2011 was in response to the convent site development between Richmond and Byron Avenues and the proposed cut-through of pathway and park. This year it was a celebration of the community that rallied to protect the park, but also just an excuse for kids to dress up and make some noise. Children came dressed as fairies and super heroes – and a four-year-old train conductor (Foster Street’s Dylan Fournier) proudly led the way.

Three-year-old Nairi Hamboyan (centre) is happy parading with her friends Carys Halil, 3, and Miya Nagaraj, 4.

 

 

 

What's your house's story?

CONTEST
Does your house have a secret? Who lived in your home before you? Who built it?

What is YOUR house’s story?

Enter for a chance to learn about your house’s history, researched by Kitchissippi resident, David Allston.

Send us your:  1. Name .   2. Kitchissippi neighbourhood.    3. Approximate age of your home.
Open to Kitchissippi residents only. Contest ends July 31, 2013.

Mired in Housetalgia

For Kitchissippi resident David Allston, reading old newspapers is one of the best ways he can engage in his neighbourhood’s history.

Allston studies the history and founding of the area as a hobby, concentrating on the late 1800’s, a time where the neighbourhood was just developing.

“I have been interested in history since high school,” says Allston. His interest took off in grade 12, when he came up with an interesting concept: offering comprehensive histories of people’s personal homes. “I was born and raised in this area and my family goes back, actually to one of the original settlers of Mechanicsville,” he says.

“I was being hired out by people for events or for Christmas or as an anniversary gift to do the history of people’s homes,” says Allston. “Back then, that was kind of pre internet, so it limited what I could do,” he says. Allston explains that even today with the internet, information on Hintonburg and its surrounding neighbourhoods is generally hard to find.

“There is not a lot of information out there about this area. No one knows anything about what the streets were named for, the history of the landmarks,” he says. He has developed tips and tricks for finding out new information online, but most of his research comes from old issues of newspapers like The Ottawa Journal, a daily newspaper published from 1885-1980.

Allston has expanded his research from house histories to general local history. With a few books on the go, a full time job and a three year old son, his hobby can be a handful. Still, Allston manages to find time to engage the neighbourhood with his research and shares the history he finds whenever he can.

“Setting up a desk at events like WestFest and ArtsPark is cool because people walk by and look at the old photos and say ‘oh my God, I didn’t even know a train used to go down Byron’,” he says as he points to a picture in one of his many binders that have been laid out neatly on his dining room table. Some people are shocked at what they discover about their neighbourhood when they see his display. “Like, there used to be a movie theatre down there,” he says.

Allston also gathers history from the people he meets, which makes his WestFest and ArtsPark set up all the more important. “Just over time being so into the community I have collected photos and artifacts and have done interviews with people,” he says. A lot of his resources come from people’s old family photo albums and their personal stories.

“If you break Hintonburg, Wellington Village and Westboro down, they each have a distinct history,” he says.

Chances are, if you live on one of Kitchissippi’s roads, Allston probably has a story to tell about it.

ENTER KITCHISSIPPI’S ‘WHAT’S YOUR HOUSE’S STORY’ CONTEST!

Parkdale Park welcomes Ottawa Brewery Market

Story and photos by Ted Simpson

Rain wasn’t the only thing pouring in Parkdale Park Sunday afternoon when the Brewery Market’s Capital Mashup brought craft beer and local food to the neighbourhood.

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Hintonburger on hand to provide the fresh, local eats

Cassel Brewery, Broadhead and local favourites Beyond the Pale, were on hand to offer a unique variety of craft beers, while Hintonburger kept appetites satisfied. Pascale’s Ice Cream brought a unique creation, the beer float, featuring The Darkness from Beyond the Pale.

Kitchissippi residents didn’t let a little rain stop them from enjoying the festival’s full flavour.

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Shawn Brule and Adriane Aboud of Hintonburg, enjoying a beer float from Pascale’s Ice Cream and Beyond the Pale.

“The beer float is fantastic, the cherries soak up some of the beer, and the chocolate and the stout taste, they were meant for each other. I’m not a big ice cream person, but I could see myself doing this quite often.” – Shawn Brule, Hintonburg.

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Emily Towsly and Valerie Bono of Breezehill. Two friends, two different tastes in beer.

 “This is the Broadhead Longshot, it’s a white, I find it much more drinkable because I’m not much of a hoppy person.” – Emily Towsly, Breezehill.

“I have the Cassel Brewery, Hopper Car, I like the hop flavour.” – Valerie Bono, Breezehill.

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Collin White, Patrick White and Sean McInnis of Hintonburg. Volunteers and beer enthusiasts.

“Parkdale Park is a perfect spot, central, right behind the farmers market and easy to access. Lots of people stuck it out, even in the rain.” – Patrick White, Hintonburg.

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Lennon White and Megan Delaire of Fairmont Avenue.

“I’m drinking the White Fog, it’s a wheat beer and it is delicious. Parkdale Park is a pretty good venue for a beer market, it’s right next to the farmers market, it works excellently for beer as well.”  – Lennon White, Fairmont.

If you missed out on this event, never fear: The brewery Market will be making a return to Parkdale Park August 25, with a third installment set for October 20.

Stephanie Bolt – Riverkeeper Volunteer

Stephanie Bolt, 41, is a Kitchissippi volunteer who was recently recognized for her work with Ottawa Riverkeeper with the Dan Brunton Volunteer of The Year Award.

Photo by Ted Simpson
Photo by Ted Simpson

The award is named in honour of Ottawa naturalist and environmental consultant, Dan Brunton, who was also one of the founder of the Riverkeeper organization.

Bolt has been volunteering with Riverkeeper for over a year now. The organization is a federally regulated not-for-profit founded in 2001 with the goal of preserving the natural beauty of our Ottawa River.

Bolt’s experience as a corporate lawyer in Toronto has been a valuable asset in helping the Riverkeeper organization keep up with changing government regulations regarding nonprofits, “It’s just about better governance, better accountability and transparency,” she explains.

She moved to Westboro nine years ago with her husband and new born son. Bolt put her law career on hold to be a stay-at-home mother for her growing family. She had just sent her two children off to their last day of school before summer when we met at Westboro beach.

With the kids spending their days in school, Bolt’s time was freed up to tackle some personal projects. River Keeper was an organization she had been drawn to for some time, “I had read about them over the years, I thought it was great, the work that they were doing,” she says.

The naturalist path is quite a departure from her history working for major corporations in the big city of Toronto, But Bolt sees it as an exciting new direction for her career, “Somewhere in this environmental realm is where I started volunteering, and hopefully where I would like to start working,” she says.

Riverkeeper always has projects on the go, including a system for mapping Ottawa’s beaches with the ability to better monitor their ever changing status, as-well-as constant efforts to keep the shoreline clean and usable for everyone.

Riverkeeper is always looking to take on new volunteers, especially those who can help with translating documents between French and English. Anyone interested can visit ottawariverkeeper.ca for more information on how to join the ranks of folks like Bolt, who take pride in the Ottawa River, “We’re so lucky to have it at our back door, I would just encourage everyone to recognize it and use it,” she says.

Byron Tramway Parade

Saturday, July 13, 10 a.m. An all-ages-friendly community parade will take place on the Byron Pathway. Meet at theByron Tramway Park (just east of Island Park Drive) at 10:00. We’ll walk/stroll/roll along Byron Pathway, cross at Hilson Avenue and end at Iona Park. Costumes, music and noise makers are encouraged. Coffee and lemonade will be served at Iona Park. We will also be collecting items for the food bank.

Theatre in the park: Bear & Co in the summer

UPDATE: Bear and Co. is back for their second outdoor theatre summer season. Catch Comedy of Errors at Hintonburg Park on July 5 and 19, at Iona Park on July 6 and at Reid Park on July 30. All shows start at 7 p.m. and picnics are welcome. A hat will be passed at the end of the show.

July 12, 2012

On July 5th and 6th Bear and Co. started close to home, playing to large crowds at dusk performances in Clare Gardens Park and Hintonburg Park.

Music Director Rachel Eugster—who not only lives in Hintonburg but volunteered on a community
advisory committee in 2010-2011 during the rehabilitation of Hintonburg Park to ensure that the historic
stone wall surrounding the park would be rebuilt to reflect its heritage character—was thrilled with the
play, the venue and the audience.

“It was director Will Sommers’ inspiration to set the play in 1950, during the McCarthy era” says Eugster
who appreciates that with familiar music and costumes, Shakespeare’s themes resonate for
contemporary audiences in a way that will echo what his original audiences experienced. “The music and
costumes provide the cultural key, and I think Anna had as much fun creating 1950-era costumes as
I had choosing and preparing the music. Judging by the delighted smiles that break out on people’s faces
when they hear a familiar song, it’s clear that we are successfully communicating this sense of fun to our
audience.”

Eugster notes that 1950 was an amazing year for music and in general. Many icons of contemporary
culture began in 1950. “Saturday morning children’s programming began on TV, Charles Schultz
introduced “Peanuts” and the first Xerox machine was produced,” says Eugster who jokes that not having
a piano is her biggest challenge in programming the music for outdoor theatre.

“Partly because we’re outdoors, and partly because we’re a touring company, we are limited to using
instruments that are easily carried,” explains the musical director. “Primarily that is the voice—which is my
specialty—and we make extensive use of that, singing songs in part or in full, in harmony or in unison.
The character of the songs also invited the use of guitars and kazoos. For example, we created a trumpet
call out of one of the songs, using kazoos, to signal the bad Duke’s entrances and exits.”

With children in the front rows, deeply engaged in watching the play unfold—especially the stage fighting
—Bear and Co. truly brought Shakespeare to life close to home.

Eugster noted that “the wall makes a gorgeous backdrop for theatre. It also acts a bit as a sound
container, which makes it easier for the actors to make themselves heard—very important in an urban
environment, especially when the show is in competition with sounds from the play structure and the
splash pad.”