Archive for February, 2012

A Month in Review – February 2012

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Another month down, and many more to come! February is a month with some very unique holidays, such as Valentine’s Day and Family Day, which highlight our month in review.

Please comment below and let us know what you have liked so far from our blog, what you disliked, and suggest what you would like to see in the future on the Ottawa Rickshaws blog!

Here are the top articles from February:

What the heck is a Family Day?

by: Stephen Michael

Guest contributor Stephen Michael explains the brief history of Family Day, and why every day should be Family Day.

 

 

The Rickshaw Retrospective: 6 Awkward Dates in a Rickshaw

by: Adam Slight

Adam recalls six different stories about awkward dates that have gone otherwise forgotten in a rickshaw.

 

This is Ottawa, Not New York!

By Adam Slight

Often called “The City That Fun Forgot,” Ottawa seems to have something to prove. Unfortunately, this sometimes means Ottawa tries to act like something it isn’t: New York City.

 

The Mayfair Theatre’s Essential Valentine’s Day Movie Viewing List

by: Ian Driscoll

Ian Driscoll, partner of the Mayfair Theatre, offers a list of the best date movies.

Italian Wine: Doing it Ottawa Style

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By Holly Bruns

Thinking about Italy conjures images of dramatic shorelines, pastoral expanses, impressive art and architecture, but one can’t imagine the boot-shaped peninsula for too long without visualizing grape vines, staked in rows and dotting the countryside. There is, perhaps, no other country where the everyday culture and that fermented beverage, wine, are so finely intertwined. Indeed, when the Greeks marched up the shores of Italy they promptly named it Oenoetria – land of grapes. The story of wine in Italy has a long history with references to the vine going as far back as the writings of Bacchus, Homer, and Pliny. Today, there are 900,000 or so registered vineyards, more than 1,000 grape varieties planted, and the styles of wine range from fizzy to sweet, from the everyday to the sublime.

Making sense of all that wine can be a bit intimidating. The terminology also gets confusing: frizzante, spumante, classico, appassimento. Add to that grapes with names like Verdicchio, Sagrantino, Grechetto, Garganega, and well, it’s hard to know where to start. But Preston Street isn’t that far away and that’s where you’ll find DiVino Wine Studio: rustic, laid-back, and full of Italian wine. Antonio Mauriello, the proprietor, is an Italian certified sommelier and an instructor in the Sommelier Program at Algonquin College; his love and knowledge of all vino Italiano is infectious.

There are a number of ways to explore the world of Italian wine at DiVino, depending upon your proclivities.

You could explore a $35 Tuesday. Talented chef Cristian Lepore offers up a three course meal that, each week, is centered on a particular region of Italy. Each course may be paired with a wine to compliment the regionality of the food.

For something a little less committal, there’s a bar at DiVino where a small group could sit, sip on a bottle of Prosecco, and indulge in a nibble or two.

The Studio also hosts wine tastings, usually focused around a particular grape, or region of Italy, or for something more in-depth, sign-up to participate in a full course on wine tasting.

If you are really adventurous, you can go all the way with Italy and take a guided tour to the land of the grape. Twice a year Antonio himself guides budding oenophiles through a region of Italy, tasting and sniffing along the way.

If you are planning an evening at DiVino Wine Studio, it’s a good idea to make a reservation.

Salute!

DiVino Wine Studio

225 Preston Street (North of Gladstone)

Ottawa, ONK1R 7R1
613-221-9760

http://www.divinowinestudio.com/index.html

Holly Bruns is an accredited sommelier with degrees from Algonquin College and the Wine Spirits & Education Trust. She lives in Ottawa and is the drinking force behind the successful blog: Wine Out Loud.

What’s Happening in Ottawa This Week (February 27th- March 4th, 2012)

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Can you believe that March is already here and spring is just around the corner!? Pretty soon, rickshaw events will be able to creep into these weekly calendars! But with the pile of snow dumped on the city this weekend, all you winter-lovers have one last chance to hit the slopes and enjoy the white.  Here’s what else you can do to finish February on a good note:

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012, 12-1PM: Intro to Macro Photography

Working in downtown Ottawa, I see tons of aspiring photographers snapping the scenery around the Byward Market, Major’s Hill Park and Parliament Hill. And why not? Downtown Ottawa is unique and offers plenty picturesque opportunities.  If you’ll be downtown this spring or summer with camera in hand, why not take this free one-hour course to improve your macro photography skills.  The workshop is being held at Carleton University.  More information can be found here.

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012, 10AM-4PM: Free Store

This one goes out to all 3000 of you who asked for a free rickshaw ride last summer! But really, who doesn’t like free stuff? The University of Ottawa is hosting this event where you can donate your junk, grab some free things that others have donated and be part of the madness while people scramble to get free items.  You know what they say – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. More information can be found here.

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012, 7-10PM: Ottawa Comic Jam – Leap Day

If we played a word association game and I said ‘comedy’, would you say ‘Chinese food’? Probably not, but these two unlikely partners form a very unique event this Wednesday at Shanghai Restaurant in Chinatown.  Anyone with a sense of humour or artistic skills should attend to hang out with others like them, share their talents and eat some spring rolls!

What else are you planning on doing this week? Let us know below!

This is Ottawa, Not New York!

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By Adam Slight

I was pulling some customers through the Byward Market’s beautiful courtyards a couple summers ago, during one of our historical rickshaw tours, and I overheard something that upset me enough that it has stuck with me ever since.

The customer said, “This is beautiful! It’s just like Paris!”

Just like Paris.

This may sound like a compliment to some. Personally, I’ve never been to Paris, but I can imagine that it is very beautiful. In fact, I’ve seen enough movies that I know it is. The City of Light is the archetypal setting for countless romantic tales in popular books and films, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. The city has an incredibly rich history, which no doubt reflects in its architecture as well. Given its colonial origins, Ottawa shares some architectural styles with Paris, especially in Lower Town and on Elgin St.

Given that I operate a tourism company based in Ottawa that also hosts a daily blog focusing on Ottawa culture, I should have taken the customer’s comment as a compliment to my city…

…But why couldn’t she have just said, “Ottawa is beautiful!” Why must Ottawa be viewed in relation to another, bigger, cultural juggernaut of a city, such as Paris?

 This seems to be the small city identity crisis.

Small cities like Ottawa, however culturally important and enjoyable they are to live in, are always trying to live up to the insanely high expectations set by cities like Paris, New York, Los Angeles, London, Berlin etc. etc.

Hold on! Don’t scoff, Toronto people. From a global perspective, your city isn’t much different than ours. I always laugh when Toronto is called “New York North.” Are you kidding me?

 Cities like New York, Paris, and Berlin are HUGE! For starters, they have

Not to be mistaken with Ottawa

massive populations. New York City has almost 20 million people living in it! “New York North” has 4 million (including GTA)? Ottawa has 1 million (if you include Gatineau)? Secondly, these cities are featured in global media every day, romanticized in support of a hundred different international industries that rely on these commercial hubs.

Thirdly, these massive cities (partly due to their sheer size and population) have been the sites for cataclysmic historical events, which have in turn resulted in world-changing cultural movements. While I firmly believe that Ottawa has a rich and important history, nothing in Ottawa’s past can be compared to the French Revolution or the New York City blackout of ‘77. These significant historical events affected millions of people and resulted in profound cultural movements that have changed world culture, and further contributed to their particular city’s cultural footprint.

Because of these factors, I think it is unfair to hold our smaller cities to such a high standard.

Often called the “city that fun forgot,” Ottawa can be mired down by a reputation as a city of government bureaucrats with 10 pm bedtimes. Indeed, when Bluesfest (one of Ottawa’s biggest seasonal draws!) comes around, the Ottawa Citizen can be depended upon to feature editorials written by angry pen-pushers yelling “Turn down that blasted music!! (and get off of my lawn!!!)”

In an effort to battle this image, many Ottawa loyalists (myself included) attempt to bring some fun to the city and show the world that Canada’s capital is a fun place to live! While I think this is a noble cause, I see a common mistake time and time again (which I have been assured happens in most cities our size). All sorts are guilty: entertainment providers, producers and proliferators of culture, and event organizers. They only promote Ottawa-living by acting like Ottawa is another (bigger) city.

Let’s start with the clubs.

Clubs in Ottawa charge something like $6 for cover on a regular club night . By principle, clubs charge cover to ensure that their clientele are of a certain social caliber, and are operating at a certain spending level. New York’s hottest clubs charge around $20+$8 coat check just for this reason. In a city of 1 million people with a limited “upper crust” of clubbers like Ottawa, $6 cover is nothing more than a cash-grab. In Ottawa, if you want to go to a club, you pay $6 or you don’t dance.

I realize that owning a club is a volatile and dangerous investment. There are staggering overhead costs, and the business can suffer if it doesn’t make a certain amount of revenue in a night. In a small city of 1 million, cover costs are just another source of emergency revenue keeping the bar floating.

But this is my plea to some thoughtful Ottawa club owner (I know. I’m really getting my hopes up here): Cut the cover charge! Just accept it. You aren’t running a New York club, no matter how much your stock photo-laden publicity material may suggest. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard people say, “I’d go to a club more, but I can’t justify paying cover charges.” If you publicize your club as the only club in Ottawa without a cover charge (heck, cut the coat check fee too!), I guarantee you’ll have line-ups around the block, which will make up for your losses from dispensing with the sleazy high-way robbery.

And we can’t forget about them hipsters now, can we? They are the worst for pretentiously claiming to have their grubby little fingers on the pulse of the “true” culture of a city. Apparently all you need is a quick trip to Value Village, and a friend in a band,

Hipsters ruined the mustache. Will you let them ruin you too?

and you’re now a leading voice in cultural proliferation. The danger is, in their hunger for identity and distinction, lots of young people buy into this myth. This results in mass over-glorification of mediocre and otherwise un-noteworthy stuff, all in the name of hipsters trying to be “the one” to highlight some unfound diamond-in-the-rough.

New York is like the hipster’s Mecca. Hipsters in New York have sooo much cred that hipsters around the world [will never admit that they] strive to reflect the New York image. Some Ottawa hipsters have mistaken themselves as New York hipsters, spreading New York style hipster-dom here too. Oops!

If you don’t see what I’m getting at here, what I prescribe for Ottawa, and other small cities experiencing identity crises, is that they need to stop pretending to be New York (or any other super-city). They need to stop jumping up and down yelling, “ME TOO! ME TOO! I CAN TOO!” and instead embrace the fact they are a small city. With this approach the unique culture, fun, and “cool” factor will emerge organically from the ground up. Forget what everyone else is doing, and just do what works for you—And use some imagination!

But what am I saying? There’s lots of awesome stuff in Ottawa that has developed from the ground up. The Great Glebe Garage Sale, for example, began in 1986 and has since has become an awesome, and massive, public event where the Glebe community sells off unwanted household items on their lawns. It now draws thousands of people from Ottawa’s outlying areas, and has become a huge bargain-hunting festival. It wasn’t started as an answer to a similar event in another city: it was just born out of a desire to create one big community garage sale.

It’s not my intention to rag on Ottawa here. It’s my intention to communicate to you, the reader, that it’s okay that Ottawa is not like New York, or London, or Paris. That would be an uneven comparison. Ottawa is like Ottawa. If you want to have fun in your city, you should look at what it has to offer, and not at what New York has to offer that Ottawa doesn’t. Don’t we enjoy things because of the people we share them with anyways? If that is the case, then you’ll have no problem finding worthwhile things to share right here.

What do you think? Am I a grumpy curmudgeon or should Ottawa build its own identity by embracing its own strengths? Please comment below.

 

What the Heck is a Family Day?

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By Stephen Michael

‘Family’ (defined by dictionary.com) is noted as: a basic social unit consisting of parents and their children, considered as a group, whether dwelling together or not.

The word ‘Day’ is defined as: ‘the interval of light between two successive nights; the time between sunrise and sunset’.

Put the two words together and you have something that sounds pretty good, right? Well, not really. Based on those two definitions, it seems as though each word couldn’t be further apart in relation to one another. Everyday should be family-centric, but the calendar I’m currently looking at says that the actual day which has been given the distinction of being ‘Family Day’ is Monday February 20th. For those of you who have never heard of Family Day or would like a break down of what it’s all about, hold onto your toques (although it’s been unseasonably warm these past few days hasn’t it?) and get ready to be edutained about the history of this special day.

Based on the intensive and arduous research (well, it’s 5 min spent on Google that I won’t get back anyway) I conducted to really get to the heart of what this great day is all about, here are some fun facts that I collected. Family Day is actually celebrated in four of our great provinces throughout Canada (Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan,and British Columbia) and began all the way back in 1990 in Alberta. It wasn’t until 2007 when it was proposed in Saskatchewan and finally in 2008 when we had the first official Family Day here in Ontario. Manitoba and PEI have since followed suit but are too cool for school to just call it Family Day like the other provinces. They have dubbed it as ‘Louis Riel Day’ and ‘Islander Day’ respectively. Here in Ontario it’s normally on the third Monday of February, with buses usually running on a holiday schedule and places such as banks, schools and other businesses closed. However, there are still many places that do remain open, which to me only reinforces the notion that holidays are for spending money, in the place of quality time in order to gain or re-establish some type of closeness with your family– but I digress.

Sadly, on the closed list of businesses are LCBOs and beer stores, so for any of you that perhaps need a little southern comfort in order to feel truly comfortable spending time with your family for a full 24 hours, make sure to stock up this weekend!

Here are some other cool things you can do on Family Day, or check out Ottawa Rickshaws’ events page for more ideas.

Remember, you only have one family..and it’s only one day. Make the best of it!

Stephen is a columnist for SANS Magazine.

What’s Happening in Ottawa This Week (February 20th-26th, 2012)

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So Winterlude is done, and spring isn’t quite here yet. This is the dead time for Ottawa isn’t it? False! There is still a lot going on in our great city this week.

Monday, February 20th: Family Day

Take advantage of the long weekend and the many events that are planned for Family Day.  For example, two of Ottawa’s biggest museums, the Museum of Nature and the Museum of Science and Technology, both of which are typically closed on Mondays, are opening their doors and hosting special events for the family holiday.

Tuesday, February 21st: Tapping Your Hidden Sources of Energy Workshop

Don’t we all feel run down and overworked, especially in the middle of winter?  Led by Dr. Paul Newton, this free workshop teaches you how to understand and decode your internal feelings, emotions and stresses in order to fully maximize your potential– And get ready to take on the world! More information can be found here.

Thursday, February 23rd – Sunday, February 26th: Boat and Sportsman Show

Do you enjoy the outdoors? Do you own a cottage and are starting to think about getting it ready for summer 2012? Do you like to make believe drive large boats to let your imagination create a summer feeling, as a cure for the winter blues? (I think that last one’s just me).  If you answered yes to any of the above, head down to the CE Centre for the Annual Boat and Sportsman Show. Heck, even going to see the new CE Centre is good enough reason to go!

Saturday, February 25th: RAD Women’s Self Defense

Ladies, learn to kick some ass!! Carleton University is hosting this free all-day course on self-defense which will teach you everything you need to know about self-defense, such as awareness, reduction, and of course, physical training.  You can register here.

The Rickshaw Retrospective: Child Labour

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By Adam Slight

Children ranging from ages four to fourteen represent a large part of our clientele throughout the summer.

The younger children are fun customers to have. Sometimes they come on rickshaw rides with their parents, but often their parents send them alone with an older sibling. The older children can be fun clients as well, although pre-pubescence can make them just as annoying as the drunken bar hoppers at night. During May and June, grade 8 students flock to Ottawa from all over Canada with their schools to learn about Canada’s capital, and obviously, to gain a thorough practical education in rickshaw studies.

In general, younger kids (4-8 years old) are the ideal customers. They weigh very little, they don’t heckle, and they laugh their butts off when you pull them around town (usually they laugh so hard that they can’t speak and you think they may be suffocating. Nope. Just laughing harder than anyone can after the age of 6). Also, you always get a tip: their mommies and daddies give them some money to carry over to you afterwards, for cuteness points. It’s also amusing hearing the kids’ parents describe to them what rickshaws are before they actually take the ride:

“It’s like a horse carriage, except pulled by a person.”

“He carries you all over the city in a little wagon, like a taxi.”

I have since added “Horse-Man” to my resume.

Suburban Mississauga kids droppin’ gang signs like they’re hot!

The older children as equally valued as customers, but for another reason. While these children are fairly light, they are also abundant for the harvest. As I mentioned above, grade 8 children come from far and wide to Ottawa on school trips to see its historical sites, and learn about parliamentary history. At several points during most of these trips the children are released into the ByWard Market to buy candy, McDonald’s, and novelty t-shirts, booze, and cigarettes with their parents’ money (kidding about the last two). Many times I have thanked the rickshaw gods for blessing me with the money of the parents of Barrie, Markham, Ajax, St. Catherine’s, Sault-Saint Marie, and Edmonton.

We call this “The Kids Rush,” or to be accurate, a season filled with daily “Kids Rushes.” During this season we follow a very systematized strategy to garnering as much business as we can from this abundant but fleeting market.

During Kids Rush Season, runners maintain a very precise schedule. From Monday to Friday, every runner makes sure they are ready at our kiosk in the Market at 11 am on the dot. By about 11:20 the madness begins. Buses filled with 12-year-olds start pouring into the Market, releasing them into the wild. We would often joke that during this time we don’t see kids running around, we see $5 bills. We begin to heckle the kids as they walk by (for some reason taunting works best in selling our service to 12 year olds). Once a runner gets a fare with some popular kids in the rickshaw, there is a domino effect, and soon enough every kid in the market wants to try a rickshaw ride (or 10 rides in a row, in some cases).

This becomes a very competitive time for us as we attempt to gather kids into our rickshaws. We can be seen yelling to the kids, trying to coerce them into spending their money on us instead of fast-food or beer helmets. This can elevate into full-blown arguments with the children, which I have succumbed to many times (I’m just getting revenge for all the times kids were mean to me when I was 12).

Competition rises between the other runners because there is a time limit every day to get as much business as possible. We try to fill our rickshaws and run the tour as fast as we can so that we can be the first to arrive back at the kiosk for the next kids lined up for a ride. It is truly and utterly exhausting. It is also very rewarding.

If you child asks you for a rickshaw ride, how could you deny them this happiness??

By the end of the Kids Rush, you’re exhausted and hungry and dehydrated from basically sprinting non-stop for two hours. You’re also quite rich though. And if you’re lucky, the kids come back that night for supper and you start the cycle over again at 7pm.

One night in late June, during my first year of running, a group of 13-year-old girls approached me, asking for a “free” rickshaw ride. The idea of a free rickshaw ride is a strange myth that has proliferated throughout the masses, but I can assure you, they don’t exist. I told the girls that I would take them for $10, like I would anyone else. They assured me that they didn’t have the money, so I jokingly suggested that they busk in order to raise enough to come for a ride. Surprisingly, they actually took my advice to heart. They placed a hat down on the pavement and did some kind of Miley Cyrus dance that, being 13 year olds, they happened to have choreographed. In nothing shorter than 15 minutes, they had raised close to $8, so I took mercy on them and gave them a small discount.

Sometimes I think I’m too nice.

 

The (Re)Birth of Another Local Dive Bar

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By Brian Clarke

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With every end comes a new beginning…

About a month ago, my business partner Adam wrote about the tragic death of a local dive bar.  Even if you’ve never been to the Prince of Wales Restaurant, you could sympathize and feel the pain.  It seems like more and more small, so-run-down-you-can’t-help-but-love-‘em bars are biting the dust and larger chains with fancy leather booths, loud music and $13 beverages are replacing them.

But there is still hope.

If you read any of the comments on Adam’s post, you know that a ‘new’ Ottawa South venue is ‘emerging’ as a powerhouse in the local dive bar scene. I put new and emerging in quotes since O’Brien’s Eatery & Pub (located on Heron Rd. just west of Bank St.) has been around longer than I have.  But it is recently being (re)discovered by many locals.

If you’re looking for an easy, relaxed hang out with friends, O’Brien’s is perfect. It scores high in all aspects of the perfect dive bar:

Cheap, greasy, yet satisfying and tasty eats

40 cent wings from Monday to Wednesday or an $8 lasagna for lunch? Couple that with a $15 pitcher of beer. Could it get any better?

Karaoke

Just recently, O’Brien’s has erected a banner proudly displaying “Voted best karaoke in Ottawa”.  Even if you don’t sing, you’re bound to have a good time on Friday and Saturday nights listening to some locals show off their talents.

Run down atmosphere

Everything from the furniture to the dishes to the decor seems as if it hasn’t been changed in 30 years.  Plus, the bar is very small and quaint – it’s about the same size as the typical patio of a large modern money-making machine restaurant.

The “we’re not trying to impress you” attitude

Yes, you’ll get the occasional unidentified “floatie” in your beer, but you can’t have a dive bar without that! O’Brien’s doesn’t impress you with flashy products or services, but with its simplicity.

Loyal regulars

If you go to O’Brien’s for a karaoke night, you will see the same people singing.  And they take their karaoke seriously! But the predictability of who will be there, where they sit and what they sing adds to the simplicity and appeal of the pub.

Nothing sums O’Brien’s better than this short anecdote:  After accidently breaking a glass on one visit, I returned for another relaxed drinking night.  However, I was remembered by the staff as that clumsy oaf who broke their glass, and was served in a red plastic cup.  Only at a local watering hole would you find a man eating a plate of nachos, drinking a beer out of a red plastic cup!

Do you have any good memories of O’Brien’s, the POW or your own favorite dive bar?  Please share below! If you don’t, next time you are looking to hang out with friends on a weekend night, I challenge you to try a local dive bar such as O’Brien’s instead of fist-pumping your way to a club. Especially for Carleton students who live near campus and others in the area who may be affected by the loss of the POW, another local dive bar is just around the corner.

What’s Happening in Ottawa This Week? (February 13th-20th)

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Ottawa woke up to a frostbite warning this morning, and how fitting! Mother Nature is really putting the winter in Winterlude.   Be sure to bundle up, as this week’s Ottawa events is 100% dedicated to the final week of the popular February festival.

Friday, February 17th and Saturday, February 18th – Winter Wines and Beers 

Why does it seem like the events I list every week always include one drinking event? (Rhetorical question, I really have no idea!)  Just be sure to read our Guide to Public Drunkeness, and head over to Maison du Citoyen in Gatineau for this fun winter tasting event.

Saturday, February 18th, 11AM-3PM – Snowflake in the Glebe with Ottawa Rickshaws

Did you think Ottawa Rickshaws packs up and hibernates all winter? Not quite. This upcoming Saturday, we’re making our second Winterlude appearance, giving free rides along the Rideau Canal in the Glebe.  You can find us outside the Canal Ritz, at the Fifth Avenue entrance to the Canal.  Take a break from skating and get V.I.P. service into the Glebe for a warm coffee, lunch or some shopping.  There will also be an Ottawa Food Bank fundraising event at the corner of Fifth Ave. and Bank St.

Saturday, February 18th, 11:30AM-2:30PM – Public Ice Carving Competition

A Winterlude classic! Even if you’re not an artistic type, head down to Confederation Park across from City Hall to witness some of the best amateur carvers from Ottawa and the surrounding regions, and vote for the winner.  Think you got what it takes to create a masterpiece? Register here, and get ready to show off your skills. However, as the image above shows, the competition is always fierce!

Sunday, February 19th, starting at 8AM – Winterman Marathon

The hardcore of the hardcore do what most of us can’t…in 20 below temperatures. Come cheer the competitors on as they compete in 3k, 5k, 10k, half, and full marathons. Don’t worry, everyone gets a medal at this one.

What other events are you planning to attend this week?

6 Awkward Dates in a Rickshaw

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By Adam Slight

A large part of our business relies on giving rides to couples, sometimes from a hotel to a fancy restaurant, or even taking a newly wed bride and groom back to the hotel after a wedding reception. These are great customers to have: They’re happy, quiet, content, and demand very little from the runner.

On the other hand, we definitely see our fair share of bad dates as well. You may recall my post from last Friday about the old man using my rickshaw to cheat on his wife. This is just one example. For this week’s Rickshaw Retrospective I present to you 6 Awkward Dates in a Rickshaw.

1. Rickshaws make things move way too fast!

Last summer I got hired by an awkward middle aged couple on their very first date. It was about 10:30 PM and they must have been drinking away the nervous jitters with supper because things really started to open up during the half-hour rickshaw tour that they purchased. I took them for a romantic ride up to Major’s Hill Park where they could see the lights of the Parliament Buildings dance on the Ottawa River. Listening to the couple talk, I literally witnessed the entire blueprint of their future together, from marriage until death. “This is our first date,” the man announced, “but I think we’re going to get married.” This shocked the woman, and she grew quieter and quieter as the man described how he planned on raising the children he would inevitably conceive in her womb.

She did contribute a suggested baby-name. Bad suggestion. “That’s my ex’s name.” He said sharply. In other words: Shut up and listen to me talk!

2. Rickshaws fit three, but we’re not suggesting anything here!

Last summer one of our runners was approached by an older couple asking if he’d participate in a ménage a trois. The most disturbing part about this is that they offered him an insulting $20 to participate. When he declined the husband’s offer to pleasure his wife while he watched, they raised the stakes to $40. I wonder if that’s worked for them in the past.

3. Ottawa Rickshaws: Your Guide to Scum and Villainy

Every now and then we get approached at 3 am by a completely wasted man visiting Ottawa from out of town. He’ll hand you some cash and tell you to just drive around. And then once he has you driving around, he’ll drunkenly demand: “Find me a hooker.”

This is the Byward Market! When was the last time you saw a prostitute chilling out on the corner in the Byward Market? (I know looks can be deceiving outside some of the clubs).

Sometimes these passengers say “find me some weed/cocaine/ecstasy” instead. Why do people presume we have the solutions to these requests?

4. Motion Sickness is apparently a Turnoff

My business partner Brian had a couple in his rickshaw for a date after dinner last summer. They instructed Brian to take them to their home on Sandy Hill, and Brian was quick to notice that the man in the relationship was completely hammered. The entire ride, Brian could hear the girl repeating the same three lines: “I can’t believe you drank so much,” “You’re such a f#$@ing idiot,” and “You’d better not puke in the rickshaw.” As Brian arrived at their destination, the girl told Brian to make an emergency stop. As quickly as Brian could turn around and see what was the matter, the man projectile vomited all over the street. Luckily the rickshaw was unharmed.

Why is it that I always talk about puke in my Rickshaw Retrospectives?

5. How Not to Treat your Lady to a Rickshaw Ride

Several years ago our resident personal trainer, Omar was approached by a young man who handed him a large amount of money to take him for a ride with a young lady. The young lady was obviously impressed by this, because the runner was approached by the same couple a week later. This occurred several times, until one week Omar was approached by the young man with a different young lady. The young man quietly explained that he had been using a fake name, and that his latest passenger was actually his girlfriend. During the ride, Omar could hear the couple arguing in the back quite loudly. The girl told Omar to stop the ride, asking if her boyfriend had been taking another girl as well. Omar was tongue-tied, and admitted the truth to the young lady. She stormed off infuriated, and the infidel never took a rickshaw ride again.

6. The Fiery Hearts of Old

Brian picked up a 70-year-old couple from Fat Tuesday on a Friday evening and began to take them for a typical tour. Suddenly he felt the weight of the rickshaw shift. He turned around and witnessed the older lady straddling the man, making out with him. She banged her head on the canopy of the rickshaw and lost her shoes, while people on the streets cheered them on. Who knew a rickshaw could reignite the dormant youthful passion buried deep within the hearts of the elderly?

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Share your bad date stories in the comment section below!