Here are the top articles from the month of March.
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!
Adam shares a wealth of funny stories involving the intoxicated customers we've encountered during our rickshaw tours in Ottawa. Here are 7!
It's Adam vs. Brian in this version of Rickshaw Recipes, as the two put their pancake recipes head to head.
Rickshaw Stories in Ottawa: An obnoxious biker outside of Barrymore's gets what's coming to him– much to our amusement.
The Tulip Festival declared its departure from NCC's pricey parks. Why do Ottawa officials insist on over-charging Ottawa's beloved culture?
By Adam Slight
Sometimes pulling a rickshaw day-in and day-out just makes you a bit insane. In last week’s Rickshaw Retrospective, I described a story in which we had to stand our ground against an angry biker in order to protect our right to do business. Obviously holding your ground and protecting your own rights is an important thing to do in life, but sometimes this can go a bit far.
Come August, rickshaw runners tend to have a lot less patience with the drunken masses during bar hours. After 3 busy months pandering to disrespectful customers, the same “How much for a ride to Kanata?” jokes, and countless free ride requests, it’s quite understandable. I’ve succumbed to many passionate arguments with drunk people, just because I let frustration get a hold of me
Argument subjects include:
One night I went to extremes to protect my rights as a rickshaw runner and ensure that I would not get walked over. While in the end I won through, I think I stepped all over my own dignity on the road to victory.
It was a chilly August night in 2009, and I was working outside of Tila Tequila (there’s my first mistake!) The night was quiet due to the weather and none of us were pulling in any particularly significant fares.
I was approached by a couple of girls who wanted a quick ride through the market, just for kicks. The ride was worth $10.
After the ride was over, I dropped them back off at Tila Tequila and let them out of the rickshaw. One of the girls said “Sorry, we don’t have any money, but my boyfriend will pay you later.”
This was my first year running a rickshaw. Had this happened now, I’d be pissed, but I’d let it slide and just keep working.
Not 2009 Adam!
I told her that I would be waiting outside of Tila Tequila for her boyfriend to bring me the $10 she owed to me. She assured me that he would bring me the money, and then she went into the club.
I continued to work outside of Tila Tequila, waiting by the curb for any business to approach me, or for this girl’s boyfriend to bring me my $10. As I said before, business was slow that night, so this quickly became just me waiting to get my money.
After about half an hour, the girl came out to have a smoke outside the club. I approached her, and she seemed surprised to see me. I asked if her boyfriend was planning to bring me my $10. She said he would be out soon. She finished her cigarette and went back inside the club.
I soon became frustrated. I sat in my rickshaw (which is sort of the universal sign that I was closed for business), and waited longer for my money. The girl came out several times for more smokes, and assured me that her boyfriend would have my money for me soon (much to my disbelief). I was becoming less interested in my money, and more interested in justice.
By 1 am, it started to pour rain. The downpour was cold and miserable, collecting water on the canopy of my rickshaw, which would splash down around me as it overflowed. By this point all the other rickshaw runners had called it an evening and went home for the night.
I was not going to give up that easily.
I shivered in my short sleeves under the protection of my rickshaw canopy, with an enraged glare on my face, parked by the empty sidewalk of Tila Tequila as sheets of rain crashed down on the pavement. I would have my justice.
I waited an hour in the downpour, which was probably the hardest I’ve ever worked for $10. As the club emptied out, I kept a keen eye for this girl who owed me $10. Soon she emerged the club arm-in-arm with a man, and they ran down the sidewalk in hopes of escaping the rain. With all the crowds exiting the club, it was awkward for me to approach them with my rickshaw. I chased after them down the street as they hastily retreated to a parking garage. I finally caught up to them as they hid underneath its shelter.
“Hey!” I shouted, very sternly.
The couple turned to look at me approaching, drenched in the downpour.
“She owes me $10 for a ride, and she said you would pay for it.” I boldly told the man. Justice.
He looked very surprised. It was then that I realized that he was likely not her boyfriend, and in fact she didn’t have a boyfriend at all. This was some guy she picked up at the club.
Anyways, it doesn’t matter. I was getting my money.
He kind of laughed at the pathetic feats I took to get such a measly sum. He silently tossed me a crumpled $10 bill, and without a word, they went into the parking garage.
It was mine.
I put the soggy bill in my otherwise fairly empty money pouch, and went home soaked.
There was no sweet justice that night. I just felt dead and empty inside. The justice was a lie.
By Holly Bruns
Not enough hours in the day for you to figure out what to drink with dinner tonight? Missing out on a little boozy bedtime reading? Tired of drinking the same old Merlot day after day after day? Alas, don’t despair. There are answers out there for those of us who are having the wino doldrums. Ottawa happens to be home to some of the world’s most renowned wine writers and there is no lack of advice for the budding oenophile. From historical texts to a fun-loving romp around the wine world, these local wine aficionados can teach you a thing or two about what you may, could, should, be putting in your wine glass.
First stop is Rod Phillips. He’s the wine columnist at The Ottawa Citizen and a professor at Carleton University. His book, A Short History of Wine, is an excellent read, jam packed with information, and is even better the second or third time around. Check out his website to receive regular newsletters and tips on what’s new and worthy of a pour at the LCBO. http://www.rodphillipsonwine.com/
Then there is Natalie MacLean. Natalie’s been working tirelessly at decoding the complexities of the wine world through her free e-mail newsletter, through her numerous articles, and most recently through her books: Red White and Drunk All Over and Unquenchable. She’s been named the world’s best wine writer, and her website is full of current tasting notes on just about every wine you could imagine. http://www.nataliemaclean.com/
And who doesn’t need advice for pairing wine and food? Angie MacRae & Stacey Metulynsky hosted the popular Food Network Show: This Food That Wine. Their book of the same name is a great reference text to keep handy in the kitchen.
For the intellect in you try Charles Hodgson’s book: History of Wine Words: An Intoxicating Dictionary of Etymology and Word Histories of Wine, Vine, and Grape from the Vineyard, Glass, and Bottle. You’ll be full of interesting wine descriptors at your next office cocktail party.
Vic Harradine is a long-time wine writer and educator. His free bi-weekly e-newsletter Wine Current is a great source for what’s happening on the local wine shelves. He’s also the co-author of The 500 Best-Value Wines in the LCBO. http://www.winecurrent.com/
Finally, but absolutely not least, there are plenty of blogs afloat that will give you the skinny on the local wine scene replete with LCBO Vintages picks, up-coming events, and tips such as what to drink with that buffalo steak, and how to gracefully open a bottle of sparkling wine.
Dave’s Domaine –covers off- the-beaten-track wine picks, and an interesting assortment of up to date news on what’s happening in the wine world. http://daveswinedomaine.blogspot.com/
FoodiePrints – Claire offers up a down to earth perspective on what to put in your glass. http://www.foodieprints.com/
Imbibery – Nita harvests her garden for cocktail fixings, writes about what to pair with your Friday night pizza, and records regular wine podcasts. http://imbibery.blogspot.com/
Second Ferment – Bethany is drinking her way through life and laughing along the way. She is always up on current wine events and you’ll come back just for the writing. http://www.2ndferment.ca/
Sit.Sip.Savour. – Éva cruises the Vintages Release magazine every two weeks, in detail, for suggested picks. She writes about local restaurants, and every once and a while she raids her large wine cellar to bring you something interesting. http://sit-sip-savour.blogspot.com/
So, get reading Ottawa, and then get drinking!
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.
By Adam Slight
As the weather gets warmer, and the last of the snow and ice melts away, many of you might see this as an opportunity to pull out a camera and do some spring time photography in Ottawa. If not, then you might want to give it a try some weekend afternoon.
Here is my suggested list of prime springtime photography locations in Ottawa. Remember, photography is the people’s art form, so snap your photos confidently. It doesn’t matter how “good” you think the photos are as long as you’re having fun.
While everyone has their own idea of what constitutes good photographic subject matter, I’ll start with the obvious scenic locations. Major’s Hill Park located downtown near the Byward Market is the former home of Ottawa’s founding father, Colonel John By. The hill overlooks the Ottawa River, the Byward Market, The Parliament Buildings, the Notre Dame Basillica, The Chateau Laurier,Gatineau, and the National Art Gallery. What’s more, it is dense with small trees that begin to blossom as spring arrives. There are usually young families strolling through the park as well—just remember to ask permission from the parents before photographing children.
(And if you get all the shots you need in the park, you might as well drop by the Byward Market to photograph all the colourful people and sights there as well.)
The Gatineau Hills is Ottawa’s most accessible natural environment, available for all of your nature photography needs after a short car ride or a somewhat ambitious bike excursion. The Gatineau Hills have lots of paths for hiking and biking, as well as some great vistas if you like wide sweeping shots. Make sure to bring a snack and keep a sharp eye for wild animals, because you never know what you’ll miss if you don’t have a quick shutter finger.
Ottawa always seems to have good festivals and events going on. While the popular ones like Tulip Fest, Jazz Fest, Rib Fest, and Blues Fest are well-known, there are always smaller, more obscure ones that you may not have heard of. For example, there is a Maple Sugar Festival going on tomorrow! These events are great opportunities for amateur and professional photographers alike, mainly because they attract large crowds, there is usually some form of culture on display, and you never know what could happen!
If you’re stuck trying to find a good event to photograph, pay attention to our weekly “What’s Happening in Ottawa This Week?” review (You might want to join the Ottawa Rickshaws Facebook fan page and follow us on Twitter too! This way our weekly review will just pop up in your newsfeed!)
Now I don’t want to endorse any trespassing or dangerous night-time infiltrations, but let’s face it: if you’re more than a novice photographer, you sometimes need to bend the rules a bit and tempt fate to get the good shots. The Ottawa area is surprisingly littered with abandoned and forgotten buildings that could make for some haunting and interesting photographs. If you’re looking to give your creativity a push after a cold and stifling winter, you might want to seek out these derelict locations.
(If this peaks your interest, here is a comprehensive list of abandoned buildings in the Ottawa area.)
Note: If you’re a hipster, the iPhone has a “vintage” filter that when added to your abandoned building shots, will shoot your hipster cred straight through the roof.
Other Locations and Subjects of Interest:
There are photo opportunities everywhere! Look for interesting colours, lines, and shapes hidden in the world around you! People always make interesting subjects as well! You may want to ask permission before you take a portrait, however candid shots are also great too as long as you can avoid looking like a creeper.
Now get out there at take some great spring time photos! If you’ve shot a winner, share it on our Facebook page and celebrate spring time in Ottawa!
The weather is getting nice, and Ottawa residents have been flocking to the outdoors this week. I don’t know about everyone else but I saw ten times more cyclists this week than last, and have constantly smelt barbeque in my neighbourhood.
But, we realize that not everyone in Ottawa is ready to anoint the early arrival of summer weather. The forecast certainly agrees with you, as it seems to be chilling again. Hence, this week’s event calendar features indoor and outdoor events – perfect for the unpredictable Canadian climate.
Even if you’re not a fan of theater, this event just sounds cool! Various local theaters will be given a topic and have 48 hours to prepare a script and short piece, competing with each other. Who will win the bragging rights? More information can be found here.
If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed that I like food. If you do as well, this film screening would definitely interest you. The short documentary, which will be entered in the upcoming Reel Food Film Festival, tells the story of Canadians “getting back to the land” and eating natural foods. More information can be found here.
Did our pancake recipes this week leave wanting more? Well you’re in luck. The Annual Maple Sugar Festival is being held this week, where you can enjoy a pancake breakfast, shop for delicious local maple syrup and enjoy a vast array of family activities. More information can be found here.
What other events do you plan on attending this week?
By: Brian Clarke
Too often I hear people sarcastically state, “Oh, it’s only Ottawa” with the unsaid, but clearly implied “I shouldn’t try to have fun, because that’s impossible in this boring city”.
Ottawa does have this reputation of a bureaucratic town that works nine to five, goes to bed early and is not interested in anything exciting. But every time I hear this, it comes from the same type of person – the ones who assume that excitement can only happen after the sun goes down, and that the only “fun” thing to do is pack themselves in to a crowded dance club.
Last month, my business partner Adam wrote a brilliant article about people expecting Ottawa to be like New York or Paris. To paraphrase him, we judge Ottawa in relation to these larger cities. If you’re expecting Ottawa clubs to compete with NYC clubs, then of course you’ll have no fun in Ottawa! Yet, many people don’t get that Ottawa has so much else to offer.
Unfortunately, these people still expect Ottawa to be a “fun” city in the NYC sense of the word. If you’re one of these people, here are some helpful tips to continue being bored in Ottawa:
For the rest of us, we’ll continue to relish Ottawa’s uniqueness and not set ourselves up for boredom by expecting Ottawa to be something else. For these readers, I ask: what other fun things can be done in Ottawa that are commonly overlooked by those who claim this is a boring city? Do you have any other tips for people who don’t want to have fun?
By Adam Slight
Murphy’s Law:“What can go wrong, will go wrong.”
For the unlucky, this is one piece of imaginary legislature that should be abided by with respect and humility.
For others nearby, it can make for great entertainment.
During the summer, there is always somewhere that a rickshaw runner can be to get business. On Sunday nights, Barrymore’s and Babylon on Bank St. are hives of activity and prime locations for rickshaw running. On long weekends, these two establishments are the most bumping and happenin’ places in Ottawa, and the stretch of Bank St. between MacLaren and Gilmour becomes congested with pedestrian traffic and taxi cabs.
One summer Sunday night in 2011 four of us brought our rickshaws to Barrymore’s in hopes of grabbing some extra cash after an otherwise lucrative long weekend. The thing about working outside of Barrymore’s and Babylon is that you make virtually no business until 1-2am. Until then you must bide your time by either conversing with strangers, eating over-priced pizza from across the street, or goofing off with one another.
We had parked in front of Barrymore’s, tightly packed into a couple of street-side parking spaces between a limo and a motorcycle. After settling in and sitting down in our rickshaws, I pulled a Gameboy out and began playing some Zelda to pass the time.
I looked to the motorocycle to our right noticed its d-bag owner taking photos of some bar star posing on his sweet ride with his iPhone. He was a middle-aged biker wannabe with ripped Chopper sleeves, a particularly dirt-baggish soul patch, and a bandana on his head.
When he was done taking photos of his classy young friend he approached us in an immediately aggressive manner.
“You boys are gonna have to take this somewhere else.” He declared, arrogance a-shining.
When you do independent business in the streets at night, you get used to standing up for yourself.
We told him it wasn’t happening.
“I don’t pay the bouncers here to watch my motorcycle for nothing. I’m not gonna let one of you guys knock over my $10 000 bike.” He said, puffing up his chest and moving no more than a foot away from us.
We were persistent and said we weren’t going to move. We would stay in our parking space which we were fully allowed to do. If we let this guy have his way and give up our prime real estate, we might as well have called it a night. Given that he jumped into a confrontation without politely asking us to be careful, he was only asking for resistance.
We could tell this guy was an asshole anyways, so we weren’t giving him an inch.
Eventually our persistence won over, and the guy stormed back into Barrymore’s. We spent about 10 minutes discussing how much of a jerk he was, and then forgot about him…
…until about half an hour later.
A fight broke out in the front doorway of Barrymore’s and the bouncers flung the instigator of the fight out into the street.
And into the motorcycle.
The expensive motorcycle toppled over onto the hard asphalt. The man was sprawled awkwardly over the vehicle as it lay on the street. One concerned bystander pulled the battered man off of the motorcycle, while another quickly attempted to pull the motorcycle upright.
Then, in what can only be direct intervention from the irony gods themselves…
…the motorcycle fell onto its other side.
At this point we were laughing at this karmic swing as five people attempted to awkwardly straighten up the motorcycle and correct it on its stand, while the bloodied man lay sprawled on the sidewalk unattended beside the bike.
Such justice seemed too sweet to be possible.
We laughed about the incident, and joked about how he had what was coming to him. Again, this conversation laughed about 5-10 minutes, and then we lost interest in the topic…
…until about twenty more minutes later.
Now this may sound too good to be true, but I assure you, it is 100% truth.
A cab was pulling up to Barrymore’s full of students who were likely trying to get into the bar for a few last minutes of fun. The cab approached the portion of the street adjacent to this biker’s already desecrated pride and joy.
We didn’t see it happen until it already happened, but we suddenly heard a horrible metal-on-metal screeching sound followed by a crash, and then some more scraping and screeching.
I guess one of the girls in the back of the cab got a little anxious to get into Barrymore’s. As the cab was still rolling, she opened the passenger door of the cab. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the cab basically drove its passenger door right into the expensive bike, scratching it for a bit, knocking it over, and then dragging it on the ground slightly before stopping.
When everyone on Bank St. turned to see what had happened, their collective shock could be heard as a loud, unified “Ooooooooh!” Cars honked, people cheered. It was chaos.
We “Oooh’d” just as much as anyone else. Omar was freaking out. The funny thing is, the girls got out of the cab and just walked into the bar while the cabby sadly investigated the damage.
We left Barrymore’s as fast as we possibly could. After all of our courage standing up to this big biker, we didn’t want him to think we had anything to do with this expensive disaster. We initially stood our ground against the guy because we didn’t want to miss out on a night of business. After this unlucky turn of events, we didn’t care about the business. We just wanted to get out of there before a piano fell from the sky.
by: Brian Clarke and Adam Slight
Pancakes are wonderful Sunday brunch after a night of rickshaw running. They’re cheap, filling, and if made with good ingredients, very healthy fuel for an active lifestyle. Pancakes are so good, and we’ve eaten them so much, that a few of us at Ottawa Rickshaws have developed our own pancake recipes. But which one tastes better? We’ll leave that up to you to decide!
Serve with syrup and fruit, and you’ve got yourself a derned good flapper-jack! YUUUM!
So, we ask you: Whose pancakes are better!? Vote above, and leave us a comment explaining why you chose a certain one.
By Adam Slight
I think it’s common knowledge: Cancer sucks.
Cancer causes about 13% of deaths worldwide per year (which comes to about 8 million deaths!) making it one of the more despicable of the diseases. Nobody goes unaffected by this killer.
Thankfully, there is a world-wide struggle to fight cancer.
I found out that Ottawa will be hosting a cancer-fighting fundraiser that has particularly caught my attention. The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation is putting on an event called “Bust-A-Move for Breast Health.” Participants will almost literally kick cancer’s ass.
The event takes place at the Ottawa Athletic Club on April 21st (that is a month from today). Participants will be lead by certified fitness instructors through six hours of intense (but satisfying) workout routines, including aerobics, yoga, zumba, and kickboxing (to name just a few).
Those who don’t want to put themselves through these rigorous routines can just sit back, eat, and watch while they enjoy massages available on-site. This doesn’t sound like a difficult decision…
It isn’t too late to join in this cool, unique fundraiser. Just visit the event’s website to sign up and get to work raising money! Participants are committed to raising $1000 for the event, however this shouldn’t be difficult considering everyone is affected by cancer!
If you still aren’t convinced, here is a list of reasons why you should become a participant:
That’s it. There’s nothing else to it. Why are you even still reading this?!!? Just sign up on their site, and raise some money to fight cancer! The Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation is aiming to raise $500 000 at this event. They can’t do it without you.
By: Omar Elamam
Whether you took part in the Irish festivities or not, you’re probably feeling kinda beat from the week that was. Especially if you were in the downtown core trying to keep up with Ottawa Rickshaws, who have made an annual appearance at the St. Patrick’s day parade since 2009, and was busy shuttling party animals around in the Byward Market on Saturday. From tricks to stunts, we rickshaw runners aim to please and dazzle. Not short for the dramatics is good old Cody Wise, who for the 2nd straight year was seen dominating the streets during the parade with his uni-cycle. Not only does it take skill to master such stunt, but it requires plenty of balance and stability.
So what’s the cure for your St. Patrick’s Day weekend? Well, it’s basically everything opposite to what you did during the last couple of days. Whether you’re a heavy drinker or do not drink at all, the following tips can help you recover from a hectic chain of events that took place in what seemed like just a few hours. You may not have remembered what took place, but you will know and love the following tips to curing a hangover.
I probably do not need to remind you to hydrate, since your body will let you know quickly how it feels. Water comprises of 45 to 60% of the adult body. In fact, muscle comprises of 80% water compared to fat which is merely made up of 20% water. These stats alone tell you that we as human beings cannot function for long with the absence of water. So keep a bottle next to your bed the next time you decide to ‘Own the town’.
What’s the deal with all that sweat? Sweating is the mechanism our body uses to regulate our body temperature. Alcohol, on the other hand, has been proven to lower the body temperature ranging from three quarters of a degree to 3 degrees. Although only for short periods of time, alcohol disrupts the temperature of the body. Sweating can thus re-regulate the body and bring you back to your old self; with the feeling of neglect and shame…
The only time that you should be indulging in a sugar overdose is times like these. Sugar aids in diluting alcohol from your system in quick manner. Consume fruit drinks that are rich in fructose as opposed to the diluted drinks. When handling these sugar high products, make sure you consume them in a cage as you may experience a surging sugar rush, which could endanger those around you.
Tea or coffee are great ways to get you up and running again. Caffeine constricts the blood vessels and improves concentration and short-term memory. Although it has many short-term benefits, it can quickly dehydrate your body. So consume it in small doses and stay safe when grinding those beans.
Fruits, such as bananas, or peanut butter sandwiches are great foods to a quick recovery. Dense foods can quickly absorb the alcohol and are lighter on the stomach compared to a large meal. Be sure to avoid any sort of condiments or spices as they can cause nausea or increase headache pains.
These helpful tips should get you back up and functioning to nearly 100% of your normal self. The best remedy is being safe and wise with your decisions. Remember that you are in control of your body, which is the greatest blessing given to you.
Omar Elamam is a black belt instructor and personal trainer at Winning Circle Martial Arts and Wellness Center, and has been a rickshaw runner since 2008. He enjoys martial arts, running, nutrition and personal fitness. You can find Omar on Twitter.