Archive for June, 2012

Your Complete Guide to Canada Day in Ottawa, 2012

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by: Brian Clarke

Canada Day in downtown Ottawa can be overwhelming for anyone.

If you’ve read our Canada articles this week, such as “Canada Day in Ottawa: Like Smoking on an Exercise Bike” or “2 Best and 2 Worst Things About Canada Day”, you may have noticed a theme.  Canada Day downtown is an awesome party, but can be a bit much if you aren’t prepared (or are involved in the cleanup efforts!).

There is so much bustle and activity that even the most experienced socialite can get lost and confused.  This is why we have provided this guide to Canada Day in Ottawa.

Food

Food can be tough to find when the crowd takes over.  And even when you do make it to a restaurant, you’ll likely be waiting in line for a seat or your meal for ages.

Yes, there’s the odd vendor selling popsicles or something, but if you’re spending a full day on Parliament Hill, you won’t survive on frozen sugar.  My suggestion is to pack a cooler.  But I understand that many people don’t want to do this, in which case you essentially have three options:

Rideau Center Food Court

I also consider the McDonald’s on Rideau Street to be included in this.  Obviously, this is the fast option, and probably the best bet for lunch,  but not for dinner – the mall closes at 6PM on Canada Day!

Byward Market

If you’re lucky, you may be able to find an early seat in a Byward restaurant.  A few of you extremely fortunate ones will get a nice spot on the patio.  But if you know you’re going downtown with the intention of sitting at a restaurant, show up early! In past years I’ve noticed line-ups for seats at restaurants by 11:30AM.

Elgin Street

Elgin Street restaurants are nearly as busy as the Byward Market ones, but the further you go down the street, the more chance you have of catching a shorter line.  If you want to have a sit-down dinner but aren’t willing to wait in line, I’d suggest going to an Elgin Street restaurant as far away from Parliament Hill as possible, such as St. Louis or Elgin Street Diner (if you want quick diner food).

Also, keep in mind that most restaurants and bars will have limited menus on Canada Day, and a lot will jack up their prices.

Activities

This is what everyone comes downtown for, isn’t it? There are activities everywhere, so if you don’t know where to go, you might miss out on a lot of interesting stuff.  Here is what’s going on everywhere near the Hill.

Parliament Hill

9:00AM – Carillon Concert

9:30AM – Flag-Raising Ceremony

10:00AM – Changing the Guard

12:00PM – Canada Day Noon Show (see Music below)

2:00PM, 3:00PM & 4:00PM – The Drums, Crown Forces 1812

2:00PM – The Royal Canadian Geography Society’s Giant Map

2:30PM, 3:30PM & 4:30PM – Afro-Caribbean Dance Group presents ‘Black Corps: War of 1812’

7:00PM – Canada Day Evening Show (see Music below)

10:00PM – Fireworks

Rickshaws

Hopefully, you listened to my advice in the article “5 reasons to take a rickshaw on Canada Day” and will be looking for a rickshaw runner as part of your Canada Day celebrations. While we may be tough to find at times through the crowds, here are the best places to look to find a rickshaw:

  • Our regular stand at the corner of William and George
  • At the corner of Rideau and Sussex
  • At the Alexandra Bridge between Major’s Hill Park (Ontario) and Jacques Cartier Park (Quebec)

Street Performers

Like rickshaw runners, street performers love Canada Day for business. The best of the buskers flock downtown to put on a show.  The following locations are the best spots to potentially find a street performer engaged in a show:

  • At the corner of Sussex and George
  • At the corner of William and York

Fireworks

For many, the fireworks are the best part of Canada Day downtown.  However, they also attract the largest crowds and it it is difficult to find room to stand.  If you want to see the fireworks from Parliament Hill or Major’s Hill Park, you’d better reserve your spot at least two hours in advance.  If not, here are some other locations you might try:

  • Bottom of the York Street Stairs (York and Sussex)
  • The top floor of a parking garage – there is one on George Street and one at Clarence and Dalhousie that have rooftop parking.

Music

As I mentioned in this article early this week, the music is one of the best things about Canada Day in the capital.  No matter your taste, you’re sure to find something you like!

Canada Day Noon Show (Parliament Hill @ 12PM)

Featuring:

  • Feist
  • Simple Plan
  • Roch Voisine
  • Jully Black
  • Donny Parenteau
  • Neverest
  • The Drums, Crown Forces 1812
  • Michael Beauclerc

Canada Day Evening Show (Parliament Hill @ 7PM)

Featuring:

  • Feist
  • Simple Plan
  • Roch Voisine
  • Marie Mai
  • Jully Black
  • Misstress Barbara
  • Donny Parenteau

Escapade Music Festival

Canada Day Line-up

TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival

Canada Day Line-up

If there’s anything we missed, our anything you’d like to know about Canada Day, including what to do or where to go, ask in the comments below, on Facebook or send us a Tweet (@ottawarickshaws) tomorrow and we can give you some good advice!

Canada Day in Ottawa: Like Smoking on an Exercise Bike

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By Adam Slight

Ottawa residents must barely recognize their city on Canada Day. On July 1st every year, Ottawa sees its downtown core dramatically transform from a bustling city core filled with tourists and politicians to a circus ground, jam-packed with every type of person imaginable. Throw in dozens of street performers, vendors, political activists, royal family members, (rickshaw runners), and religious zealots into the mix and you’ve got yourself a birthday party!

Canada Day in Ottawa is one big balancing act. Our city represents a municipality on one hand, but moonlights as an entire nation on the other. Similarly, Canada Day in the City of Ottawa/Canada’s Capital serves very distinct, opposing purposes.

Patriotic Party or Anarchy?

People want to have fun on Canada Day. The holiday is part of a long weekend, and Canadians gather to celebrate in whatever ways they know best. For some, this means traveling downtown with friends and family to enjoy some home-grown entertainment and food. For others, this means enjoying a BBQ with neighbours in the backyard. For others, this means getting shit-faced and smashing bottles all over the street.

If you were in the Byward Market at 11pm on Canada Day 2010, you witnessed the “city-that-fun-forgot” transform into the “city-where-fun-screamed-in-your-face-and-lit-fires-everywhere.” And of course, there’s that famous incident years ago when that guy peed on the National War Memorial and ended up on the front page of the newspaper the next day.

It is in Canada’s best interests to let its children party in its name in whatever way they see fit (except in rare situations where this partying becomes symbolic of national disrespect—see peeing incident). If Canadian’s are screaming “CANAAAADAAA!!” after finishing an epic beer bong hit and then kicking over a park bench, then Canada wins (yes, this is the modern day war cry). But if Canadian’s are screaming “CANAAAADAAA!!” while kicking over park benches, then the City of Ottawa clearly loses.

You can see the tension.

Canadian Chaos

With one hand Ottawa does everything it can to get people downtown and party hard in the name of patriotism. We’ve got concerts, fireworks, royal visits, Snow Birds flybys and restaurant promotions all designed with the explicit purpose of exciting our internal patriotic fire. However, with its other hand, Ottawa deploys hundreds of police, road barriers, and crowd control tactics, all intended to control and restrict these excited patriots so that they don’t go too far and burn the city down.

This is like smoking a cigarette on an exercise bike.

But one of the most amazing things you’ll ever see on Canada Day aren’t the crowds, or Prince Charles’ comical ears and teeth—Its the cleanup effort that is engaged at 5am after the celebrations. Waves of massive street-sweepers comb the litter-strewn city streets, purifying Ottawa of its nationalistic self-desecration. By the time anyone wakes up in the morning (which is at about 3pm if you’re a rickshaw runner), the city looks as straight laced as any other day. In that way, Ottawa is like that quiet co-worker with a secret life as a Hell’s Angels biker.

The Ottawa Citizen shares the astronomical operational expenses of Canada Day the next morning as well (as well as the number of arrests, injuries, and sun-stroke emergencies). While I think Canada Day is an awesome and necessary celebration, there is something funny and contradictory about holding a party of this magnitude while exerting an equal amount of effort in repressing that party. It would be like hosting a high school kegger when your parents leave for the weekend, and then inviting everyone’s parents.

Of course, you can’t invite 1 000 000 people to a birthday party and not have chaperons. Canada wants us to have fun at its party, whether that involves community celebration, backyard eats, or self-intoxication. To ensure that everyone has fun in their favourite way, the chaperons are there to allow us to let loose.

So as long as you don’t pee on any national monuments, I encourage everyone to celebrate Canada in whatever way you want! Your tax dollars are already paying for it!

Brian celebrates Canada Day in his own way.

How will you be celebrating?

Top 7 Canadian Foods

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By: Brian Clarke

In celebration of Canada Day, I wanted to write something acknowledging Canadian culture.  If you’re a regular reader, you wouldn’t be surprised that I chose food.  It’s no secret that I love my food, so it was a match made in heaven to write about Canadian cuisine as we prepare for our national holiday.

You might be surprised by the placement of some of these foods – particularly that poutine falls as low as #3. However, if you’ve taken a look at any of my Rickshaw Recipes, you will understand why.  My taste in food is simple: meaty, savoury dishes!

I’m sure many will disagree with the ordering of my list, and if so, please share your thoughts in the comments below!

My top 7 Canadian Foods:

7. Butter tarts

I’m not a huge sweets fan, but butter tarts are delicious and they make this list by default by being regarded as many as Canada’s national dessert food.

6. Cheese Curds

If you don’t think cheese curds belong on this list, get in your car and drive about 45 minutes east of Ottawa to the St. Albert’s factory. They will convince you, I can guarantee it!

5. Tourtière

Otherwise known as meat pie, tourtière is a classic in Francophone Canada. My grandma would make it quite often, with a side of mashed potatoes, all smothered in gravy! Those wonderful memories are why this makes the top 5 on my list.

4. Maple Syrup

The comedian Danny Bhoy once said that you can tell a lot about a nation by looking at what they eat for breakfast. I wonder what maple syrup says about Canadians.  Anything tastes better with a little maple syrup drizzled on top – pancakes, waffles, bacon, toast – you name it!

3. Poutine

The classic Canadian dish that is ever so popular in Eastern Canada.  For me, and many other Canadians, poutine is a great comfort dish when one is feeling a little under the weather (a.k.a. hung over).

2. Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich

Now we’re getting into my favourite Canadian dishes.  Actually, some of my favourite dishes period! When I make a sandwich, one of my first choices will be this Canadian classic – some rye bread with piles of Montreal smoked meat, smothered in a Dijon mustard.

1. Alberta Beef

Yes, I know you can beef anywhere, but I will stick to my guns until the day I die and say the best tasting beef comes from Canada.  What better way to celebrate Canada Day this Sunday than a couple nice steaks and burgers on the BBQ and a cold beer or seven?

What would make your list of top Canadian foods?

20 Things to Love About Ottawa

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By Adam Slight

We recently decided to put together a nice list explaining why we love Ottawa. But this time, it wasn’t enough for us to just write the list ourselves, so we hopped onto Twitter and asked a number of prominent Ottawans why they loved Ottawa. Here is what we came up with!

1. Food and Drink

Apartment 613 (@apartment613): “Just one? Awesome Food! Awesome music!”

Foodie Prints (@foodiePrints): “The archetypal Ottawa experience: burger at Chez Lucien, follow by a cold one at the Laff!”

Starfish Management Agency (@starfishevents) “Strolling down Bank St + taste testing all the yummy treats”

Holly Bruns/Wine Out Loud (@WineOutLoud) “Local Vineyards”

The Glebe (@intheglebe) “@bagelottawa in The Glebe gives us exactly 20 reasons to love Ottawa – is it bad to eat bagel sandwiches daily?”

Needless to say, this was a popular one, and the tweets really speak for themselves. Many appreciate the diverse food options available in Ottawa, as well as its growing foodie scene. Whether you’re into something exotic, greasy, or comforting, Ottawa has something to offer for everyone’s taste buds.

2. Surrounded by Canadian History

If you’re a history buff, namely a Canadian history buff, you’re at home in Ottawa. While it is true that everything is inherently steeped in history, Ottawa is steeped in the well-known grand history of our country (the history you learn in high school). Of course, I bet there’s a ton of other history that Ottawa is steeped in that you’ve probably never even heard of.

Some Further Reading:

An Irish Ottawa History

Urban Myths and Legends in Ottawa

3. The Byward Market

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson (@JimWatsonOttawa) “The Byward Market!”

Business Ottawa (@businessottawa) “The Byward Market!”

Rachel (@RaeRaePolite) “the beautiful Byward Market.”

Since we operate out of the Byward Market, we are a bit biased in our agreement with these Ottawa tweets. Mayor Jim Watson was quick to respond “The Byward Market!” when we asked him what he loves about Ottawa. Of course, no one can blame him. The Market is a thriving hub of local trade and tourist activity, making it an exciting (or relaxing) destination for anyone. While you’re there, you might as well indulge in the food that the Market has to offer (See number 1).

Some Further Reading:

Boxing Matches in the Byward Market

6 Awkward Dates in a Rickshaw

4. The Great Outdoors

If you’ve ever looked across Ottawa from a high-up vantage point, it almost look like the city is growing from inside a forest. Ottawa’s green space is a refreshing change from the concrete jungle of other cities. Not only are parks a frequent sight wherever you go, but Ottawa is also the place to be if you want to enjoy outdoor activities year-round.

Some Further Reading:

4 Ways to Stay Active Outdoors in Ottawa

5. The Rideau Canal

Claudia Petrilli (@ClaudsPet) “The Rideau Canal”

Zedrik Cayne (@ZedrikCayne) “@TomGreen: Riding your bike down the canal in the winter.”

We can’t forget that Ottawa wouldn’t be the city it is today without the Rideau Canal (literally–Ottawa wouldn’t exist if the Canal wasn’t built). The Rideau Canal offers beautiful scenery for those who wish to bike, walk, or jog alongside in the summer, and is one of Ottawa’s main winter attractions for any skating enthusiasts in the winter. It is also an engineering marvel that we should be proud of either way.


6. The Singing Bus Driver

Yes. I’m going there. And even though the infamous Singing Bus Driver has been recently silenced by a soul-less minority of bus passengers (OC Transpo ordered him to stop singing, because of several passenger complaints), the Singing Bus Driver represents a liberated spirit that should be a beacon for us all. While this spirit has been dimmed, I think it persists in all of us.

7. The Weather

Algonquin College (@AlgonquinColleg): “Just one? How about the beautiful weather on days like today?”

While Ottawa’s weather can often be unpredictable (and it is a fact that Ottawa is the coldest capital city in the world, during the winter), you can’t deny that Ottawa’s weather is one of its defining features. When its summer in Ottawa, it is SUMMER. When it is winter, it is definitely WINTER. If Ottawa can do one thing right, it pulls off its seasons handsomely.

Some Further Reading:

5 Ways to Beat the Heat in Ottawa

5 Ways to Enjoy your Winter this Summer

8. Squeaky Clean

Being the capital of Canada, the NCC makes sure Ottawa is sparkly clean so that foreign diplomats can go home and say how great and clean Canada is (that’s why those terrifying vacuum robots insist on patrolling our streets at night). Even Ottawa’s more peripheral or industrial neighbourhoods are pristine compared to the peripheral or industrial neighborhoods of other cities.

9. Restaurant Servers Know to Split the Bill!

Don’t you hate when you go to a restaurant with some friends and then the server comes with the bill and you have to spend the next 10 minutes splitting the bill, taxes, and tip appropriately between you and your friends? Well by some unknown phenomenon Ottawa servers just seem to know that you want the bill split (more than servers in other cities). I don’t know what gives Ottawa servers this gift of premonition, but I like it!

10. Our Schools

Carleton University (@Carleton_U) “Carleton U summer courses.”

Tom Green (@TomGreenLive) “Skateboarding in the tunnels at Carleton U in the winter.”

Famously, one of Tom Green’s fondest memories of Ottawa is skateboarding in the tunnels of Carleton University being chased by Campus security in those golf carts they ride in. Of course, there are many other reasons to appreciate the post secondary institutions that call Ottawa home. We could start listing off the various accomplishments made by each school, but the schools are good enough at doing that as it is, so you might want to check out their websites for that kind of horn-tooting.

11. A Multi-Cultural City

Like many cities—especially Canadian cities—Ottawa is a giant mix of varying cultures. This is only evidenced by the countless festivals that Ottawa hosts dedicated to the array of international diasporas in Ottawa, and their various cultural movements and traditions.

12. Our Festivals

WhereOttawa (@whereottawa) “Our awesome festivals! There’s so much happening all summer.”

Ottawa Events (@ottawa_events) “Well we think there’s definitely more than 20 things to love but the Tulip Festival is pretty great”

Max Keeping (@max_keeping) “Best summer events: Bluesfest and GrandsFeux (Lac Leamy). Thanks for showing our great city!”

Hub Ottawa (@hubottawa) “Street festivals!! ie ribfest, buskerfest, jazzfest, bluesfest, tulip festival”

Ottawa’s numerous festivals are really the backbone of Ottawa’s culture. When summer is in full swing there are a number of festivals you could attend each day that would have something unique and exciting to offer. These festivals present Ottawa’s best in food, performance, and craft, and draw thousands from around the world.

Some Further Reading:

Ottawa Summer Events and Festival Calendar

13. Our Museums

Call me a big nerd, but I think Ottawa has some really cool museums! I mean, have you seen the Museum of Nature lately? That was a rhetorical question, but if your answer is “no,” then you know what you need to do. But if you’re saying, “Yes. I’ve been to all four of Ottawa’s museums, so what do you have to say now?” then I say, “Look, there are a whole bunch of other museums that you’ve probably missed. Check out this website! http://www.ottawamuseumnetwork.ca/” And then you say, “Oh, thanks!”

14. The Ottawa Senators

Max Keeping (@max_keeping) “The Sens”

While we haven’t won the cup, we consistently make the playoffs, and consistently put up a good fight worthy of a few beers on the Sens Mile. We just have to keep our heads high and hope for a better “next year” (even though the Leafs have made a career of doing this, I’m confident things will pan out sooner for us).

15. The Great Glebe Garage Sale

I think the GGG is worth mentioning here, not just because it is an awesome, giant yard sale (which is already pretty cool) but because of grass-roots community spirit that drives the massive event. The Great Glebe Garage Sale wasn’t established by a commission or planned out by a committee—it was grown from the ground up by the community, and built and maintained over the decades on its own steam.

Some Further Reading:

8 Strange Items you May Find at the Great Glebe Garage Sale

16. The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Max Keeping (@max_keeping) “The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario”

Max Keeping is a huge advocate of CHEO, the renowned children’s hospital located in Ottawa South, and for good reason. CHEO nurses sick kids who have serious illnesses from all over Ontario, and is known for friendly and accommodating staff, medical innovation, and its special treatment of sick children. CHEO is truly something for Ottawans to be proud of, and an institution we should continue to support.

17. Affordable Cost of Living

The cost of living in some cities is quite ridiculous (Vancouver, NYC for example). A single bedroom apartment in Ottawa is about 2/3 the cost of one in Toronto, and like half the cost (and twice the size) of one in Manhattan. If you don’t mind making a few sacrifices in vogue-ness, or public transportation, then Ottawa will be gentle to your wallet.

18. City with Small Town Feel

Misa Kobayashi/Ottawa Magazine (@kobayashimisa) “It’s a city that still has small town charm, and that it’s just a short drive to other great cities and pretty towns”

While Ottawa is the capital city of Canada, it truly has a small-town atmosphere when it comes to community building. And while Ottawa itself is a beautiful city, something can be said of its proximity to hundreds of other beautiful communities and cities as well. You could easily hop into your car and make a day trip out of Montreal, or visit Toronto for the weekend.

19. Endless Potential

In line with number 18, I think Ottawa is great because of the endless potential that the city offers. In a city of 4 million people, it is easy to get lost in the crowd. Because Ottawa is a city with a small town feel, the city is ripe with opportunity for new and creative ideas, innovations, and events. With such a strong and close community at your back, it is easy to make new things happen.

20. Canada Day in the Capital

Canada Day in the capital is like nothing else. If you’ve been in Ottawa for Canada Day, you’ve experienced the mayhem and celebration downtown. Of course, if crowds aren’t your thing, there is stuff going on all over the city that you can be a part of—Or, you can always crack open a beer in your backyard, because it really doesn’t matter where you are. There’s nothing like Ottawa on Canada Day.

Now is your chance to turn this list from 20 Things to Love About Ottawa, to 1000 Things to Love About Ottawa. What do you love about Ottawa? Let us know in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page.

2 Best and 2 Worst Things About Canada Day

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By Brian Clarke

We rickshaw runners have a love-hate relationship with Canada Day.

As I mentioned in Sunday’s events post, it is our favourite day of the year. It is by far the best day for business, and is the one true test of one’s abilities as a rickshaw runner.  On the other hand, it is physically and mentally draining.  Adam’s last Rickshaw Retrospective tells a story which illustrates how exhausting and frustrating (and scary!) Canada Day may be.

With that said, here are some of my personal favourite and least favourite things about Canada Day:

The Good

Music

No matter what type of music you like, there is sure to be something that appeals to you on Canada Day.  Wherever you look, there are bands, DJs, or singers playing.  You could go to Parliament Hill to listen to some live Canadian bands, or to Confederation Park to catch the last day of Jazz Fest, or head down to Ottawa Stadium for the Escapade Music Festival (the venue was just recently changed, check out this article for full details).

Spirit

I’ve spent five Canada Days in the thick of the celebration and could probably count the people in bad moods on one hand.  Everyone is in a happy, patriotic mood which, in my opinion, is the one thing that makes the day enjoyable.  I once accommodated a full bus of Asian tourists stop to take pictures with me because I was painted completely in red. This doesn’t happen in any regular situation! The party atmosphere makes things like this happen.

The Bad

Crowds

You must have tremendous patience to get by on Canada Day.  This is something I don’t have.  It can be very frustrating to be constantly shoving your way through hoards of people.  And to make it worse, people seem to forget how to act in crowds. Oh, there’s someone trying to get by? What do I do? I forget what ‘Excuse Me’ means! If you’re going to be downtown on Sunday, take a tip from a veteran rickshaw runner: bring a noisemaker. A whistle, a horn, your loud-mouth sister – anything loud helps to get through the crowds.

Garbage

Along with tens of thousands of people comes a lot of litter. But perhaps a story would best illustrate my point of how much litter I’m talking about.  Late Canada Day last year – at about 1:30 AM – I was returning to the Byward Market after a ride down Elgin. As I was about to turn off Elgin onto Wellington, I could hear the music of another rickshaw runner coming towards me.  Curious as to who it was, I lifted my head and tried to look around the corner.  Next thing I see is Adam running up Parliament Hill slowly and on every step kicking piles of litter into the air. Yes, piles of litter on every step. That’s how much garbage is on the ground at the end of the day.

So, there it is – the good and bad of Canada Day.  Even with the bad, this is still my favourite day of the year and always will be for myself and co-runners.  But like a dear family member, this day I love can frustrate the crap out of me!

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What are your favourite and/or least favourite things about Canada Day?

What’s happening in Ottawa This Week (June 25th – July 1st, 2012)

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Featured Event

Canada Day – Sunday, July 1st

Could we choose anything else for the featured event this week? It’s unbelievable that it is here already! Those of us in Ottawa are lucky to have privilege of the best Canada Day celebrations there is.  With huge crowds of people, several bands playing on Parliament Hill and a general good and patriotic spirit, everyone should head downtown for Canada Day! For a complete listing of Canada Day celebrations, check the following link:

http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/celebrate/canada-day

Here’s what else is happening in Ottawa this week:

Monday, June 25th

Crohn’s and Colitis Guts and Glory Golf Classic – Rideau View Golf Club

Ottawa Jazz Festival (ongoing)

Tuesday, June 26th

Ottawa Jazz Festival (ongoing)

Wednesday, June 27th

June Ottawa Comic Jam

Thursday, June 28th

Ottawa Jazz Festival (ongoing)

Friday, June 29th

Ottawa Jazz Festival (ongoing)

Saturday, June 30th

Ottawa Jazz Festival (ongoing)

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation’s Pink Tour

Escapade Music Festival

Sunday, July 1st

Ottawa Jazz Festival (ongoing)

Escapade Music Festival (ongoing)

 

What would Ottawa be Like As a Video Game?

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By Adam Slight
Lately I have been making some silly “what if” speculations about Ottawa. For example, “What if superheroes lived in Ottawa?” or “What if there was a zombie outbreak in Ottawa?” These have been fun to do, and have been telling of the city that we live in.

Today I wish to ponder, what would Ottawa: The Video Game be like?

In this day and age, many video games are very story-driven, which means Ottawa: The Video Game needs a story to follow.

For our purposes, lets say our Ottawa video game is about a rickshaw runner trying to make a living in Ottawa…until he gets swept up in the crime and political intrigue. (I have to give my fiancé partial credit for this idea—she once suggested that we produce Ottawa Rickshaws: The Video Game, which would basically be a modern version of Frogger, where you control a rickshaw trying to cross a busy street).

So as our protagonist rickshaw runner, you basically try to make money pulling a rickshaw through Ottawa, until things go wrong and you’re forced to abandon your rickshaw and take to the streets! Bad-ass!

Here are a number of other distinguishing features of Ottawa: The Video Game:

1. 1970s Ottawa

To make things interesting, the game could take place in the 1970s. The fashion will be tacky, and the music will be awesome. Pierre Elliot Trudeau is Prime Minister, and the FLQ are at large. And if anyone knows anything about the FLQ and their agenda: They hate rickshaws. This is an educational game.

While we’re at it, we could always throw in some Cold War politics in the mix as well.

2. Recognizable Land Marks

We would have some obvious locations including Parliament Hill, The Rideau Canal, The Byward Market etc.

3. Wintery Conditions

Ottawa: The Video Game would play like Grand Theft Auto: You run around Ottawa stealing cars, messing stuff up, and trying to make your way. I think there would be one opportunity that couldn’t be missed here: Have the game set in the winter. Our character will slip on icy-patches while running from crooked cops. He/she will attempt to steal a parked car, but it will fail to start because it was wasn’t plugged in overnight. There will be a snow-mobile chase on the Rideau Canal, with skaters diving left and right. We would even see OC Transpo buses struggling to climb snow hills (eventually crashing in the snow bank).

4. At 10 PM, the Enemies go to Sleep

Since many of the enemies that you will face in Ottawa: The Video Game will in fact be corrupt officials, when 10pm hits, these government workers all go to sleep, and you are given a moment to recuperate and stock up on ammo and power-ups (including Beavertails). This doesn’t mean your work is done however. When 10 PM hits, you suddenly have to deal with obnoxious Rideau St. street kids and drunk students from Kanata.

5. Expansion Packs and DLC!

After you clean the streets of Ottawa, you’ll have the option to pursue these expansion missions:

“On The Ice”: In this mission you team up with the Ottawa Senators—not the NHL hockey team but the 1970s street gang—and learn how they went from fighting crime with hockey sticks to the NHL sensation they are today.

“The Drive By”: In this mission you get hired to perform a drive by shooting with your rickshaw.

Downloadable costumes: Dress your character in silly toques and mitts

6. Celebrity Cameos and Historical Figures

If you’ve ever played the Assassin’s Creed games, you’ll know how video games sometimes rewrite history using historical figures to help your character on their quest. Ottawa: The Video Game would be no different, and would include figures such as Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Led Zeppelin, Maurice “The Rocket” Richard, and many others.

These are just the initial concepts for Ottawa: The Video Game, but once a major developer starts paying me to produce this obvious gold mine, I’ll post more ideas.

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In the mean time, if you have any further suggestions of what to include in Ottawa: The Video Game, I’m all ears. Just put your ideas in the comments section below!

5 Ways to Beat the Heat in Ottawa

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by: Brian Clarke

How about this heat? Ottawa weather just can’t seem to get it right – either its an ice storm, winter in late April, or too hot and humid. What are we to do?

Well, for starters, here are 4 ways to beat the heat in Ottawa:

Get wet

And few weeks ago, Adam wrote this great article on ways to get wet in Ottawa. I highly recommend going back to take a look at this article amidst this sweltering heat. It covers Ottawa’s unique and diverse options of beaches and water parks.

Find some shade

Although it’s humid and sticky outside, if you can find a comfortable spot of shady grass, the heat seems kind of nice.  One of Ottawa’s defining characteristics in the summer is its amount of green spaces and parks, so there is no shortage of places to lounge outside and not be destroyed by the grueling temperatures. You could go as far as Gatineau Park and truly enjoy the outdoors, or find a good shaded spot in your neighborhood.  Here is a comprehensive list of parks in Ottawa.

Ice cream

Who doesn’t like a good ice cream cone or milkshake on a day like today. There are plenty of great options in Ottawa. There are the classic big brands such a Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins, Laura Secord and even the American company Coldstone’s, which has partnered with Tim Hortons and started to crop up around town (Bank St. & Riverdale Ave. is the only one I can think of, but I know I’ve seen one somewhere downtown).  There is also a ton of good local options in Ottawa. Lois’n'Frimas in the Byward Market is an excellent spot, as well as several authentic gelato shops on Preston Street.

Go to the Library (Or Chapters!)

Now is a good opportunity to get your read on! Not only is the public library (and Chapters) air conditioned, but you don’t need to exert any energy to read. Chapters mmaaay expect you to buy something after awhile, but there are worse things to spend money on than books.

Stay indoors

We’ve been warned that strenuous exercise in this heat is dangerous. Luckily, I think all the government office buildings are air conditioned. Let’s not try to beat this heat because it will surely win. Let’s run and hide indoors!

How do you plan to cope with the heat this week?

Food Trucks Too Much For Ottawa to Swallow!

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By Adam Slight

Tracie Behan is an innovator. Her 48-foot tractor-trailer kitchen-on-wheels is her answer to Ottawa’s otherwise  scarce food-truck industry (an industry that thrives in other Canadian cities). It can be said that Tracie is trying to give foodies in the city of Ottawa renewed hope by introducing a new, quirky, and exciting spin on a proven concept.

With such a fresh out-of-the-box idea, its not surprising that Tracie’s biggest obstacle is in-fact, the City of Ottawa.

The Ottawa Citizen reported this week that Tracie invested $200 000 in her own customized kitchen truck (that serves wholesome, fresh meals with local ingredients), with the intention of feeding hungry Ottawans, only to be denied the permits necessary to operate this business by City of Ottawa administration. She quotes the City staff as saying that there wasn’t a “chance in hell” that she was getting the permit.

Seriously City of Ottawa?

I shouldn’t act surprised. I sometimes feel like the biggest obstacle that my own business (Ottawa Rickshaws) faces is indeed the red-tape strung up by the city that most benefits from local enterprise. The permits necessary to putting rickshaws on the road in Ottawa are dizzying (we pay for an operating license, licenses for each vehicle, licenses for each rickshaw runner, and a permit to operate in the Byward Market). We purchase these licenses every year, and every March when we go to City Hall to buy them, the admin staff looks at us like we’re aliens, and then we have to explain the entire licensing procedure to them.

I feel your pain Tracie.

Based on Tracie’s account, it sounds like City officials go into their job every morning with willingly closed minds, ready to shoot down “different” business ideas. It’s like they want Ottawa to maintain its reputation as a boring city.

As an ambassador of Ottawa, I am often embarrassed when a tourist asks me where they can find some “street cuisine” in the Byward Market. “Well, there is a bylaw in the Market against any open flames,” I explain, “But there’s a hot dog stand across from the Parliament Buildings.” I’m embarrassed, because I know you can find gourmet cuisine served from food trucks in Toronto and Vancouver, and its clear that there’s a market for similar food in Ottawa.

Ottawa’s restaurant industry is getting bigger than ever, with more and more diverse and interesting food options being introduced to the city. The next natural step is to open our arms to interesting street cuisine choices (Stuff like Japadogs– Don’t know what Japadogs are? Its probably because you live in Ottawa!).

This is all indicative of a trend of the laziness, maybe contentedness, in many (not ALL) of Ottawa’s small business players. Why else would the city official be so rude to Tracie? This applies to the “brick and mortar” restaurants described in the Citizen article (the restaurants who whine that food trucks are unfair competition for restaurants), the City administrators who lounge in their comfy offices screening phone calls and turning down anything that would require attention, and the local businesses that would much prefer the status quo than accept new ventures that suggest growth, change, and innovation.

That is what Tracie’s endeavor represents: growth, change, and innovation. I encourage Tracie to continue to fight the good fight. All she has to do is make it more work for lazy (and rude!) officials to ignore her than to help her, and she’ll be serving Ottawa delicious meat-loaf sandwiches in no time!

You Can Make Homemade Beer Too!

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By Adam Slight,

Contributions by Paul Jarvey

This week is Ontario Craft Beer Week, where Ontario celebrates its craft beer brewers and microbreweries, and enjoys a pint or three in the process!

I’d like to take this opportunity to describe my own craft beer brewing experience, and encourage you readers to try brewing yourself (it’s a lot of fun!), or at least try a craft brew yourself (they’re delicious).

Several weeks ago, friend Paul Jarvey offered to teach me how to brew beer from scratch in his kitchen. Given that the American Brewers Association defines a “craft brewer” as a “small, independent and traditional” brewer that produces “6 million barrels of beer or less” a year, I think our 5-gallon batch of beer qualifies as a “craft brew.”

Ingredients, Supplies, and Equipment

The “Beerometer” measures the amount of beer in your brew. 100% you say?

Brewing beer at home evidently requires special equipment, supplies, and ingredients—however this part is really not all that difficult or expensive. For those just starting out, the supplies can be purchased as part of a kit for about $100. The ingredients are where the magic comes in: malted barley, hops, and yeast, as well as any other flavours you may want to include in the beer.

You can also buy your ingredients and supplies at http://store.defalcowines.com/ here in Ottawa. If you’re looking for something more exotic, http://www.homebrew-supplies.ca/ carries just about everything under the sun.

Designing your own flavour of beer is really the fun part. I can see how this can become an infectious hobby. There a number of factors that go into putting together a recipe, and this really determines how the beer will taste. I’m a big fan of rich and flavorful dark beers, so we decided to go out on a limb and create a dark lager that was aimed at tasting like “a night at the movies.” To do this, we boiled down red Twizzlers and popped popcorn, and attempted to create a “cinema” extract that we would mix into our brew with a dash of fountain Coke. This may sound a bit a bit weird, but we were confident that this would pay off for our taste buds!

Our ingredients:

2.5 lbs “Marris Otter” malted barley

2 lbs “Crystal 70” malted barley

3 lb Breiss Dark Dried malt extract

1 lb Breiss Amber Dried malt extract

1 oz Northern Brewer hops

1 oz Cascade hops

1 L coke

About 10 twizzlers

1/3 C popcorn kernels, popped and dark toasted

1 tbsp irish moss

Safbrew T-58 yeast

When choosing what to add, most brewers start with an end goal in mind – the type of beer they want to brew. Calculating the outcome isn’t always straightforward – but online tools like  http://beercalculus.hopville.com/ can help you calculate what ingredients are required to create your desired brew.

The Brewing Process

Since I was kind of learning as I went along, the recipe below is just a rough outline. If you’re interested in making your own just follow one of the many guides online!.

The procedure involved in brewing a batch of beer is quite rustic and traditional. We began by using rolling pins to crush several pounds of malted grains with our hands, a process that brewers making larger batches usually mechanize with a grain mill. The cracked grains were then added to 2.5 gallons of water, and steeped at 155 degrees for about 45 minutes. This hot barley tea is called a “mash,” and serves the purpose of dissolving the

Paul Jarvey, the beer doctor

sugars and starches in the grain so that is can be eaten by yeast later on.  Managing the temperature at this stage is a delicate process that requires you to pay attention to the temperature of the boiling brew – too hot, and tannins start to be released, making your beer taste bitter and astringent.

After straining out the grains and giving them a rinse (or “sparge”), we heated up the mixture to a rolling boil. This is the point where we added dried malt extracts (additional sugar, basically), two varieties of hops, and of course the popcorn and Twizzler extract and the fountain coke. After an hour of boiling, we added some Irish moss, which is a dried seaweed that helps proteins to settle out of the brew, making the end product clearer and crisper.

After letting the brew cool for about an hour, we added water until we reached the desired volume and sugar concentration, pitched the yeast into the mix, and stirred vigorously. Altogether, the process took about 5 hours.

Storage and Fermentation:

After the brew was done…well…brewing, we poured the 5-gallon mix into a large sterilized tub. I made the mistake of grabbing the tub and lid the wrong way beforehand, so Paul had to re-sterilize it (I’m such an idiot…but it goes to show how sterilized the tub needs to be). Our brew would be stored away for several weeks in this air-tight tub where the batch would ferment. During this process the sugars from the grains would be digested by the yeast, producing alcohol and CO2 in the process. Any sugars in the batch will eventually ferment to form alcohol (Paul tells me that because we added Twizzlers and Coke to the brew, the alcohol content will be pretty high – around 6.5%!).

I’m told that our batch will be completely fermented this week, so I’ll be heading back to Paul’s kitchen to taste and bottle our home-made brew! I’ll be sure to let everyone know how it turned out!

In the end, I will come away with half of our brew (2.5 gallons), for about $25 of supplies. This is really not a bad deal!

Endless Possibilities:

If you check out beercalculus.hopville.com, you’ll notice that there are endless combinations of hops, malts, and yeast that can produce delicious beers. You will also notice a rather lengthy “Misc” ingredients section, which lists off suggested additives to your brew, including peanut butter, marijuana, and chocolate just to name a few. The possibilities are endless!

Paul and his colleagues have made a habit of producing unique flavours of beer, my favourite being “The Great Canadian Breakfast” (beer made with oatmeal and bacon!)

This process was a lot of fun, and opened my eyes to the work that goes into making a good brew of beer. What really got me was that this strange and delicate process was formulated thousands of years ago, and hasn’t really changed much since. If you are an enthusiast of beer-drinking, I highly recommend trying this out!

In the meantime, I invite you to share your dream beer recipes in the comments section below! (And please, get creative! If any sound particularly delicious, we’ll try them out next!)

UPDATE!

So after a few weeks of fermentation, the beer turned out awesome. The entire batch filled about 40 bottles of varying sizes. We put a carbonating solution of sugar into the batch and pumped the beer into individual bottles. Each bottle was capped and is required to sit and carbonate for a few days. I’ve including an inspirational photograph as well of me capping the beer bottles.

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Paul Jarvey is Contributing Editor of AEscifi.ca, the Canadian Science Fiction Review.