Archive for July, 2012

City of Ottawa Gaffe Left My Neighbourhood Barren

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by Brian Clarke

Ok, I may be exaggerating with that title, but still…

Earlier this summer, I was woken up by the sounds of heavy machinery outside on my street, which is rare and surprising in the quiet Old Ottawa South neighbourhood.  I went outside to see City workers cutting down all the trees on the street.  I had hoped that my front yard tree would survive this fate, but no luck! By the end of the day, only a stump remained of what was once a nice shady ash tree.

Within a few weeks, all the trees on my street and an adjacent street were gone.  I asked around with the neighbours, and looked through the newspapers to learn that the trees were affected by a bug that was dangerous, contagious and slowly killing the trees.

However, after the two streets were done, the chopping suddenly stopped.  Apparently, the city found out that curing the trees of the bug would in fact be cheaper than chopping them down. So now I’m left with a barren street when it really didn’t have to be that way.

But why is this important to you? I’m sure I just sound like a cranky old man who’s mad that his tree is gone.

Well, it’s no coincidence that I included Ottawa’s green space as one of the things that defines the city in the summer. I firmly believe that the amount of trees and greenery in Ottawa is a trait that makes the city unique and attractive.  And this was at least partly ruined by what seems to me like a bit of recklessness from some important decision-maker(s).

I’m sure there’s more to it than this, but I’d think it’s just a simple bit of arithmetic to learn how much each option costs and decide which is more budget-friendly.  A bit of planning goes a long way.  They had to have known how much each tree would cost to inject with the cure (I don’t know if they inject it, or how you treat a tree?), times the amount of trees in the neighbourhood. They could have easily figured out a reasonable estimate of the labour and operating costs to chop the trees down. And then it’s a matter of comparing two numbers.

This trial and error approach that the City seems to have taken has left two streets looking barren that won’t be restored to their old beauty for twenty or more years.

I hope the City of Ottawa learns something from this experience and next time thinks first before chopping down what makes Ottawa look so unique.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below.

What’s Happening in Ottawa This Week (July 30th – August 5th, 2012)

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August kicks off with a bang with a couple more summer festivals and an always welcome long weekend! Here is what’s happening in Ottawa this week:

Monday, July 30th

Mini-City Mini-Models, Summer Camp at the Ottawa Art Gallery

Tuesday, July 31st

Raise the Roof Quiz Night @ Mill Tavern, 7-10PM, $15

Wednesday, August 1st

Ottawa Lumière Festival 2012

Thursday, August 2nd

Ottawa Lumière Festival 2012 (ongoing)

Friday, August 3rd

Ottawa Lumière Festival 2012 (ongoing)

Rideau Canal Festival

Centretown Movies outdoor film festival

Saturday, August 4th

Ottawa Lumière Festival 2012 (ongoing)

Rideau Canal Festival (ongoing)

Carleton Place BIA 7th Annual Bridge Street Bazaar

Centretown Movies outdoor film festival

Sunday, August 5th

Ottawa Lumière Festival 2012 (ongoing)

Rideau Canal Festival (ongoing)

 

ReviewRaja Brings Love of Tamil Cinema To Ottawa

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By ReviewRaja

My name is ReviewRaja. I recently won Ottawa Rickshaws’ contest to feature an advertisement on their rickshaws, and I thought I would just take a moment to explain what kind of message I plan to bring to Ottawa with my prize.

I have always been a small town boy. I grew up in rural Ontario in a town of 1000 people and then moved to a small city of just 45000 people.  Needless to say, I was not exposed to other cultures at a young age.  Throughout high school my father started traveling to India 2 times a year to establish an importing business. This really intrigued me as I always wanted to go with him and he always came back with amazing stories.

When it came time to head to University I decided to go to a school in the heart of Toronto, Ontario. Throughout my studies I made many Tamil friends. About a year ago when I was hanging out with them they showed me a Tamil film called Billa. It was at that moment that I realized Tamil Cinema was amazing! My friends told me that Bollywood (the most recognized film industry in India) gets the most international attention in that part of the world and people in Canada probably don’t even know about Kollywood at all (that is, the Tamil film industry). I started to think that if I was only now learning how awesome Tamil movies were in my early 20s, then there are probably thousands of others across the globe that are missing out too.

I want the world to see and feel what I experienced the first time I watched a Tamil movie and I am now on a mission to spread Tamil Cinema across the world with Review Raja.  After each Tamil film I see in the theatre I release a movie review and try to project the humour, excitement, and culture expressed in the movie. To help spread the word I decided to enter the Ottawa Rickshaws competition. But really, my advertising campaign in Ottawa is just a small part of my mission.  It is my hope that when people in Ottawa see my ad or watch my videos that they will be inspired to check out a Tamil film, and maybe their experience will be as eye-opening as it was for me just under a year ago.

If you are interested in taking one step closer to Kollywood you can visit my YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/reviewraja or check out my website: www.moviereviewraja.com. You won’t be disappointed!

The Dojang’s Just Kickin’ It at Taekwon-Do World Championships

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By Adam Slight

On August 6th-13th Taekwon-Do competitors from around the world will descend on Ottawa to compete in the 2012 International Taekwon-Do Federation World Championships. Men and women of all ages and nationalities will represent their respective countries, demonstrating intense levels of skill, endurance, and discipline in the Korean martial art of Taekwon-Do.

Ms. Sylvie Beekmans showing off her chops (no pun intended)

But it’s a local dojang (a formal Taekwon-Do training hall) that has caught our attention for this year’s tournament. Proudly titled The Dojang: Centrepointe Taekwon-Do, this Ottawa Taekwon-Do dojang is no stranger to victory. One of its co-owners, Ms. Sylvie Beekmans (IV Degree Black Belt) has received 10 World Championship medals (including 2 Gold Medals) competing individually and as  a member of the Canadian Taekwon-Do Women’s Team, and has competed in 3 World Championships across the globe. This year’s competition will be her fourth. Sylvie was instructed by Mr. Chris Reid who is the organizer of this year’s ITF World Championships.

While The Dojang clearly has a history to be reckoned with, Ms. Beekmans is confident that her current students will be making waves at this year’s competition.

Mr. Chris Reid holding this year’s championship medals (they’re huge!)

While traditional Taekwon-Do is considered a form of self-defense (“Taekwon-Do” roughly translates to “the way of the foot and the fist”), it has been recently adopted by many as a conventional sport. It’s definitely a cool thing that this year’s Taekwon-Do World Championship is being held right here in Ottawa (sorry, tickets are sold out!)

The benefits of Taekwon-Do are endless, including intense anaerobic and aerobic exercise, deep relaxation, and the building of self-esteem and self-discipline.

If you’re looking for a purpose-driven workout with higher impact than going to the gym or yoga, then The Dojang: Centrepointe Taekwon-Do may have just what you’re looking for. The Dojang offers a great package for beginners at $99 for two months of instruction plus uniform.

For more information about the ITF World Taekwon-Do championships or about Taekwon-Do instruction in Ottawa, visit The Dojang’s website at www.TheDojang.ca or call (613) 226-0914.

The Ottawa Valley’s “Little Piece of Ireland”

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By Adam Slight

The sleepy community of Cobden can easily be missed by those who pass through traveling west from Ottawa on highway 17. This village of 900 occupies about 60 seconds of travel time to those driving through in a hurry. However, to those willing to slow down and explore, Cobden can occupy hours!

O’Reilly’s Treasures lies at the heart of this community, both geographically and metaphorically. This specialty Irish boutique is beloved by the community not only for its authentic Celtic merchandise but for the way it reflects the area’s culture as well.

O’Reilly’s Treasures was opened 10 years ago by local Celt and mother of 3, Linda O’Reilly Kauffeldt who was born and raised in the area with a knack for reading the local economy. Her desire to go into business for herself led to her opening O’Reilly’s Treasures where she aimed to bring a “little piece of Ireland” to the Ottawa Valley. Having no prior business experience, she was a bit surprised that the business exploded and now attracts loyal customers from as far as Montreal, Ottawa, Sudbury, and North Bay.

The store offers authentic Celtic products including Irish tea, Irish jewelry, Celtic crosses and knots, and an Irish porridge that Linda says she has trouble keeping on the shelves. “When I import Irish Porridge, I get 48 packs at a time and it’s gone in no time…once you try it, you’re hooked.”

Linda describes the Celtic knots she carries as being very indicative of Celtic culture, and of the culture in her area of the Ottawa Valley. The Celts’ way of making sense of the world can be seen in their jewelry. “The knots and the weaves are what makes sense of their world,” she explains. “When a weave goes over and under, it symbolizes the ups and downs of life…its how they made sense of the world without all the modern technology that we have.”

Looking at such symbolism, it is easy to see why a woman as down-to-earth as Linda was attracted to Celtic culture, and why it was so widely accepted in her predominantly Irish community. Cobden is sleepy and small, but rich with heritage and idyllic simplicity.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to “get away from it all,” book a day trip to Cobden and area, and be sure to stop into O’Reilly’s Treasures for your “little piece of Ireland” only an hour west of Ottawa!

For more information about O’Reilly’s Treasures or to make a purchase from their online store, visit http://oreillystreasures.com/

4 Most Entertaining Stories from an Ottawa Lawncare Company

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By Chris Penny, CEO of Local Lawns

A popular colloquialism describes something dull being “as boring as watching grass grow.” Who would have thought that cutting grass would be just the opposite? My company Local Lawns seems to pull it off! Our student employees cut Ottawa’s lawns from April to November, and we’ve experienced quite a few awkward and funny situations over the years. We’d like to share a few of those stories with you!

1. Breaking it Down in the Backyard

One thing you must understand is that when you cut lawns all day everyday, and you appreciate a quality job, it is easy to get absorbed in your work—and this can lead to some hilarious mishaps!

One day last summer, Mitch, one of our managers, was absorbed in that grass-cutting “zone.” Now Mitch loves to listen to music while he cuts. In fact, he gets so into his music, that he fuses his lawn-mowing with high-energy dance moves. When Mitch was dancing and lawn-mowing, he was so absorbed in his work and in his music that he didn’t notice the bag from his mower unclip and fall to the ground. Mitch toppled over the bag while still holding the mower, and did a “Superman” over the spilled lawn clippings, briefly dragging across the lawn. When he removed his earphones from his ears and dusted himself off, he was greeted with the sound of cheers and applause. His clients had a back deck full of spectators that had witnessed the entire show!

2. Mixed Messages

A couple of summers ago I was sitting on my roof cleaning out the gutters when I received a call from an irrationally irate customer. It happens to any business owner! He was so livid that he began to personally insult me, and it just wasn’t going anywhere. He said that if I ever set foot on his lawn again, he would call the police! The tough part was…he owed my company a lot of money for mowing his lawn.

We happened to be cutting his neighbour’s lawn a couple of days later, and I asked one of my employees to put an invoice in their mailbox. Shortly afterwards the angry man’s wife approached us with the invoice. I thought, “Oh boy, here it comes…”

“What is this?” She asked.

“It’s your invoice.” I said. “Your husband cancelled our service and said if we came back he’d call the police.”

There was a pause. I was worried she’d call the cops right there, or just shoot us herself.

“Oh him!” She finally said. “He just gets like that. Would you mind cutting our lawn when you’re done there?”

Relieved, we happily cut her lawn that afternoon. The funny thing is, we’re still cutting their lawn to this day!

3. Working Around The Sprinklers

One day last summer, Krista, one of our managers, and her sister were cutting a client’s lawn when suddenly an automated sprinkler went off. They were unable to figure out how to turn it off, and assuming the home owners weren’t home, attempted to work around the spinning sprinkler to finish the cut. They pushed their mowers in a spiral while running away from the sprinkler’s spray, wet hair and clothes soaking wet and caked to their bodies. While they managed to finish the lawn quite nicely, they got drenched in the process.

All the laughing and shouting attracted to the attention of the home owner (who was home). He came out and turn the sprinkler off…only when the job was already over!

4. Accidental Good Deeds Still Count

While I’d like to believe that we’re making people’s lives easier by providing them with reliable lawn care services, sometimes go above and beyond by accident! As I mentioned before, when you cut 20 lawns a day, its easy to get absorbed in the lawn-cutting “zone.” This happened to me one hot summer day a couple of summers ago when my employee and I pulled up to our client’s lawn. It was almost 40 degrees and we were trying to work as efficiently as possible. I told my employee that I would cut the backyard while he cut the front lawn. I worked my butt off in the heat trying to get an ideal cut as possible. When I was done, I came to the front to check on my employee…

…only to see that he had cut the neighbour’s front lawn!

How do you remedy this? The only way possible— You cut both.

Just another day working for Local Lawns! The work is tough, but it’s rewarding work too. The best part is the memories that you create along the way!

Chris is the owner of Local Lawns, a locally run student lawn-care company. If you would like more information regarding their services, or are interested in a summer job with Local Lawns, visit their website at www.locallawns.ca

Interview with Kinki & Mambo Owner, Marisol Simoes

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Interview with Marisol Simoes, Owner of Kinki and Mambo restaurants

How long have Kinki and Mambo restaurants been in the market?

Kinki is turning 11 and Mambo is going on 6. Kinki is a staple restaurant in Ottawa, those who like Kinki love it. We are a destination within a destination. Kinki has some of the most loyal clientele this city has ever seen. Mambo on the other hand brings forth a new style of living. Mambo’s romance and cosmo appeal has helped bring love, life and dance to many people’s lives in this city. So needless to say, we are proud of being different in the market- but the best different you will ever find.

What would you accredit the loyalty to for both Kinki and Mambo?

The common factor between Kinki and Mambo is the way we infuse entertainment to anyone’s dining experience.  It’s one thing to go out and enjoy a great meal and its another to experience memories somewhere. We are two of those places in the market that always go that extra step to inject some culture into your experience by way of  entertainment.

What makes Kinki and Mambo so memorable?

Well for one, Kinki and Mambo always provide variety all year long. If it isn’t our ever-evolving eclectic menu options, it’s our playful weekly concepts. From Veggie Wednesdays and Diva Thursdays at Kinki , Mystics & Manicures Tuesdays and Danza Latina Thursdays at Mambo, to our extraordinary renowned ‘Oasis Style’ Patios.

Tell us what’s in store for the summer at two of the markets most popular side patios?

Kinki’s side patio is up and running.  After the success of our past years, Kinki is celebrated it’s 11 year anniversary party in June with a ‘All Things Kinki’ theme. We have our signature Deco inspired couches to lounge on and our Private ‘cabana style’ booths, ready and re-vamped along our weekly DJ line up and easy access Patio Bar.

Mambo too is celebrating its 6th anniversary in July with a ‘Carnaval’ theme.  Its rooftop is one of the most romantic destinations in the city. You will fall in love with the city, your date or your server when up there. Our all-in-red adornments and exotic Latin flair make it one of the most desired spots to be at sunset.  Complimented with our live entertainment line-up, our roof parties are the hottest in the market.

With the new side patios ready, what can we expect from your new menus this summer?

Kinki has always had a fusion of inclusive menu choices.  Our sushi has been voted ‘Best in the City’ for a reason the last eleven years. We are constantly becoming innovative and creative with our choices, we don’t just make great sushi, we modernize them.

Mambo’s intriguing new twist on Latin cuisine, is by far one of the most unique in the city. Our new concepts blend together organically for a fiesta of flavors in your mouth. Our signature “Tapas” are still the best compliment to any summer day.

What are the best days to visit Kinki and Mambo’s patios this summer?

 Well everyday would be my immediate answer.

Our new summer line up at Kinki consists of:

Diva Thursdays with DJ Balu.

Bringing you a blend of Retro-Funk-Jazz and House for the ladies.

Unleash Fridays with DJ Dusty

Playing his best urban, dance, and retro beats

Throwback Saturdays with DJ Sean

playing his eclectic but deep rooted alternative vibes

And..At Mambo:

Barrio Thursdays with DJ Wilmer

spinning world beat Euro-Carribean and South America beats

Zona Viva Fridays  with DJ Frederico & Suave Saturdays with DJ Jimador                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     bringing you a new Latin groove sound with some retro classics and top 40 favourites

Sunday Funday with DJ Balu           

Playing the best Funk and Soulful house this city loves.

You can learn more about what Mambo and Kinki have to offer this summer by visiting their websites: www.kinki.ca | www.mambonuevolatino.com

What’s Happening in Ottawa This Week (July 23rd – 29th, 2012)

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The last week of July features a few exciting events – a few charity events, and another summer music festival that is lesser known than the popular ones earlier in the month. But no matter what activities you do this week in Ottawa, the beach still seems to be the best option during this wave of beautiful, sunny weather!

Wednesday, July 25th

July Ottawa Comic Jam

Thursday, July 26th

Ottawa Chamberfest

Friday, July 27th

(ongoing) Ottawa Chamberfest

Runway for Hope

Centretown Movies outdoor film festival

Saturday, June 28th

(ongoing) Ottawa Chamberfest

Steering Towards Hope

Centretown Movies outdoor film festival

Sunday, July 29th

(ongoing) Ottawa Chamberfest

6th Annual Community Family Fun Day

A Rickshaw Runner’s Spare Tire: Why I Can’t Lose Weight Working in an Office

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By Adam Slight

It shouldn’t surprise you that in September of this year, when I effectively ended my career pulling a rickshaw and assumed the role of a desk-jockey working 9-5 in an office, I immediately began to develop a bit of a spare tire. At the time, I wasn’t too surprised—It is natural in September for rickshaw runners to rapidly gain a lot of weight that they lost when pulling tourists around on a daily basis in the summer. Since I knew I wouldn’t be doing much of that anymore, I made sure to adopt an active lifestyle.

Now, almost a year since I began my new post-rickshaw runner life, I’ve become quite frustrated. I began running to work just about every single day of the week this summer (a nice, brisk 7km run), and have recently even modified my diet to cut out snacking and reduce portions so that they are satisfying but not filling. While I’ve managed to fend off obesity, I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily happy with my physical shape (I feel fit, but I’m definitely not as lean as I’d like to be). Looking at photos of myself during last year’s rickshaw season only pounds this home.

Then I stumbled across some startling discoveries that explain exactly why I can’t seem to lean out.

A German researcher has recently determined that sitting extensively makes you stupid. To sum up his results, basically people who think while walking think more efficiently than people who think while sitting. It’s as simple as that.

Reading this got me wondering about the other possible harmful effects of sitting—after all, I sit at least 8 hours a day for my career, sit for supper when I get home, often sit during after-work leisure time, and then sit some more when I do any extra work on the computer at night. I’m basically sitting all day.

My prediction was that this was the cause of my misfortune. Before last September, I would run all day for my career, often eating supper in my rickshaw. I figured this change in lifestyle was the culprit.

And I was right. It turns out there are some very grim studies surrounding the act of sitting that basically connect excessive sitting with early death (One study determined that on average, for every hour of TV you watch in the evening you reduce a year off your expected lifespan— yeesh!). When you sit for even a short period of time, your metabolism drops dramatically, decreasing the electrical activity in your muscles and reducing your calorie-burning rate by three times.

Researchers also say that going to the gym after work isn’t the solution here. While an active lifestyle is always encouraged, the real solution to the “sitting problem” is increasing your subtle movements during the day. Arranging your desk so that you have to reach for things, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and getting up for frequent walks are just some ideas. Bending over to tie your shoes instantly shoots your metabolism way up compared to when you’re just sitting.

I find this all very depressing, and I haven’t decided what I’m going to do about this to apply any changes to my own life! Does anyone have any ideas?

If Batman Lived in Ottawa…

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By Adam Slight

The hype for The Dark Knight Rises is so unavoidable that even Ottawa Rickshaws will be tying the caped-crusader into its usual Ottawa-themed content.

 

If Batman Lived In Ottawa…

 

…The Bat-Mobile would have nowhere to park between 9-5 without getting a ticket

… The Bat-Signal wouldn’t operate after 10pm

… Robin would have to wear pants in the winter

… Cat-Woman would live on Parliament Hill in the cat shelter (and raccoons would definitely not steal the cat food)

… Batman and Robin wouldn’t have to scale skyscrapers any higher than the Parliament Buildings

… Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed by a drunk Leafs fan

… Batman and Robin could legally marry…if they wanted to (after Robin turns 18)

… Wayne Enterprises would have a .ca website

… The Riddler’s riddles would be lost in French translation

… Alfred would have a thick Gatineau-French accent

… Scarecrow would moonlight at Saunder’s Farm in the fall

… The Penguin would rob the Royal Mint every day

… Bain would wear Ed Hardy and frequent Tila Tequila on Thursday nights

… “Pow,” “Kablaam!” “Boom!” would translate to “pûm!” “bap!” and “bóum!”

… Scotia Bank Place would be called Wayne Enterprises Arena

… “Holy Quebec-side Cougars, Batman!” would really be a phrase that means something

… Bruce Wayne would invest in Shawarmas

… The Penguin would attack joggers by the Rideau Canal (Watch this video.)

… Christopher Nolan would be able to take advantage of Canadian tax credits

… The Bat-Mobile would have salt stains

… Batgirl would wear American Apparel and drive a one-speed bike in The Glebe and “fight” corporate record labels instead of crime

… The Ottawa Senators would be villains-on-skates for Mr. Freeze (You’ll get it if you’ve seen Batman and Robin)

… Mr. Freeze would be called “Mr. Average Temperatures”

… Arkham Asylum would be a novelty hostel for tourists or a hipster bar

… The Joker would say “Why so serious?” a lot

The list could go on and on and on! How would you finish the statement “If Batman Lived in Ottawa…”? Write your responses in the comments below, on our Facebook Page, or tweet your response @OttawaRickshaws with hashtag #IfBatmanLivedInOttawa on Twitter.