Archive for October, 2012

The Spooky Side of Ottawa

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By Brian Clarke

Happy Halloween everyone!

In celebration of the day of the dead, we’d like to share some of the more spooky, sinister and creepy things about Ottawa’s past and present.  Here is a collection of what we’ve written in the past about the spooky side of Ottawa:

Urban Myths of Ottawa: Our Prime Minister, The Demon-Worshipper

Now this is a creepy story, and a strange part of our city’s past.  If you want to share some spooky stories that also have historical and political educational moments, this is the one!

6 Haunted Experiences in Ottawa for Hallowe’en

If you like haunted houses, ghost stories and other eerie experiences, check out this list of Ottawa’s scariest places!

Top 6 Creepiest Things About Ottawa

To the average observer, Ottawa might seem like a clean, well-ordered town.  But, we do have some creepy characteristics - check out the six creepiest things about Ottawa.

What You Didn’t Know About the Byward Market: Public Boxing Matches!

One of the scariest things about Ottawa’s history was its one-time lack of a police force or any public law enforcement. At least this spooky story has a funny ending of public boxing matches!

Urban Myths of Ottawa: Mussie, the Lake Monster of Cobden

If you want some monster stories for Halloween, look no further! The infamous giant lake monster of Codben, Ontario (about an hour past Kanata) is sure to give you the creeps.

Urban Myths of Ottawa: Ottawa’s Aliens and UFOs

Don’t like monster stories and prefer tales of real-life E.T.’s? Well, Ottawa has its UFO stories as well!

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What is your favourite spooky Ottawa story?

7 Ottawa-Themed Halloween Costume Ideas

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By Brian Clarke

Are you frantically trying to come up with a last minute costume idea for tomorrow? Why not bring an Ottawa feel to your 2012 Halloween costume? Here are 6 easy, last-minute, locally relevant costume ideas:

Max Keeping

Sadly, Ottawa’s beloved news anchor was diagnosed with cancer last week.  Show Max your support by dressing up as him for Halloween!  All you need is a suit, a fake microphone and a ponytail to pull it off.

Sinkhole

Sinkhole costume. Photo courtesy of OttawaStart Blog.

Admittedly, I got this idea from another blog who posted a similar post last week (there are some other good ideas there if nothing on

my list strikes you), but this was too good to pass up.  Looks like all you need is a garbage bag, some caution tape, black pants and a license plate.

Dr. Cristina Yang

Dressing up as people from popular TV shows is way overdone, but for any Grey’s Anatomy fans this is an easy one to pull off.  And, did you know that the actress is from Ottawa?

Road Worker

Does construction season ever end in Ottawa? A road worker costume, consisting of a fluorescent jacket, stop sign and tool belt will always be relevant in Ottawa.

Hurricane Sandy

Yes, I know Ottawa got off relatively easy from yesterday’s storm and this costume would be more relevant if we lived on the American East coast, but still, Sandy is the only thing people seem to be talking about this morning.  Ladies, all you have to do is mess up your hair, maybe throw some leaves in and wear a name-tag that says Sandy, and I’m sure you’ll get some good laughs tomorrow.

Tom Cruise

Did you know Tom Cruise lived in Ottawa briefly as a kid? The connection to Ottawa may be weak, but the Tom Cruise costume ideas are simply too easy.  You could do Top Gun, Jerry Maguire or crazy jump-on-Oprah’s-couch Tom.

Alanis Morissette

Another beloved and well-known Ottawa celebrity that would be easy to impersonate on Halloween.  Really all you need is long dark hair (or a wig) and a glittery microphone from the dollar store.  You probably won’t be winning any costume contests but for a last minute idea, it gets a passing grade.

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What are you dressing up as for Halloween 2012?

City Report’s Surprise Conclusion: Bike Lanes in Ottawa ARE Safer for Cyclists

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By Adam Slight

A recent report by the City of Ottawa has confirmed the obvious, after two years of careful consideration: Bike lanes are indeed safer for cyclists! Accidents are down, bike traffic is up, and there hasn’t been a better time for residents living in Laurier condos who work at city hall to invest in a bicycle!

Two years ago the City of Ottawa installed a segregated bike lane on Laurier Avenue, in light of a string of serious bike accidents in Ottawa that saw citizens demanding safer cycling conditions on busy streets. The city answered with a pilot project that saw a bike lane stretched from Bronson Ave. to Elgin St. along Laurier Avenue, partitioned off from motor traffic by a concrete curb.

I always thought that this lane was kind of weak, as it only served to benefit a small number of cyclists in Ottawa (basically only useful to cyclists traveling from Bronson Ave. to city hall!). But I guess this lane was meant to serve as a “trial” to see if bike lanes in Ottawa could possibly benefit Ottawa cyclists, without obstructing poor motorists.

Well it turns out, bike lanes work! The city report has indicated that motor traffic on Laurier has dropped in the past two years, while cyclist traffic has risen, and there has been an overall decrease of cyclist accidents on Laurier as well. While it appears that this trial has been a success, the city report concludes that we must wait the entire duration of the trial, coming to completion in June, before investigating a future of more bike lanes in our city.

While we wait for the city’s final conclusion on their science experiment, we mourn the victims of another string of serious and fatal bike accidents that occurred this month in Ottawa.

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Are you satisfied with the cycling conditions in Ottawa? If not, how can Ottawa improve these conditions?

What’s Happening in Ottawa this Week? (October 29 – November 4, 2012)

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Whether you’re planning to do something for Halloween, or just looking for an indoor activity to avoid the rain, here is what’s happening in Ottawa this week:

Monday, October 29th

Scavenger hunt at Canadian Museum of Nature

Tuesday, October 30th

Scavenger hunt at Canadian Museum of Nature

Annual SOHO|SME Expo

Wednesday, October 31st

Scavenger hunt at Canadian Museum of Nature

Bourbon&Spice Burlesque PRESENTS: Girls, Girls, Girls…and GHOULS! at Rainbow Bistro

Thursday, November 1st

3rd Annual Free Thinking Film Festival

The Ottawa Jazz Orchestra presents The Kings of Swing: Artie Shaw & Benny Goodman

Friday, November 2nd

3rd Annual Free Thinking Film Festival (ongoing)

Steve’s Table Tennis Club/ Ping Pong Club

Saturday, November 3rd

3rd Annual Free Thinking Film Festival (ongoing)

2012 Ottawa Valley Cat Show

Steve’s Table Tennis Club/ Ping Pong Club (ongoing)

Meet Your Match – An Exciting Night for Ottawa Singles for the Ottawa Humane Society

Sunday, November 4th

3rd Annual Free Thinking Film Festival (ongoing)

2012 Ottawa Valley Cat Show (ongoing)

Steve’s Table Tennis Club/ Ping Pong Club (ongoing)

United Way Ottawa Schmoozefest A Great Success!

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By Brian Clarke

Last night marked the 2012 edition of United Way Ottawa’s annual Schmoozefest networking event and fundraiser. I personally attended the event, and I’ve gotta say, it was fantastic!  At this time yesterday I had absolutely no idea what to expect as a Schmoozefest first timer, however in only a few short hours at Schmoozefest I realized it was an event I would recommend to anyone!

The night consisted of wine, locally brewed beer, and a ton of great food from local restaurants.  There were plenty of prizes, raffles, games, and a plethora of interesting people to meet–from local business owners, to university students, to politicians and many more. I had the pleasure of meeting some of the organizers of the event, and have to give them kudos for such a wonderfully executed event.

I expect to see many of you – our readers – there next year! I think it is an event that would be highly beneficial to anyone, whether or not you care about networking. However, if you support a cause, own a business, are in the job hunt, or even have a band with some friends, Schmoozefest represents a great chance to do some valuable networking with the local Ottawa community.

Can’t wait ‘til Schmoozefest 2013!

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Were you at Schmoozefest 2012? Tell us about your experience below!

The Laff Brings the Scares this Halloween

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By Adam Slight

Popular Byward Market pub, The Lafayette (or “The Laff,” to the uninitiated) has a full bill of Halloween activities this up-coming week that are sure to scare your pants off. If you’re looking to get into the spirit of Halloween in Ottawa this year, you’ll definitely want to check this schedule out.

Aside from the regular costumed partying that you can expect to see this weekend, on Monday The Laff will be hosting their 3rd Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest—just bring your own pumpkin and brilliant ideas and go to it (of course, with the quality of diversity of admissions, The Laff’s manager tells me that it isn’t really a “contest” – Everyone wins in the end). The contest runs from 5pm-10pm on Monday, followed by their usual amateur comedy night (open mic!). Since the pub hopes to decorate its walls with jack-o-lanterns, the establishment is willing to purchase the pumpkin creations from contestants upon completion. Cash dollars for pumpkins!

On Halloween night, The Laff is offering free cover and holding a costume contest with candy and prizes. The Laff’s regular host musician John Carroll will emcee, entertaining the crowd with live acoustic music.

In an interesting side note, The Haunted Walk’s newest tour, the “Naughty Ottawa Pub Walk” (this is a walking tour of downtown Ottawa, meant to showcase Ottawa’s risqué, secret history), makes its last stop at The Laff where tourists are given a shot of their signature shot, the “By Wash Bulleit.” This murky mixture of bourbon whiskey and “another secret ingredient” is meant to emulate the raw sewage that would run in the gutters of York Street in the late 1800’s. Disgusting, guys!

If you’re looking for a full Halloween experience this year, The Laff is a great place to look. Pumpkin carving, candy, costume parties, good times with friends, and shots of Victorian-age sewage water—what more could you need?

Celebrate Everything Local at Ottawa’s First Plaid Bike Parade

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By Adam Slight
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Roadies, fashionistas, and beer enthusiasts—you finally have an opportunity to get together and share your common interests with Ottawa! This November, Victoire Boutique, Tall Tree Cycles, Kichesippi Beer Co., and Ottawa Velo Vogue are marrying their seemingly unrelated strengths to host the first ever Plaid Bike Parade!

As a part of Support Local Month and in celebration of the fall season, the parade will be held on Saturday November 3rd, starting at Suzy Q Donuts in West Wellington, at 11am. The parade is open to any members of the public…as long as these members of the public are wearing plaid for the event. The parade will follow along the canal towards the Arboretum and back to Wellington West.

(Map of parade route can be seen here)

The parade will be followed by a number of festivities, including a bike themed art exhibit at Five Cent, an open house at Tall Tree Cycles, and a party at Kichesippi Beer Co. where parched bikers can taste some local craft beers (they’re currently promoting a seasonal porter called Logger). Clad in plaid, everyone is going to look like a bunch of thirsty lumberjacks!

This whole event is ultimately in celebration of local culture, so I encourage everyone to participate in one way or another. I know we’ll be a part of the plaid parade, appropriately riding our new OttBikes (and of course, trying a pint or two of Logger as well).

The parade begins at 11am, while the West Wellington festivities go from 2pm – 8pm.

 

Could More Graffiti (and Murals) Brighten Up Ottawa?

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By Adam Slight
Okay. I know our city has an image to uphold being the country’s capital. We’ve got cleaning robots roving the streets at night so Ottawa can project a positive image to visiting diplomats and tourists. I just have a suggestion that I think would make Ottawa about one degree cooler…so hear me out.

Ottawa has a ton of blank spaces just begging to have some commissioned murals and graffiti made to adorn them, and the missed potential is just aching. Yes. There are some great murals in the city already, like the one in Little Italy under the 417 — the mural creatively depicts the neighbourhood’s history, which is awesome — but there are like a dozen similar spaces under the 417 that are just dull blank concrete.

Then there are countless alleyways, store and restaurant surfaces that are fairly dull and generic, that only attract poor, ugly uncommissioned graffiti instead. Take a hint from the Whalebone and hire an artist to cover your business’ unsightly surfaces with a mural relevant to your business!

Another cool thing I’d like to see, commissioned by the City of Ottawa, would be some more cool public art embedded in the city’s urban landscape to liven things up. I like the fire hydrant statues in Westboro — more neighbourhood-specific sculptures and maybe some permanent sidewalk murals would be good too. These are the quirky details that add flavour to a city.

Just a little suggestion to spur your imaginations on a Tuesday.

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What kind of public art would you like to see in Ottawa? Comment below.

5 Things To Do When it’s Cold in Ottawa

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by: Brian Clarke

The weather is starting to get a little nippy in Ottawa.  Some of our favourite summer activities are no longer possible.  Here are a few ideas for things to do in when it starts to get cold:

Make Your Own Cider

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think there’s any better way to warm your insides than a glass of hot apple cider.  You make your own fresh cider at Pine Hill Orchards just outside town.  Even when the orchard closes down for winter, I’m sure you can find some good local, fresh brews at farmers markets. Not as exciting as making it yourself, but just as warming!

Go To a Museum

The amount of good museums Ottawa hosts is one of the more underrated aspects of the city.  When its cold outside, why not stay in at one of Ottawa’s museums for a fun, educative and warm day!

Nordik Spa

Nordik Spa

If you haven’t tried the Nordik yet, you must! I think everyone should go at least once every fall/winter. The many hot tubs, steam rooms, baths and fireplaces to sit by makes for a perfect way to warm up, stay relaxed and cure the winter blues.

Soup at Le Muffin Plus

This small café in the World Exchange Plaza is one of the “well-known secrets” of downtown Ottawa.  Their many soups have people lined up every day at lunch.  While I know I just said a hot cider is the best thing for warmer your insides, a good soup has to be a close second.

Suck it up!

We’re Canadian after all, right? One of our proudest traits is our ability to brave the cold. So now that it’s starting to get chilly, we just need to dig out the warm clothes, take on the cold in its face, and enjoy tons of good winter events that’ll be starting soon!

What do you do when its cold in Ottawa?