Ottawa Life

Over my lifetime I’ve lived in 6 Canadian Provinces and had the opportunity to visit the remaining with the military and on family vacations. For the past twelve  years I’ve called Ottawa home and could not imagine living anywhere else.  Below are a collection of writings related to Ottawa that interest me.


Rideau Hall Movie Night  August 17th and 19th 2014

This summer, on August 17 and 19, 2014, Governor General David Johnston invites you to the first-ever Rideau Hall Movie Nights, a special event in Ottawa.

The evenings’ programs will include free outdoor screenings of 
The Grand Seduction, on the first night, and Louis Cyr: l’homme le plus fort du monde, on the second, as well as a selection of National Film Board short films.

These Canadian films will be screened in English and French, starting at sunset, on the grounds of the official residence of the governor general of Canada.

Bring your blanket and a picnic to settle in to watch these films under the stars!

In the event of rain, the English screening will be rescheduled to August 18 and the French screening on August 20.

Further details can be found at:




Bicentennial Military Re-enactment Weekend July 13-14, 2013

This is technically not in Ottawa but it’s only a short drive away, close to Cornwall Ontario.

To commemorate the Bicentennial of the historic “Battle that Saved Canada” — when Lt.Col Joseph W. Morrison’s 1200-man “Corps of Observation” defeated an American army three times its size — we invite you to take part in a spectacular weekend reliving these momentous times near Upper Canada Village on 13-14 July 2013.

Over 500 living history reenactors representing naval, artillery, band and infantry units from across Canada and the US will converge on the Crysler’s Farm Battlefield Memorial grounds to take part in 3 battle reenactments, a regency ball, and historically accurate portrayals of crafts, sports, military, merchants and civilian life of the War of 1812-1815 period.

A signature Eastern Ontario bicentennial event in 2013, the event will provide families, children and history enthusiasts with a unique opportunity to experience the attitudes and spirit of the times by attending expert presentations, participating in militia musters, learning the rules of period cricket and taking part in English country dancing. Visit a military surgeon’s tent where he operates on wounded soldiers between the battle re-enactments. Hear the piercing notes of First Nations battle cries, the roar of cannons and the sounds of a victory parade, as you too ,will step back into these turbulent times. For additional ideas on how you can enhance your personal experience, visit

For more Bicentennial events across Eastern Ontario, visit or follow us on Facebook at

The Bicentennial Commemorative Ceremony on 11 November

On November 11, 2013 at 1:00pm, on the actual 200th anniversary date of the historic Battle of Crysler’s Farm, we will hold a sombre service of remembrance at the Battlefield Memorial to mark the events that turned aside the largest American invasion of the Canadas during the war. Join us, 1812 re-enactors and modern day reserve regiments in preserving the memory of our forefathers who fought for our homeland.


4 Ideas for Cheap Nights Out in Ottawa


As great as the Byward Market nightlife is, sometimes it can get a little pricey to always be going out for dinner and drinks.  Sometimes, we just want a simple, laid back, cheap night out.

Here are four evening activities in Ottawa that won’t break the bank:

Absolute Comedy

Every time I’ve gone to Absolute Comedy, I’ve spent under $25 per person and had a better time than I would at any nightclub.  Tickets range from $4-$12 per person, depending on the night.  Even with splitting a pitcher of beer or two, two people can spend a Saturday night seeing a great show from professional comedians without having to dig deep in their wallets.

Also, if you go tonight for pro-am night, you’ll get to see one of Ottawa Rickshaws’ very own – George Bernik – performing.

ZaZaZa and Mayfair

Dinner and a movie is a classic evening out or date night activity.  However, if you go to a large chain restaurant, a large chain theater and get popcorn and candy, you’re looking at spending well over $100 for two people.  The Glebe location of ZaZaZa runs dinner and movie specials with the Mayfair theater: $22 a person for dinner and a movie ticket.

Mosaika Sound and Light Show

For those who have never seen the Sound and Light Show on Parliament Hill before, the first time seeing it can be quite captivating.  It’s a free show that runs daily starting July 10th.  With all the great food trucks and restaurants in the Sparks Street region, you can get a cheap late night meal, walk up to the Hill and enjoy another great dinner and a show.

Live music at the Laff

Like I mentioned at the outset of this article, it is easy to get carried away when you’re in the Byward Market at a bar.  However, the Laff’s laid-back atmosphere, affordable drink prices and relaxing live music create a great place to go for a simple, stress and high expense-free evening.






Segregated bike lanes on Laurier Avenue are here to stay

By David Reevely

5 July 2013

OTTAWA — The segregated bike lanes on Laurier Avenue are here to stay, city council’s transportation committee decided Friday, though it’ll be a few years before they’re built permanently into the road.

The lanes between Bronson Avenue and Elgin Street were controversial when the city began a two-year experiment with them in 2011, unpopular among residents, drivers and merchants along the street. The truth is, they still are — but they’re a huge success in getting more people biking downtown, with the city’s evidence showing that they’ve tripled the number of cyclists on Laurier, reduced collisions and even near-misses, and produced no meaningful spillover of car traffic onto nearby streets.

If city council ratifies the committee’s decision at a July 17 meeting, city workers will prepare some changes at the western end of Laurier, in a residential district dominated by condo buildings, to restore some street parking by raising a block of bike lane on the north side of the street up to sidewalk level. That’ll make a link north toward the bike lanes and paths at LeBreton Flats across the field of the former Ottawa Technical High School, eliminate the wide cast-concrete barriers that have set the lane off from Laurier’s motor traffic for the last two years and make room — just barely enough room — for a line of 22 street parking spaces to be put back.

It’s a move that mollifies Janine Hutt, who leads one of the condo boards on Laurier and has been the lanes’ most vocal critic. Despite her reservations, Hutt appeared before the committee to support making the lanes permanent, provided the city lives up to its promises.

For one thing, “I have to say it is with a sense of relief that residents welcome the restoration of some parking on the south side of Laurier,” Hutt said. And she supported a move, which the committee eventually voted for, to put off final decisions about how the lanes will be built until the time comes to completely reconstruct Laurier Avenue, some time after 2018.

This is how things are supposed to work, said Somerset Coun. Diane Holmes.

“I know some people don’t like democracy,” Holmes said. “When you set out to design something, you don’t know the answer. Politicians don’t like that.” But the result is bike lanes that even early critics can now live with, particularly since the project team, led by planner Colin Simpson, has adjusted the lanes, nearby parking, drop-off and loading zones, and numerous other details during the two-year trial.

Only Kanata South Coun. Allan Hubley voted against making the lanes permanent, because he’s worried cyclists on the raised section the city intends to build west of Bay Street will hit pedestrians.

Between the Laurier lane, better direction signs aimed at cyclists, dedicated bike parking at festivals, and other improvements, Ottawa’s a national leader in promoting cycling, the president of Citizens for Safe Cycling, Hans Moor, told the councillors. He travels Canada to make presentations on how to make biking safer and more attractive, and he’s largely replaced examples of good biking infrastructure he used to use from Germany and Scandinavia with examples from Ottawa.





04 July 2013

Ottawa Bluesfest

Held each July on the grounds of the Canadian War Museum on the western edge of downtown, the RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest is one of Canada’s largest outdoor music festivals and is ranked as one of North America’s most important music events.

True to form Bluesfest 2013 has a little something for everyone from B.B. King to the Wu-Tang Clan. Taking place from July 4 to 14, 2013, a few bands that will rock this five stage music festival are Bjork, Dixie Chicks, Animal Collective, Fun, Great Big Sea, Hannah Georgas, Jimmy Eat World, Rush, Serena Ryder, Stars, The Tragically Hip, and Weezer.


Fast Facts

  • Bluesfest began in 1994 and quickly grew to become one of the biggest events of its kind anywhere.
  • Some of the biggest names in music have performed at Bluesfest over the years, including Sting, Van Morrison, Bob Dylan, The White Stripes, The Black Eyed Peas, James Brown and countless others.
  • The festival features hundreds of acts on five different stages.
  • Close to 300,000 people attend over the festival’s 11-day schedule.
  • Food, drink, souvenir and music kiosks surround the festival site.
  • The festival has twice won the Gold Award for Waste Minimization from the Recycling Council of Ontario for its green initiatives.
  • The festival is a non-for-profit organization that relies on 3500 volunteers to make it happen – and gives back to the community in many ways.





28 June 2013

Canada Day in Ottawa!

Looking for something to do for Canada Day here in Ottawa?  Here are some details to help you choose your adventure

Ottawa, Canada’s Capital, is the place to be July 1 for the country’s biggest annual birthday celebration. It’s a giant patriotic party on the lawns of Parliament Hill, Major’s Hill Park, Jacques Cartier Park and on the closed streets of downtown.

The crowds start to gather on Parliament Hill early, for a 9 a.m. carillon concert featuring the Peace Tower bells, followed by the official flag raising and the Changing the Guard ceremony. Be there at noon for a thrilling performance by the Snowbirds aerobatic team, and a noon hour show filled with cultural entertainment. Performers include Carly Rae Jepsen, Terri Clark and Metric to name a few and there will be a special appearance by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield.

Excitement continues throughout the day at major sites and attractions downtown and across the Capital. The evening show on Parliament Hill features a stellar lineup of Canadian performers. And as always, the evening will be topped off by a giant fireworks show you simply don’t want to miss!

Fast Facts

  • Canada Day celebrates the anniversary of Confederation, when Canada became a country separate from the British Empire.
  • Parliament Hill is the focal point for Canada Day celebrations, with a giant stage featuring Canadian performers throughout the day, the noontime playing of Oh Canada and a flyby by Canada’s Snowbirds aerobatics team and other military aircraft.
  • The celebrations spill over from Parliament Hill to venues on both sides of the Ottawa River, including Major’s Hill Park and Jacques Cartier Park in downtown Gatineau, with fun and activities for people of all ages.
  • The day is capped-off with a massive fireworks finale visible from any vantage point downtown.

The Capital’s Canada Day celebrations take place at these sites:

  • Parliament Hill, Ottawa
  • Major’s Hill Park, Ottawa
  • Jacques-Cartier Park, Gatineau.

Visitor Centres

Capital Information Kiosk

World Exchange Plaza
111 Albert Street
Ottawa, Ontario

Open daily, 9 am to 7 pm.

Canada Day Information Booths (July 1 only)

  • Parliament Hill, Ottawa
  • Major’s Hill Park, Ottawa
  • Jacques-Cartier Park, Gatineau

Presented by Manulife Financial

Canada Day Hotline

613-239-5000 | 1-800-465-1867
Open Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 6 pm
Saturday and Sunday, from 9 am to 5 pm





22 June 2013

This year I had the opportunity to attend the CHEO Teddy Bear Picnic with His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.

2013 CHEO Teddy Bears’ Picnic


OTTAWAOn Saturday, June 22, 2013, the grounds of Rideau Hall will be transformed into a playground when it hosts the 30th Annual Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Teddy Bears’ Picnic, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.mHis Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, is inviting residents and visitors to our nation’s capital to get active and participate in this family-friendly event.

The day will kick off at 8 a.m. with a celebrity pancake breakfast followed by an opening ceremony. At 9:50 a.m., His Excellency will thank all volunteers for their outstanding work and dedication. Joined on stage by Mrs. Suzanne Pinel, C.M., Honorary Chair of the CHEO Teddy Bear Picnic, and Mr. Max Keeping, Community Ambassador, the Governor General will read a story to children.

Throughout the day, the young and the young-at-heart will enjoy stage entertainment, rides and games. Children are invited to bring their teddy bears and other stuffed animals for check-ups and minor repairs at the B*A*S*H tent—Bear Ambulatory Surgical Hospital.

This year, Frontier College volunteers will be on-site to promote “Story time at Rideau Hall”a summer activity that will officially kick off on June 29. Volunteers from the college will read books in English and in French to childrenfrom 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Reading Tent, located near the Visitor Centre.

Once again, Canadian Olympians and Paralympians will be back on the grounds to share their their experiences on the occasion of International Olympic Day. Don’t miss the opportunity to interact with Olympians like Alexandre Bilodeau (2010 Freestyle Ski); Michael Tayler (2012 Canoe/Kayak);Kathy Tremblay (2008 and 2012 Triathlon); Annabelle Langlois (2010 Figure Skating), and Paralympians like Jason Dunkerley (2012 Para-Athletics)and Amy Kneebone (2012 Goalball). From10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,they will also host over 10 sport demonstrations such as soccer, tennis, taekwondo, athletics, triathlon and field hockey, just to name a few. The public is invited to visit the speaker’s corner to send good luck wishes to our Canadian athletes who will compete at the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Tours of the Residence
From 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., visitors will be able to tour the historic residence and its State rooms, where they will learn about the history and the role of the governor general.

Park-and-ride shuttle buses will be in operation from the National Research Council Canada (NRC), located at 100 Sussex Drive, and from the Ottawa Baseball Stadium (OBS), located at 300 Coventry Road, starting at 7:30 a.m. The last shuttle bus from the NRC and OBS leaves at 2:15 p.m. and the last shuttle bus leaving from Rideau Hall will be at 3:15 p.m. Please note that there are limited spaces at both parking lots. For more information, contact the CHEO Foundation at 613-737-2783 613-737-2783 FREE.

Limited parking for mobility-impaired guests will be available on the Rideau Hall grounds via Princess Anne Gate. For more information, please contact 1-888-842-4422, 613-991-4422 or

About the CHEO Foundation
The sole purpose of the CHEO Foundation is to raise funds to help support the work of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Donations help the hospital provide a wide variety of pediatric programs, research, state-of-the-art equipment, medical and nursing education, and assistance for families in crisis. For more information, visit

About the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC)
The COC leads the achievement of the Canadian Olympic Team’s podium success and advances Olympic values in Canada. Independent and predominantly privately funded, the COC delivers resources that Canada’s elite athletes need to perform at their best and to give their everything every day. The backbone of Canada’s Olympic movement, the COC works with National Sport Federations to prepare the Team for the Olympic, Youth Olympic and Pan American Games. For more information, visit

About the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)
The CPC is a non-profit, private organization with 46 member sports organizations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic Movement. The CPC is responsible for creating an optimal high-performance environment for Canadian Paralympic athletes to win at Paralympic and Parapan American Games.  By supporting Canadian Paralympic athletes and promoting their success, the CPC inspires all Canadians with a physical disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its member organizations. For more information, visit

Here are a couple photos from



National Aboriginal Day Activities

June 20, 2013

Governor General to Celebrate National Aboriginal Day 

OTTAWAIn celebration of National Aboriginal Day, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will attend the Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival’s Education Day Event, on Friday, June 21, 2013, from 10:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Vincent Massey Park, in Ottawa. His Excellency will deliver brief remarks at 12:10 p.m.

On this occasion, the Governor General will participate in some of the workshops with students and teachers attending the event. He will first visit the Native Women’s Association of Canada pavilion to learn more about the organization, and then proceed to the artisan pavilion, where he will view ancient art demonstrations and create stencil art with students. His Excellency will then announce the start of the 20-pound sack-carry race, a traditional Métis game.

The Governor General will have the opportunity to see a portion of a performance by the Kehewin Native Dance Theatre entitled “Stories from Mother Earth.” At that time, His Excellency will join students in a shared dance of friendship.

About the Education Day Event
Organized by the National Aboriginal Day Committee of Ottawa, the Education Day Event will invite over 3 700 students and teachers from the National Capital Region to take part in interactive workshops to celebrate the diverse Aboriginal cultures of Canada. For more information on the festival, please visit

Here are a couple photos from




22 May 2013

Open Doors Ottawa

Hi Everyone!  I consider myself an Ottawa Tourist and one of my favourite events to explore is Open Doors Ottawa.  This is a great event rain or shine.  Bring your camera!

The City of Ottawa is proud to hold the annual event Doors Open Ottawa. On June 1 and 2, 2013 Doors Open Ottawa celebrated its 12thyear, offering 124 buildings for the public to explore.

It is a free event, for both building participants and attendees, which celebrates our community’s built heritage, allowing access to functionally, culturally, and historically significant buildings. This year, Doors Open Ottawa is proud to report it had over 75,000 visitors, and included the participation of some of the city’s most prestigious buildings, including Rideau Hall, the Official Residence of the Ambassador of Sweden, the Supreme Court of Canada, and the Royal Canadian Mint, just to name a few.

Come join us next year on June 7 and 8 for Doors Open Ottawa 2014, and learn about where we come from and how we function today through the City of Ottawa’s magnificent architecture!



Sept 2012

6 Things to Get Around to Doing In Ottawa this Fall

By Adam Slight
Its no secret that time flies quickly. It felt like summer was starting just yesterday, and now I’m waking up before the sun is!

Before autumn gets into full swing, I’ve made a quick list of things you should try to get around to doing this fall, because we all know that if we don’t start thinking about it now, we’ll miss it entirely!

1. Make a Halloween Costume this year!

Every year for the past seven years I’ve thought to myself, “This year I’m going to make an epic Halloween costume.Maybe that R2D2 costume I’ve been planning since I was 9.” Well, let me tell you, this has never happened, all because I lacked planning. I end up going to Value Village on October 29, and there’s nothing left for me. If you’re in the same boat as me, get out there this weekend and start preparing for that awesome Hallow’s Eve garb.

2. Go to Saunder’s Farm

If you like to celebrate the fall season, then you can’t miss Saunder’s Farm– complete with fall-themed haunted atmospheres, hedge-mazes, and hay-rides. The problem is, Saunder’s Farm is way outside of the city in Munster, so its not like you can hop on a city bus to haunted town. Climb in the car with some friends and make an outing of it. You can go during the day, or night, so take your pick! (And wear your Halloween costume from [1])

3. Hike Rideau Trail

Many people look forward to fall for the fresh cool air and the beautiful changing of the leaves. While you can get a taste of this just about anywhere in arborous Ottawa, hiking parts of the Rideau Trail is probably the best way to get in touch with your autumnal surroundings. Make sure to bring a camera. Your friends on Instagram will be so jealous.

4. Take a drive through the country

If hiking isn’t your thing, then take a drive through the countryside. Ottawa is surrounded by rural towns and villages filled with boutique shops worth exploring. You can chart a day-trip or just get into the car and see where you end up. Either way, this is a fun way to spend a Saturday or Sunday in the fall.

5. Go to a farmer’s market

There is a reason Thanksgiving lands in the fall–this season is all about fall harvest. Hit up a farmer’s market in the city, such as the Byward Market, Byron Park in Westboro on Saturdays, or Brewer Park on Sundays. Here you’ll find produce fresher than a prince in Bel-Air.

6. Brew a pumpkin ale

If you’re an adventurous beer drinker then you may have tried the pumpkin ales that are offered at the  LCBO in October. Here’s my challenge to you: Check out our article on beer-brewing and try making your own fall-themed beer yourself. If you start now, you’ll have like 50 bottles ready for Halloween!



Aug 2012

Lumière Festival Celebrates the Magic and Beauty of Light!

The Lumière Festival, presented each year by the New Edinburgh Community & Arts Centre, is a month of festivities leading towards the magical Evening of Light Celebration held every year within the month of August!

Through lantern-making and performance workshops, and community outreach initiatives Lumière encourages people to come together and share their own creations and view the creations of others in a celebration of light and community.

The Lumière Evening of Light Celebration will enthrall you whether on your own, with friends or with family; a teen or a senior. From the lanterns on display, to the labyrinth, to the performers and music-all illuminated by only lantern and lamplight, Lumière will hold you in its spell. Come re-discover the night and the magic of light!

Young children are eager to be part of the magic, fairy wings bumping behind them as they proudly carry their very own lanterns. Costumes are encouraged and a visit to the on-site Transformation Tent can add a little sparkle to tiny visitors evening.


Since the first Lantern Festival held in Strathcona Park in 2003, scores of people have worked to create the magic of Lumière. The dedicated staff, past and present, of the Festival and the New Edinburgh Community & Arts Centre (formally the CCCC), the many Volunteers and hundreds of artists and performers have toiled countless hours. Special acknowledgment goes to the festival founder Joanne Hughes for her vision and long dedication to the Lumière Festival and to Maureen Shea, Scott Florence as past Artistic Directors, as well as Manon Doran; also past Artistic Director and Creative Artist for her energy and commitment to the development of a community-based Festival. The team of Lumière Festival 2013 is grateful to be able to draw from the past and build upon this foundation in presenting this year’s Festival.

FEE$$: The event is by donation, so everyone can afford to come!




Aug 2012


Ottawa – Lumiere PHOTO MARATHON

The Photo Marathons have proven to be a tremendously popular part of the annual Lumière Festival — so popular in fact, that this year we are running three of them! Each will be a one-day/12-hour contest and will take place on August 3rd, 10th and 17th. 

Feel like you’ve got what it takes to enlighten us with your photo techniques? Whether you are an amateur photographer or a seasoned professional, come test your creative skills and participate in the 2013 Lumière Photo Marathons!

The premise of the photo marathon is simple. At 9 a.m on Saturday at the Stanley Park Fieldhouse, you receive a theme card with six different themes. You have twelve hours to make one photograph representing each of the themes. You return to the Fieldhouse by 9 p.m. that night and let us download your photographs. A panel of judges will then pour over each photograph and narrow it down to the top three photographs for each theme. We will create large prints of these photographs to be displayed at the Field House in Stanley Park during the Evening of Light (Aug. 17th); all of the photographs made during the marathon will also be displayed digitally! The top photographers will then have large prints of their winning photographs to take home!

Here’s how it will all work:

  1. Start at the Stanley Park Field House at 8:30 a.m. Photo marathoners will gather at the Field House in Stanley Park at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the marathon to confirm their presence and their camera details. At 9:00 a.m., the marathon themes for the day will be handed out. The themes will be different for each marathon.
  2. One theme, one photograph. Our panel of judges will only consider one photograph for each of the six themes from each photographer; you’ve got to make sure you note down which photograph is represented by which theme, on your theme sheet. In the worst case scenario, we’ll arbitrarily decide which photograph goes with which theme, but if we have more than one photograph, we’ll only review the first one.
  3. Deadline, deadline! We will only accept photographs until the marathon deadline: check in at the Stanley Park field house between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. on the same day. Once you arrive, we’ll register your completion of the marathon and download your images. We’ll keep downloading images past the close of submissions, but only for people that have checked in by 9 p.m.!


  • Eligibility. All photographs must be taken in Ottawa during the marathon (9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the day of the competition). The marathon is open to all residents of Canada, except directors and staff of Lumiere Ottawa.
  • Content. We reserve the right to disqualify anything that contains inappropriate content. We’re all for artistic licence, but this is a family-oriented fesitival so if it’s gross, blatantly sexual or otherwise offensive, don’t expect to see it show up the following weekend.
  • No Post Processing. To level the playing field, no post processing will be allowed on images; we want what comes straight out of your camera. If your camera is capable of applying colour effects, sharpening or other f/x modes, that’s fine, but please don’t add borders, text or other edit operations or filters from a computer program.
  • Granting Lumière a licence. By submitting your photographs to the Lumière 2013 Photo Marathon, you agree to grant us a perpetual license to display your photograph on our website and social media channels. You’re still free to use your photograph however you wish, and we assert no claim over your copyright. You’re just agreeing to let us show your photograph to show how awesome you are. If we think we could use your photograph for something else, like marketting the Lumière festival, we’ll contact you for permission before we do anything else.
  • Cheating. We reserve the right to disqualify any photograph where we feel it’s been modified to fit into the contest rules. This includes altering file information or EXIF data. We’re not technical geniuses, and we’d rather people follow the spirit of the contest to engage themselves with the creative challenge. But we do have some tools at our disposal, and if we think you’ve played fast and loose with the rules, we’ll remove your photo from the judging.