City is recruiting residents to serve on committees and boards

(Press release from the City of Ottawa.)

Residents of Ottawa who are 18 years and over are invited to put their expertise and knowledge to work by becoming a volunteer member on one of the City’s committees or boards.

Interested residents are required to fill out an application form or submit a résumé and cover letter indicating the committee or board on which they would like to serve. Your application needs to include an outline of qualifications, specific skills, interests and background, and how they are relevant to the committee/board.

Please note that City of Ottawa employees are not eligible to apply.

You can learn more about becoming a committee/board member at our public information session on:

Date: Thursday, November 13
Time: 6 to 8 p.m.
Location: Mary Pitt Centre, 100 Constellation Crescent (Lobby area)

All applications must be submitted by Thursday, November 27 at 4:30 p.m.

Positions are available on the following committees and boards:

  • Board of Health (5 members)
  • Police Services Board (1 member)
  • Library Board (5 to 8 members) *
  • Committee of Adjustment (15 members)
  • Transit Commission (4 members) *
  • Built Heritage Sub-Committee (3 members) *
  • Licence and Property Standards Committee (5 members)
  • Shaw Centre (formerly the Ottawa Convention Centre) – Board of Directors (2 members) *
  • Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (4 members) *
  • South Nation Conservation (2 members) *
  • Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (3 members) *
  • Mohr’s Landing / Quyon Port Authority (1 member)
  • Accessibility Advisory Committee (9 to 15 members) *
  • Arts, Heritage and Culture Advisory Committee (9 to 11 members) *
  • Community Services Advisory Committee (9 to 11 members) *
  • Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee (9 to 11 members) *
  • French Language Services Advisory Committee (7 to 11 members) *

* Subject to the Term of Council Governance review and/or Nominating Committee process.

For more information, visit


Exploring an abandoned 19th century cemetary near Dwyer Hill

(This post originally appeared on in July 2014. Along with fellow explorers Andrew King and Alison Fowler, and some rudientary directions, we set out to locate the cemetary. It’s supposedly haunted: “Locals tell tales of hikers meeting strangers in period clothing only to disappear before them… hearing the sound of horses passing but they are never seen, glowing lanterns are seen floating through the trees on their own…” Happy Halloween.)

About 15 minutes south-west of Richmond, there’s an old pioneer cemetery buried in the Marlborough forest, all but forgotten except for a small historic plaque. It’s called the “Dwyer Hill Pioneer Roman Catholic Burial Ground” and was in use up to around 1867. We hiked to it on Saturday afternoon, wading through waist-high weeds and fighting off mosquitos and deer flies.

A 1975 description of the site brought us to O’Neil Road, just off of Dwyer Hill Road where the railroad tracks cross.  The author of the description noted: “Some difficulty was encountered in locating the area due to reforestation and abundant overgrowth.”  Forty years later, that was an understatement.

We followed the directions and crossed under the power lines across a field.  An old farm road was barely visible, hidden under decades of overgrowth.

“You will see a sign with a cross, nailed to a tree indicating the beginning of a trail that goes to the Pioneer Cemetery,” the instructions said.  We didn’t find the cross, so we took our chances on what looked like a path down this old trail.

We walked for a while, wondering if we’d find anything. The bugs were awful. The weeds were thick.  The dog was protesting.  It was hot.

And just as we were about to turn back, we spotted this in a clearing up ahead…

A historic plaque, in the middle of nowhere.

Among crooked cedars and white birch trees, there were several piles of rocks marking the graves. The remnants of shallow graves were covered by large stones, once marked by wooden planks that have since decayed and disappeared. Here is one of the better-preserved cairns. Moss-covered, with trees sprouting all around.

The cemetery lies on the southern boundary of two lots owned in 1863 by the Haggerty and Hanrahan families.  Families buried there include Gorman, Whelan, O’Neil, Hanrahan, McKenna, Haggarty, O’Brien. It was the area’s Irish Catholic cemetery until a formal church and cemetery were built nearby circa 1860s.

None of the original wooden markers remained past 1940, and apparently no records exist for who was actually buried there. The last remaining marker was for a Mrs. Gorman who died in childbirth at age 41, according to one reference I found.At least one of the graves looked like it had been opened at one point.  Some spots on the site were marked with orange or yellow flags like this one.  Perhaps marking less-distinct graves?

“In the fall of 1995, a four-member survey crew working for the then-regional government located the pioneer cemetery, hidden in a thick maple and hardwood bush. The cemetery site, as they found it, consisted of the partial remains of a rock wall and 20 grave sites inside the wall… The survey crew discovered about 16 graves beyond the rock wall boundaries of the cemetery.”  (via Stittsville News)

The plaque on the site was installed in 1998 by the former Township of Rideau.

The cemetery is supposedly haunted: “Locals tell tales of hikers meeting strangers in period clothing only to disappear before them… hearing the sound of horses passing but they are never seen, glowing lanterns are seen floating through the trees on their own…”
We did not see any ghosts.
The site isn’t hard to locate on a map, but it was a challenging hike into the bush.  I would recommend searching for it in the fall or winter when the bugs and weeds aren’t as bad.  Thanks to Andrew King & Alison Fowler for coming along for the adventure.  We would have taken more photos but the bugs were too much to handle.


LETTER: The Carp Road landfill expansion will operate for a lot longer than 10 years

Re: TRASH TALK: Everything you need to know about the Carp Road Landfill Expansion 

The article on the dump is well-written and provides important information to the readers. There is one point I think should be made clear.

For the question “When will the landfill start accepting the material, and how long will the landfill operate?” The last sentence states ….Life expectancy for this type of facility is about 10 years.

This is a bit of a red herring that Waste Management has used to make the community think the landfill will be operating for a relativity short time. In order to be filled up in 10 years it will have to receive the maximum 400,000 tonnes a year from day one. There would be no ramp-up period just like the Orgaworld contract.

Also it assumes that 4 million tonnes of garbage will fill the 6.5 million cubic meters approved by the Ministry of Environment. Data from the current landfill shows that nearly 6 million tonnes of garbage will fill 6.5 cubic meters.

So at 400,000 tonnes per year it will take 15 years to fill. In reality they will not receive 400,000 tonnes each and every year of operation so the new landfill will probably be operationally for 20 to 30 years.

As well, the company has not committed to the city and community that this will be the last expansion.

Harold Moore


Opening of new Catholic high school pushed back to February 2016

(Press release from the French Catholic high school.)

At the regular meeting of the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est on October 28, school board trustees made important decisions regarding the opening date and attendance boundary of the new Catholic secondary school in Fernbank, in the Kanata area of the City of Ottawa.

Opening of the new building pushed back

The building under construction at 5315 Abbott St. will open in February 2016 instead of August 2015, due to, among other factors, delays in purchasing the land (resulting from zoning and availability of city services) and approval of the building permit by the City of Ottawa. Construction work was unable to start until September 2014.

Temporary site

At the start of the 2015 school year, Fernbank secondary school students in Grades 7 to 9 will be housed, on a temporary basis, at École secondaire catholique Pierre-Savard, in the Barrhaven area of Ottawa. The first semester will therefore be held at Pierre-Savard (from September 2015 to January 2016). This contingency plan is necessary because Collège catholique Franco-Ouest (CCFO) has reached maximum capacity and cannot accept more students in September 2015.

A smooth transition

The CECCE will ensure students experience a smooth transition to the schedule and operation of their new school. For example, the classroom groups of the future secondary school will already be formed at the temporary site at Pierre-Savard, and will be transferred to the new building in February 2016. As well, even at the temporary site, the start time for classes for the Fernbank school students will be 9:15 a.m. (as for the new site), whereas classes for Pierre-Savard students will start at 8:10 a.m., as per their usual timetable.

In order to ensure students are divided properly based on the capacity of the three French Catholic secondary schools in Ottawa’s west end, students who will be in Grades 10, 11, and 12 in 2015-2016 will continue their studies in their original secondary school (Franco-Ouest or Pierre-Savard), until they obtain their diploma. The new secondary school in Fernbank will offer Grades 7, 8 and 9 in 2015-2016, and add Grade 10 in 2016-2017, Grade 11 in 2017-2018 and Grade 12 in 2018-2019.

New attendance boundaries

On May 20, the CECCE consulted the school communities of the French Catholic elementary schools in Ottawa’s west end, as well as the parents of the students at Pierre-Savard and Franco-Ouest Catholic secondary schools. In total, 90 people participated in the public consultation. The presentation was also posted on the CECCE’s website for feedback from parents.

Here is how the attendance boundaries and feeder elementary schools will break down by secondary school (changes in bold):

Secondary schools Feeder schools
Franco-Ouest Part of Édouard-Bond, the Bells Corners area of Élisabeth-Bruyère, Laurier-Carrière, the Crystal Beach area of Roger-Saint-Denis, Saint-François-d’Assise, Terre-des-Jeunes.
Pierre-Savard  Part of Bernard-Grandmaître and Sainte-Bernadette, Jean-Robert-Gauthier, Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau, Sainte-Kateri and Sainte-Thérèse-d’Avila, Sainte-Marguerite-Bourgeoys (northern part).
Fernbank  Élisabeth-Bruyère (excluding Bells Corners), J.-L.-Couroux, Saint-Jean-Paul II, Roger-Saint-Denis (excluding Crystal Beach), Saint-Rémi.

At the request of parents, the area around Crystal Beach (Kanata) will be kept within the attendance boundary of Collège catholique Franco-Ouest. The northern part of Sainte-Marguerite-Bourgeoys (Merrickville), which is currently within the attendance boundary of Collège catholique Franco-Ouest, will be integrated into the École secondaire catholique Pierre-Savard area. Students in Grades 7 through 9 in the Laurier-Carrière area will be redirected to Collège Franco-Ouest starting in fall 2015. However, students in Grades 10 through 12 will be able to continue at Pierre-Savard with transportation.

To view the boundary map, for the new Fernbank French Catholic click here.

To view the new boundary map, for Collège catholique Franco-Ouest click here.

To view the new boundary map, for École secondaire catholique Pierre-Savard click here.

The Chair of the CECCE, Denis Poirier, is confident that the community in the west end will be well served: “The new attendance boundaries meet the shared needs and concerns of the families in the school communities in question,” he said. “As defined, the new boundaries will ensure the viability of all three French-language Catholic secondary schools in Ottawa’s west end.”

Bernard Roy, Director of Education of the CECCE, identified the advantages: “In the short term, the new attendance boundaries will help ease the overpopulation at Collège catholique Franco-Ouest. In the long term, the student body will be divided up in a way that optimizes the occupation rate of the secondary schools and expands the offering of a quality French-language education in Ottawa’s west end.”

With more than 21,000 students in 41 elementary and 10 secondary schools, as well as its school for adults, the CECCE is the largest Canadian network of French-language schools outside Quebec.


Five things to do in Stittsville for Halloween

There’s a massive display on Cherry Drive called the Ghoul-Bourn Spook Show. Over 3,000 people are expected to attend from October 29-31.  (That’s not the only scary house in the area: check out some more.)

The second annual Stittsville Pumpkin Parade is set for 6:00pm-7:30pm at Village Square Park on Saturday, November 1. The day after Halloween, residents are invited to bring their jack-o-lanterns to the park and put them on display.  Last year there were 200 pumpkins. More info here…

Lois & Frima’s on Stittsville Main are closing out the season with a free ice cream day, from 3:00pm-8:00pm. More info…

The extended pool repair project isn’t the only nightmare at the GRC this week.  A free event organized by Stittsville’s youth featuring face painting, pumpkin painting & cotton candy. More info…

Stittsville brewery Covered Bridge teams up with Stittsville food truck ‘Wiches Cauldron for a one-night, five-course beer and food pairing.  Includes their new collaboration beer The ‘Wiches Brew, a black IPA with local hops brewed especially for this event. More info…


EDITORIAL: Dave Lee is waking up the neighbours

(ABOVE: A cake at Dave Lee’s election night party. Photo by Glen Gower.)

I remember the first time I talked to Dave Lee.  It was September 12, the morning after he filed his nomination papers and entered the race to become Stittsville’s city councillor.  There are three things I remember about that conversation:

  1. He was surprised at how quickly word got around that he was running. “My phone’s going wild,” he said.  “That’s the fastest I’ve ever seen the city work.”
  2. He was focused on the Orgaworld / green bin topic. He must have talked for a good 10 or 15 minutes about it.
  3. He wasn’t focused on winning so much as he was focused on getting people engaged and aware about city issues (particularly Orgaworld).

Lee came a long way from that early morning conversation, winning an impressive 39% of the vote on Monday night against two-term, eight-year incumbent Shad Qadri.

He ran a very effective campaign. With the help of some experienced volunteers, he blanketed the ward with his distinctive black and red signs, attracted around 100 people to a meet-and-greet at the Main Street Pub, knocked on doors, debated, fielded phone calls and emails, and interacted with residents on Facebook and Twitter.

He took his original beef with Orgaworld and turned it into a broader complaint about process and financial oversight at City Hall.  I didn’t agree with where he stood on many of the issues but at least he gave us the opportunity, as a community, to discuss them.

The feisty public debate at Johnny Leroux Arena struck me as being out-of-character for the normally subdued Village of Stittsville.  One veteran politician told me it reminded her of some of the old meetings at Goulbourn Township council, where (in her words), there was a tradition of “loud and action-packed debates”.

We need more of that kind of discussion in Stittsville.  This community is growing fast and changing quickly and we need more leaders like Dave Lee to step up and get involved in shaping our future.

You don’t have to run for office to get involved. Read up on the issues, talk about them with your neighbours, volunteer for a community group, come out to public meetings, write an email to your councillor, comment on this blog. Dave woke Stittsville up, now it’s up to us to keep the momentum going.


Stittsville student hosts second annual jewelry fundraiser for Nunavut

Last year, as a grade 12 student, I organized a charity sale called ALL THAT GLAM, a sale of gently-used jewelry and handbags to raise money for school breakfast programs in Nunavut.

The event was a resounding success, raising nearly $10,000. That amount was matched by Canadian Pacific which meant that a much-needed school breakfast program in Coral Harbor, Nunavut could be established and funded for two years. But breakfast programs need continual funding, and so I decided the fundraiser had to be an annual event.

This year’s sale will take place at the Richcraft Recreation Complex in Kanata on Saturday, November 29th from 8:00 a.m – 1:00 p.m. There will be thousands of pieces of gently-used jewelry and handbags. The sale is a great opportunity to purchase socially-responsible Christmas gifts as well as bling for the office Christmas party.

Continue reading


Sun on the Floor make premiere appearance at Gaia Java this Friday

Sun on the Floor is the creation of Linda Vanderlee and Bob Muller, with additional harmonies and inspiration from Nathalie Falardeau. They sing and play for the love of music and each other’s company. Good vibrations all around. Their genre spectrum embraces contemporary folk, with a blend of blues, jazz and pop. Sun On The Floor is a musical journey of friends who enjoy jamming together.

Relatively new to the world of performing beyond open stages, their dream is to play for fundraisers, community events and house parties, and are looking forward to their premiere appearance at Gaia Java Coffee Company.

They are: Linda Vanderlee – vocals, guitar, ukulele;  Bob Muller – double bass, guitar, vocals; Nathalie Falardeau – vocals, guitar.

They enjoy doing their own renditions of popular and not so common covers and are building their original repertoire of songs. Influences include Leonard Cohen, Sarah Harmer, Neil Young, and other well-known or lesser known names. Both Nathalie and Linda write their own material, each tapping into a sliver of experiences, observations and feelings that life offers. Bob adds the mesmerizing sound of his double bass to deepen the connection and vibrancy of the song’s story.

No entry charge for purchasing customers, but remember the best seats go first, and we put out a ‘donations’ jar so that appreciative customers can contribute to the well-being of the marvellous musicians who come to entertain us.

See more details at where you can also review the listing of upcoming music night performers over the next couple of months – everything from High School students to seasoned professionals who are willing to come and share their talents with you.

Sun on the Floor
Sun on the Floor


Halloween displays: Cherry Drive

The Ghoulbourn Spook Show on Cherry Drive

This must be the most elaborate Halloween set-up in Stittsville.  From October 29-31, trick-or-treaters can check out the Ghoul-bourn Spook Show on Cherry Drive.

Owner Joseph Carbonetto says that last year 3,000 people came to the haunted house.  There’s scary stuff on the front lawn, in the garage and in the backyard. Some of the props are bought, some are homemade.

When I stopped by on Saturday, the garage door was open and among the severed heads and cobwebs was a real coffin.  (Carbonetto says he has a contact who works at a funeral home.)

Other features:

  • A custom-installed underground fog machine
  • An animated zombie crawler and skeleton
  • A 16-channel lighting controller
  • Live undead actors

(There are some photos on his Facebook page.)

Admission is by donation, with money collected going to charity.  This year the money will go to support Canadian Forces families.

Here’s a video of the same house from 2010.

We want to see your photos! If you have a great Halloween display, or if you see one in your neighbourhood, send us a photo and tell us where it is.    You can send your photos to


Lee says he’s disappointed with voter turn-out

In a Facebook message to supporters today, Stittsville candidate Dave Lee said he is disappointed with low voter turnout on municipal election day.

“The city voter turnout was at 30%. Despite what happened last week on Parliament Hill and with Remembrance Day just around the corner, 7 out of 10 people decided to NOT exercise their privilege to vote. This is a sad sign of the times. There are a lot of young men and women laying in cemeteries around the world who gave up everything so that we may have this simple right. There is simply NO good excuse for not voting,” he wrote.

Here’s his full message…


Halloween displays: Goulbourn Street

Halloween on Goulbourn Street Halloween on Goulbourn Street Halloween on Goulbourn Street Halloween on Goulbourn Street Halloween on Goulbourn Street

These photos were taken in Joe Chennette’s backyard on Goulbourn Street. He opens this creepy haunted yard on October 29 and 30 from 7:00pm-9:00pm, and from 6:00pm-8:30pm on October 31. More info here…

“I have been doing this for about 10 years, getting a little bigger each year. Not sure how much I have spent on it but I do try and be frugal about it. Most of my shopping is done on Nov 1st and I make the ghouls myself. I started doing it for my kids when they were small and now it’s a hobby for me, just fun I guess,” he says.

We want to see your photos! If you have a great Halloween display, or if you see one in your neighbourhood, send us a photo and tell us where it is.    You can send your photos to


Stittsville school board trustee results

Here are the unofficial results as of Monday night.

Public School Board (english)

Lynn Scott
Lynn Scott
Candidate Votes %
Sue Grant 5423 32.95
Andrea Ingham 828 5.03
Todd Johnson 1982 12.04
Lynn Scott 8225 49.98
Eligible voters: 57230
Vote Tabulators: 700/700
Ballots cast: 25315
Turnout %: 44.23

Catholic School Board (english)
John Curry
John Curry
Candidate Votes %
John Curry 4034 54.92
Ken Gordon 1398 19.03
Christine Pastien 1339 18.23
Martin Tate 574 7.81
Eligible voters: 75886
Vote Tabulators: 700/700
Ballots cast: 33829
Turnout %: 44.58
Public School Board (french)
Linda Savard
Linda Savard
Candidate Votes %
Patricia Chehadé 208 17.13
Linda Savard 1006 82.87
Eligible voters: 172391
Vote Tabulators: 700/700
Ballots cast: 69795
Turnout %: 40.49
Catholic School Board (french)
André Thibodeau
André Thibodeau
Candidate Votes %
Jacques Boyer 603 33.78
André Thibodeau 1182 66.22
Eligible voters: 128419
Vote Tabulators: 700/700
Ballots cast: 52947
Turnout %: 41.23


LETTER: Proposed development on Fernbank raises concerns about flooding

(ABOVE: Stittsville residents Ian McKim, Jillian McKim, Gerry Kroll and Keldine FitzGerald are concerned about a proposed 140-unit housing development on marshlands off Fernbank Road.  Photo by Barry Gray.)

Approximate location of the proposed development at 6279 Fernbank Road
Approximate location of the proposed development at 6279 Fernbank Road.


Editor’s note: Residents near a proposed development at 6279 Fernbank Road are hoping to engage with the community to keep people updated on an upcoming Ontario Municipal Board hearing expected in April.

As resident Jillian McKim  explains in her letter below, residents and the City of Ottawa are concerned about several aspects of the proposed development, including the effect it could have on stormwater drainage. Continue reading


Halloween displays: Vendevale Avenue

Great Halloween decor doesn’t have to cover the entire lawn or cost a couple of mortgage payments.  Here’s a perfect example of a more restrained display on Vendevale Avenue at the home of Jacques and Martha Dallaire.

Every year at Halloween and Christmas, the retired couple puts out some of the nicest decor in the neighbourhood.  Word on the street is that they give out some good treats too.

We want to see your photos! If you have a great Halloween display, or if you see one in your neighbourhood, send us a photo and tell us where it is.    You can send your photos to


That’s a latte dogs: Dog Dayz at Quitters

Dog Dayz held a “Pack Walk” around Stittsville today, starting at Quitters Coffee on Stittsville Main Street.

Dog Dayz is a dog training and care company based in Kanata. Owner Janet Burns says that group walks like this one are a great chance for both owners and canines to socialize and exercise.

Burns hosts a group walk every other Sunday. For more info check out their Facebook page.


Poll reveals municipal candidates’ views on architecture and urban design

(Press release from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC).)

Candidates in Ottawa’s urban wards are far more likely to indicate support for policies aimed at improving the city’s architecture and urban design than candidates in suburban and rural wards, a poll suggests.

The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), the national professional association which advocates for excellence in the built environment, asked mayoral and council candidates for their position on five questions related to design quality, the environment and heritage.

Of the eight mayoral candidates, only two responded – Bernard Couchman and Anwar Syed. Of the 124 candidates for City Council, just 39 expressed their opinion.

“It’s regrettable that there’s so little apparent interest in architecture and urban design from the mayoral candidates, given this the capital of a G8 country,” said Allan Teramura, FRAIC, RAIC regional director for Ontario North, East and Nunavut.

The vast majority of respondents – 31 – were in urban wards.  Suburban and rural wards yielded just four responses each.  A second mailing, directed to them, pointed out that good design can enrich suburban life as well and that the protection of agricultural landscapes is a heritage issue.

“There’s a very high level of interest in these issues in urban wards, with most candidates providing strong statements of support,” says Teramura. “It’s possible there could be a half-dozen or so councillors with an interest in design. It’s still a minority, but it’s a start.

“I understand that many people get involved in municipal politics because of issues in their immediate community, but in an amalgamated city, councillors have to be prepared to understand and deal with issues far from where they live,” says Teramura. “This is a challenge for both urban and rural councillors.”

Dave Lee did respond to the survey; Shad Qadri did not. (For the complete responses from all respondents, please see the PDF document.)

Teramura notes that Ottawa is undergoing many changes today. Important issues affecting Ottawa’s urban landscape are being debated, including the possibility of building a new main library, increasing pressure to intensify mature neighbourhoods and the continuing development of LeBreton Flats. With the events of Canada’s sesquicentennial coming soon, the spotlight will be on Ottawa, nation-wide.

“While I would not expect new candidates from rural or suburban wards to have many strongly held opinions on issues that primarily affect the downtown, I would have thought that incumbents would, having had a few years of grappling with them,” said Teramura. “And yet there was relatively little response from these candidates.”

“As a rapidly growing community, it is essential that much of the development focus in this ward be on issues of design and build in order to ensure compatibility with existing neighbourhoods and the preservation of the character of the community,” said Stittsville candidate Dave Lee in his response to RAIC’s questions.


SUNDAY DRIVE: The Pakenham Five-Span Bridge

Pakenham Five Span Bridge. Photo by Barry Gray.
Pakenham Five Span Bridge. Photo by Barry Gray.

Do you have a favourite “Sunday Drive” near Stittsville? Let us know about it on the comments below or send an email to

The Pakenham Five Span bridge was built in 1903 by Scottish Stone Masons over the Mississippi river and rapids at Pakenham in Lanark County, northwest of Stittsville.

The five-arch stone bridge is the only one in North America. It was original built to carry horses and carriages accross the Mississippi River to the mills in Pakenham.

It’s 268 feet long, 22 feet high and 25 feet wide. The largest stone
used in the construction weighs five tonnes.

Public pressure to preserve the bridge, rather than replacing it with a modern bridge, lead to the restoration of it in 1984 to make it suitable for truck and car traffic.  During the resoration, each stone was removed and labelled, and then placed back in its original location over reinforced concrete.

If you’re driving out to Pakenham and it’s a warm day, check out Scoop’s Ice Cream on Waba Road, right in the middle of town.

(Adapted from