Harvey and Vern’s introduces new Lime Soda flavour

Harvey and Vern’s, a Stittsville-owned Ottawa soft drink manufacturer, unveiled their fourth flavour today: Lime Soda.

It’s available at a limited number of locations until May 10, including the Cheshire Cat and Alice’s Cafe near Stittsville.  More retail spots will start carrying it after that.

When we interviewed Paul Meek last fall he told us: “You’ll see a fourth flavour for Harvey & Vern’s come out in the spring. It will be ‘something fruit’. We’re getting a lot of requests for lime rickey, cherry, orange cream, things like that.”


PHOTOS: Jock River Race kicks off spring in Richmond

Over 100 teams of paddlers raced down the Jock River last Saturday, continuing a spring tradition that dates back to 1971.

Despite the cold weather, organizers say it was the best turn-out ever.  King’s Your Independent Grocer from Richmond helped feed over 200 people, including racers and volunteers.

The full list of racers and results is here…

All photos by Leon Switzer (Front Page Media Group).

Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group FRONT_PAGE_MEDIA_GROUP_20150425_LTS_0540_JOCK_RIVER_RACE Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group Jock River Race 2015. Photo by Leon Switzer / Front Page Media Group


Terry McLeish brings folk, rock and blues to Gaia Java this Friday

Terry McLeish
Terry McLeish

I really enjoyed listening to the songs Terry sent me when we started discussing if he would come and play in the shop. Wrapped in a very professional delivery he recounts some unusual but understandable situations. Ranging from how a newly-single guy adapts to the domestic workload, to what Her Majesty might have concealed in her little bag, he rolls out great ideas in original songs with a load of humour and fun! Terry has been described very aptly as: “a Canadian songwriter whose songs and music poignantly capture the lives of cowboys, loggers, misfits and as well, the trials, humor and pathos of everyday life.” Raised in a military family, Terry has worked as a grocery boy, farm hand, golf course greens man, forest fire fighter, tree planter, clerk and forest technician.

Major influences in his music and writing have been Steve Goodman, Ian Tyson, John Prine, Bob Dylan and Steve Earle. Bluegrass has also been a strong influence which can be heard in many of the songs on his self-titled, début album, “Terry McLeish”. His music career has taken him from folk, rock and blues bands to folk/roots singer-songwriter and performer, and his songs have been heard on CJOH television, CBC, CHCR radio, CHIP and Valley Heritage radio, CKCU radio, other artist’s albums and projects, compilation cd’s and a musical tour of the Upper Ottawa Valley’s Opeongo Line. Over the years, Terry has shared the stage with Colleen Peterson, Valdy, Long John Baldry, Reverend Ken and the Lost Followers, Jack De Keizer, Sneezy Waters, Ian Tamblyn, David Essig, Donnie Walsh of Downchild Blues Band, Paul Brandt, Ronnie Hawkins, Prairie Oyster, Leahy and many more. He has performed at festivals, clubs, kitchen parties, fairs and events of all kinds.

Recently, Terry was invited to act and perform in The Stone Fence Theatre’s current production of “The Opeongo Opera” which ran throughout the summer and into the fall of 2011 and 2012. Four of his songs were chosen to be featured in this acclaimed two-act musical as well. In early 2012 McLeish hosted The Terry McLeish Show; an eight week live stage show featuring some of Canada’s best folk/roots, singer-songwriters. Terry McLeish is currently working on a new studio album to be released in the summer of 2015.

This promises to be a fun evening of great original music – come along and enjoy Terry’s down-to-earth humour about life situations.

Terry McLeish plays at Gaia Java on Friday, May 1 at 7:00pm.


Upscale fish tacos and poutine on the menu at new Kanata restaurant

(Above: Franchise owner Aaron Gillingham in front of the new Joey’s Urban Kanata on Hazeldean Road. Photo via Facebook.)

A new restaurant specializing in fish tacos and poutine opens next week on Hazeldean Road in Kanata.

Joey’s Urban is opening their first franchise in Ontario at 484 Hazeldean Road (at Castlefrank), in the same strip mall as the Goodlife Fitness and Rockin’ Johnny’s.

Franchise owner Aaron Gillingham moved to Ottawa just a few weeks ago to oversee renovations and start up the business.

“We’re a fast casual chain specializing in global gourmet fish tacos and a selection of poutines. We’ll have a full beer selection with wine, and it’s a lounge atmosphere when you walk in with high top tables and flat screen tv’s,” he says.

The franchise started in Calgary and has several locations out west. This is the first one in all of Ontario.

“We’re happy to be in the Hazeldean / Kanata / Stittsville area. We think it’s going to be a great success. We chose that are for a reason and we’re looking forward to being a part of the community,” he says.

(It’s a completely different franchise than the JOEY that opened at Landsdowne Park. “We’re confused with that chain all the time!  We are under the same ownership group as the Joey’s Seafood Chain, which used to have a strong presence here,” says Gillingham.)

“Our bread and butter out west is on Tuesdays we run all-you-can-eat fish & chips, and on Thursdays we run all-you-can-eat fish tacos and chips.  That’s the big sell,” he says.

The same two-for-one deals will be available for the restaurant’s opening weekend, starting Thursday, May 7.

Inside Joey's Urban Kanata. (Photo via Facebook.)
Inside Joey’s Urban Kanata. (Photo via Facebook.)




Stittsville’s OZ Optics gets $100k in federal funding

(Press release from FedDev Ontario.)

Today, FedDev Ontario Minister Gary Goodyear announced an important investment of up to $100,000 in OZ Optics Limited, a worldwide supplier of fiber optic products for optical networks.

OZ Optics Limited will use the funding to automate and optimize a laser writing process. This will allow the company to manufacture better devices and at a faster rate. It will also help develop new devices for advanced applications.

“For 30 years, OZ Optics has led the way in fiber optics components, test equipment and sensors, not just for telecommunications, but also for biomedical, industrial, energy, and research sectors. To do so, it has and must continuously invest in research and development, creating new products and new, better ways to manufacture these products. The SMART program gives OZ Optics and other companies the resources and ability to continue that work, ensuring that Canada plays a leading role in the global economy, both now and in the future,” said Garland Best, Vice President, Components, OZ Optics Limited.

In addition to designing and manufacturing components and test equipment for fiber optics markets, the company offers fiber optic sensor systems for remote monitoring of oil and gas pipelines, wells, refineries, bridges, dams and other large structures, security fences and for fire detection.

This is the first project announced through the Harper Government’s joint partnership with Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters’ (CME) SMART Advanced Technologies for Global Growth program, which opened on December 1, 2014.

“Our Government remains committed to helping our manufacturers expand their operations, invest in productivity improvements and adopt advanced technologies. I am proud to make the first funding announcement for OZ Optics Limited through the CME’s SMART Advanced Technologies for Global Growth program,” said Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for FedDev Ontario.




George Escher donates famous father’s art to National Gallery

(Above: George Escher, son of artist M.C. Escher, holding a print of one of his father’s drawings, Hand with Reflecting Sphere, from January 1935.  The drawing shows the room that George grew up in in Rome.  Photo by Barry Gray for StittsvilleCentral.ca.)


We’re willing to bet you didn’t know the son of a world-famous artist lives in Stittsville.

His name is George Escher and he is kin of iconic Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher. George’s father is the man behind the geometric lithograph called Relativity in which human figures are pictured walking up walls and sitting on ceilings. This perspective-based masterpiece only begins to make sense when you consider the individual and their particular motion.

His father and his work brought George through many places before the eldest of three sons landed in Stittsville 12 years ago.

George was born in Rome, Italy on July 23, 1926. At this time, his father’s art was in its infancy. It wasn’t enough to support the Escher clan which would eventually expand to five members. His father was born into a wealthy family, and they supported him financially until the 1940s.

George, now 89, says his relationship with his dad was an ordinary one.

“He was a very pleasant father to have. He was very self-regulating. He checked the hours, so to speak. He would walk in the woods when he could. He wanted us to be reasonably regulated, too,” he says.

George was about ten years old when Benito Mussolini, Italy’s dictator leading up to World War II, began to spread his fascist ideals in the country. When George’s friends began to wear ballila uniforms associated with Mussolini’s regime, he felt he needed one to fit in.

“We were turned into little fascists in school,” he says. “My parents didn’t like us to participate in that.”

According to his son, M.C. Escher wasn’t a political man, let alone a fanatical fascist. So, to escape Mussolini, the Eschers moved to Switzerland in 1935.

The Italian landscapes around Rome had left an impression on M.C. Escher. In comparison, George says his father was “bored stiff” with the mountainous Swiss landscape. In 1937, the family moved to Belgium but the onset of the war then forced them to quickly relocate. In 1941, they settled into Baarn in the Netherlands because George’s extended family lived there. This region had been occupied by the Nazis since May of 1940.

George says, despite authoritarian occupation of the country, that there was very little German influence around Baarn. It was his life in the Netherlands that formed his identity.

“I must say those four or five years are what made me Dutch,” he says of feeling united by wartime.

By 1958, George had married his wife Corrie. It was this year when they decided to move to Montreal where he worked as a mechanical engineer. When the company employing him went bankrupt, they moved to Mahone Bay, N.S. They remained there for three and a half decades. Fourteen years after his arrival in Canada, his father passed away in his Dutch home at the age of 73.

Roughly 18 years after George’s retirement, he and Corrie moved to Stittsville more out of necessity than choice. His wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 72 and they were convinced by their daughter Juliet to move to Ottawa for better treatment options. Corrie lived in Stittsville for roughly a year and a half before being transferred to a specialized facility. She passed away in 2005 at the age of 80.

George now lives by himself in a bungalow overlooking the Amberwood golf course. He says that’s the only thing he would change about Stittsville.

“At the moment my house is too big,” he says with a chuckle. “I have to get out of it.”

George appreciates the “quiet, rural environment” of the town, but that his father wouldn’t.

“Well, he lived in Italy in and other countries, and then he settled in Baarn where he was in the middle of the woods,” he says.

Though he would probably turn his nose up at the city, a piece of M.C. Escher has been on display at the National Gallery of Canada in downtown Ottawa since December 20, 2014. The art exhibit, titled M.C. Escher: The Mathemagician, is being shown until Sunday, May 3.

George donated his inherited portion of his father’s collection to the gallery. He says he doesn’t have a favourite.

“They all have their own twist that I enjoy.”

M.C. Escher Hand with Reflecting Sphere, January 1935 lithograph on silver coated wove paper. Photographed by Barry Gray.
M.C. Escher
Hand with Reflecting Sphere, January 1935
lithograph on silver coated wove paper. Photographed by Barry Gray.


PHOTOS: Hair Donation event collects over $115,000 and 10,000 inches of hair

(Above: City councillor Shad Qadri had his head shaved as part of Sunday’s fundraising event at Algonquin College. Wayne Patrick from Shears in Stittsville has the razor in hand and organizer Helene Hutchings looks on. Photo by Barry Gray.)

With money still coming in, the organizers of Hair Donation Ottawa say that this year’s fundraising efforts have raised at least $115,000 for cancer research.  They’ve also collected at least 10,766 inches of hair that will be recycled into wigs for cancer patients.

Hair Donation Ottawa was organized by Helene Hutchings and Perry Pavlovic, two Stittsville-based real estate agents. Photo by Barry Gray.
Hair Donation Ottawa was organized by Helene Hutchings and Perry Pavlovic, two Stittsville-based real estate agents. Photo by Barry Gray.




Search party on Sunday for Holly the goldendoodle

There’s a search party today for Holly, the 7-year-old goldendoodle. The dog went missing in December along the Trans Canada Trail in Stittsville.  The search party is heading out in the area west of Timbermere between Hazeldean and Rothbourne, and includes an aerial photographer.

(Previously: Stittsville family wages campaign to find lost dog)


One person dead after car crash near Eagleson and Fallowfield

(Above: An Infiniti-brand car involved in a fatal early morning single-vehicle collision on Fallowfield Rd. at Eagleson Rd. is removed from the scene on a flatbed truck. Photo by Mike Carroccetto.)

Police closed roads in the area of Eagleson and Fallowfield roads early this morning after a serious car crash. Media reports say a 23-year-old man was killed after being ejected from a vehicle, and a second man of the same age suffered serious injuries.


Statement from the Ottawa Police on Sunday afternoon:

The Ottawa Police Service is continuing the investigation of a single motor vehicle collision that occurred at approximately 4:00am this morning on Fallowfield Road at Eagleson Road. There were two occupants in the automobile at the time of the collision. One of the occupants, an adult male, was transported to hospital. The other occupant, who was also an adult male, was pronounced deceased at the scene. The roads were closed for several hours during the initial investigation, but have since been re-opened. 

This investigation is continuing. Any further Media Releases will be disseminated by the Ottawa Police Collision Investigation Unit. 

Anyone with information about this collision can contact the Ottawa Police Collision Investigation Unit at 613-236-1222




New product revolutionizes home-based organic food gardening

(Press release from Seed Haven.)

Finally, urban gardeners have pesticide free protection for growing vegetables and herbs. They can produce higher yields from the small garden spaces typical of this rapidly expanding market segment. Seed Haven blocks crawling pests, concentrates sunlight on seedlings, and captures nutrient rich rainwater. The result:  accelerated plant growth and maximized quantity and quality of produce. Continue reading


Cabotto’s hosts Opera Night on April 30

(Above: Vince Pucci and his son Perry outside of Cabotto’s on Hazeldean Road.)

Cabotto’s restaurant is hosting their first “Night at the Opera” on Thursday, April 30 featuring Ottawa tenor Alain Paquette.

“We’ve done cooking classes, we’ve thought about a magic show. It’s just something to do in the area. Everybody goes out for dinner but it’s very difficult to find entertainment, something different,” says Cabotto’s owner Vince Pucci.

The show costs $75 and includes a five-course meal.  The dinner and performance will happen in Cabotto’s upstairs dining room. Paquette will sing ten songs in a 60-minute set after dessert.  Pucci is hoping to host 25-30 people.

Paquette has performed with Opera Lyra Ottawa, the University of Ottawa Choir, the Pellegrini Opera and the Notre-Dame Basilica Cathedral Choirs in Ottawa.  He will be accompanied by Jennifer Loveless on piano.

“Paquette’s a pretty talented young man,” says Pucci.

Pucci opened Cabotto’s in 1976 in the Beaverbrook Mall in Kanata, and then moved to the historic building they now call home in 2003.  The old stone house was built in 1868 as Kemp’s Tavern and is designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Cabotto’s presents “A Night At The Opera”, Thursday, April 30 at 6:30pm.  Five course meal + performance by tenor Alain Paquette. Cost $75/person, contact the restaurant to book in advance. More info…


UPDATE: Tough to turn a profit on Speedway, says former operator

The person who ran the Capital City Speedway for the past four years says it’s tough to turn a profit on the operation.

Todd Gow operated the speedway for the past four years. He says he decided not to run the speedway this year because of the large amount of money, around $200,000, that he put into the Speedway, without a profitable return. Continue reading


New splash pad coming to Pioneer Park in Jackson Trails

UPDATE (JUNE 11): In an update to the Stittsville Village Association, Shad Qadri said that the splash pad will be operational by end of August, 2015.


Shad Qadri announced plans to build a new splash pad in Jackson Trails this summer. Here’s a note from his weekly email newsletter to residents:

“Listening to community requests I have been able to receive support from the City for plans this summer to see a new Splash Pad opened in our community in Pioneer Plains Park in Jackson Trails. The City will be completing the tender process this month and construction is scheduled for completion as early as the end of June. The feature will be a Hydraulic Splash Pad with 6 Spray Features and it will be the first in the City to have a solar powered diverter system to manage the water discharged to the City’s sewer system. This new feature in Pioneer Plains Park will be the third Splash Pad in Stittsville and I will be exploring options to bring more splash pads to other areas of the Stittsville community. “

Splash pads in (or very close) to Stittsville include Bandmaster Park (230 Mistral Way), Upcountry Park (310 Upcountry), and Walter Baker Park (100 Walter Baker off Terry Fox).  A full list of the city’s splash pads can be found here.


City offers free fitness passes from April 27-May 3

(Press release from the City of Ottawa.)

Try before you buy and discover a new and healthier you. The City of Ottawa is offering free passes for City fitness facilities and various classes during the Try It! campaign from April 27 to May 3. The free passes can be used for aquafitness, cycling and group fitness classes or access to City fitness centres. Continue reading


Original Sens owner Bruce Firestone plans book about the team’s founding

(ABOVE: In a video from the early 1990s, Bruce Firestone talks to reporters on the Huntmar Bridge overlooking the farmer’s field that would eventually become the Palladium, now known as Canadian Tire Centre. )

Bruce Firestone, the original owner of the modern-day Ottawa Senators, is planning to write a book about how the team came to be.  He’s launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise some seed money for the project. Continue reading