COMMENT: Marijuana benefits are real, but so are the risks

(PHOTO: Lemon kush / photo by Mark via Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons license.)

(Editor’s note: A medical marijuana dispensary called Magna Terra will be opening soon on Iber Road. Most of the public reaction we’ve seen online has been overwhelmingly positive, but there has been some concern as well. Here’s some context from Kanata resident Liz Hall, who works in the health care field.)
Continue reading


How one group of residents is helping Syrian families come to Canada

Refugee Aid Canada Members (L to R): Back Row: Sameena Khan, Susan Monaghan, Olivia Nixon and Heidi Brault. Middle Row: Amin Amlani, and Nilofar Amlani. Front Row: Marc Blanchard, Charles Gregoire, and Hassan Futainah. Absent: Nazmu Mamdani, Samira Ayad Yedri
Refugee Aid Canada Members (L to R):
Refugee Aid Canada Members (left to right). Back row: Sameena Khan, Susan Monaghan, Olivia Nixon and Heidi Brault.  Middle row: Amin Amlani, and Nilofar Amlani. Front row: Marc Blanchard, Charles Gregoire, and Hassan Futainah. Absent: Nazmu Mamdani, Samira Ayad Yedri.


“If not me, who? I need to do something,” said Olivia Nixon when she became aware of the plight of the Syrian refugees.

She wasn’t the only one compelled to act. Continue reading


Successful tourney for SKM Software Stingers at Play On

(ABOVE: Councillor Shad Qadri took some time out to speak with the boys following the game.)

The SKM Software Stingers of Stittsville participated in the Play On! tournament on July 9 and 10 at Canadian Tire Centre.  They competed in the U8 recreational division, finishing first out of eight teams in the preliminary round.  They made it all the way to the finals, losing a close, but hard-played game 8-6. The team also won the best jerseys of the tournament award, with each player receiving a PlayOn Gongshow hat.

SKM Software Stingers receiving their Finalist Medals (rleft to right: Jamie Charlebois, Matthew Mines, London Knight, Brian Kirkwood, Ramsey Stretch, Andrew Zapp, Drew Morris)
SKM Software Stingers receiving their Finalist Medals (left to right: Jamie Charlebois, Matthew Mines, London Knight, Brian Kirkwood, Ramsey Stretch, Andrew Zapp, Drew Morris)


GAIA JAVA: Gretchen Martin with Alan Sandeman on July 15

Gretchen Martin with Alan Sandeman play on Friday, July 15 at 7:00pm at Gaia Java on Stittsville Main Street.

Once again the ‘Dynamic Duo’ will be entertaining this coming Friday at Gaia Java. Although both are very competent artists in their own right, they occasionally join forces to great effect, as you will hear!

Of all the artists who play at Gaia Java, I think I have had the most requests about’when are they playing again?’ for Gretchen Martin. When she arrives she sets up her multiple keyboard rack and other equipment, and when she starts singing it is as if there is a whole band there! Now this time she is bringing in another collaborator who is also familiar to Gaia Java audiences – Alan Sandeman, whose smooth guitar technique, steady voice and droll introductions have amused us on several previous occasions.

Alan and Gretchen had connected musically for a number of years, in fact the first time I ever heard Gretchen singing was on a recording made by Alan, where she nailed an Elton John classic.

Gretchen comes from a musical family and has been playing and singing for years, growing up in Winnipeg and then living for a while in Hawaii. When not making music she is busy with a role in the Canadian Military.  Alan has a background in high tech, and as well has played in a wide range of musical situations. Just the title of one of his songs: “I’m sorry your honour, I didn’t know she was your daughter’ tells you that this is going to be interesting! The prospect of his dry humour together with Gretchen’s intro jokes promises to keep you smiling this Friday.

This will be a treat of an evening – come and hear this talented duo, and expect some familiar tunes from the Eagles, Elton John, Adele, Billy Joel or other well-known hit makers. And expect them to be done very professionally!

Gretchen Martin with Alan Sandeman play on Friday, July 15 at 7:00pm at Gaia Java on Stittsville Main Street.

-Paul Jay


Eva von Jagow to represent Canada at One Young World Summit

(Above: Eva von Jagow pictured above at the Youth Spirit of the Capital Awards earlier this year.)

Stittsville’s Eva von Jagow has been chosen to represent Canada at the One Young World Summit, to be held in Ottawa this fall. It’s a global forum for young leaders aged 18-30. Last year’s summit in Bangkok welcomed 1,400 delegates present from over 196 countries

Jagow is currently attending McGill University, majoring in environmental sustainability and minoring in indigenous studies. She founded the All That Glam Fundraiser that’s raised more than $80,000 to fund a sustainable hot breakfast program for a school in Nunvaut.

“I’m very excited to have the chance to meet and discuss global issues with world leaders including famous politicians, Olympians, CEOs, authors and activists. However, what I’m most excited about is meeting individuals my age from around the world who are doing amazing things. Not only will I get to meet people from places like Nigeria, Cambodia and Pakistan, but I will be given the opportunity to learn with them, discuss ideas and hopefully collaborate in the future,” she wrote today in the Ottawa Citizen.

“At the moment, I’m trying to gather the funds for the required delegate fee at the summit. Born and raised in Ottawa, it’s a huge thrill to represent not only my country, but also my city. I’ve set up a GoFundMe page at where people can donate — every little bit helps. On this world stage, I know I can do Ottawa proud!”


FOOD TRUCKS: Keeping it cool with Mellow Yellow

(Photo by Devyn Barrie.)

The Stittsville food truck scene already has a good amount of variety. Anne Wilby (pictured above) plans to add a lot more with Mellow Yellow.

Wilby is no stranger to the food business. Growing up with an Italian father and Polish mother, her family was always cooking. In the 1980s, she ran a hospitality training program for at-risk youth in Stittsville. She was also manager of Lousiannie’s on Main Street for 14 years, before it closed and burned down. Continue reading


STITTSVEGAS PODCAST: Marijuana dispensary, refugees, local band at Bluesfest

Devyn Barrie put together another strong Stittsvegas podcast this week. Guests include:

You can listen to the full podcast here…





Medical imaging centre will open this fall on Stittsville Main Street

Here’s a note from Councillor Shad Qadri about a medical imaging centre opening at 1609 Stittsville Main Street later this year. That’s next door to the Dynacare medical lab next to Greco:


I am pleased to announce that a new Stittsville Medical Imaging Centre will be opening this fall. Services offered will include X-rays and ultrasound exams, including prenatal 3D ultrasounds.

Last year I connected with the business’ new owners and asked for Stittsville’s thoughts on such a service which was received with an overwhelmingly positive response. Now, I will continue to work closely with the owners to ensure that the needs of Stittsville continue to be met.

The branch will be located at 1609 Stittsville Main St and I will be certain to provide more details including a grand opening date as the time nears.

If you are interested in learning more about the services being offered or if you are a talented sonographer, X-ray technician or administrative staff who live in the area looking for full time or part time work, please contact Dr. Gregory Davies at


Marijuana dispensary opening soon on Iber Road

(Photo via Facebook.)

From beads to buds… Magna Terra, a medical marijuana dispensary, will be opening soon at 83 Iber Road, in the space formerly occupied by Dragon’s Lair Beads. Here’s their Facebook page.   Technically it’s still illegal to open a storefront marijuana store in Canada.

(Thanks Brad S. for the beads to buds line!)

Here’s an article from the Ottawa Citizen:

Stittsville is also about to get a marijuana dispensary, which will bring to six the number of store-front businesses illegally selling marijuana in Ottawa. The Ottawa stores all cater to medical marijuana patients. Medical marijuana is legal in Canada, but only for patients with a doctor’s prescription who purchase it from growers licensed by Health Canada, who send the medicine by registered mail.

Coming soon is a sixth Ottawa dispensary, on Iber Road in Stittsville. There will be an open house to launch Magna Terra Health Services, probably later this month, said majority owner Franco Vigile. Vigile said he talked to Coun. Shad Qadri and the community policing officer for the area to assure them the business will operate safely and responsibly.

Qadri, in a telephone interview, said he advised Vigile to check with city bylaw officials. “At this point in time, the drug is illegal,” he said. “Based on that, I am not in favour of the (dispensary).”

Vigile is also part owner of Ottawa Medical Dispensary on Carling Avenue, which was the first marijuana dispensary in town when it opened in November 2015. OMD has 1,000 patients, and many travel from the west end, so Vigile said he thought a Stittsville location was needed. Read the full story…

UPDATE: Councillor Shad Qadri shared these additional comments in his weekly newsletter to residents.

I feel it is important to state that while it is known to be our current Federal government’s plan to legalize marijuana sale in the near future, the drug – as well as its dispensaries – at the present time still remains illegal. To that end, I am not comfortable with an unlicensed business of this nature operating within our community at the present time.

Although I can appreciate the medicinal qualities and pain relief these products may offer, there are sufficient distribution channels and networks already available to receive those medications such as Tweed, a licensed mail-order dispensary based in Smiths Falls.

If/when these establishments obtain licenses, the federal government will put markers in terms of distribution that will facilitate operations. However, until that time, I will be working very closely with Ottawa Police Service and City of Ottawa By-Law departments to ensure that proper enforcement is in play.

I have been in contact with the owners and have been assured that this particular facility will include a doctor on site and should only be servicing people with pre-existing prescriptions for purchase. In my initial conversations with owner, Franco Vigile, I had mentioned to him to go and consult with our planning department and to hold a public consultation session before moving forward.

I have now been advised that once opened, the owners will be inviting the public in to see their operations as an open house setting with no displays of product.

Until that time, I will remain in communications with Mr. Vigile and will be providing community updates as those conversations progress.


THIS OLD HOUSE: Lytle family puts Stittsville Main Street home up for sale

(ABOVE: Cathy Lytle stands in front of her family’s home at 1495 Stittsville Main Street. Photo by Devyn Barrie.)

After more than a century on Stittsville Main Street, the Lytle House is up for sale.  The asking price is $499,000 according to Brent Taylor of Brentcom Realty. “Redevelopment ideal for retail, service commercial, office, residential and institutional uses, including mixed-use buildings, and excluding auto-related uses,” says the listing.

It’s a large lot, 100 feet along the street and 160 feet deep.

Cathy Lytle says the house has been standing since at least 1900, and it’s been in her family for 64 years. While it doesn’t have a heritage designation, it is on the city’s heritage registry. That doesn’t give it any protection, but if a future owner applies to demolish it, the City could do a review that could lead to full heritage designation.

DEVYN BARRIE: What can you tell me about the history of the house?

CATHY LYTLE: It was built in 1900 from a bachelor and it was sold four years later to a young couple… he was a tinkerer and they raised their daughter, Evelyn. She took cancer and died and then the father died of old age and the mother died after she sold the house to my parents… she lived with my parents for five years, she had herself written into the deed, for one bedroom and three meals a day and they got along fine, until she passed away.

Ab & Gwen Lytle's house, 1976. Photo from the Goulbourn Township Historical Society archives via Lesley McKay.
Ab & Gwen Lytle’s house, 1976. Photo from the Goulbourn Township Historical Society archives via Lesley McKay.


DB: It must have been something to grow up here and watch the town change all around it, hey?

CL: It’s not the [same] town anymore. Doesn’t matter which window you look out, it’s not the same at all. It’s funny, we were just saying I can remember all the places we used to go and play and climb trees and whose farmer fields we used to run through. And I said, now people look at you and say “well no, there was something else” or “No, no that was just all field.”

But yeah, [there have] been changes, it’s been hard on some of the older ones to see some of the changes.

DB: What’s it been like for you?

CL: I’m okay with some of the change, I just don’t like people coming in and telling me how to live. They want certain things changed here… but you’re taking away the essence of a small town.

DB: Why sell the house?

CL: Oh, we can’t afford to keep everything up. [My mother is] 87, she’s not well. My dad was a small contracting excavator, he left her a little bit of money, she was only on old age pension, she can only do so much. I only work part time and I work a minimum wage job… I can’t afford it. So, we decided to go to something that we both can manage and enjoy.

Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.
Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.

DB: How does it feel to have to leave this house behind?

CL: I’m okay. I’m ready. And I think she’s ready too. She’s had [a longer time] here, she’s raised her family and I was born here. We’re all business and everybody else has gone out and done better, this will help pay for some medical bills coming down the road…

… It’ll be sad in a way, but we have our memories, we have our pictures and they can’t take that away from us.

DB: Any idea what might happen to the house if it does get sold?

CL: We’ve had a business here for 40 years, like everybody else on Main Street. They had their house and their business right there. Last 20 years my dad’s been dead and we got rid of the business, so it’s kinda nice to think that somebody else will come in and make a go of it… maybe put something in like an ice cream store or something that reflects the core, not an office building or something. But it’s up to them.

DB: What do you think about the state of Main Street in general today?

CL: Well, when I grew up there was no sidewalks. It was a main highway… the traffic was heavy but now… you can’t sit outside, it’s hard to hear outside, the dust picks up, people come in on either side of you… it’s changed a lot compared to what I used to play, run and climb every tree in this place. It was a lot different… I watch the kids over in the park, but it’s not the same. We used to like the trains coming in and watching the people and wave, you don’t do that anymore. You can’t, there’s nothing there. And these people who are using the park don’t understand what was really there and I think they would have enjoyed it a lot better.

This interview was originally heard on Stittsvegas. Click here to listen to the full interview…

Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.
Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.


Three Stittsville properties on the agenda at Committee of Adjustment

The City of Ottawa’s Committee of Adjustment will decide on three Stittsville applications on July 20.


The owner, Farmhouse Investments Inc., wants to subdivide the land into two separate parcels: “In order to do this, the Owner requires the Consent of the Committee for a Conveyance. The land to be severed is shown on a Draft 4R-Plan filed with the application, will have frontage of 43.25 metres on Fernbank Road to an irregular depth of 102.92 metres and will contain a lot area of 4560 square metres. This parcel contains the existing dwelling known municipally as 5897 Fernbank Road. The land to be retained is also shown on the Plan filed with the application, will have frontage of 38.33 metres on Fernbank Road to an irregular depth of 102.94 metres and will contain a lot area of 15,866 square metres. This parcel is vacant and will be known municipally as 5903 Fernbank Road and is part of the Fernbank Community Plan for future development.” More info…

That “existing dwelling” is also known as Flewellyn-Jones House, which recently was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. The owners are planning to turn it into a PTSD wellness centre.


The owner, real estate agent Glendon Moore, wants to subdivide the property into two separate parcels of land to create a new lot for future development. The house currently facing Johnwoods would make up one piece of land, and a slightly smaller parcel would front front Hartin Street.

“The existing detached dwelling known municipally as 30 Johnwoods Street is to remain on the other parcel. In order to do this, the Owner requires the Consent of the Committee for Conveyances.  The property is shown as Parts 1 and 2 on a Draft 4R-Plan filed with the applications and the separate parcels will be as follows:
Applications for 30 JohnwoodsApproval of these applications will have the effect of creating a parcel of land for the existing dwelling which will not be in conformity with the requirements of the Zoning Bylaw and therefore a Minor Variance Application (D08-02-16/A-00190) has been filed and will be heard concurrently with these applications.”

“In order to proceed, the Owner requires the Authority of the Committee for a Minor Variance from the Zoning By-law to permit a reduced rear yard setback of 2.8 metres whereas the By-law requires a minimum rear yard setback of 9 metres. It should be noted that, for By-law purposes, the frontage on Hartin Street is deemed to be the front lot line for this property.” More info…

325 HALIBURTON, 200, 201 ROVER, 100 SHINNY
(Fernbank / Robert Grant area)

Abbott-Fernbank Holdings Inc. owns the property, and proposes “to construct four detached dwellings on Lots 76, 95, 96 and 115, with one dwelling on each lot. The proposed dwellings on these lots will not be located in conformity with the requirements of the Zoning By-law, as shown on plans filed with the Committee. In order to proceed, the Owner requires the Authority of the Committee for Minor Variances from the Zoning By-law. More info…

(Perhaps as notable as the application are the new street names: Shinny Avenue, Slapshot Way and Rover Street.)


OC Transpo fall service changes will include service to Blackstone

Highlights:  30-minute service from Blackstone to Terry Fox; Tweaks to 92 evening schedules to match shifts at Tanger Outlets; New service to DND Carling Campus.

(Memo via OC Transpo General Manager John Manconi)

This memo provides an overview of the Fall 2016 transit service changes that will be starting on Sunday, September 4. These changes are part of OC Transpo’s regular schedule adjustments, which take place four times a year – April, June, September and December. Transit Commission and City Council members are provided with a summary of the service changes in advance of each new schedule period. Continue reading


COMMENT: Ice those plans for changes to minimum snowplow standards

(Snow removal in Fairwinds. Photo by Hien Hoang.)

Forgive me for being cynical, but when you schedule a presentation about snowplow service during the first week of July, and only tell the public about it two days before the long weekend, my first thought is that you’re trying to bury some bad news.

That’s exactly what it looks like the City has done with a KPMG report scheduled to be tabled at a Transportation Committee meeting on Wednesday.   Continue reading


Councillor seeks feedback on Fernbank sign and landscaping

(via Councillor Shad Qadri)

UPDATE, JULY 25: Results from the voting are 54% for Option 3, 21% for Option 2, 16% for Option 4 and 9% for Option 1.  “I liked all options and Option 3 certainly stood out for many residents; as such, I approve of this decision. I would like to thank all residents for taking the time to play a role in this planning process. As updates arise such as final approval and construction timelines, I will be certain to include them within my weekly electronic column,” wrote Qadri in an email to residents.

This fall, the City will build an community entry feature for the Fernbank Community at the intersection of Fernbank Road and Robert Grant Avenue. This feature:
• Is expected to be completed this fall.
• Is a requirement of the Fernbank Community Design Plan.
• Will be completed as part of the Robert Grant Avenue construction project.
• Will feature a sign component on the east side of the intersection.
• Will feature landscaping on both sides of the intersection. Continue reading


Part of Katimavik Road closed until July 17

(press release from the City of Ottawa)

Starting Monday July 4, Katimavik Road will be closed from Terry Fox Drive to Davis Avenue until July 17 to accommodate installation of sanitary sewer forcemains.

To keep the duration of the road closure as short as possible, work will proceed during peak and off-peak hours, and if necessary hours of work will be extended to ensure the work is completed within the allotted two weeks. Continue reading


A Company of Fools brings Shakespeare to Stittsville July 7

(press release)

A Company of Fools will bring their new show The Amazing Adventures of Pericles, Prince of Tyre to Alexander Grove Park in Stittsville (next to the Johnny Leroux Arena) on Thursday, July 7 at 7pm, as part of their Torchlight Shakespeare – Shakespeare Under the Stars series. Continue reading