All posts by Glen Gower

Brown Bear owner wants a level playing field for private daycares

EDITOR’S NOTE: Tamara Brown (photo above by Barry Gray) owns the three Brown Bear Day Care centres in Stittsville. In Part 1 of our interview, she explained how all-day kindergarten is hurting daycare centres in our area.  

In Part 2, she gives an overview of several other issues affecting her and other local day care facilities, including new provincial licensing standards and different rules for non-profit vs. private centres in how funding and subsidies are allocated.

We’d like to hear from other parents and childcare providers about their experiences with daycare, and how the various issues are affecting you. You can email us at or add your comments below.

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West Ridge mailbox location is dangerous for pedestrians, says resident

City of Ottawa staff acknowledge that a section of West Ridge Drive isn’t up to current pedestrian safety standards, but there are no plans to fix it.

Most of West Ridge has sidewalks on both sides of the road, but one section that doesn’t is a stretch of about 160 metres on the west side between Sable Run Drive and Steggall Crescent. That sidewalk-free stretch is also home neighbourhood’s community mailbox. Continue reading


UPDATE: Developer says Fernbank tree clearing needed for accurate testing data

(Above: Some of the land that’s been cleared in preparation for testing.  Photo taken on February 14, 2015.)

For more than a month, residents living near 6279 Fernbank have been asking why such a large area of trees needs to be cleared for environmental testing on the development property. Borehole drilling at other development sites hasn’t required such extensive tree clearing. received a response from the landowner’s lawyer this week: Continue reading


All-day kindergarten hits local daycare centres hard

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since October, at least three long-standing daycare facilities in Ottawa have shut down: Mini Muffins in Kanata, Tupper Tots in Nepean, and St. Elias Child Care and Family Resource Centre in Mooney’s Bay.

The exact reasons behind each closure is different, but a common thread is the recent introduction of all-day kindergarten (ADK) into Ontario schools. ADK has syphoned 3-, 4- and 5- year olds away from private and public daycare facilities and into the school system. Many daycare centres have been struggling to cope with the loss of clientele, because fees from older children help offset the cost of care for infants and toddlers, which is much more labour-expensive to provide.

Tamara Brown owns three Brown Bear Day Care facilities in Stittsville. In She says that ADK is just one of several major changes in policy that is affecting local daycare centres. Other challenges include new provincial licensing standards, and different rules for non-profit vs. private centres in how funding and subsidies are allocated.

We’d like to hear from other parents and childcare providers about their experiences with daycare, and how the various changes are affecting you. You can email us at or add your comments below.

Photos by Barry Gray. Continue reading

SHARE THIS launches sustainable crowdfunding campaign

Your support of $5/month or $50/year will help us hire a part-time reporter for  To get started, pick your level of support and click “Subscribe”.  You’ll be prompted to set up an account in Paypal, the payment system that we use to manage this campaign.

If you prefer to pay by another method (cash, cheque, etc.) please contact us at

Choose your support level


Letter from the editor about the Sustainable Crowdfunding campaign



Your support of $5/month or $50/year will help us hire a part-time reporter for  To get started, pick your level of support and click “Subscribe”.  You’ll be prompted to set up an account in Paypal, the payment system that we use to manage this campaign.

Choose your support level

If you prefer to pay by another method (cash, cheque, etc.) please contact us at


What am I supporting here?
You’re supporting a sustainable crowdfunding campaign to hire a freelance community reporter for  A reporter will help us continue to grow and sustain a unique voice in your community.

How much does it cost?
A supporter subscription costs $5/month or $50/year.  That includes 13% HST.

Is this like a Kickstarter?
Yes, except that in this model the funds are continuous and sustained over a large period of time. A similar model has been used to support public radio television in the United States (ie, NPR and PBS).  A community radio station in Nova Scotia has successfully used a similar model as well.

Do I get anything special for subscribing?
For supporting, you will be helping to sustain a unique and special community voice in your very own neighbourhood. We are relatively new and support is continuing to grow. As it grows, and with more hands to help in its evolution, we’ll look to offer special events and benefits to subscribers, such as business discounts, special events, etc.

Is the site going behind a paywall?
No!  We intend to keep free for everyone without restrictions.  The supporter subscription is your way of showing your support for this community initiative.

What is Paypal?
Paypal is a secure online payment system that we’re using process the payments and manage the subscriptions.  We chose Paypal because it is simple to use and they have low merchant fees.

Do I have to use Paypal?
If you prefer to be invoiced or to pay by cash or cheque, please contact us at

How long does my subscription last?
Your subscription is ongoing (either monthly or yearly, depending on your selection). You can cancel it at any time.

How much are you hoping to raise?
Our goal is 200 monthly supporter subscriptions by the end of March, which would mean $1,000 per month towards a freelance reporter.

What if you don’t raise your goal?
We’re confident that we will!  The money will stay in a holding account until we reach our goal. If we don’t reach the goal by March 31, we will give supporters the option to receive a refund.

Who owns
The web site is run by Stittsville resident Glen Gower, under a publishing and marketing business called OttawaStart Internet Services.  Glen has a background in marketing and communications, and has a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Carleton University.

How will your hire a reporter?
We will be posting a job posting in the coming weeks. Ottawa has three great journalism programs at Algonquin College, Carleton University and University of Ottawa. Plus there are many freelance writers in the area.

If there’s enough interest from the community, we will also be setting up an editorial board made up of volunteers who can help shape the stories and focus of

I’m a reporter. Where can I send my resume?
Please contact us at


Please send any other questions to



Five examples of new uses for old barns in Ontario and beyond

Earlier this month we asked our readers for ideas for big red Bradley-Craig barn on Hazeldean Road.  Our readers responded in droves by email and social media.

Although the barn has heritage designation, it’s 140 years old and showing its age.  Finding a sustainable business idea for the barn (and the money to fund it) would go a long way to ensuring its long term survival. Continue reading


Reverie revived? Stalled condo project could continue later this year

UPDATE: The sale to the new owners closed earlier this summer; they plan to continue the development as per the approved plans, rather than start the approval process from scratch. Building could start up again in the next 6-8 months.


  • Construction on Reverie Quarters has been on hold since late  2013.
  • New owners expected to take over stalled condo project this spring.
  • Two units were sold but both buyers have been refunded.
Reverie Quarters, January 2015. Photo by Barry Gray
Reverie Quarters, January 2015. Photo by Barry Gray


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Bradley-Craig farm sits on land that’s worth $1-million per acre

(ABOVE: “Bradley-Craig Barn (detail)” – Photo by Joe Newton.)

Anyone who wants to redevelop the Bradley-Craig barn on Hazeldean Road is going to have some deep pockets.  The serviced land it’s sitting on is worth about $1-million per acre, according to city councillor Shad Qadri.

Qadri gave an update on the status of the Bradley-Craig farmstead to members of the Goulbourn Township Historical Society (GTHS) at their annual general meeting today at Stittsville United Church in Munster. Continue reading


Ivan’s kabobs have been a Stittsville favourite since 1987

(Above: Ivan Saric, owner of Ivan’s Meat and Deli. Photo by Barry Gray.)


  • Ivan Saric’s parents were from what’s now Croatia, and opened a deli in Stittsville in 1987.
  • Croatia’s food history is greatly influenced by German, Hungarian, and Italian cuisine.
  • Most meat products sold are raised locally and free of antibiotics or hormones.

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Trees to be removed from disputed development property

(ABOVE: Gerry Kroll stands in front of a large grove of trees that are slated for removal beginning this week.)

UPDATE (Jan 20): Tree removal delayed a day; more information about work required


Residents living near a disputed development property on Fernbank Drive are concerned about tree removal that’s slated to begin next week.

Keldine FitzGerald and Gerry Kroll have lived on Elm Street for over 30 years. A large number of trees on development land at 6279 Fernbank,  immediately behind their property, are slated for removal starting as early as Sunday.

The development is the subject of an OMB hearing coming up in April. The landowner has to complete additional surveys and fieldwork that involves digging test pits and drilling boreholes. The work is being carried out by Cavanagh Construction on behalf of the land owner, J.P. Chenier. Cavanagh has received a permit from the city to remove some trees from the land. Continue reading


BRADLEY-CRAIG BARN: Just what does heritage designation mean anyways?

(ABOVE: “Red Barn” – Photo by Joe Newton.)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier this week, we published an editorial calling for ideas to re-purpose the Bradley-Craig barn on Hazeldean Road. It’s the big red barn that’s been a landmark in our area for over 140 years.

We’ve received dozens of comments on our site, via Twitter, and on Facebook, including some great examples of similar barns that have been succesfully renovated for different uses across North America.  We’ll share those later this week.

Also thanks to Joe Newton for sharing some incredible photos of the old barn, like the photo at the top of this page.  You’ll see more of his work in the coming days.

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JAZZ TO JAVA: How two guys named Paul ended up opening a coffee shop in Stittsville

(Above: Owners Paul Melsness (left) and Paul Jay in front of the coffee roaster at Gaia Java. All photos on this page by Barry Gray.)


  • The two owners, both named Paul, met as singers in a vocal jazz group
  • They’ve developed an environmentally friendly system for roasting coffee beans that uses 25% of the energy of a typical system
  • Tips and donations from customers have helped raise over $7,500 for an aid project in Uganda

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EDITORIAL: We need a business idea for the old red barn on Hazeldean Road

SEE ALSO: Just what does heritage designation mean anyways?

How can we make sure we don’t lose the big red barn on Hazeldean Road?

I’ve had a lot of people ask me about what’s happening to the old house and barn, across from the Bushtakah/Lowe’s.

The land they’re on will be developed by Richcraft. Both the house and the barn are included in the plan of subdivision, and will soon be surrounded by new houses and businesses along Hazeldean.

The farm and barn are known as the “Bradley-Craig Farmstead”, and are among the oldest buildings in the area. They were built just after the great fire of 1870 that wiped out pretty much everything in the area.  We know the barn was built in 1873, making it a Stittsville landmark for over 140 years old.   (More here about the history of the farm.)

The Bradley family owned the land on Lot 29, Concession 11 from the 1820s to 1970s, and the Craigs owned it from the 1970s until mid 2000’s. The buildings have been vacant for about five years.

The farmhouse (also built early 1870s) is in great shape.  The barn is another story.  It’s not in imminent danger of collapse, but one city official told me privately that there are concerns about the structure. The longer it sits unused, the worse it gets.  And empty buildings are a magnet for vandals and arsonists.

In the Ottawa Citizen last year, a planner for Richcraft said they are maintaining the building, but indicated that it wouldn’t be restored unless there was a viable business use. “We’re not going to restore it just so someone can look at it,” said Kevin Yemm.

I want to challenge our readers to offer up some suggestions as to what kind of business might be able to use a barn like this.  Could it be a community centre?  A performance hall?  A sports facility?  A museum? A restaurant?

It’s not an insurmountable challenge.  Just south of Almonte, two business partners have converted a 150-year-old barn into a music hall, opening later this month.  Are there any entrepreneurs who can step forward and pull off something like that in Stittsville?

Add your ideas below, or email me at

Bradley-Craig Barn on Hazeldean Road. November 2013. Photo by Glen Gower.
Bradley-Craig Barn on Hazeldean Road. November 2013. Photo by Glen Gower.


Meet Elizabeth Kondruss, curator of Stittsville’s Barbie museum

If you’ve ever visited the “new” Stittsville Flea Market on Carp Road, you’ve stumbled on the Barbie collection that belongs to Elizabeth Kondruss, pictured above.  There are over 20,000 dolls and accessories in her collection, making it one of the biggest collections in Canada if not the world.  

Here’s an interview I did with Kondruss about what’s in her collection and why she’s such a fan of the iconic doll.  All photos by Barry Gray. Continue reading


Boyd House: Family memories of Christmas on the farm, and more (Part 5)

(Above: Lyman Boyd with his niece Karen Boyd on left and friend, David MacBeth, early 1950s.)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This series on Boyd House, an old stone farmhouse on Huntmar Drive, originally appeared a year ago on  We’re updating and republishing the original research over the next few weeks on Photos and research by Glen Gower. This post features excerpts from emails and interviews with descendants of the Boyd family who have contacted me over the past year.  You’ll notice in the photos that the stone house features prominently in many of the pictures.  It must have been an important part of the Boyd family.

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Sens move to downtown would create opportunity for Kanata/Stittsville, says planner

(Above: Workers install the new Canadian Tire Centre sign in August 2013.)

The lead planner of the master plan for Kanata West says that if the Sens ever move to Lebreton Flats, it could present a big opportunity for the area.

Ted Fobert is a partner with Fotenn Consultants and was the lead planner and program manager for the Kanata West Concept Plan. That plan was created in the late 1990’s to guide the development of west end of Kanata, centred around the NHL arena (now Canadian Tire Centre). Continue reading


QUARRY QUERY: Do industrial operations on Jinkinson affect water levels in the area?

EDITOR’S NOTE:  The network of streams and wetlands surrounding Stittsville have been changing over the past few years. Landowners say they’ve seen a dramatic rise in the amount of water on their land during a period that has coincided with Stittsville’s expansion.

In Part 1 of this series, we highlighted water issues along Flewellyn Road.  Homeowners there believe that quarries are one of several factors contributing to the water changes.

In Part 2, we look at concerns of the landowners who live right next to the quarries.  One of those landowners is Len Payne, who’s raised the ire of government and conservation officials for some of the changes he’s made to his property to try to drain his land.  We’ll examine those issues in a later story in this series.  Today’s story starts with a tour of his property between Jinkinson Road and the Trans Canada Trail. Continue reading


Boyd House: The old farmhouse and barns (Part 3)

(Above: Boyd House on a December night in the early 2000’s. Archival photo.)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This series on Boyd House, an old stone farmhouse on Huntmar Drive, originally appeared a year ago on  We’re updating and republishing the original research over the next few weeks on Photos and research by Glen Gower.


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Frame store owners right at home in Stittsville

Jim and Amy Walker own Walkerworks Framing on Beverly Street at Stittsville Main.  Walkerworks started as a home-based business on Fernbank Road, then a retail shop in Perth, before winding up in Stittsville. 

Their current spot is actually their second location since moving to Stittsville. They used to be next to the Legion across the street.  Not only do the Walkers own the shop, they also live right next door with their young family.

Walkerworks is one of the local businesses taking part in Support Local Stittsville on December 6, a day to encourage residents to discover our local shops and restaurants. You can see the full list of participating businesses here.

I visited their shop recently to ask them about their business and why they’ve chosen to live and work in Stittsville.

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