All posts by Jordan Mady

Neighbourhood no place for wrecking yard, say residents

(ABOVE: Neighbours Susan Schaefer (left) & Joan McCagg. Photo by Jordan Mady.)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Three years ago, the Cash For Trash auto wrecking yard opened on Flewellyn Road, much to the displeasure of nearby homeowners. The operation appears to be in compliance with by-laws and environmental regulations, but a fire on July 8 brought resident concerns to the forefront again.

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THE CLOCK HADN’T EVEN STRUCK NOON ON JULY 8 when 73-year-old Joan McCagg saw the thick, dark billowing smoke from her porch.

“When the fire started … I was going to go in town because we needed coffee and needed cigarettes. It was about 11 o’clock and I looked out and saw  the smoke. I went out and looked, and called my son. He came out and I said ‘it’s a fire, isn’t it?’ and he said ‘oh yeah, it’s a fire,'” McCagg says. Continue reading


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Entrepreneurs open up about Parcelly, a new gift box company

Illena (left) and Dasha Shakov (right) pose with a Parcelly. (Photo by Jordan Mady)

Stittsville resident Dasha Shakov, the 20-year-old CEO of Parcelly, got the idea for her business when she missed a family birthday party overseas.

“A lot of our family is in Russia,” the third-year University of Ottawa business student said. “So we were making this care package to send over and we were thinking ‘why isn’t there an easier way to do this?'” Continue reading


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Firefighter Frank Muraca Turns up the heat with new food trailer

(Above: Frank Muraca and his two boys, Giovanni (left) and Dante (right) at the Muraca On Fire food truck in the Rona parking lot on Hazeldean Road. Photo by Barry Gray.)

From Italy, to the fire station, to the streets of Stittsville. Muraca On Fire owner Frank Muraca is taking his experience cooking for hungry, fearless firefighters, dropping in a fist-full of family-first Italian heritage, and turning it all into tasty, affordable street food. His sons are also getting in on the action, which includes an unreal veal sandwich. You heard us … a veal sandwich from a food truck! The Muraca On Fire trailer is at the Rona parking lot on Hazeldean Rd.  This is part of our ongoing Stittsville food truck series. Continue reading


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FOOD TRUCKS: Jolly Hog serves up a belly full of laughter (with video)

(Above: Matthew & Ashley O’Brien, owners of the Jolly Hog. Photo by Jordan Mady.)

You’ve had a side of fries or salad, but have you ever had a side of laughter? That’s exactly what you’ll get from the new Jolly Hog food truck on Carp Road which opened on June 22. In this instalment of our continuing Stittsville food truck series, we meet the husband-and-wife combo behind the new venture.  They also wanted us to inform you that they’re proud to offer Equator coffee and all-day breakfast sandwiches.
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Quarry parties a balancing act for owners and police

(Above: Photo by Jordan Mady.)

QUARRY PARTIES USUALLY START OFF WITH A TEXT.  “Let’s hit the quarry tonight”. Young people – usually students of high school or university age – then get together at one of the local quarries or sandpits, jump into the water basins and maybe even crack a cold one or two.

Sometimes under-age, they’re technically trespassing on industrial properties owned by Thomas Cavanagh Construction or R.W. Tomlinson.

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‘Wiches Cauldron web site woes shows importance of WordPress security

Google Search shows remnants of hack to ‘Wiches Cauldron website. (via Google Search)
Google Search still shows remnants of hack to the ‘Wiches Cauldron website. (via Google Search)

 

‘Wiches Cauldron co-owner Craig Beaudry was about to do some food preparation when a regular customer contacted him about a problem with the food trailer’s website last week. Continue reading


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Stittsville skateboard park doesn’t do the trick, says local dad (with video)

(ABOVE: Stittsville dad John Hughes wants to see an upgrade or an entirely new skatepark in Stittsville. And sooner rather than later. Photo by Jordan Mady.)

John Hughes, 47, looked around at the skateboard park next to the Goulbourn Recreation Complex (GRC) as three young girls used one of its drop-in ramps as a slide.

There wasn’t a skateboarder in sight. Hughes said his kids, 13 and 10, don’t use the park, either. Continue reading


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FOOD TRUCKS: Sink into cheesy goodness at Culinary Meltdown (with video)

Spunky,  determined, energetic. Those are three words we’d use to describe 44-year-old Corinne Carroll (above, photo by Jordan Mady), owner of the Culinary Meltdown food trailer in Stittsville. She sends out gourmet comfort food favourites on the daily in the form of bacon mac & cheese and caramelized onion grilled cheese sandwiches. Visit the Carp Rd. (at Rothbourne) location and you’ll have a meltdown like never before. Are you drooling yet? Check out the video at the end of the article to see how the bacon mac & cheese is made.  This interview is part of our continuing series on Stittsville food trucks.

Heads up: the food truck is at the Dragonboat Festival until June 30 , but back at their usual location on Carp Road after that.  They’re also at Bluesfest from July 8-19.

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FOOD TRUCKS: Tartan Kitchen is the newest addition to The Glen family

(ABOVE: Kathleen McConville and her son James Clarke in front of the Glen’s Tartan Kitchen food truck. Photo by Barry Gray.)

You know you’ve been in business a long time when your original customers are bringing their children to your establishment. According to The Glen president Kathleen McConville and her son James Clarke, this happens frequently. It all began with The Glen, a Scottish-themed restaurant on Hazeldean Road in Kanata. Now, find out why they’re bringing their 27-year success story to the Stittsville food truck scene.

The Tartan Kitchen food truck. Photo by Jordan Mady.
Photo by Jordan Mady

 

JORDAN MADY: Who are you and what’s your involvement in The Glen Tartan Kitchen?

Kathleen McConville: I’m president of the Glen and Tartan Kitchen.

James Clarke: I’m Kathleen’s son and to-be owner.

JM: Were you born in Scotland, Kathleen?

KM: We are from Hamilton, Scotland, it’s about 20 minutes outside of Glasgow. I came over with my mom and dad in 1969 so I’ve been here a long time. But my dad was 50 when he emigrated with his wife and three children. It was a pretty bold move. We arrived in Montreal then I got married and we moved to Ottawa.

My oldest brother John (70) and his wife Luciana (67) (both part-owners), they were still in Scotland and they wanted to emigrate. Her idea was to open up kind of a little Coronation Street-type pub.  It wasn’t that simple but after many, many tries, it happened. Our original plan was going to be myself serving, which I’d never done, I had to learn, John would cook and we’d hire one more server.

Twenty-seven years later, we have 50 employees. We’ve learned everything as we go along and we’re very fortunate to have two children … my son James is the oldest and he’s taken to it like … unbelievably. It’s a very hard thing to do and he loves it. I can see the passion. I know where it comes from. It’s like watching myself 27 years ago.

JM: How did you decide to start a food truck? 

JC: It’s actually funny how it all started. Before the whole trend kind of blew up, my mom and I always talked about “wow, there’s no one doing fish ‘n chips”. We kind of thought it would be cool to take our product on the road … we’ve got a lot of customers that drive from Orleans, Perth, we’ve got Brockville, and they’re always saying ‘it would be great if we could get your product in other places’ so that’s kind of how the ball got rolling on it. One of the big things we wanted to do was more events. And so this year, we’re doing six weddings, a lot of private functions … it’s cool, like, it’s not just fish n’ chips.

JM: How did you become situated in the Rona parking lot? 

JC: We did shop around quite a few places. Nothing seemed to fit, or we couldn’t agree on numbers. Nothing bad blood. And then I spoke with Bobby (owner of Rona) and he had just taken over the Rona at the time and said “I’d love to have a good business I can partner with and represent each other.”

KM: So Bobby (owner of Rona) and his father and the family, they’ve been coming to the Glen since he was very, very young. They know our ethics, we know their ethics.

JM: How is the Tartan Kitchen different from the other food trucks in Stittsville?

JC: With the food truck here and where we’re located at Rona, because we are so close to the restaurant, we wanted to be a little bit different. So this year we have our fish ‘n chips, but we’ve broadened our menu a little bit. Based on last year having a lot of requests and also we thought “How can we be different? There’s a lot of food trucks in Stittsville”.  We sat down and we said “nobody’s doing breakfast so let’s try to tackle that”.  We do offer all-day breakfast on the truck.

JM: Are there any plans for expansion? 

JC: We would almost like to have Ottawa’s first outdoor food court. So we’d like to have all different kinds of food trucks so people can come here and try a little bit of everything, and try to make it an event.

(They say they’re also looking to acquire more trucks and mobility.)

JMAre there any plans for Kathleen to completely hand over operations to James?

KM: Absolutely.

JC: No way. Yeah, right. These guys will never give it up. No, that’s the plan. But it’s tough, too, because in fairness, when they’re not there for a few days, everyone’s like “where are they?! Where are they?!” So, I don’t think it’s fair to say they’ll ever be hands-off because I think they don’t need to do any more of the heavy lifting. But they’re just so entrenched in what The Glen is. When people come in and it’s their kids’ kids, and it’s third-generation customers, it really says something.

JM: Is there anything you would like to say to the Stittsville community?

JC: I think the first thing would be ‘thank you’. We know how hard it is to make a dollar and the fact that they come in and spend their hard-earned dollars, and want to spend their personal time with us, is the ultimate compliment. We don’t take it for granted.


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FOOD TRUCKS: Sandwich sorcery at The ‘Wiches Cauldron (with video)

(Above: Monique Haugen and Craig Beaudry from The Wiches Cauldron. Photo by Jordan Mady.)

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Stittsville’s The ‘Wiches Cauldron  is in its third season and business is bubbling. In this issue, the first in a series about Stittsville food trucks, you’ll meet the married, university-educated duo behind the delicious sorcery.  The couple pumps out sandwiches and soups on the daily, and they’re constantly brewing up something new. Visit them at their Carp Rd. location just south of Hazeldean Road  and you’ll find yourself wanting to be friends with them instantly.) Continue reading


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Bus shelters, better express routes among suggestions at OC Transpo meeting

OC Transpo representatives met with Stittsville residents at the Goulbourn Recreation Complex Wednesday night to update them on route changes as well as discuss concerns about current bus service.

Residents were presented with the latest service numbers concerning Stittsville such as capacity and on-time performance. They were then introduced to a new route, the 162, as well as the 96A’s transformation into the 92.

After the formal presentation, residents split up into groups to voice their concerns to OC Transpo staff. These ranged from adding more bus shelters to Stittsville, to frequency improvements, to inquiries about better express service.

OC Transpo staff says requests for increased frequency of service are difficult to meet based on current capacity. As it stands, route 96 leaves Stittsville with 34 per cent capacity at peak operating times in the morning.

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Katie MacKenzie, a mother of three twenty-year-olds, said Stittsville bus service isn’t good enough.

“I’m constantly driving them because that’s the only way they can get anywhere on time,” the 49-year-old said.

MacKenzie also said the current service inhibits her daughters from getting student night jobs outside of Stittsville, such as serving in a bar where shifts can finish after midnight. Service from Kanata’s Terry Fox station via route 96 to Stittsville doesn’t run past 12 a.m. on a Saturday, for example.

“People have said ‘well, you live in Stittsville, you can afford to buy your kids a car,’” she said. “Really? Just because I live in Stittsville, I can afford to buy three children a car? No, I don’t think so.”

Residents shared feedback and ideas on Stittsville transit service with OC Transpo staff. Photo by Jordan Mady.
Residents shared feedback and ideas on Stittsville transit service with OC Transpo staff. Photo by Jordan Mady.

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Councillor Shad Qadri said this type of issue is relatively new for Stittsville.

“I remember back in 2004 or 2005 when people in Stittsville didn’t even want OC Transpo service to be included as part of the community,” he said. “As the community expands, new requests come in and that’s what we’re working towards with this meeting going forward.”

Qadri acknowledged that Stittsville lacks local service. He said the transformation of the 96A into the 92 will help this as well as confusion associated with similar stop numbers.

“The 92 will serve not only parts of Stittsville, it will also serve parts of Kanata and enhance that service to Tanger mall and other parts of Kanata, also. That is due to the request by young people in terms of where they’re working and not being able to commute home when their shifts end.”

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The status of Stittsville’s express service was also discussed, namely routes 261, 262 and 263.  Some residents would like to see more direct routes to downtown with fewer stops in between.

OC Transpo representatives took note of resident feedback and said they’ll consider it for any future action.

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New route maps were on display for the 92 and 162. Photo by Jordan Mady.
New route maps were on display for the 92 and 162. Photo by Jordan Mady.

JUNE ROUTE CHANGES

  • Route 162 will operate between Terry Fox Station and Stittsville via Palladium drive, servicing Huntmar Drive, Maple Grove Road, Johnwoods Street, Hazeldean Road and West Ridge Drive.
  • The re-numbered 92 will travel on the same streets as the current 96A, with the exception of driving along Campeau Drive instead of Katimavik Road.
  • Both of these changes will take place in June 2015.

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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.

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