Our 17 favourite Stittsville stories of 2017

17 stories from 2017

(EDITOR’S NOTE: I always enjoy doing a year-end review of our archives because it’s an opportunity to re-discover great stories that I had forgotten about. The ones I’ve highlighted here aren’t necessarily the most-read or the biggest news – though some of them are – but they are the most interesting and the most important posts we’ve shared in 2017.  Thanks to all the writers, photographers, and volunteers who’ve contributed to StittsvilleCentral.ca this year, and to all of our readers for your feedback and engagement.  All the best for 2018! -GG.)

A SURPRISE VISIT FROM THE KANATA MUSLIM ASSOCIATION TO STITTSVILLE UNITED CHURCH
On a Sunday in June Stittsville United Church received an unexpected visit from members of the Kanata Muslim Association (KMA).  They came to deliver a gift of sweets and a letter of appreciation for the congregation’s support following the tragic shooting at the Quebec City Mosque in January. Quite a remarkable story about friendship and co-operation.

Kanata Muslim Association visits Stittsville United Church
More than a dozen adults and children from the KMA took time on their holy day to visit a number of churches who had offered them support in recent months, including Stittsville United. The KMA members happened to arrive during the time of the Sunday morning worship service and were invited to the front of the sanctuary to bring greetings.

 

CITY PROTECTS PORTION OF SHEA WOODS
The City of Ottawa has entered into a $1.5-million agreement with CRT Developments to conserve part of the Shea Woods, a cedar forest located southeast of Holy Spirit Church and a popular spot for dog walkers. Sabrina Kemp wrote a great speech about why the forest is important to her family and the community at large.

Mayor Jim Watson, Sabrina Kemp, and Stittsville Councillor Shad Qadri at Tuesday's announcement. Photos by Frank Cianciullo.
Mayor Jim Watson, Sabrina Kemp, and Stittsville Councillor Shad Qadri at Tuesday’s announcement. Photos by Frank Cianciullo.

 

TURNING THE PAGE ON THE STITTSVILLE NEWS
Not a happy story, but an important one. The Stittsville News is one of dozens of community papers being closed in Ontario by corporate conglomerates Postmedia and Torstar. Our community will lose an institution that has been publishing for 60 years.  Read our editorial on why the News is so important to our community. (In the last couple of weeks, we’ve heard that a former Ottawa newspaper publisher is planning to launch a newspaper serving some of the suburban neighbourhoods affected by the closures, so stay tuned.)

"The Two Johns". Longtime Stittsville News reporters John Curry (left) and John Brummell at City Hall in January 2017. Brummell received a Mayor's City Builder Award after his retirement from the newspaper. Photo via Deborah Brummell / Stittsville Neighbours.
“The Two Johns”. Longtime Stittsville News reporters John Curry (left) and John Brummell at City Hall in January 2017. Brummell received a Mayor’s City Builder Award after his retirement from the newspaper. Photo via Deborah Brummell / Stittsville Neighbours.

 

A NEW BUILDING FOR THE LEGION
Who would have predicted that the first significant development to fall under the auspices of the Stittsville Main Street Community Design Plan would come from the Stittsville Legion? They’re in the midst of a major fundraising campaign to build a $1.5-million mixed-use building to replace the current 1932 Legion hall. The design looks promising so far, but the project still needs approval from the City of Ottawa’s planning department. Watch for more info to be shared in 2018.

Rendering of the proposed new Stittsville Legion building. Via HDD Hierarchy Development & Design.
Rendering of the proposed new Stittsville Legion building. Via HDD Hierarchy Development & Design.

 

STITTSVILLE ARTIST FEATURED IN ALIAS GRACE MINISERIES
You can see Greg Banning‘s courtroom sketches on screen in Alias Grace, the tv adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel on CBC and Netflix. He talked to us about how this opportunity came about as a result of his work as a courtroom artist for the Mike Duffy trial. Read more…

Greg Banning with some of his sketches, in the dining room at his home in Stittsville. Photo by G. Gower.
Greg Banning with some of his sketches, in the dining room at his home in Stittsville. Photo by G. Gower.

 

A NEW RESTAURANT ON MAIN STREET
Sadly, we lost a few businesses and restaurants over the course of 2017.  On the flipside, we also saw many new entrepreneurs dive into the local business scene including Kevin Conway and Alli Pearce, owners of The Jack Ketch on Stittsville Main Street. They’ve been included in the Ottawa Citizen’s “Best Bites” list for 2017.

Kevin Conway and Alli Pearce, co-owners of The Jack Ketch on Stitttsville Main. Photo by Barry Gray.
Kevin Conway and Alli Pearce, co-owners of The Jack Ketch on Stitttsville Main. Photo by Barry Gray.

 

STITTSVILLE PUBLIC’S OUTDOOR CLASSROOM
Volunteers fundraised $21,000 to help build an outdoor classroom for Stittsville Public School. Teachers can use the space for a different perspective on math, science, language and recreation. Here’s how one grade five student described it: “It’s good to be outside because you get fresh air and you can move around. Our regular classroom has no windows, so it really doesn’t compare.”

Students, staff, volunteers and elected officials took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony -- complete with kid-sized scissors -- at Stittsville Public School on Friday, September 29. It marked the official opening of a new outdoor classroom. Photo by Lorrie Hayes.
Students, staff, volunteers and elected officials took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony — complete with kid-sized scissors — at Stittsville Public School on Friday, September 29. It marked the official opening of a new outdoor classrom. Photo by Lorrie Hayes.

 

HOW POLICE ARE ADAPTING TO STITTSVILLE’S GROWTH
In July, reporter Devyn Barrie did a ride-along on a police shift with Cst. Mike Dosdall, and nothing happened. No break-ins, no fires, no collisions, no drama. But he came away with some interesting insight into how police are adapting to our rapidly growing suburb.

Cst. Mike Dosdall of the Ottawa Police. He's one of several officers who regularly patrol the Stittsville area. Photo by Devyn Barrie.
Cst. Mike Dosdall of the Ottawa Police. He’s one of several officers who regularly patrol the Stittsville area. Photo by Devyn Barrie.

 

A SKY TRAIN TO STITTSVILLE
Earlier in December, about 100 people attended a public meeting to learn about the latest plans to bring light rail to Kanata and Stittsville. As it stands, none of this would be built until beyond 2031. This extension is considered “Stage 3” of Ottawa’s light rail network, and the western part of the line would include elevated tracks ending at Hazeldean Road.

Concept for an elevated LRT route

 

PLANTING THE SEEDS
A new community garden launched this year on Stittsville Main Street on land provided by Jo-Jo’s Pizza. Despite a wet season, year one was a success and an expanded phase two is in the works for 2018.

Kids at Jo-Jo's Community Garden
Kids at Jo-Jo’s Community Garden, Summer 2017.

 

A MINI FARMERS’ MARKET AT VILLAGE SQUARE
A plan by the Ottawa Farmers’ Market to open a weekly market at Village Square Park fell through, but Sue Bird was successful in launching a mini market out of her log barn next door, featuring with food vendors and artisans.  It ran Friday on nights during the summer and she hosted winter markets leading up to Christmas as well.

Fresh produce for sale at the market. Photo by Janice Blain.

 

A REGULATORY LOOPHOLE YOU CAN DRIVE A DUMP TRUCK THROUGH
Devyn Barrie brought us an interesting story of legislation and loopholes, which one local environmental activist believes are being used by property owners to destroy wetland.

Environmental activist Ken McRae says he's seen dump trucks delivering fill to a property on Flewellyn Road that he believes is being dumped into wetland.
Environmental activist Ken McRae says he’s seen dump trucks delivering fill to a property on Flewellyn Road that he believes is being dumped into wetland.

 

JENNIFER MCGAHAN  GIVES NEW LIFE TO OLD HOUSE
At the end of 2016, interior designer Jennifer McGahan announced she’d be renovating the old Lytle House on Stittsville Main Street.  In May, she held an open house to show off the gorgeous transformation.

STITTSVILLE, ON, Dec 30, 2016. Jennifer McGahan in front of the building on Main Street that she has purchased and will renovate for her business. Barry Gray (StittsvilleCentral)
Jennifer McGahan in front of the building on Main Street that she has purchased and will renovate for her business. Photo by Barry Gray.

 

HE INTERVIEWED EVERYONE FROM SINATRA TO ELVIS
Zach Mulder brought us this excellent profile of Gord Atkinson, the nonagenarian who spent nearly five decades in Ottawa radio, interviewing some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Long-time broadcaster Gord Atkinson at his home in Stittsville. Photo by Zach Mulder.
Long-time broadcaster Gord Atkinson at his home in Stittsville. Photo by Zach Mulder.

 

USING A VIDEO GAME TO ENGAGE YOUTH IN CITY PLANNING
Ottawa Public Health used Minecraft to lay the building blocks to engage kids in community planning and health, with a pilot project at the Stittsville library.

Minecraft screenshot
A screenshot from one of the worlds created during the pilot project.

 

HIGHWAY ROBBERY
Imagine getting dropped off at an OC Transpo Park and Ride following a long day of work, only to see you don’t have a set of wheels waiting for you. No, your car is still there. But someone, it appears, has made off with all four of your wheels. That was exactly the situation Jeff Levere found himself in when he got back after a day of work.

Jeff Levere arrived back at his car after work to find all four wheels stolen.
Jeff Levere arrived back at his car after work to find all four wheels stolen.

 

CELEBRATING SESQUICENTENNIAL FAMILY FARMS
To cap off Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations, the Goulbourn Township Historical Society presented commemorative signs to four local farming families who all have spent 150 years or more working the land.

“We keep things going one way or another,” said Lillian Hobbs, 91, the owner of the Hobbs farm. When she was called up to receive her sign, she cracked: “I’m the oldest!” and sent the audience into a chuckle. Photo by Devyn Barrie.
“We keep things going one way or another,” said Lillian Hobbs, 91, the owner of the Hobbs farm. When she was called up to receive her sign, she cracked: “I’m the oldest!” and sent the audience into a chuckle. Photo by Devyn Barrie.

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