(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.
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.
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.)
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.
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…
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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