SUNDAY DRIVE: The Pakenham Five-Span Bridge

Pakenham Five Span Bridge. Photo by Barry Gray.
Pakenham Five Span Bridge. Photo by Barry Gray.

Do you have a favourite “Sunday Drive” near Stittsville? Let us know about it on the comments below or send an email to feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca


The Pakenham Five Span bridge was built in 1903 by Scottish Stone Masons over the Mississippi river and rapids at Pakenham in Lanark County, northwest of Stittsville.

The five-arch stone bridge is the only one in North America. It was original built to carry horses and carriages accross the Mississippi River to the mills in Pakenham.

It’s 268 feet long, 22 feet high and 25 feet wide. The largest stone
used in the construction weighs five tonnes.

Public pressure to preserve the bridge, rather than replacing it with a modern bridge, lead to the restoration of it in 1984 to make it suitable for truck and car traffic.  During the resoration, each stone was removed and labelled, and then placed back in its original location over reinforced concrete.

If you’re driving out to Pakenham and it’s a warm day, check out Scoop’s Ice Cream on Waba Road, right in the middle of town.

(Adapted from LanarkCounty.ca)

 

Writers and photographers wanted!

We’d like to hear from Stittsville residents who want to contribute to this site.  If you have a passion for a local topic or just love to write or take photos, please get in touch with us at feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca.

Big thanks to all of our contributors so far, including:

  • Bob Denney
  • Barry Gray
  • Amy Haggerty
  • Rochelle James
  • Paul Jay
  • Amy Lee Leindecker
  • Gord McCormick
  • B.R. Ravishankar
  • Dan Tarof
  • Coreen Tyers

We love to get comments, story ideas and other feedback. Here’s how you can reach us…

 


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Ottawa Municipal Election voting places open for 10 hours on Monday

(Press release from the City of Ottawa. You can find information about Stittsville’s candidates here.)

All eligible electors are reminded that all 334 voting places for the 2014 Ottawa Municipal Election, excluding certain polls located in long-term care and seniors’ residences will be open Monday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Voters can avoid longer wait times by taking advantage of the off-peak hours, between 1 to 4 p.m., which are typically quieter.

Electors can find their voting place on their voter notification letter or by using the “Where Do I Vote?”search tool on ottawa.ca. Also, people are reminded to bring one piece of original identification that shows proof of name and their qualifying Ottawa address. A list of acceptable forms of identification can be found at ottawa.ca/voterID.

 

For more voting information, visit ottawa.ca/vote, or call the Elections Office at 613-580-2660 or the City at 3-1-1 (TTY 613-580-2401).

 

Also, follow Ottawa Elections 2014 on Twitter at @ottawavote and download our free mobile app available in the Apple App Store, Blackberry App World, and Google Play.

Cell phone use, tablets and cameras (photography and video) banned in Voting Places 

On another important note, the Elections Office advises both the public and media that the use of cell phones and tablets is strictly prohibited in the voting place. This ban includes sending electronic messages by text, email or social media. All types of photography, including filming, are also prohibited.

By the numbers: Quick facts about Voting Day  

Polls open on Monday, October 27 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • 334 voting locations
  • Six command centres

Number of Election Workers: 2,815

  • 2,606 staff at voting locations
  • 109 command centre staff, including returns staff and drivers
  • 36 staff at the Election Call Centre at City Hall (for the public)
  • 64 staff at the Elections Office Call Centre (for election workers)

To date, combining the special advance voting days on October 1 to 3 and both traditional advance vote days on October 9 and 18, a total of 46,971 electors have voted.


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Top ten stories on StittsvilleCentral.ca, October 18-24

Top TenHere are the top ten most-read stories on StittsvilleCentral.ca for the week of October 18-24, 2014.

 

  1. Parents lose cash and scramble for childcare after Mini Muffins closure
  2. SHOPOCALYPSE NOW: Tanger Outlets opening day recap
  3. Kathleen Edwards’ Quitters coffee shop is hiring
  4. Hazeldean Mall locked down briefly this afternoon
  5. “Stittsville is not in Costa Rica”
  6. We want your Halloween photos!
  7. Car drives into Main Street Cafe (photos)
    TRASH TALK: Everything you need to know about the Carp Road landfill expansion
  8. Why are there no sidewalks on the Huntmar overpass?
  9. Election Round-Up: Candidate Q&A’s, debate recaps and more
  10. LETTER: Looking for ideas to support small business in Stittsville

 


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Halloween displays: Hobin Street

This house on Hobin Street, just west of Carp Road, belongs to the Atkinson Family. For 15 years they’ve been decorating their front lawn for Halloween.  (The photo above is from last year.)

“I try to change it up a little bit every year,” says Rob Atkinson.

“I love entertaining the kids  and have always enjoyed decorating.  Much of the decorations are home made either by myself or inherited from friends who no longer decorate.   I still have a couple other “surprises” that I don’t do until Halloween night though. A little animation, some rear projection, and of course lots of fog and scary sound effects,” he says.

The entire family gets involved.  “My wife takes care of the inside and my son helps me with the setup outside.  It also helps to slow down cars on that turn in front of my house.”

“I am a little embarrased to say that I’ve brought a couple younger kids to tears with the display. They didn’t want to come too close.”

“Now if I could only get my son and his friends to dress up and become part of the ‘living display’, I’d be all set,” he says.


We want to see your photos! If you have a great Halloween display, or if you see one in your neighbourhood, send us a photo and tell us where it is.    You can send your photos to feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca.


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Stittsville couple opens pool supply shop on Stittsville Main

Scott and Angie Jessiman, owners of 4 Season Pool & Spa
Scott and Angie Jessiman, owners of 4 Season Pool & Spa

 

Bucket of cholorine with your double-double?

Scott and Angie Jessiman opened a pool supply and services company at the end of swimming season in a retail plaza on Stittsville Main Street.  They’re confident the business will take off, thanks to a large concentration of backyard pools and hot tubs in the area — and a prime location next to some high-traffic stores. Continue reading


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Sign vandalism “a poor reflection on this community’s values”

Kelly Morrison posted this photo and note on the Stittsville Neighbours Facebook Group:

“Passed this stash of downed signs on West Ridge near Sable Run this morning. Innocent vandalism? Maybe. But it is beyond mischievous. It is a poor reflection on this community’s values. Sad and concerning

Sign vandalism is common during election campaigns, and we’ve seen several reports of damaged or stolen signs over the past few weeks in Stittsville.  Both candidates have had signs damaged.  One resident reported that someone stole a sign from her lawn and replaced it with a sign for the opposing candidate.

Damaging or removing election signs is not only mischievous, it’s also against the law.


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LETTER: Looking for ideas to support small business in Stittsville

Here’s a letter that StittsvilleCentral.ca received from Stittsville real estate rep Tim Larocque:

With the Christmas season upon us and the opening of the Tanger Outlets, it is very easy to spend all of your time shopping at the national chains and franchises.

Being in real estate,  I have the pleasure to meet so many interesting and amazing people including small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Because there is no formal BIA (business improvement area) or chamber for Stittsville, I feel there is  more that needs to be done to highlight and promote some of the great businesses that exist in our village.

Several studies show that for every 100 dollars spent at local, independent stores, there is a much higher amount returned to the community vs national chains.

There is a great event coming up that will highlight many of these businesses and I also would like to start a “Small Business Saturday” that encourages everyone to spend locally for at least one day during the holiday season.

I would love to explore how we could do something together if you are interested.

–Tim Larocque

Editor’s note: I think this is a great idea.  I would like to hear from readers and small business owners about any ideas you have on how we can support a Stittsville-based “small business day” in late November or early December.  You can leave a comment below or email me at feedback@stittsvillcentral.ca. -GG.


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UPDATE: No sidewalks planned for Huntmar Bridge until 2026

It should only take five minutes to walk from Canadian Tire Centre to Tanger Outlets or Minto’s Arcadia neighbourhood,  but City officials are advising pedestrians to take a bus, car or cab because the Huntmar Bridge is too dangerous.

We wrote last week about the lack of sidewalks on the bridge, which crosses the Queensway and connects Kanata North with Stittsville.  When Tanger Outlets opened last Friday, on site parking quickly filled up and cars were directed to park at Canadian Tire Centre.  The mall’s management provided shuttle buses to cross over Huntmar Bridge, and police were advising pedestrians to stay off the overpass.


 

We asked the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO), City of Ottawa, and local city councillors to comment on the issue.

Brandy Duhaime, a spokesperson with MTO, says that the province would only add a sidewalk if the City of Ottawa covered the cost. Any safety measures (including signage and enforcement) are the sole responsibility of the City.

Here’s the response we received from Vivi Chi, the City of Ottawa’s manager of transportation planning:

The Huntmar Road-Queensway overpass is not designed for safe or comfortable pedestrian travel. The City did engage with the Ontario government when the rehabilitation of the overpass was being planned to see if pedestrian/cycling facilities could be added to the structure. However, the existing structure cannot support a modified deck of any significant width to be beneficial for pedestrians and cyclists.  It was suggested that a new footbridge be built adjacent to the existing one but this option is not affordable for the City as a stand-alone project. 

The City is reviewing the need for signage in the area to keep pedestrians off the narrow overpass. Police have authority to enforce this prohibition.

The City’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP) does include enhancements to the area road system in the 2014-2019 period.  One such project is the widening of Campeau Drive (from Huntmar to Didsbury).  This new four-lane roadway running parallel to Highway 417 will serve the Tanger site and nearby new developments. Campeau Drive will have both cycling and pedestrian facilities and the development areas around the Tanger site will have additional parking.

 In the long term, the eventual widening of Huntmar Road will also involve widening the overpass, and at that time, cycling and pedestrian infrastructure will be included. This is planned as a Phase 3 project for implementation in the period between 2026-2031. 

We note that OC Transpo has begun transit service to the new Tanger development. Details are here:

http://ottawa.ca/en/news/new-oc-transpo-service-tanger-outlets

(OC Transpo buses serving Tanger Outlets were detoured away from the shopping centre on Friday due to heavy traffic.  Bus riders could transfer on to one of Tanger’s shuttles at Canadian Tire Centre.)

There currently are no sidewalk connections to Tanger Outlets or Arcadia.  Besides Huntmar Bridge, the other linking roads are Huntmar to the north and the Queensway on-ramp to the west.

Shad Qadri, city councillor for Stittsville, says he’s concerned about pedestrian safety on the bridge, and he’s talked with city staff and councillors to find a solution.

“The discussions with west end councillors and staff have included the need to review bringing the widening of Huntmar Road to an earlier timeline in the TMP and we will continue to look into opportunities to do so,” he said.

Meanwhile to the east, there’s a similar problem on the Eagleson Road overpass.  The bridge connects the Eagleson Park and Ride with Kanata North — but doesn’t have any sidewalks.

“Last year when it became known that the province had not included paved pathways to the Eagleson bridge in their work plans we began the process to ask for reconsideration,” said Allan Hubley, the councillor for Kanata South.

“I have had several meetings with staff for updates and expect an answer from the province after the election period,” he said.

Marianne Wilkinson, councillor for Kanata North, says she’s been working on getting sidewalks built for both bridges.

“I had asked MTO repeatedly to include a sidewalk on the Huntmar bridge but they said it couldn’t be accommodated,” she said.

Both the Eagleson and Huntmar overpasses underwent repair and maintenance work this summer.


 

Here are a few comments from our readers:

Maureen Miller-Lamoureux, via Facebook: “The article mentions that the municipality didn’t ask for sidewalks? Why? Did they not think they were needed? Does the city of Stittsville have a beef with walkers, bikers?”

Amanda Libbey Wittebol, via Facebook: “Wow! I was planning on walking there in the spring for sure (it would only be about half an hour) We always walk to the Canadian tire centre, but I guess a little further is out of the question.”

Mike Philpott, via Facebook: “I just dodged a few people who were walking to tanger outlets. Not safe at all!!”


Do you think the Huntmar Bridge needs sidewalks? Are there other areas in Stittsville that have poor pedestrian facilities?  Tell us about it in the comments below or email feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca


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Singer-songwriter Sophie Leger at Gaia Java this weekend

Singer-songwriter Sophie Léger weaves her luxuriant vocals together with solid instrumentation to form a rich tapestry of sound and emotion that delights, challenges and inspires audiences. The multi-instrumentalist (guitar, djembe, harmonica) animates her passionate poetry with rich harmonies and buoyant beats that expand contemporary folk and pop traditions, and she’s playing at Gaia Java on Friday, October 24 at 7:00pm. Continue reading


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Updated site plan for 630 Eagleson housing complex for people with dementia

Most site plan proposals that we see in this area relate to retail or housing developments.  This site plan is different. Here’s how it’s described in the site plan proposal:

“The purpose of this application is to allow for the development of a single-storey building 4,875 sq. m. in size containing 71 rooming units that will be used for residents suffering from dementia. Six courtyards will be constructed in the interior of the building to allow for secure outdoor spaces and natural lighting within. The site will be accessed from Eagleson Road along the southern property line sharing an access with the existing Tim Horton’s. Parking in the form of 24, at-grade spaces, loading, garbage and drop off areas will be between the front of the building and a retaining wall set back 3 metres from the property line abutting Eagleson Road.”

The facility is referred to in one document as a “Memory Care Facility”. There’s an PDF document about the proposed facility here. You can read the full site plan proposal here.

Concept plan for the Memory Care facility
Concept plan for the Memory Care facility

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Parents lose cash and scramble for childcare after Mini Muffins closure

Dozens of parents were scrambling to find alternate daycare arrangements after the sudden closing of Mini Muffins Preschool (MMP) in Kanata over the weekend.

One parent who did not want to be identified told StittsvilleCentral.ca that she’s lost about $1,000 she had already paid for daycare services until the end of October.

As many as 100-120 children could be affected by the closure. Continue reading


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LETTER: “Mini Muffins Preschool was a big part of the community”

Mini Muffins Precshool has closed its doors.  Located in Katimavik, the facility served many Stittsville families.  The closure was sudden. Staff only found out on Friday (some via email) and several parents told us that they found out on the weekend and will be searching for new daycare arrangements on Monday morning.  We received this letter from a former employee of Mini Muffins. Continue reading


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90% of city council candidates would fight the proposed Energy East pipeline

Editor’s note:  The following is a press release from Ecology Ottawa. Dave Lee and Shad Qadri did not respond to the survey, although in a recent Q&A they did address the issue.  Lee said the City’s role is to be an advocate for citizens to ensure environmental concerns are addressed.  Qadri said the City should work with other levels of government to ensure local residents are not negatively affected.

It’s also unclear what, if any, legal role the City of Ottawa has in the process.  Rob Maclachlan with the city’s Growth Management Department told StittsvilleCentral.ca that Trans Canada has not filed an application yet with the National Energy Board, and the City does not yet know what municipal approvals may be required. Continue reading


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TRASH TALK: Everything you need to know about the Carp Road Landfill Expansion

When we posted an article last month about Waste Management filing a compliance application for expanding the Carp Road landfill, our readers had quite a few questions about the facility.

We did some research and sent questions to both Waste Management and The Don’t Let Ottawa Go To Waste (DLOGTW) coalition to come with answers to many of those questions. Continue reading


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Where to find a pumpkin near Stittsville

(Pumpkins off Upper Dyer Road. Photo by Barry Gray.)

Sure, you can pick up a Halloween pumpkin for a few dollars at your favourite grocery store — but it’s more fun to head out to a farm or one of the big roadside stands that sell pumpkins. Usually you get a better selection, and some of them have special activities for kids too like wagon rides, mazes and full-on haunted houses. Here’s a list of some of the pumpkin places near Stittsville.

  • Abby Hill Farms (Richmond)
    Headquartered in Richmond with smaller satellite locations around the region. We always go to the one at Bankfield and Prince of Whales, just east of the 416. Lots of pumpkins and some fun scarecrows too.
  • Creekside Gardens (Richmond)
    Creekside Gardens is a greenhouse, gift shop, and nursery centre located in Ottawa. With fifteen acres of land, they grow a lot of our own plants, including pumpkins.
  • Fallowfield Farm (just south of Stittsville)
    Lots of pumpkins, gourds, straw & hay bales, corn-stalks and more. You can also book a hay wagon ride for your family or group and head out into the fields to find a pumpkin.
  • Saunders Farm (Munster, south of Fallowfield Road)
    Saunders Farm is known for their annual Halloween attractions, but you can also find some good pumpkins — and there’s no admission to pay if you’re just browsing the pumpkin patch.

For more local pumpkin patches, check out OttawaStart’s Pumpkin Guide.


What are your favourite places to get a pumpkin?  Does your family have any notable Halloween traditions?  Tell us about it in the comments below or email feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca

 

Pumpkins for sale at Abby Hill Farms, Bankfield at Prince of Wales. Photo by Glen Gower.
Pumpkins for sale at Abby Hill Farms, Bankfield at Prince of Wales. Photo by Glen Gower.