This Tuesday, October 24, Ottawa’s Planning Committee will vote on a zoning bylaw amendment that would give the green light for Richcraft to proceed with a massive residential development on Maple Grove Road, just east of the Fairwinds neighbourhood.
You would be forgiven for thinking this latest zoning proposal came out of nowhere, even though this development has been going through the approval process since 2004. Continue reading →
(PHOTO: Kevin Conway and Alli Pearce, co-owners of The Jack Ketch on Stitttsville Main. Photo by Barry Gray.)
It’s been a long time coming, but Kevin Conway and Alli Pearce are finally set to open The Jack Ketch restaurant on Stittsville Main Street.
They’ll work out the kinks with two friends-and-family nights on Thursday and Friday, and then open to the general public on Saturday night, October 21.
The restaurant is in an old building formerly occupied by Brown Bear Daycare. Conway and Pearce have turned it into a 30-seat restaurant that they describe as a “contemporary rustic cosy nook kind of place”. The menu is contemporary, including some French Canadian-inspired dishes and a lot of locally-sourced ingredients. Continue reading →
(PHOTO: Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Shad Qadri joined local residents on Tuesday to announce plans to protect the Shea Woods. Photos by Frank Cianciullo.)
The City of Ottawa hosted a media event today to announce a $1.5-million agreement to conserve part of the Shea Woods, a cedar forest located southeast of Holy Spirit Church and a popular spot for dog walkers.
The forest is currently owned by CRT Developments, who are planning a housing development in the area. A City of Ottawa press release (included below) outlines how the City intends to protected the forested area. Continue reading →
(PHOTO: Afternoon in Shea Woods, January 2017. Photo by Glen Gower.)
“…fallen branches become magic wands, old rotting tree trunks become balance beams that they must cross while escaping from some imaginary, forest-dwelling bad guys. They have favourite trees with perfect climbing branches. The Shea Woods really is more than just a forest…”
I was first introduced to the Shea Woods just over 10 years ago. A friend suggested it as a wonderful spot to walk our new puppy. We were newly married and new to the Stittsville Community. I quickly realized how lucky we were to have such a beautiful natural space right in our community.
During my quiet walks there, I was enchanted by the mature cedars, the fern beds that grow in the open, sunlit areas of the forest floor and the old stone fences that border the woods – left behind, I would imagine as I walked, by one of Stittsville’s early settlers.
As the seasons change, so do the Shea Woods – from the apple blossoms in the spring, to the warm colours of the sugar maples in the fall and the dusting of snow on the trails in the winter.
In my early days of walking there, I met a gentleman who told me he was one of the first neighbours to start marking trails through the Shea Woods. At that time, he had already been walking there daily with his dog for years. Clearly, this was a special place for more than just me.
Soon, we started walking through the Shea Woods with our children. The minute they step into the woods, their imaginations soar – fallen branches become magic wands, old rotting tree trunks become balance beams that they must cross while escaping from some imaginary, forest-dwelling bad guys. They have favourite trees with perfect climbing branches.
The Shea Woods really is more than just a forest. In the middle of the woods, there is a tree where neighbours hang plastic containers filled with dog treats to share. The tree is decorated each year at Christmas.
There are daily meet-ups at the big rock and springtime clean-ups. In the age of IPhones and PlayStations, the Shea Woods is a meeting place for neighbours, a place to catch-up with old friends, and meet new ones.
It is an easily accessible natural space for our children to explore and as adults, a place to quietly walk, listening to the birds and the wind in the trees.
We all know that trees and natural green spaces are important. We know that trees filter the air we breathe and help prevent roadside runoff from getting into our waterways. We know that trees help reduce flooding, fight soil erosion, cool the air, muffle urban noise and increase property values.
We are also starting to learn more and more about how important time in natural spaces is to both the physical and mental health for adults and children alike. It has been shown to reduce stress, improve cognitive function and feelings of well-being.
Today, we celebrate moving from knowledge and planning to concrete action. Accessible green spaces like the Shea Woods are one of the things that makes Stittsville such a wonderful community to live in. Thank you to Councillor Qadri, Mayor Watson and the City Planning Team for their efforts in making this a reality.
High gusts of wind and torrential downpours hit Stittsville around 6:00pm on Sunday evening, cutting power to over 10,000 homes. About 20 minutes later, Environment Canada issued a wind warning for gusts up to 100km/h, and a gust of 97km/h was reported at the Ottawa Airport – the highest recorded wind speed in 20 years. Here are some of your photos from during and after the event.
(An invention from Stittsville’s SmartCone Technologies is being deployed as part of a pilot project on O’Connor street in downtown Ottawa. Here’s a press release from Ottawa Police Services about the project.)
Safer Roads Ottawa and the Ottawa Police Service have launched a new cyclist detection system on the O’Connor bike lanes at the corner of Waverley.
In his weekly newsletter published on Thursday, Qadri shared the most recent collision data available from 2015. The Carp-Hazeldean intersection had 10 reported collisions, ranking it 167th on the list of intersections with the most reported incidents. (By comparison, the intersection of Hunt Club and Riverside was the worst in the city with 60 collisions.) Continue reading →
(PHOTO: Greg Banning with some of his sketches, in the dining room at his home in Stittsville. Photo by G. Gower.)
You can see Stittsville artist Greg Banning‘s courtroom sketches in the first few seconds of this trailer for Alias Grace, the tv adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s novel on CBC and Netflix.
Besides his artwork, Banning will also appear on screen in the series as a courtroom sketch artist. As he explains below, the television gig came as a result of his work as a courtroom artist for the Mike Duffy trial.
On how his work came to featured in the miniseries…
The book is about Grace Marks. She’s convicted of murder with an accomplice, and what the book and movie is trying to do is decide whether she did it or not. I did the court sketches that were involved in the trial itself. Because of my background with the Duffy trial, they heard of me… I got a call out of the blue one day and they asked if I’d like to do some court sketches for the film.
They said they just wanted a copy of the sketches that were originally done for the trial. But I thought, “that’s probably a very different style than the way I draw”. They sent me a copy, and I took a look and thought, “I can’t emulate this…” They said, “just give it a try, see if you can match it, and the director will have a look to see if he can use it”.
So I did the best I could with charcoal and did a copy of it, scanned it into the computer and did a couple of changes in Photoshop and I sent it in. They were really happy with it, and then it evolved to, “can you try to put the actor’s faces in that style in that clothing, so we can use it as a prop?”
So I did that, and I thought that was going to be it. But they really wanted me to come in and film me doing the drawing. Up to the point that I actually left to go to the shoot, I didn’t know how they were going to do this. I’ve got these finished drawings – but how am I going to make it look like I’m doing the finished drawing?
The day of getting to the set, I went to a window with the original drawing I made and traced onto a piece of paper. So then when they filmed me I could make it look like I was sketching it out. They brought the camera right in on me, and another camera in the back of me. I’m looking at nothing — the actress was long gone, and everybody in the courtroom. I was literally the last shot of that day in the courthouse.
It was a fantastic experience – right around my birthday – and they paid for most of my trip to glamorous Brampton. That was a year ago.
I haven’t seen my part yet. I’m kind of nervous. I need glasses to draw and to see — I have progressive lenses. I mentioned that I needed glasses, and they ended up giving me these little Benjamin Franklin glasses, and David Cronenberg supposedly used them in one of the scenes too. So the set director said, “be very careful, David Cronenberg used these glasses”. I felt kind of awkward, looking up and looking down as if I was drawing…
I don’t know if I’m going to make the movie or not, but they’ve used my sketches in the opening scenes. It was a fun thing to do, I never thought I would be in a production — I’m usually on the other side, working with directors. Normally I do storyboards, mostly commercial work — car commercials and things like that.
On how he became a courtroom sketch artist… It was not my ambition to set out to be a court artist, and I don’t think you can make a living being a court artist. It was just really lucky. One thing can lead to something else. The Duffy thing led to this, and I’m really grateful.
I lived in Toronto for 20 years, and then I moved here… a local illustrator recommended me to the Citizen, and they called up and asked if I would want to do sketch art at the court. I’d never thought of doing it, but I figured I’d get paid to work on my drawing and it was fascinating. That’s how it started, doing work for the Citizen.
Patrick Brazeau’s trial was happening, and CTV called and asked if I would want to do that for them. I did a job for CTV, and they were really happy. The Duffy trail was on the heels of Brazeau, and CTV called, and the Citizen called, then Global called and asked if I could do this… I had no idea how big this was going to be, or how long it was going to be, but it almost became a full time job for me. I was there every day for the trial except to see my son’s Christmas pageant show… I find it very interesting to be in the court and having the opportunity to witness all this stuff.
The first job I ever did, I brought in my laptop and Wacom tablet and sat down on the back bench in the gallery and drew the guy on the computer. The judge didn’t even bat an eyelash. My first one was completely digital.
I thought, if I get into another trial where there’s a lot more people I won’t be able to do this. I thought I’d bring my sketchbook, and scan it, and colour it in the computer. That’s how the process is now. I’ll do a quick little sketch, make remarks about what they’re wearing, the colour of their shirt, their jacket. I’m in and out pretty quick. I get the idea down, and I do the majority of the drawing in the media room at the courthouse, which is like a closet. I scan the sketch into the computer, and then I colourize it in Corel Painter – an Ottawa-based company – and then all I have to do is email a high-res jpeg to the Citizen or whatever other media outlet I might be doing it for.
On why he became an artist… I’ve always liked drawing, since I was my son’s age, and I just got better and better, and nothing else was panning out for me. I wasn’t going to be the baseball player I always wanted to be – so I ended up sticking with art…. I wasn’t sure if I could make a living out of it. When I was 19 I went to the High School of Commerce just to see if I liked it, and fell in love with it. I found different avenues of art you can make a living in. I went to Sheridan College, did the illustration program there, and found that I was more suited for advertising. So I got my start, unfortunately during the recession in the 90s. All the agencies at that time were downsizing and getting rid of their art departments. I stuck to it, and started getting a job with one agency, next thing you know I got another job. I worked at the last art house in Toronto, TDF, as a junior artist, and when that closed up I went out on my own and I’ve done everything. I’ve worked in advertising, illustrated children’s books, covers, magazines. I did a Maclean’s cover, I’ve worked in video games, I’ve designed coins for the Mint.
It’s wide-ranging. This fits in with my background. I go from the Duffy trail to drawing in a televised movie! I’ve been lucky enough to experience a lot of different facets of the art world and things like this — working on Alias Grace — was exciting. No regrets!
(PHOTO: 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.)
“Parent Council saw this as an opportunity to get the kids out and moving while still considering the curriculum and academics. This is an opportunity to bring the learning outside. To be a place and a space for movement and fresh air. I think we’re starting to understand that with kids having difficulties concentrating at school, there’s a feeling that more movement and more fresh air might contribute to helping some of those situations.”
–Sabrina Kemp, former co-chair of the Stittsville Public School Parent Council
Sabrina Kemp is ecstatic for the opening of a new outdoor classroom at Stittsville Public School. An official ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Friday in front of students and staff.
“It’s fantastic, I’ve dropped by a few times and it’s great to see the kids playing. And I love seeing that the school can accept some risk, and the benefit that comes from that,” she says. Continue reading →
City staff think they’ve identified the source of some mystery blasting that’s been felt by residents in communities like Jackson Trails, Bryanston Gate and Fairwinds in the north part of Stittsville.
Here’s what one resident posted on August 31: “Was that blasting in the Potter’s Key development that just shook everyone up like mad? There was no warning to the people in the area, none of the ‘warning whistles’ leading up to the blast… and holy cow I am touring my house for damage. That was nuts!”Continue reading →
(I met up recently with Marie Boivin, a long-time Stittsville resident who recently opened Barres and Wheels, a fitness studio on Stittsville Main Street, in the strip mall next to Brown’s and Tim Hortons. The business brings together her love of ballet, a strong business background, and her personal focus on fitness and nutrition as a way to overcome life’ challenges. -GG.)
GLEN GOWER: When I walked in, I was amazed at how bright and open this space was. How would you describe the space to someone who hasn’t been here before?
MARIE BOIVIN: First of all you don’t feel like you’re in a strip mall in Stittsville. It’s an impression of open space, lots of natural light, the barn wood, the cork floors, the wooden table. So all the elements are brought back together and I have a feeling of grounding. I believe it’s a grounding space and this is what I tried to emulate.
GG: I know there was a fitness studio here before also doing barre fitness. What’s changed from the previous business that was here?
MB: From a structural point of view, not much has changed. I re-configured the space, I separated the large studio space into a spinning studio. I kept the beautiful skylight and the rest of the space as a barre studio. I built an office. All the furniture is brand new. We painted and added some art on the wall, and we put our touch into the space.
GG: Describe some of the different things that you offer here.
MB: My passion has always been in dance and ballet, so as a little girl this was my dream to become a ballerina. Obviously it did not materialize! But I always danced as an adult as a hobby in classical ballet. After I had my last child, my little guy who’s now five, I could never really go back to ballet. My body changed, and I turned to barre fitness which I believe is an unbelievable workout.
The concept of bar is really small isometric movements, and holding the positions for a really long time so it really fatigues the muscles, and then we stretch it out with nice, deep stretches. So you really combine ballet, yoga and pilates. All of that combined together brings an unbelievable workout. It’s very low impact — not prone to injuries — and it builds the nice long lean muscles that ballerinas have. It really improves posture… it really tones everything.
GG: And you’ve combined that with the bikes.
MB: Exactly, I believe that barre fitness is absolutely wonderful, but I thought that there was a component missing, which was the cardio. So by bringing on the cycling, which is also low-impact, the two of them combined together brings an amazing offering for overall fitness.
On the barre side, we try to incorporate yoga, which I think is very important for the mind. So we have very calming classes, like Wednesday night candle-lit yoga. Sunday morning we have the sun salutations. When I see the space and I see the skylights above the barre studio, there’s nothing like it. So you set your week right, set your intentions, and it really energizes you afterwards.
We also do combined classes, so 45 minutes of spinning, followed immediately by yin yoga. It’s a lot of nice, deep long stretches so it opens up the hips, and all the places where you are typically tight, like we hold a lot of stress into our shoulders, or for runners who typically have very tight hips, it really releases.
GG: I want to talk a bit about the business environment. We’ve seen Movati open out here in the west end, and Goodlife. A lot of people say, “how are some of the smaller businesses going to survive”? Where’s the niche for a smaller studio like this? How do you fit in and run a business with so much competition?
MB: I believe there’s a place for everything. This would be considered a boutique fitness studio, where we offer something very specific. We don’t have personal trainers or other things that larger studios would offer. With all the competition maybe we’ll have the fittest people in Ottawa in Stittsville! What we offer is unique in the sense that every exercise is low-impact. It’s for literally everybody at any fitness level. We can have a high-performing athlete on a bike, and a beginner on the next bike. Every single class can be catered and modelled and adapted to any fitness level.
GG: And do you live in Stittsville? What’s your background?
MB: I do, I’ve lived here for over 15 years. I have 20 years in corporate business, mostly in finance. I’ve transitioned in the past year over a very stressful phase of my life, and once I had resigned from my previous position, I found myself wondering what was next.
Throughout my life, and throughout some very stressful times what kept me going was fitness and nutrition. I had to focus on this, and I set myself small objectives on a daily basis, and that’s what kept me going in every other aspect of my life to help me manage stress. So that’s why I wanted to create a space that was calm, non-threatening, appeals to all the senses, and people come here and they set their own objectives and we help them carry it through.
GG: What’s your vision for where this goes in the future?
MB: We want to fill in the classes! We want to have people come in and sign up, and eventually we might grow and thing of studio number two. We want to make sure the concept is strong and developed here and we can evaluate what the next phase is going to be.
GG: Anything else you want to share with Stittsville?
MB: I love Stittsville. This is my town, this is where my kids are still growing. I have two kids in university and my little guy goes to Jean Paul II. So we love to feature local artists, we love to help out. This is a community space and I let people come in and do their workshops. So we have nutrition workshops, Kate Rickman features her art here, and we try to feature local businesses as well.
The studio runs two classes a week for new moms (it’s called Baby Barre) where they can bring their babies either in a carrier or place on a mat in front of them. These classes are free on a donation to CHEO. We suggest $10 per class and a donation receipt will be issued by CHEO at the end of the year. My son Leo had an open heart surgery at birth so we have always donated back since he was born. I wish to continue this tradition with the new business!
(Barres and Wheels is located at 1261 Stittsville Main Street. For more info visit barresandwheels.com)
Our team, Silver Seven Major Atom AA, talks a lot about leadership, particularly leading by example, on and off the ice. Every year we do a couple of things outside hockey and the rink for the community.
In the past our teams have done Terry Fox runs, food drives, Christmas carols and cookies for seniors, Christmas good deeds, etc. We don’t do a lot, usually two or three small things over a season. The point emphasized to the kids is, “What if everyone did a little bit? It would really add up, and as leaders we need to step forward to show an example.” Continue reading →
A 5th grader from Guardian Angels Catholic School in Stittsville blew away all the teenage competition today and won 1st prize for his incredible vocal performance.
Rowan Hendrick, 10, just started his third year of lessons at U-Rock Music School. He has studied vocals, guitar and has also been a member of the school’s junior band, The Shooting Stars, but his real passion is performing and he wowed all the judges and many of his competitors on Sunday, at Richmond Fair’sRise2Fame vocal contest.
The song Rowan chose to perform was as ambitious as it gets for any aspiring vocalist, Celine Dion’sMy Heart Will Go On, from the Oscar winning film Titanic. Too young to have actually watched the movie, Rowan confessed that his interest in the song came from the expressive delivery of Canadian superstar, Dion, who he says he truly admires as a vocalist.
We are so very proud of Rowan, not just for winning first place at his very first vocal competition, but for bravely stepping up and sharing his musical gift at such a public venue. Two other U-Rock vocalists, Samantha Clarke and Sarah Culbert both also performed at the Richmond Fair this year. Sarah won 3rd place at this event last year, and also impressively won 1st prize at the Ottawa Capital Fair this summer.
You can enjoy the talents of many of our U-Rock stars at our school’s first open mic event on Sunday, October 29, at 3pm at Hurley’s Grill in Stittsville. There will be many first-timers and many of our prize winning stars performing at this free concert.
Their original campus is in Seattle, where 40,000 people walk to work every day. They’ve launched an RFP process, inviting cities across North America to make a pitch to become a new home for Amazon. Continue reading →
Thanks to Jacinta Cillis-Asquith for sharing these photos, taken last week in our area.
“Stittsville…home to Herons everywhere,” she writes. “I could not fit enough trees into my picture. This must have been the general meeting of these birds. There were over 30 herons and egrets! A pretty amazing day.”
(We’ve had a few readers ask where these photos were taken. Cillis-Asquith says that wildlife photographers will typically not share exact locations in order to preserve the natural habitat of the wildlife.)
Last year I watched a fascinating British television program on aging, called How To Stay Young. Despite the familiar theme, it proved to be full of interesting and inspiring information which spurred me into thinking about playing table tennis for its beneficial effects.
I had played as a teenager and I now have a ping pong table in the basement for an occasional game with my grandsons. However, that was the extent of my table tennis experience and the idea of playing as a sport had not occurred to me. In part, that was because I had never seen it mentioned in my search for fitness classes, so I had low expectations of finding a club within easy reach of Stittsville.
Finding information online was a challenge but perseverance paid off and I was delighted to discover a group, right here at the Johnny Leroux arena.
(Thanks to Stittsville-based holistic nutritionist Melanie Reid for contributing this guest post to StittsvilleCentral.ca.)
I’m a mom of four, wife and nutrition coach on a mission to improve the health of children and families through proper nutrition. I’m also a long time resident of Kanata and Stittsville and love meeting families who want to make health changes in their lives. Continue reading →