Who knew starting up a farmers’ market would be so complicated?
The Ottawa Farmers’ Market — the group that runs the weekly market at Lansdowne Park — wants to bring a weekly market to Stittsville starting this spring. The plan is to bring a Friday market to Village Square Park (corner of Stittsville Main & Abbott) that would run from 12:00pm-6:00pm from June to October.
(ABOVE: Screenshot from one of the worlds created during the pilot project.)
Ottawa Public Health is hoping that Minecraft will lay the building blocks to getting kids engaged in their community and its health.
A pilot project recently wrapped up at the Stittsville and Centrepointe libraries, where youth aged nine to 17 attempted to re-imagine and build a part of their local community in the popular building game Minecraft. Continue reading →
Let’s take out the crystal ball and look ahead at what 2017 may have in store for Stittsville…
CANADIAN TIRE CENTRE
Earlier this year we should hear from the Ottawa Senators about what they have in mind for Canadian Tire Centre once the Sens leave for Lebreton Flats. Last year, team owner Eugene Melnykteased that the development would be an “entertainment-driven” transformation. Whatever it is, any change will have a major impact on Stittsville and Kanata for jobs, transportation and economic development. Continue reading →
(Photo:Jennifer McGahan in front of the building on Main Street that she has purchased and will renovate for her business. Photo by Barry Gray.)
After over a century as a private home, the old brick house at 1495 Stittsville Main will soon become the home of Jennifer McGahan Interiors.
McGahan made the announcement last week on Facebook: “I am thrilled to announce the next big step for Jennifer McGahan Interiors Inc. We are relocating the office to our new Stittsville Main Street location. We plan to restore this important heritage building to its original, and rightful beauty in the heart of the village. We plan to be respectful and true to the bones of the building, while improving the streetscape by adding our modern design touch. Opening April 2017!”
McGahan says she loves the history of the building and the family story connected to it. She says that structurally the building is in good shape, and many original features remain. “We’re going to try keep as much as possible while we renovate. We want to keep it intact.”
The house belonged to the Lytle family for over 60 years. Cathy Lytle told reporter Devyn Barrie about the history of the house in an interview last summer: “It was built in 1900 from a bachelor and it was sold four years later to a young couple… he was a tinkerer and they raised their daughter, Evelyn. She took cancer and died and then the father died of old age and the mother died after she sold the house to my parents… she lived with my parents for five years, she had herself written into the deed, for one bedroom and three meals a day and they got along fine, until she passed away.”
The house doesn’t have official heritage designation, but it is on the City’s heritage registry, which lists buildings of historical importance.
McGahan takes possession in January, and hopes to have the renovations finished by April. I’m thrilled to hear that this charming piece of our village history will get the attention and care it deserves. Congrats Jennifer!
(Above: Barn at the Bradley-Craig farm. Photo by Steve Garecke.)
There was bad news and there was good news for heritage buildings in Stittsville in 2016.
First, the bad. In January, I took part in a multi-hour marathon in front of Planning Committee at City Hall where residents and community groups tried to convince councillors to stop the demolition and relocation of theBradley-Craig barnto Munster. The debate was so long that councillors ordered in pizza, and one fell asleep. In the end, the committee and City Council voted to allow the barn’s owner, Richcraft, to dismantle the building piece-by-piece and move it to Saunders Farm. A new development, probably big box stores or a strip mall, will be built in its place. Continue reading →
(The Stittsville Jane’s Walk makes a stop in front of Hudson’s Insurance on Stittsville Main Street. Photo by Barry Gray.)
At the start of January of this year I wrote: “Compared to this time last year, I’d say the prospects for Stittsville Main Street are definitely looking up.” The same thing could be said today as well. It’s been an encouraging year. Continue reading →
(PHOTO: Story Art owner Mel Richer stands in the front from of the old Bell House at the corner of Stittsville Main Street and Elm Crescent. The main floor will be a boutique and showcase for local art. Photo by Barry Gray.)
Stittsville residents can look forward to having a new spot to be inspired and creative. Set to open on December 6, the owner of Story Art Creative Centre & Boutique wants it to be a gathering place for the local arts community.
“Why not a hub to spark creativity and have a place for arts in the community?” says owner Mel Richer. “We are excited, hopeful and hope the community will rally around us.”
Located in the old Bell House on Stittsville Main Street (most recently home to the Brown Bear Daycare), the beautiful house has found new life.
On the main floor, there is the crystal nook, filled with gorgeous rocks and crystals as well as jewelry. Rocks have a personal meaning for Richer.
“They help inspire my art work – the texture, the colour – they are beautiful,” she says.
Opposite the crystal nook, the room will be filled with curated art as well as vintage and retro antiques. Richer is looking for artists to display their art – and the definition of art is broad.
“Anything in the creative world,” said Richer. “I have a voice and something to share. I really want to help others share their stories.”
The boutique part of Story Art will open before Christmas. In the New Year, classes in the Creative Centre will begin. The second floor of the house will be dedicated to creative classes and will also have a space for children’s birthday parties.
The basement, which will be finished over the next few months, will be a space that available for rentals.
All of this is the brainchild of Richer. Born and raised in Kanata, Richer said she always knew that she wanted to be both a writer and an artist.
As a teenager, she studied art at De La Salle Secondary School and then photography at another school. After high school she headed to Algonquin College and that lead to a career working in marketing and communications.
So Richer’s dream to work as a writer had come true. The artist part of the dream was still a work in progress.
As life goes, art was on the back burner for Richer. Then, one day, she saw a call for applications for artists at the Ottawa Airport Community Art Program.
Much to her surprise, her application was successful.
“Oh my gosh. What have I done,” Richer says of her reaction. “But let’s go!”
And go she did. After the exhibition she had 25 pieces of work sitting around and Richer was wondering what to do with them.
Her son Oliver had the answer and suggested she hang them in the wall of her office. And she did. Having the art around sparked her creativity.
From there, she had an opportunity to submit some of her work for a fundraiser, so she decided to look at creating some work that was more accessible.
“What could I do that would be smaller or easier?” she says.
Looking into her yard, she took inspiration from the larch cones scattered across the lawn. She cleaned them and incased them in resin to create jewelry. After this successful jewelry creation, she started creating other resin jewelry using materials like dried flowers, mica and buttons.
As Richer’s art grew, so did her passion for sharing it. Soon she was looking for a retail outlet.
“This feels like a good space for me” she said. “We are thrilled to be a part of Stittsville Main Street,” she says.
Now, Richer’s dream of being both a writer and artist have come full circle. A good friend and business advisor, Irene Jaroszuk of Savvy Sage Consulting, says “she’s had this vision forever.”
If you were standing in front of Quitters during last Saturday’s Parade of Lights, you might have seen a little bit of holiday magic. Josh Gibeault, a volunteer firefighter from Stittsville’s Station 81, proposed to his longtime girlfriend Megan Faulkner, a nurse at the Granite Ridge Care Community.
On Monday, November 21st, I was pleased to attend the Stittsville Village Association event, “Reinventing Stittsville Main Street”. The discussion focused on potential business growth in the heart of our community and raised some insightful discussion amongst business owners, landowners and residents in the area. Continue reading →
About 45 people packed into Quitters on Monday night to take part in a panel discussion called Re-Inventing Stittsville Main.
I organized the event along with the Stittsville Village Association, the West Ottawa Board of Trade and Rick Tremblay from Quitters, with a goal of starting a conversation about the future of Stittsville Main. Continue reading →
EDITOR’S NOTE: We kept reading rave reviews of what the new owners are cooking up at New Queen restaurant at the corner of Stittsville Main and Hobin. Writer Rebecca Smart and photographer Barry Gray stopped in to find out.
For more than 30 years, Sunny Cheung (pictured above) has been working in restaurants, learning to cook traditional Chinese food in their kitchens. Continue reading →
“There is an exciting project coming to Village Square Park that I am pleased to share with everyone. A new gazebo will soon call the park its home.”
Councillor Shad Qadri’s newsletter, September 30
Councillor Shad Qadri recently revealed details about a gazebo being built at Village Square Park, at the corner of Stittsville Main and Abbott. The plan is to build a 16’x16′ raised stage at the east end of the park with electrical hook-ups, for use as a community performance space. The structure is already under construction and could be completed as early as November 1. Continue reading →
(FILE PHOTO: Unfinished “Stittsville Walk” condos, March 6, 2016.)
“I suppose the best one can say is that it is no worse than the original proposal.”
That’s the reaction I received today from a long-time Stittsville resident who’s been following the progress — or lack thereof — of the Stittsville Walk condo development at 1491 Stittsville Main Street. The project has been stalled since late 2013, and only one of the six blocks was ever built. It remains unoccupied. Continue reading →
It was worth the wait! This year’s Arts in the Park had to be rescheduled after being totally washed out in June. Dozens of artists and vendors packed Village Square Park for the annual event on Sunday, presented by the Stittsville Village Association. Barry Gray was there with his camera to capture some of the fun.Continue reading →
(PHOTO: Thom Johnson will run Steelwool Cycleworks, the bike shop, and Kat Kosk will run Blumenstudio, the cafe-florist.)
UPDATE (AUGUST 6): They’re not quite ready to open yet. Posted to their Twitter feed yesterday: “.we still have a bit of tweaking to do .trims details bathroom & so on .please stay tuned for stittsville”
Stittsville will get a taste of trendy Hintonburg when Blumenstudio opens its doors on Saturday.
The new location will be at 1564 Stittsville Main Street, in the cinder block building that’s also home to Capital Cabinetry. Renovations have recently been underway to replace bricks with windows at the front, creating a street-side retail space.
I dropped in on Friday night and met Kat Kosk, Thom Johnson and Paul Idone, the trio who are behind the venture. They were expecting a late night ahead as they prepared for a partial opening on Saturday.
Idone was building a bar near the front for the coffee part of the business, Kosk was moving in plants (lots of cacti and big leafy greens) and Johnson was building a web site on his laptop. Kosk’s dog was there to keep them company.
Idone owns the cabinetry business, and Johnson his business partner. Johnson will run the bike part of the business, under the name Steelwool Cycleworks. Johnson’s also an owner at Talltree Cycles on Wellington Street in Hintonburg.
Kosk owns Blumenstudio on Parkdale Avenue in Hintonburg. It’s a popular high-end floral shop and cafe that’s been open since March 2011. The location in Stittsville will follow the same concept.
Kosk said they had lots of neighbours dropping by today to say hello, and they’re looking forward to meeting more Stittsville residents when they open on Saturday. Johnson’s bike shop should open a couple of weeks.
It’s great to see another interesting indie shop opening up on Stittsville Main Street. Welcome to the neighbourhood!
The Stittsville Lions Club wants to add an accessible entrance to their building on Main Street, but first they’ll need approval from the City of Ottawa’s Committee of Adjustment (COA).Continue reading →
The Stittsville food truck scene already has a good amount of variety. Anne Wilby (pictured above) plans to add a lot more with Mellow Yellow.
Wilby is no stranger to the food business. Growing up with an Italian father and Polish mother, her family was always cooking. In the 1980s, she ran a hospitality training program for at-risk youth in Stittsville. She was also manager of Lousiannie’s on Main Street for 14 years, before it closed and burned down. Continue reading →