Here’s an article from Maclean’s about the “completion” of the Trans Canada Trail. The milestone was celebrated at Village Square Park in Stittsville with a flag raising last weekend. Our portion of the trail is a former rail line, converted to a gravel trail in the late 1990s/early 2000s, running from Bells Corners to Carleton Place. It remains designated as a municipal transportation corridor and could someday be repurposed for light rail.
To help celebrate what Trans Canada Trail organizers hailed as a big milestone, there was a scavenger hunt in Olds, Alta. A ribbon- and cake-cutting in Kenora, Ont. Family supper in Saint-Barnabé, Que. And a big concert in downtown Ottawa, with Governor General David Johnston hosting and former Barenaked Lady Steven Page singing about his old apartment. Continue reading →
Nice to see this new bike repair station added to Village Square Park this week, along the Trans Canada Trail near Stittsville Main. It’s a good spot for it, with hundreds of cyclists passing by each week.
(This would have come in handy a few weeks ago when my wife blew a bike tire on Abbott street just past the park!)
Safer Roads Ottawa (SRO) is setting these up at parks, libraries and other public areas around the city, but there aren’t too many yet in the suburbs. According to SRO: “Each self service bike repair station includes a work stand, an air pump and the following tools:
Philips screwdriver and stand
2 steel core tire levers
2 cone wrenches (8/10 mm 9/11 mm)
Hex key set
The air pump includes heads to fill both Presta and Schrader valves.
(PHOTO: Artist’s rendering of the Rideau LRT station downtown. Via City of Ottawa.)
It occurred to me on the drive home from Monday night’s LRT open house that we just spent a lot of time and money on consultants to tell us that the best route for LRT is along the Queensway, like we’ve been planning all along.
Still, consultants and planners will spend the next few months evaluating three options (down from 13 shortlisted routes) for the potential future Kanata-Stittsville LRT extension, from Moodie Drive to Palladium. Continue reading →
Thanks to Christopher Skinner for sharing this photo, taken earlier in the week. “I used to loathe winter. After taking up some outdoor winter hobbies 3-4 years ago, it’s impossible to not enjoy days like this,” he says.
They’ve taken over a 2,000-square foot space at the mall across from The Source, where they’ll be accepting donations and then sorting and packing the stockings. Organizer Crystal Smalldon (aka Mother Elf) says the response so far has been incredible, with 200 volunteers helping out and enough gifts already to fill about 200 stockings — that’s all thanks to word of mouth, email and Facebook posts over the past couple of weeks.
You can drop off donations at the mall during regular business hours. To get involved as a volunteer, or for more information visit their Facebook page.
Thanks to Janice Blain for sending along this photo. She says: “Stopped to watch the chickadees and nuthatches today on the Trans Canada Trail west of Westridge. I am sure many people are familiar with these feeders which are constantly filled by a devoted bird lover, who is unknown to me. Would like to take this opportunity to thank them.”
(PHOTO: Lookout over the marsh at the head of Poole Creek, along the Trans Canada Trail just west of Stittsville. Photo by Glen Gower.)
As I sit down to write this it’s a very crisp (1°C) but bright Thanksgiving Monday. I hope you can take some time today to get outside for a run, a walk or a bike ride and enjoy one of the many trails we have close to us in Stittsville. (Bring your camera too – the fall colours are incredible.) Here are five of my favourite paths nearby. Continue reading →
The Terry Fox Run is a non-competitive event where people get together as individuals, families, and groups to raise money for cancer research in Terry’s name. It is a day of celebrating Terry’s legacy and helping to keep alive his dream of finding a cure for cancer. Continue reading →
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Poole Creek may be Stittsville’s most important natural feature. It meanders from west to north east, crossing through neighbourhoods old and new, playing a crucial role in our community’s ecology. In the final part of this series, ecologist Nick Stow follows the creek as it crosses Hazeldean Road. There, it passes through one of Stittsville’s newest neighbourhoods, where it’s in the midst of a transformation from farmland to forest. All photos by Nick Stow.)
PAST SWEETNAM DRIVE, POOLE CREEK CHANGES CHARACTER AGAIN. After a short run out of sight, it crosses under busy Hazeldean Road and enters one of the City’s newest neighbourhoods. Where it once meandered through farmland, the creek nows winds between recent or still-developing subdivisions. Deeper, clay soils have allowed the creek to carve a valley dense in places with Manitoba maple, crack willow and thorny thickets. Following the creek becomes more difficult. With construction still underway, the trail remains incomplete. Good vantage points exist up and downstream of Huntmar Drive, beside one of the established subdivisions. Continue reading →
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Poole Creek may be Stittsville’s most important natural feature. It meanders from west to north east, crossing through neighbourhoods old and new, playing a crucial role in our community’s ecology. In the second part of this series, ecologist Nick Stow follows the creek as it heads east of Stittsville Main Street, entering a stretch that remains largely unsurveyed and uninventoried. All photos by Nick Stow.)
JUST EAST OF MAIN STREET, POOLE CREEK TURNS NORTH AND DISAPPEARS into a large remnant of Stittsville’s once extensive wetlands. Almost inaccessible, the wetland remains largely unsurveyed and uninventoried. However, I suspect that an bioinventory would likely reveal several species at risk, especially Blanding’s turtle, which is known from the Goulbourn Wetland Complex and several isolated observations elsewhere in the village. Continue reading →
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Poole Creek may be Stittsville’s most important natural feature. It meanders from the Trans Canada Trail to the Carp River, crossing through neighbourhoods old and new, playing a crucial role in our community’s ecology. In this series, ecologist Nick Stow follows the creek from start to finish, looking at how it changes as it travels through wetlands, forests and new subdivisions. All photos by Nick Stow.)
I’M CROUCHED LOW, SLOWLY CREEPING THROUGH YOUNG FERNS AND CEDARS TOWARD A SHADED POOL, where my instincts tell me a brown trout should be resting. Sunlight and reflections dapple the surface of the water. In the shadow of the bank, the sandy, leaf-littered creek bottom looks bronze. Freezing against a tree trunk, I concentrate on the patches of bronze, looking for movement. After a few seconds, I can make out the shape, then the speckled, grey back and splash of gold on the sides, holding near the bottom. Perhaps 14 inches long, and just over a pound. I raise my camera, and try to slide surreptitiously into a better position. With a quick flip of its tail, the fish is gone.
Finally had a chance to talk to Gerry Stephens from Stephens Auto Wreckers about the massive “NO TRESPASSING” sign he’s placed at the edge of his property near the Trans Canada Trail. He says he’s tried smaller signs, but they keep disappearing.
COUNCILLORS GET UPDATE ON WILD PARSNIP STRATEGY
The City’s Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee (ARAC) meets on Thursday morning and one of the items on the agenda is a look at the wild parsnip strategy.
The yellow plant was a common sight in Stittsville: along roadways, in ditches, along pathways, in fields. Its sap contains chemicals that can cause skin and eye irritation and make the skin prone to burning and blistering when exposed to the sun.
The City launched a pilot project last year to combat the weed, applying herbicide to over 200km of roadways and parkland, and mowing some of the infested areas. The city also mapped infestation areas, and launched an awareness and education campaign.
(ABOVE: Unveiling of the Kemp Woodland plaque. Left to right: Janet Mason (Ottawa Stewardship Council), Glen Carr (Sacred Heart High School), Phil Sweetnam (Stittsville Village Association), Councillor Shad Qadri, Wayne French (Waste Management).
Ecological studies in the Kemp Woodland, including work carried out by Sacred Heart High School students, have discovered several cedar trees over 200 years old, including one that dates back to 1761.
I like to walk around the paths and there are dogs running loose and ahead of their owners. These animals are larger dogs (huskies, collies, German shepherds, etc.), they are naturally trying to protect the owners. With the growling and barking it is quite disturbing. Continue reading →