Thursday, April 29, 2010

Broadview's Annual Jazz Cafe

Jazz Cafe is at 7:00 tomorrow night (Friday, April 30th) at Broadview Avenue Public School, 590 Broadview Avenue.  If you want to support music in our schools attending this event is both a great way to do it and a great evening out. There is a silent auction followed by performances by the Grade 8 jazz band, a debut of the Grade 7 jazz band and a grand finale with the Broadview Alumni Jazz Band.  A free desert and beverage (served to your table in the gym transformed into cafe complete with intimate tables and mood lighting) are included.

The main reason to go - the music is good.  Second of all, it's impressive to see the musical progression through the 7s and 8s through to the alumni.  Clearly a lot is being accomplished as these bands have talent and the enthusiasm and good feeling of the event make up for any missed notes.  It is of course also a great opportunity to see what your children and your neighbours children are doing, to realize what a contribution Ginger Jacobson and her team make to the school, and to catch up with your neighbours and neighbourhood.  Advance tickets are $8 for adults and students $5 or $10 for adults at the door.  You won't get a better deal on an evening out.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Hilson's Artisan Marketplace and Community Garage Sale

Hilson Avenue Public School is hosting its annual Artisan Marketplace and Community Garage Sale on Saturday, April 24th from 9:00 till 1:00.  Over 30 local artists will be displaying their wares together with neighbours displaying their own treasures.  There will be a cafe, a barbeque, kids events and a silent auction.  The silent auction includes a super cool chair made from hockey sticks, toys from Play Value, and Mrs Tiggywinkles, a gift basket from Kitchenailia, gift certificates to local restaurants, Dovercourt, an interior designer, and other fun stuff.  Grown-ups can shop while face painting, cupcake decorating and crafts entertain their kids.  For lunch, enjoy the barbeque with hotdogs $2, hamburgers $3 and drinks $1.
More importantly, if you bring your bike you can have it checked for spring safety and, even more importantly, if you have a bike (particularly a mountain bike in reasonable condition) that you're no longer using, bring it along as a donation for Bikes to Haiti.  Focus on Development is a non-governmental organization based in Mississippi Mills that is running this project.  They will also be selling some used childrens bikes in order to raise money for shipping costs.  For more information see or e-mail

Saturday, April 17, 2010

TV Turn-Off Week

We periodically turn off our TV, hide the remote, ban the computer etc. - usually when behaviour (the kids', not ours) has hit an all-time low.  Once we even put the TV in the garage for a week just to avoid the temptation of giving in!  If you too are looking to lose some screen time, April 19th - 25th is the official "TV turn-off week" (also referred to as digital detox). 

The first such event was put on in 1994 by Adbusters Magazine and a few other collaborators.  The Centre for Screen Time Awareness (CSTA), based in Washington, is the current promoter.  This isn't an event that's getting a lot of screen (or print) time though.  Even the CSTA has almost nothing on its website.  The best resource that I could find is published by the Media Awareness Network, a non-profit organization based in Ottawa that helps people understand how the media works and how the media may affect lifestyle choices  It's got some quick statistics, some topics to discuss with your kids and links to other resources as well. The event is also publicized in the April 2010 Scholar's Choice Toy Talk Newsletter and has in the past (though not this year) been promoted by the OCDSB.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Park Closures

For a comprehensive list of summer park closures and alternatives (see both main text and comments sent in) check out Miss Vicky's blog at  There's a March 30th post entitled "Heads Up - Park Closures"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sunday Excursion - Parc Louis-Roy, Aylmer

It's a milestone - my kids' feet reach the ground at Dovercourt from the monkey bars!  We got a tip from a friend about a great play structure in Aylmer so we decided to hunt it down.  This was not just any playstructure and was well worth the trip.  It's located in Parc Louis-Roy in Aylmer (Gatineau).  It was built a year and a half ago by a company called Landscape Structures and it is awesome for older kids (eg. 5 -12). 

Not only is this structure great to play on but it's a lesson in physics as well.  Why do you stay on the super narrow slide with no sides?  How do you climb the spinning corkscrew?  Why do the tilted seats continue to spin without you pushing them?

The park is flanked by the charming older neighbourhood of Witchwood on one side and a new development on the other.  Paved walking paths lead from the new development and there are plenty of comfortable benches.  Toward Witchwood there is a wooded area if your children want to scamper down some short trails.   You can park on either side.  There is a playstructure and swings for the younger set as well.  People were friendly and it will give you a chance to break out your French.  Afterwards, have a walk through historic Aylmer, or drop by the beach/marina for some fresh air.

The park is about 20 minutes from Kitchissippi.  Take Island Park Drive to the Champlain Bridge.   Cross the bridge and turn left almost immediately on the lower Aylmer Road (Blvd de Lucerne).  Continue to rue des Grandes Chateaux and turn left (the house on the corner does have a castle-like turret that you can't miss).  Then take the first right onto rue Louis-Roy where there is street parking and paved pathways to the Park.  If you want to park on the Witchwood side, continue to rue Pine and turn left.  Turn left again at rue Juniper and you will be able to park at the barricade where the road ends (it continues as a paved pathway).  You may not see the play structure right away from this side but it is right behind the trees.  Have fun!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

April Events

Thursday, April 15th -

Weekly Storytime (Session 2) at the Carlingwood Branch of the OPL from 2:00-2:40 for 3-6 year olds.  Sessions runs until Wednesday, May 19th. Registration not required.

Weekly Toddlertime (Session 2) for children aged 18-35 months from 10:30-11:00 at the Carlingwood Branch.  The session is currently full and there is a waiting list.

Weekly Evening Storytime at the Carlingwood branch of the OPL from 6:30-7:00 with stories, rhymes and songs for children and their parents/caregivers.  From past experience children (not adults!) should feel free to wear pyjamas and bring a stuffed toy!  Session lasts until May 20th with no registration required.

Saturday, April 17th, 10:30-11:10  - Weekly Family Storytime at the Carlingwood branch of the OPL.  We went to this for years with my older two boys - it brought some rhythm and structure to our Saturday mornings and ensured we saw some old friends.  Session lasts until May 22nd, no registration required.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (rated PG) at the Ottawa Family Cinema

Sunday, April 18th
  • Giggle and Stomp (a kids' take-off on the other "grown-up" version of Stomp) is showing at the NAC as part of its Kinderconcerts series.  This musical journey of percussion starts in Africa, continuing through the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.  If it's anything akin to the "real" Stomp, it's sure to be enjoyable.  For more information visit
Tuesday, April 20th - Support the food bank at Gotta Paint and kids will paint for free from 10 am to 4 pm.

Wednesday, April 21st - The Page Turners at the Carlingwood Branch of the OPL, a bookclub for 9-12 year olds.  This date appears to be full but if you're interested in future sessions check the OPL website and book ahead!

Thursday, April 22nd - Earth Day, Museum of Nature is Free

Saturday, April 24th
  • Come support Hilson Avenue elementary students at their school's artisan and community garage sale at 407 Hilson Avenue.  Arts, crafts and basement treasures will be for sale along with a cafe/barbeque, children's activities and silent auction.
  • Also on Saturday, free painting at Gotta Paint from 9:30 to 5:30 for everyone who supports the foodbank!!!
  • And in the evening join Kitchissippi's Baobab Tree Youth with Keteke from Montreal at The Chamber, 101 Centrepointe Drive at 8:00.
Tuesday, April 27th - Support the food bank at Gotta Paint and kids will paint for free from 10 am to 4 pm.

April 26th - May 21st - Museum of Nature closed in preparation for grand re-opening on May 22nd.

 Friday, April 30th at 7:00 pm
  • Jazz Cafe at Broadview Avenue Public School led by stellar music teachers Mrs. Ginger Jacobson and Ms. Leslie Bricker. 
  • Kids Night Out at Gotta Paint for 7-13 year olds from 6-8 pm.  $18 covers craft supplies, snack and beverage.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Sugarbush Trail in Gatineau Park

This is the best place in Gatineau Park for an easy hike with a baby. It's stroller accessible provided you have half decent wheels and is about 40 minutes long without any steep inclines. It's next to the Park's Visitor Centre with clean indoor bathrooms and water fountains! Outside there are picnic tables as well as a large field for some pre-hike soccer or frisbee. For colder weather there's a warm-up hut with wood stove.

For toddlers and older children the river is enticing. It's traversed by a small wooden bridge with railing high enough to keep your children safe provided both feet are on the bridge deck! You can easily see the beaver dam below and with some luck will even see a beaver (we did today!) or some deer. There are paths down to the water though they are probably unofficial.

At the hike's half way point is a bench perfectly timed for a quick snack. Just past that there's a sidetrail leading up to the bear cave (Bear cave?? It's probably just a regular was unoccupied today). The sidetrail reconnects with the main trail shortly after.

La Cigale, the ice cream shop (which has moved to Scott St., ) may be inevitable particularly as the months pass into summer....Yes, their ice cream is delicious (try the hazelnut...mmmh)

Childcare Centres in Kitchissippi

For the central childcare list view and on that site you will find a map of childcare centres in Kitchissippi at:

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Play's the Thing!

Did you know that there's a new kids theatre in Kitchissippi?  It's the "New Star Childrens Theatre" operating out of the Westboro United Church at 450 Churchill Avenue (at Ravenhill right across from Churchill Alternative School).  The musical theatre programs are for children aged 7 to 16.  It is an inclusive program - all children are given parts in the production they work on.  Students are taught through rehearsals (6-8 hours per week) over the course of a 6 months session.  Melanie Walker, is the director of the Ottawa Theatre and Carole-Ann Walker is the theatre's producer.  For more detail, and some pictures, check out their website or call them at (613) 523-3264. 
If you try it out, let me know what you think!