Friday, June 25, 2010

FREE Summer Activities - updated a bit = )

I'm not working this summer so we're all more foot loose and fancy free.  The big boys didn't want to do too many camps but I know we still need to keep busy.  Freebies seem like a good place to start.  Thanks to Denise for recommending this topic - and please, if you know of other freebies, let me know! 
  • The Carlingwoood and Rosemount Libraries are both hosting the TD Canada Trust Summer Read program complete with kick-off party, weekly events and materials to keep your kids focused and having fun.  Registration for the individual events is required - sign up at your closest branch or at with your (free) library card, or simply pick up the materials at your closest library branch
  • Mothercraft is hosting a free drop-in playgroup every Monday and Wednesday morning from 9:15 to 11:15 am at Champlain Park (140 Carleton Avenue).  It is weather dependant so call (613) 728-1839 x.0 if you're not sure or if you want more information.
  • Wading pools - For a full listing as well as hours visit  Local pools include, (from west to east) Woodroffe, McKellar Park, Westboro (Dovercourt), Hampton Park, Iona and Champlain Park.  Each has different play structures and other facilites such as tennis, basketball or baseball so mix it up to keep it interesting.  Parkdale is closed for renovation this season. 
  • Westboro Beach - a personal favorite.  Check the water quality before you go  but don't be too discouraged if it's closed - the sand is still great to play in!
  • Friday evening swims at Dovercourt free for children courtesy of Martin Elder of Keller Williams (and don't miss Survivor Island on July 30th and Radical H2O on August 20th.  See my event listings for more details or visit
  • The Hintonburg Community Association will be hosting one more free movie night on August 14th - The Spy Nextdoor and It's Complicated - see my event listing for more detail or visit  I think this is a fabulous idea - kudos (sp?) to the HCA!
  • Local Parks - for a list of park closures as well as some great alteratives see

Sunday, June 13, 2010

National Aboriginal Day Celebration at Dovercourt (Friday, June 18th)

On Friday June 18th, aboriginal drummers, dancers and storytellers will converge at Kiwanis Park outside Dovercourt to begin their celebrations of the June 21st National Aboriginal Day. This family-oriented event is sponsered by Hintonburg's Odawa Native Friendship Centre (ONFC), Dovercourt Recreation Centre and several other native service organizations.

This is the 2nd year at the Dovercourt site but this year Odawa is expecting bigger crowds.  Local schools are encouraged to attend as part of their end-of-year field trip roster.

At least 45 people of native, metis and inuit desent will participate. Metis dancers, inuit throat singers and circle dancers are just a few of whom you can expect to see. Pinock, a traditional woodworker and birch bark canoe maker from Maniwaki will be showing tradition tools, furs and possibly a tipi. Terry McKay of Port Simposon B.C. will lead the opening and closing prayer and share traditional storytelling. Greg Moekis will play the big drum and the women's hand drum group will also be on hand. The Inuit Community Centre will be demonstrating inuit crafts and Dion Mecalfe, a local inuit man who made headlines for turning his life around, will be demonstrating inuit games.

The sampler menu, provided by Wabano will include three sisters soup (with corn, beans and squash), wild rice salad, bannock and strawberries.

According to 2006 census data Kitchissippi's 35,000 population includes just over 1000 people with aboriginal origins - or about 3%, slightly above the city's average. The City Of Ottawa as a whole counted approximately 30,000 of aboriginal origin in its total population. Unlike other cities such as Winnipeg the aboriginal population is quite scattered and less visible. Ottawa's aboriginal population is growing quite dramatically and over half of all aboriginal people are young..

June 21st was first designated National Aboriginal Day in 1996 by then Governor General Romeo Leblanc, after requests from the Sacred Circle and the National Assembly.  The day is designed to encourage Canadians to learn about and celebrate the contributions of native, metis and inuit Canadians.

To those organizing the event, Meegewatch. It means "thank you"

(Above, the Odawa emblem found above the main door at the Native Friendship Centre, b elow: a beaded medicine bag that my son made at the event last year)

Why Blog?

Why am I blogging?
  • I'm not doing this for any particular reason
  • I've always wanted to write;
  • It's an escape
  • Some people actually read what I write!
  • Best of all
    • It's making me explore my neighbourhood and the city a lot more
    • I'm taking a lot more photos
    • I'm learning
  • I'll keep doing it until I don't want to do it anymore
Is this a blog?

I didn't iniitally fully understand what "a blog" is.  It's a "web log" and what I'm doing is more information sharing.  So am I blogging?  Sort of?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

And Operating the Pipe Organ at St. Francois D'Assise Church

What I liked the most about Doors Open Ottawa this year was that the sites we visited weren't busy and they weren't rushed.  The volunteers really had time for us. 

The organist - his name is Gilles - at St. Francois D'Assise Church on Fairmont allowed us to "play" the organ, he played us a piece by Bach, he showed us the inside where the pipes are and he brought out a pipe they don't use anymore for us to look at.

The organ is quite spectacular and I had to take a few photos.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Operating Heavy Machinery at Lemieux Island (Doors Open)

If you (or your kids) have ever wanted to operate a backhoe or crane, look no further than Lemieux Island. A nice surprise in their Doors Open display is the "heavy machinery" display outside complete with volunteers who aren't just willing to let you sit in their machines, but will turn them on and let you operate them as well (shown here are the boys using the outside controls to operate a small crane). Both kids and adults welcome!

The tour itself was a bit too in depth for my 7 and 9 year olds BUT...when we asked if we could skip the tour and just have someone take us in side to see the water system, the volunteers were totally agreeable. We got a mini private tour!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Doors Open Ottawa - Kitchissippi Style, June 5th and 6th

(For a paper list of Kitchissippi participants see my blurb in today's Kitchissippi Times)

In the spirit of discovering more of our own neighbourhood try out some of these local locations (photos appear at the end): Both Lemieux Island and Traffic Operations are on the city's "kid-friendly" list but don't let that stop you from visiting the others as well. Kids have a remarkable ability to appreciate unique environments whether they're deemed kid-friendly or not!
  • the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral at 1000 Byron Avenue, (closed Saturday, open Sunday noon-4)
  • the Keg Manor on Richmond Road, 529 Richmond Road (closed Saturday) and MapleLawn Gardens at the same location
  • Lemieux Island Water Purification Plant at 1 River Street.
  • the Ottawa Mosque at 251 Northwestern Avenue
  • St. Francois d'Assisse Church at 20 Fairmont Avenue
  • The Standard Bread Company Building which houses both the Enriched Bread Artists at 951 Gladstone Avenue and the Gladstone Clayworks Co-op Pottery Studio at 949b Gladstone Avenue
  • Traffic Operations Public Works at 175 Loretta Avenue (virtually across the street from the Standard Bread Co.)
My other further-afield picks from the kids' list are Sun-Tech Tomatoes together with Watsons Mill in Manotick (see my blog posts on these from 2 weeks ago), the Diefenbunker, the OCTranspo Walkely O-Train maintenance facility and the Ottawa Mail Processing Plant.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June Events

I cannot believe it's June, 4 weeks left of school, EQAO testing for grade 3s, reno hopefully done by end of month...

Friday, June 4th - Woodroffe Avenue Public School's Annual Spring Fling and Book Sale from 4:30 to 8 pm at 235 Woodroffe Avenue.  This event has everything covered.  We've seen the sign before but never gone in but this time I'm reading more about it....They will have pony rides, moonbounce (which is...?) bouncy obstacle course, bouncy slide, spinner ride, cotton candy, snocones, a bbq from 5-7, carnival games, face painting, tattoos (I assume not real), the surprise jar table (??) a bake sale, a book sale and some live demonstrations!!!  Whew, now I will take a breath.  We might need to check this one out!

Marmaduke released in theatres (PG, for some rude humour and language)

Friday and Saturday, June 4-5 - Devonshire Public School at 100 Breezehill Avenue in Hintonburg will be hosting a used book sale along with (on Friday night) a silent auction, BBQ, bake sale and live entertainment.  The sale will be open on Friday from 3:30 - 8 pm and on Saturday from 9 -12 and there will be thousands of books to choose from.

Doors Open Ottawa - June 5th and 6th - this is my absolute must-do pick for this weekend.  For a list of local locations and photos see my post from May 28th  at
I've scoped the locations and the best bet is to start at the Ukrainian Church, on to the Maplelawn (Keg) Manor and Garden, St. Francis D'Assise, Lemieux Island and then down to the Standard Bread Company and Public Works (or do it in reverse).  If you need to cut that in half do either the first four or the last three.  Don't miss Lemieux Island - it's not open often.

For a list of all locations that are said to be best for children see  There was a guide in the May 29th Citizen and guides should also be available at Bridgehead locations throughout the city.  Most Doors Open locations are open both days from 10-4 but there are a reasonable number of exceptions so check the guide before you head out. 

My other further-afield picks from the kids' list are Sun-Tech Tomatoes together with Watsons Mill in Manotick (see my blog posts on these from 2 weeks ago), the Diefenbunker, the OCTranspo Walkely O-Train maintenance facility and the Ottawa Mail Processing Plant.

Saturday, June 5th - the 2nd annual Wild Westboro Garage Sale will be held from 8 - 11 outside (around the pool) at Dovercourt Recreation Centre, 411 Dovercourt Avenue.  For more information visit  Unfortunately, the 16th annual Music in the Park featuring local school bands has been CANCELLED due to the rainy forecast. 

Monday, June 7th from 10:30-11:30 am - "Balancing School, Life and Family" is put on by Canadian Mothercraft at the Bethany Hope Centre, 1140 Wellington Street West, contact Cathy Cadieux at (613) 728-1839 x0
Friday, June 11 - "Karate Kid" released in theatres (PG for some bullying, martial arts violence and mild language)

Friday - Sunday, June 11 13 - WESTFESTWhat more can I say?  Just don't forget about it!  LOTS to do for parents and kids alike.  If it's a hot day take children early on before it gets too hot and crowded and have some food and drink with you in case line-ups are long at lunchtime.  For more information check out

Friday, June 18th from 10:30-2:30 - come and celebrate Aborignial Day at Dovercourt with the Odawa Native Friendship Centre.  This event was very enjoyable last year and suitable for all ages.  Learn about aboriginal culture,  listen to storytelling, enjoy the drumming and dancing and sample aboriginal food together with face painting, games & activities.

Friday, June 18th - Toy Story 3 released in theatres - 3D and IMAX

Saturday, June 19th - City beaches - including our own lovely Westboro beach - officially open and will be liveguarded, though do always check the water quality in advance.

Saturday, June 26th - the Teddy Bear's Picnic at Rideau Hall in support of CHEO.  If you have a child who cares for a stuffed animal with "medical issues" support this excellent cause, complete with a  M*A*S*H* style care centre for the soft and cuddly among us.  For more information visit  It can get busy so I recommend going early (as I do with everything) and take some of your snacks.  The mini train ride can get particularly lined-up.