Thursday, October 28, 2010

Broadview Used Sports Equipment Sale

If there's a parent out there who doesn't either have or need used sports equipment I'd be surprised!  And this year Broadview Avenue Public School is hosting a Used Sports Equipment Sale to deal with that very thing.  All money raised from the table rentals and bake sale will go to support the grade 8 school trip (but sellers do get to keep their profits!)
  • When:  Saturday, Nov. 6th from 9-12
  • Where: in the small gym, 590 Broadview Avenue (corner of Broadview and Dovercourt)
  • What:  summer or winter sports equipment
  • How:  Sellers will sell their equipment themselves paying just $3 as a "table fee".  If sellers don't want to stay to do the selling they may drop off their goods and the proceeds will go to the school trip.
  • There will also be a bake sale! Yum!

For more information contact Janice van Baaren at (613) 729-8335 or

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Commemorating Devonshire's 100 Years

This was our other place of exploration on Thanksgiving Monday. I had never been to Devonshire school but with 3 kids at loose ends and abandoned by my spouse for the afternoon, I decided to check it out.

Why Devonshire?  Devonshire Avenue Public School will be celebrating its 100th anniversary on Friday.  That's a milestone  There will be a BBQ, music (the Aardvaark Big Band), a Speakers Corner so you can record your memories of the school for their time capsule birthday cake, school tours, memorabilia displays etc etc!  For more information see

The school was build in 1910 and first named Breeze Hill Public School. It was expanded and renamed in 1921 after the then Governor General, the Duke of Devonshire, who inaugurated the new wing. The plaque near the front door notes that the school is built in a Collegiate Gothic style typical of Ottawa schools of that era as is the Tudor entrance way, stone foundation and brick detailing.

There was one other mother with a son at the school when we arrived and of course we got to chatting.  She explained that the signs for "Girls" over the south door (pictured below) and "Boys" over the north door had identified the separate yards that the two used at recess or lunch.  Apparently the school will re-enact that separation as one of their commemoration activities. 

That's a little piece of history.  One hundred years does change things.  What's nice about Devonshire is that the building remains as a reminder. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thanksgiving Day & the Chinatown Arch

Today, after dinner, we were at loose ends and went exploring.  My favorite spot was the new Chinese Gate on Somerset just west of Bronson. 

It is beautiful, phenomenal in fact, but there is more to it than that.  If you haven't been following the story, or if you want to see a lot of wonderful photos, including ones from the construction process, check out

Some nuggets to whet your appetite:  16 technicians travelled from Beijing China to assist with the construction and decoration and painting of the arch.  The arch's glazed golden tiles were donated by China.  5 special metal coins (the oldest from the Tang Dynasty) and 5 colour spreads are embedded in the structure to bring blessings.

According to the website, the first Asian residents arrived in Ottawa about 100 years ago and by the 1930's there were over 300 people in what is known as Chinatown.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Museums and Mondays Don't (usually) Mix

At least not in the winter.  Have other people made the trek out hoping for a fun morning at the museum before naps only to find that (gasp) they're closed?  Yes, that's right - Closed.  I love our local museums but knowing their hours is key to a successful visit (no kidding, right).

After the summer months museum traffic gets slower, tourism trickles and museums get a break - usually (the world over) on MONDAYS.  Though sometimes Tuesdays too....and some don't open till 10:00 (which for the young crowd is L-A-T-E LATE!

And to confuse you (or at least me) more, the ones that are closed on Monday are often open if it's a HOLIDAY Monday.  Always check in advance.

The other international museum rule - Thursday nights are least if they're open!  and the last hour of opening (often 4:00-5:00) is also often free.

So that you don't make the same mistakes I have and so that perhaps the hours will become ingrained in my brain by writing this, here are the WINTER HOURS of the key Ottawa family museums.  If in doubt please check the official museum websites.  Frankly that's always a good idea....

  • Canada Agriculture Museum (aka the Farm) - actually open every day from 9-5 since the animals always need to be fed.  Main exhibit buildings do eventually close for the winter though the barns always remain open (great for a winter walk with occasional mildly warm refuge out of the wind with the sheep or pigs or horses).  The exception that proves the rule.  They have fun special events for both Thanksgiving and Halloween (one or two chocolates to be found maybe??)
  • Canada Aviation and Space Museum - Open from Wednesday to Monday (yes they are open on Monday - thanks to Mary@parenthood for correcting me) from 10:00 - 5:00.  (note that, 10:00, probably becuase this museum really is for the slightly older of the young crowd)
  • Canada Science and Technology Museum (aka Science and Tech) open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 - 5:00, closed Mondays, except holidays.  Note that they have a great new little kids play area and the current exhibit "In Search of the Canadian Car" is excellent.  Have always loved this museum.
  • Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Childrens Museum:  Tuesday through Friday 9:00 - 5:00 but Thursdays open till 8:00 pm (Free admission Thursday evenings); Saturday and Sunday 9:30 - 5:00.
  • Canadian Museum of Nature:  Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 - 5:00, Thursdays 9:00 - 8:00 (with Free admission on Thursday evenings)

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Walk to you?

I have my own reasons for walking my kids to school.  With two active boys I think I owe it to the teachers to run them before school  I think they'll concentrate, behave and learn better.  With a baby I find driving more of a hassle - in and out of the car instead of just once into the stroller.  That being said I've also at times done my share of driving and know that sometimes it's (almost) unavoidable....we should just do our best to minimize.

October, 2010 is International Walk to School Month and Wednesday of this week is International Walk to School Day.  We owe our thanks to the Hertfordshire County Council in England for this creation, piloted in 1994.  The UK Pedestrian Association held a similar event a year later and in 1996 the first cross-country walk-to-school week was held.  And it's grown enormously since then.  Last year over 40 countries participated and this year will likely top that number.  Canada joined in 1998.  The organization provides lots of information on its web site

Green Communities Canada leads the initiative in Ontario.  More information on their work can be found at including resources, tools, information and links for schools.  It points out an amazing statistic  "If just nine families participate regularly in a Walking School Bus over the course of a school year, they can collectively prevent almost 1,000 kg of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere".  That sounds like a lot - it is a lot.  Now imagine if 18, 27 or 36 families did the same thing....

What more can we do? 
  • Talk with neighbours about walking school buses. Check out this post on the Broadview School web site by some parents who did exactly that  Hiring a teenager to walk a group of children to or from school is another option.
  • Encourage your city councillors to be involved in traffic issues and consider school children in traffic planning assessments.  Schools may examine traffic patterns close to their building but will not typically have sufficient resources or jurisdcition to go further afield.
  • Encourage the school board to consider walkability when determining school catchment areas.  We for example attend Broadview Ave. P.S. which is 0.8 km away however our designated school is in fact Hilson, 2 km away and past 2 busy streets.  We can walk to Broadview but could likely never be walking to Hilson.  We would love to see the boundary changed so that our youngest can be assured a spot at Broadview without a cross-boundary transfer.