Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ongoing Summer Activities

Spring Awakes in Gatineau Park - On May 1st Gatineau Park began its nature interpretation program for the whole family with sessions on spring flowers and the sights and sounds of birds. For more information and dates visit http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/data/2/rec_docs/26186_spring-awakes-in-gatineau-park-2011.pdf. More information on Gatineau Park can also be found at http://www.guidegatineau.ca/

Alcatel-Lucent Sunday Bike Days - running right through our neighbourhood, 5.5 kilometres of the Ottawa River Parkway is closed for cyclists from Victoria Day through to Labour Day.  Make sure to stop off at Westboro beach.  http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/bins/ncc_web_content_page.asp?cid=16297-16299-9970-9972&lang=1&bhcp=1

Watson's Mill in Manotick - Saturday, May 7 - opens for the season - hours are 10-5 - with milling demonstrations on Sunday at 1:00. For more details see last year's blog post at http://kitchissippikids.blogspot.com/2010/05/sunday-excursion-part-ii-watsons-mill.html or http://www.watsonsmill.com/.

Gatineau Park - the parkways re-open on Friday, May 6th at noon! Check out Pink Lake, Larriault Trail, King Mountain trail or Champlain Lookout - all do-able with relatively young children (though take a backpack or a strong set of shoulders just in case!). See last year's blog post on Pink Lake http://kitchissippikids.blogspot.com/2010/08/lots-of-life-at-pink-lake.html. Also don't forget about the Sugarbush trail http://kitchissippikids.blogspot.com/2010/04/sugarbush-trail-in-gatineau-park_02.html. And remember, La Cigale is open for ice cream!

Upper Canada Village - opens for the season on Saturday, May 21, the 50th anniversary season launch, opening of the new Village store, and celebrations of Queen Victoria's birthday will be held. This is a great place for a day trip when you want to get out Ottawa. Interesting for adults, entertaining for kids, wagon rides, canal boat rides, train, history lessons, and a small farm! It's also where my 7 year old baker son loves to buy a big bag of stone milled flour! And you can feed bread to the BIG fish under the bridge. Have fun.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A blog about a blog about biking

I don’t usually blog about other peoples blogs but here’s the thing: if you like to bike and you have a family that likes to bike you should read this blog: http://momentumplanet.com/blog

A majority of it is written by neighbourhood parent and avid cyclist Kathleen Wilker. Her blog focuses on family cycling and at this particular time includes the following topics:
  • Bicycle Adventures in the City
  • After School Bike Club (yes our local schools are becoming more bicycle conscious.  Broadview had a bike rodeo last week and at least two local schools have bicycle champions and bicycle clubs.  Fantastic ideas that are catching on fast)
  • Bike Decorating Part II (in preparation for the Hintonburg Bike Parade to ArtsPark on May 28th and in conjunction with Hintonburg's knitting and fibre haven Wabi Sabi http://www.wabi-sabi.ca/)
  • Bike + Fibre = Parade Ready Bike Art (again, Wabi Sabi)
  • Cycle the Social History of West Ottawa (a Jane's Walk on wheels)
  • The ABC's of Bike Repair
  • Go Take a (Bike) Hike

It also includes some equally interesting topics by other authors, including coach and gear expert Michael Stenning such as:
  • Children and Competitive Riding: How, when and why should kids be introduced to racing?
  • How to Successfully Resolve Cycling Disputes
  • Bike Trailer 101
  • Family of 5 Rides the MS Bike Tour for the 5th Time, by Grant Lawson 
Momentum Planet (http://www.momentumplanet.com/) also has a full fledged cycling magazine available in both a digital and print version if you're looking for broader coverage of cycling issues.  But start with Kathleen's blog.  I think you'll find it's worth it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

UPDATED Go Local - Summer Camps (and a few others....)

It's time to PLAN!  Consider the convenience as well as the great selection of summer camps located in our direct neighbourhood.  Consider NOT having to drive all over town to deliver your children to summer camp.  From sports, to pottery, cooking, theatre and dance, there are lots of camps right here in this neighbourhood:

Baobab Tree's Rhythm Trek camp (ages 7-12) runs August 15-19; as they put it "Drum, sing, dance; make art and food!"  Sounds good to me.  They are a fantastic local organization that teaches African drumming / dance and song.  They are located in "the treehouse" (no, not a real treehouse) at St. George's Church, 415C Piccadilly Avenue (just east of Island Park off Richmond).  Cost is $225.

Camp Awesome - run by Parkdale United Church, this bible camp for 4-12 year olds will run the week of July 25-29 from 10-3 pm with games, crafts and singing all in an environment where they will also learn about faith.  The cost is $75 but all children are welcome regardless of ability to pay.  For more information see http://www.parkdaleunitedchurch.ca/campawesome11.pdf

Canadian Mothercraft - best known for their daycare program and the Ontario Early Years Centre, Mothercraft on Evered (2 streets east of Churchill and just south of Byron) also offers the Fun Ventures summer camp for children aged 3.8 - 6.  For more information see http://www.mothercraft.com/early_learning/funventure.php

Capital City Dance - located in the Westgate Mall this dance studio offers summer dance camps during the weeks of July 11th, 18th and 25th.  See http://www.capitalcitydance.ca/ for more information.

Fisher Park Community Centre - Just realized I did not get around to including the details - and I have them somewhere.  Coming soon.....

Gotta Paint - Gotta Paint http://www.gottapaint.com/ holds typically holds weekly camps throughout the summer  for 5-7 and 8-13 year olds at 352 Kirkwood Avenue.  For more information please contact them directly as information for this year is not yet on their website.

Hintonburg Community Centre - Just realized I did not get around to including the details - and I have them somewhere. Coming soon.....

Jewish Community Centre - JCC programming is open to all faiths and they have a fantastic facility including a great outdoor pool.  I don't know if they're technically in the Kitchissippi boundaries, but if they're not they should definately receive an honorary mention for being so close!

New Star Childrens Theatre - New Star is located in what used to be the United Church at the corner of Churchill Avenue and Ravenhill (across from Churchill Alternative School).  They offer a no-experience necessary summer Broadway Musical Theatre Program for ages 7 and up that culminates in a show at weeks end with everyone assured a part!  It's available for 3 weeks this year - July 25 through July 29, August 8 through August 12 and August 22 through August 26.  Hours are from 9-4 with free before and after care available.  Weekly cost is $230..  For more information see http://newstarchildrenstheatre.ca/summer-performing-arts-program/

Ottawa Gymnastics Centre http://www.ottawagymnasticscentre.ca/   One of the best gymnastics clubs in the city, they have an awesome facility with equipment geared to all age groups.  Camps also take advantage of the outdoor City playground and wading pool.  There are half day camps for 3-5 year olds and full day camps for 6-13 year olds.  Registration is not open yet but will be available via their website, by phone or walk-in.

Ottawa Conservatory Vocal and Dance Academy at 175 Richmond Road,  http://www.ottawaconservatory.com/ - Rock Camp 2011!! 1/2 days 9:00-12:30 for ages 8-17 for a fee of $195 a week.  Registration is ongoing.  Check their website for more details.

The Social Learning Centre - Located at 725 Churchill Avenue, the centre will be running a Summer Bridges Academic and Creative Arts Camp with local author Selena Robins for 4-12 year olds.  The camp runs from 9-4 with free pre and post care.  The cost is $35 a day.   www.sociallearningcentre.ca

YMCA Carlingwood - The Y typically offers summer camps at their 200 Lockhart Avenue location (behind Carlingwood Mall).  Keep in mind that this location is set to close in 2012 so it may be one of your last chances to take advantage of the facility.  Information about Y summer camps will come soon at http://www.ymcaywca.ca/Children/neighbourhooddaycamps/

Suzart - Suzart Productions http://www.suzart.ca/ runs theatre camps out of the Woodroffe United Church at 207 Woodroffe Avenue (south of Byron and north of Carlingwood Mall).  Camps include music dance and performance instruction ending with a show on the final day.

Other Favorite, but further afield, summer camps:

Registration for camps at these great three museums (that operate under one umbrella) started in February but that doesn't mean they don't still have some spots available:

Canada Agriculture Museum http://www.agriculture.technomuses.ca/english/activities_events/summer_day_camps_2011.cfm ,

Canada Science and Technology Museum http://www.sciencetech.technomuses.ca/english/whatson/detailed_summer_daycamps.cfm,

Canada Aviation and Space Museum http://www.aviation.technomuses.ca/visit_us/at_the_museum/summercamps/

The Canadian Childrens Museum has a brand new bilingual summer camp this year called "In the Land of Giants"; there are 3 camps for ages 6-9 and 3 other weeks for ages 10-12. While they have not had this particular camp before, we have attended a lego camp at their facility and had a very positive experience (and my kids ended up knowing their way around all the hidden hallways of the museum!). Registration is by phone at 819-776-7014 and in my experience camps at this museum (for some strange reason - likely lack of awareness) fill up less quickly than at the other museums. For more information see http://www.civilization.ca/cmc/canadian-childrens-museum/programs/day-camps

The camp that I would most like to try myself (though registration is sadly limited to those aged 8-14!) is the "Sail and serve" at the Britannia Yacht Club. Half a day of tennis by the National Tennis School and half a day of sailing - what more can one ask for? It's great! The only possible drawback is weather since the tennis is outside - the flipside of that is the tennis is outside! And so is the swimming....What could be better?  Registration is online at http://nationaltennisschool.com/lessons.php?sid=47e7a12a78b6b1af17ee2304eef81be6&action=d&location=7&id=5 
One can also register for 1/2 days of tennis for 6-9 year olds and 10-14 year olds at the Tennis Centre West Ottawa at Pinecrest and Carling (Britannia Beach)

Two terrific camps where we have almost always been able to find a last minute spot: the Ottawa Athletic Club http://www.ottawaathleticclub.com/ - sports, golf or tennis (worth the price) and Rays Reptiles (worth the drive and worth arriving early for pick-up so you can watch the end-of-day animal show). For more information see http://www.raysreptiles.com/ . Little Ray will also be offering a Little Ray's Radical Science camp.
One of the only places I know of in the city that offers the choice to go to camp just for a day is Cosmic Adventures (http://www.cosmicadventures.ca/) and they generally have spots available if you're in a last minute pinch.  Tubes 'N' Jujubes in Gatineau has also started offering a similar daily program http://www.tubesjujubes.com/.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lego - Fun Facts

In honour of the Lego Garden at the Tulip Festival this year I'm writing a post about Lego, something I've thought of doing for a while, initially on the organizational aspect.  I'm going to keep it short and sweet though.  Here goes:


  • The Lego founder Ole Kirk Christiansen was born in 1872 in Billund, Denmark, where the first lego factory was created, producing all wood products.
  • Lego first came to Canada via a Lego licensing agreement with Samsonite that lasted from 1962 to about 1972.
  • When I was about 3 my parents bought the electric lego train set that was initially marketed in 1968.  It was awesome and I wish they'd kept it!
  • The best Ottawa store for lego is Playvalue on Carling just past the split; also to be found at http://www.playvalue.com/ (yes, they ship and have previous year's merchandise at sale prices).
  • Toys R Us has a good selection as well that has improved vastly in the last couple of years; see  http://www.toysrus.ca/ and they ship as well.
  • You can shop for Lego online at http://www.lego.ca/ and they sometimes have items after local stores have sold out; they also have sale items and specialty items that are not often retailed (eg the $500 Starwars ship that my son wanted - but did not get - for his 9th birthday).
  • There are lots of kids' computer games on the Lego website; they also market a multiplayer online game known as Lego Universe that we did just purchase but have yet to play.
  • Chicago has a Legoland discovery center and there are full Legoland theme parks in California and Florida; http://www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/chicago/en/index.htm.

Instructions and Organization (aka Project Critical)
  • Lego instructions for sets dating back to the 1950's (yes, the 1950's) are available on what I consider one of the best lego websites ever, at http://www.worldbricks.com/; They also have great vintage Lego images.
  • Lego addictions (they're a good addiction to have) can lead to Lego storage issues.  For a great article on solutions see http://jdorganizer.blogspot.com/2007/09/15-lego-storage-options.html.
  • If you have multiple children, label the instructions for each set with the owners name and then keep all instructions in a plastic bin.  It lessens arguments!  Source: personal experience.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wild West Garage Sale and Devonshire School Book Bash

In the rush of spring sales, there are still 2 left. 
Wild. Wild Westboro Garage Sale - Saturday, June 4

Outside at the Dovercourt Recreation Centre near the wading pool from 8-1 pm.  There's no rain date so hope for good weather in which case you'll have a chance to see all your neighbours as a bonus.  Tables can be rented for $10 each through Dovercourt (online, in person or by phone).  Each table will have a separate registration number; book early to get your favorite spot.  If you don't want to sell you can also donate your items to the Westboro Community Association's Table (just contact them in advance by e-mail to hellowestboro@yahoo.ca to let them know in advance

Denonshire School Book Bash and Barbeque - June 10th

 Includes book sale, bake sale, barbeque and silent auction!  More details to follow.