Friday, November 30, 2012

Devonshire's Gingerbread Event

There is something about gingerbread. Whether it's gingerbread cookies, gingerbread people or houses, it all smells delicious, is fun to create and looks bright and Christmasy when done.

In the spirit of the season (and whether you celebrate Christmas or not), Devonshire public school holds a fantastic annual Gingerbread House Making event that will allow you to explore both your creativity and your sweet tooth The details are below. Enjoy!

Devonshire School Council is pleased to present its Annual Gingerbread House Decorating event on Saturday, December 8th! The school is located at 100 Breezehill Avenue North which is just west of the O-train tracks and just south of Somerset St. West.

Each house costs $20 or you can purchase 2 houses for $35.  Refreshments will also be available for purchase.  Proceeds go to support the school.

If you plan to attend, please register. You can download the registration form directly from the school's website at:

Have fun!!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Woodroffe Ski, Skate (and more) Sale

Woodroffe Avenue Public School (across from the Carlingwood Library) is holding its annual ski and skate sale on Thursday, November 15 from 6:00­-7:30pm.
This community event is open to everyone and you can buy kids skis, skates, snowboards, hockey gear, soccer cleats, roller blades, bikes, other equipment, sports & winter clothing, Halloween costumes, etc. !!

You can also sell your own things that your kids have outgrown, clearing out and making way for new equipment! You can even sell gently used Halloween costumes! You receive 80% of the proceeds and 20% will go directly to support the school. Tell your ‘sporty’ friends and neighbours. Start digging out those old items and get ready to buy this season's equipment at great prices - all for a great cause!

Please, no adult equipment or street clothing.

To sell your equipment
  • E-mail: and they’ll send you a kit, or
  • Drop off your equipment on Monday, November 12 between 3:30 to 5 pm or Tuesday, November 13 between 7 to 8 pm.
Note: The school office does not provide kits for sellers.

The school does also need volunteers!  Can you lend at hand? Please email and let them know what you’d like to do!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Do-si-do....Family Dances!

Family Dances in your Neighbourhood
Do-si-do and around you go... All take hands and circle to the left....
Into the middle and clap!
Sound like fun? Do you know children who love to dance? This year Ottawa’s Contra Dance community will be hosting three family dances. Family dances are fun, easy-to-learn and for people of all ages. They include simple formations such as circles, lines and bridges. Children love them, and so do adults.
Family dances include a live band and caller. The caller walks everyone through the formations of the dance before the music starts. Then the real dancing begins with lots of laughing, hopping, and sometimes singing. Family dances are a great way to connect with your children, friends, neighbours and people of all ages. Recommended for ages 3 and up, though smaller children can also hop along, and really young ones can dance in a backpack or sling.
Ottawa’s first family dance of the season is Saturday, Oct 20th at the Churchill Recreation CEntre, 345 Richmond Road, between Churchill and Roosevelt. Check out the Ottawa Contra Dance webpage for more information:
Oct 20, 330-5pm
Churchill Recreation Centre, 345 Richmond Road
$10 per adult, children are free!
This is a FAMILY DANCE for kids and their parents - happening on Saturday, October 20th from 3:30-5:00pm!
Come on out to a fun family dance with live music (fiddle and guitar). All dances are taught by an experienced family dance leader.
NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY!!! Family dances are for all ages - recommended for 3+ but younger can definitely participate (plus wee wee ones can participate in backpacks and slings).
Kids are free, $10 for adults.
PS - please bring indoor shoes to protect the city's wood floor!

Elmdale School's Fabulous Fall Sale

Elmdale photoLooking for quality, gently used items for your child at fantastic prices?

Elmdale Public School invites you to its annual Fall Sale of Clothing,
Toys, and Equipment on Saturday, October 13th from 9 a.m. to 12
p.m. (cash only) in the school gym, 49 Iona Street (access from Java
This sale includes gently used children's clothes, shoes, hats,
outerwear, puzzles, games, winter sports gear, Halloween costumes,
baby gear, and more.
You can be a vendor without even attending!
Drop off tagged items pre-sale and pick-up unsold items after the
sale. Contact us for more details and to obtain a vendor number
Sale proceeds are shared 50:50 between the
vendors and School Council to support extracurricular programs.
Two additional tips (from me, not the school) - go early. This sale is so good there is often a line-up! And if you're taking a small child, use a child carrier and not a stroller as the gym is just too busy to navigate with wheels.  Enjoy the bargains!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fabulous Family-Friendly Bike Activities

The below list of bike activities which will keep you and your children pedaling through the summer.

1. Sunday Bike Days run every Sunday from 9 - 12 on the Ottawa River Parkway. I like to take one or both of the older boys. Sometimes, I admit we do a ride and then head up to the Harvest Loaf on Wellington for a croissant and coffee (well, coffee for me, anyway).  This weekend we plan to bike down to the Ottawa Children's Festival at Lebreton Flats.

2. Capital Velofest
All the details can be found at but essentially it's two days of bike rodeo featuring games, product demos, bike safety and fun! On Saturday it will be held at City Hall from 11 am to 5 pm and on Sunday from 10-1 at Brantwood Park and at 6:00 in Kitchissippi (see item 3, below).  There is also a Tour de Nuit on Saturday from 5-11 pm. Your bicycle must have both a bell and a light to participate in Tour de Nuit.

3. Kitchissippi Rides to the Inukshuks at Remic Rapids, Sunday June 3, 6 p.m.
In connection with Capital VeloFest, the Cycling Champions are hosting a community biking event. We are encouraging riders of all abilities to bike to the Inukshuks at Remic Rapids. Feel free to bring your own nut-free picnic. John Ceprano, stone sculptor extraordinaire, will host a stone balance workshop for all interested participants. This is organized by Hintonburg Bike Champion Kathleen Wilker who you should read or follow for all neighbourhood things that are bike related. She can be found on twitter at @kathleenwilker and also writes a family blogpost at Momentum Magazine. Her many blog posts about family biking can be found at:

4. Broadview Bike Rodeo - June 15, 4-7 pm, rain or shine

The first edition of this bike rodeo was held last year and featured sessions on helmet fitting, bike care and rules of the road. It also allowed participants to test their bike handling skills on a number of challenges. The kids loved it. This year the events may expand to include things such as skills demonstrations / competitions, a 'bike gallery', bike decorating and/or a parade.  No promises though - this is still in the development stage!

Concepts to be taught at the bike rodeo will be taken from

Doors Open Ottawa - Kitchissippi Style (with Kids of Course!)

If you’re doing Doors Open Ottawa with kids (which I highly recommend!) remember that their attention spans are shorter than yours (likely, anyway!), that they may be in-and-out of buildings quickly, that they may be surprisingly interested in things you did not expect and that they need playtime in between.

The locations below are all in the Kitchissippi neighbourhood, listed roughly from west to east and are a great opportunity to check out our neighbourhood. Locations are open on Saturday, June 2md and Sunday July 3rd between 10am and 4pm unless otherwise indicated.

We have a great neighbourhood with lots of history – have a good time learning about it and sharing it with your children!

The Keg Manor - Thompson House and Maplelawn Gardens- 529 Richmond Road (building open Sunday only) listed separately in the guide but you won’t do one without the other. It's a lovely example of Georgian architecture and the garden (now in full bloom!) is one of the very few walled gardens remaining in the City.  A little further west on Richmond there is another 1840's stone building (now condominiums) that is worth looking at though it's not part of Doors Open.

Westboro Masonic Hall, 430 Churchill Ave., corner of Byron - (open both days but only from 2-4). There's a banquet hall on the main floor and then a more formal room upstairs for meetings of the Masons. If your kids need a play, drop into the Churchill School playground nextdoor. 

The Ottawa Mosque - 251 Northwestern Avenue off Scott Street - We've found the tour here really interesting. Neither I nor the kids had ever been in a mosque. It was informal (there were lots of kids around - both Mosque members and visitors - and the hosts served coffee and Timbits!) and it felt completely appropriate for slightly older children (mine were 7 and 9 at the time). The dome and minaret, which is used to call practising Muslims to prayer, are defining features of the building.

The Protection of the Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Church - 99 Stonehurst Avenue, also off Scott Street and just a little further east than the Mosque (open Saturday only) - This church has beautiful golden onion domes and was built with funds from Russian Orthodox congregations around the world.  It is next door to Laroche Park which has a Splash Pad (!) - and don’t be discouraged - the splash pad is on - you just have to hit the sensors in the right way!

The Parkdale Food Centre, 89 Stonehurst Avenue, (open Saturday only) right beside the Russian Orthodox Church (between it and Laroche Park)  (though google maps seems to suggest it's around the corner near where Stonehurst meets Carruthers). - This Food Bank is celebrating it's 25th anniversary so drop in and wish them a year of success in their endeavours to keep people in the neighbourhood well fed. The Food Bank serves people between Bayswater and Island Park and between Carling and the Ottawa River.  Continue to think of it for donations when you have a little extra on hand to spare. (Note : this photo courtesy of the City of Ottawa).

St. Francois D’Assise Church 20 Fairmont Avenue, corner of Wellington in Hintonburg - we visited this Hintonburg landmark two year's ago and the absolute hi-lite was that they let us play, and then they played for us (beautifully, I might add), the pipe organ. See this blog post for photos!  If you and your kids need a run-around check out Hintonburg Park behind the Hintonburg Community Centre. Like Laroche Park it has a splash pad!

Enriched Bread Artists; the Standard Bread Building, 949, 951 Gladstone Avenue - again these have two separate listings but are in the same building. They are the home of the Standard Bread Company, initially run by Cecil G. Morrison, also known as the Happy Baker. The horses and buggies that delivered the bread throughout Ottawa were stabled in the rear and it was the first place with an automatic bread slicer in Ottawa. The building now houses various artists studios so have a look at the Gladstone Clayworks and the Artistic Bread Artists and what they have to show.

Traffic Operations, Public WorksTraffic Operations - Public Works - 175 Loretta Avenue North - (this is virtually right across from the Standard Bread Building) and is the nerve centre for traffic control in much of Ottawa.  This is the only other one that I haven't visited before but I am hoping to get there this year. I think the boys will find it cool! (Note: this photo courtesy of the City of Ottawa).

Need a play structure at some point for a break? Pay a quick visit to Devonshire Public School at 100 Breezehill Avenue just a block west of Loretta and a block north of Gladstone.

A list of "kid-friendly" Door Open locations throughout Ottawa is available at:  but use your judgment as I’ve certainly found others to be kid-friendly as well.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Ottawa to Halifax..with a van

For the past 11 years we have been driving to Halifax at various times with kid (and then kids) in tow.  While we sometimes fly more often we choose the more economical mode of travel.  We have three boys - now 10, eight and two, and as you can imagine entertainment and physical activity en route is critical to each trip's success. 

A few days ago, I scrawled out a quick list for a colleague embarking on his first Ottawa-Halifax drive this summer. I've done that countless times before. So this time I thought I would write them here.  I'm not going to elaborate to much on the various stops but if you have questions feel free to ask!

In order, west to east:
  • Montreal's Biodome or Botanical Gardens; Both of these are excellent. If you want to be outside, try the botanical gardens - the Chinese and Japanese gardens are particularly beautiful in my view. On a rainy day, or if your kids love unique animals, definitely choose the Biodome. Make sure you (and the kids) don't get too tired before you reach the penquins at the end as they are super cute.
  • Old Quebec City
  • Quebec City Aquarium;
  • La Pocatiere rest stop - this is just a rest stop, but more than a rest stop. It has an absolutely beautiful view of the Lower Saint Lawrence river. There is a Tim Horton's on the other side of the highway so you can grab a lunch and have it outside. If the tide is out your kids may want to walk closer to the water - just be careful as puddles can be much deeper (and muddier!) than they look. In case of an "incident" the visitor centre keeps an outdoor hose on hand that you can use to wash yourselves down before getting back in the car.
  • New Brunswick Botanical Gardens (with camping and a pool nextdoor); Beautiful and includes a butterfly room. Great way for kids to run around and be outside in the fresh air.
  • King's Landing - A historical village. If it's very hot I don't recommend it as there is a fair bit of walking between buildings but if it's cooler it's nice.
  • Covered Bridge Chip Factory - this I have always wanted to do but never have. Let me know if you go there!
  • Fredericton - downtown park with awesome huge wading pool that is always open and lots of play structures. As a treat, I also recommend staying at the Delta Fredericton as it is right on the river, has an indoor and outdoor pool and outdoor restaurant. The boy got their first taste of poolside service there last year and were quite impressed that someone would bring them chicken finger while they swam! 'tis a good life. They will also tend to have popsicles available at their outdoor bar/patio.
  • Moncton - Crystal Palace indoor amusement park Sometimes you may need this to get your kids through the drive.
  • Shubenacadie Wildlife Park (off the highway between Truro and Halifax) My kids love this place as there are LOTS of animals to see. Try to go when it's not too hot so the animals are livelier. They sell corn there to feed the ducks/deer etc.
Always travel with a bucket, some clean-up cloths, and water just in case (we also use gravol but our kids are prone to car sickness).

Virtually every town has a school and virtually every school has a play structure when you really need to get those sillies out.

Choose the time of day you travel - what's best for adults may not work with kids. We, for example, do not drive in the morning. We find all the "puppies" need to be exercised before they go in a car : )

Don't always listen to what the kids want to do.  My older boys complained about the botanical gardens and then loved both (there were frogs in the NB one!).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Elmdale School - May 12th - 3 in 1 Spring Event

Elmdale Public School invites you to its exciting new 3-in-1 spring event, Saturday, May 13th from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. (cash only) in the school gym, 49 Iona Street (Use Java Street entrance).

1. Clothing, Toy and Equipment Sale: From sunhats to strollers, jeans to tricycles… This sale includes quality, gently-used children's clothes, shoes, outerwear, puzzles, games, strollers, bikes, baby gear, and more. Contact us for more details and to find out about being a vendor at
2. Plant Sale:Just in time for Mother’s Day, pick up a beautiful hanging basket from Richmond Nurseries, plus EcoClub seedlings and cuttings grown by Elmdale students.
3. Electronics Recycling: Bring in your old unwanted electronic equipment (TVs, laptops, printers, phones, stereos, etc.) for recycling. Check the website for items accepted:

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Walk so Kids can Talk: A (passionate) word about Kids Help Phone

One of my ten year old son's parents has a passionate dedication to Kids Help Phone and I want to pass on her message below. If you can support in any way, please do so!

The Walk So Kids Can Talk event for Kids Help Phone is taking place May 6th. Mike, Tyler, Evan and I will be participating for the fourth year. This is a cause very close to my heart. I started volunteering for Kids Help Phone after the 15 year old nephew of a friend, committed suicide.

640 kids a day contact Kids Help Phone either by phone or online. That's 2.5 million kids per year (and 100,000 from our community alone!). Shouldn't we make sure that they can get the help they need if they are BRAVE enough to ask for it? Kids Help Phone can not keep up with the demand and may have to shut down the phone lines during peak crisis hours.

A $50 donation will help give two children an online counselling response. A $100 donation will help give one depressed child an hour with a counsellor. A $250 donation will help 6 homeless youths be connected with support services in their own community to begin a new chapter in life. A $500 donation will send awareness materials to 100 Canadian schools.

100% of donations made go to pay professional counsellors for their services to help kids.

I would hope that if my sons had a problem they would come to my husband or me.  BUT, realistically, I know that it doesn't matter how great your relationship with your kids is, there will be issues that they would not be comfortable discussing with their parents. I know I didn't always talk to my parents. Did you? I am so thankful that Kids Help Phone is available for my boys - someone who can help if they feel they don't have another choice.

If you would like to help the 2.5 million kids contacting Kids Help Phone 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, please click on the link below. It may be one of your own kids.Online pledges can be made securely with VISA, MasterCard, American Express or PayPal by clicking on the link below. An electronic tax receipt will be emailed to you within 24 hours.

Why not join us on Sunday, May 6? Online registration is free and only takes a few minutes. Visit for more information.

Thank you for your generosity,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baobab Tree Family Workshop

I see Baobab Tree as one of the gems of this neighbourhood. A little bit hidden away, not known to everyone, but doing amazing things both in Ottawa and in Africa!

This Saturday, April 28, there will be a family workshop in the studio (the Treehouse) from 10-11am.  The Treehouse is located at 415C Piccadilly Avenue, between Wellington and Byron and just east of Island Park Drive. The cost is $5 per person and pre-registration is required. To register, you can call or e-mail Hailey de Bie at 613-725-6994 or

The picture to the right is of Baobab Youth performers at the NAC (yes, they are that good!). The picture below is of a collection of northern drums.

For more information about the group generally, workshops, classes and performances, see

Friday, April 20, 2012

Weekend To-Do List

Face it, the weekend weather is not looking that great so why not get some chores done so you're ready to enjoy the good weather when it comes. And you'll benefit some great neighbourhood schools at the same time.

Recycle your electronics at Broadview School

Drop off on Friday, April 20 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m and on Saturday, April 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the school parking lot at 590 Broadview Avenue.  All funds raised will support the Yard Renewal project. You can find a list of acceptable items at

If you are unable to drop off items yourself, register online to have your items picked up.

Buy Soil!

At St. Francois D'Assise elementary school at 35 Melrose Avenue in Hintonburg. They are selling ORGANIC soil in the school parking lot from 10 until 1 on Saturday, April 21.

Sort out your books for Book Bonanza

Broadview School's 37th Annual Book Bonanza will run from May 10 - 12th.  You can drop off gently used books at the school starting May 3.  The school accepts adult and children’s books but no Harlequins, magazines, textbooks, encyclopedia,or Reader’s Digest condensed books. If you would prefer to have your books picked up, please contact Leslie McLean at or 728.3582

The sale, which is frankly one of the best in the City and which is a fantastic (but frugal) shopping adventure for kids, runs from May 10th 4pm - 9p.m., May 11th 9am - 9p.m. and May 12th 9a.m. -12p.m.

Sort out Kids' Toys, Clothing and Equipment for Elmdale Sale

Elmdale's annual spring sale will be held on Friday and Saturday, May 11 and 12th. You want to be ready!

Watch for Food Bank Boxes

The Parkdale Food Bank has been running low on many products of late. Please consider

Eat a Burger, Buy a Book

Did you know that The Hintonburger at 991 Wellington will donate 50 cents from the sale of each burger-of-the-month to the Devonshire playground fund'  The Hintonburger's burgers are made with hormone-free local beef and are delicious!

Likewise, did you know that Collected Works, at 1242 Wellington, will donate 10% of each in-store or online purchase by Devonshire families to our playground project. Identify yourself as a Devonshire supporter and spread the word!

While Devonshire successfully raised funds to replace its play structure last year, there are still items on its wishlist for which it continues to fundraise.

Vote For Hilson School Outdoor Classroom

Hilson Avenue Public School is one of ten national finalists in the 2012 “Majesta Trees of Knowledge” Outdoor Classroom Competition! It is the only Ottawa area school in the running to win $20,000.00 from Majesta Canada to implement our outdoor classroom plan as part of our school yard greening project ~

it needs your votes to win - one per day until May 11. Please sign up and vote at

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Family Dance this Saturday!!

I admit to having never heard of Contra Dancing. Perhaps you're more in the know than me. What I can tell you is that it's happening this weekend in your neighbourhood, it sounds like a lot of fun and a great way for families to share and encourage a love of music....and just try something new and get those wiggles out!

Contra dancing is social dancing with live music and callers or teachers. This weekend's Contra Dance is brought to you by and will be held at the Churchill Seniors Recreation Centre at 345 Richmond Road on Saturday, April 21st from 3:30-5:30pm!

This is first and foremost a FAMILY DANCE for kids and their parents.  There will be live music by the Three Dollar Bills (fiddle, irish flute, & guitar) and callers who call (or teach) basic kid-friendly dances.  The callers are Catherine Burns and Liz Benjamin (who I know from past Music Together classes).

There is NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY!!! Family dances are for all ages - recommended for 5+ but younger can definitely participate (plus wee wee ones can participate in backpacks or slings).

Kids are free, $5 for adults.

For more information on the dance and on contra dancing generally, please visit

And for a general website on What is Contra Dancing, see  As the author says "Although it's fun beyond words, we explain it ad nauseum anyway."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Letter from the Broadview School Council Chairs

I'm posting the below just in case you have not seen it elsewhere.  Important issues are being raised about Broadview school and the state of the City's schools generally.  The issues are important for both present and future Broadview parents but also for all other OCDSB schools, students and parents as well as the community at large.

Dear Broadview Community,

Many of you have probably seen the recent media coverage of the campaign to rebuild Broadview. This is a result of the OCDSB’s Business Services Committee meeting from March 28 where Jennifer McKenzie requested an amendment to move us from our current position on the capital priority list as a $4 million renovation to a rebuild. After a lengthy debate of more than four hours, 7 of the 12 Trustees voted in favor of a rebuild for Broadview, giving us a majority vote. Unfortunately, the meeting was adjourned before the vote was ratified. Trustee Donna Blackburn in particular has been criticized for her support of the Broadview rebuild.

The critical state at Broadview remains unchanged. Feedback from the community has consistently been in favor of a rebuild. The facts are:

The OCDSB identified in their own reports a need for repairs in the amount of $7.5 million.

To accommodate full day kindergarten, a seventh addition onto our school at a cost of $1.5 million is being proposed by the Board.

$4 million proposed in repair funds for Broadview would still leave the school, by the Board’s own assessment, in a “critical” state.

It’s an 85-year old building that has been neglected for years.

The Broadview School Council and the Build a Better Broadview subcommittee will continue to work closely with MPP Yasir Naqvi and Trustee Jennifer McKenzie in the best interests of our students and teachers. We look forward to creating a long-term vision for Broadview that supports the needs of our growing community.

How You Can Help!

The next OCDSB meeting is Monday, April 30 in the Trustees Committee Room, 133 Greenbank Rd. The vote to move Broadview to the capital priority list for a rebuild will take place at this time. Please make time to attend this meeting and support our school!

Full-Day Kindergarten

Full day kindergarten remains scheduled for Broadview for 2013. The current OCDSB plan is to invest $1.5 million to add on a seventh addition to the school. While no plans have been finalized with regards to how full day kindergarten will be implemented in 2013, the School Council feels that the full day kindergarten plan should be part of a long term vision for Broadview. A community meeting will be scheduled in May looking for your feedback. Please attend and help us create a long term vision for Broadview.

We are continuing to update the Build a Better Broadview website with new information. However, please do not hesitate to contact us with questions or to get involved.

Thank you for your continued support.

Liz Burgess and Claire Todd
Co-Chairs, Broadview School Council

Build a Better Broadview website:
follow our group on Facebook (Build a Better Broadview) and Twitter @Build_Broadview

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Baobab Tree Drumming Classes Start This Week

One of the hidden gems of our neighbourhood is Baobab Tree. If you don't exactly know who or what Baobab Tree Drumming is all about, you should know that:
  • they are located in "the Tree House" right her in our neighbourhood on Picadilly Avenue, near St. Francois D'Assis school
  • they provided west african drumming instruction to children and adults
  • they regularly travel to west africa where they find their inspiration
  • their students and instructors are incredibly talented
  • you can see performances at the Treehouse, at the NAC, at the Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield and other locales (just check their website at
  • they provide your children with both musical and international awareness
  • their music has GREAT rhythm!
Registration is now open for their spring classes which start the first week in April.  The classes are:

  • Roots Ages 7-10 years, Tuesdays 5:30 - 6:15 pm, April 3 - May 22
  • Roots Ages 11-13 years, Wednesdays 6:30 - 7:30 pm, April 4 - May 23
There is also a Family Workshops for all ages coming up on Saturday, April 28.  These are great if you just want to see what it's all about before registering for a class.

Friday, March 30, 2012

CFR Little League - Registration Ongoing

Batter up! Summer without baseball (or T-Ball for the younger crew) is almost unthinkable. The crack of the bat on the ball, the sand, the know what I mean.

Registration is taking place at Notre Dame High School, Saturday, March 31, between 2 and 5 pm. Another registration session will be held at the Frank Ryan Clubhouse on Monday, April 2 from 6-8 pm. For detailed information see

The Carlingwood-Frank Ryan Little League Baseball Association has been active since 1957.  It's catchment area includes all of the Kitchissippi neighbourhoods though most games are played at Frank Ryan Park.  It is a two-night per week sport so there is a certain amount of commitment required particularly if you plan to enroll more than one child. That being said, Frank Ryan Park, where most games are played, is lovely and has very nice play structures if you're bringing siblings along to the practices.  The league is both affordable and fun. Two big plusses in my book.

The Divisions

T-Ball (4-6)  - Frank Ryan Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays
Rookie (7-8) - Frank Ryan Park on Mondays and Wednesdays
Junior (9-10) - Frank Ryan Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays with possible Sunday games as well.
Major (11-12) - Ainsley Park, Mondays through Thursdays
Junior (13-14) - Hanlon Park, Sunday through Friday
Senior (15-16) - Britannia Park, Sunday through Friday

The Seasons
The CFR season is relatively short and has a different set-up then some of the other sports such as soccer and ball hockey. 
  • Spring - the house league - runs for approximately two months, from the beginning of May until the end of June, so once school's out, your child has also finished baseball.
  • Summer - the competitive division - runs throughout July and August with evaluations at the end of June.  Children must have played spring ball in order to sign up for summer ball. 
  • Winter - there is also an indoor winter baseball conditioning session that runs from January through April.
My 8 year old played with the League last year and it was HIS sport.  He liked the independence of it, the fact that he knew what he was supposed to do and where he was supposed to be at any given time during the game.  It was a team sport but more structured than some others. He's strong and he could show that with a good, solid hit. He's also a hockey goalie and, in a similar vein, took to being back catcher.  He also had a fantastic coach - Randy Baker (to name names!) who took the game seriously, really emphasized skills development and was totally enthusiastic about the game and the kids.

This year is an especially big year for the CFR little it will be hosting the Provincial Major Championships for 11-12 year olds from July 22-29 at the Britannia Diamond.  It's a particuarly good year for both you and your kids to be involved.

Little League Trivia:

Okay, so I like to know a little bit about what's what.  I'm making this something of an addendum to the main post in case you don't want to read it, but here, below, is the historical significance of Little League.
  • The first Little League was founded in 1939 by Carl Stotz in Williamsport, Pennsylvania
  • It grew into Little League Baseball Incorporated and all Little Leagues (including CFR) are members.
  • There is an annual Little League Baseball World Series
  • Girls have participated in the league since 1974 
  • Over 2.5 million children participate in Little League every year

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Full Day Kindergarten In Our Neighbourhood

In our neighbourhood the following OCDSB schools will have full-day kindergarten in 2012, as indicated by their webpage at
  • Churchill Alternative School
  • Connaught Public School
  • Hilson Avenue Public School
In 2013:
  • Broadview Public School
In 2014:
  • Bayview Public School
  • Devonshire Community Public School
  • Elmdale Public School
  • Woodroffe Public School

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bicycle Disposal

That title sounds dreadfully clinical.  What this is really about is recycling kids bicycles, because if you're like us, the garage tends to pile up "a little".

We have 3 boys. The older two are too close in size and age to allow for hand-me-downs. The youngest is 6 years younger. Storing 12 bike years (6 years x 2 boys = 12) worth of bicycles seems unfathonomable.  And at least a couple of the bikes are a little, well, worn....the boys have not always been easy on their bicycles and some have been handy-me downs themselves.

So what are the options:

(1) there is almost always a younger child down the street or around the corner who would love a new-to-him-or-her bicycle. What goes around comes around.  Pass it on and someone, somewhere, will give you something, however remotely, in return. And you'll make someone happy while saving a bike from landfill. It's all good.

(2) if your children are riding adult bicycles there are two other main options for donating:
(3) Neither B4H or Recycle take children's bikes, so....consider either of these three options:
This is a very quick post, but hey, maybe if you're cleaning out your garage this weekend it will help!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Go Wild - An Animal Inspired Spring Break

If you're not going south or going skiing for March break, and if you happen to have little ones who LOVE animals, below are some suggestions for animal-inspired activities either within the City, within day or 2-day trip distance.  For Quebec City you might well want to add a second night and visit the fabulous ice hotel just west of the City on your way home.

Canada Agriculture Museum - you've probably been there lots of times but remember this is the season when new babies start to be born; it's also the beginning of the Museum's new season and they have lots going on for their March Barnyard Break.  There are calves to be named, rabbits to be cared for and much more.  If you like to cook they are also teaching about cooking with maple syrup (yum!) and making butter.Check out all the details of their Barnyard Break activities here:

Wild Bird Care Centre - We first heard about the wild bird care centre after my son found a bird in the middle of the road with a broken wing.  Searching the internet we realized this was the place to go. And it's quite an amazing little place just outside Ottawa. It's open to visitors daily from noon until 3:00.  It's located next to the Stoney Swamp Conservation Area parking lots and there are lots of hiking/skiing trails that surround the centre though I would definately take your rubber boots (a good suggestion for almost anything at this time of year!) For more information about the centre and to see some pictures of what to expect, visit their website at

Mud Lake - OK, I love Mud Lake and you are sure to see lots of birds at this time of year. It is a place that makes you fully appreciate how full of life the land around us is. It is truly lovely and the trail down to the river can be particularly beautiful at this time of year because of the melting ice and snow (just HOLD ON to your kids!). Check out this past post for more details (and it also links you to another post by Andrea of Quietfish) .

Bearbrook Farms - At this farm just east of Ottawa (5396 Dunning Road, 1 km. south of Russell Road)
you can walk or drive around the property to see elk, deer, buffalo, llama, peacocks and chickens.  The farm is open to visitors on Tuesdays through Sundays from 2-5 pm.  The farm does produce and sell a variety of wild game food products.
Parc Omega - I did a separate blog post about Parc Omega last year and have to say, again, that this is one of the best times of year to go. Fewer cars, excellent visibility because the leaves aren't out yet, and animals that actually WANT your carrots because they've been on a sparser diet throughout the winter.  See this post for details and pictures:

Montreal Biodome - The Biodome is an old favorite and shouldn't be too busy given that Quebec's March Break already took place last week. You'll experience 4 diverse climates: the tropical rainforest, the Laurentian Maple Forest, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Labrador Coast / sub-Antarctic Islands.  The penguins are actually my favorites so try not to get too tired out before you get to the end.  Or walk all the way through and work your way backwards!

There is also an excellent "Insider Guide", published earlier this month by Where Canada, at

Montreal Insectarium - You may more likely frequent the insectarium in the summer months when the botanical gardens are also open, but if you are in Montreal over March Break, consider dropping by.. It's open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 9 to 5. It is very close to the Biodome (see above).

Granby Zoo - This is my favorite summertime zoo (for families it's much more accessible than the Toronto Zoo).  It started opening in the winter last year and even though it's hours are limited (for Ontario March Break it's only open on March 17 and 18, the 2nd weekend), I suspect it's still worth a visit.  Ideally, I'd probably combine it with a days skiing at nearby Bromont (which yes, is currently open, but check the ski conditions before you go).
Riverview Park and Zoo. Peterborough -  I've had a hankering to go to Peterborough since last summer when I realized that it had a zoo. Although I have not yet ever been, I can tell you that the zoo is open from 8:30 am until dusk and there is an otter feeding demonstration daily at 1:00 pm.  The sledding hill would be open except that I suspect the snow is gone by now. For details about the zoo see the website

When you're finished with the zoo take a bit of time to explore historic Peterborough before heading back to Ottawa.  Include in this a visit to Hutchison House, a living history museum featuring life of the 1800's.  For details of it and its march break activities (which include paper making and native story telling) see  Keep in mind that the programs are for children aged 6-12, they take places on Tuesday through Friday mornings, and they may require pre-registration.

Quebec City Aquarium - We often drive to Halifax and sometimes we're doing it in the winter or spring. Regardless of weather we are always looking for a place where the boys can get out and run around. Many people don't know of the Quebec City Aquarium as one of it's key attractions (it's not necessarily part of everyone's romantic get-away!) but when you're travelling with kids it's great. In winter, it may be cold but the advantage is that you get to see many of the outdoor animals (because it's not all fish!) in any more natural climate. Outside there are polar bears, walruses, otters, seals and many others. Whereas in the summer you may be vying with crowds hoping to see the feedings and shows, in the winter, you may in fact be the only people at a particular feeding or show! The advantage? Great sight lines and lots of time to talk with the feeders and trainers who, at least our experience, have been more than willing to answer all of our many questions. You will not get that in the summer. When you need to warm up just head inside but don't forget to take in the amazing view of the St. Lawrence River first!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Viva Loca Coffee Time for Parents, Babies and Toddlers

So I received a super nice e-mail today from the owner and operator of Viva Loca cafe which is located inside the Great Canadian Theater Company (GCTC) building at the corner of Holland and Wellington, 1233 Wellington Street West.

She is extending an invitation to the many parents and babies in the area to meet and socialize at her cafe on Wednesdays from 2-4.  It's a pleasant setting with excellent wholesome food (and coffee!) available and what could be better than knowing that you're truly welcome with your little ones in tow and that you're likely to meet some other neighbourhood parents as well? 

Once inside the doors of the building there is plenty of space to park strollers and an area for toddlers to play. Viva Loca will offer parents a beverage discount and (in my view) you also might want to consider taking advantage of a late lunch - may I say yummy panini sandwiches : ).  And if you're lucky your toddler might even want to peak at the art work displayed throughout the theatre (so grown-up!).

For more information about the enterprise (they also sell a wide variety of locally produced yummy foods) as well as a photo of the space, see

Sounds lovely.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Flashback: Take Your Rubber Boots (Parc Omega)

Originally posted on March 31, 2011.

It's not everyday you get pulled over by a Wapiti. 
And it wasn't for speeding either - it was for carrots.

Want to see animals up close and personal?  Take a trek to Parc Omega.  It's a great time of year for a visit.

  • It's not crowded;
  • The weather's pleasant again and we all need to get outside (yes, there are walks), or at least outside the City;
  • There are deer roaming around freely in the woods surrounding the walking trail found at the half-way point of the drive;

  • There are BABIES.  Ever see a baby wild boar?  Adorable!  And yes they change to not-so-adorable later in life, so you do want to have a look in the springtime.
  • Black Bears are out of hibernation - we must have seen a total of about 20; clearly they wanted to be out of their caves and in the sunshine as much as we do!  And yes, the bears are behind a fence and you stay in your car;
  • The habitats are open and natural;

(This is the Mother!)

  • There's a Sugarbush (new this year) complete with maple syrup hardened to a toffee consistency and pans of waiting snow; Incredibly sweet.

Key Facts: 
  • It's about a 1 hour drive from Ottawa; see for directions; 80 km but smaller roads;
  • If you go on the Ontario side you can add in a ferry ride from Cumberland to Masson-Angers for added excitement;
  • Entrance fees at this time of year are $14 for adults, $10 for 6-15 year olds and $2 for 2-5 year olds;
  • You cannot take the family dog (or other pet);
  • You need to take lots of carrots!  We took 3 bags per child.  Two probably would have done it but one would have been completely inadequate.  You can also buy them there;
  • Although the route through the Park is only about 10 km you do need a few hours for the SLOW drive;  Lots of stopping and feeding.
  • Driving a standard that slow for a long time can be tedious
  • The roads aren't paved, and they are muddy and have ruts - if you have an "older" car, take it

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Yoga for Young Families

So if you live in any part of this neighbourhood you can't help noticing that there are yoga studios EVERYWHERE.  So maybe you want your child to take yoga...

Little Feet Yoga / Elation Centre

Once a month, starting February 12 (and then on March 11, April 22 and May 6 and June 3) - Catherine Lesage of Little Feet Yoga will be offering Creative Family Yoga at the Elation Centre, 360 Kirkwood Avenue North (essentially across from the Richmond Road Superstore).

A class for 3-6 year olds from 11 to 12;00. The class costs $20 for 1 parent / 1 child and $10 for each additional child.

Pre-registration is recommended and you can do so through  Catherine has been doing yoga in the neighbourhood at various locations for many years.  To see pictures of her classes and read more about her approach, visit her website.

Prana Shanti Yoga, 52 Armstrong St., near the Parkdale market

Prana Shanti offers
  • prenatal yoga on Thursdays from 4:30 to 5:30, taught by Naomi Poole
  • parent and baby yoga on Tuesdays from 11:00-12:00, taught by Naomi Poole
  • children's yoga class for those aged 3 to 8 years old on Saturdays from 9:30 to 10:30 and taught by Jamie Reardon.
They also seem to have a child-minding service available on Thursdays from 9:30-1:00 for $7 per child (why do I feel like that should be in bright lights! Parents, do take some time for yourselves.).

Santosha Yoga

Santosha is unique in offering a pre-registered class for children with special needs.  Although the class has already started, check the website for more information and to find out future dates:

Classes are taught by Dianne Macdonald and are for ages 5-6, 7-8 and 9-10 year olds. For more information about Dianne, see and for more information about the yoga program see

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Go Local Birthday Parties

It's not just produce that can be bought local.  Consider having your child's next birthday at one of these neighbourhood venues.  You'll save gas, you'll save time and you'll support these local businesses.  Please let me know if I've missed any!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February 7 Open House: Westboro Nursery School

The Westboro Nursery School is hosting an Open House on Tuesday, February 7 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at 411 Dovercourt Ave. (in the Dovercourt Recreation Centre). Bring your children to visit the classroom and meet the teachers. Registration for September 2012 opens on February 14 and registration packages will be posted on the school's web site on February 7.

The school is a parent co-operative preschool for 2 1/2 to 5 year-olds staffed by registered Early Childhood Educators. The hands on, play-based curriculum includes an introduction to French, sign language, school readiness, music, daily outdoor play and more.

Friday, January 27, 2012

ANZAC Biscuits

(This is reposted from last year and again, I'm a day late!)

Belated Happy Australia Day!  Yesterday I made ANZAC Biscuits, named after the Australian and New Zealand Army Corp who were given them went sent to fight in World War I. 

A former Australian-Kitchissippi resident (Kathy) - who used to live on Fraser Avenue and who Chaired the Broadview School Council before returning with her family to the land downunder gave me the recipe over a playdate a few years back. 

The coincidence is that - although I didn't know it at the time - yesterday was Australia Day.  So in case you ever feel the need to be adequately prepared for Australia's national holiday, or for ANZAC Day (their April 25th equivalent of our Remembrance Day), I'll share the recipe.

The cookies are yummy, my kids enjoy them. and they're easy to make.  The only caveat - they aren't low fat or low sugar - and rightly so since they were intended to be the source of lots of calories and lots of energy.  They do have a long shelf life - important when sending overseas - and do not include eggs, as poultry was scarce in wartime.


1 cup rolled outs
3/4 cup dessicated coconut (unsweetened)
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (ie. baking soda)
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 cup sugar (they are quite sweet so you could probably reduce)
125 g of butter (1/2 a cup)
1 tablespoon Lyle's Golden Syrup (dating back to 1881, this is a British import and apparently something of an icon; you can find it at the larger grocery stores; other syrups may work equally well)


Combine oats, coconut, flour and sugar. Melt butter and add golden syrup.  Mix  baking soda with boiling water and add to butter mixture.  Stir into dry ingreients.  If dough is too dry add another tablespoon or so of hot water until it holds together.

Spoon or roll into balls and place on greaced or lined trays, with room for spreading. 

Bake in a slow oven (150 C or 300 F) for 20 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheet for a little bit until they harden enough to move to a cooling rack.

The recipe makes between 20 and 36 depending on the size of the cookie!  Consider your audience.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Little Encouragement for the Team

My son was in a hockey tournament this past weekend. He's 8 years old and in the Novice C division of the West End Hockey League. 

His team - the Spitfires - made it to the finals and he was thrilled.  They worked hard and only lost by one goal in the third period.  For the kids and their fams it was as much of a nailbiter as any Stanley Cup game. 

Before thee semi-final game, Jesse Winchester of the Ottawa Senators took time out of his practice to come and talk to them.  Really nice!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Giveaway: 2 tickets to Puss-in Boots 3D at the Ottawa Family Cinema

And the tickets were won by @Peady who retweeted on of my tweets on twitter.  Congratulations!

I'm giving away two tickets to the 2:00 showing of Puss-in-Boots (3D) at the Ottawa Family Cinema on Saturday January 28th.  Details of the show are below, or link directly to the post at:

I'm hosting the give-away to raise awareness of the efforst parents go to in order to ensure that children have a play structure to play on while at school.  Please see the article two posts below in that regard!

To win, simply leave me a comment telling why you think it's important for our schools to have playstructures. If you don't like to publicly comment you can also e-mail me at or RT one of my @kitchissippikid (no "s") tweets about the event on twitter. 

Thank you to all the parents, neighbours and friends who support our schools.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Please Help with this Broadview School Fundraiser!

If you want to know why you should support local school initiatives (currently those of both Broadview and Woodroffe elementary schools) to fundraise for yard play structures see my post below at

$5 of every $10 ticket, as well as 50% of concession sales, will go directly to the school and that's huge!  The extra dollar above door price includes the convenience of the advance ticket, the knowledge that you're really helping a great cause, and BEST of ALL, the chance to win TWO level 200 Sens tickets or a skating and pizza party at McKellar Park.

To purchase tickets contact, the school office, any of your friends and neighbours who have children at Broadview, or me at (I have a grade 5er, a grade 3er and an eventually-to-be JKer at broadview.

Equally, a big shout-out for the Ottawa Family Cinema for being such a great local place for our kids (and us!) to watch movies.  Thank you!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Parent Councils Struggle to Raise Funds for New Play Structures

This article originally ran in the December edition of the Kitchissippi Times.

Broadview Avenue Public School is the latest of the Kitchissippi neighbourhood schools to begin a quest for play structure funding. Liz Burgess and Claire Todd are co-chairs of the Council and hope to raise $150,000 this year. Even if they meet their goal, the money “won’t buy us a Cadillac,” Burgess stresses.

The Ottawa Carleton District School Board will remove the junior play structure at Broadview Avenue Public School by September 2012 and won’t replace it. They will give the school just $7,500 towards a new one.

“That’s about enough to buy a slide” says Burgess, who has already invested a significant amount of time researching options. She found that almost $60,000 is required to deal with drainage and grounds issues alone.

In a similar situation, the Board removed Woodroffe Avenue Public School’s primary play structure this past summer, leaving the 300 students in Grades 1 to 3 with nothing but empty areas of sand, grass and pavement.

For Woodroffe and Broadview, as for any other school, a complex web of funding must come together before anything else happens: the City will match the Board’s $7,500, Dovercourt Recreation Association has pledged $5,000, the Council is applying for numerous private grants, and fundraising activities will be held throughout the school year.

Another hurdle: although the Board does not provide much funding, it does control the installation process.

“The money must be in the bank before the Request for Proposal process begins,” says Todd, “and installation will not take place for an additional six months after that.”

“We initially thought we could accept donations of services,” adds Todd, “but that will only be possible if the people in question are insured and become certified by the Board.”

Contracts for work at the schools must be sourced through the OCDSB and Board safety standards are higher than those of even the City public playgrounds. Essentially this means schools must purchase “top-of-the-line” equipment, says Burgess.

The Broadview Council co-chairs are both experienced project managers previously employed in the high-tech sector; they know this isn’t a playground project for the faint of heart. Burgess and Todd each spend approximately 30 hours a week on Council matters, the bulk of which are yard and fundraising related. While they agree that parents shouldn’t be asked to personally fund such a basic component part of their children’s education, in the short-term they are worrying less about the big picture and more about just getting the work done.

School Councils were mandated in 1997 by the Ontario government. While described in Ministry documents as serving an advisory function, they are more clearly fundraising bodies that supplement tax dollars to augment children’s education experience outside the classroom. Council documents from neighbourhood schools indicate that a Council budget is typically between one-quarter and one-half that of a school’s annual operating budget.

Yasir Naqvi, the area’s Member of Provincial Parliament, stresses that the Ontario Liberals increased funding to schools by 40 percent over the last eight years while enrollment has decreased by 8 per cent.

That being said, Chair of the OCDSB Jennifer McKenzie points out that most of the budget increases were dedicated to salaries and the costs of decreased classroom size, full-day kindergarten, and a variety of other special projects. McKenzie pointed out that the Board receives approximately $10 million annually for renewal projects across 150 schools. The Board has discretion in how it spends that money but roofs and boilers necessarily take priority over play structures, said McKenzie.

For details on Broadview’s and Woodroffe’s fundraising initiatives, visit and

Monday, January 2, 2012

Plank to Plunk Down for Mito Canada

kate1.jpgMany of you may know little Kate Drury in our neighbourhood. She's been the subject of newspaper articles, TV and radio interviews and the Hope for Kate fundraising initiative. She's a lovely little four year old girl who very unfortunately is also the subject of a rare form of Mitochondrial disease.  Her symptoms include, among other things, developmental delays, deafness and bouts of cyclical vomiting. Her family stays positive but it's been a tough go.  For them and others like them, consider if you can help.

The non-profit organization Mito Canada is raising money to raise awareness about this disease and is doing it by challenging you to do two side planks and one front plank every day.  Your donation will depend on the amount you do (or DON'T do). Since I'm sure many of you have New Year's Resolutions you're hoping to achieve, this seems the perfect way to keep with the program and help out at the same time. 

For more information about this challenge, see
For more information about Mito Canada, see
For more about Kate's story, see last year's CBC interview at


The snow and some cold weather has finally arrived and whatever you might think about winter, the snow and ice does provide A LOT of outdoor opportunities.

Dovercourt currently has spots in all of its outdoor skating programs (one is pictured at right).  Programs start on Saturday and Sunday, January 14th and 15th, and come in three categories: Learn to Skate with a Parent, Learn to Skate 3-5 years and Learn to Skate for 6+.  While lessons can occasionally be delayed becuase of weather, I can say first hand that they are a great way to get outside and see the kids (and parents) in your neighbourhood.  Not only that, but they get you comfortable with using outdoor ice which is a skill in and of itself.  I will also say that the instructors were far better at teaching our kids to skate than we were!. 

Fisher Park has what I'm told is an awesome hockey development program as well as ita own skating and power skating sessions though it is likely too late to register unless you're extremely lucky (though for the record, registration is at the Community Centre office (613) 798-8945 located in the Fisher Park School, 250 Holland Ave. Payment by cash or cheque.)

Information on the outdoor rinks below is taken from the City of Ottawa site at and is current as of December 28, 2011.  The site offers details of all City rinks.  Some rink operators (eg. Westboro) have accounts on and, if so, you can check there to determine if a rink is open and what the conditions are.  Please note that according to the City Rules of Conduct, hockey sticks, pucks and balls are not permitted on ice surfaces without boards and children under ten must be supervised by someone over the age of sixteen.

  • Champlain Park, 140 Carleton,, rink with puddle, field house w/ washrooms, lights, boards, supervised Mon to Fri: 6 to 9 pm, Sat: 11-6, Sun: 12 to 6; (slightly changed from last year);
  • Dovercourt (see Westboro, below);
  • Fairmont, 265 Fairmont, double surface with trailer and lights, Supervised Mon to Fri: 4:30 to 8:30 pm, Sat, Sun: 1 to 9 pm;
  • Fisher Park, 250 Holland, Ottawa, Rink with puddle, Trailer, lights and boards (listed as having no supervision though that seems odd if there is a trailer);
  • Iona, 223 Iona, Double surface, Field house, washrooms, lights, no boards, Supervised Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri: 6 to 11 pm, Wed: 4 to 9 pm, Sat, Sun: 11 to 5 pm;
  • Laroche, 52 Bayview, Rink with puddle, Field house, washrooms, lights and boards, supervised Mon to Fri: 6 to 10 pm, Sat: noon to 9 pm, Sun: 1 to 5 pm
  • McKellar Park, 539 Wavell Ave., double surface, lights, no boards, field house w/ washrooms, supervised Mon to Fri: 4:30 to 8:30 pm, Sat, Sun: noon to 6
  • Westboro (aka Dovercourt), 411 Dovercourt Ave., rink with puddle, trailer, washrooms etc. in recreation centre, lights, boards, supervised Mon to Fri: 4:30 to 8:30 pm, Sat, Sun: 10 am to 3 pm. Great family sledding hill at same location.
  • Woodroffe, 180 Lockhart Ave., rink with puddle, field house, washrooms, lights, boards, supervised Mon to Fri: 5 to 9 pm, Sat: 11 am to 7 pm, Sun: noon to 6 pm