July 29, 2014

Rose Simpson: CD Warehouse on St. Laurent is closing - say a prayer for the rock bottom remainders

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Photo by Andy Nystrom on Flickr


Rose Simpson's column appears every Tuesday morning on the OttawaStart Blog. She also blogs at Rose's Cantina.


This coming Saturday, CD Warehouse on St. Laurent Boulevard will close its doors forever.
It will be a sad day for those of us who liked to spend time there browsing for those unique little musical gems, the ones handmade with love by our hometown heroes and beloved legends.

I remember spending time there with my friend Dave, now long passed, who liked to buy CDs made by the sidemen, the musicians who added the little amazing touches, a lick here, a beat there, to sweeten an already wonderfully-made concoction. It was like adding just a touch of rhubarb to a perfect strawberry pie.
Dave the bass player had the most incredible collection of CDs and vinyl. I used to curl up for hours beside him, over a few beers, maybe a joint, and let the knowledge rain down on my little ears. God, he knew his stuff.
Those were the days, my friend, I thought they'd never end.
They did, of course.
Dave has joined the ensemble in the sky, but if I close my eyes, I can still see the twinkle and the crooked grin that announced that Dave had found a good one.
I miss him. I really do.
Dave would have been crushed to hear of the passing of yet another record store. It will probably end up as a fusion restaurant or a factory outlet store, like we need another one of those in our neighborhood.
Nowadays, it's easy to find anything on-line, but wasn't it nice to see a friendly face, to chat up the staff who forgot more about blues, rock, even classical music than most of us knew? Wasn't it great, too, to get that phone call saying the used out-of-print Travelling Wilburys CD was in, and you now could get your thumb prints on the only copy for miles?
Bragging rights, that's what it gave you.
The good news is that only one of the CD Warehouse stores is closing. How long before the rest follow suit, put down like a Blockbuster video store or an old mutt that nobody wanted anymore?
Today, we can simply click on the Apple Store app and pick off a tune here, a tune there. Nobody buys the whole joint anymore, at least nobody I know.
It's like picking up the shiniest piece of fruit from the box. People don't realize it all tastes good. You just have to give it a chance.
I feel sad about this, I can't lie.
CD Warehouse was more than a record store. It was a community hall where the greats and locals gathered and were supported.
A guy or a gal simply had to come into the store with their CD and they'd stock it just like the ones that came from the big record labels.
There are still a few places you can get their music. You can always fuel up the gas guzzler and amble out to the stores in Nepean and Kanata, where, I assume there's a better market for music you can hold, touch and place in a machine.
I'm sure there are geezers left that still cherish the liner notes. They live in paid up ticky-tacky houses that all look the same.
If you're bussing, you can go to that place in the Glebe, I forget its name. You can park there but you'll pay for it, or face ponying up the parking fines, because the stuck up people in that neighborhood really don't want you to come record shopping.
No more free parking at CD Warehouse.
Feed the meter, feed the man.
It's a sign of the times. Feels like I'm gettin' old, losin' my girl, hurtin' in the places I used to play.
I can always go on the Interweb and peck in a credit card. It just seems so cold to me.
Like feedin' the meter in the Glebe.
In the meantime, I'll meet you down on St. Laurent for one more blast from a golden oldie.
We'll say a prayer and pick up what's left of the rock bottom remainders.
So long CD Warehouse.
Thanks for stopping by on your road to oblivion.
There will be a hole in my neighborhood that's for sure.


-- Rose Simpson
See also: Ottawa Music Guide
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July 28, 2014

Christopher Ryan: Raccoons in the Penthouse (and an RCMP inquiry too!)

A regular feature by Christopher Ryan, a local photographer, blogger and researcher.



Originally known as the Laurentian Towers, the Suites of Somerset has seen its share of action. Image: July 2014.


With the significant number of apartment towers that were constructed around Ottawa during the 1960s and 1970s, it would be easy to forget that for every two constructed, there is probably one that didn’t make it off the drawing board. In spite of a strong market for them, combined with an unprecedented level of institutional and governmental support, an announced project could – and often did – find itself cancelled after it was announced and a permit issued.

The Laurentian Towers, now known as the Suites of Somerset, almost didn’t make it. At some point previous to the passage of the new city-wide zoning in 1963, Phil Nesrallah and his brother (generally identified as the Nesrallah Bros, though the Journal did not identify him. I am uncertain about their relationship with the owners of the Nesrallah IGA nearby) successfully filed for a building permit to construct an apartment of 70 units and at a value of $510,000. During this period, when a developer filed for a building permit, it more often than not meant that they had already gone ahead and thoughtfully dug a hole and maybe even poured a little concrete.



For a lot with a building permit issued - especially in 1965 - it was awfully silent. Source: geoOttawa, 1965 Aerial Images.


This is not what happened, however. The building permit was issued and …nothing happened. No holes, no hardhats, no cranes, and no hammers. Nothing. By the end of 1966 (which was more than two years after the passage of the city’s new zoning bylaw), it was reported by the Journal’s Charles Lynch that they had deferred construction. It should be mentioned that because the MadDonald Manor received an extension that September, it was only fair that the fully private developers with outstanding buildings received the same treatment.

The following year, Nesrallah submitted a much larger plan for something of a mixed use complex – commercial, office, and of course, the apartment. This new plan was much more ambitious, not to mention potentially useful in a neighbourhood like Hintonburg. There was only one thing standing in the way: the city’s zoning bylaw. At first, the city’s Board of Control had rejected the proposal, in spite of Council’s approval.

Although this might appear to be setting up a narrative which pits the desires of a real estate developer against the city, that’s not where the battle took place. Interestingly, it was Nesrallah who appears to have become caught up in the centre of tensions between City Council and the Board of Control. Although it’s clear that Nesrallah wanted to see his new vision through, the fight moved beyond and erupted into a war of words between Council and the Board of Control.

As what exists today is substantially what had been proposed after 1967, it appears that City Council was the ultimate victor (the Board of Control met its end 10 years later). Following the back-and-forth, Nesrallah submitted another – slightly amended proposal - at the end of 1969 and the complex was constructed and open for business by early 1972. The apartment was operated as an apartment-hotel, which was a popular measure at the time to capture more of the market while conveniently not being subject to the same regulatory machinery of the rental housing market. He additionally constructed a small 5,000 square foot commercial building adjacent and reserved the top floor for offices.



It looms over Hintonburg today. Perhaps Cyril Sneer looks over the city, searching for ways to earn a little coin. Now that the W.C. and D. Kemp Edwards’ yards aren’t nearby, he’ll have to think outside the lumbering box. Image: July 2014.



Normally, this is where I’d introduce the architect and wrap it all up. I didn’t actually locate a citation and the events that took place in the penthouse offices are so much more interesting.

Some of the events were notable, but mundane, some were exciting and creative, and some were downright scandalous. I’ll get the mundane out of the way first: the offices of the eighteenth floor were used through 1974-75 to conduct the Marin Commission, which investigated public complaints into the RCMP.



The Commission of Inquiry Relating to Public Complaints, Internal Discipline and Grievance Procedure within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Just rolls off the tongue. Source: PCO/Archived Commissions of Inquiry.


Once the Marin Commission was done with the space, the office penthouse played host to a much different client. Ottawa had long been home to a rather healthy animation industry. One of the largest and most successful at the time was Atkinson Film Arts, which had just finished of the acclaimed Little Brown Burro, a Christmas movie, in 1977.



While it hasn't become a Christmas classic on the same plane as Frosty or the Grinch, it certainly was a capital point of pride during the late 1970s. Source: Ottawa Journal, December 13, 1977.


The company was flying high and by 1979, they became the penthouse’s tenant. From that room with a view atop the Hintonburg skyline, Atkinson’s legion of animators brought the first season of The Raccoons to life, the B-17 scene of Ivan Reitman’s Heavy Metal, and a number of other Canadian favourites. Atkinson’s star appeared to soar rather quickly, but a number of poor decisions made in the early 1980s would prove fatal to the venture by the end of the decade.



Hard at work atop Hintonburg. Source: Ottawa Journal, April 21, 1979


As Atkinson experienced its decline and fall, ownership of the Laurentian Towers was set for a change. Phil Nesrallah, looking to change gears, sold the building to Thomas Assaly Jr, son of Thomas Sr., who was head of the second-largest construction firm in the city. Thomas Jr., looking to follow in his father’s footsteps and get into the real estate and development business himself, engaged in a highly-leveraged purchase of the building in the summer of 1986. He wasn’t really alone in the tactic and it would be an understatement to say that many of Ottawa’s successful developers at the time found such tenuous leaps into the real estate market (both at home and abroad) attractive at the time.

Unlike his father, Assaly Jr. was something of a loose cannon. Just as it had become increasingly difficult for him to afford the mortgage payments on the complex, his decisions became increasingly irrational and erratic.

In 1987, reports had been made public that the 29 year old Assaly was alleged to have pulled a gun on Robert McLeod, Philip Nesrallah’s mortgage broker, who had met with him to levy a $50,000 penalty for non-payment on what was Assaly Jr’s fourth mortgage on the property. It was the act that may have been a breaking point: in addition to the realization that real estate success was not going to come easily (he was involved in a bit of a controversy over an apartment in Lowertown on Clarence at the same time), he had to face his brother’s death from muscular dystrophy that same season.

In April, the Citizen reported:

Lawyers for Thomas Assaly Jr . were back in court Wednesday to fight off a foreclosure attempt on the Laurentian Apartment Hotel where Assaly allegedly pointed a gun at a mortgage broker last week.

Assaly, 29, is charged with extortion and pointing a gun at the head of Robert McLeod while forcing him to sign a document absolving Assaly of a $50,000 mortgage penalty.

The Laurentian foreclosure application was filed by Philip Nesrallah and other members of his family who want the 17-storey building on Bayswater Avenue returned to them for non-payment of mortgage payments.

William Neville, representing the Nesrallahs, told an Ontario Supreme Court hearing that Assaly was $40,000 in arrears on a $1-million third mortgage and $30,000 in default on a $317,000 fourth mortgage held by the Nesrallahs.

In addition, Neville said, Assaly was $60,000 in arrears on the building's municipal taxes and $100,000 in arrears on a $3-million first mortgage that was due to be paid off on Wednesday.

The first mortgage and a second mortgage for an unknown amount are held by commercial lenders.

Neville said the Nesrallahs wanted possession of the building to protect their equity until it could be resold and the financial ramifications of the sale to Assaly sorted out.

Richard Bosada, acting for Assaly, said returning the building to the Nesrallahs was not necessary as Assaly, with consent of the first mortgagee, had placed the building in the hands of a receiver on Tuesday.

Bosada said Assaly was not opposed to the receiver overseeing the sale of the building. Neville said the Nesrallahs want the sale monitored by a court appointed official.

The hearing was adjourned until today to allow both sides time to work out a mutually acceptable out-of-court agreement.

The Nesrallah petition was filed before last week's alleged incident at the apartment hotel, where Assaly has an office.

The apartment hotel was built by the Nesrallahs in the early 1970s and sold to Assaly in June for between $6 and $8 million, a figure that reportedly is also in dispute.

Source: Ottawa Citizen, April 2, 1987, B3 (Dennis Foley)


By the mid-1990s, his “roaring twenties” had come to an end and he had settled down at the helm of Les Suites Hotel.

Some of the stories from the top floor would mirror somewhat what was happening on the lower floors. General malaise, violence, drug deals, and the occasional shooting, the Laurentian Towers came to develop a reputation that was at the least self-defeating when it comes to maximizing the return on investment. A change of ownership in the early 1990s did little to improve things in the short-term. Nevertheless, as the years progressed, the Laurentian Towers (renamed the Suites of Somerset by 1992) has cleaned up and quieted down. Really, sort of a reflection of what has become of Hintonburg altogether.




Original photos & text by Christopher Ryan.
(See more on our blog from Christopher...)



See also: Ottawa History Guide
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Ask OttawaStart: Anybody live near Rideau Falls Park who can take a photo of the memorial?

OttawaStart received this note from Paul Tierney in the United Kingdom:
Hi my name is Paul Tierney and I am looking for a photograph of the Mackenzie-Papineau Brigade Memorial showing my uncle's name Frank Tierney. My Dad lives in England too and would welcome a photo of his brother's name on the memorial. Can anyone help please? Very many thanks

If any of our readers live near the memorial at Rideau Falls Park, would you mind finding Mr. Tierney's name and snapping a photo?   You can email it to feedback@ottawastart.com and we'll send it along to Paul.

UPDATE (July 29):
Big thanks to Ottawa photographer Steph Willems for snapping these photos. We've shared them with the Tierney family.






See also: Ottawa History Guide
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July 23, 2014

OttawaStart's Weekly Event Round-Up: July 24-30, 2014

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Photo: Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge by Mark R. Ducharme from the OttawaStart Flickr Group

Here's our crowdsourced list of the best events in Ottawa this week.


Wednesday-Saturday, July 23-27: Asinabka Festival
For the third year, Ottawa will be home to the Asinabka Film & Media Arts Festival celebrating Indigenous arts on Algonquin Territory. Following two successful years, the annual festival is back with a 2014 edition taking place from July 23 to July 27 that promises to offer a rich and engaging programming emphasizing art works that examine Indigenous issues and topics.The festival will take place over four days and will feature film screenings, exhibitions and gallery crawls, some of which are being held outdoors.
-- Eliane Laberge, Eventful Capital

Wednesday-Saturday, July 23-27: Asinabka Festival
From the range of documentary, animated, feature and short films to the live music night at Club Saw, the offerings at this year’s Asinabka Festival look amazing. The Festival showcases the work of Indigenous and non-Indigenous filmmakers and artists from Canada and around the world. There’s a talk by acclaimed hip hop photographer Ernie Paniccioli on Saturday, and free outdoor feature film screenings on Victoria Island on the Festival's opening and closing nights.
-- Denise DebyGreen Living Ottawa

Thursday, July 24: Recognize! Live Art, Auction & Fundraiser
House of PainT, which is gearing up to celebrate its 11th year, invites you to Recognize! a live art and auction fundraiser in support of Ottawa’s festival of urban arts and culture. The event, being held at Gallery SAW this Thursday night, will feature 6 visual artists, accompanied by the music selections of DJs Illo and Zattar, creating new works on 14 bar stools that will then be live auctioned to the audience.
-- Eliane Laberge, Eventful Capital

Friday, July 25: Jon Hynes at Pressed
Even during the lull between Ottawa's many great music festivals, there are still great tunes to be heard. On Friday, Jon Hynes will be releasing his new album, Watchful Creatures at Pressed. The intimate venue is a perfect fit for his music. Have a listen to the new album here: http://jonhynes.bandcamp.com/
-- Ryan BreseeCKCU's Whatever's Cool With Me

Friday, July 25: Ottawa Premiere of "Video Games: The Movie" at the Mayfair Theatre
This is a movie about video games. The end. Check the link for more details! (Also playing on Sunday 27th and Thursday 31st.)
-- Jake Naylor 

Friday, July 25: Double Barrel (Dance Party)
This is billed on the Couch Assassin website as Ottawa's "ONLY all vinyl ... dj'ed dance party featuring the sounds of Motown, Funk, Soul, Early Reggae and Northern Soul" and it takes places at Ottawa's ONLY bar-that-used-to-be-a-jail, Mugshots. If it's nice out, the gettin' jiggy takes place outside in the moonlight. If you dig it, you can come back for more, as it happens every month! (I just found out about this event this week from Amanda Armstrong (@aecarmstrong) and knew nothing about it until I started doing some research to write this blurb. In that short time, I have developed a serious hankering to check it out, as the thought of hearing Stevie Wonder's "Knocks Me Off My Feet" with a Kronenbourg in hand in the cool summer breeze of a Friday evening sounds JUST RIGHT. Right?)
-- Jake Naylor 

Saturday, July 26: Social Capital Ottawa (Social Media Conference)
If you use social media for your line of work (or pleasure), I highly recommend that you attend this social media "learn-a-thon." Actually, you should probably go even if you don't presently "use" it so you can learn why you should. This will be my third year going and I'll likely keep going year after year until the primary organizers, Karen and Lara, realize that this thing is so great that their corporate greed overcomes their kind hearts and they start charging too much, hosting it in Vegas, and calling it WELLMAN WILSON WEALTHSTOCK (in caps, so that you know that they know they're a big deal). Seriously, though, I can almost guarantee you'll learn something interesting about social media if you attend, and it is well designed so that you can choose from a variety of presentations and workshops all day, ensuring that you're not stuck with something that isn't relevant to your interests. See you there (before they let it all go to their head)? ;)
-- Jake Naylor 

Saturday, July 26: The Hornette's Mid-Summer New Moon Dance Party @ Blacksheep Inn
Join them for a sweaty summer dance party at Wakefield's Blacksheep Inn on July 26th. Bus transportation will be provided to/from downtown Ottawa. Departure is at 8:30pm from Museum of Nature. $10 roundtrip.
-- Nick Bachusky

Saturday, July 26: "Back to the Future" Marathon at the Mayfair Theatre
Have you ever dreamt of waking up, eating a bowl of Fruit Loops, watching all three "Back to the Future" movies back to back, just in time to make if home for a late dinner of more delicious Fruit Loops? Your dream is now a reality known as Saturday! Woah. This is heavy.
-- Jake Naylor 

Saturday, July 26: Your Friendly Neighbourhood Comic Book Creators
Head down to The Comic Book Shoppe (Bank St. location) for a special one-day event where you can meet local comic book authors and artists! Pick up their comics, shake their hands, ask them to draw you with muscles triple the size of your head, and get their expert opinions on life's grandest conundrum: who would win in a fight, The Hulk or The Tick?
-- Jake Naylor 

Sunday, July 27: Paris in July - guided art lesson
Join Artist & Illustrator Crystal Beshara as she leads you through a whimsical illustration of a Parisian Market Scene. The Parkdale Market will provide a colourful & lively backdrop for our vintage inspired subject matter. Pretty Model, Bicycle, and panier complete with baguette and flowers! What more could you ask for?!
-- Laura Gauthier

Thursday, July 24 to Friday, August 22: Free Play Group in the Park
All summer long Mothercraft will be offering FREE fun filled mornings in the parks with learning through play. Activities will be arts and crafts, colaberative activies, gross motor activities and sing and dance along with MONKEY ROCK Monday, Wednesday (bilingual), Thursday & Friday. Tuesday park day is French (Monkey Rock will not perform). Check the web site for times and locations.
-- Sara-Lynne Levine, Macaroni Kid Ottawa

July 3-August 23: Children's Activities at Rideau Hall
Enjoy “Storytime at Rideau Hall,” in collaboration with Frontier College. Fridays and Saturdays, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., from June 28 to August 23. Learn about heraldry by designing your very own coat of arms. Daily, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Stroll the grounds, bring a picnic and enjoy the children’s play structure.Watch the Relief of the Sentries of the Ceremonial Guard. Daily, every hour on the hour, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 25 to August 22.
-- Sara-Lynne Levine, Macaroni Kid Ottawa

June 24-August 23: Changing the Guard on Parliament Hill 
See a Canadian tradition at its most colourful! The Ceremonial Guard brings stirring military drills and music to Parliament Hill. Daily at 10:00am on Parliament Hill. And it's free.
-- Sara-Lynne Levine, Macaroni Kid Ottawa

Until September 1: Who glows there? The science of bioluminescence at the Canadian Museum of Nature
What is behind the mysterious science of bioluminescence? What are the organisms that glow and why do they do it? Check out this fascinating natural phenomenon all summer long at the Museum of Nature.
-- Sara-Lynne Levine, Macaroni Kid Ottawa

All summer long, June-August: Beaches, pools and splash pads
Celebrate summer, enjoy a mini-holiday or cool down at one of Ottawa’s four public beaches, 56 wading pools and almost 100 splash pads, or Gatineau’s three public beaches, 10 or so wading pools and more than 30 splash pads. They’re open, they’re free and they’re fun.
-- Denise DebyGreen Living Ottawa


Have a great week!




See also: Ottawa Events Guide
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July 22, 2014

Brian Double: Killin' Krazy Kilometers (training for a 100km run)

Guest blogger Brian Double is training for a 100km from Ottawa to Montebello this fall. He'll be checking in from time to time with udpates on his progress. You can read previous entries here.




I need to run how many hours?  Saturday AND Sunday? Seriously?!?

My training for the 100km run has certainly kicked it up a notch.  I’m hoping the old adage about non-fatality of an action holds true.  This weekend I will be running 4 hours on Saturday and 3 hours on Sunday.  This is a crazy increase but I’m looking forward to it.  I have some newcompression socks that I want try out : )

My fundraising has been going amazingly well thanks to my family, friends and co-workers.  I’ve already raised over 80% of my $2000 goal – half from through online donations and half through a Frozen Treat Fridays Fundraiser.  I am astounded by everyone’s generosity and how people want to join in the quest to End Kids Cancer!  I’m planning some more fundraising activities and hope to be able to announce those soon.  I’d love to raise waaaaaaayyyyyyy more than the initial goal – wouldn’t it be fantabulous if, with your help, we could do 150%, 200% or more of fundraising goal!

Since the fundraising has been going so well, I now have to pick up the pace with my training.  How does one train to run one-hundred kilometres?  By running... lots and lots of running.  But I also have to fit my training around the rest of my work, family and social life so I have to be a bit creative.  My trick is to run commute to work to get all the kilometres in.  

My training schedule:
Monday – REST (good way to start the week!)
Tuesday – run to and from work (9km each way = 18 km)
Wednesday – easy trail run at lunch time (5-6km)
Thursday – run to and from work (9 km each way = 18 km)
Friday – REST (TGIF!)

Saturday and Sunday are all about the double long run.  Any race training I’ve done previously has included a long run on Saturday OR Sunday.  Training for 100km is about learning to run on tired legs so they have you run on both days.  I’m using this training plan from New Zealand to let me know how long to run each day.  I have two-three brutal weekends in a row followed by an easier weekend, and then it increases in brutality.  Super! 

I spend most weekends of the summer at my trailer near Cheneville and so my long runs are long and HILLY runs.  I’m hoping this will help me be even better prepared for the 100km.
I’ve also been doing some fun and crazy races!  Keeps me out of trouble : )

Please visit my donation page to help End Kids Cancer.

Cheers,

Brian


See also: Ottawa Sports Guide
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Rose Simpson: We come here to praise Mike Duffy not bury him

Cotton Candy Clouds
Photo: Cotton Candy Clouds by David Johnson, from the OttawaStart Flickr Group

Rose Simpson's column appears every Tuesday morning on the OttawaStart Blog. She also blogs at Rose's Cantina.

Glass is half full kind of Canadians should thank Mike Duffy for the investigative journalism he's undertaken which is revealing the depth of corruption and depravity within our system of government.

For years now, Old Duff has been toiling on your behalf, posing as a political Senator, to unearth how many ways it's possible to screw the Canadian taxpayer. Indeed, he should win himself a Michener Award, or a Genie at the very least. Do they still give those out for enterprise journalism?

Seriously, folks, everyone who lives in Ottawa knows the system stinks -- especially Senate operations. We've had major evidence of this for years. Like the Senator who spent all his time in Mexico instead of warming his seat in the Red Chamber. How long did it take people to figure that one out? Or how many others managed to go from living in nice condos to multimillion dollar houses in Manotick within minutes of their appointment to the Senate. How many of them are registered lobbyists?

You see, people who are appointed to the Senate have, well, expectations. Most of them come from well heeled jobs in corporate Canada, or law firms or big media jobs. They believe they deserve free booze, large expense accounts and golf memberships.

You'd think they'd just won Cash For Life. Well, guess what, most of them did!

Senators have been forging documents for years, fudging their expenses, free wheeling their way around the country toiling for their respective political parties on the taxpayer dime, and everybody, everybody, everybody knew about it and did absolutely nothing.

It took Mike Duffy to belly flop in the pool and displace all the water before anybody -- the RCMP, the media, officials in the Senate, the Canadian Revenue Agency -- thought: "Holy Shit, we really need to get on top of this".

Journos are lining up to take the credit, and bows, scooping up major hardware and rewards for "uncovering" the Senate scandal. That's unfortunate. They're all trying to convince Canadians that it was their investigative journalism, but really, it was Duffy all along.

Let's buy him a round.

For it will be Duffy, not CTV news, who will take down a sitting prime minister for snoozing while the Red Chamber burned. It will be Duffy who will be personally responsible for cleaning up the Senate and its loosey goosey rules and regulations. And it will be Duffy who will be responsible for ensuring proper accounting methods are put in place.

(Though Pam Wallin does deserve an honorable mention for best hair.)

I'd say there are a lot of former Senators who are pretty happy they are dead right now. And there are many, many sitting Senators who are sending their shorts out for dry cleaning. The gravy train stops right here, right now. And there are plenty who have some 'splaining to do.

If I were in charge of the government, I'd go further. I'd call for a pre-emptive strike on other questionable practices which are followed not just by Senators and MPs, but by journalists. If we're going to make Parliament accountable, we should shut down the Parliamentary restaurant, take away the tabs at Hy's, and make everybody eat at Tim Horton's just as we do. Also, get rid of the free parking and subsidized cafeterias.

We don't get free parking, do we? I don't know about you, but it costs me $15 every time I go downtown, so I take the bus. No little green bus picks me up.

It's time that our elected officials mirror our lives and bring their own brown bags, and pay for their own memberships at Good Life fitness. (Hey, you get points for referrals!)

Let them get hair cuts at First Choice, and go to U Frame It to get their vanity pictures framed.

And while we're at it, take away their householders, those ridiculous pieces of mail MPs send out to you and me that just end up in the recycle without being read. Let them use the Internet like the rest of us to deliver their propaganda. Dial up!

Duffy has shown us that as long as there are loopholes that we can drive a lorry through, there will be cheaters who will use the system to their own advantage and line their pockets. So let's get rid of all of them.

No more two residence rules for anybody. No more limos to drive Cabinet ministers four blocks from their condos to Parliament Hill.

Let's make being a Senator or MP as unfun as possible.

It's only then will we get people in office who truly want to be there for the betterment of Canadians.

Thanks Duff, thanks a lot.

Godspeed, and let 'er rip at the trial.




-- Rose Simpson


See also: Ottawa Media Guide
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July 20, 2014

We found an abandoned 19th century cemetery near Richmond

UPDATE: Andrew King edited a short video of our search...






About 15 minutes south-west of Richmond, there's an old pioneer cemetery buried in the Marlborough forest, all but forgotten except for a small historic plaque. It’s called the “Dwyer Hill Pioneer Roman Catholic Burial Ground” and was in use up to around 1867. We hiked to it on Saturday afternoon, wading through waist-high weeds and fighting off mosquitos and deer flies.



A 1975 description of the site brought us to O'Brien Road, just off of Dwyer Hill Road where the railroad tracks cross.  The author of the description noted: "Some difficulty was encountered in locating the area due to reforestation and abundant overgrowth."  Forty years later, that was an understatement.

We followed the directions and crossed under the power lines across a field.  An old farm road was barely visible, hidden under decades of overgrowth.


"You will see a sign with a cross, nailed to a tree indicating the beginning of a trail that goes to the Pioneer Cemetery," the instructions said.  We didn't find the cross, so we took our chances on what looked like a path down this old trail.


We walked for a while, wondering if we’d find anything. The bugs were awful. The weeds were thick.  The dog was protesting.  It was hot.

And just as we were about to turn back, we spotted this in a clearing up ahead...


A historic plaque, in the middle of nowhere.


Among crooked cedars and white birch trees, there were several piles of rocks marking the graves. The remnants of shallow graves were covered by large stones, once marked by wooden planks that have since decayed and disappeared. Here is one of the better-preserved cairns. Moss-covered, with trees sprouting all around.


The cemetery lies on the southern boundary of two lots owned in 1863 by the Haggerty and Hanrahan families.  Families buried there include Gorman, Whelan, O’Neil, Hanrahan, McKenna, Haggarty, O’Brien. It was the area's Irish Catholic cemetery until a formal church and cemetery were built nearby circa 1860s.

None of the original wooden markers remained past 1940, and apparently no records exist for who was actually buried there. The last remaining marker was for a Mrs. Gorman who died in childbirth at age 41, according to one reference I found.

At least one of the graves looked like it had been opened at one point.  Some spots on the site were marked with orange or yellow flags like this one.  Perhaps marking less-distinct graves?


"In the fall of 1995, a four-member survey crew working for the then-regional government located the pioneer cemetery, hidden in a thick maple and hardwood bush. The cemetery site, as they found it, consisted of the partial remains of a rock wall and 20 grave sites inside the wall... The survey crew discovered about 16 graves beyond the rock wall boundaries of the cemetery."  (via Stittsville News)

The plaque on the site was installed in 1998 by the former Township of Rideau.

The cemetery is supposedly haunted: "Locals tell tales of hikers meeting strangers in period clothing only to disappear before them... hearing the sound of horses passing but they are never seen, glowing lanterns are seen floating through the trees on their own..."

We did not see any ghosts.

The site isn't hard to locate on a map, but it was a challenging hike into the bush.  I would recommend searching for it in the fall or winter when the bugs and weeds aren't as bad.  Thanks to Andrew King & Alison Fowler for coming along for the adventure.  We would have taken more photos but the bugs were too much to handle.


See also: Ottawa History Guide
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July 17, 2014

PODCAST: Lunch Out Loud Ottawa - 2014 Ottawa Bluesfest Review Show

Every week we publish a link to the Lunch Out Loud podcast, a weekly show produced by Nick Bachusky and co-hosted by Andrew Miller. This week: "Our annual show recapping this year's successful Ottawa Bluesfest. We are joined with Matias from Ottawa Showbox, Elly from Eventful Capital and Benjamin from The Revue to go over top 5 lists, what we liked about the changes to the event, our top local acts and more!"





See also: Ottawa Festivals Guide
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July 16, 2014

OttawaStart's Weekly Event Round-Up: July 17-23, 2014

Rideau Canal
Photo: Rideau Canal, by Mark R. Ducharme from the OttawaStart Flickr Group


Here's our crowdsourced list of the best events in Ottawa this week.


Friday, July 18: SNAPS for CARE & Re-Seasoning Supper
Amanda Sage of the wonderful website KickassCanadians.ca has some wonderful winterscape photos on display at Petit Bill's Bistro during all of July and August. What excuse do you need to go get great food and a chance to remember we shouldn't complain about the heat? Photos are for sale and the proceeds are being donated to CARE Canada.
If you'd like to join a special dinner for Friday evening, please see the website for info on how to join and be seated with the group. There's also a sneak peek at the pics on the site!
-- Laura Gauthier

Saturday, July 19: The 48 Hour Film Project
Come out and view a screening of the work of Ottawa-area filmmakers, who were assigned a character, prop, a line of dialogue and genre, and had to create a movie in just 48 hours. The screening takes place at the Mayfair Theatre (1074 Bank Street), at 1:00 PM. Tickets are $10 (available online, through Eventbrite). I'm going to attend, to support the Ottawa filmmaking community (and a friend, who makes an appearance in the film).
-- Ross Brown

Saturday, July 19: Fau mardi sur l'herbe
The forecast is looking good for the weekend ahead so if you’d like to indulge in some free outdoor electronic music, the Fau Mardi collective has you covered with Fau Mardi sur l’herbe (Fau Mardi on the grass) taking place at the Imaginaire Park beside the Aylmer Marina. The collective is offering a free family-friendly event featuring guest DJs who’ll present a variety of electronic music styles. You can get the entire programming by clicking below.
-- Eliane Laberge, Eventful Capital

Sunday, July 20: Ice Cream Festival
If I wasn't going to be out of town this weekend, I would be going to the Ice Cream Festival being put on by the Canada Agriculture & Food Museum at the Central Experimental Farm this Sunday from 9am to 4pm. At the festival, you can learn all about ice cream from cow to cone, help make ice cream the old fashioned way using a manual ice cream maker, learn about the history of milkshakes and take part in an ice cream cookie sandwich making demonstration, to name but a few of the things you can see and do. Check out their website for more information. Admission to the Ice Cream Festival is included in the museum admission fee.
-- Gordon Dewis

Monday, July 21: Flux does Rideau Pines Farm
For only $65, you get transportation to and from Hooch Bourbon House (180 Rideau St), a 4-course meal from 5 top chefs from Ottawa, Beau's beer, wine and cocktails provided as well as 6 local musicians providing music. An epic deal!
-- Nick Bachusky

July 3-August 23: Children's Activities at Rideau Hall
Enjoy “Storytime at Rideau Hall,” in collaboration with Frontier College. Fridays and Saturdays, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., from June 28 to August 23. Learn about heraldry by designing your very own coat of arms. Daily, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Stroll the grounds, bring a picnic and enjoy the children’s play structure.Watch the Relief of the Sentries of the Ceremonial Guard. Daily, every hour on the hour, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 25 to August 22.
-- Sara-Lynne Levine, Macaroni Kid Ottawa

June 24-August 23: Changing the Guard on Parliament Hill
See a Canadian tradition at its most colourful! The Ceremonial Guard brings stirring military drills and music to Parliament Hill. Daily at 10:00am on Parliament Hill. And it's free.
-- Sara-Lynne Levine, Macaroni Kid Ottawa

All summer long, June-August: Beaches, pools and splash pads
Celebrate summer, enjoy a mini-holiday or cool down at one of Ottawa’s four public beaches, 56 wading pools and almost 100 splash pads, or Gatineau’s three public beaches, 10 or so wading pools and more than 30 splash pads. They’re open, they’re free and they’re fun.
-- Denise DebyGreen Living Ottawa


Have a great week!




See also: Ottawa Events Guide
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July 15, 2014

Collection of photos of things people left behind at the Ottawa Jazz Festival




From the Ottawa Jazz Festival's Facebook page:
"Lose something at the TD Ottawa Jazz Festival this year? Take a peek through this gallery and give us a shout if you see something familiar."

- Lots of sunglasses
- Mittens
- Water bottles
- Hats, including a bike helmet
- No instruments that I can see

Who is the guy modelling all the items?




See also: Ottawa Festivals Guide
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