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All In Hand
Here you'll find the sum total of Miss Vicky's Remarks thus far.
May is Physical Activity Month in Ottawa, and there are a number of easy ways to participate. Active Ottawa Actif and the city's Public Health department is challenging Ottawa residents to take small steps toward a more active lifestyle.
The Every Day in May walking campaign is an easy way to participate. Just download the walking log and head out for 30 minutes every day. Heck, the walk from my place to Bridgehead and back would qualify.... so it's prety easy! You can submit your completed log to Ottawa Public Health to win some fab prizes.
You can also pick up a Try-it! Pass at any city recreation centre, YMCA or at Dovercourt to try fitness classes or facilities for a week for free. If you've been curious about aquafit or tai chi or yoga or ballroom dancing or pilates or whatever, now's your chance!
Things kick off tomorrow at noon with a launch at City Hall, where a bunch of Ottawa's Olympic Athletes will be challenging city councillors to take up the Every Day in May activity. Miss Vicky will be in attendance.... not an Olympian, but definitely a walker! Come on down and join us.
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Miss Vicky has access to several FREE tickets to tomorrow evening's Mayworks labour music concert at the Cube Gallery. The concert marks the 70th anniversary of the Oshawa GM strike and features George Hewison, Labour singer-songwriter and Ottawa’s new Capital City Workers’ Choir. Doors open at 7:30; music starts at 8.
from the event description:70 years ago, workers at the Oshawa General Motors plant walked off the job. Their demands: an 8-hour work day, better wages and working conditions, and recognition of their union, the new United Automobile Workers. Backed by the Ontario Premier and a vicious private police force, GM tried to break the strike. The workers eventually won recognition of their choice of union. With that victory, thousands of workers across Canada began to organize building the labour movement of today.
If you'd like, send me a note. The tickets are sponsored by the fine folks at the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers, who are offering them to people who would not ordinarily be able to go.
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Lots going on in Kitchissippi and the city right now!
I will write more about the Mayor's "strategic planning" process, but I want to encourage everyone to visit the City's website and fill in the survey. As it stands, this is the ONLY public consultation to determine the city's priorities. And as a priority-setting tool, it's pretty frickin' flawed. But the more folks that participate and choose the environment, child care, social services, arts and heritage, etc as priorities, the better. It's short and painless. Until they get to the decision-making part, that is.
Speaking of surveys, this week's Neighbourhood Planning Survey focuses on safety and security. They're taking feedback until April 29, and you can register to win prizes when you enter your thoughts and ideas! Unlike the city's strategic planning process, the NPI really does want to hear what you have to say about your neighbourhood. The survey covers Hintonburg, Mechanicsville and West Wellington.
For Westboro residents, Andrea over at quietfish has put out a call for tomorrow's meeting of the Westboro Community Association. It's at 7pm at Dovercourt Recreation Centre. When I was campaigning, I heard a lot of dissatisfaction from Westboro residents about the pace and scale of development in the area. It was clear that the area needs an effective, engaged community association, and this will only happen if lots of people get involved. So get involved!
On Saturday April 28 at City Hall, there will be a workshop on “The Environment, Health and Me: What can I do about it?” Speakers will include John Stone with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and there will be various discussion groups, including one by our Trustee Jennifer MacKenzie on how to talk to parents and school councils and a primer on the Porchlight campaign with Stuart Hickox. There will also be a workshop on maintaining a natural and healthy lawn and garden workshop with horticulturist Mary Anne Jackson-Hughes and entomologist Penny Macdonald. The event is starting at 9:30 and will run to about 1.
For Champlain Park residents and anyone who enjoys the river pathway, the Champlain Park residents' association have organized a cleanup of the park and pathway this Sunday, April 29, starting at 9:30. Bring gloves and a rake if you've got 'em. The Webgeek and I had a great time at this cleanup last year. Unfortunately this is the same time as the MS walk, so we probably will have to miss it. But I hope some of you will go! And let us know what fun things you find!
FInally, on May 2, the West Wellington Community Association will hold its Annual General Meeting at 7:30pm at the Fisher Park Community Centre in Fisher Park School, 250 Holland Avenue.
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It's a big weekend in the neighbourhood. The weather is going to be FANTASTIC, so why not grab a rake and some garden gloves and head out to one of the clean-up events happening in the area?
On Saturday April 21, the Hintonburg Community Association will be cleaning up Hintonburg Park (behind the Community Centre) between 10 and noon. They'll be heading to Cozy's for lunch afterwards, so you can reward your hard work with some yummy pancakes!
A bit further west, West Wellington residents will be cleaning up the "schoolbus" park on the Byron Pathway (at mayfair or piccadilly, I believe).
These cleanup events are a great way to meet your neighbours and help make our parks and pathways safe and attractive places to walk and play.
On Saturday morning there will also be a meeting about the effort to create a Hintonburg Community Garden. It's at 10:30 at the Hintonburg Community Centre. I think it's a casual meet and greet, so if you are going to the cleanup but are also interested in community gardening, you can do both!
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So I was all ready to write some vitriol about Mayor Larry's scheme to hold closed strategic planning meetings at the Pineview Golf Course. But it seems he's retreated from his notion of a corporate retreat for councillors and decided the meetings will be open. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the almost universally bad coverage and the quick mobilization of the Ottawa Budget coalition.
He may have backed off, but the meetings are still happening and they won't be conveniently televised on Rogers like council meetings are. There will still be closed sessions and we're still going to have to keep a close watch on what the council members are discussing and what proposals are on the table. The Mayor has promised 1000 days of Transformation, with little details as to what this means. I'm all for Transformation and finding ways to improve city services. But I would hate to lose sight of the overall vision set by the 20/20 process. I'm not entirely convinced that the Mayor shares this vision, and I worry about what his idea of an Ottawa with "swagger" would look like. There's a big difference between Chicago's Millennium Park, for example, and the commercial circus that is Times Square.
Put your vision on the table, Mr. Mayor, and let's all have a say in the future of our city.
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OK, so in the Enroute post I started to rant about the skyrocketing commercial rent rates on the Wellington West mainstreet. It's not just about the many vacant storefronts or the fact that my hairdresser may have to move to Westboro. Now my new favourite form of entertainment, weekly date night and fun baby exercise regime is gone.
Salsa Sueno's landlord has changed the locks and evicted the business. I had had some inkling this might happen, as Stella told us she was having difficulty with them. Then I got a call earlier this week giving me the heads up that classes would be cancelled until further notice. Then the notice appeared on the door. The good news: she is trying to find another location nearby for the baby salsa and other classes. The bad news: we've lost a great community resource and an asset to the mainstreet.
What exactly is the point of having an arts district if arts-related businesses can't afford to operate? I understand that property owners need to make a living but there has to be a way to ensure that new businesses have a fair shot at surviving. I am not exactly sure what some Hintonburg property owners think they are going to accomplish by keeping their storefronts vacant and in poor condition while expecting business owners to shell out rent that's more expensive than Westboro or other upmarket districts.
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Wee G in his Jolly Jumper
Our friend and 'in a pinch' babysitter, Accidental Altruist, filmed this for us a while back. Not sure why the speed of the video is through the roof, but still cute none the less.
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A reader writes:
I've been reading your site for a couple of weeks now, just found it and am really enjoying it!
I noticed that EnRoute Magazine has named Hintonburg as one of it's 10 hottest neighbourhoods in Canada in the April issue. You may have already covered this awhile ago, but if not it's a pretty flattering article.
We actually live in the Civic Hospital area but just bought a house on Melrose b/c we like Hintonburg so much. So we were of course happy to see EnRoute agree with our opinion!
I had heard rumblings of the article, but had yet to check it out. Local writer and culture maven Fateema Sayani gives a great snapshot of a day in the 'hood, hitting many of Miss Vicky's favourite spots - the Melrose Grocery, Hino's, the Cube Gallery, Dogz, the Urban Element, Pukka Gallery and the Engine Room, Ravensara, a Fine thing and more. It's a nice plug for a place that Miss Vicky thinks is pretty darned special.
Some of Miss Vicky's other favourite neighbourhoods are featured as well: Roncesvalles Village (where she lived during a short stint in Toronto) Lilac Street in Winnipeg (a short hop from Miss Vicky's High School and the home of several friend during her angst-ridden, black-wearing teenage years), and Agricola Street in Halifax.
There are a few things these neighbourhoods have in common - diversity, eclecticism, a sense of a neighbourhood in transition, necessities within walking distance mixed with unique small business shopping destinations. Kids and families. Dogs. And arts - galleries, studio spaces, artists living and working in the area.
Unfortunately, here in Hintonburg, some of what we value most is at risk. I have been hearing a lot from business owners that retail space rental on Wellington West has gone through the roof. This was confirmed last week by an article in the Kitchissippi Times... apparenty Westboro property is substantially cheaper than space here in Hintonburg. This makes absolutely no sense to me - so many storefronts are vacant here and so much of the space is run down and would cost megabucks to get ready to open anything. Yet it seems that some landlords prefer to have their space vacant in the hopes that some high-rent tenant (starbucks, perhaps?) will come along than lower their inflated prices to ensure viable businesses on the strip. It's appalling.
OK, slipping into vitriol here. More on this in another post, perhaps. In the meantime, thanks to the reader for the tip and weclome to the 'hood!
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