Articles by: Clayton AndresClayton Andres
Clayton Andres has a Bachelor of Arts at Trinity Western University in British Columbia and will be attending Carleton University for a Masters in Journalism. He has worked as the News Editor for his campus newspaper and more recently has worked as an intern for Ottawa Life Magazine.

Rockcliffe Park Book Fair keeps passion for print alive – but eBooks could hurt sales next year

October 28, 2013 11:34 am
Rockcliffe Park Book Fair keeps passion for print alive – but eBooks could hurt sales next year

In spite of the competition from the e-book market , the Rockcliffe Park Book Fair is able to prove that people in Ottawa still love to read in print.

Last year, the Rockcliffe Park Public School’s annual book fair made more than $48,000 selling used books donated from the local community.

The fair was first organized over 50 years ago to raise money for the school library and to encourage literacy among students. Although the fair has continued to thrive and achieve its goals, the increased popularity of electronic literature hasn’t gone unnoticed by the organizers.

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“We haven’t been hit too hard by the growing market for digital books, although I am sure we will be faced with this in the future,” said Seanna Kreager, chair of the Rockcliffe Park Book Fair. Kreager has been waiting for book sales to decrease, but revenue from the fair increased last year. The sale made upwards of $30,000 in both 2010 and 2011 before the numbers jumped in 2012.

“I think there will be a bit of a drop, but it hasn’t happened,” Kreager said. “Not yet, anyway.”

According to Kreager, the fair sold more than 40,000 used books during the first weekend in November last year. Although Kreager said that she and the other organizers have never been able to get an accurate tally of attendees, the gym is packed with kids and adults every year.

“It’s one of the highlights of the year for the students,” said Principal Shari Brodie. “They know it’s coming and they all get excited.”

There is also no shortage of volunteers. Every year, without fail, over 100 members of the community commit their time to help sort, label, price and sell books. According to Kreager, it takes more than 3,500 hours of volunteer work to run the event each year.

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“It’s challenging and there’s so much to do, but I’m very thankful that so many people come forward to help,” Kreager said. “It really takes the whole community to put it all together.”

Kreager noted that some volunteers have been helping with the fair consistently for 52 years.

Some $40,000 of the profits from the 2012 book fair went towards funding the school library and other educational programs. The school has been able to use some of this money to hold author workshops every year, featuring well-known Canadian writers like award-winning children’s author Kenneth Oppel.

The book fair organizers are also able to donate about $5,000 of the proceeds to other schools in need. Each year, five different Ottawa-area schools are selected to receive funds for purchasing new equipment and library books.

The staff takes great pride in selling their books at low prices, which allows the fair to compete with the digital market. Kreager expects this to change, though. As more people buy their books electronically, there will be fewer donations.

However, principal Brodie says the fair won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

“The volunteers would never let that happen,” Brodie said.

Although the organizers don’t know what to expect for the future, Brodie says she’s certain the fair “will be here for many years to come.”

The Rockcliffe Park Book Fair will be held on November 1-3 at Rockcliffe Park Public School.

All photos taken by Seanna Kreager.


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50 Years of Our Flag Dedication Ceremony

July 1, 2013 11:52 am
50 Years of Our Flag Dedication Ceremony

To celebrate almost 50 years of the Canadian flag,  the “50 Years of Our Flag” committee will be holding a special Flag Pole dedication ceremony today.

A 160 foot flag pole has been installed with a plaque detailing the anniversary. The event will be held in Brockville “Birthplace of Canada’s Flag,” at 3:00 PM at the North/East corner of North Augusta Road and Parkedale Ave.

The dedication of the flag pole is part of the committee’s big set-up for the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag in 2015. The committee will be hosting more events to celebrate the flag in the coming years, so stay tuned!

The monument is made possible by the generosity of Mr. Mitchell Goldhar & SmartCentres in conjunction with the efforts of the “50 Years of Our Flag” committee.

For more information please visit:

V-Day Ottawa Supports Ending Violence Against Women with a production of The Vagina Monologues

March 5, 2013 12:19 pm
V-Day Ottawa Supports Ending Violence Against Women with a production of The Vagina Monologues

In support of the Global Effort to End Violence Against Women and Girls, V-Day Ottawa is announcing a special production of the Off-Broadway hit The Vagina Monologues.

V-Day is an activist movement that works to end violence against women and girls. The global movement promotes creative events that raise awareness of  violence inflicted upon women,including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation and human trafficking. V-Day also fundraises for already existing programs that have been fighting for years to help stop violence against women and girls.

The Vagina Monologues has been a huge part of the V-Day movement, with performances put on by communities worldwide. The proceeds from the performances go to local resource centers for women, including rape crisis centers and shelters for women. Last year, over 5,800 V-Day benefit events took place, supported and produced by volunteers around the world.

This year, the Ottawa production of The Vagina Monolgues will be performed March 8th and 9th at 8:00 pm at the Bronson Centre on 211 Bronson Ave.

Tickets are still available at

There will also be a silent auction, a showcase of nonprofit organizations, and a special MadeByMen Bake Sale in Mac Hall before the performance and during the intermission. Proceeds from the auction and the bake sale will go toward providing vital services to the Ottawa community through The Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa (SASC)

For more information:

General E-mail:
Website & Blog:
Facebook: tvm
Twitter: @VdayOttawa

Feeling the Groove: Mixing Genres with Harmony & Groove

February 21, 2013 12:42 pm
Feeling the Groove: Mixing Genres with Harmony & Groove

Adopting from the genres of R&B, Soul, Funk and Pop, Harmony & Groove is the alter ego of Canadian singer/songwriter Jeffrey Carl, who has been recording songs in different musical genres for years. It wasn’t until late 2008 that he decided to put it all together.

The resulting album – 2½ years in the making – is simultaneously Carl’s homage to the masters of groove and soul, and his attempt to give the genres his own spin. First taking inspiration from Earth, Wind, and Fire, The Temptations and Sly & the Family Stone, Carl began looking to more contemporary artists like Maroon 5, Bruno Mars and Adele to flesh out his own style.

Bringing Down the Mercury was recorded in 2010 with jazz musician Norm Glaude, a hometown favourite in the Ottawa music scene. Carl and Glaude wanted to create a harmonious blend of live and electronic instrumentation. The result is not exactly the organic unity they were aiming for, but a playful relationship between real and virtually-produced sounds that draws the listener’s attention to every piece of the ensemble. While listening to the album, it’s hard not to notice the individual parts that work together to create a jolted but appealing sound.

With Bringing Down the Mercury, Carl has put cool-down Jazz with pump-up Pop in a blender, resulting in a smoothie of groove that is easily palatable and irresistibly catchy. On the title track, Carl’s mellifluous voice glides over waves of peppy beats and punchy rhythms.

On tracks like Better Late than Never and the disco-infused On the Fly, a song Carl claims was written “on the fly” in about 30 minutes, potent horn blasts accompany swirling strings to create a smooth harmony between groove and funk.

On App for That, Carl gives a funky spin to his modern lament over the instant gratification that comes from the age of smart phones. His critique of an overenthusiastic consumer culture is punctuated with splashes of pop-synth and twangy jazz-chords.

The track Get Funky urges listeners to “get up, get in, get down, and get funky,” recalling both the stronger, rhythmic grooves of the late 60s as well as the pumped-up pop ballads of the early 90s. Just like with all the tracks on the album, Carl wants to get you moving your feet while still grooving to the beat.

Carl says he’ll take his music to the next step by bringing it to the streets of Ottawa. The smooth beats and electrifying soul of Harmony & Groove will premiere in Ottawa nightclubs near you sooner than you think.

You can listen to some of the songs and download the entire album for free at the official website. 
Also check out Harmony & Groove’s Facebook and Twitter

Eye See You Series: The University of Ottawa Eye Institute at the Ottawa Hospital

January 21, 2013 11:23 am
Eye See You Series: The University of Ottawa Eye Institute at the Ottawa Hospital

Proper eye care is something that must be approached from many different perspectives. Individual eye care is just as important as surgical, clinical, and preventative care for maintaining proper vision and healthy eyes. At the University of Ottawa Eye Institute, eye care is top priority, with a dedicated staff of individuals working in a number of different fields and capacities promoting healthy eyes.

The Eye Institute is a world-class facility that houses clinical, education, and research departments all dedicated to promoting, advancing, and investigating important issues related to ophthalmology and eye care, such as epidemiology, ocular pathology, ocular genetics, neuro-ophthalmology, cornea, uveitis, and glaucoma.

First opened in 1992, the founders of the Eye Institute sought to create an eye care facility that promoted a holistic approach to visual health. Today, their mission continues to be upheld in practical ways, as the Institute promotes advances in visual disease and disorder research, prevention, and treatment.

Their staff all come from a variety of specialized fields of eye care. With a medical staff touting subspecialty training at some of the most prestigious fellowship training centres in North America, the Institute staff have created and contributed to programs in the fields of cellular and molecular biology, electrophysiology, sensory perception, optical care, visual performance, and biomedical technology. Through cooperative efforts, these experts have also worked extensively in refractive surgery, tissue engineering, and ocular genetics. There are very few eye care centres in the world that have achieved the same levels of collaboration between specialized fields.

Margaret Beddaoui measures the activity of Sarah Wassmer’s retina with an electroretinogram. PHOTO COURTESY CIHR

According to Dr. Steven Gilberg, who works on the general campus of Ottawa Hospital  as the chair and site chief of the department of Ophthalmology for Ottawa Hospital among other important roles,  the Eye Institute has “a strong dedication to giving medical students an exposure to ophthalmology.” Students educated at the Institute are given the opportunity early in their academic experience to work alongside various ophthalmologists in different disciplines. “It’s almost a ‘Bring Your Medical Student to Work Day,’” said Gilberg. “It encourages what elective [the students] choose in later on, but also allows them to become familiar with all the different fields they could be a part of. They understand the basic tenants of different fields, which gives them a backup plan if they end up changing disciplines.”

The Eye Institute offers four-year programs for its 160+ medical students from all around the world. They also accept two new residents a year, carefully selecting the crème-de-la-crème from over 150 applicants every year. The Institute also offers two-year fellowships for specialists in retina, neural ophthalmology, oculoplastics, and cornea studies, as well as ophthalmologic general technician training programs for those looking to become medical technicians.

Residents and fellows are given the freedom to become specialists in whatever field they choose, working on their own research projects. Projects are presented annually on Resident Research Day, a special event held to encourage individual research among the residents. Esteemed professors from around the world moderate the event and distribute prizes to the best research projects. Last year, Dr. Robin Ali, an expert in the field of Human Molecular Genetics, came all the way from the University College to participate in the event.

The Eye Institute also hosts the Sally Letson Symposium, the largest ophthalmologist meeting in  Canada. Specialists from Austra, France, Germany, England, the US, and across Canada came to discuss clinical cases and technological innovations in ophthalmology and eye care. This past year, Dr. John Marshall, the inventor of the revolutionary excimer laser treatment, came to talk about cataracts and issues with the cornea.

Many new and exciting discoveries and innovations have been made at the Institute from fellows and residents working closely together. Dr. Cathy Tsilfidis, for example, is currently conducting advanced studies of cell-regeneration on newts, looking to create working regenerative medicine models that would use the XIAP gene to prevent cells from dying. The findings from her team’s studies could potentially help prevent ocular cell damage that occurs from glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetes, resulting in vision loss. Meanwhile, Dr, Valerie Wallace is conducting research on stem cell regulation in eye development. She and her team hope to control cell growth in the retina to allow the cells to grow rapidly without becoming cancerous. Advanced retinal electrophysiological studies are also being conducted by Dr. Stuart Coupland using electronic signalling to better understand how retinal damage can be prevented.

Along with its excellent reputation for academic research and education, the Eye Institute’s staff has been internationally praised for excellence in medical care for their patients. With the latest technology and a multi-faceted approach to study and discovery, the experts at the ocular branch of the Ottawa Hospital are able to offer the very best testing and treatment to their patients.

If you are interested in getting a check-up, ophthalmic diagnostic services are available on site. Please check with your ophthalmologist or eye doctor for more information.


TOP PHOTO: Dr. Steven Gilberg, University of Ottawa

Norway: A Country of Unequalled Equality

December 3, 2012 3:18 pm
Norway: A Country of Unequalled Equality

As the need for accessibility reform grows in Ottawa, it is important to examine countries that have successfully created effective accessibility programs. In Norway, the government has been busy over the past three years attempting to make the whole country more accessible to persons with disabilities.

On January 1, 2009, the Norwegian government, with the permission of the King, enacted aggressive legislation that strengthened legal protection against discrimination on the grounds of disability. The Anti-Discrimination and Accessibility Act applies to all public areas of society and targets direct and indirect forms of harassment and discrimination towards the disabled, from refusing to hire someone due to a disability or simply neglecting to make a workplace accessible to disabled persons. The Act also requires that public schools allow all disabled students to be given equal opportunities to learn and participate in curricular activities.

This legislation was followed in the same year by a groundbreaking Action Plan put forward by the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion. The Plan details the government’s intentions to make Norway universally accessible for persons with physical disabilities.

In order to enact this mammoth plan, the Ministry began collaborating with a large number of other Norwegian government administrations, including the Ministries of Regional Development, Transport and Communications, Environment and International Development, and the Ministry of Government Administration and Reform. In this way, the accessibility reforms enacted will reach every aspect of public life throughout the country.

The Act was put forward to be in concordance with The United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, which obliges countries to “implement the necessary measures to ensure that people with disabilities have access to the physical environment, transport, information, communication and other areas and services that are open to or offered by the public.”

Norway plans to increase the number of accessible homes, buildings and outdoor areas by 2025, and ensure that all aspects of Norway’s travel system, including trains, buses and stopping stations, are accessible to disabled persons. Norway is also seeking to improve its information and communications technologies (ICT) network to be entirely accessible to the elderly and persons with disabilities by 2021.

But accessibility isn’t the only concern of the Norwegian government. The Norwegian government has spent nearly a decade enacting legislation prohibiting discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, religious belief and sexual orientation.

In 2006, the Anti-Discrimination Act was passed by the Ministry of Labour, which detailed the government’s commitment to promote complete social equality. The Act prevents any forms of discrimination based on ethnicity, national origin, skin colour, language, religion, belief, sexual preference or sexual orientation. Because of this act, employers can no longer fire, demote, refuse to hire or refuse to promote anyone based on any of the above factors.

Arni Hole, former Director General of the Ministry of Children, Equality, and Social Inclusion of Norway. PHOTO:

One year ago, at the European Forum for New Ideas, Director General Arni Hole of the Ministry of Children, Equality, and Social Inclusion delivered a series of speeches detailing Norway’s commitment to total gender equality.

She emphasized that nations can no longer “afford not to employ all talents from both genders,” and that the world “need[s] women in politics as much as in the corporate world – at all levels.” Hole argued that enabling social frameworks to benefit women and men will build “a more sustainable, fairer and economic[ally] viable society” and that such a society will benefit all involved, “even in strict economic terms.”

The government has enacted a long list of legislation looking to improve the overall equality felt between the two genders. According to Hole: “Sometimes it takes radical affirmative action to produce results and eradicate some of these stern and strict stereotypes.”

Legal protection was offered by the 2003 amendments to corporate laws, requiring every Norwegian company to have 40% of either sex represented on their elected board of supervisors. The amendments accomplished the hoped-for objective: by 2006, an average of 43% of all Norwegian board members were women.

A 2010 study conducted by the Oslo and Copenhagen Business Schools found that the female board members helped make strategic work more efficient by strengthening the board’s capacity-building, developing new competencies and improving conflict management.

These changes to gender representation in Norwegian public and private life have not gone unnoticed. Norway’s legal quotas have been so successful that Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Iceland and Italy have started enacting their own quotas for gender equality on corporate boards.

However, not all of Norway’s gender reforms were brought about by legislation. Since 1986, every Norwegian Cabinet has had a 40%-60% or greater gender balance. There is no law requiring the Head of Government to appoint a certain number of women to Cabinet, yet every government in the past 26 years has chosen at least eight women to hold ministerial offices.

Seeing the increase in available opportunities, brought about by legislation and public pressure, more and more young Norwegian girls are going to school in order to attain employment they never had access to before. As of 2011, 62% of Norwegian University graduates were female.

Hole also stated that “a quota is not a quick fix.” She believes that in order for gender-equality legislation to be successful, it must be enacted in “a more or less gender-equal society” that gives both genders “opportunities to combine careers and family life.”

Thus, the government sought to improve gender equality by enacting legislation to help parents of young children balance work and home life. Norway’s 1993 Parental Leave Scheme gave fathers and mothers of small children the right to leave work early in order to pick up their child from daycare or preschool. These parents also have the right to refuse to work overtime when no one is available to take care of their children.

This legislation has improved the overall status of parents and families in Norway. Save the Children’s 2012 State of the World’s Mothers Report placed Norway as the best country in the world in which to be a mother, with Canada ranking 19th and the US ranking 25th.

On MSN’s 2012 list of the top 10 countries to live in, Norway ranked second.  Canada previously held the second-place rank, but sank down to sixth place in the past year. The ranking is based on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Better Life Index, which creates reports and rankings on developed nations based on overall population satisfaction. As of 2012, the index reported that there is a higher per cent of the Norwegian population reporting to be employed, volunteering in community activities, contributing to environmental efforts, managing work-life balance, and feeling more satisfied with their overall quality of life than in those reporting in Canada. Canada still ranks higher in housing availability, income earned, quality of education, quality of health care and overall safety in public life.

But these statistics don’t lie, as in the past year alone, Norway has seen a substantial increase in labour migration, as tens of thousands of immigrants moved to the country looking for work, many of them with their families.

According to Hole, the government strives to be as transparent as possible, placing all public hearings online and opening Ministerial journals to the public.  All social reforms are always subject to consultation and public hearings before being voted on in Parliament.

All private and public businesses are required to submit annual reports to the government detailing the status of social equality in their workplace. The government responds with measurements and evaluations based on the information submitted. Such “transparency” and “exposure,” says Hole, keeps companies and government accountable to the commitment to social equality and thus promote “sound economics,” as well as “a moral base [with] equal opportunities for all individuals.”

Hole believes that Norway needs to continue to “develop a society better prepared for future challenges in terms of demographic changes, economic competitiveness, employment, social sustainability and human rights.” Hole and the Norwegian government claim that all individuals should have equal access to all sectors of society, regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, religious belief or disability.

By giving equal opportunity to all individuals, at the workplace, in school, in government, and even through public transportation and building accessibility, Norway seeks to enable to ensure that those with high competencies, unique talents, creative minds and indomitable spirits are never hindered in any aspect of their daily life.

This includes the disabled and handicapped, as preventing even one person from being able to enter a building or travel to work runs the risk of preventing someone with inimitable aptitude from contributing to the betterment of their country.


The Canadian Museum of Nature unveils the new Vale Earth Gallery

November 29, 2012 12:39 pm
The Canadian Museum of Nature unveils the new Vale Earth Gallery

The Canadian Museum of Nature is reopening the Vale Earth Gallery tomorrow, after an extensive renovation. The new gallery has been expanded to 8,000 square feet and showcases new displays, activities, and interactive elements about the geological makeup of our planet.

Meg Beckel, the museum’s President and CEO, expressed her excitement over the gallery’s expansion. “We are confident it will be very popular with our visitors,” she said. According to Beckel, the team behind the gallery’s creation took a subject that is very challenging to present and made it fun and accessible to the public.

Dr. Scott Ercit, the museum’s resident mineralogical researcher, said the new Vale Gallery is not just an expansion of the old exhibit, but “truly a whole new gallery.”

A 6-foot interactive globe allows visitors to control the movement of the continents and tectonic plates.

Visitors are taken on a “journey through time,” as the gallery begins with the origins of the universe, the formation of the planets, and the inner and outer structure of the Earth. A massive six-foot-tall interactive globe gives visitors a chance to view and interact with the shifting of the tectonic plates, while new machines – like the Sedimentator, the Magmanator and the Metamorphicator – allow visitors to make their own kinds of rock. Interactive games, like make-your-own-volcano and cause-an-earthquake, let guests control the devastating power of our moving planet. A giant wall of sediment comes complete with dinosaur fossils. A walk-in limestone cave replica is adorned with a dripping waterfall, stalagmites, stalactites, and a few hidden bats.

Display cases contain almost 1,000 different mineral samples and are accompanied by touch-screen information panels that offer aspiring geologists and curious visitors a chance to know more about each sample, from the atomic makeup of quartz to where the name quartz came from in the first place. Dr. Ercit, whose extensive experience in the field of mineralogy has led to a mineral sample being named after him, said the museum’s collection is “one of the best in the world. “

Dan Boivin, head of exhibit design at the museum, observed that the Vale Gallery is “the most complicated exhibit in the museum to date.” For Boivin and the entire design team, creating the new exhibit was a “communication exercise,” mixing all types of media together to present an exhibit that is just as interesting to children as it is to university students.  “There are things you can touch, things you can do, things you can see, and all of it comes together to create an immersive experience.”

New machines – like the Sedimentator, the Magmanator and the Metamorphicator – allow visitors to use heat and pressure to create different types of rocks.


Explore a walk-in limestone cave replica, adorned with a dripping waterfall and a few hidden bats.

The gallery holds nearly 1,000 different minerals, gems, and rock samples, ranging between a few pounds to 225 kg.

The Vale Earth Gallery will be open to the public on November 30. For more information, visit

TOP PHOTO: Michael Bainbridge, Canadian Museum of Nature.

ALL OTHER PHOTOS: Jamie Kronick, Canadian Museum of Nature.

A Successful Legacy

November 22, 2012 11:00 am
A Successful Legacy

The third annual Legacy Conference was held on November 17 at the National Arts Centre. The conference was organized by volunteer students from both uOttawa and Carleton University in an effort to give young people in Ottawa a chance to learn about and discuss changes and challenges in the worlds of business and entrepreneurship. A substantial crowd of young people attended the conference and the speakers and staff were pleased with the audience’s receptivity.

Speaker Danny Davalos, the current owner and artistic director of the Toronto dance centre O.I.P. Davalos, was initially nervous about speaking, not seeing himself as “a corporate type of guy,” but was surprised by the audience’s reaction. “I shared a little of my life story and the passion that I have for my business and . . . I see people being engaged and receiving it well,” Davalos said. Noting his effect on the audience, Davalos commented: “I saw two ladies actually tear up during my story.” Seeing such a positive emotional response, Davalos remarked that speaking at the conference was “the highlight of my day.”

Brian Tong, an aspiring entrepreneur in attendance, shared his thoughts on the conference: “I got the tools to prepare and develop myself in the future.” The most valuable thing Tong learned at the conference was: “Do what you love, not like. Even when the going gets hard, keep doing what you love.”

Mohammad Al-Azzouni, the founder and head organizer of the Legacy Conference, said the event “went phenomenally well.” He was glad to see so many come out and become engaged in the community of young people aspiring to be a part of the business world. “I am so proud of our team,” Al-Azzouni said. “This year, we were able to get a good balance of education, communication and connection for everyone. We are excited to see (the Legacy Conference) grow and become even better next year.”


Mohammad Al-Azzouni, Founder of Legacy (right) and Janelle Zhao, President of Legacy (left)

ALL PHOTOS: Daniel Photography

The Legacy Conference opens doors for Generation Y

November 9, 2012 9:30 am
The Legacy Conference opens doors for Generation Y

On Saturday, November 17, The Legacy Conference will be held at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre. The Legacy Conference is a meeting of like-minded individuals dedicated to creating open dialogue about the worlds of entrepreneurship and business. The conference is aimed at Generation Y in order to give these young people the skills, ideas and connections they need to survive and thrive in the postmodern world.

The conference was founded in 2010 by Mohammad Al Azzouni, a University of Ottawa student. Azzouni wanted to bring together a group of talented and intelligent individuals to discover what it takes to be truly remarkable in the world of today. The conference started small with 60 in attendance, but doubled in size by 2011.

This year, The Legacy Conference will feature talks from the owners and founders of several local businesses and a motivational entrepreneurial speaker. The keynote speaker this year is Saul Colt, the founder of SAUL! – The Idea Integration Company, a key instigator of, and the man responsible for introducing Zipcars to Canada. Colt will be discussing the tension between inspiration and influence within the business world.

Also scheduled are panel discussions about failure in entrepreneurship, a necessary topic that is rarely discussed. These panels will feature the founders and owners of online retailers Frank & Oak, Inc, CanvasPop, DNA 11 and, as well as the founder of Fight for the Cure, the charity-boxing match put on this past March that featured Liberal MP Justin Trudeau and Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau.

According to Azzouni, the conference is about balancing knowledge and experience with imagination to help individuals exceed their own expectations and achieve great things for their communities. This year, the Legacy team is aiming to bridge the gap between different disciplines and industries to promote the sharing of ideas and innovation in the business community. Young people not directly involved in business or entrepreneurship are encouraged to attend as well.

The Legacy Conference is a not-for-profit organization that is run entirely by volunteers from Carleton University and uOttawa who are passionately excited about the unique learning opportunities afforded by this event.

 The Legacy Conference will be held at the National Arts Centre on November 17 from 8:30am to 6pm (EST). Tickets are available at

John Ralston Saul’s Dark Return to Fiction

November 2, 2012 12:00 pm
John Ralston Saul’s Dark Return to Fiction

On October 28, Canadian author, essayist and public intellectual John Ralston Saul spoke to a full crowd at the Knox Presbyterian Church as part of the 2012 Ottawa Writers Festival fall line-up. Saul, who is known for his celebrated novels and essays, being twice elected as the President of PEN International, and his marriage to former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, came to the Writers Festival to speak about literature, Canadian and global politics, and his newest novel, Dark Diversions: A Traveller’s Tale (Viking Press Canada), his first fictional work in nearly two decades. After his appearance at the festival, Ottawa Life Magazine got a chance to talk with Saul about his new book and his thoughts on the role of the writer.

Speaking about his hiatus from the world of fiction, Saul said he’s “always had these ideas about Canada and I needed to write them,” but they could not be expressed in fictional form. Through his essays and non-fiction books, Saul found himself in a period of transition from “writing novels to influence people” to “explaining ideas” directly to his audience. Saul described his earlier non-fiction works, like Voltaire’s Bastards (1992) and Reflections of a Siamese Twin (1997) as “half critique and half proposition,” while his later works, like On Equilibrium (2001) and A Fair Country: Telling Truths about Canada (2008), offered him a chance to share more singular arguments about his own propositions for Canada and the world. Saul believes his essays and the open discussions he’s held have “opened a door for the return of the oral argument,” an art form that helped define Canada throughout its history, but has nearly been lost in the present day.

To Saul, fiction and non-fiction writings are part of the big puzzle. “Philosophy has always been like fiction . . . [because] novels contain the ultimate truth.” For this reason, Saul has always seen himself as a novelist first and foremost. “Every day of my life, I think that I need to be writing novels. Eventually, I felt it was the right time to come back to the novel, which unlike non-fiction, allows you to create this world that people can find themselves in.”

During his absence from the world of fiction, Saul became president of PEN International, a global community of writers who promote freedom of speech and help free imprisoned journalists and authors. Through his role as PEN president, Saul has travelled the world and worked with publicists, academics, prominent writers and world leaders to promote the organization’s cause and raise awareness and sympathy for unjustly incarcerated writers.

Through his travels, witnessing a wide variety of social spheres and community classes, Saul found the inspiration for many of the characters in Dark Diversions, his first fictional work in 15 years. The narrator, whose name and identity are left unknown through most of the book, chronicles a series of stories while he moves among aristocrats in America, elites in Europe, and dictators in the developing world. He chronicles the passion, malaise, depression and self-destruction of the upper classes as he witnesses murder, infidelity, attempted suicide, the double lives and broken lives of the privileged persons and plutocrats in the highest echelons of society.

Dark Diversions is in part a continuation of the themes of Saul’s last novel, De si bons Américains, a black comedy about elites. Saul didn’t think Dark Diversions “would be so dark” when he started writing it, but the book’s use of composite and pastiche characters based on real-life personalities Saul has encountered led to the dark comic and ironic tones that reflect the present era. “I like black comedy,” Saul said. “[Dark Diversions] is funnier and darker because this is an era for dark comedy. When you look at something like the recent financial crisis and how the very people who started the entire collapse were rewarded for what they did – that’s comedic in a very dark way.” Saul believes that while events like the economic crisis of 2008 are not funny in a serious way, they are in part “comically serious.”

Saul took many real-life individuals he had met and transformed them through the novel. “I used, and I don’t want to call it the ‘lens’ of fiction, but more of the ‘metamorphosis’ or transformation, if that makes any sense. You can tell stories about real people, but through the transformation of fiction, you can really see them. It’s hard to explain, but you can see things entirely differently in fiction.”

Dark Diversions is in many ways a call-back to the early days of modern fiction. “I’ve always believed that the beginning of modern fiction is (Joseph) Conrad. In Heart of Darkness and many of his other works, the narrator is caught… being the witness and not knowing what to do about it. Dark Diversions is in part a picaresque, as the narrator tumbles into disorder, wandering through the different events of the novel.” Yet Saul’s anonymous narrator struggles with his place among the desperate and melancholic people he encounters and what he chronicles starts to affect him in tangible ways. The trials of the narrator reflect Saul’s own thoughts on how the author and the novel should interact. “Novels are driven by something… very muscular in society. When you’re writing a novel, you can’t just rely on the character of the narrator driving the novel.” To Saul, “a good novel allows you to enter in and control a world,” while the novelist disappears to allow the reader to experience the reactions of the characters personally.

In Dark Diversions, Saul’s narrator attempts to stay distant from the people he encounters, taking the time to observe but rarely interfere with the lives of the rich and influential. Saul wrote his narrator to be more distanced partially in reaction to what he saw as a growing trend in contemporary fiction in which the narrator is presented as more important than the plot. Saul saw many instances where the author uses the character of the narrator for wish-fulfilment purposes, in both detective novels and serious fiction. To Saul, this trend of the authors confusing themselves with their narrators and personally intervening in the events of the novel is very “pornographic.”

“I never liked novels where the author gets in the way… the author takes readers to a place to peek in on the action, without any consequences. I believe the author should take the reader to a place to go in and feel those consequences.”

Saul thinks authors invade their works in fiction and non-fiction. “There is a big confusion about how do you establish what truth is, and in non-fiction, many authors try to marshal facts to prove things; this doesn’t answer the real, big questions because you can prove almost anything with facts.” Saul believes that in relying solely on facts, writers create what he calls a “false neutrality,” where the author attempts to look unbiased, but still displays a prejudice through the information that is presented. “I believe an argument has to hold its own. Facts are just illustrations. I don’t rely on facts in my writing, but I still use them. In writing non-fiction, you have a role of getting the reader to think about how ideas work, not just telling them how to think.

To Saul, fiction and non-fiction writing is an important part of being human. “I don’t think novels and essays are that different. (A book) is the most powerful weapon. The first time a child discovers he or she is an individual is by reading a novel.” The biggest threat to a person’s identity is the removal of those works and the silencing of the freedom of expression that comes through writing.

As President of PEN International, Saul has been working tirelessly to promote freedom of expression on a global scale. PEN is currently working on the Declaration on Free Expression and Digital Technology, which will be released shortly. The Declaration is an attempt to generate a consensus among writers and governments about restrictions imposed on online interactions. “The digital world has created all sorts of opportunities, but we’ve seen an explosion in government security forces observing people through the digital domain.” In many countries, governments do not need judicial permission to obtain private information online and use it to convict and imprison their own people. “Governments are now getting an enormous amount of detail without this permission. We’re seeing this all the time with people constantly prosecuted over what is digitally published.”

Saul and PEN are very concerned about the dangers that could arise if the restraints on what governments should have access to go unchecked. “If you look at the victories that have been won for freedom of expression in the last 100 years, most of them have been lost in the past 20. The question needs to be asked, ‘Do we have to have rules to define what is acceptable and unacceptable?’ and [the Declaration] is an attempt to do that.”

Saul cited the example of Liu Xiaobo, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for his defence of human rights in China and was imprisoned for his activism. The defence of his cause on the internet, as well as any online mentions of him or his work, have been entirely censored in China. Xiaobo’s imprisonment is not only an example of the repression of free speech, but of the failure of the Chinese government to address the nature of digital publication. “You need to read the case [against Xiaobo] to see how the Chinese government interprets what it thinks the internet is,” Saul noted. “We aren’t just defending journalists, authors and members of PEN anymore. Whether you’re a Nobel Prize winner or a volunteer announcer at a community radio station, and everything in between, we are here to defend your rights.” One of the most important things is for PEN to “not be divided by authorities attempting to make judgments on what a bona fide writer is.”

Saul firmly believes that free expression is not simply exercised by writers. “Freedom of expression belongs partly to the writer and partly to the reader. When you read something out loud or share it with friends, that is an example of freedom of expression.”

John Ralston Saul’s new book, Dark Diversions: A Traveller’s Tale, is available now in bookstores everywhere.



Well, That’s The Kind of Life It’s Been — Lloyd Robertson at the Ottawa Writers Festival

October 30, 2012 11:20 am
Well, That’s The Kind of Life It’s Been — Lloyd Robertson at the Ottawa Writers Festival

On October 26, Knox Presbyterian was filled with people excited to once again hear the familiar voice of former CTV News chief anchor Lloyd Robertson. Robertson appeared to do a talk about his impressive career as the longest-serving news anchor in Canadian and international history. Over his 59-year career in broadcasting, Robertson has covered Expo 67, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the death of Princess Dianna, Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope, the September 11th World Trade Centre attacks and the War in Afghanistan, as well as numerous elections, referendums and Olympic events. Robertson has also won the Order of Canada and was the first journalist to be inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame.

In spite of his impressive accolades, Robertson focused his talk on his own personal journey. He joked about being in a church as a “slightly lapsed Presbyterian.” Robertson then read an excerpt from his new book, The Kind of Life It’s Been (HarperCollins Canada), which is about the trials of growing up with a mother who suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness and a father who had severe stomach disorders. Robertson shared personal anecdotes about his “dreary home life” and the images of hospitals “forever etched in [his] mind.”

Despite the morose aspects of his upbringing, Robertson explained that his early life experiences gave him a deep compassion for the sick and unhealthy, and a “lifelong commitment to help those with mental illnesses.” On stage, he recalled one of the most memorable things his father said to him about the mentally ill: “You’ve got to learn, boy, that these people deserve a life too.” Those words have stuck with Robertson to this day, influencing him throughout his lengthy career to approach all those he encounters with sympathy and compassion, regardless of their physical or mental predispositions. Robertson’s book is dedicated to his father, who taught him the importance of wisdom and compassion.

Early on in his life, Robertson felt a pull towards broadcasting. “News was always an interest of mine,” he told the audience. “As a child, I knew the names of all the local radio personalities.” In school, Robertson asked his teachers if he could read the public announcements every day, and later became the narrator for a number of school plays to work on his voice projection. He started his broadcasting career working for his local Stratford radio station, CJCS, but quickly moved up to CJOY in Guelph. He started working for the CBC in Windsor, but was eager to move to Toronto, which was “the apex of quality in [the] industry at the time. One you’d got there, you’d made it.”

Robertson worked as an announcer for CBC in Toronto until he began encountering difficulties with the corporation. Not being allowed to edit his articles, Robertson became frustrated because he “could report, but couldn’t write.” Eventually, he was offered a new position at CTV, but was still conflicted over leaving, due to his loyalty to CBC and its broadcasting mission. However, CTV gave him his first opportunity to go out in the field to write and broadcast his own reports, and Robertson stuck with CTV for 35 years.

Robertson talked about the challenges of maintaining a “public personality” while on the air, which sometimes conflicted with his true feelings on a subject. Robertson talked about the difficulty of reporting on 9/11, which was one of the most memorable days of his career. Robertson recalled being woken up early in the morning by a call from his boss, saying “Get your pants on, Robertson, turn on the TV and see what’s going on.” He rushed to work and got on the air to report on the attack, trying to channel what Peter Jennings described to him as “an absence of emotion” in order to keep composed. “There are some moments when you have to remain composed,” Robertson said, “but you instinctively know when you reach your audience emotionally.” Robertson remained emotionally stoic in public until three days later, when he attended the memorial service on Parliament Hill. Robertson described the absolute silence of the crowd and how it caused him to weep for the first time since the attack.

After a lengthy career working in radio and television, Robertson retired in 2011. As he described it: “I wanted to get out while the voice was intact and the looks were relatively still intact.” Robertson described feeling simultaneously grateful and saddened on his last day at CTV. “There was a sense of emptiness during my last broadcast, but I certainly don’t miss being there at 11 o’clock every night.”

Reflecting on his career, Robertson concluded that there was very little he would change. He regrets never attending university, yet “working in news, in a lot of ways, was like getting a Liberal Arts Degree. I was never held back in my career because I continued to learn on the job.” He always felt at home in broadcasting, and turned down the offer of a Senate seat. “I had fought so hard to be this newsperson who spoke from outside all the political parties… I wanted to maintain the independent voice of the service.”

For Robertson, the independence that comes from journalism is essential. He briefly discussed the problems of the all-news channels in the US and how they confuse people by intermingling talk shows with news broadcasts. According to Robertson, politicians and pundits are given “the bias of their choice,” leading to polarization full of “rants, but no talking.” Despite this growing trend, Robertson maintains hope in the tradition of the professional news broadcast. “There will always be room for the professionals. People always need reliable sources to know what is really going on. People are smart enough to know that what they get [on all news channels and the internet] is just gossip.”

 Robertson’s memoir, The Kind of Life It’s Been, is now available in bookstores everywhere.



Ottawa Writers Festival Previews Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children

October 26, 2012 4:41 pm
Ottawa Writers Festival Previews Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children

On October 24, the Ottawa Writers Festival hosted the Ottawa Premiere of Toronto-based Indian director Deepa Mehta’s new film, Midnight’s Children at the World Exchange Plaza. So many advance tickets bought that the Festival had to add an extra screening earlier in the afternoon to accommodate the excited viewers. The movie was greeted by the audience with praise and Mehta appeared at the end of the viewing to answer questions from the audience.

The film is based on British-Indian author and international celebrity Salman Rushdie’s most critically acclaimed novel of the same name. Midnight’s Children as a novel has won Rushdie the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1981 as well as special Booker award in 1993 and the Best of the Booker Prize in 2008. The book is one of the most well-known examples of Postcolonial fiction as well as one of the earliest prominent examples of Magic Realism in a novel, a technique in which historical events are blended with fantastical elements.

It tells the story of Saleem Sinai, a young boy who is born on the stroke of midnight on the night that India was granted independence from Britain. As Saleem grows up, he starts to notice that his life is tied directly to the republic of India and as the nation suffers, so does he. He also discovers that he, along with the thousand other children who were born on the midnight of India’s independence, have gained supernatural abilities. The story chronicles his life as he comes to term with his role in relation to his country and his unique place in history.

Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie, the author of the novel and the screenplay

Deepa Mehta was well aware of the inherent difficulties of adapting such a complex novel to the big screen. The book has nearly 100 different characters and takes place over a 60-year period, making it extraordinarily difficult to fit into a normal length feature film. Mehta was convinced there was only one person who could help her adapt the book: the author himself. “I felt very strongly that [Rushdie] should write the screenplay,” she told the audience. Rushdie was less optimistic, although Mehta convinced him to create an outline of key plot points for a screenplay to show to her anyway. They both created a list of the most important elements they believed the film should showcase, and met each other later on to discover their synopses were identical. Rushdie agreed to the project and together they began what the film’s producer David Hamilton described as a “four year sojourn” to bring the book to the big screen.

Hamilton and Mehta shared stories about the production; including the day Hamilton misplaced an elephant while filming a parade scene. One of the biggest issues the film crew had to deal with was opposition to Rushdie and his writing. Rushdie made international headlines in 1989 after publishing his controversial novel, The Satanic Verses, which received negative attention from the Iranian government and Ayatollah Khomeini, who called for the author’s death for insulting the prophet Muhammad. During the movie shoot, the Iranian government put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to deny the crew permission to film in the country. With the help of Canadian diplomats in Sri Lanka, who worked, according to Hamilton, “with fury and finesse,” the government allowed them to proceed.

Midnight’s Children is stunningly beautiful, featuring exotic, diverse locations and a colourful cast of international actors. The film starts out a bit slow, but by the second act it picks up momentum. The third act is the by far the best part of the movie, with towering performances by all cast members and a haunting yet beautiful ending that left the audience speechless.

Mehta’s new movie is a testament to the creativity and determination of a terrific director and serves as irrefutable proof that the Canadian film industry has matured immeasurably since the days of Shivers, Who Has Seen the Wind?, Your Ticket Is No Longer Valid, In Praise of Older Women, and The Kidnapping of the President.

Satya Bhabha (left) as Saleem Sinai and Shriya Saran (right) as Parvati the Witch

Midnight’s Children will be released in theatres November 2.



Power Shift Returns to Ottawa

October 25, 2012 10:16 am
Power Shift Returns to Ottawa

Power Shift represents a series of annual youth summits on an international level.The first Power Shift was held in 2007 in Washington, D.C., where over 20,000 young Americans gathered together outside their nation’s capital to promote environmentalism and lobby for government action to combat global climate change.

Since then, the movement has spread across the world, with annual public rallies and educational seminars being held in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Ottawa. The first Canadian Power Shift gathering was held on Parliament Hill in October of 2009, when over 1,000 young adults from across the country came together for two days of strategy training and a day of mass lobbying, caling the Harper government to be take responsibility for helping solve the climate crisis. It was the largest youth gathering for the environment in Canadian history.

Power Shift is returning to Ottawa again this year. On October 26th to the 29th, hundreds of Canadian youth will be coming to Ottawa to continue to promote the cause. This year, Power Shift Canada has extended its focus to include promoting environmental justice and the creation of a sustainable future — environmentally and economically.


Young people from across the country converging on Parliament Hill to promote their cause

Power Shift supporters are expressing concerns about the current economic crisis and its relation to the future of today’s youth. Issues such as the dismantling of social security and the continued distribution of tax breaks for large corporations have been listed as real threats to the sustainability of Canada’s economic future. Advocates of this year’s gathering are also citing Canada’s abandonment of Kyoto Protocol, the elimination of multiple energy efficient programs, and the subsidization of the fossil fuel industry as warning signs of a continued environmental crisis.

According to Power Shift’s Canadian promoters, the current economic and environmental crises have the same roots. This year’s rally will be targeting the actions of both government and big business for putting short-term economic profits over long-term concerns for the environment and refusing to promote a more green and sustainable future. Many of the youth at Power Shift will be promoting clean energy economy, increasing global equity, and creating green jobs which they believe will help stimulate the economy and overcome the biggest challenge of the 21st century.

The gathering is not just open to youth, though. Adults and special-interest groups concerned about environmental justice are welcome to give their support to the cause.

The event will include workshop sessions on skill development in media and communication, activism, campaigning, and education. There will also be panel discussions on fossil-fuel dependency, renewable energy, public transportation, the importance of local-grown food, and the role of front-line and indigenous communities. Power Shift 2012 will end with Action and Advocacy Day on the 29th, in which all the participants will use the skills and knowledge they’ve learned over the weekend to contribute to a mass action event in the centre of Ottawa.

For more information about the event and how to get involved, visit


Free Dimensional by Diamond Rings – Finding Your Place Outside of Normal

October 12, 2012 10:03 am
Free Dimensional by Diamond Rings – Finding Your Place Outside of Normal

Canadian singer/songwriter Diamond Rings’ new album, Free Dimensional, is all about contradictions and living a life littered with incongruities.

The album opens with waves of heavily distorted echoing synth and a static-induced crackling house beat. A number of new overlays are quickly added, including a steady marimba backbeat and John O’Regan’s signature bottomless voice. These additions do not disjoint the song, but rather further excavate the song’s foundation to give the whole track a deep yet direct feel. O’Regan’s voice ascends through the layers of electronic pulse, creating an inimitable complimentary dissonance.

In I’m Just Me, O’Regan melodically but abrasively sings about his struggles with identity – sexual and social. He talks about being too scared to love and being “Afraid of my body / Or anybody / thinking of what I thought of,” casually making the connection between bodily shame and social anxiety. He finds solace in living in a way that doesn’t make sense to the social groupings that surround him. He likens the way he appears to the rest of the world to living a paradox: “Hold me underwater / Teach me how to breathe.” When O’Regan states, “I’m no son or daughter / I’m nothing, just me,” he is emphasizing his inability to fit into any kind of constructed label, socially or musically.

O’Regan’s reputation for transcending gender roles is a theme he deals with extensively in Free Dimensional.  In the opening track, Everything Speaks, O’Regan sings: “I was born to be dissident / I was raised to be the same / I was taught to know the difference / In between boy and girl names,” presenting the contradictory bifurcations that echoed through his early life. The heavier rhythm of (I Know) What I’m Made Of has O’Regan presenting his own identity crisis as a journey of liberation from the outside world and his inner self-doubt through his matchless musical style. He defends his musical style as mirroring his own unique identity when he says “I’m controlling and my rhythm nation’s rolling over / Top of everything in town / Techno, pop, hip-hop, house, trance.” This fits with the style of the album, which refuses to be curtailed into a simple electro-pop classification.

O’Regan demonstrates his ability to adapt a wide variety of musical styles. Stand My Ground and A to Z have jumpy pop beats with cheesy sap-lyrics like “I want to be all I can be / I want to be your A to Z.” In All the Time, O’Regan moves between vocals that are flat and fast-paced to a puffed-up style that channels the very best of glam-rock, while in Runaway Love, a dirty guitar solo accompanied by background “oohs” connotes a distinct punk summertime single. Day and Night randomly contains a rap break that is aggressive but distinctly Canadian: “Paris to London to Berlin back to Toronto / Wherever I am, you know I can feel your heart glow.”

The driving bass and overarching synth chords of Put Me On and I’m Just Me convey the most sober and unsmilingly ambitious elements of the 80s – both pop and prog rock. These tracks connote the sincere but banal love songs of the early pop era, with lines like “So take my hand and get behind the wheel / And let me give you everything I feel,” but then douses them in an abrupt sense of realism with O’Regan’s grim vocals. He speaks earnestly but abruptly with lines like, “Hold me in your arms / Until I’m blacker than blue,” calling for a romantic connection that is heartfelt but avoids any sense of poetic whitewashing.

In Hand Over Me, O’Regan reemphasizes the joy of living in paradoxes when he says, “I walk the line between fact and fiction / Define contradiction in every stride.” For O’Regan, the beauty is finding your place outside of normal and creating beauty in that space.

Are you ready for Canada’s largest independent literary celebration?

September 28, 2012 10:43 am
Are you ready for Canada’s largest independent literary celebration?

By Clayton Andres

When his father Neil first came up with the idea of a writing festival in Ottawa, Sean Wilson thought his dad was insane. “At the time, I had been noticing that just about everyone I knew in the creative community had the sense that they had to move to Toronto or New York or somewhere like that because there was this common wisdom that everything was happening somewhere else,” Sean Wilson recalls.

But the more he thought about it, the more he realized that “Leaving town seemed like a cop-out,” and he and his father agreed that the city “needed a world-class celebration of ideas and creativity.”

Father and son decided that an Ottawa-based writing festival “seemed like a great way to put Gandhi’s advice to ’be the change you seek’ into practice” and to “build something exciting and new rather than bailing on the city.”

The Ottawa International Writers Festival was started in 1997, and has been going strong for 15 consecutive years.

Since its inaugural year, the festival has expanded far beyond the Wilsons’ original vision. The festival was started as an autumn event, but its growing popularity led to the need for expansion. In 2004, a Spring edition was added to extend the festivities. “It’s been amazing how supportive the community has been,” Neil Wilson said. “Audiences keep growing, feedback is glowing and the authors all want to come back.” He has also seen a real turnaround in the number of creative individuals who decide to remain in the nation’s capital. “More and more of our best and brightest are staying in Ottawa and finding ways to make it work here as musicians, actors, writers and poets.”

Amidst all this growth, the festival has remained true to its intended goal: “to get the world’s best thinkers and most creative talents together to share their enthusiasm with us and bring people together to explore our world.”

To Sean and Neil Wilson, the festival is “not academic,” but rather, “all about creativity and sharing in the excitement of talking with hugely talented people from all over the world. That means if we’ve done our job, there’s something here for everyone.”

  • If you love great writing, you can’t miss The ReLit Awards, hosted by Kenneth J. Harvey. M.G. Vassanji, Annabel Lyon, John Ralston Saul, Pasha Malla, Steven Heighton and Shani Boianjiu are all vying for the top prize.
  • If you love movies, then come and see the Ottawa Premiere of Midnight’s Children with Deepa Mehta. She will be sharing her experiences on making the film and working with Salman Rushdie.
  • If you are into science, you can’t go wrong with the New Science Series. Mario Beauregard will be looking at the latest research on human consciousness and give us a fresh take on the mind/body debate. Jacob Berkowitz will address the natural history of the cosmos from the Big Bang to our bodies’ molecular structure.
  • If great food is what excites you, then check out An Evening with Chef Michael Smith at the ever so cool Side Door restaurant in the Market, where he’ll talk about preparing great food on a tight schedule.
  • Are you a pop-culture fanatic? Jian Ghomeshi will reminisce about the eighties, and Jonathan Goldstein will give you his fun take on turning 40.
  • Are you a news junkie? Then you should listen to what Lloyd Robertson has to say. As well, Chris Alexander, Robert Fowler and Michael Petrou will discuss their harrowing experiences in the Middle East, while Doug Saunders talks about Muslim Immigration into the West.
  • Are you interested in promoting Human Rights? Well, Minky Worden, Director of Global Initiatives for Human Rights Watch, offers an essential overview of the global struggle to secure basic rights for women and girls.
  • Are you concerned with Environmental issues? Tim Ward and Tzeporah Berman will talk about the gap between our beliefs and lifestyles and ask how we can be the change we want to see in the world.
  • Do you like Mysteries? We’ve got Mark Billingham, Maureen Jennings and Peter Robinson, three international bestsellers at the top of their games.
  • Do you love Poetry? Then you need to catch the John Newlove Poetry Awards. And don’t forget to check out Nyla Matuk, Matthew Tierney and Marcus McCann at The Manx pub.
  • Are you interested in religion and morality? Rabbi Harold S. Kushner will discuss the Book of Job and what to do when bad things happen to good people.
  • Want to watch live Music? Well, we have another of Alan Neal’s amazing Songwriters Circle. Plus Mike Dubue will give us a sneak peek at some new Hilotrons tunes.
  • And if you love once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to experience something unique and fun and different, you need to witness the world premiere of Eschatos, A Live Radio Play, created and performed by David O’Meara, Ian Keteku, Jennilee Murray and Mike Dubue with Octavie Dostaler-Lalonde on cello.

The Ottawa International Writers Festival Fall Edition starts at 7:00pm on Friday, September 28 with Arnprior Expressions, “The Poetry of Place,” in the Arnprior Public Library, 21 Madawaska Street. The event will feature poets Phill Hall, David O’Meara and Sandra Ridley.

Ottawa Life Magazine will cover these and other events lined up for this year’s festivities.

For a complete list of events, visit

If there is a specific event you want Ottawa Life Magazine to cover, let us know on our Facebook page or on Twitter.


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