Articles by: OLM StaffOLM Staff
Providing provocative, informative and entertaining information about life in Canada’s Capital. Join us in discovering Ottawa!

Goodbye Doggie Breath

September 15, 2016 11:39 pm
Goodbye Doggie Breath

Fight bad dog breath with Orapup Lickies. Simply apply some of the bacon or beef flavoured Lickies onto the Orapup brush and let your pup lick the brush clean. Your dog thinks he’s getting a treat, while you don’t have to deal with bad dog breath anymore. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Symbols That Empower

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Symbols That Empower

Jewelry adds a sense character, personality and culture to each individual. Handmade in Alberta, Andrea Kelly Designs feature jewelry with a story behind each piece. Made with ethically-sourced materials, check out her gorgeous Tree of Life necklaces or enjoy good luck with her gold pyrite stretch bracelet. Spot her gorgeous designs on popular TV shows such as The Vampire Diaries and Bones.

Babies On The Go

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Babies On The Go

EquiptBaby has got your baby covered when out and about. This baby bag features multiple pockets with ample storage space, as well as an insulated cooler pocket to keep your baby’s bottle and snacks fresh all day. The bag is designed to expand (like an accordion) and keeps its shape no matter how much you put in it.

Images by Mark Schacter

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Images by Mark Schacter

Experience some of Canada’s most breathtaking sights at Skyline Gallery, Ottawa’s newest art hot spot. Inspired by the many galleries of Santa Fe, photographer Mark Schacter has created this artistic space inside his own home to share his gorgeous photography, celebrating Canada’s spectacular landscapes.

Skyline Gallery is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, find it at 3 Trillium Avenue.



Why Ottawa has the Best Nightlife in Canada

August 30, 2016 10:23 am
Why Ottawa has the Best Nightlife in Canada

Byward Market

The great South Eastern state of Ontario sits between the border with the United States of America and the French speaking province of Quebec, and it is within this territory that you will find the nation’s capital city, Ottawa. Sitting astride the Ottawa River, just across the water from Gatineau, as the capital, this city is a hive of energy. Ottawa has something for everyone. Hang out with friends in bars, dance the night away at live gigs, cheer on one of the city’s iconic sports teams or even play some cards at the local casinos, you’ll be literally spoilt for choice.

Start out downtown at the ByWard Market, a district which has become the city’s cultural hub. Here, take a walk down Elgin Street where you will easily find bars, restaurants, theatres and the like, or, failing that, simply explore the area around La Promenade du Portage for some live music, meaning that there is something fun and interesting for everyone to do.

Here, local farmers, artisans and boutiques come together during the day, helping this part of town develop into the epicentre of Ottawa’s nightlife. It doesn’t matter what musical choice you are into, at the ByWard all options are catered for. The majority of the popular bars and clubs can be found in the Market’s North End, particularly along York, Clarence and Dalhousie Street. York Street is a great place to start your night. Here, revellers are able to dance the night through to a DJ’s tunes or catch live entertainment in local hotspots such as The Mercury Lounge and Zaphod Beeblebrox, which, coincidentally, is the club used to shoot the video for the Rolling Stones’ song Streets of Love.

Alternatively, if it’s something a little different you’re after then head over to the Velvet Room where you’ll find a 1920’s speakeasy lounge to slow things down a little. Vineyards bistro also provides a relaxing place to enjoy a drink, while, lastly, we can’t leave out the stylish and energetic Kavali Club. Referred to by locals as the “Irish Village” this bar is a night time hotspot you don’t want to miss, but remember that alcohol is only served in Ottawa until 2 a.m.

Another thing that Ottawa has become famous for its thriving theatre scene, so it is definitely worth booking and seeing a show at the National Arts Centre or Ottawa Little Theatre, where you’ll find something a little more local or fringe.

If you are planning to go for in a drink in the above locations, you should be aware that the legal drinking age in the province of Ontario is 19. That being said, some privately owned bars in the ByWard Market have been known to refuse entry to those under 21 or 25 years of age.


Gambling in Ontario also begins at 19 and, with 33 casinos in the province, punters are not short of options, the best of which isn’t actually in Ottawa. Just a short drive over the Portage Bridge you can find the Casino du Lac-Leamy and adjoining Hilton hotel, overlooking Lac Leamy, which is accessible by boat from the Ottawa River with docking facilities available.

The casino promises a lively evening out with your friends where you can enjoy the usual roll call of great casino games; poker, roulette, craps, sic bo and keno can all be played here, alongside more than 1,800 slot machines (But don’t go there with no knowledge, read online guides about how casinos work and gamble responsibly.) Of course no decent casino would be complete without entertainment and Lac Leamy is no different. Featuring a number of concerts and entertainment shows at Le Théâtre du Casino, plus three bars and top notch dining options in the Le Baccara gourmet restaurant and even a cigar room in Bacchus, this is a very popular choice for tourists and locals alike looking for a top night out.


For sport lovers, the city also boasts a thriving pro-sports culture. Sports are a huge part of the Ottawan life with three professional sports teams and a minor Can-Am League baseball team. The Ottawa Champions are the city’s newest sports franchise and are a Can-Am League baseball team that play at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park (RCGT Park). Representing the city at pro soccer are the Ottawa Fury who play at the TD Place Stadium at Lansdowne Park and compete in the North American Soccer League (NASL), while visitors to the city can also enjoy cheering on the Ottawa Redblacks. You will find the team playing football, once again, over at the TD Place Stadium in the Glebe neighbourhood.

However, the biggest sports team in the city is the hockey team, the Ottawa Senators. Known locally as “the Sens,” the side has been representing the city since 1992 and can be found hitting the ice at the Canadian Tire Centre.

So, with great bars, a thriving arts scene, five star restaurants, sophisticated casinos and a strong sporting nature, Ottawa really is a city that has something for all of us.

Job Posting: Web Editor and Features Writer

August 18, 2016 12:24 pm
Job Posting: Web Editor and Features Writer

Ottawa Life Magazine
Ottawa, ON
Closing Date: August 26, 2016

Who We Are:

Ottawa Life Magazine is the capital’s longest running bi-monthly magazine. We are a general interest publication that shines a spotlight on the amazing things happening in this city. Right now we’re in the midst of a full website redevelopment, changing everything from our look to content strategy. We work in the heart of the city, between Parliament and the Nature Museum, to follow the city’s biggest power players and trendsetters.


The Web editor will be a leader in reshaping our online presence. You regular duties would also include editing all editorial content before it goes online, and organizing when web pieces will be published. The web editor works closely with a small team of staff and writers to meet deadlines and increase our social media following.

As a features writer, you would craft engaging and informative articles for both print and the web, sharing your work with our tens of thousands of readers on both platforms.


Experience editing others work both for accuracy, clarity and CP style
Experience researching, interviewing and writing under tight deadlines
A proven ability to manage a variety of tasks under pressure
Must be a self-starter and able to work independently, often with minimal or no supervision
Managerial experience and a knack for social media is an asset

To Apply:

E-mail your resume, cover letter and up to three examples of published work PDF or direct link format to

Keep Your Drains Hair-Free with TubShroom

August 4, 2016 10:55 am
Keep Your Drains Hair-Free with TubShroom

At first glance, it can be difficult to discern exactly what the TubShroom, or its upcoming counterparts, the SinkShroom and the ShowerShroom, might be. If you’ve ever had the extremely unpleasant experience of digging a long string of mouldy hair out of your drain and never want to do that again, the TubShroom is the product for you. Successfuly funded on Kickstarter, this simple device was designed to save you a tonne of time by fitting right into your drain and catching any hair or debris that flows in. The centre is open which allows water to flow freely through while hair is caught and wrapped neatly along the sides.

The TubShroom works with any type of hair, be it thick or fine, long or short, human or animal. It is designed to fit any standard 1.5” drain for baths and will soon have similar counterparts that will fit showers and sinks! It takes very little effort to install and is super easy to clean hair off as well. We love how it’s eco-friendly and how it looks super adorable! You won’t need to use any more dangerous chemicals, or have to hire someone to clean your drains ever again! Made with long-lasting industrial strength silicone that’s 100% BPA free, the TubShroom comes in four colours for you to customize how it looks in your bath. Check out the video below and see for yourself how well the TubShroom works!

For more information, you can check out their website at

Ottawa’s Most Innovative Hospital

July 12, 2016 1:30 pm
Ottawa’s Most Innovative Hospital

Tom Schonberg has been the President and CEO of Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH) in Ottawa since 1998. He has played a big part in helping QCH become one of the top medical institutions in Ontario. Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, QCH serves a population of over 400,000 each year. It is the secondary referral centre for the Ottawa region, but its mission is to constantly strive to be first in community care. Schonberg has overseen the transformative change and immense growth of the hospital’s facilities in the past decade that has been a boon to Ottawa’s community, influencing a significant improvement in health and medical treatment in the region.

The hospital now employs 1,900 employees and over 300 physicians on staff. It relies heavily on the help of the community, with 575 volunteers who donated over 45,000 hours of their time last year. Schonberg is quick to credit his team and the staff at the hospital and notes that one of the reasons for the hospital’s growth and continuing success is the commitment of its volunteers. “There are some exceptional people who volunteer their time to help us every day,” says Schonberg. “They really are the soul of this place and we genuinely appreciate their help.”

As for the mechanics of the hospital, QCH has state-of-the-art facilities including: two MRI units, two CT scanners, cutting-edge surgical suites with 10 operating rooms, a 12-bed ICU, a 15-bed dialysis unit, an acute rehabilitation unit and an Emergency Department and Ambulatory Care complex. Schonberg also established the Irving Greenberg Family Cancer Centre as well as the James Beach Health Care Centre.

Schonberg’s latest QCH venture is participation in the Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) initiative. The ACE program aims to serve the growing elderly population in Canada. It is a collaborative enterprise that includes 18 hospitals across the nation, one of which is the QCH, making it one of the leading institutions for geriatric care in Canada.

About 15 per cent of the city’s population is over the age of 65 and that number is expected to double over the next 20 years.

Schonberg told Ottawa Life that in light of those statistics, “an innovative approach was required in Ottawa when it came to geriatric care. What you don’t want is a risk of overcrowding hospitals especially with an ageing population, so it’s important to be respectful and to provide the appropriate care that is patient focused first.”

Schonberg noted that the cost of health care is a constant concern for any hospital, but it is essential at QCH that these concerns don’t trump proper patient outcomes.

The ACE unit at QCH is scheduled for completion by the fall of 2016.It has 34 beds, an interdisciplinary team to care for the various needs of aging patients, and a homey and comfortable environment.

“ACE is meant to address its patient’s particular needs efficiently so seniors and their families can avoid drawn out hospital stays. We have a plan for discharge that begins upon admission and allows for elderly patients to continue their care in the comfort of their own homes,” says Schonberg.

Another big challenge facing hospitals in Canada has been addressing the increase in mental health admissions. QCH has seen a 30 per cent increase in mental health admissions, a 55 per cent increase in substance abuse visits and a 25 per cent increase in patients diagnosed with mental health issues in the past decade.

Schonberg assures that Queensway Carleton is not shrinking from this challenge and will be there for patients in the community who require help.

“We have a campaign we just launched called Hopes Rising. I am hopeful that our community will support the campaign to raise $5 million to help the hospital continue to serve the growing mental health needs of the city.”

Based on his track record and relationship with the community, it’s probably a sure thing.

** Prior to coming to Ottawa, Schonberg was CEO of Bowmanville Memorial Hospital and Senior Vice-President of Toronto’s Riverdale. In recognition of his contributions to Queensway Carleton Hospital and broader community, he was awarded with the Order of Ottawa in 2014. In 2012, Queensway Carleton was awarded an “Accreditation with Exemplary Standing”, the highest honour given by Accreditation Canada.

John’s Reno Tips: Home Reno Dos and Don’ts

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John’s Reno Tips: Home Reno Dos and Don’ts

Are you looking to renovate your home this year? Often, when you don’t have much in the way of experience, renovations can be more of a nuisance than anything. Some of the biggest problems typically arise from the smallest of details.

The demolition and remodelling of an area in your home is a hassle if it is not done correctly. From determining a suitable time of the year, having the correct measurements of a room, deciding the length of time you’ll need to complete the work, to even simply making sure that you have found the best paint colour; these are tasks which can quickly become overwhelming.

To make life a little more simple this spring, John from Your Reno Guys has narrowed down the biggest DOS and DON’TS for your next renovation.

Make concise decisions, but not hasty ones.

This is quite simple and can certainly help lift some of the burden of renovating. Of course, no matter the size of the job, we, as homeowners, are inevitably investing a decent amount of money into a home renovation. You want to ensure that your home will look absolutely perfect.

One of the main issues that we hear is that often homeowners are undecided on the final picture, after the renovation is said and done. This can actually result in a slew of problems. Not only will this delay the renovation, no one wants to be living with renovations for months and months on end. Determining whether you should take down that wall in the living room for a more open concept, or what kind of tile you want for the kitchen floor are all extremely common issues. Our biggest tip for this is to have a rough plan in mind before starting any of the steps in purchases, ordering and so forth. Often, indecisiveness can result in having to reschedule many steps along the way, I.E; the plumber, electrician, mudder, tiler (the list goes on). If you know what you want before getting your feet wet, it will save heaps of stress and wasted time.

You get what you pay for.

We have all heard the old saying “you get what you pay for”. When it comes to renovations, you should never leave the quality of your work up to chance by using dodgy products. This is not about opting for a less expensive tile here, tile is not poor quality simply because it is inexpensive. It is about skimping out on steps that protect and guarantee your work. Use Schluter Kerdi waterproof membrane for your shower surround, to ensure you are shielding your drywall and foundation thereafter from water and mold. Do not bypass the use of Ditra Mat subfloor, which is hands down, the number one uncoupling membrane to protect your tiles and grout from shifting and cracking (and carries a ten year warranty).

If you are a hands-on type of person, this can be a great attribute when it comes to renovation work. If not, never be shy to have a renovation company help you out along the way. If you are comfortable completing parts of the reno on your own (and save yourself some money) this is always a treat. If you are the imaginative one in the family, and are capable of envisioning the final product, you could even spare yourself a designer.

Patience and understanding are the biggest keys to a successful renovation, and knowing that these things take time. You cannot expect them to be done overnight, yet if you are willing to be a bit flexible and expect to have a few delays along the way, this makes the process a whole lot more enjoyable, for everyone involved. Spring is here and it is time to make a positive change around the house. Whether it is just a fresh coat of paint or the addition of a cozy reading space, the options are endless and always at an arm’s reach. No dream is too big and no project is too small.

A Woman Judge’s Season of Disillusion

July 11, 2016 1:00 pm
A Woman Judge’s Season of Disillusion

Below is an excerpt from January: A Woman Judge’s Season of Disillusion by Marie Corbett. January is the story of Corbett’s personal and professional lives becoming painfully entangled. Facing a number of important trials while trying to comfort an ailing friend, Corbett must find an answer to questions she’d never asked before.

By nine o’clock, I was in my chambers and dressing for court. I threaded the watchband through Anne’s ring and tucked both of them in my vest pocket, so I would have them close and couldn’t misplace them. As I fastened the tabs around my neck, I couldn’t get my head around it. Why am I not at Anne’s side? She was my friend, I loved her, and nobody else was there. It was obvious that I should take time off to be with a dying friend. Why didn’t I call the Regional Senior Justice and say, “I have other priorities. I’m taking a leave of absence for a while”?

When I’d told Anne earlier that I would be willing to accompany her to California to seek treatment, my commitment had been genuine. It wasn’t merely a dramatic response engendered by a dramatic situation. What was so important now about my work? Nothing in my life as a judge couldn’t be postponed. The muddle of the trial with the tattooed bikers could start again after two days of evidence. A few other cases would have to be rescheduled, but trials are routinely rescheduled for many reasons. In my judicial career, I’d missed only five days of work, and those were in the first three months, when I’d foolishly tried out my sons’ skateboard and fractured my elbow. The truth is that accused persons aren’t anxious to get to trial, and delays work in their favour. Witnesses move away, memories become dimmer. And then there is the legal dance of seeking adjournments with an unexpressed hope of getting the charge dismissed because of delay in bringing the case to trial.

 Devoted to my work, I took pride in being a thorough, fair, and competent judge. Even as opportunities had arisen to visit Anne, I’d felt guilty leaving my chambers without offering to do other work, as if my professional life was more worthwhile than my personal one. Although I was trapped in the daily exigencies of my workplace and my work, I felt it more important to be with Anne as she struggled to stay alive.

 I saw that imbalance, yet I couldn’t act on it. My lifelong commitment to work and to doing that work well was ingrained, along with some mantras: Get an education; get a job; be successful. In law school, I had added the goals of contributing to social and legal change. I was dutiful to family, career, community. Never could I remember anyone saying that happiness was a worthwhile goal. If they did, it passed me by. Now, having achieved secular success and respectability, I was no longer sure of their value. I was no longer living as I wanted to live.

 Still, I entered the courtroom exactly at ten o’clock. I was an on-time judge.

The Hon. Marie Corbett, Q.C., is a retired superior court trial judge who presided in Toronto for 14 years. A dedicated crusader for social justice in Canada, Corbett was a founding member of and first woman President of the Canadian Environmental Law Association. As a member of the first Ontario Status of Women Council, she organized the first family law conference pressing for women’s rights in marriage. Her honours include Queen’s Counsel and Women of Distinction Special Award from the YWCA.

A Refreshing Response – The National Capital Commission Does the Right Thing for Lemonade Kids

July 5, 2016 9:51 am
A Refreshing Response – The National Capital Commission Does the Right Thing for Lemonade Kids

Over the years Ottawa Life Magazine writers have been critical of the NCC on many occasions. So we were a little indignant (like everyone else) when we heard the news this past weekend that that seven-year-old Eliza Andrews and her five-year-old sister Adela’s lemonade stand was shut down by what appeared to be an overzealous NCC officer because they didn’t have a permit.

“We understood that it was NCC property,” said father Kurtis Andrews, who built the lemonade stand to teach his daughters some real world business skills. “But we figured a kids’ lemonade stand wouldn’t raise a bunch of fuss, and no one would probably make a big deal about it.”

It appears that the NCC management team was also not impressed and probably had a ‘yikes’ moment upon hearing about this in the press.

On Monday morning the girls and their dad were invited to NCC headquarters to talk about bringing the lemonade stand back – with the proper documentation.

“They gave us the royal treatment,” said Mr. Andrews. “We put in an application for a permit, and it sounds like they’ll be expediting whatever process is required so we can set up next Sunday for the next bike day.”

The NCC released a statement Monday morning, apologizing to the family and saying that it reviewed the situation with the junior conservation officer on duty.

The statement said that the officer “acted in good faith” but notes that the NCC wants to move forward animating the shoreline and supporting “young entrepreneurs going forward.”

“We believe the situation could have been handled differently,” read the statement. Bravo to the NCC for dealing with what had quickly become a sour national news story. Every organization makes mistakes and we’ve all seen overzealous employees who can sometimes lose perspective.  Everyone should give the NCC a thumbs up for their reaction to this story and for the way they’ve handled it. The junior NCC officer probably learned a lesson about judgement that should serve them well in their future duties, and the NCC has turned a negative thing into a very positive outcome for all concerned. Whoever quarterbacked that process at the NCC should get a big pat on the back…..or at least a nice glass of lemonade!

From Hockey Player to Chiropractor

June 1, 2016 1:51 pm
From Hockey Player to Chiropractor

For a short time in chiropractor Karlo Pavich’s life, playing hockey was all he ever wanted to do.

During his youth, Pavich lived that dream. From the age of 16 until the age of 23, Pavich skated his way into the professional hockey circuit. In his early years, Pavich played in minor hockey and eventually broke into the Central Canada Hockey League as a #1 pick and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Pavich turned his junior career into a professional career in Europe. After living there for a few years, Pavich received an invitation to try out for the Montreal Canadiens.
Hockey Player to Chiropractor – image 3As a child, the Ottawa South team Pavich was playing for went on an exchange to play a Montreal team under the chaperone Jean Beliveau. That evening, Pavich watched his first and only NHL game and met player Mario Tremblay. He promised himself at that tender age that the next time he was in the Forum, he would be wearing a Montreal Canadiens jersey. Ten years later, he kept that promise and wore that jersey, albeit only for a few weeks.

Not long after, Pavich began studying at the National University of Health Sciences in Chicago and graduated at the top of his class. After his studies, Pavich returned to Ottawa and immediately opened his practice, Atlas Chiropractic and Massage Therapy.

Pavich’s practice is welcoming and open. The waiting room walls are adorned with backstage passes for bands he has worked on, along with autographed sports memorabilia. Pavich’s patients typically hear about his clinic by word of mouth. While he has worked on big names, Pavich takes pride in being a family-friendly clinic.

“Chiropractors adjust and rid the spine and extremities of subluxations or distortions,” Pavich explains. “These distortions in the supporting structures of the body that support spinal vertebrae cause a stress response in the brain. Every time we adjust a patient, there’s a direct effect on brain chemistry, which allows the brain-body connection to adapt and heal. The body is a self-healing and self-regulating entity.”

Pavich adds that his practice uses gentle hands-on techniques, as well as additional modalities to add to the patient’s experience and treatment value, including the use of Intersegmental Traction and Hydromassage tables.


Pavich is passionate about providing quality care for his patients. He tells the story of a young patient who was having difficulties learning and concentrating at school. With the help of a chiropractic treatment plan,  Pavich worked on the child to develop better focusing skills. Today, the now-teenaged patient is an aspiring golf player.

“My patient’s story is one of many little miracles, as I like to call them, that happen daily across this city and this country in chiropractic offices,” Dr. Pavich says. “Having a healthier community is what really motivates me to assist my patients, their families, friends, and coworkers. We all have a purpose in life, and hockey was my stepping stone to hone my eye-hand coordination and concentration to do and practice what I do today, and that’s being a Chiropractic doctor.”

Hockey Player to Chiropractor  – image 6

You can find out more about Karlo Pavich at

John’s Reno Tips Spring Into Reno Season

May 30, 2016 11:48 am
John’s Reno Tips Spring Into Reno Season

Photos courtesy of John Gordon. 

As we enter the key renovating season, there are certain trends that are turning up everywhere. Fresh from the Ottawa Home Show, here are a few of John’s hip tips.

Kitchens and Living Areas

Mixed materials in kitchen such as rustic wood beams, stone columns, subway tiles and bright shiny counter tops are part of the 2016 kitchen trends.


Photo: Kevin Miller

Brick and stone: Exposed brick and stone walls are a great way to add a rustic charm and texture to your home.The kitchen is the perfect room to add a stone or brick accent wall that ties in your living area. Another option for these materials in your kitchen would be behind floating wooden shelves displaying decorations, photos or dishes. You can also use it for a backsplash. Need to cover up ceiling or looking to spruce it up? Try rustic wooden beams.They add warmth and depth to a space.

Cool cabinets: Solid colour cupboards with touches of natural wood are an innovative new trend that is likely to pick up this year.Cabinets can be painted in a very earth-toned grey colour with a wooden island or decorative legs. Go the extra mile and add a custom wood hood fan to the design?

Hardwood floors: If you want to make your kitchen look timeless, go for hardwood floors.They bring warmth to the kitchen design and go with any style or colour of cabinetry.It goes way beyond the shelf life of a 10-year trend cycle.

Freestanding bathtubs allow for more placement options.

Photo: Courtesy John Gordon
The rough brick adds texture to the space and constrasts nicely with the highly polished stone on the floors and waterfall countertop.

Photo: Joshua Rablin


Hit the Loo

Grab bars and shower seats: More and more, we seem to be getting requests for shower seats. They are functional and good to have if you have seniors in your home. Grab bars are another trending addition to bathrooms. You can install them just about anywhere you might need them, but showers and tub surrounds are the most popular place to install them.

Freestanding tubs: Built-in tubs are becoming less popular these days. Freestanding tubs on the other hand, if your space will allow it, offer a lot of flexibility in placement and some might even chose to place their freestanding tub in their shower area.

Heated floors and towel racks: We can all agree that bathroom floors are generally cold, but they don’t have to be. Electric-heated floors are the solution.They are popular in bathrooms because of their ability to help dry out moisture and humidity. Heated towel racks, or towel warmers, are another great gadget to have in the bathroom. Who doesn’t enjoy being wrapped in a warm and fuzzy towel after a shower or a bath? They also act as a supplemental heater and damp outerwear dryer.

Colour trends: Beige used to be the number one colour choice but now white, greys and blacks are in this year with hints of brightness such as mauve, turquoise or light green accessories.

John’s Reno Tips: A Guide to Building Permits

May 13, 2016 10:35 am
John’s Reno Tips: A Guide to Building Permits



A Guide to Building Permits


Navigating the world of building permits can be overwhelming for any homeowner. However, these permits can be a very important part of any home renovation or remodelling project. John Gordon, owner of Your Reno Guys, takes the guesswork out.

First of all, it is important to point out that in Ontario, anyone, regardless of qualifications, can practice construction. In order to increase quality control construction, the Ontario Building Code Act was enacted in 1976 to protect both municipalities and homeowners. There have been many amendments to it over the years. The Code is important to consider in your renovation projects.

There are two main reasons why a homeowner should get a building permit:

  1. Peace of mind that the work performed meets Building Code standards. A lot of trust must be placed in the renovator to do the plumbing, electric and mechanical work according to Building Code requirements. Because anyone can sell their services as a renovator, a second opinion is of the utmost importance.A city building inspector is very knowledgeable about Building Code regulations and will catch any mistakes.
  2. Peace of mind for homeowners so there will not be any legal consequences after a renovation. If a renovated home is sold, the new homeowner may sue if the renovations were completed without a permit. Acquiring a permit A Guide to Building Permits after the work was performed can be very invasive and in some cases the space may need to be completely demolished because the bones were not built properly, according to Code.

If you are a homeowner of a newly renovated home where the previous homeowner performed the renovations, it is best to ask for a copy of the construction plans and the building permit. If they cannot be given to you for whatever reason, you can ask the city to supply you with a copy. Fill out an application for a Compliance Summary Report, which will give you the history of the property, what had been applied for and at what time.

The Permit Process

When applying for a permit, the city requires a clear plan of what is being proposed. A plan is necessary when architectural, plumbing and/or mechanical work is being performed. Plans can be drawn by the homeowner or by a registered designer with a Building Code identification number (BCIN) – another measure developed by the government to help ensure that plans are completed in accordance to Building Code standards, making the review process easier and quicker.

Applying for a building permit can be fairly simple. The City of Ottawa website provides a great deal of helpful information to get you started on the right foot. If you are unsure of whether your project requires a building permit, the best way to determine your needs is to email or call Building Code Services at 3-1-1. If you are told you require a permit, always ask to have an email sent to you so you have written confirmation.

Common renovation projects that do not require a building permit:

  • Painting or applying wallpaper
  • Installing new finished flooring (hardwood, tile, etc.)
  • Replacing bathroom and kitchen cabinetry (when plumbing, dishwasher location and vents are not being affected)
  • Replacing plumbing fixtures when they are staying in the same location
  • Building a deck that is lower than 24 inches off the ground

Next Steps

  • Complete a building permit application, which can be found on the City of Ottawa website. Bring the completed application along with two sets of plans to any of Ottawa’s Client Service Centres, which can also be found on the City of Ottawa website.
  • The fees for building permits are structured as $11 for every $1,000 of forecasted project cost.
  • The review period for a building permit varies by the complexity of the project but for residential renovations you should expect 5 to 10 business days.
  • Once your permit is issued,it must be posted in a window so it is visible from outside your home. When picking up the permit, it will be explained to you that specific inspections will need to be scheduled as the work is completed.
  • Building permits are essential for a successful renovation and city officials have made efforts to make the acquisition process as smooth as possible to ensure homeowners understand the process. Renovating without a permit can be as damaging as driving without respecting traffic signals. Protect yourself and your home by acquiring the proper building permits before your next renovation project.

Don’t miss the upcoming Ottawa Home + Garden Show, March 25-28 at the EY Centre, for more expert tips and advice. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.

Five Unique Ways to Enjoy Ottawa’s Nightlife

May 2, 2016 1:04 pm
Five Unique Ways to Enjoy Ottawa’s Nightlife

Clubbing and bars not your thing? Fortunately, Ottawa has so much more going on once the sun goes down. From fantastic quick food to quirky stops downtown, there’s always a way to turn your evening into a blast. We have a list of five off-the-wall things you can try in the city this weekend, no pints required.

roulette-1253626_1280 (1)1. Go Gaming

If you’re looking for something with higher stakes than the average night out, both Ottawa and Gatineau have great gaming options. If you head south you’ll find the Rideau Carleton Entertainment Centre, and just across the river is the swanky Casino Lac Leamy.
If an exciting night in is more your speed though, where the food, the drinks and the vibe are all up to you, then is your best gaming option. Just follow the rainbow and get welcome bonus for your first try.

House of Targ-8

Photo by Andre Gagne.

2. Play Pinball at House of Targ

House of Targ isn’t for everyone, but those who dig it are fans for life. Settled into a basement just beside bank street, Targ is always full of the sound of pinball machines, old-school arcade games and perogies sizzling. The atmosphere is a great combination of chill and fun, and every few minutes one of the staff uses a microphone to call out that the next person’s order of perogies are ready. The wait for your own name to be called is intense.
So grab a drink, find a game and make sure to bring some change.


Photo by Erin Noseworthy.

3. Go out for Tacos

Ottawa is being recognized more and more as a city that offers some fantastic snacks, and no quick-bite is shining brighter than tacos. Some of the biggest buzz has been surrounding the tacos from El Camino on Elgin Street. You can order them with a bigger meal or just grab them at the takeout window, but either way, these tacos will surprise you. There are a ton of choices, including the basics like pork or chicken and some out of this world options like Japanese eggplant and Ox tongue.

Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen has slightly more upscale tacos, which cost about $9.50 for two pieces. They’re worth the cost though, as each one comes in a deliciously soft shell and inside you’ll find a constellation of interesting flavours. The Bajan crispy-fish are a must try.

If you’re looking for classic tacos that are a little more economical, Corazon De Maiz in the market or Nacho Cartel in Sandy Hill won’t leave you disappointed.


Photo by Eric Murphy.

4. Do a Haunted Walk

Do ghosts get your heart racing? Ottawa has downtown tours that go in and around some of the city’s spookiest locales. The Haunted Walk of Ottawa has experienced guides that will take you from Sparks Street through the heart of the ByWard Market and even into the Ottawa Jail Hostel. Once called the Carleton County Jail, the hostel is the site of three executions and is often considered one of the most haunted buildings in North America.

5. Play Some Board Games

Many locals don’t know that Ottawa has not one but two fantastic board game cafes downtown.

You can find Monopolatte on Somerset Street just on the edge of China town. Inside is a quirky and colourful café with just about every board game you can imagine stacked on the shelves. The servers are friendly and have an encyclopedic knowledge of how to play each game they offer.

A more casual alternative to Monopolatte is The Loft, a board game lounge just outside of the University of Ottawa. The décor alone is a good enough reason to visit. The Loft has a gorgeous hardwood floor set beneath gigantic wooden beams that crisscross the ceiling. The old stone walls are only interrupted by an enormous mural and floor-to-ceiling shelves that hold up their massive collection of games. So if your weekend goal is to cozy up to a fireplace and get your scrabble on, this is the place to visit.

Music To Our Ears

April 15, 2016 9:00 am
Music To Our Ears

These Alfa Genus V2 headphones are high quality, refined and, well, pardon the pun, music to our ears! Lightweight and durable, Alfa Genus V2 headphones feature a unique tuning filter system that brings out the best of your favourite music genre. You can even control the highs, lows and neutrals in your music! Visit for more details.

OICC Campaign Launches with a Leg Up on its $5 Million Goal

April 8, 2016 2:39 pm
OICC Campaign Launches with a Leg Up on its $5 Million Goal

When the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre launched its first major fundraising campaign on Wednesday in the Canadian Tire Centre, they had a little surprise to go along with the public announcement.

“I am pleased to announce that we have now reached $1 million towards our $5 million goal,” said Bryan Murray, General Manager of the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club and the OICC Campaign’s Honorary Chair.

By the time they’d launched the ambitious campaign, called “Changing How We Live with Cancer,” OICC already raised one fifth of their goal.

“We are excited that our fundraising is off to a strong start,” Murray said.

The early boost came from two separate donations. On the day of the launch, the OICC announced a $100,000 donation from the Ottawa Senators Foundation, and a contribution of $900,000 from an anonymous foundation. That money will go to funding essential patient programs, innovative research and subsidized patient care for those unable to afford integrative cancer care at the OICC.

The OICC approach to cancer care helps people live the best they can while undergoing treatment by reducing side effects, improving quality of life and helping prevent recurrence. Throughout the morning, different people whose lives had been affected by the OICC spoke up about the work it does. CBC News Anchor Lucy van Oldenbarneveld, who was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in 2015, delivered a particularly moving testament.

“The OICC has been a lighthouse in the storm for me,” said van Oldenbarneveld. “Trying to figure how to manage a diagnosis like breast cancer is something that requires more than just surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. For me, it also meant dealing with the emotional fallout, and the physical recovery from each round of treatment. The OICC has been there to help guide the way.”

Murray, who has fought his own battle against stage four colon cancer, said that the Integrative Cancer Centre has helped “keep both my physical and mental strength high.”

“The OICC and their tremendous staff have allowed me to enjoy all of my normal daily activities, including quality time with family and my passion towards bringing a championship NHL team to Ottawa,” he added.

You can find out more about the OICC at, and you can donate to the “Changing How We Live with Cancer” campaign at

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