Perth’s Tartan Weekend

June 24, 2016 2:21 pm

Somewhere near Ottawa, there will be thousands of people running around in kilts this weekend. Intrigued?

It’s not a reenactment of Braveheart, but rather Perth’s annual World Record Kilt Run. And when they say world record breaking, they mean it. There are nearly 5,000 people registered, and those are only the runners! The event is extra big this year because Perth is celebrating its 200th anniversary.

The weekend offers a one-mile run, a five-mile run, a half marathon, a full marathon, and something called the half kilter (a one footed run perhaps?). But it’s not just the kilts on offer this weekend; there will also be a variety of entertainment to see.

They have acts such as the bagpiping rock group Mudmen, a duo called The Harp Twins and Canadian singer Ben Caplan, who will be playing at either Stewart Park in the heart of Perth, and Ecotay where the finish line will be crossed on Sunday the 26.

There will also be scotch tasting, a haggis hurling competition, guided canoe rides and a medieval encampment found around the city.

To cap it all off, there is also a silent auction going on at Ecotay on Sunday that will offer two of the most sought after concert tickets in probably Canadian history. That’s right, we’re talking the impossible to get Tragically Hip tickets.

So if you’re looking for a little more fun country history rather than the overcrowded city this weekend, drive out about an hour from Ottawa to picturesque Perth and immerse yourself in the tartan festivities!

Skyline Gallery Will Capture Canada in Stark Colour

June 23, 2016 9:45 am
near Picton, Ontario

All photos by Mark Schacter. 

After travelling the world and publishing three books of photography, Mark Schacter is putting down roots in Ottawa’s artistic scene and inviting locals to come see his work.

On Saturday July 9, Schacter will open the doors to Skyline Gallery, a space set aside in his Trillium Avenue home for the public to explore some of our country’s most breathtaking corners.

Western Brook Pond, Newfoundland

Western Brook Pond, Newfoundland

Schacter’s photographs are minimalistic and sometimes even harsh glimpses of Canada and the US. He captures looming forests, empty fields and old but well-loved diners that should be recognisable to anyone who’s let on arm hang out a passenger-side window and stared off into the distance during a long drive through the country.

“I think that’s how a good photographer adds value,” Schacter says. “Making you see something familiar in a way that you never had before.”

Schacter’s photographs don’t seem like brief flashes of time. They’re scenes that you imagine would look exactly the same if he’d taken them a year later, or a year after that. Schacter has lived in the US, the UK and South Africa, but it was these Canadian landscapes that inspired him to start taking pictures.

“I think when people think of being a photographer…your initial impulse is to go abroad,” he says. “One of the things I’ve discovered is there’s just so much variety and so much intensely interesting stuff in Canada.”

Schacter grew up in Thunder Bay, and he says his Northern Ontario upbringing inspired the starkness that’s clear in so much of his work.

“That’s what Northern Ontario’s like,” he says, “and that’s really affected the way that I see things.”

Marysburg, Saskatchewan

“Deadmoose Lake.” Marysburg, Saskatchewan

After taking quite a few years away from photography to pursue a career and build his family, Schacter jumped back into it in 2004, a time when he was missing the creative outlet and discovering the potential of digital photography. Since then, he’s returned to Thunder Bay to take photos for each of his three photography collections, Roads (2010), Sweet Seas, Portraits of the Great Lakes (2012) and Houses of Worship (2013).

Now he’s moving away from book publishing, and his new collections will go into the gallery. The idea for this latest, and arguably most ambitious, project reared its head when Schacter and his wife were exploring Santa Fe, which he calls “gallery heaven.”  They saw plenty of galleries built right into people’s houses, and decided the idea could work just as well in Ottawa.

That idea grew, and now the Skyline Gallery’s opening is just a month away. The space will feature plenty of the landscape work Schacter is known for, and there will be a wall dedicated to prints from Houses of Worship. For Schacter, the gallery will be a unique chance to showcase his work, but it also gives other locals a great opportunity.

When most people think of art or photography galleries in Ottawa, they probably imagine exhibits at the OAG or NGC, or one of the smaller galleries scattered throughout Centretown. But Skyline will sit in a residential corner of Nepean, so it offers something new and close to a lot of locals who would otherwise have to hop into their cars to track down great art. On top of that, if people are looking for photography that captures Canadian landscapes in such an arresting style, Skyline will be the only place they can find it.

Once the gallery’s opening weekend is behind him, Schacter says he’ll start to look at putting together a new collection. One plan that stands out is to focus on an area rather than a theme. He’d like to put together an exhibit that really digs into one of Canada’s unique geographies. He hasn’t decided where to look yet, and when I asked him what his favourite part of the country to photograph is, he laughed.

“That’s like asking me what my favourite child is,” he said. “The point is in photography that you’re going to find interesting things everywhere you are.”

 Skyline Gallery is having its grand opening Saturday July 9 and Sunday the 10th. Regular hours are Saturday and Sunday 11-5 or by appointment (appointments can be made at (613) 277-6777). The Gallery’s address is 3 Trillium Ave.

You can find more about the Gallery’s opening and Schacter’s work at

Business with H’Art

June 22, 2016 3:15 pm

All photos courtesy of No Hands.

H’Art of Ottawa art studio chosen for McMillan’s Betterful initiatives

It’s not too common for businesses to give away their services for free, but maybe it should happen more often; that’s what H’Art of Ottawa’s executive director Lin Rowsell thinks. H’Art is a longstanding artist’s studio that fosters the creative processes of adults with developmental disabilities. They support just under 50 artists who come to the studio weekly to work on their paintings and their creative writing.

“They’re artists more than they are people with developmental disabilities,” said Rowsell. Thanks to H’Art, these artists have their paintings exhibited and sold in galleries all around Ottawa, and have been showcased in over 70 different art shows over the last 14 years. H’Art also organizes collaborations with local artists, ensuring that its artists have an active role in Ottawa’s creative community.

JK_McM_H'ART_00048H’Art is now at a point where they feel the need to adapt to the growth of its organization. That’s why McMillan decided on the H’Art gallery as the chosen charity for their first annual Betterful campaign, an initiative in which the creative B2B agency offers a free and complete rebranding of a local charity in need of a marketing revamp.

“We’re treating this like any big corporate account, with the same processes and same level of resources being expended, except here, no one is getting an invoice,” said Megan Findlay of McMillan.

Findlay said that when the Betterful campaign was first announced, they were expecting maybe four or five organizations to apply, but when they received nearly 30 applications, they were blown away by every single one.

“In choosing between all those amazing choices, the condition was to choose the organization that stands to gain the most from the rebrand. And really, we had no bias when deciding between what kind of charities, so it took a lot of soul-searching, but we were really happy that we decided on H’Art,” said Findlay.

Rowsell explained the impact that H’Art has had on those it helps. She told a story of a 48-year-old man who had been hospitalized, medicated, and who suffered from great anxiety due to his condition. As a last ditch effort to help her son, his mother brought him to the H’Art of Ottawa gallery. At first, he was reticent, not having ever painting before in his life. Now, Rowsell refers to him as her ‘Van Gogh,’ full of passion and talent, and says that his painting has kept him off medication and out of the hospital.

“It transformed his life, it gave him focus and passion, we all need and want that, passion in our lives, and to be doing something we love, it’s pretty powerful when we find that,” said Rowsell. She added that people from such marginalized communities often don’t get the opportunity to explore their passions because of misconceptions about their abilities. Their organization isn’t a program to teach people art, but rather a means to give real artists the opportunity to practice their craft, an opportunity that they most likely wouldn’t be given otherwise.


So now, with the Betterful campaign focused on H’Art this year, the two parties are involved in what Findlay called the “discovery stage,” where both McMillan and H’Art will figure out exactly how to express who H’Art is, what they do, and how they want to move forward. Rowsell already has some plans. She’s looking to move to a storefront gallery, where the H’Art artists will all be able to showcase their work, and to sell their pieces in Ottawa’s core neighbourhoods.

McMillan argues that branding for a charitable organization is just as important as it is for a business. In having a consistent message, logo, and memorable story to present to the community, a rebranding can create the impact needed to gain more support from community and businesses, which in turn will foster the growth that an organization both needs and deserves.

“It’s validating that McMillan sees us as deserving, and it goes beyond our community. They’re validating that all these people are real artists with that kind of exposure. They’re not doing it out of charity, but they have great respect for our artists because they’re artists too, so its like equals working with equals,” said Rowsell.

By simply lending their expertise to people who do good work, Betterful will provide a change that will last for H’Art of Ottawa, so that they can provide the necessary changes for those that are sometimes forgotten. Rowsell proposed a challenge to other companies, saying that they should follow McMillan’s lead, using Betterful as an example of how to integrate community building into their business.

If you want to follow the progress, check out McMillan’s blog.

If you want to sign up for Betterful next year, go to their website and sign up for updates to know when the next round will open.

OLM’s E3 2016 Top 10 Roundup

June 21, 2016 11:43 am

A look at the new protagonist from Mass Effect: Andromeda

Every gamer’s favourite time of the year has come and gone. Electronic Entertainment Expo (otherwise known as E3) brings together creative minds from every corner of the electronic entertainment industry. Held in Los Angeles, the industry-only event showcases new projects, games and technology that will be coming out. Because there are so many press conferences and studio announcements E3 has to offer, we created a list of the top ten announcements that we’re most excited about.

1. Not one, not two, but three new consoles confirmed by Microsoft and Sony.

Both Microsoft and Sony confirmed new updated consoles this year. Despite not being at E3, Sony has confirmed the existence of the Playstation Neo, an updated Playstation console that allows for 4K output and will still support all current and future PS4 games.

Microsoft announced two consoles: one being released this year, and one predicted to come out next year. The Xbox One S is 40 per cent smaller than its predecessor, supports 4K output, and can come with 2TB storage space. Microsoft also announced Project Scorpio, a faster more powerful console set to support VR headsets. The Xbox One S is set to be released this August, whereas Project Scorpio is expected to be out next fall.

2. Mass Effect: Andromeda’s protagonist finally has a name, a new trailer, and an awesome new ship.

A new chapter in the Mass Effect universe is almost upon us! A new Mass Effect: Andromeda behind-the-scenes trailer was shown at EA Play and it looks like Bioware has gone above and beyond to create an amazing new Mass Effect game! The new game moves away from Commander Shepard and the Normandy and introduces Ryder, a hero in the works aboard the spiffy-looking Tempest. Mass Effect: Andromeda is set to be released early 2017 on PS4, PC, and Xbox One.

3. Kratos is back! A new God of War game is coming.

Sony has announced a new God of War game in the works by showing a gameplay trailer at their press conference. While the other games in the series were based on Greek mythology, set to take place after God of War III, the newest instalment of the series will be set in the world of Norse mythology. A first look at the game shows an older, bearded Kratos out hunting with his son. The game will be released for PS4 and the release date is currently unknown. copy
4. New Legend of Zelda game finally has a name now—and a gorgeous trailer!

The world of Hyrule has gotten much, much bigger. The new Hi-res open-world game allows you to explore beautiful environments at your own pace and take advantage of what it has to offer. The game also has Amiibo support which can alter how you play it. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is set to come out in 2017 for the Wii U and Nintendo’s mysterious new platform, the ‘NX’.

5. Fallout 4 and Doom for VR

Soon you’ll be able to explore the Wasteland or battle the forces of Hell. Bethesda recently announced that both Fallout 4 and Doom will be available to play in virtual reality using the HTC Vive headset. While the E3 demo only let attendees explore the Red Rocket truck stop, we’re excited to see what the Diamond City market might look like in VR.

6. Death Stranding’s confused excitementdeath-stranding-1

Hideo Kojima is back after his controversial departure from Konami. His new game, Death
, was announced with a bizarre and very symbolic trailer that features a nude Norman Reedus, dead sea-creatures, and a mysterious oil baby. Nonetheless, count me in as very intrigued. While the official release date is unknown, Death Stranding will be a PS4 exclusive.

7. Skyrim Re-Mastered

Released almost five years ago, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is being revived in beautiful and stunning detail. Similar to the new update to console versions of Fallout 4, the re-mastered game will be able to support mods on both the PS4 and Xbox One. PC users who own Skyrim and all of its DLC on Steam will get a free upgrade as well. The Skyrim Special Edition comes out October 28th, 2016 for PC, Xbox One and PS4 and includes all the DLCs.

8. Become a pirate in Sea of Thieves

The first-ever gameplay video was shown for Rare’s new Sea of Thieves game at the Microsoft press conference this year. The video showed players who have never played the game before figuring out how the game works and exploring some of the game’s many features. This online multiplayer game lets you become the pirate you’ve always dreamed of being, while adventuring and searching for loot with friends. Sea of Thieves will be available on Xbox One and PC at the end of this year or early 2017.

Dishonored_2_cover_art9. New gameplay trailer for Dishonored 2

A new gameplay trailer for Dishonored 2 was revealed during the Bethesda E3 press conference. Developed by Arkane Studios, Dishonored 2 is a stealth-action game set primarily in the city of Karnaca. The game starts years after the events of the first Dishonored, and players can choose to play as either Emily Kaldwin, former empress-turned-assassin, or as the hero from the last game, Corvo Attano. Dishonored 2 comes out November 11th, 2016 and will be available on Xbox One, PS4, and PC.


10. The Last Guardian is finally here!

From the makers of Ico and Shadow of Colossus comes The Last Guardian, a gorgeous-looking action-adventure game that has been in the making since 2007. The game follows a young boy and his large, feathered creature named Trico, as they work together to evade their enemies. The game will be released October 25th, 2016 and is a PS4 exclusive.
What news are you most excited about from E3 2016? Let us know in the comments below!

Tomlinson Celebrates the Opening of its New Waste Recovery Centre in Carp

June 17, 2016 2:44 pm

Tomlinson CEO Ron Tomlinson, third from left, is presented with a certificate on behalf of the city recognizing the company for its innovative new waste recovery centre. He is joined, from left to right, by Councillor Allan Hubley, Tomlinson President Kevin Cinq-Mars, Councillor Eli El-Chantiry, Mayor Jim Watson, and Councillors Marianne Wilkinson and Scott Moffatt.


A little rain couldn’t keep the Ottawa community away on June 11 as families, councillors and even the mayor came out to celebrate the opening of Tomlinson’s new waste recovery centre in Carp.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Eli El-Chantiry joined Tomlinson CEO Ron Tomlinson and President Kevin Cinq-Mars in cutting the ribbon and introducing the new facility, which officially opened its doors this past May.

“Tomlinson is the epitome of a great local community-minded company that has been a national and international success,” said Mayor Watson at the event. “I just want to say thank you for doing this because we can’t keep burying our garbage.”

Chef from the Centurion Conference & Event Centre prepares a barbeque lunch for guests at the community opening of Tomlinson’s new waste recovery centre on June 11 in Carp.

Mayor Watson and Councillor El-Chantiry then presented Tomlinson with a certificate on behalf of the city recognizing Tomlinson for the innovative centre. Also in attendance were numerous other Ottawa councillors, and MPPs, including Lisa MacLeod, Allan Hubley, Scott Moffatt and Marianne Wilkinson.

Attendees were then treated to a free barbeque lunch courtesy of the Centurion Conference & Event Centre, and Tomlinson staff volunteers were also on hand to help coordinate facility tours, hand out refreshments, and manage giveaways. Guests were invited to take home a Tomlinson Treeling, boast an environmentally-friendly temporary Tomlinson tattoo, and younger guests enjoyed taking turns leaping around in a bouncy castle.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, centre, takes a tour of Tomlinson’s new waste recovery centre in Carp at the community opening event on June 11. He is joined by Councillors Eli El-Chantiry and Marianne Wilkinson.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, centre, takes a tour of Tomlinson’s new waste recovery centre in Carp at the community opening event on June 11. He is joined by Councillors Eli El-Chantiry and Marianne Wilkinson.

“One of our core values at Tomlinson is to be environmentally conscious and find innovative solutions where others see barriers,” said Tomlinson President Kevin Cinq-Mars. “Through this centre, we are proud to take another step towards furthering our mission to provide world-class environmentally-friendly services to the Ottawa community and beyond.”

Located minutes from Kanata, the Tomlinson Waste Recovery Centre offers competitive rates, easy access for trucks, and requires no pre-sorting of materials. Open Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. to all members of the community, the centre is positioned to rapidly become eastern Ontario’s top waste recovery resource.


For more information, please visit


A Lakeside Paradise — The Mirror Lake Inn Wins Yet Another Award

12:53 pm

If you’re looking for paradise on earth, then look no further than Lake Placid. The Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa is a luxury waterfront retreat in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. The only thing more impressive than the breathtaking views is the resort’s impeccable service.

The Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa is being awarded the prestigious AAA Four Diamond award for the 32nd year in a row. While the resort is being honoured for its excellence in lodging, the adjoining restaurant, The View, is receiving an AAA Four Diamond award for dining for the ninth consecutive year. The award ceremony is this Thursday, June 16, in the Wikoff Room located in The View Restaurant.

Not only is the Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa located in one of North America’s most naturally beautiful regions, the Inn itself has a wide selection of activities to keep you far from bored should you chose to stay. The resort’s 60-foot heated indoor pool is designed to emulate an Adirondack swimming hole, giving you an aquatic experience to rival Mother Nature without even leaving the hotel. If you prefer the outdoors however, the resort’s outdoor pool might be for you, with a view that overlooks Mirror Lake and the surrounding mountains. If getting active and connecting with nature is how you like to relax, then try out the Inn’s complimentary boats, tennis courts, and snowshoeing.

Navigating the weather through all four seasons can be rough, but the Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa allows you to enjoy your stay no matter the time of year. The property’s private sandy beach is perfect for a lazy summer day, while the bike trails and the Adirondack High Peaks may be best enjoyed when the leaves start to fall. In winter, enjoy the resort’s private skating rink and snowshoeing. Perhaps the best thing about the resort’s many activities is the lack of any unexpected fees — the resort and spa takes pride in offering its guests their many amenities complimentary with their stay.

The Mirror Lake Inn has a long history, dating back to its conception in 1926, when William Rufus Wikoff moved from Massachusetts to Lake Placid. Wikoff started the Mir-a-Lac Inn from an old estate, and it quickly found success. By 1932 the Inn was winterized and rented out for the Winter Olympics. The next year the name was changed to Mirror Lake Inn and has since continued to flourish, taking with it its many traditions of excellence.

Along with its natural surroundings and its penchant for sports-related innovations, the resort is most well-known for its food. In the days that Mr. Wikoff and his wife ran the Inn, the establishment kept high standards of freshness, growing their own garden, raising their own pigs, and buying exclusively from local farmers. Today, the Mirror Lake Inn has kept the tradition close to its heart, growing their own herb garden and continuing to serve their signature Adirondack Flapjacks with hot maple syrup.

Only one other property in New York State has received AAA Four Diamond status for longer than Mirror Lake Inn’s 32 straight years.

Congratulations on a certainly well-deserved award — we will be daydreaming of you.

If you don’t already have your summer getaway planned, or if you’d just like to daydream some more, visit their website at

Voguemobile – Ottawa’s Fashion Truck

June 16, 2016 3:45 pm

Photos courtesy of Lainie Towell. 

Hold on to your hats Ottawa, because street style is being redefined, and it has wheels!

Voguemobile is our city’s first mobile fashion boutique. The fashion truck rolled into O-Town neighbourhoods this month, selling unique designer clothes in a new and convenient delivery system. Follow Voguemobile online to stay up to date on where they’ll be next, or book an appointment for a private perusal and the truck will come to you!

VogueMobile_LaughingThe truck itself looks like it’s been on an episode of a classier Pimp My Ride. Decked out with all the features of a traditional boutique (complete with change room, LED lighting and flooring, and a counter wrap), you’d never know the Voguemobile was once a Purolator step van.

We talked to Voguemobile’s creator, local entrepreneur Lainie Towell, who enjoys the freedom and creativity afforded by the movable-store business model. We asked her to describe the boutique’s particular style:

“‘Elegant and Edgy.’ We specialize in independent designers and small batch lines and our stock is always changing,” she says. “One woman this past weekend told me that she usually dislikes shopping…but that the Voguemobile was really cool. It is an experience.”

As if the funky truck could get any more charming, Lainie Towell described the Voguemobile experience to us by referring to one of her company’s core values: “Voguemobile travels the freeway. To free yourself is to be yourself.”

Lainie Towell told us about what it’s like to run a fashion truck:

“Setting up shop in different neighbourhoods and participating in various events is exciting because everyday is a new situation with new people and, of course, new challenges.”

Once she decided to go mobile with her boutique, Towell says the business-building process was “pretty fast and extremely creative”. After sourcing clothing designers and getting used to driving a massive vehicle, she faced the challenge of understanding and ensuring her business model respected the current city Bylaws.

13343028_1612655382383740_7146138980521088691_n“We are not a food truck, but there is no category for fashion trucks at the moment in Ottawa. We are however, able to park in privately owned retail zoned lots. Consequently, Voguemobile has created some great partnerships with local businesses and currently parks on Fridays at Kundstadt Sports in the Glebe, Saturdays at The Tea Party Café on York Street and Sundays at Ed’s Auto on Wellington West.”

Ottawa is sure to love the stylish pieces on board the Voguemobile and Towell is definitely filling a niche. But what makes the truck extra lovable is its attitude.

“I think it is important to try new things and to take risks in life and in fashion because creativity is our greatest asset,” Towell says. “For that reason, Voguemobile believes that you should not wait for special occasions to dress up… after all, life is a short ride.”

You can view the Voguemobile’s entire collection online, and track the fashion truck’s whereabouts on their events calendar at Alternatively, you can book the truck for a private event.


Deadly Skies Over Ottawa

2:52 pm

Photo courtesy of the Canadian War Museum, edited for fit. 

The Canadian War Museum’s newest exhibition brings visitors into the lives of nine high-flying First World War fighter pilots, commanders and civilians.

Pilot trainer Marjorie Stinson.

One of the nine profiles, Marjorie Stinson was a teenaged American flying instructor who trained young pilots early in the war.

The Deadly Skies – Air War special exhibition brings together more than 80 artifacts to tell its stories. From a young Canadian’s goggles to one of the silver cups Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron) commissioned for himself after an aerial victory, the new collection explores the mind of fighter pilots who faced death nearly every time their plane’s wheels left the ground.

Beautiful graphic novel style images are woven into the exhibition alongside the artifacts to tell the nine men and women’s stories. These include the legendary tale of the Red Baron himself, the story of James Moses, a six-nations pilot and recollections from Ada May Smith, a young girl who witnessed a bombing raid’s aftermath in Great Britain.

The Red Baron's silver cup.

The Red Baron’s silver cup.

The Museum staff chose artifacts from all sides of the conflict. Aside from the Canadian and German pieces mentioned above, they’ll also be showcasing Ottoman officers’ pilot uniforms, historic documents and photos which will be on display for the first time.

For anyone looking for a more interactive experience, visitors are encouraged to try their hands at the balloon observation mission, aerodrome flight assembly and ace academy flight experience. Each will test your skills and thirst for adventure.

The Deadly Skies special exhibition is open until January 29, 2017. You can find out more at

Say Cheese

June 13, 2016 1:55 pm

If you happen to be a cheese lover, then you are in luck. The Ottawa area is blessed with some fantastic cheese shops to feed your passion.

You don’t have to look any further than our own backyard for artisan cheese that rivals any around the globe. A few months ago, Glengarry Fine Cheese located in Alexandria (35 minutes from downtown Ottawa) was awarded Best of Show for its Celtic Blue Reserve at the 2015 American Cheese Society Awards. In November at the World Cheese Awards, Prince Edward Island’s Cow’s Creamery won Super Gold in the Vintage Cheddar category for its Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar. To add to this high acclaim, this unique cheddar was named one of the top 16 cheeses in the world.

Like wine and craft beer, not everything that the cheesemaker creates is readily available at your local grocery store. Farm Boy, Whole Foods, Metro and some Loblaws locations all have a decent Canadian cheese selection. Specialty stores like Jacobsons (New Edinburgh), Nicastro’s (Westboro & downtown), Serious Cheese (Kanata) and The Piggy Market (Westboro) have an even greater selection of hard-to-come-by artisan cheeses.

Rather than running around to all these stores, here’s something really handy: you can have cheese delivered.There is a new way to discover artisan cheeses. Subscribe to Savvy Cool Curds artisan cheese-of-the-month club. “It is our way of forging a connection between the dynamic people who make artisan cheeses and the consumers who enjoy them at home,” explains sommelier Vanessa Simmons. Each month a different Canadian cheesemaker is showcased and Simmons curates four to five different cheeses (between 200 and 250 grams each) in a parcel that is delivered to the subscriber’s home or office. “To add to the enjoyment of each bite of cheese, I share the stories behind the talented, passionate, creative and often eclectic cheesemakers. Each person has an interesting story that makes their cheese even richer.”

February2016_Page7_Cheese_shutterstock_27441355You don’t have to look any further than our own backyard for artisan cheese that rivals any around the globe. 

“There is no one better suited than Vanessa Simmons to select the best in Canadian cheese to discover each month. Savvy Cool Curds is hands-down a great idea. I see it each year at our festival, consumers want local… they want Canadian.” says Georgs Kolesnikovs, Founder of The Great Canadian Cheese Festival. The chosen farmstead and artisan cheeses are at their peak ripeness and ready to be simply unwrapped and served. From fresh to washed or aged, made using various milks – cow, goat, sheep and on occasion – buffalo. All told, the parcel will be approximately one kilogram of delicious Canadian artisan cheese.

Cheese lovers will be in heaven when their monthly parcel arrives from these cheesemakers: Gunn’s Hill Artisan Cheese (Ontario), Cow’s Creamery (PEI), Back Forty Artisan Cheese (Ontario), Fromagerie Les Folies Bergères (Quebec), and new on the scene in Prince Edward County Lighthall Vineyards & Dairy (Ontario).  And that is just the beginning.

To top it all off, in each issue of the monthly Curd On The Street Magazine, Simmons shares her tasting notes, tips & tricks, along with cheese-laden recipes.

Canadian artisan cheese delivered to your doorstep. Does life get any better than this?

  • $60/month plus shipping (approx $15 – hand delivered by courier)
  • 4, 6 or 12 month subscriptions
  • delivered on the Wednesday closest to the 15th of each month
  • No membership fees
  • Each subscriber automatically becomes a member of the Savvy Company family, giving
    VIP invitations and special discounts to Savvy Events featuring Canadian artisan cheese,
    wines, and craft beers.

OAG’s Sold Out Le pARTy Exceeds Fundraising Goal

June 10, 2016 4:04 pm

All photos by Simon Stiles. 

Art lovers, artists and Ottawa’s creative authority flocked to the Ottawa Art Gallery for its 20th anniversary fundraising auction.

Sold out in advance, Le pARTy was buzzing with close to 500 people eyeing up the bidding competition for the 65 original artworks from emerging and established artists. The auction showcased a variety of media including painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, new media and installation.

Le pARTy is the gallery’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Marking their 20th anniversary and last year at Arts Court, OAG staff joyfully exceeded their fundraising goal, raising $108,000. The funds raised go to support the gallery’s exhibition and educational programming needs. Unlike many fundraising art auctions, Le pARTy returns 40 per cent of the sale price of each work back to the artist.


A side note to the bidding action was the notable elements of food and fashion. Throughout the evening, Ottawa’s culinary artists from the city’s top eateries offered several courses of flavourful hors d’oeuvres and an array of cocktails were served from the open bar. Fashion and art collided with creative and style enthusiasts, bloggers and the fashionably cultivated who dressed to impress. If there was any doubt that Ottawa has an expansive art and fashion scene, there shouldn’t be now. Part of the social season of fundraising events, Le pARTy is another opportunity for the fashion community to come together to support a complimentary realm.

Le pARTy 2016 is the last auction to be held at Arts Court before the OAG opens the doors to its expanded gallery next door in 2017. Soon to be located at 50 Mackenzie King Bridge, the OAG expansion coincides with the revitalization of Ottawa’s downtown which includes the reconstruction of Rideau Street, the expansion of the Rideau Centre and construction of the new O-Train Confederation Line light-rail transit project.


For more information on The Ottawa Art Gallery and Le pARTy, please visit

Ottawa Dog Festival is Coming

2:52 pm

Set to be quite pawsibly the best furry festival in Ottawa, the first-ever Ottawa Dog Festival is coming this weekend, June 11th and 12th! Held at the RA Centre, general admission is free to all attendees and their dogs.

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You can expect fun activities for you and your canine companion(s) to watch or even try out at the event! Competitions like the Rideau River Dock Dogs will be running all weekend. Think your dog has what it takes? You can enter you and your dog to compete against others, or make a charitable donation for a trail jump, just make sure you bring a towel or two. Don’t want to get soaked? Public Lure Courses will also be available for you and your dog to test run. Disc Dog and Flyball shows will be running as well throughout the weekend to entertain you with a fast-paced running and jumping show.

Looking to be pampered? The exclusive VIPooch Tent offers special access to activities such as The Wunderdogs featuring Lottie the Collie, Mom & Mutt Manicures, pet psychics, therapists, massages and more! Upgrading to the VIPooch pass is $10, but humans aged 16 and under get in for free!


There will even be a tented marketplace for attendees (both human and pup) to shop the latest looks in canine fashions, get top-of-the-line toys and treats, and find other doggy equipment to properly spoil your fur-baby. At the marketplace, you can also meet with some of Ottawa’s amazing animal rescues, or get tips from trainers and specialists.

The Ottawa Dog Festival will be happening rain or shine. For more information, check out their website at  

OLM Pet of the Week – Meet Lucy

June 9, 2016 11:55 am

We’re excited to feature another beautiful canine from Freedom Dog Rescue this week! Meet Lucy, a beautiful two-year-old Bluetick Coonhound. Lucy is looking for a family who loves to explore the great outdoors and run with her. She is a very energetic pup who adores playing with her toys and cuddling with her people. She especially loves sleeping with people under the covers! When a treat is present, she’ll enthusiastically show-off her repertoire of tricks and is eager to learn new ones in-exchange for a treat (or two). Her tricks include come, sit, paw and lay down and she’s currently working on “in your bed”.

Lucy walks well on a short leash and is working on pulling less on a long one. She loves to socialize and play with other dogs, especially at dog parks, but would do best in a cat-free home. She loves to have lots of fun with kids, but is skittish around men until she gets to know them. Lucy is housetrained, crate trained, and is looking for a family that loves to adventure as much as she does!

If Lucy sounds like the right fit for your home, you can fill out an adoption application form on the Freedom Dog Rescue website, or email for more information.

About the Rescue: 

Freedom Dog Rescue is an Ottawa-based not-for-profit organization founded in 2015. Running entirely on volunteers and foster homes, Freedom Dog is dedicated to helping dogs locally and internationally find loving forever homes. All dogs from Freedom Dog Rescue are spayed/neutered and are up-to-date on their vetting. Their adoption process includes an application form, a home visit and a meet-and-greet to ensure that both the owner and the dog are the right match.

OLM Pet of the Week is a weekly segment on our site which showcases adoptable pets in our Capital. Each week a new pet will be featured in order to help them find a loving forever home. Any Ottawa-based animal rescue interested in having an adoptable pet featured can email

#OLMExplores – Chinatown

June 8, 2016 3:03 pm
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All photos courtesy of Arizona Lanceleve.

Last week I spent the afternoon exploring Chinatown with a good friend. We walked down the streets looking at all the different shops and houses. A lot of buildings were painted with beautiful designs and animals, there was always something interesting to see. Most of the shops and signs all had a similar colour pattern of red, yellow, and blue, which I found quite interesting. The colours showing up all over the area made it feel like a very welcoming community.

We stopped for food at Honey Town on Somerset and decided to be adventurous and try something new. If you are not someone who likes to try new things then this spot won’t be your cup of tea.

The Kowloon Supermarket at Somerset and Arthur St has just about everything you can think of, from live fresh fish to fruits and vegetables you have never even heard of to all the treats and snacks that you wouldn’t normally find in the Canadian grocery aisles.

One of my favourite things about Chinatown is that it doesn’t fully feel like you are still in Ottawa. You get a taste for a different culture without having to travel too far from home.

If you’re looking from something new to explore and see, also get a taste of a different local vibe, Chinatown is the place to go. For a taste of that vibe right from your seat, flip through the slideshow below.

Head to ‘The County’

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Photo courtesy of PEC/ Marc Polidoro.

There are so many reasons to go visit Prince Edward County

It is close enough to get to for the weekend and yet it is a whole other world away. Prince Edward County is becoming a well-respected wine-making area, culinary destination and a place to escape to recharge the battery. Here are a few ideas for a fantastic getaway.

Start your visit right. Instead of taking the 401 the whole way, get off the highway and take the Glenora Ferry. This free ferry ride lasts less than 10 minutes (check the departure schedule) and is the perfect way to reset your pace to ‘County time’. Breathe in the fresh air, enjoy being surrounded by water and get the welcoming two- fingered wave from the ferry driver as you arrive.

April2016_Savvy_RS1169_COURTESY PEC Once you disembark, be baffled by the geography of Lake on the Mountain. This unique body of water is one of Ontario’s natural wonders defying geographical and geological theories. Ponder its mystery over a drink at the Miller House Café and Brasserie. You can stay overnight here too if you ponder too long.

Prince Edward County is well known for its beaches. Sandbanks Provincial Park is the most popular but there are many more beaches to discover, such as the Wellington Beach and Park, North Beach Provincial Park and Westlake Beach. Switch from white sand to smooth pebbles and wander along Little Bluff Beach.

Check out some great old barns at The Old Third, Closson Chase, Karlo Estates (with their stone bridge), The Grange of Prince Edward County and Hinterland Winery.

The County has developed a great reputation with its varied accommodation options. There is the Claramont Inn & Spa, Merrill Inn, The Drake Devonshire, Waring House, Angeline’s Inn, The Manse Boutique Inn and all of these places have gourmet restaurants to go with them.

For an incredible breakfast, stop in at the Lighthouse Restaurant in the Picton Harbour Inn -a popular local hot spot for breakfast. It has delectable sausages and eggs, mile high pancakes and some of the best French toast around.

Lose yourself flipping through fascinating books at Books & Company or the intriguing consignment shop — City Revival — on Main Street in Picton.

A few doors down, you will find The Regent Theatre. Check out the list of movies, live musical performances and special talks as well as the Prince Edward County Jazz Festival.

Sample County wines and again, enjoy outstanding cuisine at East & Main Bistro, Blumen Garden Bistro and the Agrarian Bistro.

Love museums? Mariner’s Park Museum in South Bay, Rose House Museum in Waupoos, Wellington Historical Museum, Macaulay Heritage Park and Ameliasburgh Pioneer Village will give you your fix.

Cycling is a big thing in the County. A local favourite ride is along Big Island Road, following the beach on the northeast shore of Prince Edward County, as well as along the Loyalist Parkway (Highway 33).

Drive or bike along the Barn Quilt Trail. There are over 100 barns with painted quilts.

The locals rave about Birdhouse City. There are over 100 birdhouse reproductions of historic buildings, whimsical designs and other recognizable structures. Love Nest Studios is a must too.

A sign that will make you laugh as you drive by is Dead People’s Stuff Antiques.You might even stop in and check out their stuff.


Upcoming festivals that will give you a taste of The County include The Great Canadian Cheese Festival in June is a weekend of 100 per cent Canadian artisan cheese (and wine and beer too). TASTE – Community Grown in September celebrates the harvest with local wines, ciders and farm fresh goodies. Join the fun at Wassail — a pre-Christmas festival where you sing for your drink. Check for a comprehensive calendar.

Hands down the best old-fashioned doughnuts are at Schroedter’s Farm Market Bakery & Cafe. If you don’t have a sweet tooth, a bowl of homemade soup & and a sandwich will hit the spot. There are great gluten-free goodies too.

April2016_Savvy_COURTESY PECSee a sea of purple at the Prince Edward County Lavender Farm. Tip: plan to visit the Lavender Festival or stop in when the plants are in bloom in mid to late June. Take photos in the gardens, learn how lavender is harvested and how the oil is made.

Play life size chess in the vineyard at Casa Dea Estates Winery.

And if tea and treats are part of the plan, theVic Café, the Pink Lunch Pail Bakery, Tall Poppy Café or Miss Lily’s will not let you down.

If you think there is no night life in The County, clearly you haven’t been to the movies at Mustang Drive-In on County Road 1. Or pop into The County Canteen — Picton’s first brew pub for a flight of craft beers. The Acoustic Grill is a great place to see local bands.

Visit the Sunday Market at 106 Bridge for brunch made by Chef Michael Hoy. In the afternoon, enjoy live jazz on the patio at Huff Estates Winery.

Collect a couple or all eight of the cool County Posters with neat illustrations of all corners of Prince Edward County to remind you of the fun discoveries you had on your County getaway.

Meet the dogs & owners at Three Dog Winery.

The brand new the Local Store has all kinds of County treasures, artists and food all under one roof, in a heritage Loyalist barn of course.

This is just a taste of what awaits you. Book a getaway today.You won’t regret it, and your inner foodie will love it.

Ottawa Race Weekend: Improving Health and The Community

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It was a weekend full of athletic gear, encouragement and perseverance through the heat. With over 48,000 runners participating the largest multi-distance run in Canada, Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend was a success, as always.

However, this year’s success was not only great for the participants; but organizations and the community as a whole benefited. The Scotiabank Charity Challenge has found a home at Ottawa Race Weekend for two years now and is unlike any other charity event. Every charity aspect is funded by Scotiabank from the fundraising platform to any additional charges. It is completely free to join and this ensures that 100 per cent of the profits go straight to the charity intended. The idea is great and the results are even better. Since last year the event has grown from just over 40 to 61 charities participating; with every charity returning from the previous year.

For the majority of the charities that partake, this event is their biggest fundraising opportunity of the year. Due to the accessibility and extremely large outreach, many organizations are finally getting the recognition and public attention they deserve.

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Robert and Ross thanking all of their supporters over social media

A perfect example of the event’s success is this year’s most heartwarming story. Camp Misquah joined the Charity Challenge this year to raise awareness about their safe, fun and educational camp for those with developmental disabilities and maybe raise a couple of hundred dollars. Mark Wigmore, the camp’s charity organizer said that the event has allowed them to focus on the camp while Scotiabank took care of the rest. Campers, counsellors and organizers alike were able to come together to raise over $27,000, a shocking number for such a small organization.

One of the campers, Robert Jarecsni, 24, and his 12-year-old cousin Ross became closer than ever during the campaigning and were able to raise over $15,000 alone for the camp. “This experience has created a different bond for the whole camp. The process has integrated (the campers) and used them as a resources instead of just having people serve them. The campers feel more like assets now. It really has changed the whole dynamic,” said John Jarecsni, Robert’s father.  


Other, more familiar organizations joined the Charity Challenge and benefited greatly from it as well. The Humane Society was able to raise $10,388 to help find local rescues a loving home. Canadian Cancer Society raised an amazing $36,785 and the Distress Centre was able to raise $15,352 to help support a 24/7 completely volunteer-based distress line for anyone in need. The event as a whole raised a grand total of $775,000.

Each organization that participated in the Charity Challenge had to have at least ten runners in the various races. So, not only did each organization get all of the money that was raised for them, but their workers and supporters gained experiences together.  

Media personnel were also able to come together under a friendly competition and collectively raise $6,000 for the charity of their choice. In the spirit of giving, Scotiabank also gave out prizes to some charities of choice from media personnel as well as additional prizes to organizations that had the most runners or the most money raised by an individual.

The story of each organization and the event as a whole has touched many people and has really given a larger purpose to the Ottawa racing community. Each member was able to not only feel personally successful through their races but were able to make a positive impact and give back to their community thanks to the Scotiabank Charity Challenge and Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Ottawa Marathon May 23 2015  © Photo by Francois Laplante / Rémi Theriault

Photo by Francois Laplante / Rémi Theriault

A Familiar Bell Ringing

June 6, 2016 1:59 pm

Photo courtesy of

Steve Bell, the long-time Canadian musical sensation, is bringing his voice and his guitar to Arlington Woods Free Methodist Church on June 12. The singer-songwriter has long been considered a voice of hope and faith for his listeners worldwide, his Christian lyrics and pleasant melodies providing universal inspiration, regardless of location. In 2014 Bell released a multi-disk album celebrating his 25th year as a successful solo artist. The collection was highly praised – the 4-disk box set, titled Pilgrimage, has earned a JUNO Award, Western Canadian Music Award, and not one but two GMA Covenant Awards. Bell is following that up with a North American tour, which began in May and ends in October, and has shows reaching everywhere from Toronto to Los Angeles.

Bell’s stint in Ottawa will land him in Nepean. The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. with tickets priced at only $15. The concert will be held in support of Christian Horizons, an organization that helps communities, especially those with exceptional needs.

Steve Bell’s musical career has its roots in Christianity, beginning when Bell was 13 and made his first forays into songwriting for his family’s gospel band, The Alf Bell Family Singers. Since then, as Bell’s career grew alongside his connection to his fans, providing listeners with a voice of morality and inspiration. Fellow Canadian singer-songwriter Matt Epp calls Pilgrimage “overwhelmingly beautiful and poignant; each listen evokes tears of joy, or conviction, or both. Pilgrimage is a masterpiece.”

The kindness that Bell preaches in his music is also clear in his consistent charity work. Over the years, Steve Bell has worked with organizations like World Vision, Compassion Canada, and the National Roundtable on Homelessness and Poverty, raising money and awareness for Canada’s marginalized communities.

After such a rewarding musical career, and after touching the hearts of so many fans, one can only wonder what will come next from Bell. It seems safe to say, however, that his future looks bright.

Theatre Thrives at the 1000 Islands Playhouse

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All photos/graphics courtesy of 1000 Islands Playhouse.

The 1000 Islands Playhouse sits where local culture and some of Ontario’s most breathtaking views meet. Right now, the Gananoque theatre is gearing up for its 35th season and 10 performances that promise love, mystery, music and unforgettable performances.

The playhouse operates out of two buildings in one of Ontario’s most beautiful settings. The Springer Theatre, the playhouse’s original home, sits right on the edge of the St. Lawrence River. The building was constructed in 1909 to house the Gananoque Canoe Club, but was then renovated into the Playhouse in 1981.

The second building, known as the Firehall Theatre, has been the Playhouse’s second stage since 2004. It sits directly above the Springer Theatre, on street level, with a wide view of the St. Lawrence and a comfortable spot on the edge of Gananoque.

This year’s seasonVioletThePilot boasts the widest variety of shows the playhouse has ever put on. The season launches with a touring production of Violet’s the Pilot, presented by The Young Company from April 25 to July 3. A fun plot paired with environmental commentary, Violet’s the Pilot tells the story of a girl on the cusp of becoming the world’s youngest pilot, at least until she’s faced with a tenacious protestor.

The action-packed season goes until October 16, and Violet’s the Pilot will be followed by nine other brilliant productions. Their variety showcases almost anything you might want to see, from one-man-plays, musicals with deep lessons, supernatural stories and emotional productions examining family and love. During this season, the 1000 Islands Playhouse will also be hosting the world premiere of In a Blue Moon by Lucia Frangione. Watch the mastery and creativity unfold while each production brings its viewers insight, laughter and joy.


The Playhouse will also be hosting a series called Studio ‘S,’ presented by Eric Friesen. Friesen is a renowned music writer and host who guides the musical journey, hosted on select Monday nights throughout the summer. In Studio ‘S,’ audience members will embark on a night of sophisticated and culture-filled music in the beautiful Springer Theatre.

The 1000 Islands Playhouse experience is always exciting and unique. From the waterside views while taking the parkway there, to the locally organized, authentic plays, there really is nothing like it.

You can find out more at, and see below for a full list of shows.

Violet’s The Pilot – Touring Show

(April 25 – July 3)

The Young Company presents a thrilling, interactive experience while delivering a strong message about young people doing big things. When a conflict strikes, it is the audience who gets to decide what the outcome will be. Join the young and talented up-and-coming stars in this wonderful production.

A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline – Springer Theatre – Musical

(May 20 – June 11)
Production in Association with the Western Canada Theatre
Directed by Daryl Cloran

Starring Alison MacDonald, this production beautifully tells Patsy Cline’s rise to the spotlight. The play explores everything from Patsy’s life in small town Virginia all the way to Carnegie Hall.


Blithe Spirit – Springer Theatre

(June 17 – July 16)
Production in Association with the Western Canada Theatre
Directed by Ashlie Corcoran.

When a novelist named Charles meets with medium Madame Arcati while researching for his upcoming book, he finds a lot more than history. His life is turned upside down when he discovers that his first wife is haunting him and his new bride. Comedy erupts throughout the whole play as Charles’ poltergeist wife tries to ruin his new relationship.


Assassinating Thomson – Firehall Theatre

(July 5 – July 17)
Created and performed by Bruce Horak, Directed by Ryan Gladstone.

With only limited vision, Bruce Horak shares the vivid images in his mind with the audience while looking deeper into the murder of the unofficial eighth member of the Group of Seven, Tom Thomson. The one-man-play is captivating and interactive as Bruce does a live painting of his audience during each production.

Beneath Springhill – Firehall Theatre – Musical

(July 19 – July 31)
Created and performed by Beau Dixon. Lyrics and music by Rob Fortin and Susan Newman. Directed by Linda Kash.

This multi-award winning show explores the emotional events of the Springhill mining disaster of 1958. The one man play, starring Beau Dixon as the African American “singing miner” Maurice Ruddick, is breathtaking as he captures the nine days that Ruddick spent underground. The play addresses the disaster’s effects on rural Canadian society, economy, community strength, hope and racism.


Into the Woods – Springer Theatre – Musical

(July 22 – August 13)
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine. Directed by Ashlie Corcoran.

Many different fairy tales intertwined together show what happens when happily ever after doesn’t go quite as planned.


In a Blue Moon – Firehall Theatre – World Premiere

(August 12th – August 28th)
By Lucia Frangione, in Association with Western Canada Theatre and Arts Club Theatre Company. Directed by Daryl Cloran.

A story of family and love tenderly emerges from tragedy when six-year-old Frankie and her mother move in with Frankie’s Uncle Will after her father passes away. The story is steeped with emotion that will move you.


A Grand Time in the Rapids – Springer Theatre

(August 19 – September 17)
By Stewart Lemoine, Directed by Ron Pederson.

This fierce comedy unravels romantic secrets and is everything but mundane. When Thalia gets caught up in a mess, Ted and her boyfriend Boyd are there when her secrets are unleashed. 

Das Ding (The Thing) – Firehall Theatre

(September 9 – 25)
By Philipp Löhle. Translated by Birgit Schreyer Duarte, produced in association with Theatre Smash, Toronto, ON and Canadian Stage, Toronto, ON. Directed by Ashlie Corcoran.

This fast-paced comedy brings problems and characters from all over the world to get a wider view of our global economy. With five actors playing 14 characters in nine different locations, you won’t be bored for a second.

You Are Here – Springer Theatre – Musical

(September 23 – October 16)
Music and Lyrics by Neil Bartram. Book by Brian Hill, produced in association with Acting Up Stage Company, Toronto. Directed by Robert McQueen.

This gripping one-woman play surrounds self exploration when the main character walks out on her husband in search for a fuller, more exciting life. With no real problems in her past, she leaves it all behind with the anticipation of adventure.

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