Blush: The Ultimate Girls’ Night Out

September 12, 2013 9:33 am
Book The Booth at the Cube Gallery for BLUSH 2013.

Nowadays, women are busier than ever: working hard during the day gunning for a fulfilling career that allows them to define themselves independently of their family role, studying part-time to ensure continued education, training to stay fit so they can enjoy life, planning date nights to nurture the relationship with their partner at home, all while raising and caring for a few kids who look to them for comfort, love and positive role-modeling. Being a modern woman can be downright exhausting!

So it is no surprise that an event designed especially to pamper women and allow them to embrace their sexy side has experienced such success in Ottawa. In its second year, Blush is being held on Friday, March 8, 2014 at the downtown Ottawa Marriott Hotel to accommodate growing demand.

Blush founder Bri Anderson-Jackson understands the importance of making time for herself as a woman. A wife and mother to seven children, Bri also works as a photographer and event organizer. How does she balance all these responsibilities? “I am the type of person who is always on the go, multi-tasking and getting things done. I make time for my business, time for the children and date night with my husband. I guess I wouldn’t be me if I was not surrounded by constant movement and a little chaos.”

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Anderson-Jackson found her passion years ago in boudoir photography where she provides a platform for a woman to rediscover or play up her sexy side, no matter what age or size. It was only natural that this more intimate platform spill over into a larger-scaled event for more women to enjoy together: “I have always wanted to host a fun event for women only. I do not feel it is being done enough in Ottawa, so it only seemed fitting to do it in conjunction with International Women’s Day.”

Marketed as the ultimate girls’ night out, the cost of a ticket includes hors d’oeuvres, desserts, a drink ticket, the opportunity for a massage, nail polish application, hair styling, access to a photo booth, a chance for a professional photograph by Bri Anderson-Jackson, live musical entertainment by DJ Choice and DJ Casual, a pyjama party at midnight, the chance to win door prizes and a fabulous swag bag filled with beauty products.

So no matter your age, this evening is a chance to connect with friends, old and new, and celebrate your femininity.

New season of Nature Nocturne parties kicks off on September 20 at the Canadian Museum of Nature

September 10, 2013 12:21 pm
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Where else in Ottawa can you party with a dinosaur or a blue whale?

Nature Nocturne—the popular Friday night social extravaganza at the Canadian Museum of Nature—returns this fall for another round of  exciting monthly events, each one with a different theme.

“Since the launch in January, more than 7,500 people have come to Nature Nocturne,” says Cynthia Iburg, who coordinates adult programs at the museum. “Themes have ranged from the Arctic to Star Wars, with a huge, positive response from the Ottawa community.”

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Nature Nocturne is a unique program that combines mixing, mingling, gallery visits, new exhibitions, music, dancing, food stations, bars, crafts or some other form of artistic expression, and sometimes art installations as well. “Our 35-and-under target audience has really embraced the concept of socializing, dancing and museum discovery all in one place,” adds Iburg. “And where else in Ottawa can you party with a dinosaur or a blue whale?”

The glass Queens’ Lantern above the main entrance transforms into a hot and happening dance floor. DJ TDot, who has spun tunes at most of the Nocturnes, will be back for the new series. Live bands will often be on the roster too.

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Visitors can wander through the galleries, which are open until midnight. Often, friends gather to take pictures of themselves next to the dinosaurs or big mammals. All photos tweeted with the hashtag #NatureNocturne are projected onto the big wall in the atrium, providing fun opportunities to see what others are up to during the night.

Another popular element is the crafting. “Adults like the opportunity to play,” says Iburg. “We’ve set up craft areas where, depending upon the theme of the night, you could make a colorful bug, inukshuk or a Star Wars foam figure. We’ll be continuing the hands-on activities in this upcoming series.”

The dates for the 2013-14 series are: September 20, October 25, November 22, January 24, February 28, March 28, April 25 and May 23.

Nature Nocturne runs from 8 PM to midnight. Tickets are $20 each (tax is included but food and beverages are sold separately). It is highly recommended that people purchase their tickets in advance, either online or at the door. For tickets and details about the program, visit nature.ca/nocturne.

C. W. Clark

C. W. Clark

The Canadian Museum of Nature is at 240 McLeod St, Ottawa. Follow the museum on Twitter (@museumofnature) or like the museum on Facebook.

Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club Unveils Historic Restoration Plans

September 6, 2013 9:42 am
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The Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club has unveiled concept plans to restore its historic, 1920s-era clubhouse. Preliminary floor plans and concept drawings have been completed for the 10-year restoration project estimated to cost $1 million.

The comprehensive clubhouse restoration will include a historically-sensitive restoration of the building’s interior, balconies and facade; modernization of the lobby, café, lounge area and change room facilities; and upgrades to the aging plumbing, wiring, and structural supports.

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Phase 1 of the Clubhouse Restoration Project involves development of detailed design plans and preparation of drawings required to obtain construction permits. Ottawa-based architect Kris Benes (Open Plan Architects) will work with the club’s restoration committee and board member Mike Lundy (M.P. Lundy Construction) to complete Phase 1 and prepare detailed cost estimates for the different phases of the restoration. Phase 1 will begin in 2014.

“We are very excited to announce our plans for the restoration of our clubhouse,” said Peter Sutcliffe, president of the Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club’s Board of Directors. “Our vision is to bring back the historical beauty of the building with some modern twists that will improve the experience for our members. The Club is a hub of activity with its tennis, swimming, volleyball, café and banquet facilities and range of social activities.”

tennis 3Founded in 1881, just four years after the first Wimbledon championships, the Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club is the oldest tennis club in Ottawa and one of the oldest in Canada.

The clubhouse, built in 1923, was designed by J.A. Ewart, the most prominent Ottawa architect of his day, whose signature buildings include Glebe High School, the Civic Hospital and the American Ambassador’s residence in Rockcliffe.

The Ottawa Tennis and Lawn Bowling Club will finance the restoration through its fundraising campaign and club revenues.

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Dimensions- A Premier Sculpture Show In Ottawa

September 5, 2013 10:24 am
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“DIMENSIONS” is presented by The National Capital Network of Sculptors on September 12-15, 2013.

The show displays a remarkable cross-section of sculptures in a multitude of media, styles and working methods from 28 local artists.  There are bronze, stone sculptures, wood carving and assemblages, clay and glass sculptures, as well as multimedia pieces and other forms of three-dimensional art.

 

Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts

310 St. Patrick Street (at Cumberland)

 

Vernissage:  Thursday, September 12, 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Come and meet the artists on Friday, September 13,  6:00 – 9:00 pm
Saturday, September 14,  10:00 – 5:00 pm
Sunday, September 15,  10:00 – 5:00 pm

Some sculpture techniques will be demonstrated on Saturday and Sunday.

 

Visit our website: sculptureottawa.ca

Headliners Announced for the 14th Annual Canadian Comedy Awards Festival

August 30, 2013 12:08 pm
Canadian Comedy Fest

The Canadian Comedy Foundation for Excellence has announced that Alan Thicke, Tom Green, This Is That, Jeremy Hotz and Harland Williams are among many great Canadian talents scheduled to appear at the 14th Annual Canadian Comedy Awards Festival taking place in Ottawa from October 3-6 at four venues across the city.

Festivities will kick off on Thursday, October 3rd with a special live episode of Best Radio Program/Clip nominee CBC’s This Is That, featuring Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring in the studio space at Centrepointe Theatre.

Previous Canadian Comedy Award winners Nikki Payne and Sean Cullen will be joined by Best Male Stand-Up nominee Mark Forward, Harland Williams and host Alan Thicke for The Canadian Comedy All-Star Show on Friday, October 4th on the Centrepointe Mainstage.

In addition to the Canadian Comedy All-Star show, on Saturday, October 5th, Centrepointe will house some of Ottawa’s finest home-grown talent in The Ottawa Show.  Showcasing just how growing up in Ottawa makes you so hilarious, The Ottawa Show features stand-up comedy by Jon Dore, Tom Green, Mike MacDonald, Rebecca Kohler and Jeremy Hotz.

A percentage of the show’s proceeds will go towards “Mike MacDonald’s Comeback Fund”.

Each night of the festival will also feature showcases by nominees in seven of the live performance categories for Sketch, Improv, Stand-Up and Comedic Play/Revue/Series plus the Festival’s first-ever all French-language stand-up show on Saturday October 5th. Notable nominees scheduled to appear include: DeAnne Smith (Best Female Stand- Up); Graham Kay (Best Breakout Artist); Peter Anthony (Best Male Stand-Up); The Sunday Service (Best Improv Troupe), The Second City and The Sketchersons (Best Sketch Troupe)

Showcases will take place at the studio at Centrepointe Theatre plus Canadian Comedy Awards partnered venues Yuk Yuks (292 Elgin St) and Arts Court (2 Daly Ave).

Capping off the four-day festival, star of the hit CTV series Satisfaction Ryan Belleville will host a live awards ceremony on Sunday, October 6th at Centrepointe.

For more information, show schedules and ticket information, visit www.canadiancomedy.ca   

2013 Wings Over Gatineau-Ottawa

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Don’t miss the excitement of the 2013 Wings over Gatineau-Ottawa Air Show September 14  and 15 at the Gatineau Airport on Highway 50, just 15 minutes from downtown Ottawa.

Carol_Pilon_wingwalker_by_Eric_DumiganExperience this thrilling family-oriented aerial circus, featuring aircraft such as the Golden Hawk F-86, Spitfire, Hurricane, P-51 Mustang, Corsair, Lancaster, Yellow Wings biplanes, as well as West Quebec’s world-renowned wing-walking legend, Carol Pilon!

Tickets are $20 for adults. Admission is FREE for children under 12 years of age and veterans of the Second World War and the Korean War. Parking is FREE.

For more information or to buy advance tickets online visit: WingsOverGatineauOttawa.ca

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 CWH_Avro_Lancaster_by_Peter_HandleyCWH_B-25_Mitchell_by_Annette_Koolsbergen

First Annual Red Hat Mall Crawl a Resounding Success

August 29, 2013 11:50 am
2013-08-15 RH games

On August 15th, 80 local ladies of the Red Hat Society strutted their stuff at Ottawa’s first Annual Red Hat Mall Crawl – an event meant to promote awareness of and membership in the Society. Carlingwood Shopping Centre was awash in red hat ladies. Much to the delight of the many seniors who frequent this mall, the Red Hat Ladies enriched their day with color and conversation. The atmosphere was joyful as the mall filled with spirited, fun-loving women promoting the principles of the society – fulfillment, friendship, freedom and fitness.

HPIM4856 check in edThe ladies, in hats of assorted sizes – some with feathers, some sparkling with faux-diamonds, some with veils, some with bows – wandered through the mall taking advantage of special offerings, answering quiz sheets related to mall shops, bringing a smile to the faces of the uninitiated, and happily answering the many questions from seniors and curious onlookers.

The ladies were unmistakeably visible down each and every corridor as they buzzed around the mall like a hive of colorful, busy bees. They could be seen around every corner and inside all of the many stores, doing what they do best: shopping. For this one spectacular day, Carlingwood Shopping Centre became a sea of red and purple, much to the delight of all.

At the end of the day, ladies deposited their quiz sheets and are awaiting the call that they have won any number of wonderful prizes. These include gifts from Hallmark Davis Agency and Unique Accessories; gift cards from Carlingwood Shopping Centre, Loblaw’s, Bentley’s and Quilts etc.; a gift certificate from Salon Ravello; a tea service gift basket from Bowring’s; and, from Red Hat Ambassador Barbara Gowan, a gift basket full of red hat paraphernalia. At the time of writing, it is not known who won what!

2013-08-15 SD & newbies 2Not many outside the Red Hat Society know that the group’s official sport is shopping. During the Mall Crawl, Red Hatters were offered discounts at Bee Sweet, Best Sellers, Bowring’s, Claire’s, Cole’s, Kernels, Northern Reflections, Rinaldo’s, Rexall Pharma Plus, Sears, Charms, Coats Co., Grand and Toy, Hallmark Davis Agency, TanJay, Teavana, Unique Accessories and The Body Shop. Product samples were offered by The Body Shop, Yves Rocher, Laura Secord and the Wine Rack. While many shops contributed to the success of the day by providing enticing window and store displays, discounts and other special offers, Unique Accessories went above and beyond the call of duty by bringing in spectacular red hats, fascinators, shoe bling, parasols and assorted treasures to lure the ladies.

Another little-known fact is that almost every Red Hat event involves food – Hatters were particularly pleased with the discount provided by the Carlingwood Restaurant and by Treats, who made special red and purple cookies for them.

Joyce Monk, of the Purple Chiffon Bloomers of Cornwall, said her group had a wonderful day and hoped that the event would be repeated. Yvonne Gibb, Queen of the Red Hottawan Hatters thought “the games were great fun and all of the shopping deals were spectacular and the networking was a super bonus. It was really nice to be able to put a face to some of the names I have dealt with.” Jill Lepack, Queen of the Renfrew Red Hotters, thought the day was “delightful” and “a really great time.” She and her sister were “excited to have spoken with so many nice people…to dress up in our finery and strut our stuff!”

Sandra Dormer and Barbara Gowan, Ambassadors of the Red Hat Society and the ladies who spear-headed the event, were effusive in their gratitude to Frank Fenn and his staff at Carlingwood Shopping Centre. Sandra said that “without the incredible support and generosity of the people at the shopping centre, we would not have been anywhere near as successful. Carlingwood is like a Mecca to many seniors in our community and we were so pleased to bring a little colour to their day.”

2013-08-15 RH everywhereEven Ottawa’s mayor, Jim Watson, was in on the event. Though not able to attend, he sent special greetings, congratulating the Red Hat Society for “encouraging women fifty plus to celebrate their age and to participate in activities which promote an active lifestyle and spreading good cheer to others.”

While the official purpose of the Mall Crawl was to increase membership in the Society, which it did, there is an unofficial rule within the Red Hat Society: Hatters can only participate in an event if they will have fun at it. This event met both criteria with resounding success; one thing for sure, it put a lot of smiles on many of the seniors’ faces.

For more information on the Society, visit www.redhatsociety.com

 

Ottawa Bicycle Lanes Project: Its Time Has Come

August 19, 2013 10:39 am
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So what would happen to Ottawa if we built safe segregated bicycle lanes through all its main districts? The Ottawa Bicycle Lanes Project aims to find out. This non-profit community-based initiative was formed “around the growing need for a safer cycling infrastructure in Ottawa.” As cities in the United States, Europe and elsewhere in Canada continue to move forward toward building a safer bicycle lane infrastructure, a voice in Ottawa is needed to push for the development of a homegrown safe cycling network, according to the group.

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Visit the Ottawa Bicycle Lanes Project website at http://bikelanes.ca/ It is aimed at encouraging participation, informing the public and organizing the residents of Ottawa to ask city council to move forward to create a more extensive segregated bicycle lane network throughout our city. (Mayor Jim Watson and Ottawa City Council have had some success introducing bike lanes in the downtown along Laurier Avenue West.) This website will host petitions, studies, videos, campaigns and events. The group has launched the first of several videos promoting its cause: http://vimeo.com/72543422

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Take a moment to visit the site and sign the petition on the right side of the page. “We are hoping to get as many signatures from Ottawa residents to support our initiative for building segregated bicycle lanes throughout the city of Ottawa,” says Maayke Schurer, co-founder of the Ottawa Bicycle Lanes Project. “By the end of the year, we will submit the letter and all the signatures to the mayor of Ottawa and city council. Please help us spread this campaign! Post the link on Facebook, Twitter and email your family and friends. We want this to be the end of cyclists being injured and killed on our city streets by motor vehicles by getting the cyclists into their own dedicated lanes. Thank you for your support!”

Ottawa has the benefit of being able to learn from other cities around the world that have already embraced segregated bicycle lanes. The Nation’s Capital can not only gain insight in creating the best solution for its unique situation, but the issues that slow down their implementation can also be addressed.

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TASTE the County

August 15, 2013 10:40 am
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Prince Edward County presents its 12th annual TASTE community grown – a highly anticipated festival that showcases local history, film, music, art and the rich foods and wines from this scenic region.

From September 27-29, Prince Edward County will come alive with the vibrant energy brought on by this purely epicurean experience. TASTE community grown offers the perfect chance for a weekend getaway. All weekend long, vendors and speakers will entertain crowds of visitors. Discover the magic of this enchanting island community. This year, TASTE community grown has been extended from one to three days. With so much to see and do, and a picturesque area to do it in – well, what more could an epicurean ask for?

The opening Friday night features Dinner and a Movie Under the Stars at Camp Picton. The night starts with regional wine or beer and a delicious meal prepared by a well-known regional chef. While enjoying your dinner, you’ll see this World War II sergeants’ mess hall and listen to live music performed by Kristine Schmitt and her Special Powers of swinging honky-tonk, ’30s blues & original tunes. An outdoor screening of the movie Stories We Tell will be sponsored by the Kingston Canadian Film Festival.

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At the Crystal Palace (on Saturday), you can treat yourself to the delicious culinary aspects the region has to offer. A market of chefs, farmers, winemakers, brewers and food producers will be set up while vendors let you experience the best they have to offer. During the day, there is also a pie auction, multiple guest speakers, seminars and a live version of the TV show County Chopped in which comedian Sandy Jobin-Bevans will be the MC. As well, there will be some children’s programming such as bread-making and home-made pizza presented by The Hub Child and Family Centre and Slow Food The County.

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The day will not be devoid of song as River City Junction, Mark Taylor and Linzy McMurter will be on hand to perform live sets of their music while music becomes the main event in the evening with the Back 40 Bash – featuring some of Canada’s top new country music artists. On the back grounds of the Crystal Palace, Lindsay Broughton and the duo Autumn Hill will start the show at 7pm. The headline band is Juno-nominated band High Valley and everyone will remain well fed by the gourmet food trucks on site.

Sunday is the Kiwanis Colour Cribbage Ride, a bike ride through the back roads of the community. With various refreshment stations and check points, this ride shows off the goings-on in the community and is a pleasant and relaxing way to finish off an eventful weekend.

TASTE community grown is listed in the Top 100 Events by Festivals & Events Ontario. With its recent expansion, TASTE community grown proves that these last 12 years have been a raging success in bringing together a community so abundant in food, wine and history.

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COME AND JOIN THE PARTY! Help Sunshine Kids Realize Their Dreams

August 14, 2013 11:30 am
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The Masquerade Ball,  Saturday 26th October, 6.30pm. Tickets  on Sale now!!

We Are “Dream-Makers”

Since 1987, Sunshine has been trusted by families and healthcare providers to make dreams come true for 7,000 kids across Canada .

The Sunshine Foundation is the only national Canadian charity to provide individual dreams to children with severe physical disabilities (such as spina bifida or cerebral palsy) as well as life-threatening illnesses. In fact, 80% of Sunshine Kids are challenged by a severe physical disability.

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Sunshine is the legacy of a father’s love for his son. After losing his teenage son to muscular dystrophy, a London, Ontario, police officer created The Sunshine Foundation of Canada to brighten the lives of other children and families by fulfilling their most cherished dreams – from meeting a sports hero to seeing a foreign country, or having a special gift like an adaptive bicycle.

Sunshine was the first organization to bring DreamLifts to Canadian children. Sunshine’s one-day, whirlwind DreamLift adventures transport 80 children by plane to an exciting destination such as a Disney theme park.

As a national charitable organization, Sunshine is powered by volunteer chapters across the country and governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The small staff team of Dream-Makers operates out of London , Ont. – where Sunshine was founded in 1987.

This year’s Ball is being held at Ashbury College on Saturday, October 26th, 6.30 ‘til late. ZOLAS  is back this year catering the event and offering a sumptuous dinner selection. http://www.zolas.ca/.   Also returning are the Showtime Party Band, considered the best dancing band in Ottawa with 10 singers/musicians making up this great group. You will never forget the exceptional music and energy  from this party. http://www.showtimepartyband.com/. There will also be great silent and live auction prizes.

 We hope you can join us and help us make DREAMS come true for severely disabled “Sunshine Kids” !!

 Rita Benefield

The President, National Capital Chapter, The Sunshine Foundation

Sunshinefoundationottawa@gmail.com

Tickets are also available at www.sunshine.ca/events

 

The Muslim Summer Festival

August 9, 2013 10:53 am
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On Saturday, August 10 the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) is hosting the Muslim Summer Festival, a city-wide festival dedicated to this diverse community that makes up more than 60,000 residents of Ottawa. Representing more than 20 different countries and celebrating all cultural and religious backgrounds the theme is “The World in One City”.

The Festival’s booths will be set up in Britannia Park from 11am until 7pm displaying country cultural exhibits, ethnic food stations, kids’ games and even more shows and entertainment. Last year more than 10 000 people were in attendance and this shows promise for an even bigger turnout.

For more information about the Muslim Summer Festival please visit: http://www.muslimsummerfestival.com/ or http://www.muslimsummerfestival.com/docs/MSF_PRESS_RELEASE.pdf

Calling all Ottawans of Welsh descent and everyone interested in Welsh culture

August 6, 2013 10:52 am
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This is your chance to hear a top-class Welsh male voice choir!

The renowned, prize-winning Pontarddulais Welsh Male Voice Choir, from Pontarddulais, South Wales, will conclude its Canadian tour with a one-night concert in Ottawa, Friday, September 6, at 7.30 p.m. The performance will be held at City View United Church, 6 Epworth Avenue (off Merivale Road). Tickets are $20 and available from CD Warehouse locations at 449 Terry Fox Drive, 1383 Clyde Avenue and 1717 St Laurent Blvd.; The Leading  Note, 370 Elgin Street; and Granata, 1558 Merivale Road.

The most successful competitive male voice choir in Wales, the Pontarddulais Male Choir – http://www.pontarddulaismalechoir.com/ – is also internationally renowned, having appeared in many parts of Europe, Canada and the United States.

For more information, contact Myfanwy Davies at  myfanwy57@sympatico.ca , 613.526.3019 or John Price at john.price@sympatico.ca, 613.724.3846.

Sens Shuffle To Benefit Local Children and Youth

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Ottawa Senators mascot Spartacat and a child from one of the Sens Foundation's Learn to Skate Days.

 The 2013 ITU (International Triathlon Union) Duathlon World Championships has partnered with Ottawa Tourism and TrojanOne Ltd. to present the Sens Shuffle, a 5-km charity run in support of the Sens Foundation. The event will be held on Saturday, August 10, as part of the race weekend taking place in Ottawa from August 8 to 10.

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Qualified athletes from 40 countries are set to gather in Ottawa to participate in the ITU Duathlon World Championships.

Open to the general public, $6 of the $55 race entry will support the Sens Foundation, whose aim is to raise funds in communities throughout eastern Ontario and western Quebec. Monies raised will focus on providing social recreation and education programs and facilities that promote physical and mental wellness. In addition, racers are encouraged to collect pledges of which 100% of the donation will go to the Sens Foundation. The course starts in front of the Canadian War Museum and heads west along the Ottawa River into a loop on the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway. Interested participants are urged to register before August 7.

Walk Roll and Run Press conference

Ottawa Senator Chris Neil and his wife Caitlin work with the Sens Foundation to support a family at Roger’s House.

“We’re extremely pleased to be the supported charity of the ITU Duathlon World Championships,” said Danielle Robinson, President, Sens Foundation. “With the Sens Shuffle, we hope to raise awareness and funds for the more than one in five children in our community who live in poverty and lack access to social recreation and educational programs and facilities.”

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Visit www.ottawaduathlon.com for more information.

 

Kids from the Sens @ School program supported by the Sens Foundation.

Kids from the Sens @ School program supported by the Sens Foundation.

 

Have a fun outdoor Odyssey with George Bernard Shaw’s ARMS AND THE MAN

August 2, 2013 4:57 pm
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One of the fantastic things about summer in Ottawa is outdoor theatre and one of the best places to get it is in Strathcona Park at an Odyssey Theatre production. Odyssey has been around since 1986 and – every summer – has entertained audiences with a great comedy.  What distinguishes Odyssey as an outdoor theatre company is its use of Commedia dell’ arte, an ancient form of theatre that includes the use of masks.  In fact, with its use of masks, Odyssey is unique in the city.

The production on the Odyssey stage this summer is Arms and the Man, George Bernard Shaw’s comedic take on military heroics and the insanity of war. The setting is the Serbo-Bulgarian war in the 1880s as a soldier flees battle. Little does he realize when he takes refuge, he has done so in the bedroom of a well-positioned Bulgarian socialite woman whose father is one of the leaders of his enemy’s army.  The soldier, the Chocolate Cream Soldier for his preference to have chocolate in his pocket instead of ammunition, connects with the socialite daughter who, despite the warnings that an enemy is on the loose, protects him and allows him to escape unharmed.

Her father and vacuous fiancés return from battle, bragging about heroic efforts but in the end, things are not as they seem and the fiancé is revealed to be a buffoon. The Chocolate Cream Soldier who returns to thank the socialite, who at first appears to be the coward, becomes the one who demonstrates courage and is the real hero.  Then there are the women and their hidden lives and behaviors, from the socialite daughter to her clever servant. All their lives and antics become intertwined and Shaw pokes fun at it all, in his ingeniously humorous and yet empathetic way.

One of the great features of outdoor theatre is the direct eye contact between audience and actors. It creates a dynamic you just don’t get in a darkened theatre. It is far more nerve-wracking or intimidating for the actors as they can see the reactions of those in front of them, but it creates a certain magic and makes the experience more intimate.

As for the acting, all of the actors are fabulous.  Every one delivers a fantastic performance. The costumes add to the ambience and in an interesting twist, it is only the older characters (the mother, the father and their older servant) who don masks.  The younger characters have decorative face make up but it all works well and gels together.  In fact the whole show is fantastic.  Be sure to head to Strathcona to catch this one.  It runs until August 25th. For more information, visit www.odysseytheatre.ca

Frederic Dekkal: Tokyo Encounters. A photographic exhibition at the Centrepointe Theatre Gallery, July 30 – Aug. 21, 2013

July 23, 2013 12:31 pm
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By Hank Reardon.

Frederic Dekkal, an award-winning French photographer, will present his latest work Tokyo Encounters, a series of 25 photographs shot in the streets of Tokyo, at the Centrepointe Theatre Gallery from July 30 to August 21, 2013.

Tokyo Encounters strives to show a more authentic Tokyo, focused on the general atmosphere in the streets, rather than landmarks or a specific situation. Like haiku poetry, it is about a visual sensation. The graphic nature and colour of the images is reminiscent of the Japanese aesthetic sense, paradoxically searching for perfection in a chaotic world. Dekkal’s framing of the images reinforces this sense of perfection, erasing imperfections from view. Beyond a simple homage to the city, the visual repetition in the images – like the symbols on the ground – brings a certain universality to the photographs: wandering, the search for bearings, urban solitude.

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Tokyo is just a backdrop. Identities are blurred, going in multiple directions.

An editorial and commercial photographer, Dekkal began his career as a freelance photojournalist in Paris. Trained in lighting at the Verdier Centre in Paris in 2006, he then worked at the Lagardère Press studio (for ELLE, ELLE Déco, ELLE à Table, Paris Match…) where he specialized in still life and food photography.

Now based in Ottawa, Dekkal divides his time between commercial studio assignments, corporate events coverage and personal work. He is the author of various photographic art projects exhibited in France (Mouvements de Passage, 2009; The 4 Elements, 2007), Canada  (A Day in Shibuya, 2005; Montreal, 2005) and Japan (Faces of Japan Through Foreigners’ Eyes, 2004).

“Colour, often highly saturated, plays an active role in my compositions,” Dekkal says. “It brings a visual and symbolic contrast to the themes depicted in my work, such as solitude, a spiritual quest, disorientation, passages, still versus motion.”

For more information and past exhibitions/projects, visit www.fdekkalphoto.com

Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants…first time in Canada! Amazing photo exhibition from the Smithsonian about ants comes to the Canadian Museum of Nature

July 22, 2013 11:17 am
Mark W. Moffett/Minden Pictures

 Ants are everywhere. Though small in size, they form complex societies and dominate their ecosystems as much as humans do. Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants—an exhibition of 39 large-scale photos by award-winning photographer Mark W. Moffetopens on July 26, 2013 at the Canadian Museum of Nature. This travelling exhibition is organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.

“We’re excited to be the first Canadian venue for this special exhibition from the Smithsonian,” says Meg Beckel, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature. “These amazing images provide unique insights into a part of the natural world that is mostly hidden from view.”

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Mark W. Moffett/Minden Pictures

Moffett, a true adventurer who has travelled the world photographing ants, has been called the “Indiana Jones of Entomology” by the National Geographic Society. His superb images, shot with a macro lens, show his tiny subjects hunting, communicating, dealing with disease and managing agriculture.

“What fascinated me most in preparing this exhibit is that modern humans can be much more like ants than we are like our relatives, the chimpanzees,” said Moffett. “With our societies of millions, only ants and humans deal with issues of public health and environmental safety, roadways and traffic control, assembly lines and teamwork, market economics and voting, slavery and mass warfare.”

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Mark W. Moffett/Minden Pictures

As a special highlight, the show will include live colonies of harvester ants and honey pot ants, which will be added to the Museum’s permanent Animalium exhibition following the closing of Ants. Visitors will also see a three-dimensional aluminum cast of an ant nest and touchable oversized ant models. The model of a leaf-cutter worker ant has been blown up to 50 times its actual size to show how it uses its body to work and survive in the colony.

Worker ants

Mark W. Moffett/Minden Pictures

Moffett has written several books and more than 25 articles for National Geographic Magazine, which has featured nearly 500 of his images. He received a doctorate from acclaimed conservationist Edward O. Wilson at Harvard University, as well as numerous awards over the years.

Farmers, Warriors, Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants complements the Museum’s summer programming theme on live animals, and is included in the general admission fee. The Canadian Museum of Nature is located at 240 McLeod Street in Ottawa. Follow the Museum on Twitter (@museumofnature). Like us on Facebook. The museum’s website is at www.nature.ca

A weaver ant on patrol

Photo Mark W. Moffett ©National Geographic Magazine.

Be the Change Challenge Rallies Ottawa Women to Improve Mind, Body and Soul

July 19, 2013 1:42 pm
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By: Kimberly Lochhead

Thirty days doesn’t seem like enough time to drastically overhaul one’s life, improve overall health, emotionally detox and help educate women in Nepal—but Megan Campbell, founder of Journey of the Yogini (JOY) is making all of that possible. And she’s helping others do it without going to a gym, attending therapy sessions or flying to Nepal. All it requires is the participation of women in the National Capital.

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JOY’s Be the Change Challenge (BCC) is a 30-day program in September aiming to improve your life—body, mind and soul with the help of five health and wellness coaches. Participants receive daily inspirational emails outlining options and tips for the day and can access a series of yoga videos, prayers, podcasts on green living, nutrition tips, recipes and webinars offering advice. For the soul portion of the challenge, participants are asked to fundraise for IWEN –Canada’s Women’s Innovation Center, a charity providing educational scholarships for women in rural Nepal.

“I met these women when I traveled to Nepal in March,” explained Campbell. “They have an incredible business selling Unako scarves and our fundraising efforts will allow them to move their production from a 200 sq. ft. room to an actual building where they can employ more women. The goal is to provide education and help them eventually run the business entirely on their own.”

This year JOY hopes to raise $20,000 through BCC. Since 2011, the program has changed the lives of hundreds of women in Ottawa and worldwide. The first BCC raised over $2,300 for Plan Canada’s Because I am a Girl while the second raised over $2,300. In 2012, BCC raised almost $11,000 for Off the Mat, Into the World’s Seva India, which supports female survivors of sex trafficking. Prizes for the most funds raised are also being given, including jewelry and one-on-one mentoring and acupuncture sessions.

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This year, BCC has added a speakers’ series of women experts in health, nutrition and mental wellness from across Canada. Offering seven days of tips, videos and advice during the program, they specialize in holistic health, eco-friendly living, yoga anatomy and emotional detox.

“The program allows women to exercise and make small changes through the month at their own leisure,” said Campbell. “We lead busy lives and don’t often have time for ourselves, let alone to attend a gym, so I’ve tailored BCC for women to stay motivated and feel results.”

Aside from online interaction, BCC hosts a member’s forum for participants to connect with each other and question coaches.

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“The mandate is affordable, effective and sustainable,” Campbell notes. “Even 10 minutes counts—we have all the tools and resources to help achieve your goals.”

BCC also has a Karma Crew, where women-run health and wellness businesses offer discounts to participants through September to help them reach and maintain their goals.

The program runs from September 1-30. Registration for the BCC closes August 29. For more information, visit www.bethechangechallenge.webs.com

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