Bluesfest Beats

July 6, 2015 2:24 pm
FUN. Steve G

Photo courtesy of Steve G

The countdown to RBC Ottawa Bluesfest is on. As the weeks leading up to the festival go by, OLM will continue to highlight must-see performances by some of the acts that you may have not yet discovered – so Ottawa music lovers listen up! An exciting variety of bands and artists will rock the festival this year. Check out a few right now:

Pony Girl

Pony_Girl[1] (2)Bluesfest audiences who attend Pony Girl’s performance will get the chance to hear brand new songs from their upcoming fall release! This Ottawa based art rock group creates a unique and beautiful ambience using a variety of different instruments including guitar, piano, organ and clarinet. “The music and the band are quite dynamic in terms of volume and vibe,” says bass guitarist Greggory Clark. “One piece can cover both ends of your mellow/wild spectrum and lots in between.”
July 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Barney Danson Theatre

The Visit

The_Visit[1] (2)The Visit is like nothing else you’ll see at Bluesfest. Dynamic cello player Raphael Weinroth-Browne accompanies ethereal vocalist Heather Sita Black and together they make haunting transcendent music. They’re inspired by traditional Middle Eastern music as well as Western classical compositions and this combination of styles makes for a truly unforgettable listening experience. Festival goers seeking out the strange and daring need look no further.
July 12 at 3:30 p.m.
Barney Danson Theatre

Al Wood and the Woodsmen

Al_Wood_and_the_Woodsmen[1] (2)These Ottawa blues artists champion a classic blues sound and bring a high energy to their stage performances. “Our audience will experience a diverse array of grooves and themes,” says Al Wood. “High octane harmonica driven double barrel blues designed to make you do a little bit of thinking and a lot of dancing.” Wood himself has represented the Ottawa Blues Society twice at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. He says he hopes to incorporate the whole audience into his bands Bluesfest performance. “People like to be dealt in when they are entertained and that’s basically our simple iron rule of performance.”
July 11 at 5 p.m.
Monster Stage

Tribal Seeds

TribalSeeds01Get your groove on at this performance! An energetic reggae act from San Diego California, Bluesfest is just a stop in their “2015 Summer Smoke Out Tour.” Formed in 2005 this band has been perfecting their style for ten years. Their rock infused reggae has kept them at the top of the Billboard Reggae charts and garnered them critical acclaim–in 2008 they won the “Best of World Music,” at the San Diego Music Awards. Spiritual, freeing and joyful music awaits Bluesfest reggae lovers.
July 12 at 4:30 p.m.
Canadian Stage


Lowell_Approved Press Photo_lowellbynormanwongOn the lookout for some empowering psychedelic dream-pop? Calgary artist Lowell’s released her debut album We Loved Her Dearly earlier this year. Her work is a mix of sweet pop melodies and rebellious riot grrrl infused anthems. A passionate advocate for individuality and personal expression, Lowell’s convention-challenging ideas about gender and sexuality come through in her music. Her unique style and passion are a must see.
July 17 at 8:15 p.m.
Canadian Stage

The RBC Ottawa Bluesfest 2015 line-up is full of talent! Don’t miss a single band on your ‘must-see’ list. Buy your tickets here!

Bluesfest Beats

July 3, 2015 10:14 am
Moonset on the site_Steve G

Photo courtesy of Steve G

The countdown to RBC Ottawa Bluesfest is on. As the weeks leading up to the festival go by, OLM will continue to highlight must-see performances by some of the acts that you may have not yet discovered–so Ottawa music lovers listen up! An exciting variety of bands and artists will rock the festival this year. Check out a few right now:

Skylar_Spence[1] (2)Skylar Spence

Skylar Spence is the stage name of disco pop extraordinaire music producer Ryan DeRobertis. DeRobertis has a distinctive vibe–it’s been called a number of things from “vapourwave” to “liquid disco”–but whatever you call it it’s the perfect music to groove to on a summer night.
July 11 at 8 p.m.
Monster Stage

The Reverb Syndicate

The_Reverb_Syndicate[1] (2)“The Reverb Syndicate experience is all about fun. It’s an accessible sound that can tell a story but also loosens your hips on the dance floor,” says band member Jeff Welch.

The Ottawa based guitar ensemble creates “surf spi-fi sounds to accompany 60’s spy films that don’t exist.” They released their fourth album “Odyssey” in April. Inspired by instrumental rock bands like the Ventures, this band brings instrumental music to the stage that evokes mystery and adventure. “Don’t let the lack of singing throw,” says Welch. “Come discover a music you’ve always known but didn’t realize you loved.”
July 11 at 3:15 p.m.
Canadian Stage 

Hat Fitz and Cara

hfc4Hat Fitz and Cara are bringing the blues from down under. This duo will bring audiences to their feet with driving blues and soul and passionate vocals. Hat Fitz is a veteran blues guitarist and singer from Australia while Cara Robinson rounds out the act with her Irish folk roots. As well as being a powerful singer Robinson adds drums, washboard and flute to the duo’s songs. Join them for an evening of rollicking folksy fun.
July 12 at 6:30 p.m.
Monster Stage

Jungle By Night

JungleByNight_2Jungle by Night produces jazzy classical Afrobeats inspired by the funk sounds of Nigerian and Ghanian artists. This nine- piece band from Amsterdam is a must see for jazz lovers. Their newest album El Miraglo also has Columbian influences, broadening the band’s sound and multicultural flair. They’ve played all over Europe, even performing in Paris with the “father of Ethiojazz” Mulatu Astake and now they’re bringing that same groovy vibe to the Bluesfest stage.
July 10 at 8 p.m.
Canadian Stage

Willie Nile

wl2A veteran performer who has shared the stage with legends like Bruce Springsteen and the Who, Willie Nile is a distinct performer in his own right. He’s garnered praise from publications such as Rolling Stone for his He plays a laid back contemplative style of folksy Americana that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
July 12 at 8 p.m.
Monster Stage

The RBC Ottawa Bluesfest 2015 line-up is full of talent! Don’t miss a single band on your ‘must-see’ list. Buy your tickets here!

A Company of Fools Coming to a Park Near You

July 2, 2015 2:00 pm
Company of Fools - Comedy of Errors

Photo credit: Justin Van Leeuwen at JVL Photography

Come one, come all! A Company of Fools, Ottawa’s original professional Shakespeare company, is bringing The Comedy of Errors to parks all over the city and you’re invited!

The production is a celebration of the Fools’ 25th anniversary. This particular play has special meaning for the theatre company. The Comedy of Errors was its inaugural piece—its first full-length production! Twenty-five years later, the company is bringing it back.

Part of the Torchlight Shakespeare series, this summer’s play is a must-see performance for local theatre-lovers.

This show is sure to make you laugh! One of Shakespeare’s earlier plays, the plot is packed with humour, slapstick and wordplay. It’s a tale of mistaken identity. Two sets of identical twins are accidently separated at birth and later brought to the same town. Antipholus of Syracuse and his servant, Dromio of Syracuse, arrive in Ephesus, the hometown of their twin brothers, Antipholus of Ephesus and his servant, Dromio of Ephesus. Confusion and hilarity ensues when the Syracusans meet the friends and relatives of their twins. It raises the questions: how well do you know your friend? Your spouse? Yourself?

This version, directed by Catriona Leger, involves a talented cast of characters, including Warren Bain, AL Connors, Scott Florence, Gabrielle Lazarovitz, Geoff McBride and Katie Ryerson, with costume design by Vanessa Imeson and set design by David Benedict Brown.

The show opens at 7 p.m. on July 2—to be declared ‘a Company of Fools day’ in Ottawa by Mayor Watson. The show will run in a different Ottawa park every night from July 2 to August 15, 2015. Is there a better way to spend a summer evening than outdoors, enjoying a show with friends and family? Bring a lawn chair or blanket and prepare to be entertained!

Tickets are ‘pass-the-hat’ or ‘pay what you can’ with a suggested donation of $15 per person.

For more information, visit

Splash into Summer!

June 29, 2015 2:43 pm

Jump in the pool this summer for some fun, family-friendly exercise!

Swimming is a great sport everyone can enjoy, regardless of age or ability. It is a cost-effective activity that almost always provides a good time—plus, it’s good for you!

IMG_0704The health benefits of swimming include building immunity against disease, strengthening the heart, increased muscle memory, heightened circulation and decreased chances of obesity. Water play also supports 90 per cent of the body’s weight; providing a safer form of exercise for individuals with physical injuries or disabilities.

The City of Ottawa’s objectives support accessibility for heart healthy and health-oriented initiatives. Serving residents from east to west, municipal leisure programs offer a convenient range of scheduling for both indoor and outdoor swimming pool locations.

Below is a list of where you can get your splash on:

Ottawa East indoor splash pad locations include Bob MacQuarrie, Brewer, Canterbury, Champagne, Lowertown, Ray Friel, St. Laurent, Sawmill Creek and the Wave pool on Ogilvie Road.

Indoor Ottawa West splash pad locations include Dovercourt, Goulbourn, Jack Purcell, Minto recreation, Walter Baker Sports Centre, Nepean Sportsplex, Pinecrest, Plant Recreation Centre, Richcraft Recreation Centre and the Kanata Wave Pool.

Ottawa East outdoor swimming activities can be found at Bearbrook on Innes and Genest on Ste-Cecile.

Outdoor Ottawa West swimming aIMG_0707ctivities can be found at Beaverbrook, Corkstown, Crestview, Entrance, General Burns, Glen Cairn and Katimavik in Kanata.

Make sure to check out the City of Ottawa’s public swim schedule to find a time and place for you!

Municipally funded leisure water sports consist of youth and adult-only lap swimming, daily family swim for adults and children, casual public all-age swim, wave activated swim, aged 5 and under playtime preschool swim, women only family swim (boys under age 6), 50+ adult lap swim, aged 50+ vitality social exercise swim and the teen swim for youth aged 13-19.

Subject to swim type and participant age, admission prices range from $1.90—$7.75 per person. Swimming admission is free of charge for residents with long-term disabilities. Memberships are also available for all City of Ottawa public swimming pool locations.

If you are looking for a fun-filled, health oriented physical activity…Jump in!

Celebrate Canada Day Early at Nature Nocturne!

12:10 pm

Photo credit: Martin Lipman © Canadian Museum of Nature

Canada Day in the Capital is one of the most iconic events of the year! People come from all over to celebrate our nation’s birthday. But what about the night before? The Canadian Museum of Nature is throwing a Canada Day bash on June 30, so you can start the partying a little early!

Put on your best red and white attire and head to the Canadian Museum of Nature’s pre-Canada Day Nature Nocturne celebration.

If you were lucky enough to grab a ticket to this sold-out event, you can party like an animal with the animals! Make sure to check out the Animal Inside Out exhibit and the other galleries while you are there. And don’t forget your dancing shoes! You can party all night long with music from DJ Rise Ashen and DJ TDot.

It’s everything you love about Nature Nocturne—dancing, music, drinks, food, fun—but with a special Canadian twist.

“The theme centres around the maple leaf,” says Cynthia Iburg, event coordinator. “This year is the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag. We have a display on maples, an interactive “Maple Bouquet” craft where you write a word that inspires you about our nation on a little Canadian flag and it’s secured into a base of special Maple Leaf Forever tree wood. And, of course, we’re encouraging everyone to dress in red and white for the occasion.”

The fun starts at 8 p.m. and goes until midnight!

Just because tickets are sold-out doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the festivities! General admission to the museum is free on July 1, so you can bring the whole family for some Canada Day fun.


Cirque du Soleil Lands in the Capital

June 25, 2015 2:12 pm

Cirque du Soleil descends from the sky for seven shows in the capital, and we guarantee it will not disappoint.

Landing at the Canadian Tire Centre from July 2– 5, Cirque du Soleil presents its breathtaking performance of Varekai.

Varekai is set in an enchanted forest where a plethora of mystical characters emerge and entertain. The story of Varekai begins with a young man, Icarus, falling from the sky. He is parachuted into the shadows of a magical forest where he is met with fantastical creatures that guide him throughout his extraordinary adventures.

Written and directed by the renowned Dominic Champagne, this production pays tribute to the spirit and art of the circus tradition. Woven with hints of humour, Varekai demonstrates the power of storytelling through movement. The high-flying tricks of the characters not only provoke amazement, they further the plotline and intensify the overall experience.

Created by a team of astonishingly creative minds that are experts in their craft, Varekai brings a level of entertainment only Cirque du Soleil can. As intricate details from set design, choreography, costume and music come together, audience members are transported to a mesmerizing land for a night they won’t soon forget.

The truly unbelievable company of performers that bring Varekai to life exceed all expectations. With physicality that seems beyond human capability, their raw talent and practiced skills awe-inspire and captivate audiences from start to finish.

Cirque du Soleil, the sensational international success, began with a small theatre troupe in Quebec. The young entertainers, among whom was Cirque du Soleil-founder Guy Laliberté, walked on stilts, juggled, danced, breathed fire and played music. During Quebec’s 450th anniversary celebration of Jacques Cartier’s discovery of Canada in 1984, the province sought an event to bring the festivities to all Quebecers. Guy Laliberté convinced the organizers that the answer was a provincial tour of Cirque du Soleil, and the rest is history!

Recognized worldwide for its high-quality entertainment, Cirque du Soleil has sought to spark the imagination, senses and emotions of audiences across the globe through its uniquely breathtaking shows that exemplify the art of performance. Creativity lies at the heart of Cirque du Soleil’s success. With a deep respect for the work of all artists, Cirque du Soleil offers its expert creators the freedom to collaboratively bring their wildest dreams to life.

Varekai is certainly no exception.

Expect to be whisked away into an evening of unequivocal entertainment that will enchant like pure magic.

Show Schedule:

Thursday, July 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 3 at 4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 4 at 4:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 5 at 1:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

Click here for complete show and ticket information.

Enjoy the show!

Southway Hotel Plans Luxurious Transformation

June 22, 2015 2:15 pm
Southway Hotel 2013.jpg Larger Photo

In 1958, Peter and Theresia Zlepnig immigrated to Canada and built a simple seven unit motel next to their home. Two generations later, the guest-focused institution has stayed in the family and has big plans in the works.

1967 - Centennial Year - Southway Inn - 23 Rooms

The Southway in 1967

Just a few years after the opening, the Zlepnig’s son, Bill, and his wife Louisa, took over the family business. Being the first and only local airport motel, the property served as a valuable asset to the community. After adding 170 guestrooms, the Shallows Grill, fitness facilities and a meeting space, the motel transformed into a bustling hotel.

A generation later, the business continues to run in the family and the new owners, Fred and Stephen, Bill and Louisa’s sons, have made big plans to carefully curate the Southway Hotel into a state of the art retirement home. The $6 million project will convert the building into a full service retirement residence by January 2016.

Seniors and their families can expect the same level of quality treatment that has earned the Southway the status it has today: The soon to be Waterford Retirement Residence will be all about luxury living.

Despite the many occurring changes, the Zlepnig’s wanted to keep around their most valuable traditions. Known for showing off their holiday spirit, the Southway will continue its annual display of 100,000 colourful bulb decorations around Christmas time.

The Waterford will be crawling with luxurious amenities, features and services, like an indoor pool, 24-hour on-site staff and an array of fitness and wellness centres, like an HD cinema with exercise program demonstrations and a therapeutic spa.

For nearly 60 years, the Zlepnig’s hotel has maintained its reputation for great food and a cozy, homely atmosphere–an experience that will no doubt be passed on to the Waterford’s high standards of Ottawa’s finest senior living.

Try Orange Grove’s 14-Day Skin Care Challenge

June 17, 2015 2:24 pm

Are you in need of a spa day but don’t have time to make the trip? Orange Grove is bringing the spa to you with two weeks of easy tips and tricks! You’ll learn about everything from beauty to building flexibility with this online event.

Starting on June 22, Orange Grove’s 14-day skin care challenge will IMG_0685bring you experts in the fields of skin care, nutrition, exercise, massage and makeup with DIY simple, fun and easy information, activities and videos to give you radiant skin.

“The journey to healthy, glowing skin is what we put on the end of our fork, and enhanced by what we put on the tips of our fingers!”

You can follow along or just watch and learn. Either way, it’s a great way treat your skin over the summer months.

It’s the perfect time to work on that healthy, summer glow!

Click here to check out the group on Facebook.

To learn more about the Orange Grove spa, click here.

Glowfair 2015: Transforming Bank Street into a Radiant Wonderland

June 15, 2015 2:04 pm

The Bank Street BIA is transforming downtown Ottawa into a technicolour dreamscape for two whimsical days of music, performances, art and activities.

From June 19 to 20, Glowfair Festival 2015 will immerse Bank Street in a sea of neon light.

Electropop singer and three-time Juno winner, Kiesza, will be headlining the festival on the Main Stage on June 20.

Take a listen to her hit single, ‘Hideaway’, here.

EZCpinXboSMDwpBspc6E7Lslp0bBd1ZtGRPxuNY46OU“We are thrilled to have Kiesza in Ottawa, fresh from what has been an amazing year for her. She is the headliner, but by no means the only aspect to the festival. Glowfair 2015 will be a feast for the senses in every way possible,” says Christine Leadman, Bank Street BIA executive director.

Other must-see performances include The New Deal, Blonde Redhead, Lowell and The Peptides.

This year’s festival promises to be even bigger and better than its 2014 inaugural event.

“Last year, we introduced Glowfair to Ottawa. We’re taking the event and making it high entertainment, while making it something everyone can come to,” says Kevin Martin, Glowfair producer.

The Glowfair Festival committee asked themselves: “Can we get more lights, more décor, more everything into the 2015 festival?” The answer: Yes!

The 2015 event will throw neon trees, yoga and body paint into the mix. Each block from Slater to James Streets will take you on a journey from the Moroccan bazaar to the circus to the enchanted forest. If you’re looking for some family fun, stop by the Kids’ Zone between Lisgar and Cooper Streets for puppet making, face painting and more!

This festival will be unlike any other in Ottawa—a luminescent landscape that brings the community together. Bank Street’s restaurants, bars, merchants and community members are all a part of this two-day event.

z72ELmmE5VEKuwoxn2tw6ei5hE80zHff8msznaViM5A“BIAs are all community-based and main streets have always been their strength,” says Christine Leadman, Bank Street BIA executive director. “We want to make [it] about community while returning Bank Street to its stature as Ottawa’s oldest and most traditional main street, so this year we’re adding a strong tourism component in attracting visitors from outside of the city.”

Glowfair Festival street activities will run from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday, June 19, and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, June 20.

Click here for more information.

Don’t Miss Craig Cardiff this Summer

June 12, 2015 1:55 pm
Craig Cardiff

Craig Cardiff is coming back to Ottawa this summer!

The Canadian, Juno nominated, singer-songwriter from Arnprior, Ont., known for his steady and smooth folk rhythms, is hitting the Ottawa festival circuit with performances on June 13 at Westfest and June 28 at the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival.

Don’t miss your chance to see the artist who brought you Floods and writing on face - love is louder - craig cardiffFires and Love is Louder (Than All This Noise). It is sure to be a captivating show!

His music is rich and diverse—with songs for the sing-a-long lovers and the more mellow listeners. There is something for everyone in the audience.

Stop by Westfest this Saturday at 7:45 p.m. to catch Cardiff’s performance. Other talented Canadian acts in the line up include Sarah Harmer, Lynn Miles & Friends and the Acorn, to name a few. This outdoor, three-day celebration of Canadian art and culture in Westboro Village is going to be a blast.

Can’t make it to Westfest this year, but still want to see Cardiff perform? No problem! Cardiff is coming back for another fantastic performance just two weeks later at the Tim Hortons Dragon Boat Festival, another amazing event filled with entertainment and activities for all ages. This is a FREE four-day celebration with access to live performances, delicious food vendors, a children’s area and, of course, dragon boat racing! Make sure you catch Cardiff’s performance at 5 p.m. on June 28. Other live performances include Yukon Blonde and Hey Rosetta!

Click here for more information on Westfest and click here to find out more about the Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival.

To learn more about Craig Cardiff, click here.

Debra Komar Turns Back Clock to Uncover One of Canada’s Notorious Murder Mysteries

June 10, 2015 11:10 am
cover pic

How far would you go to crack one of Canada’s greatest mysteries?

Centering in on a mystery that dating back over 170 years ago, internationally renowned forensic anthropologist, Debra Komar, breaks down the murder of John McLoughlin Jr., chief trader for The Hudson’s Bay Company, in her latest novel The Bastard of Fort Stikine: The Hudson’s Bay Company and the Murder of John McLoughlin, Jr..

In 1842, The Hudson’s Bay Company was just a fur trading business and the murder of one of the company’s most relevant members was concealed. With no record of an autopsy, police investigation or court case, Komar uses modern forensic research like ballistics, a virtual autopsy and crime scene reconstruction to re-investigate a Canadian mystery in her third historic crime novel.

“History buffs and armchair detectives are sure to enjoy this absorbing time-machine tale of murder, mayhem, intrigue, and justice denied,” says David A. Gibb, author of Camouflaged Killer: The Shocking Double Life of Colonel Russell Williams.

As an expert in forensics science, Komar has investigated human rights violations around the world, is a fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and has testified as an expert witness in The Hague and across North America.

Uncover the truth of this riveting tale about Canadian history, a devastating misruling and murder, in this hooking summer read.

Want to know more about how Komar unravelled the mystery of The Hudson’s Bay Company and the McLoughlin murder? Join her this June as she travels across Canada to present, “Murder at Fort Stikine: Solving a Centuries-Old Crime in the Hudson’s Bay Company.” See event dates below.

Halifax Central Library
Thursday, June 18, 7:00 pm
5440 Spring Garden Road, Halifax, NS

Ottawa Public Library
Wednesday, June 24, 7:00 pm
120 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa, ON

Prince George Public Library
Thursday, June 25, 7:00 pm
888 Canada Games Way, Prince George, BC

Terrace Public Library
Friday, June 26, 7:00 pm
4610 Park Avenue, Terrace, BC

Prince Rupert Library
Saturday, June 27
101 6th Avenue West, Prince Rupert, BC

Vancouver Public Library
Sunday, June 28
Central Library, Alice Mackay Room, Lower Level
350 West Georgia Street, Vancouver BC BC

McNally Robinson, Winnipeg
Monday June 29, 7:00 pm
Grant Park in the Travel Alcove, Winnipeg, MB

Margaret Chwialkowska Illustrates Reflection in Annex Gallery Exhibit

June 6, 2015 10:00 am
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All photos by David Barbour 

Ottawa-based artist Margaret Chwialkowska’s solo exhibition, “The Illusion of Reality,” brings a marvelous must-see energy to the Ottawa Art Gallery’s Annex Gallery at Ottawa City Hall.

In this collection, Chwialkowska delves into the theme of reflection. Her
work explores the evolving natural landscapes and the mind of the artist, allowing Chwialkowska to self-reflect on her relationship with nature, her work and her life.

Drawing inspiration from the Ottawa-Gatineau landscape, this award-winning artist is able to capture emotion in her work. Dynamic colours and textures make the scenery come to life with a remarkable sense of vibrancy and splendor.

This is Chwialkowska’s signature technique. Working mainly with a palette knife in the ‘alla prima’ style, she builds layers and layers of wet paint to evoke a feeling of movement.

The whimsical beauty of nature is an integral aspect of Chwialkowska’s work. Born and educated in Poland, she moved to Canada in 1979 and fell in love with North America’s diverse landscapes. Although she focuses on the Ottawa area, her work is expansive. Chwialkowska has captured the natural beauty of the Northwest Territories, Ontario’s lake country and southern California. In addition to her current display at City Hall, Chwialkowska’s work has been featured in several other Canadian galleries and private and corporate collections across Canada, the United States and Europe.

Mayor Jim Watson (left) and Margaret in the Annex Gallery.

Mayor Jim Watson (left) and Margaret Chwialkowska in the Annex Gallery.

Ottawa City Hall is perhaps the perfect place for Chwialkowska’s paintings. Her impressive body of work, from “The Illusion of Reality” and beyond, is a vision of Canadian identity and a proud example of local talent.

“The Illusion of Reality” is on display at OAG’s Annex Gallery at Ottawa City Hall until July 12, 2015.

Click here to learn more about the exhibition.

To learn more about Margaret Chwialkowska’s work, visit her website here.


Arlene Dickinson Presents Krumpers with Scotiabank EcoLiving Award

June 5, 2015 11:37 am
Diana Livshits photo

Photo Credit: Thomas Lee

The winners of the Scotiabank EcoLiving Awards have been announced!

On Wednesday, June 3, famous Canadian entrepreneur, Arlene Dickinson, announced the winners of this eco-innovation competition at a gala reception at the Art Gallery of Ontario, after a panel of expert judges reviewed the finalists. And the award goes to…Krumpers Solar Solutions Inc.

The Canadian company and Ottawa-based owner Diana Livshits received the $50,000 Business Leadership Award. This prize—the largest of the three—honours a business providing eco-friendly products or services to the residential sector.

Krumpers creates specially designed solar blinds that can manage the fluctuating climate in your home. Livshits came up with the idea for Krumpers after experiencing significant temperature extremes in her home. To create a solution, Livshits and her husband, Yury, established the company in 2008.

Not only does Krumpers help to decrease your carbon footprint, but it can also save you up to 40 per cent on your annual heating and cooling bill. The company’s products are designed to help businesses and homeowners save on their utility consumption while reducing their environmental impact—and they look good too!

“At Krumpers, we believe that in order for people to reduce their energy consumption, the products they use must do so in a way that doesn’t impede their lifestyle. It’s the opposite, it must enhance their experience,” Livshits says.

The Scotiabank EcoLiving Awards honours eco-friendly Canadian businesses, entrepreneurs and students who are taking action by ensuring a greener future with innovations for your home.

The 2015 Scotiabank EcoLiving Awards winners. Photo credit: Thomas Lee.

The 2015 Scotiabank EcoLiving Awards winners. Photo credit: Thomas Lee.

“Scotiabank is proud to recognize and support talented Canadian entrepreneurs who are helping lead our country towards a more environmentally sustainable future,” says Terri Williams, vice president of corporate social responsibility at Scotiabank.

Other winners include Firefly Power, recipients of the Innovation Award, and Dynnergy, given the Student Leadership Award.

Click here to learn more about the Scotiabank EcoLiving Awards.

Doors Open Ontario Hits Ottawa

June 4, 2015 2:44 pm

The word ‘heritage’ has been a regular part of my vocabulary since the age of five. I grew up in Markham Heritage Estates, a neighbourhood in Markham, Ontario, dedicated to preserving heritage houses. I call an 1871 Gothic Revival farmhouse ‘home,’ even though my friends say it resembles more of a museum.

On June 6 and 7, you have a chance to open the doors to some of Ottawa’s oldest buildings and preserved heritage sites to discover the culture, architecture and history the city holds.

Doors Open Ontario, a program of the Ontario Heritage Trust, celebrates hundreds of the province’s hidden heritage gems. Throughout the summer months, over 40 cities will open the doors to historical buildings, places of worship, private residences and more for the public to tour at no cost.

Over 120 buildings will be open and offering special activities, tours, exhibitions and demonstrations in the Ottawa area. Along with yearly favourites, Doors Open Ottawa will add Earnscliffe, the former home of Sir John A. Macdonald, to its list of sites. The now diplomatic residence is a National Historic Site, built between 1855 and 1857.

Read a full list Doors Open Ottawa site here.

Make visiting each site easy by taking advantage of the free Doors Open Ottawa shuttle bus that stops within walking distance of nearly 50 participating buildings. Or if you’re willing to pay a small fee, Ottawa Cycling Tours is offering an Embassy Cycling Tour.

Riding your bike between some of the locations is a great way to celebrate Ontario’s sport heritage and the integrated ‘Play. Endure. Inspire.’ theme added to Doors Open Ontario this year. The theme aims to explore the traditions, innovations, heroes and diversity of sport in Ontario. Keep an eye peeled for sporting sites and halls of fame featured during Doors Open Ottawa.

Doors Open Ontario launched in 2002 with the aim to identify, preserve, protect and promote Ontario’s heritage. Be part of the over 5.8 million visits have been made to over 6,000 Doors Open Ontario sites!

The NAC’s Needles and Opium Mesmerizes

June 3, 2015 2:42 pm
Aiguilles Opium_005.NFV

Photo credit: National Arts Centre

Spectacular is the only way to describe Robert Lepage’s reproduction of his 20-year-old play Needles and Opium, currently playing at the NAC.

Aiguilles Opium_053.NFV

Photo Credit: NAC

The play centres around three characters. Jean Cocteau shares his thoughts and impressions on his first visit to the U.S. in 1949, while Miles Davis, in the same year, brings Paris to its knees with his music while falling himself for a lady. The third character is a broken-hearted Quebecer named Robert, who heads to Paris forty years later to work on a documentary.

The play explores a number of themes, but addiction is the key issue. Opium was Cocteau’s drug of choice, heroin for Davis and love for Robert. The exploration of the themes unfolds with the haunting music of Miles Davis playing in the background. While the subject matter is not exactly upbeat, it is extremely moving and actor Marc Labrèche’s tormented Robert is supremely touching. (Labrèche also plays a convincing Jean Cocteau.)

A mix of acrobatics, optical illusions, technology and perfect acting combine to create an unforgettable theatrical experience. The play hypnotically moves from scene to scene as the stage, a cube contraption moves around, actors bouncing in, out, on and off of it. The scenes change with the help of movies, slides and photography projected onto the cube. It is entirely brilliant.

Lepage has an imagination that is off the charts: the determination to make his vision happen and the professionalism and experience to have a production that is dreamy, fantastical and yet firmly planted in reality with all the grit, pain and humour it can entail. Your heart breaks as you watch Davis (brought to life by Wellesley Robertson III) sell his instrument to get cash for drugs and yet you marvel at the same time at how Lepage has created that scenery with photography. And that’s just one example. The whole play will leave you in awe.

Feast your mind, ears and eyes with Needles and Opium. It is the best of the Ottawa theatre season so far and runs until June 6, so hurry and buy your tickets here.

Bluesfest Beats: From Electro-Synth Pop to Back Porch Folk

2:23 pm
Crowd Shot Steve G

Photo Credit: Steve G

The announcement that Kanye West will be gracing the stage at the RBC Ottawa Bluesfest this year was a source of great excitement for Ottawa music lovers—but Yeezy is far from the only reason to check out the festival this year.

As exciting as the headliners are, Bluesfest is also an opportunity to make new music discoveries—and there’s something here for every kind of music listener. This year’s festival is chock-full of homegrown Canadian groups, critical darlings and promising newcomers.

Looking for some punchy pop hooks? The newest project of Dan Boeckner, longtime member of Wolf Parade, is sure to deliver! The Operators’ newest single, “Ecstasy in my House,” pairs infectious melodies with an energetic dance beat. This three-piece group has their own brand of synth heavy indie pop at Bluesfest this year you cannot miss.
July 14 at 6 p.m.
Claridge Homes Stage

The Souljazz OrchestraThe Souljazz Orchestra
This Ottawa-based Canadian ensemble boasts a spellbinding combination of unique musical traditions. Latin, Afro and Caribbean rhythms come together for a vibrant multicultural performance. The collective has been together for 12 years now and after many years of touring and multiple Juno nominations, they are still going strong. Anyone who wants some fun should grab a pair of dancing shoes and get ready to party the night away!
July 10 at 8:30 p.m.
Monster Energy Stage

Lynne Hanson and The Good Intentions
Lynne Hanson and the Good Intentions“There’s gonna be a little swamp, a ton of grit, and a heavy groove, so I’d suggest people bring their dancing shoes and lots of water,” says Lynne Hanson.
Canadian songwriter Lynne Hanson’s “porch music” is as gritty and sharp as a strong glass of whiskey. Hanson recently released her fourth studio album River of Sand. The album, a collection of songs about personal struggle and heartbreak, is her return to the recording world after a four-year hiatus. Hanson, who calls Ottawa her hometown, says it’s “a real honour” to be playing the Bluesfest stage. Folk and country loving festival attendees can find out how good those intentions really are at this performance.
July 9 at 6 p.m.
Claridge Homes Stage

The Temperance Movement

Temperance MovementLast summer the Temperance Movement opened for the Rolling Stones. This summer, the U.K. band will bring some good, old-fashioned rock’n’roll to the Bluesfest stage. Rough and raw vocalist Phil Campbell sings in the tradition of the classic 70’s era rockers like Led Zepplin. Festival-goers can expect a show with a soulful sound.
July 19 at 4 p.m.
Claridge Homes Stage

Purity Ring

PurityRing_1This Edmonton duo’s soaring sonic sound is making waves in the music world—they’ve garnered praise for their “future-pop” sound. Their second studio album Another Eternity features a soaring sonic sound paired with complex lyrical themes. Fans of alternative techno pop won’t want to miss this live performance.
July 17 at 8:30 p.m.
Canadian Stage

The RBC Ottawa Bluesfest 2015 line-up is full of talent! Don’t miss a single band on your ‘must-see’ list. Buy your tickets here! 

Westboro Artists “Paint-Out” in Winston Square

May 28, 2015 2:45 pm

Artist Barbara Zuchowicz paints in Winston Square. 

If you go for a stroll by Winston Square this summer you might get to witness the artistic process firsthand.

Artists from the West End Studio Tour will gather in the square to paint, sketch and display their work for the public once a week from June until August.

Fibre artist Wendy Feldberg (on left) and Faith Pickles hold up one of Feldberg’s pieces.

Artist Barbara Zuchowicz says the paint-outs and tours help artists make connections within the Westboro community.

Winston Square itself is a work of art in progress. The newly established community hub will be a center for performances and activities throughout the summer—everything from singing to beading demonstrations to dog training, says event co-ordinator Faith Pickles.

The grand opening of Winston Square will be on June 6.

Since 1995, Westboro artists have opened their studio doors to members of the public for a few weekends in autumn. This year will be the 20th anniversary of the art event. The tours will be held from 10-5 p.m. on Sept. 19-20 and 26-27.

Studio tours are an opportunity for members of the public to learn about unconventional art, says fibre artist Wendy Feldberg. Feldberg crafts elegantly coloured scarves and cloths using natural dyes. Her husband Shlomo Feldberg creates art out of garbage and scrap metal. She says studio tours are “a revelation,” for people curious about her artistic process.

Artist Shlomo Feldberg displayed a Canadian flag he made out of scrap metal and official province pins at the May 26 paint-out.

Zuchowicz says the summer paint-outs are just one way participants are celebrating the upcoming anniversary.

A show called “20 by 20 for 20” will open Sept. 17 at Exposure Gallery, she says. The show will feature artwork by tour participants that are 20 by 20 in size to celebrate 20 years of studio tours.

Landscape painter David W. Jones has participated in the tour for each of those 20 years. He says public art events foster discussion and help dispel the notion that “artists are a different kind, art galleries are for the elite.”

“You’re introducing art to people … who may not go into a commercial art gallery because they’re intimidated,” he adds. “It makes them comfortable.”

David W. Jones painting in Winston square.

Jones, along with the Feldbergs and Zuchowicz, participated in the paint-out preview at Winston Square on May 26. Regularly scheduled weekly paint-outs will begin early July.

The paint-outs are part of a larger BIA initiative to bring excitement to the square, Pickles says.

“There are so many great artists and just to give them a platform to really show their work I think is so important” she says.

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