Other News

Bringing The Warmth with Hubert’s Fireplaces

May 30, 2016 12:53 pm
Bringing The Warmth with Hubert’s Fireplaces

Hubert’s Fireplaces have been keeping Ottawans toasty since 1922.

A family-run business spanning three generations, Hubert’s delivers fireplace services to families and businesses with personable and trusted care. Hubert’s has gas,wood and outdoor fireplaces as well as finishings to make your old or new fireplace stand out from the rest. With over 90 years of keeping Ottawa homes and offices cozy, Hubert’s knows its stuff.

Jodie Matthiesen, Hubert’s general manager, has been working for the company since she started part-time at the age of fourteen. Her mom, Maryanne, has been a business partner with the company for the last decade. The company is a strong pillar in Ottawa’s business community.

“I don’t think a lot of small businesses out there can say that they’ve been around as long as we have,” Matthiesen says.”We’re approaching that 100-year mark, and that’s exciting for our staff.”

While fireplaces add a warm, personal touch to a room, Hubert’s makes sure to add a warm and personal touch to its service too. “(One of) the key things that makes us stand out is that customer service is the most important thing.The majority of our clientele is based on referral,”explains Matthiesen. “Sometimes we’re seeing third and fourth generation customers.We have also stayed very small. We’re like one little family here.” Hubert’s makes it a priority to employ a team of inhouse staff.The company doesn’t rely on outside contractors, guaranteeing the quality of its work by its fast, knowledgeable, reliable and diligent crew.

Photo Courtesy of Sophie Beraud.
Photo Courtesy of Studio 7.

Hubert’s experts will work with you to decide on the best fireplace to suit your home and your vision for your space. First, Hubert’s will arrange a consultation to assess your needs and your home environment. Hubert’s will then show you a wide variety of fireplaces that will work best for your space and achieve your vision. The Hubert’s team will guide you through the process right to the finishing design.

Hubert’s gas fireplaces are a great option to enjoying fireside warmth without the requirement of wood to keep the fire roaring. Of course, wood fireplaces are available if you crave that nostalgic feel. If you need some warmth outdoors, Hubert’s has outdoor fireplace options too.

Hubert’s carries a selection of mid-to high-end fireplaces and the company is very supportive of Canadian brands. Solus Décor,Valor, Montigo and Pacific Energy are all part of the options. Hubert’s also prides itself on being Ottawa’s exclusive carrier of luxury fireplace brands such as Town & Country and Stuv. With classic and elegant, to contemporary and sleek, to stylish and chic styles, Hubert’s has a fireplace that will fit any budget and any space.

“I can’t imagine a house without a fireplace. It just adds that warmth and ambience.” Matthiesen is right. It does. “On a cold day you just want to snuggle up in front of a fire. It’s a real place that you can gather around and have conversations, which doesn’t happen a lot these days.”



One Year (A)LIVE on Elgin!

12:14 pm
One Year (A)LIVE on Elgin!

Father son team of Jon and Lawrence Evenchick celebrate year one at LIVE! on Elgin. All photos by Andre Gagne

He’s been a booking agent, a promoter, a manger and a band member. For a guy who’s been involved with the local music scene for nearly 10 years, it only seemed natural that the next step for Jon Evenchick was to open a venue in the centre of town where he could be all of the above while simultaneously giving others a place to perform. Getting to do all that alongside his father Lawrence, well, that’s just icing on the birthday cake for LIVE! On Elgin. The venue is celebrating its first year with a three day festival starting on June 3.

“Honestly, I wanted to open a music hall at first, but the timing just wasn’t right,” says Evenchick.  “After chatting with members of the community, and looking at the gaps in the market, we decided that a small venue that could also support local growing theatre groups and music promoters who can’t afford a large hall made more sense.”

After graduating from Algonquin College’s Business Management program, Evenchick started conducting polls and surveys of those in the community and local music scene. What was missing, he asked them? The answer was surprising: go smaller, not bigger. Armed with this information, he set his sights on finding a venue in Ottawa with a similar feel to the popular Blacksheep Inn over in Wakefield. He found it on Elgin Street.

Killing Time with Lynne Hanson - Image (3)

Lynne Hanson performs at LIVE! on Elgin earlier this year.

“Elgin is at the heart of our town, but lacks live entertainment. Maxwell’s was the only venue on the street, outside of the National Arts Centre. Maxwell’s has since closed, and the National Arts Centre is simply not an option for smaller performances. On top of that, the timing was right as the space we entered was coming up for rent.”

Live on Elgin (3 of 4)w

Some reminders left by a lot of great shows!

220 Elgin, right above Dunn’s restaurant, was once a spa, a lawyer’s office and a couple of apartments. Evenchick, his father and their team had to demolish all the walls to really let the space breathe as well as redo the flooring and lots of the wiring. The result leaves the space very open for the 90 or so people who can fit inside. The bar remains central but allows a larger area for the performance space, which was key to how they wanted the place designed. People looking to see a show wouldn’t have to be obstructed by bar traffic. There is also a separate lounge area with some comfortable seating for those just wanting to chill and chat. Hungry? No problem. The place worked out a deal with Dunn’s to provide food to patrons.

“LIVE! on Elgin is a hub for local musicians. People don’t just come here to see shows; they come to network,” says Evenchick.  “Our regulars are all members of the arts community. The first thing I recommend to people who want to book here is come see a show, chat with the audience members, chances are you’ll find a bill to jump on. We’re a family; all of our employees are artists, and they’ve made amazing industry connections thanks to their work with us.”

Related: Killing Time with Lynne Hanson

Since Mayor Jim Watson wielded a sledgehammer to punch the first hole in the wall last year, the venue has become one of the most respected in the city, not just among music lovers and musicians but also within the theatre community. Lawrence has had ties to local theatre since the late 70’s and wanted to see another space in Centretown for those types of performances. The varied programming certainly gives the venue more options as it branches out over different audiences for their shows.

“It’s something that really adds to our quality of life and it’s one of the reasons we’re constantly ranked high…when it comes to trying to attract people and talent to live and work in Ottawa,” Mayor Watson told Glue Magazine last year. “They want to have these kinds of venues, they want that cultural experience. It’s not just about work.”

Killing Time with Lynne Hanson - Image (9)
Evenchick looks back on the year not only as a learning experience but also one that saw many amazing shows roll through the venue. The Balconies, Lynne Hanson, Monday I Retire, Craig Cardiff and the Lakes of Canada are just some of the stellar Canadian talent that was showcased in year one.

“When you come for a show, you are up-close and personal with your favourite acts. Presenting shows like these makes us so proud and reminds us why we opened this venue.”

Live on Elgin (4 of 4)wTo celebrate their anniversary, Evenchick wanted to throw a bash that would stay true to his vision as well as thank some of the musicians that have supported LIVE! On Elgin since day one. The three-day party will include performances by 10 bands headlined by Trunk (June 3), The Cardboard Crowns (June 4), and The Stringers (June 5). The Trench Town Oddities, Big Moan and the Kents are just a few of the other acts you can check out. Tickets are available online through the venue’s website.

Looking ahead to year two, Evenchick plans to continue with more of the same while building the venue’s reputation as the place to go when in search of live entertainment in Ottawa. This is a music city, he says, and LIVE! On Elgin is happy to be in the middle of it.

“Ottawa has a wealth of talented performers and great shows going on almost every night. Year after year we continue to see the attitude towards Ottawa’s music scene grow more positive, and we’re proud to be a part of that.”

John’s Reno Tips Spring Into Reno Season

11:48 am
John’s Reno Tips Spring Into Reno Season

Photos courtesy of John Gordon. 

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

Kitchens and Living Areas

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


Photo: Kevin Miller

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

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

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

Freestanding bathtubs allow for more placement options.

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

Photo: Joshua Rablin


Hit the Loo

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

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

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

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


Why American Doctors Are Calling For Canadian-Style Medicare

10:55 am
Why American Doctors Are Calling For Canadian-Style Medicare

And How Canada Risks Losing the Health Advantage it Has.

In a dramatic show of physician support for deep health care reform in the U.S, more than 2,200 physician leaders have signed a “Physician’s Proposal” calling for sweeping change. The proposal, published May 5 2016 in the American Journal of Public Health, calls for the creation of a publicly-financed, single-payer, national health program to cover all Americans for all medically necessary care.

If that sounds familiar, it should. These American doctors are calling for Canadian-style medicare. They want a decisive break from the expensive and inefficient private insurance industry at the heart of the U.S. health care system.  

How ironic that at the same time U.S. physicians are calling for a single-payer health system like ours, Canada is in the midst of a legal battle threatening to pave the way for a multi-payer system resembling what has failed Americans.   

What’s at stake?  A trial about to begin in British Columbia threatens to make the Canada Health Act unenforceable.  

The Canada Health Act is federal legislation that guides our health care system.  It strongly discourages private payment for medically necessary hospital and physician services covered under our publicly-funded medicare plans. This includes out-of-pocket payments in the form of extra billing or other user charges. Legislation in most provinces further prohibits private insurance that duplicates what is already covered under provincial plans.

If patients are billed for medically necessary hospital and physician care, the federal government is mandated to withhold an equivalent amount from federal cash transfers to provinces or territories violating the Act.

At least that’s what supposed to happen.  

Unfortunately, the last decade saw a proliferation of extra billing in several provinces, and few instances of government clawing back fiscal transfers.  Perhaps, things will change. Minister Philpott recently stated that the government will “absolutely uphold the Canada Health Act.”  

In BC’s upcoming trial, the plaintiffs – including two for-profit investor-owned facilities, Cambie Surgery Centre and the Specialist Referral Clinic – are attempting to have the court strike down limits on private payment. They support the creation of a constitutionally protected right for physicians to bill patients, either out-of-pocket or through private insurance, for medically necessary care, while also billing the public plan.

In other words, the plaintiffs want to undo our elegantly simple single payer system for hospital and physician care, creating instead a multi-payer system like the U.S. If their constitutional challenge is successful, the door will swing wide open in BC – and across Canada – for insurers to sell what will amount to “private queue jumping insurance” for those who can afford it, potentially harming the rest of us who can’t.

The outcome of this trial could be that those who can pay for care would jump the queue, drawing doctors and other resources out of the public system.  Those who can’t pay would likely wait longer. Rather than a solution for wait times, private payment in the Canadian context would make them worse.

Global evidence shows that private insurance does not reduce public system wait times. The Achilles’ heel of health care in several European countries, such as Sweden, has been long waiting times for diagnosis and treatment in several areas, despite some private insurance. After Australia introduced private insurance to save the government money, those with private insurance have faster access to elective surgery than those without. Divisions in equitable access to care is one of the biggest challenges now facing countries that have adopted multi-payer systems.

Multi-payer systems are administratively complex and expensive, explaining why the U.S. health insurance industry spends about 18 percent of its health care dollars on billing and insurance-related administration for its many private plans, compared to just two percent in Canada for our streamlined single payer insurance plans. Hospital administrative costs are lowest in Canada and Scotland – both single payer systems – and highest in the US, the Netherlands, and the UK – all multi-payer systems.

For all of its warts in how we deliver health care in Canada, the way in which we pay for care – a single public payer in each province or territory – avoids the high administrative costs of multi-payer systems.

Abundant evidence shows private insurance is at the root of what ails the U.S. system. Dr. Marcia Angell, co-author of the Physicians’ Proposal, Harvard Medical School faculty, and former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, sums it up: “We can no longer afford to waste the vast resources we do on the administrative costs, executive salaries, and profiteering of the private insurance system.” A Canadian-style single payer financing system would save the U.S. about $500 billion annually.

Meanwhile, in Canada, abandoning our single payer health care system for a U.S.-style multi-payer system would be the worst possible outcome for Canadians. Let’s hope the evidence convinces the judge.  The trial begins September 2016.

Palmer_Karen_HIGH RES (1)

Karen Palmer is an advisor with EvidenceNetwork.ca, a health policy analyst, and Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University.

Recent Posts