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Winterlude Opens with Fire and Colour

February 1, 2016 1:13 pm
Winterlude Opens with Fire and Colour

While expectations for ice quality weren’t high Friday night, everyone who went out to see the Winterlude launch knew it would be a great show. As per usual, they didn’t disappoint. Our slideshow features some fire, great face paint, plenty of purple and, of course, an Ice hog.

All photos by Andre Gagne.

Criminal pardons in Canada: The Basics

12:40 pm
Criminal pardons in Canada: The Basics

If you have committed a crime and received a conviction in Canada, you will have a criminal record. That criminal record can seriously hamper you in many areas of your life, even after you serve your time. However, there is something you can do to get your freedom back. A criminal pardon, (now known as a record suspension) can be the answer.

What are pardons?

A criminal pardon is a document that allows an individual with a criminal record to have their record “set aside” from the criminal record database. It does not excuse or forgive the crime, and the criminal record does not disappear. It simply will not appear when a criminal background check will appear (except in certain circumstances). A pardon is essentially acknowledgement from the National Parole Board of Canada that you have been rehabilitated and that you have shown that you can lead a crime-free lifestyle.

To be considered for a criminal pardon, individuals must fulfill certain criteria. In fact, these criteria must be fulfilled before a person is even eligible to apply for a pardon.

Completion of sentence:

All prison sentences must be carried out

All community service hours must have been served

All fines and restitution must have been paid

All probation orders must have been met

Elapsing of waiting period:

Under Canadian criminal law, anyone wishing to apply for a pardon must wait a prescribed amount of time following their conviction. For summary convictions, the waiting period is 3 years. For indictable convictions, the waiting period is 5 years.

Benefits of obtaining a pardon

You may wonder whether it is worth it to go through the process of obtaining a pardon. The answer in virtually every case is yes.

Once you have been granted a pardon, your criminal conviction will not show up as part of a search on CPIC, the criminal records database. It will be as though your conviction does not exist, although in reality it still does, as there are some cases in which that information will have to be revealed.

A pardon will open doors in terms of employment. You will not have to disclose the presence of a criminal record (whereas without a pardon you would) even if you are not directly asked about a criminal record, should a potential employer conduct a criminal background check. Exceptions to this would be if you are applying to work with a vulnerable sector of the population such as children, in which case your record would be revealed if the crime was of a sexual or violent nature.  Under the Criminal Records Act, employers are not allowed to ask applicants about pardoned convictions.

Related: A US Waiver: A Canadian’s Ticket to the Land of the Free.

Failure to get a pardon for your conviction will also impact you in other ways, such as:

You will not be able to get bonded

You may not be granted custody of your children in a court proceeding

You may not be able to rent an apartment

You may be denied travel to other countries, including the United States

Finally, one of the biggest reasons people want to obtain a pardon is that obtaining one removes the stigma that can be associated with having a criminal record. It essentially gives you a new lease on life, the ability to put your past behind you and move into a new future.

Article by Vivian R. Smith. 

Another Major Gift for the OAG

10:57 am
Another Major Gift for the OAG

Left to right: Chris and Mary Ann Turnbull, OAG Director and Chief Executive Office, Alexandra Badzak, Member of the OAG Capital Campaign Committee, Tom Houston. Photo courtesy of David Barbour.

The Ottawa Art Gallery has received a major gift of $100,000 by Chris and Mary Ann Turnbull for the Art Now – L’art ici Capital Campaign at OAG Annex Gallery. The gift will be used towards the Art Studio in the new gallery. The Art Studio and the programming in its space aim to inspire innovation and creativity in students and youths. The gift represents the Turnbull’s family dedication to youth, education and the importance of arts in the community.

“We are pleased to be directing our gift to the new Art Studio, where children and youth can pursue their creativity, their knowledge and their enjoyment of art,” said Chris and Mary Ann Turnbull. “We all know the value of art in children’s development. Art is a wonderful expression of creativity and emotions, and it can develop a contemplative and keen sense of observation in the growing minds of our children and grandchildren! Through strong arts education, we learn how to appreciate art, to reflect on our humanity, our culture, and our history.”

Photo D Barbour 060

Mayor Watson and students from the Turnbull School. Photo courtesy of David Barbour.

In honor of the generous gift, the OAG has collaborated with grade 7 and 8 Ottawa students from the Turnbull School, as well as youth participants from the OAG’s Creative Sunday’s program, to create artwork inspired by the Coast to Coast: Features from the Firestone Collection of Canada Art exhibition.

RELATED: The Ottawa Art Gallery Blossoms

The vernissage featuring the students’ work took place on January 28th, with students, proud teachers and parents, along with Mayor Jim Watson in attendance. The evening also celebrated the previously mentioned Coast to Coast exhibition, as well as the Lament of the Natural World exhibition by Ottawa artist Gayle Kells.

“The Ottawa Art Gallery Annex is one of the City’s premiere cultural sites and I am thrilled to once again see that they have put together a great set of winter exhibitions. These exhibitions are always a great showcase for our City’s art and I look forward to seeing future exhibitions soon at the new Arts Court and Ottawa Art Gallery currently under construction,” said Mayor Jim Watson.

Launched in 2015, the Capital Campaign goal was set at $3.5 million for the OAG’s expansion. With the generous donation by the Turnbull family, the campaign is now over the $2 million mark.

LIFT Delivers a True Canadian Experience

January 29, 2016 1:52 pm
LIFT Delivers a True Canadian Experience

All photos courtesy of Samantha Lapierre

Secretly, or, maybe now, not so secretly, I fancy myself as a bit of a foodie. I am not picky and I will try anything once. So, when Ottawa Life was invited to experience LIFT Resto & Lounge’s True Canadian Experience event, I jumped at the chance to attend. My perception of Canadian cuisine is admittedly limited. I love the two simple foods that I, like many, feel represent Canada the best: poutine and Beavertails. I was excited, though, to see just how this event would change and challenge this perspective.

Unbeknownst to some, LIFT is located on the second floor of the Delta Ottawa City Centre. As I entered, staff warmly greeted me and their smiles put me at ease. I was flying solo for the night, and I don’t normally cover food stories, so I was a little nervous. But I was also very hungry.

DSC_0432A two-piece band played some rock classics for the crowd, and the warm and buzzing atmosphere made the space feel incredibly friendly. Throughout the night, various guests, Delta staff, servers, representatives and chefs happily chatted with me.

LIFT is a strikingly open space with large windows that look out into the city. Blue lighting lit some sections, while soft lighting lit others. Comfortable couches, chairs and tables were scattered throughout the venue. Art deco inspired and chic, LIFT is tastefully decorated and hip.

Upon checking in, I quickly met Raj Mohan, the Director of Food and Beverage at Delta. This event, Mohan tells me, is in part to highlight how incredible LIFT’s space really is, and what it can offer. Many locals are unaware of LIFT, Mohan says, and the one-of-a-kind event was organized in order to change that.

Mohan kindly mapped out the event’s multi-province-themed food stations for me, and suggested that I DSC_0437head to the Maritime food station first. I agreed, and I quickly stopped to pick up a delicious sample of Flying Monkey beer.

While I am not typically a fan of seafood, Delta Beauséjour Chef Stefan Müeller’s offerings of caviar and lobster pleased my taste buds. While waiting in line, a guest told me to try the lobster with white chocolate sauce. After shooting back a fresh oyster, I happily obliged. The lobster with white chocolate sauce ended up becoming one of my favourite dishes of the night, and I was tempted to return for seconds.

ADSC_0461fterward, I made my way over to the Ontario-inspired station, where LIFT’s Executive Chef Jason Duffy was serving up Maroposa Duck Confit on a taco shaped bao bun and Ontario Pickerel Ceviche. I bantered with Duffy as he prepared some fresh samplings of the Ceviche. The Maroposa confit bao bun was absolutely splendid, soft and savory, and the Ceviche was spicy and innovative.

Moving over to the bar, I ordered up a SplitTree Lavender Lemon signature cocktail. The special cocktail was making its debut for the night. It was sweet, but not too sweet, and the lavender and lemon combination worked beautifully. Impressed, and with cocktail in hand, I journeyed toward the back of the venue, where Quebec and Alberta inspired food stations awaited.

ExecuDSC_0471tive Chef Robert Gendreau of Delta Montreal really knew how to make an impression on this foodie. A highlight of the night, I found myself surrounded by a lot of food: maple syrup sugar cookies, Quebec-style maple taffy on snow that instantly melted in my mouth, and a pancake stuffed with maple ham and maple syrup, with a side of baked beans. The red deer tartare and the pheasant breast topped with maple, cranberry and pearl onions were equally mouthwatering.

Truth be told, at this point, I was becoming a bit full. But, in the name of journalism, I still had one more station to try. Executive Chef Eric Larcom from the Calgary Marriott Downtown led the Alberta station, offering up a very meaty selection. Chef Larcom suggested that I dig into the Bison Carpaccio, and I happily indulged. It was delicious.

DSC_0475I ended my food and drink sampling with a hearty cup of Beau’s 80 Shilling Scotch Ale. A deliciously smooth beer, it was a great accompaniment to the stacks of brightly coloured macaroons at the beautifully arranged dessert station. I wandered around the event for a final time, admiring the incredibly life-like polymer clay sculptures on display by a friendly local artist, Maria Saracino. I also admired the beautiful landscape paintings on display by Margaret Chwialkowska. Chwialkowska was kind enough to stop and chat with me about her work.

This True Canadian Experience truly changed my perspective on Canadian cuisine. We are a country that is capable of delicacies beyond a run-of-the-mill poutine. The incredible service, hospitality, and food I received at the event mirror the great things LIFT will be bringing to the Ottawa food scene. And that, to this foodie, is priceless.

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