Christmas lights are up and the halls are filled with seasonal music, but not all is cheery and bright in our city.
For many, the visible trappings of festive cheer don't match what's going on in their lives or their homes. For others, there is no home to decorate. The exciting build-up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve can hide the fact that our Ottawa includes hundreds of people living on the streets, thousands in shelters, and tens of thousands who will have neither enough to eat this month, nor a holiday feast to share with family and friends.
I'm using my little soapbox to encourage readers to give generously to the Ottawa Food Bank, and to attend the premiere of a remarkable film about living without a home in the cold and darkness of winter. The screening — outdoors, in the cold — is every bit worth your time. You will never again see homelessness in quite the same way.
I hope all residents of Capital Ward and Ottawa have a chance to rest during the holidays and to reflect on what matters in their lives. Best wishes to all for a Merry Christmas and a peaceful and fulfilling New Year.
Help name the new foot/bike bridge
The Canal Footbridge, the Fifth Avenue Bridge, Clegg Footbridge, Rideau Crossing — whatever you’ve been calling it, it’s time to agree on a permanent name for the new bridge connecting the Glebe and Old Ottawa East/Old Ottawa South. What name do you suggest?
Following guidelines set by the City, we are collecting suggestions for names that honour local historical events, people or places, or outstanding individuals of the community.
You can complete the online form here, including 250 words or less to explain why it’s an appropriate name. The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2018.
And no, you can't suggest Bridgey McBridgeface.
Tuesday, December 5, 4 – 8 p.m.
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) invites residents to an information session on the Environmental Assessment Study for the rehabilitation/replacement of the Queensway bridges over Metcalfe, Elgin and Main Sts. as well as the Rideau Canal.
The presentation will cover project goals, the draft study design for comments, traffic analysis, design criteria and more. MTO staff and members of the consulting team will be hand.
Download this PDF document for more details.
Sunday, December 10, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
The Old Ottawa South Community Association is hosting its annual Breakfast with Santa event in support of the Ottawa Food Bank. Free pancake breakfast for the first 150 people! You can enjoy face painting, crafts, cookie decorating and other activities. Free admission, but please bring a donation for the Ottawa Food Bank. Cash is preferable to food items — every $1 donated can provide $5 worth of food!
Monday, December 11, 7 p.m.
Guest speaker Dr. Michael Stevenson, an associate professor of history at Lakehead University specializing in Canadian diplomatic and military history, will discuss the life and times of John Diefenbaker, the Progressive Conservative leader who won three federal elections, including a landslide victory in 1958.
During his six years as prime minister, Diefenbaker appointed the first female cabinet minister in Canadian history, and his government obtained passage of the Canadian Bill of Rights. Diefenbaker also presided over the cancellation of the Avro Arrow, and he ultimately failed to adopt a consistent defence policy, particularly in the matter of acquiring nuclear weapons for Canadian forces.
Friday, December 15, 6 p.m.
Reception and outdoor film premiere for Project Cold Days, Stephen Coleman's feature documentary about homelessness in the Ottawa winter. The reception starts at 6 p.m., and the screening at 7:30.
Bridgehead Coffee Roasters, Smoke's Poutinerie, The Whalesbone Oyster House, Kettleman's Bagel Co. and other sponsors will provide a wide variety of food. The entire event is outdoors, so please dress accordingly.
I had the pleasure recently to speak as part of a panel organized for Glacial Flows: Notes for a Requiem, an exhibition of photographs by Capital Ward resident J. A. Lamont. I highly recommend the exhibition, which explores the challenging issue of climate breakdown through compellingly beautiful photographs.
In Lamont's words: "Our world has been shaped by ice. Glaciers have carved our mountains and provided by their slow release much of the water needed throughout the year by people downstream. Their flows have helped to define us... and they are disappearing with global climate change. This exhibition speaks to what we are about to lose."
The exhibition continues until January 2 at the Shenkman Arts Centre's Trinity Art Gallery, 245 Centrum Blvd, Orleans.
A 200 m section of the multi-use pathway on the east side of the Rideau Canal, between Herridge Street and Clegg Street, will be closed until the fall of 2018.
The closure is required to allow for construction of the pedestrian and cycling bridge across the Rideau Canal between Fifth Avenue and Clegg Street.
Pedestrians and cyclists can bypass the closure by crossing Colonel By Drive at the new signalized crossings at Herridge north of the construction area, and at Clegg south of the construction.
The winter cold and flu season is a good time for a refresher on how to protect ourselves and others from potentially harmful germs. Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has some simple tips for preventing the spread of disease-causing bacteria and viruses that can lead to serious illness, especially in young children, the elderly, and those with underlying medical conditions.
Have you witnessed aggressive driving or know of an intersection where motorists routinely ignore the stop sign? If so, the Ottawa Police Service would like you to make a traffic complaint using their new online reporting system.
Traffic complaints are compiled in a database and used by analysts to effectively and efficiently improve road safety for all users through strategic enforcement and other measures.
In addition, if you provide details of a specific traffic violation, police can follow up by mailing a Traffic Complaint warning letter to the vehicle's registered owner. If someone receives two or more complaints within a year, an officer will contact them to discuss the traffic safety issues being cited in the letters.
Specific complaints require as much information as possible, including the date and time of the incident, location and direction of travel, a description of the driver and of the vehicle, including licence plate. You will also have to provide your name, address, phone number and date of birth; however, this information remains confidential, and will not be shared with the subject of the complaint.
If any incident is an emergency and needs immediate police response, please call 911.
We at the small but mighty Capital Ward councillor's office are taking a short break from our usual hectic pace of permits, planning and politics between Christmas and New Year's Day. Our office will be closed from Dec. 25 to Jan. 1. We'll be back in business on Jan. 2.
We will, however, be monitoring emails and voicemails for urgent matters. As always, you should call 911 to report true emergencies (fires, crimes in progress and other life-threatening situations), or call 311 or visit ottawa.ca for important matters of a municipal nature.
The City of Ottawa will soon post a complete list of holiday closures and schedule changes for recreational activities, garbage collection, OC Transpo and Para Transpo services, the Ottawa Public Library, Client Service Centres and more.