Author Archive

CHEAP EATS EXTRA! Fantasy Food Trucks

See more Fantasy Food Trucks in the Summer 2015 edition of Ottawa Magazine

By JANE A. CORBETT, art director at Ottawa Magazine

Illustrator Kyle Brownrigg sent along three sketches for his fantasy food trucks. I chose the Beeraoke one for him to finalize for the issue itself, but the other two were such fun that I thought I’d share them with our readers, too, online.  Below Brownrigg’s Iced Cream Pugs and Sorcery Soups, you’ll find a sketch from Dave Merritt’s son, Sam. He calls it the Pizza Launcher. Dave has a background as an animation artist; last year he drew the chalk backgrounds for the shopping feature in the Interiors issue that garnered us a National Magazine Award nomination.


by Kyle Brownrigg

Illustrator’s comments: I’ve recently had an unhealthy obsession with pug dogs and ice cream. It would be adorably hilarious if they ran a food truck.

Art director’s comments: I particularly like all the little details in this one. The ears on the front of the truck, the pug taking a snooze on top of a cone, and the little pug prints leading up to the order window. I could see the truck and awning being done in ice-cream pastel colours, with the little pugs in the colours of mocha fudge or maple walnut ice-cream. I happen to personally know a  little pug named Baylea who loves ice cream and would be a frequent visitor to this truck.

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FROM THE PRINT EDITION: Spotlight on small plates at two six {ate}

By Anne DeBrisay

Chef Steve Harris, who comes to 268 Preston Street via Allium on Holland Avenue, teams up with his partner, Emily Ienzi, who brings front-of-house experience and access to the harvest from her family’s backyard garden. Doublespace Photography.

The sausages are exceptional. They burst in the mouth with juice and flavour and the weight of well-judged spices, not overwhelmed with salt. And there’s the thing of it. Sausages — even the ones handcrafted with loving attention and expertly grilled — are invariably too salty. Not a bit here.

And how inspired to serve them with roasted eggplant and homegrown tomato and radicchio. Oily richness blends with the smoke, the tart, and the bitter: the plate is an intelligent jumble of textures and flavours, while attention to the quality of ingredients lifts it to memorable status. This was my first taste of “two six {ate},” a new addition to the Preston Street restaurant strip and, I thought as I worked my way through about half its menu, a most welcome one.

Two six {ate} takes over from The Lindenhof (a moment of silence, please, for the long-running German restaurant). You will recognize the new look if you’ve been to, oh, any new restaurant in the past year: reclaimed lumber on walls, floors, bar, and benches; a bit of rough plasterwork; industrial lighting; scrappy art; bare windows and tables.

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BATTLE READY: A portrait of “Warlords” author Tim Cook

Bestselling author Tim Cook launches Warlords, a book that tackles the wartime performances of prime ministers Sir Robert Borden and William Lyon Mackenzie King. At the same time, the much-lauded military historian wages his own personal war — against cancer   By Paul Gessell

Photography by Michael Tardioli, SPAO Studio 2012.

Brian Mckillop remembers giving Tim Cook a small yellow duck the first time they met. It was November of 1971. Needless to say, the newborn Cook was not yet able to appreciate the gift. Many years later, McKillop would give Cook a far more precious gift: inspiration. Cook’s life would never be the same. And that time, he greatly appreciated the offering.

It was in 2005 that McKillop, a history professor and an old friend of Cook’s parents dating back to when they were all students in Kingston four decades ago, delivered the fateful speech that transformed Cook’s outlook. In it, he exhorted historians to write books that would appeal to the general public, not just to other scholars. Tim Cook was in the audience that day. The speech, he recalls, “opened my eyes.” The rest, as they say, is history.

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CULTURE: Get a real job — And a second one and a third one … Exploring the changing economy and the new ways of working

By Fateema Sayani

THE FACEBOOK NEWS FEED has been rather dismal of late. Cat pictures, self-promotion, and gripes about the daily mundane have given way to postings from government employees who recently received notice that their jobs will be axed. In response, the keeners have been e-networking, while the deeply afflicted post cryptic one-liners about their bleak futures. Their pals chime in appropriately with sad faces.

The thing about these cutbacks — part of the government’s Deficit Reduction Action Plan (let’s call it The Drap, to give it a fittingly abject and infectious tone) — is that even if you’re not a government employee, you’re affected. And not simply because of the interconnectedness of the local economy, but because everyone knows someone who’s employed by the feds. Can’t swing a dead cat … and all that.

Illustration by Kyle Brownrigg.

In the short-term aftermath of job losses, those who have been cut loose worry about losing the house and the lifestyle before eventually getting active and finding — or making — new work. But though the prospect of starting anew can be terrifying to the risk-averse, forced innovation is not all bad. It gives rise to entrepreneurialism. Loosen the golden handcuffs and alternative and underground economies spring up — those informal modes of business that the punditry predicts will outpace traditional jobs in the next decade.

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‘TIS THE SEASON: New, hot, and happening triathlon gear

This lightweight carbon wheel is handmade here in Ottawa. Elite racers swear by it — last season alone, over 100 top-place finishers used Rhus wheels. $999 per pair. Euro-Sports, 13 Bullman St.,

These snazzy sneaks don’t just look good — they’re engineered to promote a natural running gait. The Newton Distance also includes environmentally friendly features: the laces and webbing are made from recycled materials. $154. Euro-Sports, 13 Bullman St.,

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EAT LOCAL; COOK LOCAL: Previewing a pretty book of recipes from Prince Edward County

The Art of Herbs Cookbook

Tasty, beautiful, local. Last fall, Cynthia Peters, food writer and owner of From the Farm Cooking School in Prince Edward County, teamed up with artist Susan Wallis to create a visual feast of a recipe book themed around chives, basil, lemon balm, coriander, and tarragon. Each of the 22 recipes is paired with a richly textured encaustic herbal painting. Local chefs, farmers, and winemakers provide the opening remarks for the sections, further personalizing this homegrown homage to the bounty of the County. In honour of this early spring herb, we have reproduced Peters’ spicy shrimp and chive recipe.

The Art of Herbs Cookbook is available at The Red Apron and Collected Works Bookstore. For more information on the book, visit

Garlic Shrimp with Chives  (Serves 4)
16 uncooked jumbo shrimp
1 lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil

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STYLIN': Just announced as a Bluesfest performer… The PepTides! Vocalist DeeDee Butters shows off her look

Just announced as a local performer at this summer’s Bluesfest (Sunday, July 8 in you’re making plans)… The PepTides! Ottawa Magazine catches up with PepTides vocalist DeeDee Butters in the May print edition and asks her about “The Look.”

By Erica Wark

Photography by Jonathan Hobin.

You seem to wear a lot of hats — singer, actor, makeup artist, entrepreneur. How do you manage such a varied portfolio?
I’ve taken years of “extreme scheduling” [laughs]. Like most people who work in the arts, it’s common to take on many projects. I love every role, for completely different reasons, but they all have a common thread: creating something that didn’t exist before. Whether it be writing and performing a new song with The Peptides or creating a unique look through makeup for a shoot, it’s rewarding and challenging.

So with all of the jobs you juggle, your wardrobe must be quite the collection. How would you describe your style? 

I’m a bit of a chameleon. My performance style has a strong reference to the ’50s. But when I’m working as a makeup artist, my style tends to be very menswear inspired, with a crisp dress shirt, leather jacket, and killer boots.

Where do you shop?
For my ’50s apparel, I source online at Bettie Page. They’re one of the few stores that have quality vintage replica apparel. I also love flea markets and Value Village. I once found a Diane von Furstenberg dress there!  For my more business-casual style, I go to Winners or Jacob, stores that offer simple yet classic pieces. I then build on that with funky accessories from Aldo or Le Château. My favourite place to buy shoes is Letellier. They sell hot boots that last.

Interesting that you used the word “source.” You sound like a stylist.
One of my favourite things to do is walk around a mall with the ambient noise around me. Even if I walk away with nothing, I still feel fulfilled.

You have a really cool name; it’s perfect for the stage. Is that your real name?
It is! Well, Deidre Butters is my full name, DeeDee for short. I’m so lucky to have been born with the perfect stage name — thanks to my Irish heritage! It’s fun, funny, and flirty, but also to the point. There’s simplicity to it.

Performer DeeDee is wearing a Bettie Page dress, Nine West platform glitter pumps, and accessories from Ardene. Makeup artist DeeDee is wearing a leather jacket from Danier, a shirt from Winners, Silver Jeans, and Joseph Seibel boots. Necklace from Le Château; bracelets from Jacob and Ardene.


Griffin Poetry Prize Shortlist Announced! A Q&A with local Griffin Prize judge (and poet) David O’Meara

Photography by Luther Caverly.



The author of three poetry collections and a play, Pembroke native David O’Meara is has added a new accolade to his bio: Griffin Poetry Prize judge. With two other judges — one from the United States and one from England — O’Meara has examined close to 500 books of poetry. He’s also set to teach at the Banff Centre for the Arts this fall. In February, the writer took a break from scheduling Plan 99 readings at The Manx — where he also tends bar — and organizing the new poetry festival, VERSeFest, to chat with rob mclennan about the writing life.

David O’Meara was born in Pembroke, Ontario. He is the author of three collections of poetry, and a play, Disaster. His most recent book is Noble Gas, Penny Black (Brick Books, 2008). His work has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, including The New Canon (Signal Editions), and The Echoing Years, a co-Irish/Canadian Anthology. He is director of the renowned Plan 99 Reading Series, a founding director of VerseFest, Canada’s International Poetry Festival, and will be poetry instructor at the Banff Centre in September 2012. He continues to tend bar at the Manx Pub in Ottawa.

How did your first book change your life? How does your most recent work compare to your previous? How does it feel different?
With a first book you have something on the ground. You have product. And a starting point. Other than that, first books are something to build on, get better at. There’s no end to feeling inadequate. Which might answer the last two questions.

How did you come to poetry first, as opposed to, say, fiction or non-fiction?
I liked words and how they were put together and the effects they could create. Poetry was the most economical way to do this. Why was I attracted to this? Essence. The distillation process.

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FROM THE PRINT EDITION: “My Look” with Caroline Castrucci

This interview with Caroline Castrucci, designer with Laurysen Kitchens, was featured in the February 2012 Interiors edition.

Interview by Erica Wark

Caroline Castrucci in her kitchen. Photography by Rémi Thériault.

What are your favourite shops?
I have a top three list — Holt Renfrew, Femme de Carrière, and Outskirts. I love European designers — the quality of the fabrics, the basting stitches on seams. Everything is just so well made. I’m a true believer that clothing should feel as good as it looks.

How would you describe your style?
Eclectic. I love to mix unexpected things together — putting on a conservative Theory suit with a great pair of funky BCBG Max Azria stilettos or yellow Gap cords with a cognac leather jacket and red Oscar de la Renta four-inch platforms.

I hear you wear four-inch heels everywhere.
I’ve been wearing heels since the ninth grade. The odd time I’ve walked in flats, it felt as if I was going to fall backwards!

How does your personal style affect your approach to kitchen design?
Just like with my clothes, I’m not afraid to play with colour or try something new in a kitchen design. Kitchens need to be multi-purpose while still being stylish and practical. I have that same mentality when it comes to my wardrobe.

What’s the most meaningful piece in your closet?
My 10th-anniversary ring. Why? Because it’s a nice big one!

Laurysen Kitchens designer Caroline Castrucci is wearing an i.D.O La Vie sweater and tunic combo, L’eggs leggings, Milagros ankle boots, Shepherd’s earrings, a Gucci watch, and Pandora bracelets.

AUGUST DAYTRIPPER GUIDE: Events and happenings within a two-hour drive of the city

Classic Theatre Festival:
Perth, Aug. 5 to 28

This comedy chronicles a couple’s joys and challenges throughout a 35-year marriage. The play follows them from the nervous wedding night through to childbirth and parenting to the inevitable mid-life crisis and the final realities of aging. It is one of those rare plays that combine charm, depth of character, dramatic tension, and comic relief in a manner that makes audiences feel good about the promises of love. $30, people under 30 $21. Mason Theatre, 13 Victoria St., Perth, 877-283-1283,

Williamstown Fair
Williamstown, Aug. 5 to 7
This rural event is described as “Canada’s Oldest Annual Fair” and is celebrating its 200th year. With a myriad of activities each day, must-sees (and dos) include hot-air balloon rides, beach volleyball, bingo, artisan displays, antique machinery, tug-of-war, foot races, midway games and rides, agricultural shows, and live performances. Day pass $8, weekend pass $15. Williamstown Fairgrounds, Williamstown, 613-347-2841,

Thousand Islands Playhouse: Billy Bishop Goes to War
Gananoque, Aug. 5 to Sept. 3
One of the most famous and widely produced plays in Canadian theatre, this musical recounts the life of 20-year-old misfit and flying ace Billy Bishop. Played by Jacob James, Billy Bishop evolves from a mischievous ne’er-do-well to the nation’s most decorated pilot. $36.16, seniors $33.90, students and children $18.08. Firehall Theatre, 185 South St., Gananoque, 613-382-7020, 866-382-7020, .

Puppets Up! International Festival
Almonte, Aug. 6 and 7
Puppets Up! is a two-day international festival devoted to the art of puppetry and fun. Family-friendly professional puppet troupes travel from around the globe to entertain the thousands of visitors who attend the festival each year. The theme for 2011 is All Creatures Great and Small as the festival celebrates our natural world. Performances take place along the banks of the Mississippi River in tented and storefront theatres. Along with the puppet shows, there is a daily parade, street entertainment, and musicians. See website for performance and ticket information. Almonte Old Town Hall, 14 Bridge St., Almonte,

Naismith 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament
Almonte, Aug. 6
Almost 100 teams participate in this basketball festival that takes over the streets of Almonte, making it the largest 3-on-3 tournament in eastern Ontario. Teams compete in men’s, women’s, elementary school, and high school competitions. Sign up a team of your own, or cheer on the athletes from the sidelines. Between games, take advantage of Almonte’s parks and stores. Almonte, 613-256-0492,,

Pakenham Fall Fair
Pakenham, Aug. 13
In its 100th year, this fair offers exciting changes, including a new theme called Village Green. The traditional activities include horticultural exhibits, horse shows, dairy and beef shows, log skidding, craft shows, antique tractors and cars, and spinning and weaving demonstrations. Stewart Community Centre, 112 MacFarland St., and Fred Millar Community Park, Pakenham, 613-256-1077 ext. 22,