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INTERIORS 2014: 6 Things We Love in Ottawa


The Ottawa Chair: Designed by Karim Rashid for Denmark-based company BoConcept

Six Things We Love in Ottawa: this excerpt is taken from our Ottawa Magazine Interiors 2014 issue. Before getting to the main feature in the book — a look at five dazzling designs with river views, as the cover so aptly describes — we take a quick peek at some of the things that make us love Ottawa.

Start our slideshow of 6 Things We Love in Ottawa from Interiors 2014»

TIMELINE: The story behind the cool and colourful murals around Chinatown

The public art project “Chinatown Blossoms” has brought colourful mini-murals to shops and restaurants of Somerset Street West. Here’s how it all came together:

Photo courtesy of Chinatown BIA.

The weather was fine when the murals began popping up around Chinatown last May. Photo courtesy of Chinatown BIA.

Summer 2012
Grace Xin, executive director of the Chinatown Business Improvement Association, reaches out to the Ottawa School of Art. A long-time fan of the OSA, Xin sees the future of Chinatown as a hub of art and artists. Eventually she connects with Claudia Gutierrez, development officer at the OSA, and presents her with the concept for Chinatown Blossoms, a beautification project that gives students an opportunity to gain experience working for a client while bringing colourful murals to doorways and windows of Somerset Street West.

Over at the OSA, Gutierrez pushes for the development of a course that teaches students about the process of working for a client on a piece of public art, using the Chinatown Blossoms project as a case study of sorts.

March 2013
Eleven artists from the OSA’s three-year diploma program register for the public commission course, which runs from May to June. The curriculum includes various aspects of working with clients, from creating proposals to communicating openly with them, as well as understanding the difference between private and public commissions and how to navigate grant funding.

When the Chinatown BIA hosts an open house later in the spring at the Dalhousie Community Centre, the art students showcase mock-ups of their designs. Community members and property and business owners come to check out the proposed murals.

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WIRED FOR SUCCESS: How innovative technologies are shaping Ottawa’s post-secondary institutions

If it’s been a while since you were in college or university, your image of what that looks like might be outdated. Today students and profs alike are on Twitter, courses can be taught online, and instead of soft scribbling in notebooks, you’re more likely to hear the tap-tapping of fingers on laptops. From eTextbooks to virtual campuses, we look at the city’s post-secondary institutions and the super-cool ways they’re using technology.

The University of Ottawa

•  Since September 2011, some professors have been using Top Hat Monocle, a web-based classroom response system that allows professors to ask questions of large classes that students can answer using their mobile devices. Responses are displayed at the front of the lecture hall, which helps profs gauge students’ comprehension, as well as jump-start discussion.

•  In the fall of 2012, the school opened a new fully equipped multimedia conference room. In this lab, professors can test new technologies such as Echo360, a system that allows them to record and edit course content, then publish it so that students can play back lectures and access materials.

•  Professors can take advantage of Techno-Talks, a series of presentations that focus on how technology is used at the university for teaching purposes. For instance, one talk was a show-and-tell session of professors’ favourite teaching and research apps.

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PARTY PAGE: Snapshots from Politics and the Pen, featuring Conrad Black, Jian Ghomeshi, Mark Carney, and more

On March 6, Canada’s political and literary worlds teamed up for the annual Politics and the Pen gala, held at the Fairmont Château Laurier. As well as being an important fundraiser for the Writers’ Trust (it raised an estimated $325,000), this event is a chance for writers and politicians to rub elbows with diplomats, journalists, leaders in business, people in the arts, and more.

The event was hosted by the charismatic Mark Carney (Governor of the Bank of Canada) and John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs). Among the 500 people in attendance were such notable names as Conrad Black, Jian Ghomeshi, Rick Mercer, Olivia Chow, and Jim Watson (as well as Ottawa Magazine editor Sarah Brown and St. Joseph Media president Douglas Knight.)

The evening culminated with journalist Marcello Di Cintio winning the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for his book Walls: Travels Along the Barricades. The other finalists up for the award were Taras Grescoe, Noah Richler, Peter F. Trent, and Jeffrey Simpson (who was profiled in Ottawa Magazine in September). The finalists didn’t leave empty handed, though — each took home a $2,500 prize.

Click on the photos to launch a slideshow of pix from a night that’s considered a “highlight of the capital’s spring social calendar.”

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ON A ROLL: A Q&A session with Ottawa Rickshaws’ Brian Clarke

He’s a man with pull. After three years as a rickshaw runner, Brian Clarke bought into the company in 2010, joining fellow partners Adam Slight and Chris Lalonde. He sat down with Misa Kobayashi to talk about funny rickshaw experiences and the importance of business blogging.

This story appears in the Summer edition of Ottawa Magazine. Buy the magazine on newsstands or order your online edition.

Photography by Trevor Lush.

Why do you think rickshaws are something Ottawa needs?
In the Market, there’s so much that’s hidden from view. A good example is the hidden courtyards between George and York and between Murray and Clarence. Most tourists, and even people who live in Ottawa, miss finding them. Rickshaws give a pedestrian point of view but with the speed and mobility of a tour service.

You and your partners blog on the Ottawa Rickshaws website. Why?
One of the trends we’ve been reading about is using blogging as a tool for business. The nature of the job means we’re really knowledgeable about downtown, so having the blog helps us share this knowledge. It also helps us brand Ottawa Rickshaws so that people know it’s not just this little cart that drunk people take from bar to bar — we also showcase Ottawa.

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PARTY PAGE: Snapshots from the Politics and the Pen gala — where copies of Ottawa Magazine adorned the goodie bags

On April 25, Canadian politics and literature joined forces for the annual Politics and the Pen gala. Held at the Fairmont Château Laurier, the event brought together politicians, writers, diplomats, leaders from the arts and business communities, and other notable names to celebrate with food, drink, entertainment and — of course — memorable conversation. The night also included a presentation of the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing to Richard Gwyn for his biography Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times; Volume Two: 1867-1891. Here’s a look at the who’s who from the night (guests walked away with copies of Ottawa Magazine in their goodie bags). For an insider’s perspective on the evening, check out the post on Ottawa Magazine’s Politics Chatter blog, where Mark Bourrie blogged about the event in a post entitled “Dishing on last night’s Politics and the Pen dinner. Hint: Barbara Amiel rocked it.” Photography by Jake Wright and Steven Gerecke.

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WEB EXCLUSIVE: Q&A with writer Linda Kay on being a female journalist and a local reporter’s impact on history

By Emma Paling

Writer and journalist Linda Kay was the first female sports reporter at the Chicago Tribune.

Linda Kay is the author of The Sweet Sixteen: The Journey that Inspired the Canadian Women’s Press Club. Her book recounts how a single train ride in 1904 ended with the creation of a club that would go on to count Nellie McClung and Lucy Maud Montgomery among its members. A young Ottawa reporter, Margaret Graham, asked a CP publicist for the same press pass her male colleagues were given to attend the St. Louis World Fair. He said if she could find 12 accredited female writers, he’d escort them to St. Louis himself. Well, she found 15. He named them the “Sweet Sixteen,” despite the fact that these were tough, tenacious women, working as journalists at a time when they weren’t even legally recognized as people.

Kay herself was the first female sports reporter at the Chicago Tribune, and is now chair of Concordia University’s journalism department. The Sweet Sixteen book launch will be held this Saturday at the Media Club of Ottawa, an offshoot of the Canadian Women’s Press Club.

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The Weekender: A soulful singer and a couple funky craft sales, plus four other awesome outings

Singer-songwriter Royal Wood plays at the NAC on Nov. 20. Photo credit: Ivan Otis.

You might have heard singer-songwriter Royal Wood when he opened for national tours with Serena Ryder, Sarah Slean, and David Gray. If you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy, you’ve encountered his mellow, velvet-smooth voice on the soundtrack. Here’s your chance to hear him on his own well-deserved tour to promote his latest album The Waiting. Those in the know have even gone so far as to put his talents in the same league as Sexsmith and Wainwright. Saturday, Nov. 2o, 8 p.m. $25. National Arts Centre, Studio, 53 Elgin St., 613-755-1111.

For those keeners (you know who your are!) who like to start their Christmas shopping in November, the One & Only Arts and Craft Fair is the place to be this Sunday. For one day only, the Sandy Hill Community Centre plays host to an eclectic group of vendors displaying funky jewellery, stuffed toys, purses, artwork, and knitted items. But what really sets this craft show apart is the free buffet of comfort foods and sweets. Sunday, Nov. 21, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sandy Hill Community Centre, 250 Somerset St. E.

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The Weekender: A ’50s dance party, two terrific art events, plus three more intriguing ideas

Louis Helbig's exhibit "Beautiful Destruction" is on view at City Hall Art Gallery until Sept. 26. Photo courtesy of Louis Helbig.

There are way too many awesome exhibitions (35 at last count) to list them all, so check out the website and plan to spend lots of time being inspired and intrigued over the next few days and weeks. Some of our must-see picks for the weekend: Justin Wonnacott’s freaky fish at Carleton University Art Gallery (Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.), Louis Helbig’s Beautiful Destruction shots of the oil sands at City Hall Art Gallery (from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., ending Sept. 26), and Karsh Award winner Tony Fouhse’s portraits at Karsh-Masson Gallery (Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

Little Italy’s tasting, feasting, and stomping festival hits its peak this weekend. Our weekend picks? On Sept. 24, dozens of restaurants showcase feature lunch and dinner menus in honour of the event. On Sept. 25, head to Pasticceria Gelateria Italiana at 9 a.m. to meet up for a walking tour of Little Italy, then to Preston Hardware at 11 a.m. for a free wine-making seminar. For a full list of events visit

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The Weekender: Grown-up cartoons, hot air balloons, and four more long weekend events


"Twilight" is just one of the paintings by Michel Luc Bellemare that will be on view at Orange Gallery.

An exhibit by artist Michel Luc Bellemare opens this Thursday as part of the 1st Thursdays Wellington West Art Walk. Bellemare, a young aboriginal artist working in Ottawa, offers a visually striking collection of large abstract paintings in the style of colour-realism. Vibrant and radiant, meditative and pleasing to the eye, Bellemare’s work actually stops you in your tracks — no mean feat if you’re doing the six-gallery crawl. Vernissage Sept. 2. 5-9 p.m. Show runs to Sept. 23. Orange Gallery, 233 Armstrong St.

Look up — way up — for this aeronautical adventure that draws participants from around the world to show off the best in balloon designs. If you’re more of a feet-on-the-ground type of person, catch extreme sports demos, buskers, fireworks, a midway, and concert performances by Our Lady Peace and Hedley. Sept. 3 to 6. One day wristband: Sept. 3 $24, Sept. 4-6 $18. See website for full ticket info. La Baie Park, Gatineau, 819 243-2331.

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