Author Archive

QUEST: Sha-moking Delights at Meat in the Middle, Brothers Beer Bistro, The Swan

This article first appeared in the Interiors 2015 issue of Ottawa Magazine.


Typically, smoke is the unwanted and unloved by-product of fire. Unless, of course, you are smoking bacon, Laphroaig Scotch whisky, or sticky buns (as some have been known to do).

Know your wood, and know that breaking down its three main components — cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin — by fire will give you flavour. The sweet, fruity, buttery molecules in caramel are the same sugars found in the skeleton of a tree wall (cellulose), and the filling in that plant’s wall is hemicellulose. Lignin, the “glue from hell,” gives off phenols — aromas running from flowery to nutty to malty. (Another naturally occurring phenol, for instance, is the cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon.)

The chemistry of smoking is elemental. The method? Neanderthal.

S'more from Brothers Beer Bistro. Photo by Christian Lalonde

S’more from Brothers Beer Bistro. Photo by Christian Lalonde

Adrienne Courey, pastry chef at Brothers Beer Bistro, aims to recreate the iconic campfire treat with double-smoked s’mores. Here the classic roasted marshmallows on a stick with chocolate and graham crackers is deconstructed. Courey makes her own marshmallows with smoked German beer, then smokes them with apple chips. The final touch? Torching. As for the chocolate sauce, it takes guts to offer one that’s not too sweet. Courey used her mother’s 1970s recipe, which makes for an extra thick sauce. Who needs a cold, hard campground to appreciate such nostalgic pleasure? $5. Brothers Beer Bistro, 366 Dalhousie St., 613-695-6300.


Smoked Meat on Rye
“See Colonel Sanders there on top of the oven?” Jeremy McDonald of Meat in the Middle asks. The statuette serves, he says, “as a reminder to not do that.” McDonald and his business partner, Bruce Robitaille, certainly don’t want their joint to turn corporate. Because their food ain’t so fast. Smoked meat, one of their tastiest offerings, is brined for 10 days, encrusted with herbs, then smoked for an hour and slow-cooked for up to 10 hours. Slapped onto Rideau Bakery rye, slathered with hot dog mustard, and served with a dill pickle, the meat drips with flavour — just enough fat, just enough lean. Don’t worry — big corporate worlds can’t even come close. $8.50. Meat in the Middle, 311 Bank St., 613-422-6328.

Apple-Wood-Smoked Baby Back Ribs
If there’s any smoking happening, make it baby back ribs. Popular or what? Although Joseph Thompson, chef and co-owner at The Swan at Carp, has been smoking these puppies for 20 years, it’s only recently that he has done it to different meats and seafood. As for the ribs, the smoking is done with a light touch. “Nothing worse than chewing a cigar,” says Thompson. Afterwards, the meat is dabbed with barbecue whisky Dijon mustard sauce. Tender, juicy meat, falling off the bone — I’m at one with the majority, for once. $17.95. The Swan at Carp, 108 Falldown Ln., Carp, 613-839-7926.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Jon Bartlett Spins a Cosmic Master Plan

This article was originally published in the March/April 2011 issue of Ottawa Magazine.


Jon Bartlett

Jon Bartlett. Photo by Brigitte Bouvier

Jon Bartlett, the man behind Kelp records, is onto something. After bringing the label to Ottawa in 1999 and developing a core of musicians and artists around such bands as Jim Bryson, Hilotrons, and Andrew Vincent, Bartlett has no plans to rest on his laurels and enjoy the party (which, by the way, culminates in an annual two-day festival in May, a revelry known as the Kelp weekend).

For the past year, he has been working to make music his full-time endeavour, most recently landing a spot as director of Megaphono, a local start-up “music placement” service that licenses music by bands for use on television shows, adverts, films, and video games in Canada, the U.S., and abroad.

And though his surface demeanour is almost pathologically laid-back, Bartlett admits to yet another burning ambition — one that has nothing to do with music. This time it’s coffee. Specifically the awesome coffee he discovered in January 2010 at Raw Sugar Café. Bartlett is now working with the local foodie community to champion and sell the coffee, which is roasted by Neat, a fair-trade café run by Kim and Adam McKinty out of Burnstown in the Ottawa Valley.

Bartlett says he pulls much inspiration from the food community in Ottawa. “I get really excited when I look at what’s happening with the restaurant scene here in the last five years,” he explains. “Places like the Whalesbone — they do their annual hoedown thing in their yard, they have bands play, and they’ve been a big part of supporting local brewers and local farms.” What the Whalesbone and others have done, he says, is take risks and be unwilling to compromise the way they present themselves. “I think it’s awesome. They’ve created by collaborating.”

Bartlett is a man who, better than anyone, appreciates Ottawa’s local flavours in their various guises. And though he is loath to shine the spotlight on himself, he works tirelessly to make Ottawa a better place. “It’s awesome to go to the Mayfair for a movie and get a tourtière at Life of Pie after. Or it’s awesome to go to Whalesbone after work on a Friday and end up spending seven hours there and crawling home. They are some of our unique, interesting things, and I feel like [the city] is going in a direction that’s good,” he says.

He admits with a laugh that his varied business interests are based more on doing whatever he finds intriguing or unique rather than on solid “business principles.” And he’s quick to point out that he’s not a booster for all things Ottawa. A chat with Bartlett gives way to a discussion about parking bylaws (they discourage business owners setting up shop downtown), local music awards (“I mean, Hamilton has music awards, why don’t we?”), and the challenges of properly forging relationships with co-op coffee farmers in California.

It might seem scattered, but after talking with Bartlett, every idea he throws out seems to be part of a cosmic master plan. “You could easily just live in your own world within a few blocks’ radius and not know of something that’s happening across town,” he says. “People are interested in local culture and community and supporting that kind of stuff, even if they don’t necessarily know about it. I’m interested in making [those] connections.” 

UPDATED! Black History Month brings music, comedy, and cultural celebrations of all kinds to Ottawa

This article first appeared in the Interiors 2015 issue of Ottawa Magazine.


Pierre Kwenders, a Congolese singer-songwriter, performs a concert on February 12 at the NAC


This year’s theme is “Our Canadian Story: Our Elders. Our Legacy!” Opening celebrations reflect on the contributions older adults have made to the Canadian mosaic. Highlights include the proclamation of the city-wide observance for this year’s Black History Month, the unveiling of commemorative Canada Post stamps, and presentations of the 2015 Black History Ottawa Community Builder Awards.
Centrepointe Theatre, 101 Centrepointe Dr., 613-580-2700,

BAND is an organization dedicated to supporting, documenting, and showcasing the artistic and cultural contributions of Black Artists in Canada. And wow do they have a line-up! An art exhibit that questions the meaning of “minority” is on view at the GCTC; House of Paint is organizing The Origin of Beat, which explores how Afro, Caribbean, Latin, and Urban Music continue to influence contemporary music; a compendium of young black artists of the diaspora (including Annie Lefebvre, Le R, Yao, and Richard Léger) interpret great black poets of the  past in Prise de Conscience; and on Feb. 23, the Nina Project sees three amazing African-Canadian singers – Jackie Richardson, Kellylee Evans, and Shakura S’Aida – display the depth and range of Nina Simone’s legacy.

Readers from the black community share children’s stories written by black authors.
Ottawa Public Library, Nepean Centrepointe Branch, Children’s Program Room, 101 Centrepointe Dr., 613-580-2700,

In celebration of Black History Month, Pierre Kwenders, a Congolese singer-songwriter, performs a concert on February 12 that blends traditional and modern African rhythms — and is sure to get audiences on their feet. From $20.
National Arts Centre, Fourth Stage, 53 Elgin St., 888-991-2787,

Montreal stand-up comics Andrew Searles and Rodney Ramsey have gathered a crew of equally hilarious black comedians to bring The Underground Comedy Railroad tour to Ottawa. Daniel Woodrow and Keesha Brownie join the when they pull up to Absolute Comedy on Preston Street.

In partnership with the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Black Ottawa Business Network Social Group hosts speakers on topics such as health, nutrition, and exercise. Additional activities include a silent auction, Afro-Caribbean dance and poetry, and an exhibit on medical pioneers of African descent. $15.
The Royal Canadian Legion Montgomery Branch, 330 Kent St., 613-233-7292,

SAMMY DEAD. Feb. 21.
Written and directed by Fay Jarrett and Lorna Townsend, this play takes a lighthearted Caribbean-style approach to funerals. From $20.
Rideau Park United Church, 2203 Alta Vista Dr., 613-733-3156,

This event celebrates the diversity in the Ottawa community and recognizes the individuals, businesses, associations, and organizations that have made a difference within it. Highlights include a keynote speaker, award presentations, and entertainment. $65.
Sheraton Ottawa Hotel, 150 Albert St., 613-238-1500,

For complete schedule, visit

PROFILE: Ski Kiting in the Hills with Drew Haughton


This article was originally featured in the Nov./Dec. 2014 issue of Ottawa Magazine.

It’s Ingmar Bergman country here, just north of High-way 50 in Gatineau. Before me are snow-covered fields and a ruined barn as grey as wasp paper; above me, a sky like breath-clouded steel. You could almost imagine Death and the Knight, out of the classic Bergman film The Seventh Seal, meeting here for their final contest. But they wouldn’t be playing chess. They’d be pulling themselves across the snow by means of brightly coloured kites and yelling at each other (in Swedish): “Tear it up, dude!”

It’s hard to be introspective when you’re ski kiting.

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FROM THE PRINT EDITION: Rival gangs keep neighbourhoods under pressure

This article first appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of Ottawa Magazine.

Gun violence between rival gangs is casting a shadow over one neighbourhood in Ottawa’s  south end. Judy Trinh looks at the allure of semi-automatic handguns and what police are doing to keep residents safe  


Illustration by George Michael Haddad


From a distance, the two apartment towers on Cedarwood Drive appear to hold promise. Surrounded by green space, bike paths, and a play structure, a cacophony of voices — young and old, in a variety of languages — drifts out of the 15-storey towers. Yet on a warm Saturday afternoon, not a single child can be seen climbing the monkey bars. Perhaps they’re enjoying the swimming pool in the community recreation centre between the towers? Nope. There are no children — just broken lounge chairs, a ladder, and empty paint cans.

It was outside the pool that I ran into Daniel Mayville pushing his walker to the bus stop. He was in a rush to get his errands done before sundown. “Eight p.m., that’s when the trouble starts.” Mayville is on a disability pension. When he moved into the apartment building six years ago, he thought he had won the residential lottery. He got a spacious ground-floor apartment with a large bedroom and an enclosed porch. But within the first year, bullets flew through his bedroom window, and the same thing has happened three times since. Mayville no longer sleeps in his bedroom, preferring a mattress on the floor, away from the windows.

As of early September, there had been 30 shootings in Ottawa in 2014. Guns were found in only two of the incidents; one was in a green bin after a June shooting in the townhouse complex beside Mayville’s apartment. While neighbours took cover from stray bullets, the targeted man was shot in the forehead. Despite being hospitalized and requiring surgery, the shooting victim won’t tell police who fired the gun.

So far, no innocent bystander has been hit by a bullet in the city,
but there have been some frighteningly close calls.

That’s no surprise to detective Chris O’Brien, an Ottawa police officer who is now working with the Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit. He says these shots are often fired by individuals who feel disrespected in some way, who lash out to “settle petty beefs.” “They live in the moment,” O’Brien says. “They don’t think about the consequences of their actions.”

So far, no innocent bystander has been hit by a bullet in the city, but there have been some frighteningly close calls. In 2011, as an officer with the Guns and Gangs Unit, O’Brien recovered a bullet that had come to rest on a pillow beside a sleeping seven-year-old girl after it pierced through the second-storey wall of a house in Barrhaven. The possibility of innocents being caught in the crossfire looms ever larger — O’Brien says a “mini arms race” is going on between various street-gang cliques who are fighting over their piece of the neighbourhood drug trade.

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INTERIORS 2015 ISSUE: Light Fantastic


1N15_cover_300So often, when we admire a space, we notice not what lies inside it but what it allows us to enjoy of the outside: a spectacular view, sun rays filtered through a forest, the bustling parade of neighbourhood life. We move toward the windows and, for a moment, feel that we can enjoy both the excitement of the outside world and the serenity of personal space. And so this year, the theme of light unites our featured homes. As Ottawa’s architectural landscape continues to mature, there is no shortage of show-stopping homes to choose from: a theme helps narrow the field. Plus, it can be a daunting task, after entering a spectacular home that is adored by its inhabitants, to summarize the many design decisions (and family histories) that the space represents: a theme helps focus wide-eyed writers and photographers.

It is through this lens that we explore the five homes featured in this issue. A mid-century modern house is a natural fit because architects of that era were renowned for rooms with big windows designed to enhance the connection between the building and nature. Jay Lim’s house in Westboro goes one very practical step further, with three balconies, a big back deck, and white walls that amplify the bright atmosphere. In Old Ottawa South, architect John Donkin was challenged to build a modern house that faces west but is oriented to the south to take advantage of the sun. The Cantley home of Diane Lacaille and Pierre Charles Généreux incorporates glass walls and doors in creative ways, allowing sunshine to flood even the more hidden nooks. And what a view! It can be compared only to the Brockville condo of Bettina and Walter Griesseier, who traded their rural horse farm for a glamorous penthouse inspired by nautical themes. Their riverside abode was also a unique opportunity to highlight the many design possibilities in a condo.

As Special Projects Editor Sarah Brown continues to steer our Interiors issue into new and exciting waters, creativity and collaboration are at an all-time high. In “Everyday Beauty,” for example, five photographers, five subjects, and two writers come together to explore the way people express beauty — and their own life stories — through the objects and ambience with which they choose to surround themselves. It’s a unique and heartfelt testimony to the fact that we all have a story to tell and whatever way we choose to tell it is worthy of contemplation.

— Dayanti Karunaratne, editor


One of Shopify’s workspace nooks. Photo: Luther Caverly

This City
Reason to Love Ottawa: Because e-commerce giant Shopify is going global and buying local
By Sarah Brown
Photo by Luther Caverly

Random Design Desires: What we love, where to find it, and sometimes why

Found: Kingston’s Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts, an iconic lakeside theatre

Process: The art of success with Natasha Mazurka

Street Tour: Mapping modernity in Hintonburg 31

Field Trip

Thinking Inside the Box: An imaginative couple turns a series of shipping containers into a home that’s at once industrial and inviting
By Melanie Scott
Photos by Christian Lalonde

Photo Essay


Inside a glass home — a peak into an Alta Vista home. Photo: Marc Fowler

Everyday Beauty: In a rich photo essay, five photographers (document everyday beauty
as they see it, each choosing and photographing the dwelling of someone whose home truly captures the spirit of the owner
By Ron Corbett
Photos by Bill Grimshaw, Maggie Knaus, Jamie Kronick, Whitney Lewis-Smith, and Remi Theriault


Light Fantastic: Tours of five sun-filled homes, exploring clever layouts and design ideas that allow natural daylight to stream in.
By Hattie Klotz, Sarah Brown, Janine Debanne, Barbara Sibbald, and Daniel Drolet
Photos by Christian Lalonde, Marc Fowler, Lorne Blythe, and Doublespace Photography


A tour through three sets of matching kitchens and bathrooms with lots of detail on how to achieve that harmonized look
By Sarah Brown
Photos by Gordon King and Joel Bedford

Great Taste

Most Wanted: Dale Dunning‘s objets d’art bring Koi
By Matt Harrison

My Look:
Urbanomic‘s Heidi Helm and Justine Baltessen sophisticated and minimal
Photo by Jessica Deeks


Child’s play — each piece of furniture has playful potential; furnishings & accessories for design-minded parents. Photo: Christian Lalonde

Shop Talk: Child’s Play — An imaginative shopping feature sees a child creating her own dreamscapes by rearranging and repurposing the living room furniture and accessories of her design-minded parents
Photography by Christian Lalonde

Eating Life: Sweet Thing — Considering sweet temptations
By Shawna Wagman
Illustration by Michael Zavacky

Quest: Sha’mokin — Quest for smoked servings
By Cindy Deachman

City Bites: Notable restaurant and food happenings
By Shawna Wagman

Going Out

Spotlight: Soif  by Anne DesBrisay

Restaurant Reviews: Ace Mercado, Fauna, Kothu Rotti, and Dumpling Bowl by Anne DesBrisay

Calendar: Vertical Influences with Le Patin Libre • See, Hear, Read by Paul GessellWinterlude, and more

Sound Seekers: Remaking the Mercury Lounge by Fateema Sayani

Ottawa Journal

Besotted with a mid-century modern heritage house by Avirl Patrick

FROM THE PRINT EDITION: Saving an Orphaned Landmark on Beechwood

This article first appeared in the September 2014 issue of Ottawa Magazine. Sign up for a subscription or order back issues here.

By Mike Steinhauer

Climbing a steep metal ladder along the interior walls of St. Charles Church, I reach an attic space some 40 feet off the ground. Two more ladders are required to reach the open platform that houses the large church bell — this outdoor platform presents spectacular views of Lowertown, Parliament Hill, and the tree-topped hills of both Rockcliffe Park and Beechwood Cemetery.

Most striking, though, is not the view or the winding street below, but how the church building itself is situated within the area. From this height, the cross-shaped roof of St. Charles Church acts like a connector between the four neighbourhoods that border its property. The long nave runs parallel to Beechwood Avenue and Barrette Street, creating a natural link between east and west, while the large grassy park in front of the church unites north and south.

Drawing by Colin White

Drawing by Colin White

In some instances, a building’s landmark value is not recognized until the edifice itself is removed from the enviro- nment it once occupied. 

Still, the reality at street level diverges from what I observed from on high one summer day in 2013. The site of St. Charles Church hadn’t functioned as a connector — a town square of sorts — for some time. In fact, it had become a burden to those who once occupied the space. Its parishioners now worshipped elsewhere. The park surrounding the church had become unkempt, the neon cross atop the steeple was no longer lit, and the interior sat mostly empty. The church and its surrounding site were a mere shell of their former active selves.

The landmark value of a building — that is, a building’s physical, architectural, or historical value — is at times hard to quantify and, once identified, may not necessarily be accepted by all. In some instances, a building’s landmark value is not recognized until the edifice itself is removed (most often by demolition) from the environment it once occupied. The case of St. Charles differs somewhat, because the building had been identified by the city as a landmark and the site itself as an important node along Beechwood Avenue.

And yet it was as if the church had also been orphaned — by those who formerly occupied the space and by those now living around it. In the 1950s, some 5,000 parishioners worshipped at St. Charles Church. But by 2010, when the parish closed, the congregation had shrunk dramatically. Many had moved to more spacious homes in the suburbs over the years; many others had left the church altogether. To its new neighbours, perhaps those without a direct link to the parish or the Catholic Church, the church facade and the abandoned site held less meaning. Thus, with deconsecration in 2013, the demolition had become a probable and acceptable outcome to many. In fact, some welcomed the possibility of a new condo tower occupying the space, believing it would usher in new activity along Beechwood Avenue.

The rejuvenation of Beechwood has been the subject of much discussion over the past decade, its empty lots and vacant commercial spaces an irritant to many residents intent on turning the winding avenue into a thriving main street. Historically, municipal politics has not helped. Beechwood Avenue marks the dividing line between New Edinburgh, Lindenlea, and Rockcliffe Park (located to the north) and Vanier (located to the south), a divide further perpetuated by Vanier being its own municipal jurisdiction until 2001. This led to fragmented efforts at street renewal, with even a Business Improvement Association responsible for only one side of the street.

But none of this seems to be of much relevance when I am standing high above Beechwood, next to a bronze bell, and below a broken neon cross. This vantage point allows one to ignore the artificial divide between north and south. More importantly, it helps one recognize the role St. Charles could play (again) in connecting the two.

With designation in place, St. Charles has the potential to play an important role
in the revitalization of the avenue

Following my descent from the tower that day, I decided to conduct further research on the history of St. Charles Church and discovered a significance reaching far beyond its visual presence. I called the City of Ottawa, inquiring about the process by which a building receives heritage designation. It had been widely believed by those in the community that heritage designation for St. Charles had been refused. But city staff refuted this claim and confirmed that designation for the church had never been formally requested. I conducted some further research on the designation process and submitted an application that, along with support from the broader community, led to the formal designation in November 2013. The designation status will protect the building for generations to come and save its elegant facade and graceful bell tower from the wrecking ball.

The large church building, which predates three of the four neighbourhoods surrounding it, has an undeniable presence on Beechwood Avenue and helps establish the overall character of the area. With designation in place, St. Charles has the potential to play an important role in the revitalization of the avenue, to stand again at the centre of the neighbourhood, and perhaps to become the town square so many of us desire for our main stree

MY LOOK: Kate Klenavic

This article originally appeared in the Nov/Dec print edition of Ottawa Magazine


Kate Klenavic is wearing the Rouched Marigold Coat by Tracy Reese and Sam Edelman boots. Tights and dress are from Wilfred; earrings and gloves are Etsy finds. Photo: Andrew Carson

How would you describe your personal style?
As a chef, I have to be pretty functional, but I also switch from kitchen to floor a lot — as catering chef for The Whalesbone, I supervise the kitchen but also interact with event guests. So it’s a mix of functionality and style. Ballet flats are good for instantly making a look chic. Booties are great because they look like you’re wearing heels but you’re not. And black. I wear a lot of black. Off-site, I’m usually in cook’s clothing, but that can be tricky because halfway through the day, I might have to meet a client. Then I slip on ballet flats and a bracelet, and I’m good to go. Blazers are also a super way to easily transform an outfit.

Does your own style affect the way you present the food?
It definitely does. My style can be trendy, and things in the catering world change often. Plus, I see a lot of the same people at different events. So I’m always looking on Pinterest and reading magazines for ways to present food while still keeping the food delicious. These days I use a lot of wood accents and stainless steel. Brown paper bags are great because they’re so simple and functional. And mid-century is coming back in style, so that style of glassware is both hipster cool and old-school cool, so it appeals to different groups, which is especially good at weddings, where you see grandparents and young people. These days I do a lot of the event styling too, so it’s about combining your personal vision for the event with that of the client and finding a good balance between the two. In the end, I always feel good food should look like you want to eat it and not like a piece of art — a little bit rustic, a little bit messy.

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NORTHERN CONTACT: Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre: Igniting cultural pride

This series first appeared in the print edition of the Winter 2014 issue of Ottawa Magazine.



Sparking interest Ina Zakal shows a child the traditional practice of lighting the oil lamp called a qulliq. The qulliq was important to the survival of Inuit as it provided a source of heat and light. Photo by David Kawai


In a bright yellow room, a dozen energetic kindergarten students play with wooden blocks, draw geometric shapes, and flip through picture books while a pair of teachers circulate around the sunny space, tidying toys and trying to keep a handle on the organized chaos. One floor below, seven preschoolers snack on red peppers and broccoli. A boy in a blue sweatshirt slips away to stare at the fish tank. “Okay, I’ve got six of them in chairs now,” their teacher says. “That’s not bad.”

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NORTHERN CONTACT — ShoeBOX: A perfect fit for the North

This series first appeared in the print edition of the Winter 2014 issue of Ottawa Magazine.



The ShoeBOX hearing-testing device. Photo by Dr. Ryan Rourke

More than 60 children from Iqaluit are flown to Ottawa every year to get their hearing tested at CHEO — at a high cost to the Nunavut government. Now, thanks to an iPad-based tool invented by CHEO physician Dr. Matthew Bromwich, some of those children can skip the 3½-hour plane ride. The interactive app asks users to drag an icon (e.g., an egg) into different containers (egg carton, barn, etc.) depending on whether or not they heard a tone. A simple screening test takes five minutes or less and can be done with children as young as three. Dr. Bromwich talked about how this Ottawa invention is changing the game for Northerners and others in remote locations.

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