CITYHOME 2014: A primer on where to buy art in Ottawa

This article originally appeared in CityHome 2014 as “Get the Pitcture.”  Visit our Facebook page for more photos and details about featured items.



The ethereal painting Icesticks is by Dan Ryan, who shows at the Wall Space Gallery.


This gallery and frame shop is found in the midst of the hip Richmond Road strip in Westboro. Wall Space Gallery carries contemporary paintings, fine craft, and objets d’arts of all kinds. The artists are from across the country and include some of Ottawa’s most talented, including Stefan Thompson, Heidi Conrod, Joy Kardish, and Brandon McVittie. Wall Space also has an outlet in Orleans at 2316 St Joseph Blvd. 358 Richmond Rd., 613-729-0003,


Cube Gallery carries work, including this piece entitled Dehlia, by celebrated Canadian artist Joe Fafard.


Anchoring the lively visual arts scene in the Hintonburg-Wellington West neighbourhood, Cube Gallery’s wares vary from affordable paintings and sculptures by emerging talents to works by such established artists as Russell Yuristy, Barbara Gamble, Eric Walker, Kristy Gordon, Victoria Wonnacott, and Norman Takeuchi. The emphasis is on contemporary Ottawa-area artists in both solo and group themed exhibitions. But Cube is also attracting artists from further afield; Saskatchewan superstar sculptor Joe Fafard has become a regular. 1285 Wellington St. W., 613-728-2111,


Fathom 2 is by Sarah Hatton, who is carried by St-Laurent + Hill



This ByWard Market establishment has been an Ottawa trendsetter in fine contemporary art for decades. Galerie St-Laurent + Hill owner Pierre-Luc St-Laurent has an eye for young talent, nurturing such rising local stars as Geneviève Thauvette, Jean-François Provost, Marc Nerbonne, and Sarah Hatton. Other regulars include Réal Calder, Evergon, David Bierk, Pat Durr, Michael Harrington, and James Lahey. This is a gallery popular with both new and experienced collectors. The art is strictly contemporary, with a mix of mainly local and Quebec artists. 293 Dalhousie St., 613-789-7145,‎.



Don’t be fooled by the location. Hard-to-find Patrick Mikhail Gallery, located in a south end strip mall, is home to some of Ottawa’s best and most imaginative contemporary artists. Patrick Mikhail began in 2006 specializing in photo-based works but has expanded his reach to include painting and sculpture from both local and national artists, whom he markets domestically and at international art fairs. Local headliners include Andrew Smith, Michele Provost, Adrian Göllner, Andrew Morrow, Jinny Yu, Cindy Stelmackowich, Jonathan Hobin, and Amy Schissel. 2401 Bank St., 613-746-0690,


In the booming post-war economy, Benjamin Koyman opened small art galleries in Ottawa shopping malls. Many years later, in 2008, Koyman’s sons opened what is billed as the largest commercial art gallery in Canada — 13,000 square feet — along St. LaurentBoulevard. Koyman Galleries represents artists from across Canada, including superstar Toller Cranston and such popular locals as Shannon Craig, David Lidbetter, John Mlacak, and John Webster. The emphasis is on mainstream, rather than daring. 1771 St. Laurent Blvd., 613-526-1562,


Eliane Saheurs, painter of Enchanted Space II, is found at Jean-Claude Bergeron


Step into Old World charm. Galerie Jean-Claude Bergeron is located in a heritage building mere steps from the National Gallery. Bergeron specializes in works on paper, but also deals in paintings. The offerings are from such A-list 20th century Quebec artists as Guido Molinari, Ghitta Caiserman-Roth, and Marcel Barbeau, as well as such local contemporary talents as Eliane Saheurs and Dominik Sokolowski. 150 St. Patrick St., 613-562-7836,


L.A Pai Gallery carries Erin Robertson, who is known for her fox-inspired paintings and sculptures


The lines between craft and fine art are blurred at L.A. Pai Gallery, a wonderfully eclectic and classy ByWard Market spot where you can find art to wear, art for the home, or simply art to stimulate conversations about what constitutes art.Expect to encounter truly unique objects, including ceramics by Lisa Creskey and Mimi Cabri, glass sculptures by Ione Thorkelsson, arty furniture by Mustapha Chadid, and kitschy silver pendants by Mary Anne Barkhouse. 13 Murray St., 613-241-2767,


Island in the Sun, the compelling portrait by Charlene Lau Ahler, is available through Orange Art Gallery


Originally just a tomato toss from the Parkdale Market, Orange Art Gallery now is located in a heritage building in the increasingly trendy City Centre industrial area on the western edge of LeBreton Flats. Orange specializes in contemporary works, mainly paintings and drawings by a variety of Ottawa-area artists, including Gwendolyn Best, who never met a cat she did not want to paint. 290 City Centre Ave., 613-761-1500,


A long-standing quality gallery, Wallack Galleries is the place to visit to purchase work by some of Ottawa’s most established artists, including painters Duncan De Kergommeaux, Blair Sharpe, and David Jones, along with photo-artists Jennifer Dickson and Pedro Isztin and sculptor Dale Dunning. This mainly contemporary gallery also does framing, provides professional appraisals of artwork, and restores paintings, sculpture, and works on paper. 203 Bank St., 613-235-4339,



Gordon Harrison’s work, and that of others, is available at Gordon Harrison Gallery. This painting is from the Charlebois en Blanc collection


Gordon Harrison is one of Ottawa’s most popular landscape painters, rural Quebec scenes being a specialty. But there is much more to his namesake Sussex Drive gallery than the owner’s canvases. The heritage building also exhibits such other landscape artists as René Tardif and Normand Boisvert and such sculptors as Catherine Vamvakas Lay and Angela Verlaeckt Clark. A recent arrival at the gallery is Bhat Boy, whose paintings depict whimsical Ottawa street scenes. 495 Sussex Dr., 613-746-6853,


WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of Dec. 18 to 21



A new take on the 2013 hit musical Frozen, Freezing tells the story of the vivacious Queen Gerda and her two daughters, Princess Adele and Princess Hanna. The Royal Family must work together to save the Snow Globe Kingdom from the evil Hans, who wants to rid the world of winter forever; but they won’t succeed without the audience. Boo the bad guy, root for the hero, and get a warm hug from the cuddly Beavertail, all while helping to save the kingdom. This lively musical opens Thursday, December 18 at the Gladstone Theatre. Tickets from $42. For more info, visit here.                                                                               The Gladstone Theatre is at 910 Gladstone Ave.


27the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario James Barlteman

Raisin Wine

A tale described by the Globe and Mail as “both generous and wise, from one of our most distinguished elders,” Raisin Wine tells the story of James Bartleman’s childhood in post-war Muskoka. Bartleman takes readers beyond the area’s picturesque lakes and cottages in this humorous and heartwarming story of young boy with big dreams and an even bigger imagination. The Ottawa Storytellers take Raisin Wine from the page to the stage Thursday, December 18 at the National Arts Centre. Tickets are $22 for adults and $18 for seniors.  For more info, visit here.                                                                                                                                 The National Arts Centre is at 53 Elgin Street.

Christmas Slipper Concert

No formal attire necessary for this concert! Formerly known as the Orpheus Choral Group, Voices in Harmony invites audiences to don their most comfortable pair of slippers for the group’s laid-back Christmas Concert at Woodroffe United Church. Hear all your holiday favourites, including “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and “Silent Night,” Saturday, December 20, as well as a special surprise for children. Pass the hat admission ($10 donation recommended). For more info, visit here.                                                                                                                                                                                                            Woodroffe United Church is at 207 Woodroffe Ave.

The Dragon of Wantley

This beloved Victorian panto, reworked for the 21st century, finds Squire Benjamin in a heap of trouble with Sir Walter de Warthog, the pompous mayor of Wantley: he will be forced to leave his home unless he finds a way to pay his council tax. But the fairy Mauxalinda has released a dangerous dragon on the village, and Squire Benjamin is the only one who can save them. The play, chock full of laughter and fun, will be performed by the East End Theatre company at the Shenkman Arts Centre Thursday, December 18, until Saturday, December 20.  Tickets are $14.50 for children and $17 for adults. For more info, visit here.                                                                                                                                                                                                    Shenkman Centre is at 245 Centrum Blvd., Orleans.

shortestdayThe Shortest Day of the Year (FREE)

The Winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year, and had been celebrated around the world with festivals and feasts for centuries.  To celebrate the beginning of the end of winter’s darkness, the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Film Institute are inviting the public to join them for screenings of family-friendly short films in the Gallery’s auditorium. Take in classics such as “The Cat Came Back,” and “The Sweater,” as well as the Academy Award winner “The Danish Poet,” and hang around before or after for the Artissimo workshops on Sunday, December 21. For more info, visit here.                                                                                                                                           The National Gallery of Canada is at 380 Sussex Dr.


ARTFUL BLOGGER: John Marok, Rebellion & Meaghan Haughian



Complexcity, John Marok, 42″ x 48″, oil on canvas.

John Marok calls painting “a sublime activity.” This experienced artist from the Wakefield area has developed his own, unique visual language that tells stories combining the contemporary with the medieval.

Marok has a solo show, 4 Strong Winds, at the Shenkman Arts Centre running until Jan. 6. The following is a partial transcript of an email interview conducted with Marok.

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FOUND: Hockey Night in Addis

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



Photo by Samuel Taye

You’re wandering in Addis Ababa, the gritty, bustling capital of Ethiopia, and you have a sudden craving for home. What to do? You find improbably named Mickey Leland Street and the even more improbable Oh Canada restaurant. Inside, there’s a big red maple leaf on the ceiling and photos of the Rideau Canal on the wall. You ponder Arcade Fire Pizza but finally succumb to the Ottawa Senators Bacon Cheeseburger. A heavily laden donkey plods past the window. You’re home, but you’re not.

Market Memories
Lily Kassahoun knows how you feel. The former owner of Memories, the venerable ByWard Market dessert palace, was born in Addis. After more than 20 years away, family circumstances have brought her back. But her heart remains in Canada. “I miss it so much,” she says. So, in December 2012, she opened her unabashed ode to all things Canuck. While the locals remain baffled by the giant Erik Karlsson cutout on the back patio, they have embraced Canadian cuisine.


Coast to Coast
“That’s what you guys eat?” wide-eyed customers exclaimed when they first sampled poutine. Well, not every day, she had to explain — it’s comfort food. Before opening her restaurant, Kassahoun spent months searching, fruitlessly, for cheese curds, finally having to settle for a very soft mozzarella that would melt under the heat of the gravy. Her local adaptation — like the Newfoundland and Labrador Fish & Chips made with Nile perch — has since become an Oh Canada signature dish.



SERVING SENS Lily Kassahoun brings Canadian cuisine to the capital city of Ethiopia with her restaurant Oh Canada. Photo by Samuel Taye

Sensational Fandom
During the hockey playoffs, Kassahoun gets to bed early — because at 2:30 a.m., her alarm goes off. She makes herself a coffee, flips on her computer, and lies in bed listening to her beloved Senators streaming on Team 1200. “My mind is like a 50-year-old Canadian man’s,” she says, laughing. “I absolutely love hockey.” She was, in fact, set on calling her eatery Sensation Café — until her father informed her Sensation was a popular Ethiopian condom brand.

Maple Leaf Forever
Kassahoun fretted that her restaurant would be branded a ferenji place, strictly a place for foreigners. And certainly the diplo and NGO crowd, particularly the staff from the nearby American embassy, has embraced the shiny upscale café. But on the day we drop by, 90 percent of the patrons are young white-collar Ethiopians eating burgers named for hockey teams beneath photos of moose and beavers and Alanis Morissette. Kassahoun wears her maple leaf on her sleeve — and everywhere else too.


WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of Dec. 11 to 14



The “Ivy” in this weekend’s production of Holly & Ivy will be played by 10-year-old Sydney MacLellan. Photo: Jeff Nolan

Holly & Ivy
One of the lesser known, but endearing Christmas stories is a tale about wishing: a little orphan girl, Ivy, wishes for parents; a little doll, Holly, wishes to be loved by a little girl; a childless couple wishes for a little girl — all three get their wish in Rumer Godden’s classic tale. First published in Ladies Home Journal in 1958, Holly & Ivy is brought to the stage by Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre Company. Toys, puppets, carols, and a real live girl will be on stage from Thursday, December 11, until Saturday, December 13 at Shenkman Arts Centre for this timeless production. For more info, visit here.
Shenkman Arts Centre is at 245 Centrum Blvd.

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CONTEST! Ottawa Magazine Short Fiction Contest


Illustration by Alanah Abels

It might be snowy outside, but at Ottawa Magazine we’re gearing up for summer — our Summer issue, that is.

Every year, Ottawa Magazine publishes short fiction by local authors in our Summer issue. For 2015, we’re switching things up a bit with the inaugural Ottawa Magazine Short Fiction Contest.


So hunker down and bring to life that great tale that has been simmering away in the back of your mind, or dust off the manuscript that is sitting on your desktop.

The winner will receive $700, the runner up $300, and both stories will be published in the Summer 2015 issue of Ottawa Magazine.

NOTE: the contest is open only to residents of the National Capital Region.

Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges through a blind judging process.

Entries must be no longer than 3,000 words. Entries can be short stories or excerpts but must not have been published elsewhere.

Participants may enter as many times as they wish, but once submitted entries may not be submitted to other contests (or published elsewhere) until the winning entries have been announced in April 2015.

The deadline is March 1, 2015.

Submit entries in a Word document to Ottawa Magazine via Kelsey Kromodimoeljo

“A short story is the ultimate close-up magic trick – a couple of thousand words
to take you around the universe or break your heart.”
– Neil Gaiman

WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of Dec. 4 to 7



Ottawa State of Mind
“I’ma up at Brooklyn, now I’m down in Tribeca, Right next to De Niro, but I’ll be hood forever, I’m the new Sinatra, and since I made it here, I can make it anywhere, they love me everywhere” — Empire State of Mind, JayZ

The “everywhere” includes Ottawa, as Babylon gets set to host Can’t Knock The Hustle, a JayZ Tribute night on Thursday, Dec. 4 — it’s all JayZ, all night; hosted by Phil Ireland backed up by DJ Acro. Cover is $4. Doors open at 11 p.m.
Babylon is at 317 Bank St.

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SOUND SEEKERS: Mercury Lounge — “live long + prosper”


Trevor Walker by Alex Vlad

Photo: Alex Vlad

A number of changes are planned for the tri-level building at 56 Byward Market that houses The Collection (retired), Overkill, and The Mercury Lounge.

In August, a soda machine gasket came undone on the mezzanine of the Mercury Lounge. With the pressure of a hose, water came down on all levels leading to damage of the floors, drywall and electrical. Insurance covered most of it, but it meant the bar had to close for eight weeks.

During the down time, owner John Criswick and staff planned for some major upgrades. Here’s what to expect in the coming months.

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WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of Nov. 27 to 30



Test 1 (v.2), Sabrina Chamberland, 2014, inkjet prints on archival paper of digital photographs, layered in photoshop 88.9cm x 106.7cm

I've Been Waiting for You

I’ve Been Waiting for You, Roy Whiddon, 2014, photograph (digital pigment print) 30″ x 24″

All shapes and sizes FREE
Recognizing the significance the human form plays in the art-making process — whether it be the artist, their works, and the models used — the non-profit group, Figureworks, is hosting an impressive, juried art event that celebrates the human form at Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts.

The event is currently ongoing and continues until this Sunday, Nov. 30 at Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts. Times for viewing are Thursday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. For a taste of what you’ll see, check out some of the works online.
Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts, 310 St. Patrick St.

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WEEKENDER: Five things to do on the weekend of Nov. 20 to 23



A film still from Finnish film, Road North, showing this week at the 29th Annual European Film Festival

European Film Fest
Officially, the 29th Annual European Film Festival began last week. It slipped my mind, and if it slipped my mind, then perhaps it may have also slipped others’ — which is a tragedy, given the quality of the films on offer this month. And so, mea culpa. To atone, here’s what caught my eye in the festival’s second week: One Mile Away, a documentary by British filmmaker, Penny Woolcock, which chronicles the gang rivalry between Birmingham’s ‘the Johnson Crew’ and the ‘Burger Bar Boys’, and the extraordinary steps that two opposing gang members took to bring about reconciliation — it’s on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 9 p.m. How about a Finnish road movie? Tie pohjoiseen (Road North), by Mika Kaurisamaki, is about a father, reuniting with his son 35 years later, and the two heading north in a stolen car — Friday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. If you’re currently watching or planning on watching the TV series The Americans, you might also like Jack Strong, a true tale about a Polish double agent during the Cold War era who exhaustingly vies between the Soviets and the C.I.A. Directed by Poland’s Wladyslaw Paskiowski, it’s on Saturday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m.

New to the festival this year is the ability to purchase tickets simply by clicking here in advance and then pick them up at the door. For more info, visit here.
The festival runs until Sunday, Nov. 30
The E.U. Film Festival is at the Library & Archives Canada building, 395 Wellington St.

Eft’d up is right
Ever imagined what a comedian might do with your real-life story? Find out during The Experimental Farm Theatre’s improv comedy event at Pressed Cafe on Thursday, Nov. 20. The formula is: audience’s true stories + comedian’s confessions + improv = hilarity. Or profound awkwardness. Or both. Featuring improv groups Urban Woodsmen and Birds of Prey, along with a host of others, the event gets underway at 7:30 p.m. Costs $5. More particulars on who, exactly, will be there, visit here.
Pressed is at 750 Gladstone Av.

Bourbon Bananza
Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey — I know all you lumbersexuals know what I’m talking about. Bourbon. Derived primarily from corn, the American whiskey, often aged in charred oak casks, now competes with top scotch brands for our imbibing dollars. And why not. It’s dee-licious. Especially if you like the taste of whiskey, but aren’t wowed by kinds that taste like it’s been sieved through moss. And cooks love it, because it has so much body and adds a degree of richness to food. To this end, some of Ottawa’s restos are participating in Bourbon Week (Friday, Nov. 21 to Thurs., Nov. 27). The week kicks off with an event at Two Six {Ate} on Friday, Nov. 21, where old school bourbon cocktails will get a makeover. On Saturday, Nov. 22 Union 613 is hosting Beyond the Bourbon, where samples of rare bourbons will be paired with tasty treats — there’s two times for this event: either at 3 p.m. or 8 p.m. Tickets are $32.
More events on Monday and throughout the remaining week — visit here for details.
Two Six {Ate} is at 268 Preston St.; Union 613 is at 315 Somerset St. W.

Joy — Where?
I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? Down in my heart? Where? Actually, down on Wellington Street to be exact, and it’s not me who’s got it (sadly — I blame winter), rather the Ottawa Valley Crafts & Collectibles Guild. They’re holding Joy, a juried (as in, not everyone who owns a glue gun gets in) craft market at the Library & Archives on Saturday, Nov. 22 and Sunday, Nov. 23. The market features 85 vendors. It’s slogan: “a unique melange of traditional, steampunk and geek — all served up with a cup of good cheer!” i.e. tea and other seasonal beverages. Oh and carollers. For a full list of vendors, visit the bottom of the page, here. Doors open at 9 a.m. and close at 4 p.m.
This year, the event is generating money for the Ottawa Senators Foundation, a charity that supports social recreation and education programs for kids. More on this foundation, visit here.
Joy will be at the Library & Archives Canada building at 395 Wellington St.

“I now regret it completely…”
Once one of the harshest critics of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), what environmentalist Mark Lynas now “regrets” is “having spent several years ripping up GM crops.” In 2013, Lynas reversed his stance and declared: “I am also sorry that I helped to start the anti-GM movement back in the mid 1990s, and that I thereby assisted in demonizing an important technological option which can be used to benefit the environment.” And yet, if you recall, GMO was — and still is to many — a dirty word that helped kick off the organic movement we see today in full swing. So are GMOs good or bad?
Confused? I am. Well, to muddy the waters further (though I doubt that’s the organizers of this event’s intent) St. Paul University is hosting Ottawa’s inaugural GMO Free event, featuring keynote speakers, panel discussions, Q&As with local experts — all on the side of freeing ourselves from GMO products. Lots of time for questions — like, why is one of the anti-GMO movement’s founders (Lynas) suddenly doing a 180?!?
The event is on Saturday, Nov. 22, and begins at 9 a.m. and runs until 5 p.m. More info, visit here.
St. Paul University is at 223 Main St.