Find Your Happy Place in The Great Waterway [advertorial]

6103_RTO9_Digital_Advertorial_image_1The Great Waterway offers historic main streets, inspired dining, boutique shopping, unique theatre, breathtaking cruises and unforgettable natural beauty for every traveller.
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True to its name, The Great Waterway includes some of Canada’s most legendary bodies of water, the mighty St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario (including the warm and inviting Bay of Quinte) and the locks, rivers and inland lakes of the historic Rideau Canal system. Today they offer visitors countless opportunities for aquatic exploration — whether on a boat cruise of the 1000 Islands, a kayaking trek through the back country, or a world-class freshwater fishing expedition.

If you love the great outdoors, you’ll enjoy hiking and cycling the many trails that criss-cross the region, through tranquil forests and fields. Sun-seekers will adore the famous white sand beaches, while golfers of all skill levels have more than 60 scenic courses to choose from.

6103_RTO9_Digital_Advertorial_image_2_retinaAll of that fun is bound to make you hungry (and thirsty!). The Great Waterway is a foodie’s paradise. An abundance of excellent restaurants serving local and exotic fare, award-winning wineries, microbreweries, artisanal food producers and farmers’ markets are all waiting to welcome your taste buds.

Looking for a dash of culture? Sample the performing arts at venues all along The Great Waterway: . Enjoy fresh new theatre experiences such as The Inaugural Kick & Push Festival in Kingston, or take in a live musical performance at one of the many festivals held throughout the summer.

You can also unleash your inner history buff with the area’s heritage sites, which played key roles in Canada’s history. Experience 1860’s pioneer living at Upper Canada Village. Join the red-coated Guard at historic Fort Henry in Kingston, and witness the firing of cannons at the Sunset Ceremony. Or learn about the amazing Rideau Canal, a man-made connection between Kingston and Ottawa.

There’s so much to see and do, you’ll want to return again and again, year-round. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself sharing this year’s vacation photos of The Great Waterway with the caption “This is my happy place!”


  1. Settled along the water, boating and fishing are ways of life in the Bay of Quinte region, but this oasis is also known for its cheddar & ale and chocolate & apple trails.kidsinsand
  2. Canada’s newest VQA wine region, Prince Edward County, is recognized for its taste and arts trails, guiding you to the County’s best chefs and winemakers, artists, and artisans.
  3. Land O’Lakes is the perfect place to relax, on the water or the golf course. You can also catch the excitement at PGA TOUR Canada’s Great Waterway Classic at Loyalist Golf & Country Club.
  4. Kingston is a cultural hub bursting with old-world charm. Among eclectic boutiques, restaurants and galleries, you’ll find a bounty of historical sites, including Fort Henry.
  5. Stretching along the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Rideau Canal, the Rideau Heritage Route winds through natural beauty and historic villages. Enjoy sightseeing, fishing, and travelling back in time by navigating the locks.
  6. 1000 Islands – Gananoque and Brockville are famous for island cruises, through historic mansions and castles. It’s also a world-class diving destination, with centuries old shipwrecks just below the surface.
  7. Cornwall and the Counties are a must-see while cycling along the Waterfront Recreational Trail or Long Sault Parkway, promising unique experiences like the Glengarry Highland Games.


THIS CITY: Catching up with professional tree climber Leilak Anderson

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

Wakefield’s Leilak Anderson lives and breathes trees. He also climbs them. Besides running his own tree business, the certified arborist competes at international climbing events. The five-time Quebec champion, who placed 30th at the International Tree Climbing Competition in Tampa, Florida this year, spoke with Stephen Dale about climbing competitively, his start as an arborist, and the evolving outlook of his profession.

Leilak Anderson. Photo by Matt Liteplo

Leilak Anderson. Photo by Matt Liteplo

You work all day with trees. Why do you spend your downtime at tree-climbing competitions?
It’s important for me to go to these competitions [in order] to be on the cutting edge, to see how they’re doing it in New Zealand or Hong Kong. Everyone is dissecting what they do to the point of perfection, and they want to share the information. In the climbing culture, safety is the most important thing.

Can you describe the various climbing events?
One of the events is foot-locking. It’s where you ascend a rope 50 feet and ring a bell at the top to see who’s fastest. In another, you climb a tree, rope-assisted, but never with spurs on. If you break a branch, you’re disqualified. Then there’s the aerial rescue, where you have five minutes to bring an injured climber — a mannequin, actually — down to the ground for transfer to the paramedics.

That’s extremely demanding stuff.  How long do you think you can you keep doing this?
I’m 32 and I’m only getting better. To be a master of my trade, I see another 10 years.

How did you get into the tree business?
I started when I was in high school. I’m second-generation. I learned the business from my dad. My father was originally setting chokers — basically attaching cables to fallen trees so they can be dragged away — on the West Coast on the Queen Charlotte Islands on very steep terrain. Then he was a reforestation contractor who planted millions of trees in Ontario. After that, he specialized in climbing and removal, which is where I started.

Have you seen a change in the culture over the years?
The old-school “get ’er done” loggers’ mentality has to be faded out of this business. Today, we’re not lumberjacks cutting down trees; we’re specially trained arborists caring for trees. As arborists, we find the balance between the trees’ needs and people’s needs, because the coexistence of humans and trees is very much a symbiotic relationship.

What do you have to learn to become an arborist?
First you study plant biology. Trees are among the oldest living organisms on the planet, and unlike humans, who heal, trees compartmentalize, sealing off most of a wounded area to continue to grow. We study how trees react to what we do with them, so we know how to prune them properly. Knowing the tree species is the first step of any assessment. Tree identification tells you about the growth habit of a tree — say, a poplar versus an elm — so you can identify proper anchor points. If you don’t know about the tree, you can easily hurt it.

Ottawa has been hit hard by tree diseases.
Yes, in the ’70s, King Edward [Avenue] was lined with majestic elms that all had to be cut down because of Dutch elm disease. History is repeating itself with the ash trees. It comes down to human transportation. We can follow the main transport route from Michigan to here and see how the emerald ash borer spreads. So now a lot of what we do is pruning the Manitoba maples, for example. Many people consider it [the Manitoba maple] to be a sprouting weed, but we’re finding that they provide a great canopy.

DAYTRIPPER: Rafting at Foresters Falls


This article was originally published in the Summer 2015 print edition of
Ottawa Magazine


Owl Rafting on the Ottawa River

To Play
Get far, far away from the sights, sounds, and pollution of the big city with a weekend at Owl Rafting, a resort on a quiet bay in the Ottawa River. Just a 1½-hour drive from Ottawa, Owl offers whitewater rafting for every level of thrill-seeker, from sedate family trips to serious whitewater adventures. Choose a big boat for stability or a small boat if you’re looking for a soaking. Owl is best enjoyed over two days: the first spent rafting, the second enjoying kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, canoes, volleyball, the beach, hot showers, and a sauna at Owl headquarters.


Rest a rustic retreat — Dwyer’s Farmhouse

To Rest
If you’ve purchased a two-day package, you can pitch a tent at Owl and enjoy a barbecue dinner and a hearty breakfast on-site. If you prefer something a little softer under your back and shoulders, you can rent a small on-site rustic cabin.
For those who choose a one-day rafting trip, there are plenty of interesting places to stay within a 30-minute drive of Owl HQ.

One is the Stuart Log Cabin, which comes complete with white-chinked walls and a family-style bedroom that sleeps four and offers a true country get-away-from-it-all experience on the shore of Mink Lake.  With an outdoor firepit and woodland walks just outside the front door, it offers a chance to reenact pioneer activities while enjoying the modern comforts of a 21st-century bathroom.

Or you can get your hands dirty by renting Dwyer’s Farmhouse. This century-old farmhouse has three bedrooms, sleeps six people, and offers the chance to feed the chickens, gather your breakfast eggs, and even offer a helping hand during haymaking in June and July.


Go spelunking inside Bonnechere Caves

To Eat
Founded in 2011, Whitewater Brewing Company recently opened a brew pub offering soup, rustic sandwiches, and gourmet pizzas with dough made from leftover beer grains. Wash it all down with a pint of Whitewater’s finest. What’s more, it’s just a stone’s throw from Owl Rafting, where the three founders first met.

To Distract
After a day of whitewater rafting, find thrills of the underground kind at nearby Bonnechere Caves.  Just a 30-minute drive from Owl, the caves were carved by nature through limestone deposited 500 million years ago and offer a fascinating peak at myriad different fossils. Take a flashlight to get the best close-up view.

MY LOOK: Bella Cat


This articles was originally published in the Summer 2015 print edition of
Ottawa Magazine.


Bella Cat is dressed in a vintage dress from a market in Paris, a Cheshire Cat ring and a Bhudda ring. She’s holding an Astatic D104 mike that dates back to the 1930s and is still used by audio enthusiasts. Photo: Jessica Deeks

On Wednesday, July 15,  you’ll be performing at this year’s Bluesfest. This comes from time spent developing a unique sound up in the Gatineau Hills, where you’re from. How did you start singing?

When I was 12, my mom picked me up from school and said, “I’ve put you in singing lessons.” I wasn’t that happy. After that, I just kept singing, and now I’m very grateful. My mom said I sang every day, so she thought, I’m just going to put her into singing lessons. It’s been the last two to three years I’ve been trying to do this professionally. In the last year and a half, it’s really taken off.

This will be your second summer performing at Bluesfest. How would you describe your sound?

It starts off bluesy. The base of our style is blues, but I think it’s more of a future soul. That’s what we like to call it.

I understand Bella Cat is not your real name. How did you dream up your
stage name?

I have a very close cousin who calls me Bella because of my beautiful spirit, but everyone else calls me Cat. So I like to think of it like “the beautiful cat,” as I am one with the universe and nature (although I’m allergic to cats).


Bella Cat is playing at Bluesfest on Wednesday, July 15 on the Monster Energy Stage at 6 p.m. Photo: Jessica Deeks

What’s your personal style like?

It’s very natural and hippie, kind of a rustic look. I really like to wear rings, jewellery, and feather earrings. There’s this woman, Natalie Lipson, whose earrings I love to wear. The company is called Pluma — very cool stuff. I also do a lot of vintage shopping and love Indian clothing, like paisleys, scarves, and long shirts. I love wearing patterns, and I like them all together — polka dots with a striped shirt is great. Normally, I’m a barefoot kind of girl unless I’ve got some comfortable heels. But I’m not a big heels person unless it’s like a big platform, like a Spice Girls platform — I’ll wear that.

Where do you like to shop?

I generally get my clothing abroad so that it’s a unique piece and nobody can get it. The dress I’m wearing is from Paris, from the Hippy Market. We went there to see Jim Morrison’s grave. Temple in Wakefield is a great place too. I love them there. When I went to Nashville, I got a lot of those vintage Nashville cowgirl dresses. Europe was great, and New York City is where I got my Bella Cat jacket. It’s leopard print with red trimming, and people love it. I wear it to my gigs.

Anything you like to wear specifically when performing?

I think it was Sharon Jones who told me “the best outfits on stage come with sequins and sparkles.” And I agree 100 percent. I also wear earth-tone colors, like sky blues, grass greens, pinks, and purples on a regular day, and then when I’m on stage, it’s more spicy and edgy.

You have a unique sound in music. Do you find that’s reflected in the way
you dress?

Yeah, I’d say so. I like to present myself as an easygoing, worry-free, love-all-around person. So when I wear my clothes, it’s either very flattering and pretty or just loosey-goosey and relaxed.

BY THE NUMBERS: Keeping Score on FIFA


This article was originally published in the Summer 2015 print edition of Ottawa Magazine. We’ve added some new data, below, courtesy of Lowest Rates Inc. who’ve also been crunching some of the numbers.


Team Canada’s Kaylyn Kyle. Photo: Ville Vuorinen

Right now, the world’s best female soccer players are facing off in the last stages of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.


Team Canada’s Robyn Gayle. Photo: Paul Giamou

When Canada hosted the inaugural FIFA under-19 women’s world championships in 2002, there was a hint of greatness in the air.  “That was where some of our Canadian superstars — players like Christine Sinclair, Erin McLeod, Carmelina Moscato — first stepped onto the world stage,” recalls Valerie Hughes, who got to travel with the team across the country as part of its organizing committee and is general manager for the Ottawa games this year.

When the Canadian women’s team won Olympic bronze in 2012, losing to the United States in the final match, the world took notice.

And despite some struggles — women’s team members continue to make less than their male counterparts, though they are currently ranked eighth in the world while the men sit at 114th — Hughes believes FIFA will be inspirational to girls starting out in the sport.

Below, a look at some of the data coming out of this event:


Team Canada. Photo: Bob Frid

Who to Watch For
#25 Alexandra Popp, striker with the powerful German team — Germany plays France on Friday, June 25.

#9 Eugenie Le Sommer, mid-fielder for the French team — France plays Germany on Friday, June 25

#1 Karen Bardsley, goalkeeper for the English team — they  square off against Canada on Saturday, June 26

#9 Josee Belanger, striker for Canada — the team faces England on Saturday, June 26

1971: Women’s teams in England allowed to play on the same pitches as men

1991: First FIFA Women’s World Cup held in China

1996: Women’s soccer becomes  an Olympic event

Who’s Watching
407 million: Television audience for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. Canada expects to surpass that, partly because there are 24 teams in this competition, up from 16 in 2011

Women versus Men

6: Approximate number of times women fake an injury during a game

11: Approximate number of times men fake an injury during a game

10 seconds: Extra time it takes men to get off the field for substitutions, compared with women

30 seconds: Extra time that men take to celebrate a goal — or writhe on the ground with a suspected injury — versus women

Who’s Working

1,176: Number of Ottawa volunteer applications

300: Volunteers selected for the Ottawa games

100: Volunteers who fluently speak a language other than English or French

84: Age of oldest volunteer

16: Age of youngest volunteer

20: Number of paid staff in the Ottawa office

$16 million: Estimated economic spinoff for Ottawa

Following information is courtesy of Lowest Rates Inc.



MY LOOK: Alexander Shelley

This story first appeared in the May 2015 issue of Ottawa Magazine.

Alexander Shelley is wearing a Hugo Boss shirt, Armani pants, and a vest by The Kooples. His shoes are Tiger of Sweden, and his watch is a Rolex Datejust. Photo by Rémi Thériault

Alexander Shelley is wearing a Hugo Boss shirt, Armani pants, and a vest by The Kooples. His shoes are Tiger of Sweden, and his watch is a Rolex Datejust. Photo by Rémi Thériault


Your musical travels have taken you around Europe, as well as to North America and Asia. Does your exposure to so many cities and cultures play into your style at home?
Absolutely — it is one of the joys of my profession that I am able to travel so much and to revel in the diversity that makes our world so very rich and colourful. I love observing the subtly different trends and looks from country to country, sometimes even from city to city. Without doubt, they all have their influence on my own style.

You have been chief conductor of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra since 2009. What style trends have you picked up on while in Germany?
Germans have a nice line in smart casual clothing — a little like the Scandinavians — which is a style that has always appealed to me. Hugo Boss and Armani are trusty go-tos for suits, I find.

You’ve been lauded for thinking outside the box in terms of initiatives to attract young adults to the concert hall. Does that connection to youth mean a more casual style on and off the stage?
At 35, I don’t yet feel that old myself, but it is true that my various projects have helped to keep me connected with youth culture. I have to be a little bit of a chameleon in professional life, as what we perform is so astonishingly diverse.

Tell me about your performance tuxes.
I have quite a few different options for concert attire, and which option I go for depends on the occasion and the climate. I have a few tuxedos: a couple from Hugo and a couple from The Kooples. I of course have a couple of pairs of tails (penguin suits!), and then I have a black high-collared suit from Shanghai Tang in Hong Kong.

How would you describe your personal style?
Although I love variety, I would say that my default is smart. I like a crisp shirt and nicely tailored trousers or suit.

What item of clothing can you not live without?
Even though they count as accessories and not clothing, I would have to say my watches — I have been collecting for a few years now and enjoy the finesse of a beautifully crafted timepiece. Something about conducting and keeping time, I guess.

What do you wear on a lazy Sunday morning, assuming you get those every once in a while?
Sweatpants, T-shirt, and some big comfy socks.

What’s your favourite city in which to people-watch?
Oh, gosh, there are so many possibilities … New York or Berlin for the sheer diversity of styles, Tokyo for something completely different, and perhaps Rome for pure elegance. Ultimately maybe it has to be my hometown of London, but then I’m biased!

MY LOOK: Tommie Amber Pirie

This article was originally published in the April 2015 print edition Ottawa Magazine

By Di Golding

Tommie Amber Pirie. Photo by Miv Fournier

Tommie Amber Pirie wears Value Village finds — a pair of vintage high-waisted Gap jean shorts and an orange top. Purse and belt, also form Value Village, are wardrobe staples. Figure skates replace a pair of Sorel leather Slimboots; on hanger, a green blazer from H&M. Photo by Miv Fournier

You live in Toronto now, but the CBC comedy Michael: Tuesdays and Thursdays was filmed in Ottawa. Did you enjoy filming here?
Generally, it was pretty low-key. The hustle and bustle is a little bit less in Ottawa. That’s why I live in the Beaches district in Toronto. It’s calm and near nature, close to the water.

Your first time performing for people wasn’t on the stage. You were a competitive figure skater from the Minto Skating Club. Skaters are known for being flamboyant. Did that impact your style?
I was always the weirdo in high school wearing five different eyeliner colours at the same time and wearing mismatched tights with big sweaters. I don’t have any fear when it comes to style. That does come from skating. Being wrapped in spandex for 15 years of your life changes something in you.

You recently starred with two famous Zoes (Zoë Kravitz in Pretend We’re Kissing and Zoe Kazan in The F Word). Both have really distinct styles. Did you take anything away from them?
Kravitz is so eclectic, so bohemian! I love her style, especially the red carpet stuff that she’s been doing lately. Kazan is quirky and weird and amazing; she has some really awesome conservative pieces and funky pieces too. I want to be influenced by the people around me, but I want to find my own vibe. Everybody’s style is a version of somebody else’s style. So it’s about finding your uniqueness within that and bringing your part into it.

What are your style must-haves?
I have to have a blazer — a good fitted suit jacket. I like dressing androgynous. I love suits but in a modern way. I like a good pair of black boots that go with everything, like skirts and dress pants. I love baggy generic T-shirts. I always mix super-casual with super-dressy.

You play the witch Paige Winterbourne in the second season of the Space channel series Bitten. Was that a chance to relive your teenage goth years?
I didn’t really go through a goth period. Maybe a goth week or a vampire weekend. On Bitten, I was wearing these high, kick-ass-crazy John Fluevog boots all season. They felt about eight inches tall, and they were so sexy and bad-ass. I was running up hills and fighting people in these boots for 3½ months, so now I can tell John Fluevog that his boots are witch-proof.

Speaking of the supernatural, you were in The F Word with Harry Potter himself. What was it like working with Daniel Radcliffe?
It was one of those pinch-me moments. It was only about 10 years ago, and I wanted to be an actress. I’ve always wanted to be an actress, but I had closed the chapter with skating, so acting became my number one focus. Anyway, I had been watching Harry Potter movies in my living room in Ottawa. Dan’s so down-to-earth and willing to connect and talk like a cool, normal, average dude. All this, despite the fact that he’s walking around with three bodyguards. I learn from everyone I work with — from him, it was about humility and always reminding yourself where you came from.

FOUND: Buried treasure uncovered at LeBreton Flats

This article was originally published in the April 2015 print edition of Ottawa Magazine


The Lilias W. Fleck Fountain: the fountain stands 157 cm high, the bowl measures 106 cm in diameter, and the wall is 35 cm high. The lily spout and lily pad motif are in recognition of Lilias, whose name is related to the Latin word for lily. Photo: courtesy of the NCC

It’s not often that buried treasure is discovered in Ottawa. But the Lilias W. Fleck fountain, which once graced a small park at the north end of Bronson and provided drinking water for “man, horse, and dog,” was moved, then lost — perhaps even demolished by vandals. Rediscovered during soil work in advance of development in Lebreton Flats, the fountain is undergoing a makeover, and the NCC plans to reinstall it. This time, however, it may quench the thirst of man, woman, and Sens fan.

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REASON TO LOVE: Because the city breeds actors, professional athletes, and literary icons


This article was originally published in the April 2015 print edition of Ottawa Magazine

The one thing that stars of our favourite comics, novels, and movies have in common? A compelling origin story. But how many of us picture that journey including the Rideau Canal? A peak in the success of Ottawa natives reminds us that stars aren’t necessarily training in some fictional Gotham — they might be sitting beside you on the O-train.

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PROFILE: Ottawa’s Villain-Next-Door discusses Marathons, The Flash, and Cherry’s Reaction to a Gay Maple Leaf



Photo: Daniel Pancotto

Even though he’s spent much of his life and livelihood globe-hopping, Tom Cavanagh is still the quintessential Ottawa boy next door. He charmed us on shows like Scrubs, Providence, and as the star of Ed. Now he’s playing against type as the villainous scientist Dr. Harrison Wells on the hit show The Flash. Though he splits his time between work in Vancouver and home in New York City, Tom still gets back to the Nation’s Capital as often as possible. Di Golding caught up with Tom about his leap into the superhero genre, and the benefit of embracing and overcoming stereotypes. He even shares some advice for the Ottawa marathoners.

Di Golding: You’re an Ottawa-native but you moved around a lot didn’t you?

Tom Cavanagh: I was born in Ottawa and spent the first few years of my life in a house on Willard Street. We moved to British Columbia, and then from there we moved to Africa. So there’s a few classic Canadian memories of a rink in the backyard in Ottawa, and then the snow of Trail B.C., and then off we went to Africa.

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