Free books for Ottawa Kids!

Do your kids like to read? According to a study by People for Education, the percentage of Ontario grade 3 students who “like to read” dropped from 76 to 50 per cent between 1998/99 and 2010/11 and the number of grade 6 Read more

10 Ottawa events that might be more fun the pickles & Lego

Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately. Sometimes, life gets in the way. We have a lot happening, some good and some not so good, but in general, we’re good. Plus, after a very busy summer, a lot has changed around Read more

Big kid biking around the city

This summer, the little one bought a $7 bike from Value Village and promptly figured out how to ride it. She’s been unstoppable ever since, doing a 18 km round trip to Brewer Park, a 3 km ride to Read more

My Ottawa playground wish list

We visit a lot of parks. Even when we’re on vacation, we make a point of having a few good plays at some of the local playgrounds. This summer, we spent two weeks in British Columbia (Vancouver and Kelowna) and saw Read more

Q&A with Rideau-Vanier Candidate Catherine Fortin LeFaivre

Posted on by Pub Patio Playdate Posted in issues, neighbourhoods, politics | 1 Comment

Ottawa election day is now just one week away! Have you decided who you want to represent your community? I’m quite excited about this week’s Ottawa Election 2014 post as it features a candidate from my very own ward, Rideau-Vanier. Sandy Hill resident and mom, Catherine Fortin LeFaivre is one of six candidates running in Ward 12, which is arguably one of the most interesting and diverse wards in the city. And just to bring folks up to speed…I’ve been using this blog as a bit of a platform for urban candidates. These posts are not endorsements; participation was open to all urban candidates and I’ve been asking everyone the same four questions.  Catherine Fortin LeFaivre 300x225 Q&A with Rideau Vanier Candidate Catherine Fortin LeFaivre1. Tell us a little bit about your background and why you are running for City Council. What do you have to offer Rideau-Vanier?

I choose to raise my family in Rideau-Vanier because of its diversity, its heritage and its proximity to downtown. However, I am concerned by the many challenges that our ward faces, including crime, development pressures, and income disparity. I believe Rideau-Vanier needs a leader and a problem solver—someone who will not be afraid to stand up for all of its residents, including those who are currently disengaged or too preoccupied by family crises to join the conversation. Having been in leadership positions in the non-profit, the private and the public sectors, I have the skills and experience to successfully advocate for Rideau-Vanier residents.

2. What are two of the biggest challenges facing your community and what do you plan to do about them?

There are many critical issues in Rideau-Vanier and I’ve noticed that they do differ by neighbourhood and by economic status, unfortunately. Issues of importance include concerns around responsible development, homelessness, safe and reliable transportation options, and trucks in the downtown core. However, the issue which has been consistently raised across the ward is the need for more landlord accountability. Slum landlords are having a very negative impact on our neighbourhoods—whether you are a neighbour to these sites or live in these buildings as a tenant. Other Ottawa communities have experienced such issues and successfully dealt with them through an aggressive task force led by the councillor. I will create such a task force, made up of community police officers, bylaw, and other city services, to ensure that irresponsible landlords are pressured to take action. I also support fining landlords who do not properly deal with tenant maintenance requests, excessive loud noise, trash and other basic issues that have been allowed to persist for far too long. Rental licensing seems to be a good idea. I’m also very concerned that many Rideau-Vanier families are being left behind. On the campaign trail, I have met countless single moms struggling to make ends meet, many of whom live in deplorable conditions as tenants of community housing. Many families also have difficulty assessing quality, affordable child care, and healthy food. As councillor I will advocate for all families to ensure that our kids have the opportunity to grow up in safe, stimulating and healthy environments.

3. What can be done to improve Ottawa’s urban neighbourhoods for families and get more families living downtown?

Ensuring that there is safe, efficient and affordable transportation will play a large part in our ability to attract more families to the downtown core. Residents must have more real options to reduce their dependency on car usage. Investing in more connected and segregated cycling lanes is a good start. Taking a long-term view, we must develop our communities in a way that is conducive to family living. For example, child care centres need to be on the way to workplaces and easily accessible by transit. This is often not the case. Also, we must push developers to build units in the downtown core that can accommodate families (i.e. 3 bedrooms units as opposed to small one and two bedroom units). Finally, our ByWard Market needs to provide more community spaces to welcome people of all ages. Earlier in the campaign, I suggested building the new public library here to act as a community gathering area as well as a tourist destination. Moving forward with underground parking would free up space for this type of city investment.

4. In one sentence, what’s the best thing about Somerset Ward?

Rideau-Vanier is a great place to raise a family because of its historic charm, bilingual communities, and diverse residents!

 

Catherine Fortin LeFaivre’s website Catherine Fortin LeFaivre on Twitter   This is likely the last post in my Ottawa Election 2014 series. I’d like to give a big thank you to all the candidates who participated. That being said, I’m always looking for guest contributors. So if you’re a newly elected councillor or a community leader who would like to share some thoughts with urban Ottawa families, let me know.

Free books for Ottawa Kids!

Posted on by Pub Patio Playdate Posted in guest post, Ottawa businesses, stuff I love | Leave a comment

Books2 300x225 Free books for Ottawa Kids!Do your kids like to read?

According to a study by People for Education, the percentage of Ontario grade 3 students who “like to read” dropped from 76 to 50 per cent between 1998/99 and 2010/11 and the number of grade 6 students who “like to read” fell from 65 to 50 per cent.

Furthermore, a study by National Literacy Trust found that having just 20 books at home impacts a child’s education level and that the more books the child has, the greater the benefits. A study at the University of Nevada found similar results.

I received this in my inbox the other day and LOVE the idea. What a wonderful community initiative! Every child should have some books of their own.

Free books for Ottawa Kids!

A new pop-up book “store” has opened up in the Overbrook/Vanier area.  Kids and parents can get new and gently used children’s books – for free!  

Twice Upon A Time / Il était deux fois is the brainchild of librarian Alexandra Yarrow.  Yarrow knows that even though Ottawa has an excellent public library system, kids also need books of their own at home.

“Books are expensive,” said Yarrow.  “We want to make good quality books available to all families in Ottawa.”  

Twice Upon A Time / Il était deux fois has books of all kinds in English and French for kids up to 12 years old. 

We are open Thursdays between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. and Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.   Join us at Heartwood House (404 McArthur Avenue) or invite us to set up a book table at your next community event!  

For more information, contact us at info@twiceuponatime.ca

Also, here’s some info about donating books.

And while we’re on the topic of books, there are some great literacy events coming up…

The 14th Annual Kids’ Lit Café is happening October 25 from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. at the Greenboro branch of the Ottawa Public Library (363 Lorry Greenberg Drive). This free event features interactions with published authors and illustrators, snacks, a book sale, crafts and prizes. There will also be author readings and workshops hosted by CBC personality Alan Neal.

You’ll also want to check out the 53rd Annual Rockcliffe Park Book Fair, which runs from November 7 to 9 at Rockcliffe Park Public School (350 Buena Vista Road). Dress as your favourite comic book character and come browse a huge selection of fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, bestsellers and even board games, puzzles, CDs and DVDs. Proceeds from Book Fair support  literacy program and other initiatives at Rockcliffe Park Public School. Book Fair also provides annual grants to other Ottawa area schools to support their literacy programs and any unsold books are donated to other local book fairs and literacy programs across the province and around the world.

Happy reading!

10 Ottawa events that might be more fun the pickles & Lego

Posted on by Pub Patio Playdate Posted in events, Ottawa activities | 1 Comment

Lazy Lego day 300x265 10 Ottawa events that might be more fun the pickles & LegoSorry I’ve been so quiet lately. Sometimes, life gets in the way. We have a lot happening, some good and some not so good, but in general, we’re good.

Plus, after a very busy summer, a lot has changed around here.

The little one has settled into junior kindergarten and her princess obsession has been replaced with a big love of all things Spider-Man and Lego and a plan for a career in water slide park construction.

The man, meanwhile, has been on a food preserving frenzy – meaning I have more applesauce and pickles than most people would ever need and an almost terrifying amount of peanut butter.

And as for me…I have yet to step on any Lego. I’m also drinking beer and eating ice cream as I write this, which means right now, life is alright.

So now, we turn our attention to all things fall and thanksgiving and Halloween. Oh wait, speaking of Halloween…

Guess whose kid is being a character from Frozen for Halloween…

Not mine!

Little one has decided to be Peter Pan. I feel it’s a solid choice.

Anyway, in an effort to recover from our summer hangover (figuratively speaking of course) and to ease the JK transition, we’ve spent the last few weekends being pretty low key.

Although, I’m still enjoying the more lazy Saturdays, I’m thinking it might be time to get back out into the world.

So here’s a list of 10 urban Ottawa fall events that look fun…

We might go to some. Or we might not. We’ll see. Maybe we’ll just stay home, play Lego and eat pickles for a little while longer.

Bob the Builder: Project Build It at the Children’s Museum

October 2 – March 22

Annual Butterfly Show at Carleton University

October 4 -13

Halloween Fun at the Museoparc Vanier

October 26

Potluck Harvest Dress-Up Party at the Children’s Garden

October 11

Thanksgiving at the Farm and A Barnyard Halloween at the Canadian Agriculture and Food Museum

October 11, 12, 13, 25 & 26

¡Hola! Halloween with Dora and Diego at the Children’s Museum

October 25

Ottawa Storyteller’s Children’s Festival at the Nepean Centrepointe Library

November 8

Halloween at Rideau Hall

October 31

Trick or Treat with the Mayor at Ottawa City Hall

October 25

Halloween Party at Billings Estate

October 26

Big kid biking around the city

Posted on by Pub Patio Playdate Posted in biking, downtown living | Leave a comment

bike to school 300x276 Big kid biking around the cityThis summer, the little one bought a $7 bike from Value Village and promptly figured out how to ride it. She’s been unstoppable ever since, doing a 18 km round trip to Brewer Park, a 3 km ride to her first day of Junior Kindergarten, and endless laps around the rink at Jules Morin Park.

She’s becoming a great little “big kid” cyclist and it’s been so much fun having a new activity we can do/way to get around the city.

A while ago, I did a video post about our winterized bike trailer and now we have a new invention…

Little one takes the bus to school but we pick her up from the extended day program. The man uses this thing to transport her bike to school when he picks her up so that she can bike home.

He made it out of some wood and old stroller wheels. Pretty clever eh?!

kids bike trailer 300x163 Big kid biking around the city

With many urban families using bikes as a major, or even only, mode of transportation, cycling safety needs to start early and be engrained in kids so that they know nothing else.

Modal Mom recently wrote a great blog post about getting kids riding their own bike around the city, so I won’t reinvent the wheel (pun intended). Check it out!

My Ottawa playground wish list

Posted on by Pub Patio Playdate Posted in other cities, park profile, stuff I love, travel | 1 Comment

We visit a lot of parks. Even when we’re on vacation, we make a point of having a few good plays at some of the local playgrounds.

This summer, we spent two weeks in British Columbia (Vancouver and Kelowna) and saw some pretty kick-ass park stuff. Check out this planned Vancouver park where some really neat features are being considered.

Ottawa, take note! Consider the gallery below as my playground wish list…

(Roll your cursor over the image to see a description.)

I also suggest checking out this latest post from PlayGroundology about a park in Edmundston, New Brunswick. I like the idea of more tires!

(If you’re into this sort of thing, spend some time on the whole PlayGroundology blog. There’s loads of great playground stuff by Halifax dad Alex Smith.)

1 2 3 4 5 ... 34 35   Next