Burgh Business Briefs (April 2022)

By Jane Heintzman and Tamara Miller (This article originally appeared in the April 2022 edition of the New Edinburgh News)

Red Door co-owner opens new café

Late last fall, Lauren Power, the energetic owner–operator of Red Door Provisions at 117 Beechwood Ave., opened a new destination in the region’s culinary world. Lauren joined forces with business partner and skilled barista Emmett Pavey to take over Café Palmier, a cozy eatery opposite the Gatineau Park Visitors’ Centre at 40 Chemin Scott in Chelsea, Que. Café Palmier is housed in a spacious, state-of-the art building, and boasts lots of outdoor patio space for the warmer months to come.

The restaurant is open seven days a week, from 7:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It serves a regular clientele of Chelsea locals along with hungry skiers, cyclists, and hikers visiting Gatineau Park from across the national capital region.

Café Palmier is closely linked to its sister operation at Red Door Provisions: its pastries are provided by Red Door’s production kitchen on Walkley Road. You’ll find many of your Beechwood favourites on the Chelsea menu, along with a similar repertoire of specialty coffees. Like Red Door, the café offers a lineup of preserves, pickles, maple syrup, hot chocolate, small-batch flours, and other products you can pick up when you visit for breakfast or lunch. And if you work up a thirst cycling or hiking in the park, craft beers and natural wines are also on the Café Palmier menu. The café’s freezer is well stocked with breads and pastries, and the team plans to stock a range of frozen meals as well. 

The two eateries do have a few differences, not least the Chelsea café’s significantly more spacious quarters. The Café Palmier menu is also, in Lauren’s words, “more involved” than the regular Red Door offering. She describes the breakfast menu as “fun fare,” with a touch of the eclecticism that characterizes her baking at Red Door. 

Breakfast options range from avocado toast to challah toast topped with peanut butter and jam; peanut butter and chocolate; ricotta and jam; and also beet and salmon gravlax. Try out breakfast bowls of all descriptions (several gluten-free): chia bowls; brown rice porridge; a “power” bowl; a “poké” bowl; and shakshuka, featuring poached eggs, spicy tomato and red pepper sauce, parmesan and ricotta cheeses, green onions, and greens. 

Lauren’s immediate to-do list for the Chelsea operation includes a major update of the Café Palmier website. For the moment, you can call 819-827-1777 for more information. We wish Lauren and Emmett the best of luck in their new venture, and a long and successful summer in that sylvan location. 

Back home in New Edinburgh, Red Door Provisions (117 Beechwood Ave.) continues to flourish as a hub for fine teas and coffees, and irresistible baked fare. Beechwood manager Kerry McRae also coordinates the supply links between Red Door’s production kitchen and Café Palmier, as well as the business’ catering operation. The store continues to operate on a take-out only basis, but looks forward to opening up both front and rear patios once the weather warms up. –JH

Dhruvees officially opens

We last spoke to Donald Wingell, founder and president of Wingell Hospitality group, in October 2021 just after his purchase of the former eatery Jasper at 18 Beechwood Ave., when his restaurant was just a concept. With Dhruvees now open for business, we caught up with Donald to learn more about his exciting new restaurant.

Dhruvees serves “North Star Cuisine,” inviting guests to experience various Asian cuisines in one location, with dishes carefully crafted by world-renowned Michelin Star celebrity chef Vikas Khanna. Dhruvees hasdeveloped its own signature spice mixtures – masalas – based on traditional recipes, with partners Arun Spices and Golden Roots in Malaysia.  Every day they mix the masalas, using key spice ingredients to marinate locally sourced Ontario meats.

Dhruvees’ signature dishes include the Indonesian favourite lamb rendang, Sri Lankan pepper crab, salmon tikka, and chicken malai tikka. The biryanis (available in lamb, chicken, shrimp, and vegetable) are made with fragrant long-grain basmati rice. Donald notes that if anyone has a specific meat or seafood request for a biryani, they can simply place an advance order. 

Dhruvees recently in introduced a daily “power lunch” menu that features a combination of steamed basmati rice, chapathi, chicken curry of the day, vegetable curry of the day, spiced baby potatoes, vegetable salad, and the daily dessert. This is in addition to a daily afternoon tea featuring Indian and Sri Lankan snacks, served from 3–5:30p.m. Their specially curated children’s menu with mini portions of select dishes has also been very popular with families.  

Donald also plans to start a weekday lunch buffet beginning in April, and a weekend brunch special which will include sparkling wines and mimosas, and an eclectic choice of North Star Cuisines’ dishes. Be on the lookout for live jazz music on select evenings at the Dhruvees’ corner patio as the weather gets nicer!

Dhruvees is located at 18 Beechwood Ave. Learn more or place a takeout order at dhruvees.com – your meal will be ready for pick-up in 35 minutes. –TM

New bakery emerges from its shell

When architect and designer Maged Kamal undertook an award-winning restoration–renovation of a dilapidated former bakery on The Mews Lane here in New Edinburgh, it never crossed his mind that he might someday operate a bakery of his own, only a few kilometres away at 285 St. Patrick St. (between Cumberland and Dalhousie Streets). But that improbable coincidence has become a reality, and Maged is poised to launch The Orange Turtle Bakery in the coming weeks. “It’s a new kind of bakery,” he explains. “Small, community-based and offering specialty baked goods inspired by cultures from around the world, notably those of Europe and the Mediterranean.”

The links between Maged’s professional background as an architect and designer and his new vocation as a specialty baker and small-business operator may not be immediately obvious. But, he says: “it became clear to me with time, that I was able to bring the same creative processes to this new project, and apply them to recipes with very interesting results!” Maged is no stranger to the art of baking, having worked as a youth with his mother and grandmother, and later recreating many of their recipes. His plan is to start slowly at the Orange Turtle with a small assortment of baked goods – cakes, loaves (including several banana loaf variations), scones, and shortbread, – along with coffee and tea. Once the client base is established, he will gradually expand the repertoire to include unique cakes, specialty coffees and gourmet sandwiches.

Tasty baked goods have an obvious appeal. But Maged’s cosmopolitan background and extensive travels convinced him that bakeries also contribute to the fabric and vibrancy of communities. Much of his youth was spent in Norway and Germany, close to the Swiss border, where he was struck by the importance of the many bakeries thriving in those communities, each with its own distinctive fare and character. 

Maged hopes to recreate that effect in the Ottawa context, via both the quality and appeal of his products, and the welcoming atmosphere at The Orange Turtle as a hub for sociability and community life. In the short term, Maged has plans for some modest outdoor seating as the weather warms up, and down the road, he intends to install a small indoor counter and benches where clients can enjoy a pastry and a cup of fine coffee en routeto or from the market. He is enthusiastic about the advantages of his St. Patrick Street location, where there is one-hour free parking, along with local bus routes. “And it’s within walking and cycling distance of New Edinburgh,” he adds.  

Maged explains the significance of the bakery’s intriguing name: “The turtle was a logical choice. It’s a friendly, timeless, universal symbol. And I settled on the colour orange from the beginning, because it’s a cheerful and positive colour, and a contemporary one as well.” At this moment in 2022, cheerful, positive and friendly additions to our world are more than welcome!

While he is understandably reluctant to name a specific opening date, given the recent challenges of the pandemic and the recent downtown occupation, Maged hopes to launch The Orange Turtle by the end of April, operating initially on a farmers’ market schedule between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. “Maybe it’s apt that our logo is a turtle,” he says, reflecting on the numerous delays encountered in the fit-up of the premises. While the bakery’s website is still in development, you are welcome to call 613-562-2253 (BAKE) for the latest on the opening date. 

We wish Maged success in his new venture and look forward to the day when the Turtle emerges from its shell to greet the spring!  –JH

Tiny corner café a great meet-up spot

Spring has sprung at the Union Street Kitchen Café at 42 Crichton St.– just ask some of the loyal customers who, according to owner Christine Garand, have been like family.  Since the beginning of the pandemic two years ago, Union Street Kitchen Café has moved away from indoor ordering and eating to an outdoor-only model. This has led to an unexpected result – neighbours gathering and getting to know one another!   

Christine tells us that although the café’s outdoor space is limited to a few seats and benches, patrons now tend to mill around the outside of the location while they enjoy their drinks and treats. Folks are congregating in a way that they never did when they were inside. In fact, some of their biggest gatherings happen on Sundays after church services when customers socialize after collecting their coffee orders.

And Christine is in no rush to change this model. She and her team have been able to remain open for the duration of the pandemic (except for a few months at the beginning) because of the shift to outdoor pickup.  Her regulars really appreciate this new way of operating and she tells the New Edinburgh News that she is doing her part to make sure our most vulnerable remain safe.

And with the nicer weather just around the corner, this makes outdoor and physically-distant gathering even easier.  Patrons can now enjoy favourites that are back on the menu, such as their popular iced drinks or their lavender lemonade, homemade with an organic lavender syrup that they make in-house from scratch – just like everything else on their menu!  You can even get your order packed into a takeaway picnic box for convenient transport. And no need to worry about waste: all of the utensils and containers are compostable, including the coffee cups (though many regulars just bring their own mug for a fill up).

So if you are looking to get out of the house this spring and meet up with some of your neighbours, the Union Street Café has a bench waiting for you!

Union Street Café is located at 42 Crichton St. and can be found online at onunionstreet.ca/.

Their hours are: Mondays from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., Tuesday to Fridays from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. and weekends from 9a.m. – 3 p.m. –TM  

Keep calm and eat scones

Ottawa restaurants and small businesses can perhaps be forgiven for lamenting that the prevailing local law recently has been Murphy’s Law: whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. 

Following two difficult years of dislocation and lost business caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many in the downtown core were subjected to still more punishment during the three-week occupation by the so-called freedom convoy. Just as the relaxation of COVID restrictions offered the possibility of recovery, those hopes were dashed by another lengthy shutdown while protesters had free rein downtown.

Heather Matthew’s four SconeWitch outlets were among the many restaurants feeling the pain of this succession of calamities – not least the shop at 150 Elgin St., which was effectively marooned when Shopify abruptly departed the building at the start of the pandemic, and the lunch-hour crowd evaporated when federal offices shifted to a work-at-home model for employees. During the occupation, doors were closed altogether for the safety of SconeWitch employees.

But with characteristic resilience, Heather, her daughter Madeline, and the whole SconeWitch team have continued to do a brisk take-out business throughout the ordeal and introduced a popular home-delivery service for orders of frozen, ready-to-bake scones. In fact, the delivery service has been so popular that Heather has had requests for scone shipments to Toronto, New York City, and Chicago – clearly not an option, but a tribute to the stellar reputation of her legendary scones! 

It now seems there may be light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. But eager as they are to welcome back customers for indoor dining, at press time in March, Heather and Madeline have opted for a gradual return to full service, bearing in mind the lingering presence of the virus and the need to minimize risk to both staff and clients. Heather thinks the picture should be clearer once travelers return from March Break, and when the effects of the end of mask mandates have been fully assessed. 

Step one of the ramp-up to full service will begin April 1, when SconeWitch customers can once again take a seat in the café to enjoy their purchases. Until then, meals will remain in a take-away format, and limited to the current scone and sandwich menu. “After that, we will gradually expand the menu and allow more relaxed access once things look a little better,” says Heather. 

When full indoor service resumes at SconeWitch, plans are afoot to introduce table service: a departure from the long-time cafeteria-style model. But this second step will be contingent on several critically important factors: COVID conditions in the community as spring unfolds; the pace at which business recovers after a long and painful slump; and the martialing of the financial and human resources required to restore normal operations. After two tumultuous years, Heather is understandably reluctant to name an exact date for these final steps, but she encourages patrons to check the sconewitch.ca site for timetable updates. 

Despite the lingering uncertainty about timing, Heather and her team look forward to launching the new table-service model, which is certain to appeal to many regular clients. Heather has high hopes that a clear separation of take-out from in-house dining will streamline service for all concerned. The aim is to minimize long waits in the queue, when, for example, a large group takes its time resolving the weighty questions of scone flavour or jam type for each guest, leaving those at the back of the line in hungry limbo.   

Based on her experience operating Domus Restaurant some years ago, Heather plans to steer clear of the competitive struggles that can occur between servers and kitchen staff over the allotment of tips. All gratuities will be fairly shared among all SconeWitch staff.

Some late-breaking news for scone lovers: SconeWitch’s menu has a recent addition! Date and fennel is shaping up to be a new scone favourite. To Heather’s amusement, one client who pretended to bristle at the store’s pressure to try this new item returned the very next day to purchase a package of six!

We wish Heather, Madeline and their team an early return to full operations, and smoother sailing in 2022. –JH

Epicuria under renovations April 17–May 8 

Beginning in late April, Epicuria will launch a major spring renovation project to overhaul their storefront at 357 St. Laurent Blvd. (at Hemlock). It’s been a little more than a decade since the shop moved to its present location following the Beechwood Fire of 2011, and Tracey Black and her team have found that they need some changes to better accommodate their current brisk business. 

They are cagey about precisely what the plans are but have shared some highlights in Epicuria’s weekly newsletter: “We will be bringing back our full-service pastry counter; expanding the freezer and grab-and-go fridges; and will be changing the layout to provide a better shopping experience.” NEN hopes to provide more details in a future edition.

Clients should take note that the shop will be closed from April 17–May 8 while work is underway. But renovation timetables can be notoriously unreliable, so look for updates on their website: epicuria.ca. The online shop will remain open throughout the renovation for both pick-up and delivery orders.

Here’s another exciting note for those with interest in the culinary world: Epicuria is now hiring new recruits for both its retail and its culinary teams. Top criteria for applicants are “genuine enthusiasm about food and people; high standards for their work and their workplace; and a love of working in a fast-paced environment.” Send resumés to team@epicuria.ca. –JH

Celebrate the area’s Indigenous history on Chief Pinesi Day

By Laura Fraser

Did you know there are 8,000-year-old trails that used to run all the way through New Edinburgh and Rockcliffe Park to Northern Labrador, and then south to the Gulf of Mexico? My guess is probably not. These were the hunting grounds of Grand Chief Pinesi. 

The first day of July this year marks 155 years since Canada became its own country. In recognition of Indigenous Peoples past and present, Chief Pinesi Day will be held on July 1, 2022, in New Edinburgh and Rockcliffe Park to celebrate the Algonquin Anishinaabe history of the area. It will be an opportunity for reconciliation, and to learn about of the past and present of the New Edinburgh and Rockcliffe Park area from an Algonquin Anishinaabe perspective. 

The day will start off with a portage to Governor Bay on the Ottawa River (between 24 Sussex Dr. and the road through Rockcliffe Park) where settler and Algonquin canoeists will meet to walk together to Rideau Hall and hopefully meet the Governor General. This meeting between Chief Wendy Jocko and Governor General Mary Simon, should it take place, will make history, Chief Jocko is the first woman Chief of Pikwakanagan and a direct descendant of Chief Constant Pinesi. Pinesi was appointed Grand Chief by Governor General Simon’s antecedent in 1830. Mary Simon is the first Indigenous Governor General of Canada.  

After this event, canoeists will portage to the Rideau River and paddle to the New Edinburgh Fieldhouse at 203 Stanley Ave., where most of the celebrations will take place. 

Not a canoeist? No problem. There will be storytelling about the ways plant species (still resident here) were traditionally used, their Algonquin stories, and about Chief Pinesi. Medicine paddles and walking tours will also take place. The walking tours will start at 10:30 a.m. and run throughout the day. Some tours will be as short as 45 minutes; others will last up to two hours.

The main festivities will be held at the New Edinburgh Park Field House starting at 2 p.m. This will include the inauguration of the Kichi Sibi Trails’ trail markers. These markers will identify known active portage routes, as well as historic routes across eastern Ontario and western Quebec. The logo is being made by Algonquin Anishinaabe artist Simon Brascoupé. Other social events will include storytelling for people of all ages. 

Also, a new ceramic mural will be unveiled. It will feature Chief Pinesi in symbolic form. The mural will describe some of the myths and animals that live in and around the hunting grounds along the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers, the great water panther, and Algonquin stories, including stories about Rockcliffe Park. The mural is being created by Doreen and Charlotte Stevens, artists from Kitigan Zibi First Nation. 

There will also be an opportunity to meet many other descendants of Chief Pinesi who will be meeting each other for the first time on July 1. Noreen Kruzich, author of The Ancestors Are Arranging Things, will be signing copies of her book.

The event will also include traditional Anishinaabe drumming and powwow dancing. Organizers hope that Highland dancing will also take place, to represent the Highland Scottish side of Chief Jocko, and many of those who later settled New Edinburgh, like Thomas McKay. 

The day will end off with a walk to view the Parliament Hill fireworks from Rideau Falls. 

Learn more about Chief Pinesi Day on Facebook. Search for “Chief Pinesi Portage at Rockcliffe.

Park news: Icebreaking access, moth control, and hope for a clean-up day

By Karen Squires and Katherine Hall

Over the years the New Edinburgh Community Alliance (NECA) has worked with a group of volunteers to ensure the park area is preserved, kept clean and well-maintained, in collaboration with City team members.

While the park cleanup did not take place last year, the NECA parks group met with City staff members to discuss maintenance issues to do with the tennis courts, seasonal garbage bins, bench repairs, fencing and signage. As well, City staff have just confirmed that both the annual icebreaking program on the Rideau River and the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel (CSST) tunnel maintenance will be accessed by the broadened, newly resurfaced roadway entrance near the New Edinburgh Fieldhouse. Therefore, you will see the equipment required for the icebreaking coming through this area from late February to early March. We hope to provide an update on scheduling for the ongoing CSST tunnel maintenance, which will also access the park from the same location near the fieldhouse.

During 2021, LDD moths became a major issue, destroying tree leaves all around Ottawa. City staff have confirmed there is a budget in 2022 which includes a new, temporary, full- time employee joining the Forestry department for the express purpose of developing and implementing community support programming around LDD. This role will also support the development and implementation of an Urban Forest Outreach and Engagement Strategy which is a key recommendation of the Urban Forest Management Plan. One element of this program is a burlap distribution kit, more details of which we hope to provide in a future edition. We all want to ensure we are able to protect our trees against ongoing LDD invasion.

Prior to COVID-19’s ongoing public safety restrictions, residents (with Friends of the Park) were invited to come out and do a collective spring park cleanup each May. We are monitoring the situation now to determine how best to move forward in 2022 for potential spring and fall dates.

In Spring 2021, the New Edinburgh News asked for input from residents as to what they enjoyed about the park and what they’d like to see more of. Here’s a summary of what we learned. People: 

  • love to walk in nature – natural setting is a key theme!
  • would like to see more garbage cans and recycling bins.
  • want better signage to keep cyclists off the shoreline.
  • are interested in the restoration of natural beauty and the addition of more benches.
  • would like more cleanup initiatives.
  • support more wildflowers, green space, and tree-planting to improve biodiversity.
  • would like to see better care taken of seeded grass areas.
  • want more native plant species planted to attract birds.
  • support the possible expansion of the waterfront area to Porter Island, Bordeleau Park and Rideau Falls.

In November 2021, we were pleased to hear that the City will be switching to a cleaner grass mowing alternative, to cut down on fumes. We liaised with City staff, who have agreed to reduce the amount of mowing in the “regeneration area” of the park. A consistent theme is to keep the park natural and clean, and have places where people can stroll, sit, and enjoy the scenery including birds, wildflowers, trees, and the waterfront.

Members from the Crichton Community Council (CCC) manage the Fieldhouse, the skating rink, and children’s playground area in addition to such annual events as the plant sale, in and around the fieldhouse area. NECA continues to liaise with the CCC and to provide updates, through NEN’s event listings on what’s happening. 

To conclude, while New Edinburgh and Stanley Park and nearby areas serve a diverse group of people, there are more people using the park year-round since COVID lockdowns and restrictions. We will increase our coordinated efforts with City staff to ensure we all work together for a clean, natural, and safe space to enjoy all year. As of January 2022, the City is aware of our requests and have approved the funds to do some repairs to the tennis courts and fencing near the fieldhouse. They have also noted our request for better signage for cyclists and the replacement of one bench near the tennis courts. 

Karen Squires and Katherine Hall are members of the Friends of the Park committee at NECA. To learn more about Friends of the Park, please email info@newedinburgh.ca

Metro Beechwood is here to stay

By Karen Squires (this story originally appeared in the February 2022 edition of the New Edinburgh News)

Metro Inc. purchased the land occupied by its grocery store on Beechwood Avenue back in December. This investment in our community is good news, showing the confidence Canada’s third-largest food retailer has in the Beechwood Village area.

There had been much speculation and concern in the community about what would happen to our beloved Beechwood Metro, which many of us have come to rely upon. When news hit in early December that the land was up for sale, many patrons wondered what the future might hold. What would happen should this location be purchased by a developer and how might this disrupt our shopping experience? We’ve all enjoyed being able to walk or drive easily to Metro, right in the heart of our community, as this is what makes a community thrive! 

Metro store manager Shawn Steinburg has confirmed to the New Edinburgh News that while Metro has purchased the 2.32 acre property on Beechwood Avenue between Charlevoix and Loyer Streets, the company will not be pursuing any rezoning of the property. Metro does own other locations in both Ontario and Quebec, and since this location came up for sale, they felt this was a good asset for the company to own. As of mid-January, Shawn has confirmed there are no other plans relating to the store footprint or changes to existing inventory. Of note, the lot in question does not include the gas station on the corner of Beechwood and Charlevoix.

Metro renovated the store interior extensively in 2017. Shawn explained, “through that renovation, we added a wide variety of equipment and design elements to expand some of our programs and further enhance the customer shopping experience.” I personally have certainly noticed these enhancements, which made a huge difference to the overall shopping experience and improved the layout and presentation of products.

In hindsight, thank goodness this was all done before the pandemic, which might have delayed the entire renovation process. 

Shawn added, “Like everyone, we have found the past two years extremely challenging at times. My team and I have worked hard to ensure our customers felt safe and comfortable. Even as various restrictions have ebbed and flowed, we wanted our customers to still enjoy their shopping experience at Metro, just as before the pandemic.” Shawn also noted: “we wanted customers to feel they could count on Metro to be there through it all, as a reliable and trustworthy business in the community that would meet their grocery needs.” 

From a health and safety perspective, Shawn says, “As hard as it has been to work on the front lines, to adapt quickly and to pivot on a dime during this pandemic, my staff and I are touched by and extremely grateful for how supportive and understanding our customers have been during these difficult times.” 

I think I can speak for many that we are also extremely grateful to have Metro planted firmly on Beechwood Avenue, right in the heart of multiple communities. We are also grateful that Shawn and the team have worked long hours to ensure our grocery needs are met, while keeping everyone safe. Special thanks to the team at Metro Beechwood: we breathe a sigh of relief to know they will continue to be there long-term!

Karen Squires is a member of the board of the New Edinburgh Community Alliance.

Burgh Business Briefs (February 2022)

By Andre Gagne, Jane Heintzman, Randy Mar and Tamara Miller (this article appeared in the February 2022 edition of the New Edinburgh News)

Nature’s Buzz to close forever Feb. 19

On Feb. 19, Nature’s Buzz will close its doors for the last time, ending two decades of operation in our community as a hub for organic supplies. Throughout this 20-year period, the store has been a family-run operation, launched in 2002 by Dr. Mark Patry and his family, and later purchased in 2007 by Dale Heins, partner of store associate Nancy Phillips

Nancy’s son Eric Passmore and daughter Chelsea Passmore – the current store manager and sales associate respectively – have become familiar figures here in the Burgh. The family has worked hard to keep locals supplied with a wide range of organic products, from meat, fish, and poultry to fresh produce, dairy items, baking supplies and more. 

The Passmore–Phillips’ tenure on Beechwood has been far from uneventful. In March 2011, the store’s original location at 23 Beechwood Ave. was completely destroyed by fire. For many months, the future of the business remained in doubt as the commercial community grappled with the challenges of relocation or, in some cases, closure. Happily, Nature’s Buzz was able to secure a spot nearby at 55 Beechwood Ave. (at Douglas Avenue), where it has since remained in operation.

In recent years, the store has faced another serious challenge: the roller coaster ride of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a food supplier and thus an essential service, Nature’s Buzz was never required to close its doors, but was inevitably affected by the supply problems which continue to plague all sectors of the economy. Operating a small business is not for the faint of heart at the best of times, less still in the middle of a global pandemic!

According to Nancy, the immediate trigger for the store’s impending closure was the expiry of its current lease. Of the two major options available – renew the lease and carry on or attempt to find a buyer for the business – the Passmore–Phillips family opted for the latter. “We had a few bites,” says Nancy, but the search was ultimately unsuccessful, so the store will soon close.

While Nancy looks forward to a well-deserved retirement, both Eric and Chelsea hope to devote their full attention to their other vocations: Eric is an accomplished singer–song writer, whose musical talent first came to light in our community following the release several years ago of his début solo album, Pages of the Day. He has since been composing and recording new works, some in Nashville by Direct Image Studios. (Visit soundcloud.com/eric-passmore-990261307)

Chelsea plans to employ her expertise as a personal trainer and yoga instructor. She also has notable artistic talent as a dancer, and with Eric’s help of her brother, has ventured into the musical realm in composing and performing a song to accompany dance choreography. 

We sincerely thank Eric, Chelsea, and Nancy for their many years of welcoming service in our community and wish them every success in their new endeavours.

So, what’s next for 55 Beechwood Ave? On Mar. 1, next-door neighbour Chilaquiles will take over the Nature’s Buzz premises and begin renovations to refit the space for the popular Mexican restaurant. Chilaquiles’ owner Kelvin Molina anticipates about a two-month construction process and hopes to make the move from 49 to 55 Beechwood Ave. at some point in May. In the meantime, Chilaquiles will remain open at its current location. After the move, Kelvin plans to launch a new business at 49 Beechwood Ave.: the specifics are still under discussion but should be nailed down in time for the NEN’s next edition in April. Stay tuned! –JH

Natural pet-food shop opens

Chew-That, a locally owned and operated pet supplies store with two existing locations in the Ottawa area, opened a new location at 141 Beechwood Ave. (the former home of Le Suq and before that, Jacobsons) at the end of January. You may already have visited Chew-That by the time NEN goes to print.

Like their Riverside South and Almonte locations, the new Beechwood store will offer only the best selection of high-quality pet food, treats, and accessories.

Chew-That owner Renée Hamilton brings a life-long passion to her business: she comes from a farming background; bred, raised, and trained dogs and horses; and trained as a pet nutritionist. She extensively researches and scrutinizes every product’s sourcing and specifications before a it lands on her shelves.

New Edinburgh and area pet owners will appreciate a unique pet-food selection and may recognize such brands as Fromm, Boreal, Oxbow, and Champion – many not typically found at big-box chains.  

“Along with the research I do, what makes us unique is that we try to source our toys and treats locally or regionally, and we appreciate working with vendors who think and operate like us” Renée told NEN. “We focus on your pet’s nutrition and overall wellness.”  

To that end, Renée and her staff are excited to offer doggy training, fitness, and daycare at the Beechwood Avenue location. The Beechwood–Acacia corner will easily allow Renée to take her own dog, along with other dogs under Chew-That’s care, to the Rockeries for great romps. The shop also offers an array of home-baked pet cupcakes, cakes, and other treats for celebrations.

Chew-That understands that animals are cherished members of our households; including, of course, feline friends and other family pets. In fact, Renée and staff often hear that they treat client’s pets like their own.

Pets and their owners are sure to extend a warm, waggly welcome to the neighbourhood!

Chew-That is located at 141 Beechwood Ave. Contact them at chew-that.ca, 613- 695-6448 or info@chew-that.ca –RM

Your friendly, neighbourhood cannabis shop

Following up on our October BBB report that Munchies Cannabis had applied for a permit to open a location at 131B Beechwood Ave., we can confirm that they officially opened for business on Dec. 26.

NEN chatted with co-owner and retail manager Mary-Anne Hanna to get an idea of what one can expect from this cannabis store.  

Munchies Cannabis is locally owned and operated by the Hanna family – long-time Ottawa residents. The company was a year and half in the making and is committed to three things: bringing in the best legal products; providing the best education; and creating a fun, friendly and positive environment for people from all walks of life. 

What sets Munchies apart from other cannabis stores is the in-house branding and décor, as well as their focus on cannabis education and information. Local artist @falldowng created the art for the store (including an Instagram wall), all of which was inspired by the Hanna family’s vision. There is no shortage of information about cannabis available to patrons to help them make informed decisions. The educational wall features nine customised poster boards with facts about cannabis. The shop’s dedicated employees – called budtenders – were carefully recruited to provide information and guidance in a safe and respectful space.

Destigmatizing cannabis is very important to Mary-Anne and the other owners of Munchies. They opened the store because of their passion for the plant, and they want community members to know that they follow provincial and federal regulations very closely. Patrons will notice a strict age-gating protocol: cannabis products are not even visible to minors who may approach the store. Only when a person’s age has been verified will they be allowed to enter the establishment.

Mary-Anne and her family are excited to be part of the Beechwood business community and encourage anyone who is curious to come and see the store for themselves and to speak with their knowledgeable employees.

Munchies Cannabis is located at 131B Beechwood Ave. Opening hours are from 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and 10 a.m.–6 p.m. on Sunday. Reach them at 613-748-1000; follow them on social media @munchiescannaco and view their menu online at munchiescannnabis.ca –TM

Editor’s note: As of publishing, a second cannabis shop has applied to open on Beechwood. Sessions Cannabis has applied at 196 Beechwood Ave. – the new building on the site of the former Burton’s Dive shop. The public notice period ended Jan. 19. 

Orleans law firm plants new roots

Natalie Guertin and Michèle Poirier are the proud co-founders of Guertin Poirier Avocates/Lawyers, a new law firm at 203–16 Beechwood Ave. providing fully bilingual notary and legal services in real estate law and estate protection. 

Although established in 2021, the roots of GP stretch back generations, and as far as New Brunswick. Natalie carries on a century-old family tradition serving Ottawa’s real-estate community. Following the client-care model established by her father Louis, Natalie focuses on providing hassle-free, knowledgeable, and responsive legal services to homeowners and their agents.

Said Natalie: “We are very excited to open our doors to the community,” to which Michèle added: “and in turn open doors for you!”  

Graduates of the University of Ottawa and l’Université de Moncton respectively, Natalie and Michèle each hold a Juris Doctor in Common Law (French). The pair met while at Guertin Law in Orleans.

The decision to take over the family law practice and relocate from Orleans was an easy one. A long-time Vanier resident, Natalie lives a short walk from the Beechwood Avenue office, often stopping for coffee en route. Michèle also loves the neighbourhood vibe of New Edinburgh.

Rounding out the GP team is Marianne at reception and Ashley providing legal assistance. Natalie’s mother Julie will soon join the Beechwood-based team, proudly bringing more than 30 years of estate-planning experience. All team members support the collaborative, client-centric approach to reaching the end goal: negotiating and closing real estate transactions in a respectful manner.

Natalie and Michèle each balance the demands of running a thriving professional practice and growing families – you will see them out and about in the neighbourhood.

Welcome to New Edinburgh, Natalie and Michèle!

Guertin Poirier Avocates/Lawyers is located at 203–16 Beechwood Ave. Contact them at 613-744-4488 or visit guertinpoirierlaw.ca.

Pub brings warmth to those in need
With some of the coldest days of year upon us, many already facing tough times due to the pandemic are hard pressed to find warm winter outerwear. This is something Manny Garcia and Ottawa’s Clocktower Brew Pubs hope to rectify with their Take a Coat/Leave a Coat program.

Three years ago, Manny, the general manager of the Clocktower Pub on MacKay Street, spied a posting on social media offering free winter coats to people in need. He approached Clocktower Vice President Sean Rutherford, who agreed it was a program worth developing at all pub locations. 

“We saw that there was a need for it and having seven locations spread across Ottawa, we would be able to reach more people that needed a nice warm jacket in the winter with no questions asked. It’s just a nice way to give back to the community,” Manny said to the New Edinburgh News.

New Edinburgh residents may have spied the coatrack on the patio of the 422 MacKay St. location. It is left out all day and all night for those to either donate a coat or take one if needed. 

“We usually start getting phone calls in in late October and early November inquiring, but we put out the coatrack in the beginning late November or early December until we find the temperature getting warmer,” says Manny.

Donors can add coats for men, women, and children to the rack. Manny assures there are no questions asked of those wishing to take one of the donations, and adds that people have begun donating gloves, scarves, and even winter boots. Every little bit helps bring some much-needed warmth to those in need.

“The staff and I could not believe the number of jackets that were being taken on a daily basis, showing that we do have a problem with low-income and homelessness in every neighbourhood of Ottawa,” Manny says. Due to current pandemic and economic events, there is an ever-increasing number of those facing financial hardship. 


Last year, the City of Ottawa launched a Point-in-Time count – the first since 2018 – to survey persons experiencing homelessness. While the date for this count has yet to be released at the time of this article, the 2018 count listed 1,400 participants in need. 

““This is such a rewarding program…and yet so simple. If you are able to donate any item that would help, please do,” urges Manny. 

The Clocktower Pub is located at 422 MacKay St. Contact them at 613-742-3169info.mackay@clocktower.ca or visit clocktower.ca–ARG

Amsted Design Build

Since the launch of its satellite office, or “Living Room,” at 17 Springfield Rd. in 2014, Stittsville, Ont.-based Amsted Design Build has built up a solid local clientele of homeowners planning small- and large-scale renovation projects, or in need of regular home maintenance. COVID notwithstanding, they are accepting visits to the Springfield Road office by appointment (613-836-7434; info@amsted.ca)

Owner Steve Barkhouse takes particular pride in the company’s Home Care department – a service central to Amsted’s overarching goal of establishing “clients for life.” It handles what he describes as “Honey-Do lists,” including adaptations to improve safety and livability for seniors, as well as coverage for those with busy travel schedules.

With more than three decades of experience in the design–build business in Ottawa, Amsted has an impressive range of expertise, resources, and supply networks. They have won multiple awards in categories ranging from green building to heritage preservation and kitchen design. There are currently 50 full-time Amsted employees, including six designers with specializations ranging from modern and contemporary styles to traditional arts-and-crafts. Project planners and project coordinators are also key members of the Amsted team, taking the lead with designers to plan home renovations big and small. 

For Steve, the beauty of the design–build model is to break down the project planning process into small, manageable increments, each of which can be fully mapped out in terms of scale, cost, and availability of resources, before moving on to the next step. 

He points out that at least 80 per cent of full-scale architectural drawings are never built, in most cases because of cost. By contrast, the “baby step” model minimizes the potential waste of time and money on a no-go project, and leaves time for fine tuning. His advice to prospective renovators: “Take the time you need to get exactly what you want, and have a budget in mind.”

Amsted’s planners and builders work year-round, regardless of the weather. In that sense, says Steve, there are no “busy seasons.” But, alas, he admits, there are now “COVID seasons” with which the company has had to contend as it navigates the rollercoaster of pandemic waves, most recently the Omicron tsunami. 

A major effect of the pandemic: ubiquitous supply chain bottlenecks which have had a dramatic effect on material availability, often paralyzing progress towards project completion. But over the years, Amsted has built up an advantage: strong relationships with suppliers that allow for as much predictability as is feasible in the current turbulent environment. Another “Amsted advantage” in the COVID context is its very large team, allowing for flexibility to call in replacements if needed to cover COVID-related absences. 

If a renovation is on your list of tasks that can no longer be put off, Steve’s advice is to start the process sooner rather than later. If you’re working with an Amsted project planning and design team, they can help you get the plan in place, the budget established, and the materials ordered – the timing of the build is then yours to decide. 

For more details, visit amsted.ca or call 613-836-7434–JH

Shift to virtual a benefit for local therapist

When NEN last featured Soul to Soul Counselling in June 2020, the practice had just moved online, and Nur Ambreen Ihsanullah’s clients were adjusting to the new approach.  

We caught up with Ambreen – mystic, teacher and therapist for more than 30 years, as well as the owner of Soul to Soul – to talk to us about her practice and how things have been going over the last year and a half.

Ambreen’s practice used to be located on Beechwood Avenue, but she shifted to her New Edinburgh home in March 2020, where she has been offering virtual counselling ever since. The move has been a positive one for Ambreen, in that she can now work with clients anywhere in the world.  

A retired teacher, Ambreen restarted her counselling practice in 2017 after returning to Ottawa from overseas. She found that traditional talk therapy didn’t create lasting change for those dealing with heavy issues, so she decided to take a different approach with her work. She calls it “soul-level work” and notes that her approach to therapy has always been holistic.

The shift to virtual practice means Ambreen now works with clients across Canada, the United States and even as far away as Dubai. In addition to counselling, she also teaches workshops using a therapeutic method known as Family Constellations, which she credits with changing her practice. This soul-based approach to healing inherited trauma and negative life patterns frees clients as individuals to live their authentic lives.

Ambreen encourages interested readers to attend one of her upcoming information sessions free of charge. “If you want to deep-dive, I am your person. We can unwrap the layers of social conditioning to discover the gift that is you!”

Visit Soul-to-Soul Counselling at soultosoulcounselling.com to request a consultation.  Contact Ambreen directly at connect@soultosoulcounselling.com or call 
613-421-9277.  Appointments are offered From Tuesdays through Thursdays. –TM

Should a portion of Stanley Ave. be closed for good?

By Jason Tavoularis (This article appeared in the December 2021 edition of the New Edinburgh News)

I would like to start by thanking Marc D’Orgeville for serving as chair of the New Edinburgh Community Alliance’s (NECA) Traffic and Safety (T&S) committee these past few years, and for encouraging me to step up to replace him. Marc came to my home on Dufferin Road recently to complete the transition. We discussed various T&S matters like Dufferin Road’s new speed humps, a project we had worked on together, liaising with City Councillor Rawlson King’s office and adjacent residents.

But it was the Stanley Avenue road closure in late October/early November that really animated us. One of the documents Marc transferred to me as the new T&S chair was NECA’s 1997 Community Directed Traffic Calming Study report which recommended closing Stanley Avenue to traffic from the New Edinburgh Fieldhouse (203 Stanley Ave.) to the entrance of River Lane on Dufferin Road. This recommendation never moved forward due to the potential for negative spin-off effects.

The recent temporary closure inadvertently gave us an interesting proof point that seemingly justifies further study towards a Stanley Avenue revamp without through traffic. Marc and I live on opposite ends of the closure that was recommended in the NECA traffic calming report almost 25 years ago. Neither of us witnessed a negative impact from the recent closure. We did observe a more relaxing atmosphere in Stanley Park without cars driving past the playground. Did any other park users perceive this? Surely, there must have been some traffic diverted from Stanley Avenue onto Crichton or MacKay Streets, but did those living on these streets notice?

The path towards permanently changing Stanley Avenue in such a way is a long one that would need broad support to succeed, including that of residents, our community associations and our councillor –no small feat to achieve. But I think the potential benefits make this worth revisiting. I’m optimistic that this stretch of road in question can be redesigned to keep commuters away from the playground and the dog park without loss of parking or green space. Maybe a proposed plan would include a road segment repurposed as a vibrant gathering spot, like a skatepark or a vegetated area with seating?

I would like to hear your traffic and safety ideas and concerns for New Edinburgh, including this big idea for Stanley Avenue. Did you experience any negative effects from the recent closure on this street? What worries you most about a prolonged closure? How would you like to see a stretch of the road reclaimed? Any parking arrangement ideas for that tricky road bend? Would you support a temporary closure, perhaps during the summer months, to allow the effects to be evaluated more scientifically?

Please mail me at info@newedinburgh.ca

BBB Local Holiday Guide: Dining Out

Celebrating the holidays with the return of in-person dining

By Andre R. Gagne (This article appeared in the December 2021 edition of the New Edinburgh News)

With the holidays just around the corner and some of the pandemic restrictions being removed, especially with regard to gathering limits, there is cause for much comfort and joy. Many are looking forward to having Grandma, a dozen cousins and Uncle Marv over again for turkey and all the trimmings, but those still not ready for crowded homes (or maybe you just don’t want to cook) can also rejoice. Some New Edinburgh restaurants have tantalizing festive delights ready to serve and we aren’t just talking about milk and cookies. 

“We love the holiday season here at Fraser, and that certainly reflects in our festive décor, ambiance, and menu. Every year we set up our little Christmas tree, hang snowflakes, and play seasonal music,” says Thessaly Lloyd, general manager at Fraser. “Our menu always features seasonal items, and we have fun getting playful with our cocktails to reflect the holidays.” Case in point: in early December, the “Snow Ball” and “Blitzen” cocktails top the drinks menu, while the lunch and dinner food menus feature traditional Christmas ingredients including Brussels sprouts and squash, as well as winter warmers like pot-au-feu (a short-rib stew).

In-person dining has resumed at Fraser, with the standard public health rules in play: contact tracing, vaccine passports, and masks required when guests are away from their table, Thessaly notes. The restaurant is hoping their dry-aging program for their steaks, a first for Fraser, is a mouth-watering lure as well as other items served in generous portions. 

“Our portions, flavour, and quality are unmatched, and our Christmas Takeaway menu is no exception,” beams Thessaly as she recounts the offerings available at Fraser’s takeaway business. “It is the perfect option for anyone who is looking for a delicious and carefully prepared meal boasting many seasonal favourites. With detailed reheating instructions included, it is a superb choice for a quick and simple holiday dinner! It has been a tough year, but you’ve all made it possible for us to continue on, and we are incredibly grateful!” Fraser Restaurant, Takeaway & Bottle Shop is at 7 Springfield Rd. Contact 613-749-1444 or frasercafe.ca.

Over at the Clocktower Brew Pub at 422 MacKay St., they just couldn’t wait! Forget the 12 Days of Christmas, they started decorating in November. This being the first holiday season in two years, general manager Manny Garcia is especially excited to have guests back inside for parties and family gatherings. 

“We are gearing up to have a busy, fun Christmas Season. We want to be everyone’s Christmas destination where you can meet up with long-time friends or family and have some Christmas cheer,” says Manny, adding that his favourite part of the season is seeing everyone either wearing Christmas sweaters or Santa hats, some even exchanging gifts right there in the pub. 


A personal tradition is that before closing up early on Christmas Eve, Manny nips over to Mario’s Food Centre on McArthur Avenue to purchase some Portuguese treats for their everyday regulars as well as his staff. 

This year, there’s a new brew on the menu!

“We have a very nice seasonal beer called Billy Goat Brew. It’s an Espresso White Stout. We collaborated with local coffee company Happy Goat Coffee.”

Clocktower staff are grateful to be continuing their Winter Jacket Program for a third year in which, on a coatrack outside of the pub, jackets for all ages and sexes are left for the less fortunate. They welcome donations. 

“As a fixture of New Edinburgh for the past decades we truly feel part of the fabric of this wonderfully unique neighbourhood,” says Manny. “We are so fortunate to be able to serve such great guests, many who feel like family. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays to everyone.” Find the Clocktower Brew Pub at 422 MacKay St. Call 613-742-3169 or clocktower.ca.