Lane loop winter walk: help launch a new tradition

By Justin Swan (this article originally appeared in the October 2021 edition of the New Edinburgh News)

One feature that makes New Edinburgh unique is its lanes. Mostly hidden to passing visitors, the lanes are interesting walking routes that offer a slow, human-scale contrast to the city.

The old homes, charming garages, trees, and hydro poles pushed up against the narrow quiet streets are an important anchor of local heritage. 

Last year, after a few people decorated poles on River Lane with lights, others started to do the same. The effort spread to people’s homes and backyards facing the lane and it gradually became a nightly winter walking route for many residents.

Moving forward, we want to make it even better and we need your help to make it happen. Over time, the hope is to have every house, apartment, tree, and fence facing the “New Ed Lane Loop” to be decorated with lights during the holiday season.

The path including Avon Lane, School Lane, and River Lane creates a loop when you include the short section of Dufferin Road connecting Avon and River Lanes. Let’s light up the loop and make it a memorable winter tradition!

Our vision: Make the New Ed Lane Loop a memorable winter holiday walk for the community. It is:

  • a novel way for people to socialize, connect, and create shared memories
  • a new perspective of the neighbourhood
  • a fun and lasting annual tradition

We need your help! Please complete our two-question survey: bit.ly/laneloopsurvey

Justin Swan and his wife Lindsey MacKinnon have lived on River Lane for six years with their two children.

NECA board looking for new faces

By Cindy Parkanyi, NECA President

From its early days fighting construction of the Vanier Parkway extension to advocating for mitigation and improvements to the park and public spaces, the New Edinburgh Community Alliance gets involved in myriad issues and activities, from inputs on citywide issues (such as zoning by-law changes, official plans and major governance reviews) to more localized issues around heritage, development, traffic, safety, and the environment, to name a few.

All these efforts take time and effort, so the more of us who are willing to participate, the better off we all are. If you or someone you know wants to help address issues in our neighbourhood, or has great ideas to improve it, please consider join the NECA board or one of our committees. To get a better understanding of what’s involved before jumping in, log on to the Annual General Meeting on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. or join one of the NECA board meetings: every third Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. Currently, all meetings are being held on Zoom and the link is posted in advance at newedinburgh.ca/events. Nominations are open from now until the evening of the AGM: Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. However, we encourage nominations in advance. If you are interested, please email newedinburgh[at]outlook.com

Burgh Business Briefs (October 2021)

By Andre Gagne, Christina Leadlay, Randy Mar and Tamara Miller (this article appeared in the October 2021 edition of the New Edinburgh News)

Jasper restaurant has been sold

The New Edinburgh News has learned that Jasper Sports Pub at 18 Beechwood Ave. has been sold and that a new restaurant will take its place in November.

The new owner, Donald Wingell, tells NEN that his plan for the bistro will bring a new form of dining to the neighbourhood under the brand “Dhruvees.”

Donald Wingell is also the founder and CEO of Wingell Hospitality Group, an Ottawa-based Hospitality Consulting and Management Company. They represent global food service brands for Canada such as Dilmah Tea, Arun Spices and Golden Roots products.

Jasper opened in spring of 2019 as a fine dining establishment. Following the first government-mandated pandemic shut-down, it re-opened in August 2020, which saw them shift to pub fare. Jasper’s owner, Andre Schad sold the restaurant to Donald in September 2021 in order to focus on his patio businesses Tavern on the Falls and Tavern on the Hill.

According to a Sept. 24 Facebook post, Andre will be launching a third location, Tavern at the Gallery, located in the hidden courtyard garden (formerly known as the Sunken Garden) at the National Gallery of Canada on Sussex Drive. Open from 11 a.m. until late, the Tavern at the Gallery’s menu will include handmade pizza, poke bowls, oysters and charcuterie.

We look forward to learning more about this new neighbourhood dining experience. Best of luck to Andre and his team, and welcome to Donald! –TM

Fresh-baked donuts on Springfield

What are lukomades? Without Googling, your first thought might be a bird found only in the Galapagos, a small village in the Mediterranean, or the full name of that uncle everyone just calls “Lou.” Not even close, but you can ensure your taste buds get the delicious answer. Just walk down to the corner of Springfield Road and Beechwood Avenue and into Mr. Luko, New Edinburgh’s newest gourmandise and coffee place.   

Need more urging? “Lukomades are little, round Greek doughnuts that are fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside,” explains Nabil Mittry, co-owner of Mr. Luko, adding that the scrumptious little morsels are “served hot and topped with a flavour [of the] customer’s choice.”

Some of those choices include Nutella, pistachio cream, white chocolate, and cinnamon sugar. And on top of this (literally) you can add some Oreo crumble, shredded coconut, salted peanuts, and more! If that isn’t enticing enough, there are specialty versions of the treat, such as tiramisu cream, mixed berry cheesecake, and triple chocolate. Did we mention the fresh fruit medley?

Nabil explains that everything is prepared fresh daily, right in the shop, with premium ingredients.

Mr. Luko opened in April on Bank Street before bringing a second location to 1 Springfield Road (in the former Second Cup location). The team hasn’t let the pandemic limit their drive for deliciousness. Having to limit the number of people inside for pick-up orders only shortly after they opened was tough, but they rode out the public health restrictions and were finally able to open their doors this past summer. 

“All the community is really happy to support us as a local business that’s growing up fast and are satisfied with the service we’re offering,” says Nabil. “You can clearly notice that from each honest review added from their side.”

With so many types of lukomades to try, you might not notice the other baked goods in the store. This writer sampled an apple fritter that will make you forget all other apple fritters. Yes, it’s that good, perfectly paired with some organic coffee.

“Our apple fritter is a hit for sure because of its huge size, affordability, and unique taste,” explains Nabil. “We also have the pistachio-filled donut, which is also an item to try, for sure.”

If you want something a little more adventurous, Mr. Luko also serves up Lebanese cocktails in both strawberry and avocado flavours, topped with fresh ashta: a Lebanese cream. The kids will probably be more interested in the cotton-candy or cookies-and-cream milkshakes, though. All of this before we mention: they serve breakfast!

Beyond the two shops in Ottawa, Nabil says the goal is to expand the Montreal-based Mr. Luko brand even further: “We surely are ambitious to grow faster and open a chain of Mr. Luko all over Canada and working hard to achieve that goal.” –ARG

Mr. Luko is located at 1 Springfield Road. Learn more at mrluko.ca

Spanish-Latino cuisine coming soon

Curious pedestrians peering in the window of 224 Beechwood Ave., intrigued at the signage already in place, will be rewarded very soon.  

Renowned chef Daniela Manrique Lucca and her partner and front-of-house manager, Gustavo Belisario, are bringing an exciting culinary experience to the former Sutherland restaurant space.  

In the next few weeks, the doors will open upon an exciting blend of the esteemed Soca Kitchen restaurant and the upstart Plantain Cartel, along with a well-stocked mercado (market).

“Everyone has been so welcoming since we took over this space and we have fallen in love with the neighbourhood!” said Chef Daniela in an interview with NEN. The Soca Kitchen is her creation: her vision for Spanish-Latino fusion, connected to roots in her native Venezuela.  Diners will see many favourites on the menu, including an oyster bar, seafood tower, selected jamons (dry-cured hams), patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), cod ceviche, and empanadas and taco platters, among others.

Just like the original Soca location on Holland Avenue which opened in 2014, the Beechwood Soca will initially be open for dinner only but will eventually open for brunch once things settle down.  

First developed as a “ghost kitchen,” Plantain Cartel specializes in patacones: artisanal plantain sandwiches which will be available all day. They make a great gluten-free meal option! The Cartel team make the patacones in-house from scratch, meaning no two are alike. Plantain Cartel will be a casual, express-dining option, offering delicious foods eat-in or to-go as well as signature frozen cocktails, wine, and beer.

Soca’s loyal and experienced staff will help to ease the transition to two locations, complemented by new staff. They will have opportunities to take on new roles and many will be able to work closer to home.

Plantain Cartel’s mercado will offer a wide variety of Spanish specialty products: olive oils, concervas(preserves), marinated olives, sauces and aiolis, potato crisps, and much more.  Adding to the take-away options will be a variety of Soca’s frozen foods and a selection of refrigerated cheeses and charcuterie items.

And if opening a second restaurant isn’t excitement enough for Daniela and Gustavo, the couple are expecting a baby daughter in November!

Congratulations times two to Daniela, Gustavo, and the whole Soca team – welcome to New Edinburgh! –RM

The Soca Kitchen will open this fall at 224 Beechwood Ave. Contact 613-695-9190 or thesocakitchen.com or info@thesocakitchen.com.

Dentist takes over former fitness studio

Soca Kitchen isn’t the only new business opening soon at 224 Beechwood Ave. Taking over the former EPIC fitness space (sadly, a victim of multiple pandemic shutdowns) is the dental practice of Dr. Luc Ducharme. In an email interview with NEN, Dr. Ducharme says that for the past four or five years he has been looking to expand the practice at 156 Beechwood Ave., where he and associate dentist Dr. Olivier Julien have been since 2004. But finding a 4,500–5,000 sq. ft. space on the main street had been a challenge. Until recently.

“The most important factor was remaining on Beechwood,” explains Dr. Ducharme. “This space [at 224 Beechwood Ave.] was ideal for a dental clinic: ground-level, lots of windows, on a corner, directly on Beechwood and next to a pharmacy,” and with convenient parking, too, he says. 

Construction began in March 2021, transforming the former fitness studio into a dental clinic, which Dr. Ducharme says “is a complex project due to not only for leasehold improvement, but mostly due to all the special dental equipment.” He anticipates opening the new clinic in November 2021.

Born in Ottawa, Dr. Ducharme obtained his dental diploma from the University of Montreal in 1995. He practiced for eight years on Montreal Road before moving to Beechwood Avenue in March 2004. Along with Dr. Julien, who has worked with Dr. Ducharme for 15 years, the practice includes six hygienists, four assistants and four receptionists. “I intend in the near future to hire another associate dentist to better respond to the demands of the community,” says Dr. Ducharme. His clinic offers a wide variety of services including orthodontics, Invisalign, implants, sedation for patients who suffer from dental anxiety, and endodontic treatment (like root canals). They also deal with dental emergencies, and new patients are always welcome.

As for his old clinic space, Dr. Ducharme tells NEN he is “presently working with an agent as to subleasing my present location.”

We wish Dr. Ducharme and his team all the best in their new space at 224 Beechwood Ave. Learn more by calling 613-749-1785 or at drlucducharme.com. –CL

Local barbering returns to Beechwood


For those who’ve been missing a stroll along Beechwood Avenue for their regular haircuts, two brothers – Louis and Yasser Fahs – have come to the rescue.

The enterprising brothers opened Beechwood Barbershop in late September in the former Imperial Barbershop location at 10 Beechwood Ave. (next door to SushiMe). Louis brings the barbering expertise, and Yasser the business acumen to their latest venture.

They plan to keep much of the familiar furnishings and décor and maintain the six existing chairs, which allow for proper physical distancing in keeping with current public-health protocols. Initial service at launch will focus on barber cuts; other services such as beard and facial treatments will be introduced as restrictions on personal care services are lifted in the future.  

In launching this endeavour, the brothers have dropped in at several local coffee shops and pubs to get their ear to the ground regarding clients’ needs. “We know this a great family area and want to bring a much-needed service to the community,” said Yasser. To further the neighbourhood connection, they’ve sought out skilled local barbers and are confident there will be familiar faces tending to customers’ needs.

To introduce themselves to the neighbourhood, Beechwood Barbershop will offer half price barber cuts in the two weeks following their opening, so keep an eye out for the open sign in the window.

A warm welcome to Beechwood Village, Louis and Yasser!

The Beechwood Barbershop is located at 10 Beechwood Ave. For details or walk-in/call-in appointments, call 613-842-8383 or visit bestprosintown.com/on/vanier/beechwood-barbershop–RM

Cannabis shop applies for permit

There’s a potential new occupant for the space left vacant by Sundae School at 131B Beechwood Ave, next to Bridgehead. NEN has learned that Munchies Cannabis has submitted an application to open a retail store at this location.  

All cannabis stores in Ontario are regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO). The AGCO ensures that retailers are selling cannabis in a safe, responsible and lawful manner. Regulations include:

  • not selling cannabis to anyone under the age of 19;
  • not operating a retail store within 150 meters of a school; and
  • acquiring the required Retail Store Authorization, Retail Operator License and Cannabis Retail Manager License.

All active applications for cannabis Retail Store Authorizations are available to view on the AGCO online portal (agco.ca) and stores are required to have a 15-day public notice period. The public notice period for Munchies Cannabis’ application closed on Sept 16, 2021, with no new details listed on the website as of publishing time. –TM

Dental team retires after 33 years

In September, Dr. John Martins and Dr. Patricia Prud’homme of Martins + Prud’homme Dentistry at 200 Beechwood Ave. announced their retirement from dentistry after 33 years – 27 of which were spent on Beechwood Avenue. 

In a message to their clients and the community, they said “it is with mixed emotions that we announce our retirement in September and pass along our beloved practice.

“We wish to convey our sincerest appreciation for the tremendous support that we have received over the years from this wonderful community. Thank you for your kindness, your warm friendship and for entrusting us with your care. It has truly been an honour and a privilege.

“As we bid a fond farewell to our cherished patients, we look forward to happy endings and new beginnings.”

Drs. Martins and Prud’homme are partners both in the clinic and in life. John tells NEN that he and Patricia met in dental school and were married in 1989, a year after graduation. They have practiced dentistry together since 1994.

NEN has learned that the dental practice has been acquired by Dr. Lokesh Malik, who has begun contacting clients.

NEN extends a big thank-you to Drs. Martins and Prud’homme for their many years of support as regular advertisers in this newspaper. We wish them all the best in their retirement. –CL

Outdoor market wraps up Oct. 9

The Beechwood Market has just a few more weeks of open-air activity before reverting to an online venue for the winter season.

A community presence since 2014, the Beechwood Market has become many things to its visitors and vendors. In describing the market, President Chris Penton suggests that it “has become a comfort, an expectation, and an integral part of our community; a chance for residents to listen to live music and truly support local businesses, whether it be online, onsite, or on their front porch!”

With the steadfast support of many of its sponsors, vendors, and visitors, the market has thrived through three moves to its present location at Optimiste Park and online at beechwoodmarket.ca. On Saturdays from early June to Thanksgiving (Oct. 9), Beechwood Market offers an outdoor market experience at Optimiste Park (43 Ste. Cecile St.) featuring a wide variety of artisanal baked goods and prepared foods, eggs and poultry, local craft beer, and fresh – often organic – produce and fruit. The friendly community vibe attracts families, seniors, and young singles.  

At the online Market, shoppers will find more than 30 local vendors, and hundreds of kitchen staples. Weekly pickup, arranged at the time of order, will move to the New Edinburgh Park Fieldhouse (203 Stanley Ave.) beginning Oct. 16.

Fans of community markets will note their expanding presence across the city. Beechwood Market’s offshoot, the Elgin Market, opened this past summer in Boushey Square on Waverley at Elgin Streets. Chris Penton is working not only towards a community market framework to guide market deployment city-wide, but also collaborating with other community associations to host markets on Preston Street in Little Italy, in Alta Vista, and in Hintonburg next summer.

There are also tentative plans for a Christmas Market in December at the Chartwell New Edinburgh Square, 420 MacKay St. Check the market’s website for the latest.

The Beechwood Farmers’ Market runs Saturdays in Optimiste Park, 43 Ste. Cecile St., until Oct. 9 before moving exclusively online for the winter. Contact 613-883-1012; beechwoodfm@gmail.com or visit beechwoodmarket.ca or localline.ca.

Your Pet Palace moves to Vanier

A long-time resident of 78 Beechwood Ave., local pet groomer Your Pet Palace has relocated nearby at 264 Olmstead St. in Vanier. The move was necessary to make way for the forthcoming Minto Beechwood II development on that block (see details, page 1).  

Clients can expect the same services from owner Diane Campbell and her team: full pet grooming, medicated shampoos, flea treatments, and nail-trims while you wait. Contact Your Pet Palace at 613-747-6568 or yourpetpalace@rogers.com. Please note: appointments are available by phone only. –TM

The community hub along the river

After weathering a number of pandemic-related closures since March 2020, the Rideau Sports Centre (at 1 Donald St.) has had a “magical” summer – success which the team plans to carry into the autumn. 

“We have approached each lockdown with a ‘dare-to-dream’ challenge,” Carrie Cuhaci, the RSC’s director of sales and marketing, tells the New Edinburgh News. “We viewed the closures as an opportunity to make further investments in the property and take great leaps in our offerings. It also enabled us to keep as many staff employed as possible and expanded their skills. Each time we re-open, our clients would return excited to see what we improved,” she said.

During their second COVID summer, RSC was able to safely host dozens of weddings, round-robin tennis drop-ins, and a 28-team ball-hockey league, run full-day children’s camps, and open The Bridge (its second-floor restaurant) seven days a week.

“We invested and opened the largest outdoor fitness centre in Ottawa,” said Carrie, describing an outdoor area on RSC’s four-acre property along the Rideau River dedicated to yoga and fitness classes and an outdoor gym.

Carrie credits the RSC team with being very nimble in adapting to ever-changing public health guidelines with very little guidance or advance notice from the provincial government. As of Sep. 22, sports centres like RSC are among the places requiring proof of vaccination or exemption with government-issued identification.

“Anyone can play any sport anytime at RSC – there is no membership required,” said Carrie, noting that all RSC sports, services, restaurant, and bar are available to everyone. In a beautiful location on the Rideau River between Vanier, Overbrook and Sandy Hill, RSC is a convenient community hub: a place to meet friends for a game, a meal, or a drink by the firepit.

This fall, RSC is offering a full slate of activities for all ages. There is a new “Tennis Pathway” for adults and juniors, as well as coach-run, level-based play programs. Yoga classes are available daily in the outdoor Zen tent, with offerings for all levels. Fitness classes are running both indoors and out, morning and evening. Plus: the beach volleyball court and outdoor ball hockey rink are available to rent (call 613-749-6126 to check availability). 

There are non-sports activities, too! The RSC Book Club takes place the first Tuesday of each month. Drop in to discuss fiction and non-fiction in a friendly, COVID-safe environment (registration required). Also, the RSC Outdoor Market is a monthly event featuring an eclectic selection of products – from flowers to candles, food and clothing – for sale from local vendors.

NEN thanks the Rideau Sports Centre for their continued support and wishes the team a busy and active fall season.

The Rideau Sports Centre is located at 1 Donald St. Learn more about RSC’s activities at rideausportscentre.com. Contact the restaurant at thebridgepublichouse.com. –CL

Wanted: Poll workers for election

Ottawa-Vanier is looking for poll workers for the Sept 20 general election!

Please call 1-866-275-1778 if you want to work or apply online. #ItsOurVote #Elxn44


Ottawa-Vanier recrute des travailleurs pour le 20 septembre!

Veuillez appeler le 1-866-275-1778 si vous voulez travailler ou postuler en ligne.  #CestNotreVote #Elxn44

GYPSY MOTH INFESTATION

Ottawa is in the throes of a gypsy moth caterpillar infestation! 

At this stage, the caterpillars are probably descending from the leaves at night and resting on the ground or at the base of the tree so checking your tree from 5 pm until dark and even after dark with a flashlight will net you a good haul of 2-3 inch caterpillars.  Then check the tree again in the morning when it starts to warm up:  7:30-9 am is a good time.  And, if you can, checking during the daytime also helps because the caterpillars will move around.  

This moth has 5 stages of caterpillar growth (instars) if a male and 6 if female (she eats more to lay down fat to produce her 300+ eggs later this year).

As of mid-June, we are about half- to three-quarters of the way through the caterpillars’ eating phases and as one caterpillar eats up to one square metre of leaf surface between hatching and pupating, it is important to continue monitoring our trees.  

The caterpillars will start to pupate any time now from late June or early July; this is a good time to look for the brown hard-cased pupae and flick them into a pail of detergent and water along with any remaining live caterpillars. Check any surface: walls, tires, car wheel wells, eaves, undersurface of branches and especially the trunks of trees.

The adults will emerge from the pupal cases in August, mate (the adults fly in search of females, the females normally do not fly) and the female lays the eggs in a yellow soft and furry mass.  At that point, we should begin the egg scraping and destruction process all over again.  

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:
Pluck the caterpillars off your plants/trees and drop them into a bucket of soapy water.  Cover and let soak for up to 48 hours before safely disposing of the dead caterpillars.  

It is not too late to wrap trees in burlap or any breathable fabric or with a combination of sticky tape with shiny tape top and bottom.  Use string to hold the burlap in place.  The caterpillars will crawl under the burlap at night.   Safely dispose of any caterpillars that you catch. 

When handling the caterpillars, wear gloves as the hairs carry a histamine that can provoke an allergic reaction similar to poison ivy.  As the caterpillar goes from one instar to the next, the cast skins break down and the hairs are blowing around. So wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and maybe even a hat when out walking or controlling the caterpillars.  Seek medical attention if the blisters are severe.  

Adopt a tree in Stanley Park and other wooded areas around New Edinburgh! In parks or street trees, mark the burlap with your name or initials (so others know that you are returning to remove the caterpillars) and check your adopted tree as many times a day as you can.  Eighty to 90 per cent of a tree’s defoliation occurs during the 5th and 6th instars when the caterpillars have reached their maximum size and so it is worth it to remove as many as possible now and over the next two weeks.

As a last resort, spray trees/plants with Btk (Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki).  Ideally consult a professional. 

Additional information on gypsy moths, including how to deal with current caterpillar infestation, can be found on the City of Ottawa website.

All is not lost for the defoliated trees. WATER YOUR TREES frequently but DO NOT add fertilizer to the water or sprinkle fertilizer around the tree. Leaf loss is a stress and combined with this spring drought, the impact is doubled. Fertilizer promotes new woody growth but you want leaves only.

-Iola Price and Tamara Miller

Park life special feature: Residents share what they love and want to improve in the park

Compiled by Christina Leadlay (this article originally appeared in the June 2021 edition of the New Edinburgh News)

New Edinburgh Park, Stanley Park…. Whatever you call it, the greenspace along the Rideau River from Sussex Drive to Beechwood Avenue is one of the top reasons we choose to live in this neighbourhood.

The New Edinburgh News presents a special feature on “the park” complete with maps, rules, history and stories about what makes this greenspace unique and worth protecting. 

But first, let’s hear from local park users!

Every day throughout the year, a variety of people use New Edinburgh’s park for many different reasons. Some access the park multiple times a day; others use the park in many capacities – as pedestrians, cyclists, dog walkers or with their children. The New Edinburgh News reached out to residents via email and asked them:

1) What is your favourite thing about the park?

2) What would you like to improve about the park?

The following responses have been edited for length and content.

Karen McDonald, Crichton Street. Retired person, pedestrian, dog walker

I love walking my dog from our house, along the river path, past the play area and tennis courts, through the little woods, past the canine swimming hole, though the big off-leash area, and if it’s a nice day, around Rideau Hall and back home again. I love seeing all the people of different ages and family configurations enjoying the park. 

Room for improvement: Somehow getting the litterers (including fellow dog walkers) to pick up after themselves. More garbage cans, perhaps? Also, keeping cyclists off the shoreline pedestrian path, especially now that there is a continuous paved bike path through the park. Would more signs help, or more barriers, such as big rocks, at strategic points to make it more difficult for [cyclists] to access the dirt path?

Kathy Kealey, Dufferin Road. Dog walker
The best thing about the park is its use by all residents, young and old, human and animal.

I’d like to see our park enhanced by the addition of a small, multi-use pavilion for yoga, small concerts, outdoor painting classes, and shelter from inclement weather. A few drinking fountains, cobblestone paths to cut down on muddy walkways, covered benches to shelter from the sun, and more garbage receptacles would make the park much more user friendly.

Frances Middleton, Stanley Avenue. Family with young child, dog walker

Our favourite thing about the park is its natural beauty; how it’s so green and has various types of vegetation. We also love the different views that the park has to offer, whether you’re taking it in from a bench or standing in the off-leash area and looking across Rideau River to Parliament.  

As long as the flora and fauna wouldn’t be negatively impacted, it would be nice if the bank between the tennis courts and workout area and the Rideau River could be restored to something more natural. You can’t tell from the path itself, but from across the river the crumbling retaining wall is a bit of an eyesore. More benches along here could be nice!

Michele Carini Bruinsma, Stanley Avenue

What I love: that it’s an off-leash dog park with lots of green space.

Room for improvement: More rubbish bins, plus replacing the broken ones. How about recycling bins for glass, plastic, and trash and one specifically for dog poop, which are standard in European public parks and now even in Kitchener, Ont.

Saman and Dorothy, Crichton Street. Recreational users and nature lovers

What we love: The proximity to the river, the green landscape, the wildlife (particularly birds), the change of use and landscape over the different seasons.

To improve: More frequent garbage collection from the bins; complete the planting of grass near the water storage tank facility; maybe have more volunteer cleaning drives for the banks of the river.    

The Shepherd Family, MacKay Street

I’d like to see many more wildflowers to attract the monarchs. The old monarch garden seems to have disappeared. I’d also like to see more “NO BIKES ON THIS STRICTLY WALKING PATH” signs. It is most irritating to have bikes roaring past on the walking path.  

Karen Squires and Richard Aubry, River Lane

I love how the park brings our community together, right in the heart of our beautiful city. I think everyone benefits from this amazing green space and I’m so pleased that it’s now back in full use again [after years of infrastructure work]. We must continue to protect our green spaces to ensure they are natural, clean, and safe for everyone.

I think more effort in keeping the entire park area clean is very important. There is still a considerable amount of garbage left behind on Stanley in and around the park. There needs to be more accountability when groups use the park for events to ensure there is zero “garbage footprint” left behind. With more people using this limited space, there should be more support to ensure green space is protected and clean. We continue to lose trees for a variety of reasons (i.e., climate change) so trees and bushes need to be replanted to ensure we maintain our limited green space, moving forward, for all to enjoy.

Eileen Olexiuk, River Lane. Senior, retired person, pedestrian 

I love the river, the trees, the birds, and other small animals that live there: the peacefulness of nature. I also love the activities, especially for young people: cycling, soccer, baseball, skating or just playing on the equipment.  

What I would like to see improved is restricting cyclists to using the bike lanes, and not taking the walking paths along the river. We need better signage strategically placed and visits by bylaw officers until such time as respect for all users is recognized.  

Jill Nowell, Dufferin Road

I think that finally the city has built us a wonderful new park for our neighbourhood. I love all the trees that have been planted and keep finding new paths to wander about while walking my dog.

However, it is taking a very long time for the seeded grass areas to grow and as a result we get very muddy areas when it rains, and this destroys the new grass trying to grow. The areas now need to be covered with sod.

Deepee Khosla, River Lane

My favourite thing(s): I love going for walks along the river. In the winter, the skating rink is a blast.

It would be nice to have a section of the park planted with native [species] to encourage more wildlife. Perhaps something similar to what’s been done at Remic Rapids.

Raewyn Khosla, River Lane. Nature Lover

I love walking through the park watching the trees go through the seasons.

I’d love to see an area of the park dedicated to native plants, a rewilding project with an urban meadow theme using native flowers, trees and grasses that will attract more diverse insects, birds, and wildlife. This is something that is happening internationally in cities as biodiversity is threatened and development and agriculture eat up natural habitats.

Justin Swan, River Lane. Family with young children, cyclist, pedestrian, sports & rec user

[I love] the waterfront. It provides great views of the downtown, Parliament, and Minto Bridges – a unique perspective of our capital.  

[I would make improvements] to evolve Stanley Park into one that is internationally renowned and a top-three destination in the capital. This would include expansion of the park through amalgamating Porter Island, Bordeleau Park, the Rideau Falls, and Stanley Park via a new pedestrian pathway “loop.” The loop would connect new destinations within the park as well – a small outdoor theatre on Maple Island, a seated patio at the new junction framing the view of the Parliament, a canoe dock, and a new and expanded fieldhouse worthy of hosting a variety of events and programming. Let’s be bold! 

Burgh Business Briefs (June 2021)

BURGH BUSINESS BRIEFS

By Andre R. Gagne, Jane Heintzman, Randy Mar and Tamara Miller (this article appeared in the June 2021 edition of the New Edinburgh News.

Farewell to Sundae School

While the pandemic has played havoc with the province’s schools, here in our own neighbourhood, there is one pandemic-related school closure that will affect many of us, regardless of age. In early April, Sundae School owner–operator Lindsay Taub announced on Facebook that her popular summer ice cream emporium is now permanently closed, marking the end of a brief but successful run in our community. 

Sundae School first launched in 2017 at the just-opened Kavanaugh condo building at 220 Beechwood Ave. Lindsay and her team went all out in pursuing the school theme in the new ice cream shop, both in artful décor touches and in the menu, which featured such highlights as Recess Pieces, Pop Quiz, Chalk-olate Board, and Class Clown. 

In its second year of operation, Sundae School moved to 131B Beechwood Ave., next door to Bridgehead Coffee, where it remained until its closure. While the interior space was slightly smaller than its first location at the Kavanaugh, the nearby outdoor patio area and the synergy with Bridgehead proved extremely successful, and it became a destination treat spot for locals of all ages. Lindsay’s original vision for the business was to create a neighbourhood gathering place where clients, young and old, could experience “the joy of being a kid in an ice cream shop” ­– and that she did!

As the COVID pandemic wore on, and the third wave struck this past April, it became clear that public health uncertainties were unlikely to resolve any time soon. Like all other small businesses, Sundae School had endured a very tough year. And as Lindsay noted in her farewell announcement, the shop’s whole raison d’être– to be a relaxed and fun community gathering spot – was undermined by the constraints of physical distancing. Even after the crisis subsides and the rules are relaxed, she faced the possibility of an ongoing “gathering chill” in a community accustomed to distancing and risk avoidance. 

Lindsay regret expresses at the closure of Sundae School: “I will miss seeing all the happy, eager faces.” But she plans to resume her original profession as a youth and family therapist. In the wake of the myriad stresses on children and families faced during the pandemic, there’s no doubt her services in this domain will be much needed and in high demand. Best of luck, Lindsay, and our thanks for the summer highlight you brought to our community in recent years. –JH

Manor Park DQ has closed

New Edinburgh area ice cream-lovers are watching their spots for cool treats melt away like a dipped cone on an August day. First came the closure of Beechwood Avenue’s Sundae School (noted above) and now, after treating people right for more than five decades, the Manor Park DQ has served its final Peanut Buster Parfait. 

With the summer weather settling in, area residents were awaiting the reopening of the popular ice cream shop after the seasonal winter shutdown. Instead of a Dilly Bar, they were met with the words “CLOSED THANK U FOR 54 YEARS OF PATRONAGE” on the restaurant sign. As if to punctuate the message, the familiar DQ logo was removed, only its metal shape remaining of what once guided patrons to cool summer snacks.

Many took to social media to share memories of the restaurant that first opened its doors (and freezers) on 345 St. Laurent Blvd. back in the late 1960s. Some recalled being taken as children by their grandparents. 

“I was very sorry to hear the Dairy Queen in Manor Park is closing,” John Newcombe posted on Twitter. “This was a fixture of my childhood – a treat when I was little and the first taste of freedom when I could bike there with friends.”

“A landmark from growing up nearby, but it was looking increasingly forlorn over the past few years,” added Fergus Maclaren, who could perhaps see the writing on the wall for the restaurant.

While the DQ owners could not be reached as of press time for comment on the true reason behind the closure, online speculation points to the property having been sold to a developer for possible condo construction. 

Not to end with these scoops of sadness, here’s a cheery cherry on top: you can still get all your Dairy Queen favourites at the 401 McArthur Ave. location, just a five minute drive from Manor Park. –AG

Il Vagabondo soldiers on

For more thsn 40 years, Il Vagabondo Restaurant has been a fixture at the corner of Barrette Street and Marier Avenue, a cozy, unpretentious Italian eatery offering home-made pasta dishes at modest prices. Artist Karole Marois’s eye-catching mural of the Eastview Electric Street Car in 1909, emblazoned on the Barrette-facing façade of the restaurant, has helped compensate for its somewhat off-the-beaten-track location. But more importantly, its reputation for providing tasty, affordable favourites in a welcoming, home-like setting has attracted loyal regulars. And never have these regulars been more crucial to the restaurant’s survival than in these last months of the pandemic.

Il Vagabondo’s owner–operator Adriana Roy, a Chilean by birth who acquired her skills in Italian cuisine while working for an Italian diplomatic family, is neither a pessimist nor a complainer. On the contrary, she is as positive, cheerful, and resilient an individual as it’s possible to imagine. But even Adriana concedes that the pandemic has been a very tough go for her restaurant, and this spring’s third wave, the toughest of all. 

Like other restauranteurs, she has been forced to pivot to take-out during lockdown phases of the pandemic, shifting back to indoor dining when constraints were relaxed. While take-out has offered a lifeline, Adriana concedes that business “is not great,” presenting significant challenges. Not the least of these is attempting to safely navigate food suppliers to provision her kitchen with the fresh ingredients she insists on for her Italian fare. “I’m very picky,” she admits. 

While there is (we all hope) light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine rollout and the gradual subsiding of the third wave, Adriana thinks that businesses should remained closed until we exit the tunnel, probably not before the fall.

In the meantime, says Adriana, “it’s better to keep laughing” and to be grateful for all of one’s blessings, however challenging our circumstances. She’s thankful to have her health, spirits, and her resilient little restaurant – a survivor through four decades of change. We wish her the best of luck, and thank her for her many years as a loyal advertiser in the New Edinburgh News. And here’s hoping that some of the new residents of St. Charles Market (up the street from Il Vagabondo) will soon swell the ranks of Adriana’s regulars once the pandemic ordeal is over! For take-out, call 613-749-4877. –JH

SushiMe victim of vandalism

One evening in late May, the front window of SushiMe at 8 Beechwood Ave. was smashed by vandals. Regrettably, the restaurant’s security camera was not functioning at the time, but the incident took place before dark, so numerous passers-by saw the event. According to witness reports, a group of three teenaged boys inflicted the damage, but in the absence of video evidence from the security camera, Ottawa Police Service has been unable to pursue the case. SushiMe owner/operator Sue Jung noted that the week before this incident, another break-in and minor theft had occurred at the restaurant, this time via the rear door, but she doubts that the two cases are related.

Sue anticipates that the cost of replacing the large window at SushiMe will be significant- and an especially cruel blow during the pandemic, which has devastated the bottom lines of restaurants everywhere. This is a moment to show community support: let’s be alert to signs of suspicious activity and give SushiMe a prominent place on our local take-out lists. Call 613-741-4777. Best of luck Sue, and our sincere regrets at this pointless act of vandalism.  –JH

Bibi’s to expand opening hours

Since opening in January 2020 on the corner of Putman and Beechwood Avenues, BiBi’s Middle Eastern Kitchen has established itself as a fast, fresh, takeout option – a team committed to hospitality, sustainability and quality.

We had a chance to speak with Adam Weiss, owner–operator of Bibi’s, to ask what it has been like for his first year and a half in business to have coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Adam has worked in the restaurant industry for 15 years. He credits his time as opening general manager at Fairouz Café for expanding his appreciation of fine-dining Middle Eastern cuisine. He hoped to apply this learning to a quick-style restaurant – bringing the elements of hospitality, great flavours, and fresh ingredients to a takeout milieu.

Even as restaurant regulations have changed during the pandemic, Bibi’s has enjoyed continued success. Although they initially had room for 16 guests inside their restaurant, their small team always saw itself as more of a take-away establishment and planned to work with companies like Uber Eats, Skip the Dishes, etc.

However, Adam credits their ability to remain open on his loyal customers. “We wouldn’t be where we are if it wasn’t for the support of the community,” he says. “Of course, when the pandemic first hit, there were ups and downs, but we are still here because of the community. We do miss having our guests inside, and can’t wait to have them return.”  

Bibi’s menu offers something for everyone, and Adam’s team was deliberate about reaching clientele with various dietary requirements. The Baharat-spiced chicken wrap is their number-one seller, and their vegetarian items – including falafel wraps and bowls – are very popular.  

As we move into the summer, Bibi’s is looking to expand their pantry items. Currently available are items like their signature iced tea, hibiscus lemonade, saj chips, hummus, garlic sauce, spice blends and tahini chocolate chunk cookies which are so popular, they have trouble keeping them in stock! Their pantry will continue to grow, and we will see the wraps and bowls evolve.  

More good news! This summer, Bibi’s will be moving back to being open all week. “When COVID hit, we moved to being open six days per week,” Adam tells the New Edinburgh News, “but we realized that sometimes there aren’t that many options for people for takeout on Mondays and we want to be available to our community and online seven days per week.”

Bibi’s Middle Eastern Kitchen is located at 143 Putman Ave. Visit them at eatatbibis.com, find them on your favourite delivery app, or call 613421-0711.–TM

ONEC thrilled tennis can resume 

Seldom in its long existence has the Ottawa New Edinburgh Club membership been so enthused and proud, but at the same time, anxious for activities to begin.

“We are very excited to get back into the Boathouse once the renovations are finished, so we can continue to offer community access to water sports and to help reanimate the Ottawa River” said ONEC President Meghan Hanlon. “We hope our members and the public will share our excitement when they see all the improvements that will result from the completion of the project.”

With an infusion of funding from the National Capital Commission, a careful renovation of the two-and-a-half-storey heritage boathouse on the Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway is well on the path to completion as part of the Federal Infrastructure Investment strategy. The ONEC board and members are eager to see the unveiling of the multi-year renovation to completely update the landmark boathouse, club facility, and riverfront. Featuring 16,000 square feet overlooking the Ottawa River, the soon-to-be year-round facility is designed to serve many generations  of the public to come.

On the other hand, the extended provincial stay-at-home order is still in place (with a reopening plan recently announced), challenging the Board and staff to ensure members and guests have adequate time to plan their summer adventures at the Club.

Tennis was among the outdoor activities allowed to resume on May 29; the seven clay and four HarTru courts draw hundreds of avid players of all ages who are itching to swing a racquet outdoors again and resume friendly rivalries.

A start to the ONEC rowing, sailing, and paddling season usually depends on Ottawa River water levels, but with levels ironically at lowest for many years, the club is now waiting to begin installing 7,000 square feet of docks. This requires an army of member volunteers to muscle the docks into place along the riverside before water activities can officially begin.

Both water and tennis day camps programs for youth aged 7–17 have been drawn up, and staff and instructors are ready to go full steam ahead in accordance with public health guidance once given the green light.

To broaden member offerings, ONEC has trialed pickle ball, stand-up paddle boards, and group voyager paddles. Given the interest, the club will be looking to expand its paddling program in the coming years.

Of note, the ONEC will celebrate 100 years calling the Boathouse home in 2023.  Stay tuned for upcoming plans to mark this historic milestone!

Here’s to calm waters and a few aces in the coming weeks.

The Ottawa New Edinburgh Club (ONEC) is located at 504 Sir George-Étienne Cartier Parkway. Contact them at 6137468540 or visit onec.ca –RM

Building better eating habits

For a variety of reasons, the COVID pandemic has brought food to the fore in our lives. For some, it’s been a source of relief from stress and boredom; for others with a culinary penchant, it’s provided an occupation and distraction in a home-bound environment; and for the health conscious, it’s been front and centre as a means of supporting our immune systems. 

Of these, stress-related eating habits have perhaps had the most visible impact. An Apr. 29, 2021, Ottawa Citizen story reported on the results of a study by Agri-Food Analytics, which indicated that close to three quarters of those surveyed had changed their eating habits during the pandemic, with close to two-thirds reporting “undesired weight changes” (read: weight gain). 

In this context, local nutritionist Susan Alsembach’s practice has taken on new relevance as a source of professional guidance. While most of us are acquainted with the Don’ts in the dietary realm – overindulgence in fatty, sugary, salty snacks comes to mind – we may have less assurance about the Do’s involved in healthy food choices, combinations, and amounts, which is Susan’s area of expertise. 

In non-COVID times, Susan operates her practice in Santé/Health Beechwood, a complex of therapists on the third floor of 35 Beechwood Ave. in the New Edinburgh Square Building. During the pandemic, however, her consultations have gone online. Appointments begin with a 60-minute in-depth health assessment and review of a client’s concerns and objectives, followed up by 30-minute sessions to review meal plans and track progress. These in turn may be followed by biweekly or monthly coaching calls.

Susan’s cosmopolitan background has acquainted her with a broad range of professional experiences, as well as a host of different foods, cooking styles, and food cultures. Following her early years in Switzerland where she met her Canadian husband, she earned a nursing diploma at the University of Brighton in the United Kingdom, working in surgical, medical, gynecological ,and palliative care wards. Later, while living in Brazil, she completed a Bachelor of Science and Social Studies through the U.K.’s Open University. 

When the family moved to Canada, Susan’s daughter was diagnosed as gluten- and dairy-intolerant. This challenging diagnosis inspired Susan to train as a holistic nutritionist at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, where she graduated in 2016. Two years later, she established her practice here in New Edinburgh. 

The two pillars of Susan’s practice are her weight-loss and Type 2 Diabetes programs. In both cases, the overarching objective is to develop a plan to help clients build better eating habits, “bit by bit.” Susan insists on a gradual approach, as opposed to an immediate, dramatic (and likely unsustainable) change. In formulating meal plans and associated recipes, her aim is to educate clients in the range of available options, leaving the final choices to them, depending on their individual tastes, preferences, and lifestyles. 

Among the first topics covered in Susan’s preliminary client assessment is the family profile, a snapshot of the number and ages of children; school routines; parents’ work routines; and the overall household dynamic. With this in mind, Susan tailors her meal plans and recipes to suit the time available for meal preparation, as well as the types of food with which the family is comfortable. She often tweaks familiar recipes to boost their nutritional value and recommends food combinations that increase digestibility. Quantities prescribed in Susan’s meal plan for a family of four are geared to cover two morning meals for the adults only and four evening meals for the whole family.

For details, visit susanalsembach.com or call 613-620-3249, and be sure to check out Susan’s Blog, which contains information about a broad range of food-related topics. –JH

Tavern awaits the green light

Owner–operator André Schad reports that his outdoor eatery, the Tavern on the Falls, is “ready to go, the second we are allowed to.” In fact, the restaurant has been poised to launch since late March, a plan suspended since beginning of the third wave of the COVID epidemic and the ensuing stay-at-home order, which shut down all dining and patio operations.

André remains hopeful that steadily dropping COVID case numbers, combined with the stepped-up vaccine rollout, will allow for a gradual reopening this summer, with outdoor patios leading lists of safe dining spots. Unlike last summer, when pandemic protocols were relatively uncharted territory for stores and restaurants, they’re now routine, and will click into place at the Tavern on the Falls as soon as it opens. 

The Tavern’s COVID protocols will once again entail tables separated by plant barriers and arranged at the required physical distance; plexiglass dividers separating the kitchen and bar from the dining area; hand sanitizing stations; regular disinfection of tables and chairs between sittings; a security team to ensure compliance with the rules, and a check-in procedure at the entrance to permit contact tracing. With this regime in place, the Tavern managed to have a safe and successful summer 2020, and André’s team has every intention of doing so again this year.

The Tavern on the Falls is located at 50 Sussex Dr. behind the Canadian Geographical Society building overlooking the Rideau Falls. The Tavern’s crowning glory is the view from the outdoor patio. It’s among the most spectacular vistas in Ottawa, encompassing the Rideau, Ottawa and Gatineau rivers, the Gatineau Hills, and Jacques Cartier Park. And all summer long, diners at the Tavern have a front-row seat for glorious sunsets over the Gatineau Hills. 

The fare at the Tavern this summer will continue to feature gourmet “dawgs,” ranging from “the classic” (ketchup, mustard, and relish) to more adventurous, spicy options like the Tijuana. Also on the menu are gourmet tacos, including a vegetarian option, and salads ranging from light side-dishes to a meal-size option. And of course, a wide range of drinks will be on offer – it is, after all, a tavern! – including some new cocktails André plans to introduce as soon as doors open. Best of luck André and the team: our fingers are crossed for an early and safe reopening! –JH

Chilaquiles feels your love

“A big thank-you to our community for supporting us through these unprecedented times.” says Kelvin Molina, who, with Soemy Sanchez, is half of the husband-and-wife team that brought Chilaquiles to 49 Beechwood Ave. in late 2019. “We have been welcomed and made to feel part of the community from day one,” Kelvin tells the New Edinburgh News.

Now firmly planted on the Beechwood strip with its traditional Mexican cuisine, Chilaquiles continues to up the neighbourhood’s global cuisine offerings. Soemy oversees all recipes and kitchen preparations reflecting her Yucatán roots and expansive native cuisine, and the restaurant is named for the traditional Mexican dish, chilaquiles, made from pieces of lightly fried corn tortillas cooked in green or red salsa, with either tender chicken or beef, and garnished with variety of cheeses.

After moving into their street-front location in late 2019, the pair were just hitting their stride when the pandemic hit. Even during the bleakest times, the Chilaquiles team proudly managed to stay open seven days a week, with the support and encouragement of the surrounding community.  

Not surprisingly, family-oriented dishes like the homemade chilaquiles described above, along with enchiladas and burrito verde were in demand, while individually-sized tacos, burritos, and quesadillas remained popular for takeaway. They continue to offer many of the most well-known Mexican beers that conjure up images of sandy beaches.

Online ordering is a necessity now, as is curbside pickup, but delivery is also available via UberEats or Skipthe Dishes. Note that all Chilaquiles containers are now made of recyclable or biodegradable materials!

Sadly, a second Cinco de Mayo has passed with Chilaquiles unable to host the traditional Mexican celebration with food and live music. But Kelvin, Soemy, and their team are looking ahead to sunnier times and warmer weather while planning new menu offerings, including weekly and month-long specials featuring new recipes. They are considering launching their own in-house delivery service as well.

Chilaquiles is located at 49 Beechwood Ave. Contact them at 613699-7100 or chilaquiles.ca. –RM

LCBO up and running

After many months of anticipation, the new Beechwood outlet of the LCBO (Store # 686) quietly opened its doors on Mar. 29 – a “soft opening” if there ever was one! 

The shop is reasonably spacious for physical-distancing purposes, offering more than 5,000 square feet of display space for a selection of 1,680 wines, spirits, beers, ready-made cocktails, and coolers. “Buy local” patrons will find more than 200 Ontario wines, including 145 VQA wines, and a wide selection of Ontario craft beers and other domestic brands. There is also a substantial section for chilled beverages, always in high demand in the steamy summer months. Five well-spaced checkout aisles for in-store shoppers should help to keep lineups to a minimum.

The new Beechwood store offers same-day pick-up for online orders (lcbo.com) with a relatively swift turn-around time of only three hours. Customers can pick up orders in the parking lot behind the store: enter via 411 MacKay St.

LCBO Beechwood manager Marc works with eight full- and part-time employees to offer service seven days a week, from 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 613-741-5046. 

Whether or not your tastes run to alcoholic beverages, it’s a great relief to see some life on the ground floor at Minto Beechwood.  –JH

SCM boosts local businesses

The majority of the homes in the St. Charles Market (SCM) residential development are now occupied, and over the coming summer, new residents will be acquainting themselves with the neighbourhood. As a welcoming gesture and a boost to local businesses, SCM developers, The Lake Partnership/ModBox, have given each new homeowner a gift certificate to a local restaurant or food shop, encouraging them to discover the many amenities within walking distance of their new homes. Pandemic permitting, there’ll be much to explore! –JH