Festivals in Ottawa

Image: Grass Dancer via Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival https://www.ottawasummersolstice.ca/media/

It’s definitely festival season in Ottawa.

Festivals can be great ways to get outside, celebrate the diversity that is Ottawa, and connect with community. Starting this week:

Welcoming Ottawa WeekJune 20-30, 2017

Welcoming Ottawa Week is an annual festival celebrating Ottawa as a city that welcomes newcomers, and hosting events where residents can get to know more about each other. Activities include a series of heritage walks in Chinatown, Little Italy and Lowertown with local residents sharing the stories of how immigrants have shaped those neighbourhoods, and Indigenous Walks, to understand Ottawa’s public spaces from an Indigenous perspective. There’s also a recreational soccer tournament, photo and art exhibits, film screenings, community picnics and much more.

Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival, June 20-25, 2017

This colourful and fascinating annual festival at Vincent Massey Park (and a few other places) celebrates the artistic and culture diversity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. It includes live musical performances, theatre, art and food vendors, Aboriginal Day Live! and a three-day Pow Wow. Not to miss.

Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, June 22-25, 2017

With origins connected to nature and the bounty of the land and water, the annual Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival brings more than 150 teams to compete in dragon boat races at Mooney’s Bay Park. There’s also live music, a family zone, food vendors and more.

Also on: Canada Scene, the Ottawa Jazz Festival and Festival de la St-Jean à Ottawa.

100In1Day, Doors Open Ottawa, World Environment Day and More

Image by abdallahh on Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/22168167@N00/2083496138

June is underway with some amazing (and free) activities and events.

Kitchi Blanket Exercise

Join KAIROS in a journey to help understand the effects of colonization on Indigenous peoples. Using blankets that represent the land, participants trace a shared history from life before colonization, through treaties, residential schools, the “60s’ scoop” and more. Friday, Jun. 2, 2017 from 5-7:30 p.m. on Parliament Hill. A Pot Luck Community Feast and Open Mic on Saturday, Jun. 3, 6-9 p.m. at the Bronson Centre will honour Blanket Exercise facilitators and Elders.

100In1Day Ottawa

Visit an organic farm, re-imagine uses of the Ottawa Rail Bridge, help spread native plant seeds, join a hike and yoga in Gatineau Park, or take part in any of the other dozens of micro-actions in support of the environment and civic engagement on #100In1Day in Ottawa. It’s on Saturday, Jun. 3, 2017; see the website for details.

Doors Open Ottawa

This is your chance to see inside buildings not normally open to the public, and/or of historical, architectural or civic interest. Included are the Lemieux Island water purification plant, Parks Canada’s conservation labs, Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind’s national training centre, SunTech Greenhouses, the Wild Bird Care Centre, and many embassies, museums, places of worship, government buildings, fire stations, sports and sailing clubs, art studios and more. Cycle or take a shuttle bus between some of the sites (see website for details). Buildings are open Saturday, Jun. 3 and/or Sunday, Jun. 4; check the schedule for times.

Westfest

A great reason to spend some time outdoors: Westfest, Ottawa’s free festival of music, art and family activities, with an incredible lineup of performers. It’s happening Friday, Jun. 3-Sunday, Jun. 4 in Laroche Park, Mechanicsville. See the website for schedule and details.

World Environment Day

Reconnect with nature: that’s the theme of this year’s World Environment Day, #WithNature, on Monday, Jun. 5, 2017. Take part by spending time in a park, going for a hike, planting a tree, birdwatching or digging in the garden; add some indoor plants to your life. Take photos and share what you’ve discovered. Contribute a landscape photo to the “World’s Biggest Nature Album,” or help build “the world’s largest nature database” by downloading the iNaturalist app and using it to record the biodiversity around you. You can also search for WED-related events in Ottawa.

Also coming up:

USC Canada’s public forum Shifting Ground: Transitioning to Diversified, Agroecological Food Systems Jun. 6

Carbon 613 and EnviroCentre’s Evening of Recognition Jun. 6

EnviroCentre’s Living Lightly event Jun. 8

 

 

Events: Environmental Rights and More

Forest by meisjedevos on pixabay CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/forest-maple-spring-button-tree-2290748/

Some upcoming events to check out:

Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale

The 10th annual Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale is happening Saturday, May 27, 2017 as part of the massive Great Glebe Garage Sale. This year you’ll find…free trees! There’s also a veggie BBQ, water bottle filling station and entertainment. Find it all at 680 & 690 Bank St. (Rogers Plus and Kunstadt Sports parking lots).

Ottawa Race Weekend

There’s still time to support runners and walkers in the annual Ottawa Race Weekend, May 27-28, 2017. Many are running for good causes–check out the list of charities involved. (I’m participating for MitoCanada.)

March Against Monsanto

On Saturday, May 27, March Against Monsanto – Gatineau/Ottawa takes place to raise awareness about the risks of genetically modified foods, neonicotinoids and harmful agricultural practices. It’s from 1:30-2:30 starting at the entrance to Major’s Hill Park.

Blue Dot Environmental Rights Forum

The David Suzuki Foundation, Ecology Ottawa and Ecojustice host this forum on environmental rights and responsibilities in Canada, on Wednesday, May 31 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. at Ottawa City Hall. You can also read more about Blue Dot and the call for the right to a healthy environment.

International Migratory Bird Day

International Migratory Bird Day comes to Ottawa on Saturday, May 13, 2017. 

Nature Canada and the Canadian Biodiversity Institute will host a series of fun events at Brewer Park to mark the day. They include guided bird watching walks, a visual nature scavenger hunt, a predatory bird show, storytelling, and displays about birds and how to help protect them.

From the organizers:

Nature Canada and the Canadian Biodiversity Institute invite you to join us for International Migratory Bird Day in Brewer Park on Saturday May 13, 2017 from 10am – 1pm.

This international event celebrates migratory birds making the long trip back from their wintering grounds in Central and South America to their nesting grounds here in North America. The theme for this free, family-friendly and fun event is “Helping Birds along the Way.”

Activities include guided bird-watching walks along the Rideau River and, especially for the kids, a scavenger hunt, storytelling, and crafts.

Falcon-Ed will bring trained hawks and owls for a raptor (predatory bird) demonstration, showing them flying as well as perched.

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority will give a tour of its revitalized pond project.

There will also be an information tent featuring local organizations that focus on birds and many aspects of their interesting lives. Bring just yourself or the whole family and have a free, fun, interesting and educational experience that will open a door to the fascinating world of birds!

For more information visit: http://naturecanada.ca/news/blog/ottawa-bird-day-2017/

To get to Brewer Park across from Carleton University:

Bus Routes 4, 7, 104, or take the O-Train Trillium Line to Carleton University and walk across Bronson. There is also limited parking on-site and at Carleton University.

Jane’s Walk Ottawa 2017

It’s Jane’s Walk time!

This annual series of walks explores and celebrates well-known and not-so-well-known public spaces, connects people with the built and natural environments around them, and sheds light on what makes for a liveable city.

Update: Jane’s Walk Ottawa is still on despite the rain, but check the Jane’s Walk Ottawa website to make sure the walk you want to attend hasn’t been cancelled due to wet conditions or flooding.

What makes Jane’s Walk particularly compelling is that the walks are led by local residents: storytellers, historians, scientists, community organizers, neighbours and others who volunteer to share their perspectives on parts of the city they know. The walks are free and open to everyone.

This year, Jane’s Walk in Ottawa-Gatineau takes place May 6-7. The 50+ local walks happen at the same time as thousands more around the world, all commemorating the ideas of writer and activist Jane Jacobs. Jacobs advocated for people-centred urban planning, building on the “intricate sidewalk ballet” of informal neighbourhood activities, for example, and for vibrant, accessible neighbourhoods.

There are so many great walks this weekend that it’s hard to list them here, so check out the full schedule at janeswalkottawa.ca. Here’s just a sample of what’s available to discover:

  • Envision Elgin St., Stittsville Main St., Rideau St. or Bank St. as redesigned lively, walkable community streets;
  • Take a foodie tour focused on local, organic food in Centretown;
  • See downtown through the eyes of an Indigenous woman, or from the points of view of people who have experienced homelessness, or from other perspectives;
  • Examine the past, present and future of Lebreton Flats; land use in the Central Experimental Farm; or the shift of a disused railway line into a green corridor;
  • Learn about Indigenous people’s relationship with the Ottawa and Gatineau Rivers, colonialism, industrialization, urban planning, resistance and resurgence;
  • Find wild, edible plants growing in the heart of the city;
  • Check out Little Free Libraries in the Glebe;
  • Discover how downtown buildings can be made more bird-friendly;
  • Explore the connections between urban design and health in the Carling/Merivale area;
  • Learn about the ecology and restoration of the Pinhey Sand Dunes.

Also see the Jane’s Walk Ottawa and Jane’s Walk websites for more information about Jane Jacobs’ life and work. (Check out Ten Big Ideas drawn from Jane Jacob’s work.)

Hope to see you on a walk!

Posted by Denise Deby.

 

 

Earth Day Every Day

Written by Denise Deby.

Earth Day 2017 has come and gone, but if you’re looking to make good on any “Earth Day resolutions,” or keep up focus on the environment, here are some suggestions:

Get involved with an environmental organization

Katherine Forster over at Wild. Here. has launched a new resource on her website: a listing of volunteer opportunities at nature organizations. It contains an impressive number of ways to get involved, such as helping maintain or advocate for our city’s wild and natural spaces. Katherine explains, “There are so many local organizations doing such great work to help nature and our environment and it’s also fun for locals to get outdoors and lend a hand!” Do check out this great site.

Re-energize for living sustainably

Spring is a good time to reconnect with the earth, renew a commitment to living lightly and re-energize for the journey. Sign up for Bike to Work Month and the 30×30 Nature Challenge, both in May, or take a walk in one of the above-mentioned natural areas.

Keep showing your support for the environment

The People’s Climate March is happening on Saturday, Apr. 29, 2017 in Ottawa and other cities. Here in Ottawa, it’s from 12:30-3 p.m. starting at Confederation Park. Details here.

Please let us know of other suggestions you have.

 

More April Events

Posted by Denise Deby.

Photo of Diana Beresford-Kroeger courtesy Call of the Forest Film / Treespeak Films http://calloftheforest.ca/

Call of the Forest Film – Wednesday, Apr. 12 – Saturday, Apr. 15, 2017

This documentary features amazing local author and environmental scientist Diana Beresford-Kroeger and her journeys to explore and share the history, legacy and contributions of ancient northern forests, and our connection to them. She also examines native species, how to plant them and the medicinal and ecological benefits they provide. Call of the Forest – The Forgotten Wisdom of Trees is on at the ByTowne Cinema; see their website for times.

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The Same River Twice: Nature, Media, and Philosophy in the Anthropocene – Wednesday, Apr. 12, 2017

Carleton Climate Commons Working Group presents this talk by Dr. Etienne Turpin on urban ecologies, human understandings of nature and much more (see the website for details). At Carleton University, 132 Azrieli Pavilion from 3-4:30 p.m.

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Zero Waste Talk with Bea Johnson – Tuesday, Apr. 18, 2017

​Bea Johnson’s zero waste lifestyle launched a movement on living waste-free. The creator of Zero Waste Home will be speaking at this session hosted by NU Grocery—Ottawa’s first zero waste grocery store—in collaboration with city councillors David Chernushenko, Catherine McKenney, Jeff Leiper, Mathieu Fleury and Tobi Nussbaum, EnviroCentre and EcoLead. At First Baptist Church, 7-9:30 p.m. See Eventbrite for details.

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Urban Organic Gardening Seminars 2017 – Tuesday, Apr. 18 – Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Canadian Organic Growers Ottawa – St. Lawrence – Outaouais (COG-OSO) presents its spring series of seminars on growing organic vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. Topics include getting started, healthy soils, in-ground and container gardening, pest management, vertical gardening and more–you can sign up for one seminar, or the whole series. At City Hall, 7-9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. See the schedule and registration information on the COG-OSO website.

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