July 2019 Long Weekend in Ottawa

Transformation: the Welcoming Ottawa Mural in Vanier – a 9-story outdoor, community-created mural depicting a butterfly and other images in celebration of Ottawa’s diversity – D. Deby photo

On this long weekend, there’s no shortage of interactive and outdoor events around town. Check the weather forecast before you go, but go!

The annual Welcoming Ottawa Week (WOW) celebrates Ottawa’s diversity. This weekend’s events include guided heritage walks in Chinatown and Vanier to learn about the contributions of immigrant communities to those neighbourhoods; an African, Caribbean and Black Multiculturalism Day at Mooney’s Bay with music and dance performances, food and family activities; and WOW activities at the Ottawa Public Library and Ottawa Jazz Festival. Take your electronic device outside and check out Immigrants of Ottawa’s online exhibit of photos and stories of Ottawa residents who have received awards for their efforts to welcome newcomers.

Ecology Ottawa is hosting a Celebration of Britannia on Saturday, Jun. 29. Learn about their Green Infrastructure campaign, pick up tree seedlings and other green infrastructure items, and enjoy the free vegan and vegetarian barbecue.

StopGap Ottawa is inviting people to help build wooden ramps to increase accessibility at local businesses. The Community Ramp Build is at Makerspace North on Saturday, Jun. 29.

For more ideas, check out OttawaStart’s Big list of Ottawa farmers’ markets and Ultimate guide to Canada Day 2019 in Ottawa.

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Three Things to Do for the Environment This Weekend in Ottawa

Household items curbside marked “free” for Give Away Weekend in Ottawa – D. Deby photo

Here are three ways you can incorporate environmental action into your activities this beautiful spring weekend:

Take Part in Give Away Weekend

Clear your clutter, recycle household items that might be useful to others, and find free treasures. During Give Away Weekend, people are invited to set out unneeded but usable items at the curb, marked “Free,” for others to take. The City of Ottawa website has tips on what and how to share your stuff and how to dispose of items that aren’t picked up.

Enjoy Community Outdoor Events

This weekend brings a variety of community outdoor festivals, plant and art sales, which provide a great way to spend some time outdoors while supporting local. There’s Westfest, an amazing annual free festival of music, art and more. The juried New Art Festival is on in Central Park in the Glebe. A great place to buy heirloom organic plants for your garden is at Greta’s Organic Gardens’ sale on Sunday, Jun. 9. You can find fresh produce and local food items at one of Ottawa’s outdoor markets. There’s a plant swap at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market at Lansdowne on Sunday, Jun. 9. And check out the new pedestrian plaza on William Street in the ByWard Market!

Help Clean Up Flood Debris

The City of Ottawa is urgently seeking volunteers to help clean up sandbags and other materials from sites of flooding. The City’s website has details on how to get involved.

Doors Open Ottawa and Intergenerational Day 2019

Maplelawn Gardens in spring – D. Deby photo

June is a great month for creative, city-building events in Ottawa. Here are two happening the first weekend in June:

Doors Open Ottawa 2019

Have you ever wanted to see what happens behind the scenes at a local museum or historic site, learn what goes on at a food centre or greenhouse, experience an innovation centre, get to know embassies or places of worship, or visit a wildlife sanctuary? More than 130 sites of architectural, historic, cultural, religious, scientific or social significance are opening their doors to visitors on Saturday June 1 and/or Sunday June 2, 2019 for Doors Open Ottawa. A free shuttle bus takes people between many of the buildings, and more than 50 are downtown within walking distance of each other. Find details, including a list of participating buildings and an interactive map, on the City of Ottawa’s website.

Intergenerational Day 2019

For the first time, thanks to local organizers, Ottawa will be part of Intergenerational Day. On Saturday, June 1, 2019, groups around the city will host activities that bring together people of all ages, build relationships and celebrate the contributions of all generations. Everyone is invited to participate in events, and even contribute individual actions, large or small. Intergenerational Day events in Ottawa include community plant sales/swaps, art exhibits and fairs, neighbourhood garage sales and even an intergenerational picnic with a focus on climate action. Find out more (or contribute an activity!) on the iGenOttawa website.

Jane’s Walk Ottawa 2019

Jane’s Walk Ottawa poster “Explore, share stories about your community, and connect with neighbours” courtesy of Jane’s Walk Ottawa

Jane’s Walk Ottawa is happening on Saturday, May 4 and Sunday May 5, 2019.

This wonderful annual series of urban and neighbourhood walking tours is a celebration of the built and natural environments and how residents shape those environments through their daily lives.

This year Jane’s Walk seems particularly poignant, as communities in Ottawa-Gatineau pull together to address flooding, both shaping and being shaped by the rivers, urban and rural landscapes and infrastructure, and weather.

If you can, check out some of the impressive walks this weekend—the Jane’s Walk Ottawa schedule includes more than 50. Walks are led by knowledgeable local residents, are held in English and/or French, and are free.

Here are some examples:

There’s also a celebration to mark what would have been the 103rd birthday of Jane Jacobs, with a reading from Walking in the City with Jane by author Susan Hughes, colouring with Ottawa in Colour, games and cake, on Saturday, May 4, 4-7 p.m.; and a Jane’s Walk Wrap Party on Sunday, May 5.

Jane’s Walks celebrate, challenge and enlighten our perspectives on the city and the choices we make that influence it. Do check it out!

Consult the schedule of walks and interactive map on the Jane’s Walk Ottawa website.

Thoughts are with everyone continuing to deal with the flooding.

Image of Canadian Museum of History with Jane Jacobs quote “Designing a dream city is easy – rebuilding a living one takes imagination” courtesy of Jane’s Walk Ottawa

Faith Communities and Creating Green Cities

Trinity Presbyterian Youth Wildlife Garden – photo courtesy Katherine Forster, Faith & the Common Good

Guest post written by Katherine Forster, Faith & the Common Good.

Faith Communities as Allies in Creating Ecologically Green Cities

Whether it is an expansive turf lawn that can be changed into an urban meadow, or a flat roof on a community hall that can support a new living ground cover to soak up rain, or whether it is a new grouping of native shrubs that provide food & shelter for migrating birds, faith communities can help add beneficial green to a city, starting with their own landscape.

Many times faith communities are a prominent part of a neighbourhood’s “main street” or are in a central location of a local community. They become community hubs, improving the quality of life for local residents through offering services, seeking community partnerships and by providing meeting space for various programs for all age ranges, from scouting groups, to addiction support groups to gardening clubs for example. Community gatherings in these beautiful spaces provide that extra green benefit. Neighbours meet each other at local community gardens or in serene courtyards where music concerts are held or at special community events such as labyrinth walks or historic cemetery strolls. Many place of worship gardens are open to the public, offering a safe space, quiet reflection and a welcoming message to all. These green spaces are integral to community life and contribute to the wider neighbourhood as a sustainable and ecological example allowing biodiversity to flourish within cities.

Sustainable and Ecological Gardening Support for Places of Worship

Faith & the Common Good, a national environmental non-profit with a local active Ottawa Chapter, has been working to address this need in our city by offering support to Ottawa faith & spiritual communities that want to envision their properties in this new way.

In the past two years, the Ottawa Chapter has provided an Outdoor Greening program offering education, inspiration and funding support to local faith & spiritual communities that are interested in ecological and sustainable gardening. Resources and support include:

  • Ten Outdoor Greening fact sheets (how to on various subjects including drought resistant native plants, wildlife gardening and sustainable garden tips);
  • Ten Local Case Studies (showcasing local gardens including Sacred Medicine gardens, Labyrinth gardens and Community gardens);
  • Sustainable Garden Audits (which included plus a written Audit Reports that includes next steps);
  • Interfaith Sustainable Garden Network (providing updates about local initiatives, garden events and tips for beautiful and environmental gardens).

Along with the above resources and support five faith communities received free native pollinator wildflower plants from Wild Pollinator Partners (a new initiative in the Eastern Ontario region).

Winter Garden Presentations to Inspire Spring Gardening

As a follow-up to the outdoor audits and free native plant donations, this winter the Ottawa Chapter of Faith & the Common Good is providing educational gardening presentations & sharing their resources to other keen gardeners in preparation for the upcoming spring gardening season. It’s a pleasant way to spend a cold winter evening, talking about beautiful native blooms, lovely scenic landscapes and potential garden visitors like butterflies and birds! And it is also a wonderful opportunity for people of faith to learn how to “Care for Creation” in a very direct and tangible way.

Our new local network hopes that as this green garden movement grows (pardon the pun!) it will increase local habitat, provide more healthy green linkages and it start changing the ecological fabric of the city for the benefit of all.

Contact Faith & the Common Good if your faith or spiritual community would like to be the next ecological green space for the city! Contact Katherine Forster to learn more about how you can transform your property.

Local & National Environmental Foundations Fund These Important Programs!

Faith & the Common Good’s 2018-2019 Outdoor Greening Program in Ottawa is funded by TD Friends of the Environment, Ottawa Community Foundation and the City of Ottawa’s CEPGP program who have made possible the opportunity to visit 15 faith communities, support 2 new gardens and educate over ten new communities on the benefits of a sustainable and ecological garden. Many thanks to these granters for the generous support to our program!

Peaceful Community Garden Open to All – photo courtesy Katherine Forster, Faith & the Common Good

Indigenous People’s Rights Before Pipelines

Image of Gidimt’en Checkpoint sign – from International Day of Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en Facebook event page

It’s 2019—time to be the change we want to see in the world.

Today, there’s an opportunity to stand with Indigenous peoples who are asserting their rights to their traditional, unceded lands.

The International Day of Action in Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en takes place in Ottawa and other communities on Tuesday, Jan. 8 at noon on Parliament Hill.

The gathering is in support of members of the Wet’suwet’en People who are peacefully protecting their territories from construction of a natural gas pipeline by Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of TransCanada.

Yesterday, RCMP moved in and arrested 14 people, on the grounds that the RCMP were enforcing a B.C. Supreme Court injunction to clear the way for construction of the pipeline.

The land protectors say this is a violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and of Wet’suwet’en law.

It signifies that Canada and Canadians are putting corporate profits and environmental degradation before Indigenous rights and any hope of a better relationship with sovereign Indigenous nations.

The Ottawa action will start at noon at the Parliament Hill front gate.

#timeisnow #Wetsuwetenstrong

 

 

Vote for a Sustainable Ottawa on October 22 2018

What’s the most important thing you can do for the environment on Monday, October 22? Vote.

Our municipal government is responsible for many of the systems that affect our ecological footprint as citizens and determine the city’s environmental health.

The people we elect need to lead the creation of sustainable, equitable and safe systems in many areas: planning and management of our built urban and rural environment (including development, infill, and affordable housing); action on climate change (including renewable energy); protection of our environment (including greenspace, trees, flora and fauna, water sources and quality); transportation (prioritizing pedestrians, cyclists and public transit users); a strong local food system; and waste and recycling. They need to prioritize these in funding decisions. They need to value and support community engagement, local action, and accountability to residents as essential dimensions of our city’s governance. They need to work toward a different and better relationship with the Indigenous peoples on whose land we have built this city.

Some of the candidates for mayor and councillor have clear platforms on these issues (some may have even written the book on them). Others have positions or track records that indicate that these are not among their priorities.

If you need more information on the candidates for mayor, city councillors and school trustees before you vote:

  • Ecology Ottawa has done a survey of all candidates about their positions on local environmental issues.
  • The Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital has posted the results of a survey of municipal candidates on environmental issues.
  • The Ottawa Food Policy Council’s survey of candidates covers food issues.
  • OttawaStart has published a list of links to municipal candidate Q&As and debates.
  • The City of Ottawa website has lists of all candidates, including their websites, as well as information for voters about how and where to vote.

See you at the polls on Monday, October 22.