Tree Fest Ottawa 2017 Fall Tree Festival

Behind Tree Fest Ottawa is a talented and committed group of people who use photography, art and urban design to engage and inspire our community in understanding and appreciating trees and nature.

Tree Fest Ottawa is hosting the 2017 Fall Tree Festival on Saturday, Sept. 23 and Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.

A highlight is PhotoSynthesis 2, a photo exhibit portraying the resilience, beauty and contributions of trees. Following the successful PhotoSynthesis exhibit in 2015, Photosynthesis 2 presents photos selected from submissions on the topic of celebrating trees.

The free festival includes an eclectic series of workshops, with topics ranging from forest therapy and foraging to the art of doodling and the ecology of Brewer Pond. An Indigenous Walk (Sat.), a guided tree walk (Sun.), morning yoga (Sun.) and tree planting (Sun.) are also planned. Check the website for the full schedule.

Throughout the weekend, there’ll be music and drumming, all-ages activities (including storytelling, a nature trivia contest, henna art, crafts and outdoor games), and local and tree-sourced foods.

The Fall Tree Festival happens at Brewer Park, by the pond, from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. both days. Hope to see you there!

Posted by Denise Deby. Thanks to Christine Earnshaw, Tree Fest Ottawa for the information and poster image.

 

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Extreme Weather, Climate Change and Envisioning a Bigger “Backyard”

Ottawa River at Parkdale: Image by Shanta Rohse on Flickr CC Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic https://www.flickr.com/photos/shanta/2220012922/in/set-72157603793833860/

I was once part of a conversation in which someone insisted that a person could do anything they wanted in their own backyard—contaminate the soil, cut down the trees—because it was theirs.

Of course, the fact is that no “backyard” is separate from what’s around it, despite fences and concepts like private property. The soil, water, air, flora and fauna extend and connect beyond those physical and psychological barriers, integrating us ecologically and socially.

What’s happening in the world is not separate from us here in Ottawa. News about hurricanes, flooding and related catastrophes, drought and wildfires hits hard, whether or not we are directly connected with people and land affected. Climate change affects the intensity and severity of these events. Our response can’t be more of the same, old ways of thinking and (in)action.

George Monbiot writes that powerful narratives, rather than powerful politicians, shape the way we view the world and our understanding of the solutions needed. What we need now, he contends, is a more compelling, positive story—one based on our strengths of community, empathy and diversity.

With a different, positive story that acknowledges how we—humans, environment, climate, economy—are connected and interdependent, my local school might have focused on creating child-friendly, green, active spaces rather than paving much of the field for parking. The City of Ottawa might prioritize the development and resourcing of a clean energy strategy. The federal government might rethink its investments in unsustainable fossil fuel production and distribution. I might ride my bike even more often than I do, and grow more native wildflowers in my backyard—fully mindful of how my choices are affecting those around me.

Along with and as part of taking action at all levels to mitigate and adapt to climate change, let’s advance a new story.

Written by Denise Deby.

 

Asinabka Film and Media Arts Festival 2017

Asinabka 2017 Poster
Asinabka Festival 2017 poster logo by Anishinaabe Artist Nyle Johnston from Chippewas of Nawash First Nation via http://www.asinabkafestival.org/Schedule.html @AsinabkaFest

Wonderfully diverse and more important than ever: this year’s Asinabka Film and Media Arts Festival is happening August 9-13, 2017.

This annual celebration of Indigenous culture and issues brings the work of filmmakers and artists, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, from around the world to Ottawa.

This year’s festival includes film screenings, contemporary art exhibits, music, dance, seminars and workshops. Opening night on Wednesday, Aug. 9 includes an outdoor screening of films on Victoria Island, while a diverse selection of films from many cultures and nations runs Wednesday to Sunday at the Museum of Nature. Saturday’s schedule includes the Asin (Rock) Fest of live music.

See the website for full details and venues.

 

 

“Canada Day” in Ottawa 2017

This year, July 1 is important. Not because it’s Canada’s “150th anniversary,” though.

This year, important and compelling voices are drawing attention to Canada as a colonizing, settler nation. It’s a picture that isn’t as pretty as the stories we tell ourselves about our country. But it’s a more accurate one.

Indigenous peoples are reminding us that our country is founded on treaties that haven’t been upheld; on dispossession of land from the people living here; and on policies and strategies designed to eliminate them. The policies and strategies have changed over time, but they continue, as does the discrimination and racism that have become institutionalized.

Celebrating this history, and the society we’ve created—however respectful of rights, diversity and the environment we try to be—just doesn’t seem right.

So, here on this unceded Algonquin land we call Ottawa, here are some things I think we can do:

Listen. Learn about Unsettling 150, and why people have gathered on Parliament Hill and at the Human Rights monument this weekend. Listen, and resist the urge to reply with all the good things about Canada and Canadians—yes, there are many—but that’s not the point here. Follow people on social media who bring Indigenous perspectives.

If you’re not sure what Indigenous people are asking for, and what it means for you, start with Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s article on land and reconciliation.

Read. Read the Truth and Reconciliation Report. Read Christie Belcourt’s Canada, I can cite for you, 150. Read an Indigenous writer. (My June/July reading includes Katherena Vermette’s The Break, Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian, Richard Wagamese’s Medicine Walk, and Leanne Simpson’s Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back.)

Support groups calling for change. Help protect the places in our city that are sacred to Algonquin and other Indigenous peoples. Spread the word. Make July 1, 2017 a turning point.

Written by Denise Deby.

Festivals in Ottawa

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.

Reconciliation in the Heart of Ottawa

Hot Air Ballon Ride by Shanta Rohse Flickr Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic https://www.flickr.com/photos/shanta/2220015238/in/album-72157603793833860/

Between Ottawa and Gatineau, three islands in the Ottawa River—Victoria, Albert, and Chaudière—along with the nearby Chaudière Falls, are a sacred site—Akikodjiwan—to Algonquins.

Like most of Ottawa, the islands are unceded, but have been industrialized and urbanized, with plans underway for a condo development on part of the site.

These plans threaten a vision for the area, advocated by Elder William Commanda and Architect Douglas Cardinal, for an international Indigenous gathering place and healing centre that will be open to people of all nations.

Local community and Indigenous groups and individuals are concerned about a festival taking place this month on Albert Island. The groups are not opposed to the festival itself, Craft Fest, but say it should not be held on Albert Island and the proposed condo development site (Zibi).

Among those who have expressed concerns are Kitigan Zibi Elder Albert Dumont and Westfest producer Elaina Martin. The Stop Windmill group has sent an open letter to Ottawa 2017 regarding its support for the festival. Free the Falls and others plan to hold a rally outside the entrance to Albert Island on Sunday, Jun. 11, 2017, the start of the craft festival, at 11:00 a.m.

It’s important that we learn what’s at stake and why people are concerned about these lands, particularly at a time when Canadians and their political leaders are talking about reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Elder Albert Dumont is leading a Faith is Peace Walk from Victoria Island to Parliament Hill on Friday, June 23, 2017, starting at 10 a.m., for people to understand and support an Indigenous vision for the area:

We seek the return and restoration of our sacred site, Akikodjiwan/ Asinabka/ Chaudière Falls and Islands, to the Anishinabe (Algonquin)….

Together, we will show the world that Indigenous spirituality is real and is as rich with the blessings of Creator as are all the other faiths practised by the citizenry who make up the population of Canada.”

Image via Kairos https://www.facebook.com/pg/kairosCEJI/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10155424828861686

Give Away Weekend June 2017

Arrow by MoneyForCoffee on pixabay CC0 Public Domain https://pixabay.com/en/arrow-sign-direction-free-image-964733/

Here’s an opportunity to get rid of things you no longer use but are still in good condition.

Give Away Weekend happens Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11, 2017 in Ottawa.

You can put used household items, furniture, books, toys and other good stuff out at the curb, marked with a sign that says “FREE,” and people can come by and take what they need.

Be sure to take back any unclaimed items and recycle or dispose of them appropriately.

Find out more on the City of Ottawa’s website.