Preparing for the Budget

My current budget priority is to save for a pony. Ottawa Center MP Paul Dewar hopes that next week’s federal budget, which will include a 34 million dollar deficit, will involve less horse manure. From 10am to 2pm this Saturday, January 24th, Dewar is organizing a Community Dialogue on Economic Priorities at the Bronson Center (211 Bronson Ave), that will touch on a number of topics, including infrastructure and transit, housing, income security, environment and energy, supporting individuals and families, and ponies…  OK, maybe not ponies, but a girl can dream.


New Kid on the Block

January 22, 2009


Play Stephen Beckta’s new wine and cheese shop on Sussex Drive is now scheduled to open on January 30th. (One month behind schedule but who’s counting?).

Man of the dayWatch history live over lunch at one of these Ottawa hangouts, and try your best not to let those feelings of “why can’t we have one of those” (inspirational politician, not handsome black man) seep through. The musical prelude starts at 10, the official stuff at noon. All the cool kids will be tuning into BET’s extensive coverage which will go from 6am to 3pm on January 20th, 2009.

1. East African Restaurant
The Rideau Street restaurant will have a big screen TV and ethiopian food. What more could you ask for?

2. James Street Pub
Ask your server to turn off the curling tournament on one of the Bar’s 20 TVs, and salt your fries with tears.

3. Why not watch it at D’arcy Mcgee’s and join in on Parliamentary Hill gossip about the new President?

4. Other suggestions?

Jeff Halper, originally uploaded by freegazaorg.

Sorry for the lateness of this post, but I thought it might of interest to Ottawa folks .

Tonight, you can catch the last of three talks given by Israeli human rights activist, Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Jeff Halper on the tremendously alarming situation between Israel and Palestine. Halper is the co-founder and coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, an organization created in 1997 to peacefully challenge and resist Israeli policy of demolishing Palestinian homes.

A sign that there is still a lot of work to be done, his talk tonight is entitled “Palestine: From Apartheid to Warehousing”.

It takes place at the Kailash Mital Theatre (formerly Alumni Theatre), Southam Hall, Carleton University and starts at 8pm.

For more information, check the Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) website.

An old poster for Disco Bongo

An old poster for Disco Bingo

Humphrey’s on Bank St. may be in the midst of an identity crisis: family restaurant on the outside, cocktail lounge on the inside. By becoming the new venue of Spins and Needles popular Disco Bingo night, the Glebe eatery may be making a move to assert itself as the latter.

Granny gambling is enjoying a new cachet as part of the same movement that has seen knitting circles and ugly sweaters become trendy. S&N puts a twist on the original by adding 70s and 80s music and whimsical prizes: Kraft Dinner, packages of Ramen noodles, disco balls, strings of lollipop, a New Year’s Resolution file fax, etc. A lack of reverence for tradition was also evident in the shapes players had to form in order to get their paws on the loot, as crosses and diagonals replaced the standard horizontal and vertical lines.

The monthly event outgrew the Shanghai restaurant on Somerset and will be making Humphrey’s its perminent home. The cost is $5 for the first two cards, and $1 for each card afterwards. Definitely worth a visit next February 6 if you feel like shaking to the Eurithmics while taking a shot at winning a pack of shot glasses.

Old Man on a rock. As part of the Acoustic Soundwaves concert series, Old Man Luedecke and the Good Lovelies will be playing at the Irving Greenberg Theater Center Sunday, January 18th (1233 Wellington St. at Holland) at 8pm. Old Man’s songs are carefully crafted in a time and space that is all his own. He plays an old time instrument and adds contemporary themes and a witty sense of humor to his lyrics. I love the way he weaves his songs.

While I’ve never seen the Good Lovelies live, they seem like an energetic band that would be very entertaining to watch. They’re coming off the heels of winning two awards at the Toronto Independent Music Festival. They will certainly showcase new songs as their first official CD will be launched January 21st.

Tickets are on sale at the CGTC box office for $24 and seating is reserved.

Rideau CanalWinter in Ottawa is cold. The weather office just informed me that the wind chill over the next day will bring temperatures down to a frightening -35 degrees. But we’ve all learned to dress for the worst. And the people at City Hall and the NCC appear to be doing what they can to distract us from bitterly cold truth.

This weekend I took advantage of their most well-known winter diversion — skating on the canal. I know it’s not exactly a hidden gem, but there are few things I love more about Ottawa than those 7.8km of ice.

Word to the wise — save a couple bucks by getting your skates sharpened before on your way to the canal at a shop like Foster’s Sports on Bank & MacLaren ($5+tax). You’ll also avoid competing for attention with those renting skates on the canal (which, incidentally, cost $16/2hours).

But the canal isn’t the only winter fun to be had on the government’s dime. The City runs hundreds of outdoor ice rinks all across Greater Ottawa where you can play a game of shinny or just go for a leisurely skate under the stars with your beau or belle, New York City-style. These rinks vary from small ponds to full outdoor rinks and are all maintained by the city. You can find out where your closest rink is here and get updates on its ice conditions here.

If you’re looking to join a game of pickup hockey near Centretown, your best bet seems to be the rinks at Brewer Park near Dow’s Lake at 210 Hopewell. You might also check out Jack Purcell Park on Frank St. between Metcalfe and Elgin (by the Elgin Street Diner), Plouffe Park on Preston south of Somerset, and McNabb Park at 160 Percy. All of these rinks have full boards and lights.

The City also maintains a clutch of sledding hills.

And if you’re looking to do some cross-country skiing (and, for whatever reason, you can’t get up to Gatineau Park) you can check out the Mooney’s Bay Ski Center. It’s not free, but at $2.50, it might as well be.

Just don’t forget your toque. Minus 35 is no joke.