Tag: ottawa

Circus superheroes with Rhapsody Blue

There’s circus in Ottawa and it’s amazing. I’m not talking about a showing of Cirque de Soleil, but our own local performers.On March 14, a group of local circus performers put on Superhero Circus School at the Gladstone Theatre.
I talked with Rhapsody Blue, local entertainer and producer, about how these people are basically the superheroes among us.

 

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The man behind Ottawa’s Vietnamese community

A lab accident in the late 1960s changed a young man’s career plans, his life and eventually the city of Ottawa.

Can Le has a quick smile and exudes energy as he shows a visitor around. The retired economist and president of the board of directors of the Vietnamese Canadian Centre on Somerset Street has spent the past 40 years growing and nurturing the Vietnamese community in Ottawa.

“He’s a determined one,” says Ha Quyen Nguyen, volunteer coordinator for the centre. “For everything he plans to do, he will go until the end.”

When Le arrived in Ottawa, there were few people here of Southeast Asian descent. Today, about 9,000 people of Vietnamese origin live in the city. Most have him to thank for the support systems that have allowed their community to thrive. And Ottawa, which continues its tradition of taking in refugees right up to the present day, owes some of its welcoming mindset to Can Le’s work.

Liem Duong, a software engineer for the Department of National Defence who has known Le since 1983, says he is known across Canada “from Vancouver to Halifax.” But “if you ask him, he won’t say much about himself.”

So we’ll tell you about him…

Read the whole story at the Ottawa Citizen:

The Capital Builders: How Can Le shaped Ottawa’s Vietnamese Community

Heavy construction frustrates Ottawa commuters

Heavy construction frustrates Ottawa commuters

Late for work? You’re not alone. Canada 150 and Confederation Line construction projects have led to lane closures, long delays and frustration for commuters going through the downtown area.

Some of the most heavily travelled Centretown roads are under construction, or slated to be soon. Lyon Street, McLeod Street, Queen Street, Rideau Street, and Kent Street are just some of the main thoroughfares affected by the upheaval, clogging city streets during rush hour.

“Since I’m on the 95, I’m passing right through the #OnTrack2018 mess,” said Evan Przesiecki, an Ottawa resident and Carleton journalism student.

commuting_through_construction_in_downtown_ottawa

Please head over to Capital News Online to see the rest of the story I worked on as part of the multimedia team. Find out the Ottawa neighbourhoods with the most construction and why things may only be getting worse when winter starts. 

Bell, let’s talk about fixing the system

“I wish someone had told me this simple, but confusing truth: Even when everything’s going your way you can still be sad. Or anxious. Or uncomfortably numb. Because you can’t always control your brain or your emotions even when things are perfect.” —Jenny Lawson

 

“Sabrina, can I talk to you?”

I walked into my office, expecting another thing to be added to my list. Being editor-in-chief of the Fulcrum, a student paper in Ottawa, meant I was doing a lot less reporting than I’d wanted and a lot more of being responsible for other people’s problems.

She launched into a series of apologies for bringing it up. She said she was sorry, but she couldn’t work this way. Why was I being so abrupt and unfriendly?

I looked at her through watery eyes and felt like someone was seeing me for the first time in months. I burst into tears

*          *          *

It’s not the kind of thing you worry about, having a bad day. Everyone has them.

An occasional bad day turned into bad sets of days. Eventually the good days were so rare that I wouldn’t want to go to sleep at night, terrified of losing the normal, good feeling.

And I should have been happy.

Everything was going great. I had a job I loved with great co-workers; our paper hosted a huge student journalism conference and I got to meet Peter Mansbridge, Diana Swain and Anna Holmes; I got paid to write my first freelance pieces; and I had my first press pass so I could report at the House of Commons.

It was all of the things I wanted, but I felt so awful. Not awful about those things, just awful about being alive. I opened my eyes every morning and wished I had never woken up. If this was going to be the rest of my life, I didn’t want it.

*          *          *

“Oh god, I’m so sorry Sabrina, I just say what’s on my mind, and it comes out,” she said it all in a flurry and it took me a few minutes to stop crying enough to respond.

It spilled out. All of the awful feelings, all of the unhappiness and the desperation. The trying more sleep, less sleep, staying home, going out. How none of it made me feel better or less numb.

The night before, in a moment of wanting more than this weak half-life, I had prayed for the first time in a decade. My co-worker felt like an answer to that prayer.

She knew a psychiatrist who operated out of her home and could be paid using OHIP. I could talk to someone, finally, without waiting weeks and months for a referral appointment through the university.

The last therapist I’d seen through the school had told me to start meditating and quit journalism. That experience hadn’t felt entirely helpful, but I was willing to try someone new.

*          *          *

This therapist worked out. Now I take medication and I try hard to go easy on myself. I’ve had to convince myself it’s OK to take breaks and get a good night’s sleep and ask for help.

But I was terribly lucky. Most students get six paid therapy sessions through the university and then they’re on their own. If you don’t see eye-to-eye with your therapist, you might have to wait weeks or months to see someone else.

This isn’t a personnel problem. My first therapist had the best of intentions. The problem is she’s probably seen thousands of people in the past few years and she’s limited by time and money, just like everyone else in the mental health field.

I hope the funds raised by Bell Let’s Talk go toward expanding and fixing a broken system. If I’d had to wait for months to see someone, I’m not sure if I would have believed it was worth it. I don’t know if I’d be writing this blog post. A long life of unhappiness stretching before you is a lot to face.

Open mic nights at Live on Elgin

Open mic nights at Live on Elgin

Live on Elgin at 220 Elgin St., hosts an open mic night every Tuesday starting at 8 p.m. The bar, owned and operated by father-and-son-team, Lawrence and Jon Evenchick, opened on June 5 with the intent of fostering the local music scene by providing a venue for up-and-coming performers. Most of the open mic performers have played at Live before–some have hosted their album release nights there and some are more casual musicians.

Click on a photo below to view the gallery.

Rogers TV Ottawa will also be playing a new series about the open mic nights, showcasing local performers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KjgYCU-8_bM

Celebrating Ottawa’s cat fancy

Celebrating Ottawa’s cat fancy

Cats may win the Internet, but cat lovers were the winners at the Ottawa Valley Cat Show.

On Oct. 31, 117 cats competed in categories for purebreds, domestic cats and kittens at the Nepean Sportsplex on Woodruffe Avenue. Thousands of attendees dressed up for Halloween and owners dressed up their cats and decorated cages, including Cassandra Kluke, a local Sphinx breeder showing 10 of her cats at the show.

Kim Monkhouse helped found the Ottawa Valley Cat Club in 2000 and they held their first show in 2002. But cats have always had a place in Ottawa. They were brought into Parliament from the 1920s to the 1950s to control rodent populations and a cat sanctuary on the Hill took care of local strays until 2013. 

The cat show is an opportunity to see how different breeds of cat behave. Some breeds are calm and quiet, while others, like Kluke’s Sphinxes, are much more lively.

In addition to showing purebred cats, the Cat Rescue Network shows cats in the domestic cat competition and showcases them for potential adoption. Jason Del Bosco, a volunteer for the organization, tells the story of one of the cats they brought to the show.

Elaine Gleason, a cat judge from London, Ont., was working most of the day judging different breeds of cats on how closely they match the breed standards set by the Canadian Cat Association. The owner of five cats, she got into cat judging by happenstance.

Gleason explained the process of cat judging, which has to be extensive in order to have enough knowledge to judge the wide variety of breeds.

Stephen and Laureen Harper are noted cat lovers. Laureen Harper was active with charities for cats and a section of 24 Sussex Dr. was set aside to foster “dozens of cats,” with litter and toys, according to the Washington Post.

Given that the Trudeau family currently has no pets, Monkhouse, Gleason, Del Bosco and Kluke each recommended a breed to the Trudeaus, should they consider adopting a cat. 

Please click on a photo below to enlarge and scroll through the gallery.