Sunday, August 26, 2012

Byron Path Parade II

Yesterday was the 2nd Annual Byron Path Parade - a fun, community event to celebrate Westboro's Byron Path.

Last year, the parade took place as the community was rallying to protest the over-development on the convent site - a property formerly owned by cloistered nuns which was bought by developers. Ashcroft, the developer, was defying city zoning guidelines and development plans and the community was incensed.

Many years ago, the Byron Path was a tramway line. Now it is a cycling/foot path. No matter the time of day, you can see people cycling, strolling, and walking their dogs under the bordering canopy of mature trees. Before and after school hours, the path is especially busy with children hurrying to and from classes.

Last year, Ashcroft threatened to cut a road through the park. The community fought back. This wasn't just about green space and over-development, it was an issue of safety for all the kids and families using the path. Finally Ashcroft back down. Or so we thought.

Shortly after I had started organizing the parade, the news came that Ashcroft was again filing for a road to cut through Byron Path. If I had wanted extra publicity for the parade, I couldn't have picked better timing. A local paper even picked up the story and my tweets got some traction on Twitter.

On Friday, the day before the parade, Ashcroft withdrew this part of its request (it's still asking for other things, like an extra story and a cut through a small residential street). I'd like to think it was the parade's superheros and fairies who scared them off.

So yesterday was a celebration after all. The fight against Ashcroft is not over, but many people expressed their relief that this valued path will be spared. We joyfully jangled, rattled, tweeted and clanged our way past the development site. We know that what we have is worth fighting for.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Ottawa Summer Bucket List

Hard to believe it is already the first day of August - summer is halfway through. And while the heat doesn't seem to be letting up, the days are getting shorter and fall is just around the corner.

If flipping over the calendar page makes you feel a little nostalgic for the fleeting days of summer, it's not too late to make up a summer bucket list of things you want to do before the leaves start to fall.

Here are 10 things on my own summer bucket list:
1. Go to an outdoor festival (music, theatre, arts... lots to choose from in this city)
2. Get out in a canoe
3. Swim in a lake
4. Lie on my back and look at the stars
5. Hear Janet Cardiff's Forty-Part Motet at the National Gallery before the exhibit closes on Aug 26
6. Have a nice cold drink on a patio
7. Hike in Gatineau Park
8. Check out 3 different farmers' markets
9. Join Ottawa City's Sunday Bikedays
10. Organize a neighbourhood parade

Here's 10 more for me and my kid:

1. Go to the Toronto Zoo (this weekend - so excited!)
2. Visit 5 different splash pads / wading pools (find a map of locations on the City of Ottawa website)
3. Watch the Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill
4. Play hopscotch
5. Make mud pies
6. Finger painting outside
7. Have a picnic
8. Fly a kite
9. Go on a scavenger hunt
10. Make a balloon sculpture

What's your bucket list for the remainder of the summer of 2012? I'd love to hear your suggestions! Please add them in comments below.