May 24, 2018: When is the best time to plant a tree?; The upside of casting shade.

May 24, 2018: When is the best time to plant a tree?;
The upside of casting shade.

By Cheryl Parrott, Hintonburg resident.

There is a Chinese proverb that says, “No shade tree? Blame not the sun, but yourself.”

The once very shady Bayview Friendship Park is today less shady than it used to be. A particularly strong storm on May 4th uprooted one large tree which broke the top off of the tree next to it.

The fallen tree destroyed the steps in the pathway leading from Hilda to Bayview, as well as wiping out part of the park’s fence. At this writing, it is too early to tell if the kids’ play structure is damaged since the downed tree has completely engulfed that structure.

The April 16th ice storm resulted in another tree coming down in the park, and with it, branches of 2 other trees had split and later, had to be removed. One of the play structures was also damaged in that storm. In all, this park has suffered a great deal of storm damage over the past winter.

Over the last seven years eight trees have been lost in the Bayview Friendship Park alone. Several other parks have suffered similar set backs.

McCormick Park has suffered a similar fate and has lost a lot of trees through storms and also as a result selective cutting to reduce the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer. Several trees have been replanted in McCormick Park but it will take many years before they can provide any significant shade.

Many parents have talked about how ideal Bayview and McCormick Parks were as playgrounds precisely because of the shade on the playground structure for a good part of the day. Now, some of the best and most-used area parks will have the play structures subject to direct sunlight for most of the day.

In an era where community growth demands more intense infill, often at the expense of existing trees and foliage, it seems like this would be a good time to plant more trees so that in the future, the parks will return to providing some shade, other environmental benefits beyond cleaner air, and new nesting opportunities for birds and smaller urban wildlife.

It is worth noting that in Paris, France, every tree in the city has an individual number. A department in charge of taking care of all of Paris’ urban trees has been managing the city’s greenery for decades. This includes having added a cement support for an Acacia, the oldest tree in Paris, on the banks of the Seine, just a two minute walk from Notre Dame Cathedral.

Although Ottawa is only about one tenth the size of Paris, and has been established as an urban centre for much less time, it is still well worth our trouble to keep a watchful eye on our city’s greenery and to take steps to protect, and replace when necessary, our constantly threatened urban forest. We would do well to remember another ancient wisdom which says, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

Photo Caption: Uprooted tree beside the wood fench it crushed. Photo by Tim Thibeault.

Photo Caption: Bayview Friendship Park in 2012.
[ED: to see more of Bayview Friendship Park as it was 6-years ago, go to the parks page in]


Web-extra (May 24, 2018): Cymbeline (from July 4 to August 6); Bear and Company in Westboro and Hintonburg.

Web-extra (May 24, 2018): Cymbeline (from July 4 to August 6);
Bear and Company in Westboro and Hintonburg.

By Eleanor Crowder.

“Ottawa is lucky in its wonderful summer evenings. Our outdoor shows offer people across the city an opportunity to see theatre right in their own back yards.”

Thursday nights in Westboro and Hintonburg, a special show at Westboro Beach on July 12: it’s show-time for “Cymbeline”, this summer’s offering as Bear & Co. brings Shakespeare to your park. Check out to see when your closest park hosts a performance (the full tour will be posted shortly).

Bear & Co. is a collective formed by actors and theatre artists living in Ottawa, and sometimes from across the country. This year Sharon King–Campbell comes to Ottawa to direct Bear’s summer show. A Canterbury High School grad, she settled in Newfoundland in her early twenties and is returning twice in this next season, to direct “Cymbeline” in all its crazy plot twists this summer and then to assistant direct with Jillian Keiley when “Between Breaths” hits the stage at the NAC.

Bear & Co. recreates the strolling players of Shakespeare’s time in this parks tour each summer. Here are the backdrops of our outdoor natural beauty in its unadorned appeal. Here is the collusion of a crowd eager for a story and a theatrical delight in the long evening. Here are the laughs, the groans at his roller coaster of plot twists… even the hat passed at the end of the show to make sure the actors eat and can move on to work another day. In Shakespeare’s time, actors escaped the dirt and disease of summer in the City to play in the smaller towns and at great houses. Our Shakespeare in the Park brings you top talent and an escape into the green spaces which sustain our neighbourhoods all summer long.

This summer’s cast includes William Beddoe as Cymbeline, and Rebecca Benson as his wicked second wife. Phillip Merriman doubles as her unlovely son, Cloten, and as the fascinating Italian lover, Jachimo. Ian Campbell, also from Newfoundland, plays Posthumous Leonatus, the hero of the story, and Megan Carty is the heart-breaking and redoubtable heroine, Imogen. Ellen Manchee plays the gruff but kindly loyal servant, and also the invading Roman army.

The cast list alone gives the clue to the story: here is Shakespeare’s take on the pre-history of his island. He turns his gaze on the winning back of Britain from the Roman invaders. Certainly, there is a historical record of that invasion in 55 BCE.

Julius Caesar came, saw, conquered. But Shakespeare plays here with the mythic moment of devolution, when the island recovers its essential wildness and shucks the Roman yoke. The hero, Posthumous, is that central mongrel: a Roman-named, dispossessed lowly Briton, who fights for the Romans as they attempt to re-stake their claim, and then for British independence. In the course of the play, the necessary home-grown muscles belong to wild men raised in a Welsh cave. Their brawn wins the day. It is only accidentally that they are revealed to be the true heirs of Cymbeline, the king, stolen away in early childhood.

Fairy tale elements abound in this story. The wicked stepmother tries to poison her enemies. The seductive lover hides in a trunk. The king himself has wild rages and makes pronouncements that he regrets. The wild men are upstanding and noble souls. This play belongs very late in Shakespeare’s work, and ties together his favourite plot devices with elements of the old tales he must have heard around the fire as a child. For us, it has the same fun mix of plot elements recognizable from “Romeo & Juliet” and from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, intercut with slapstick and outright fantastical elements.

One of Bear & Co.‘s founding artists, Rachel Eugster, revels in precisely this zany mix. She first brought Shakespeare performances by teens to the Hintonburg Community Centre when her own kids were that age. A decade later, she has appeared in most of Bear’s productions, indoors and out, and served as music director for many. Newswest readers know her most recently for her appearance in “No Way to Say Good-Bye”, the company’s tribute to Leonard Cohen that played The Gladstone a year after his death. Rachel’s own vocal pyrotechnics and music arrangements paid homage to Cohen’s work, and took a delighted audience with her in appreciation of his music. She will again collaborate with fellow musicians Scott Richardson, Robin Guy and Pierre Brault in next October’s show to honour Joni Mitchell; in “This Flight Tonight”. Tickets for the next Gladstone season go on sale after the May long weekend.

Rachel says, “Ottawa is lucky in its wonderful summer evenings. Our outdoor shows offer people across the city an opportunity to see theatre right in their own back yards.”

Be sure to catch Cymbeline, running July 4 to August 6th. Show start is 7 p.m., but come early: you’ll want a perfect place for your picnic and your lawn chair.


Web-extra (May 24, 2018) A Newswest – How To Vote; New Words for New Ontario Voters.

Web-extra (May 24, 2018) A Newswest – How To Vote;
New Words for New Ontario Voters.

With more Canadians than ever being new to our election process, here are some words and terms you as a new Ontarian voter may need to know.

Ballot – Normally referring to a piece of specially printed paper where a voter marks their choice for local candidate in an election. “Casting a ballot” is neither a magical nor a fishy term. Voters cast a ballot when they mark their choice and put it in the “Ballot Box”. In Canada a Ballot box is normally just a cardboard box made specially to be used for a single day of the election (after that busy day the cardboard is retired).

Candidates – Pronounced like “Candy Dates” the sometimes sorry lot of potential political representatives who can never be as sweet. In Canadian elections, voters get to chose just one candidate for Provincial MPP/MLA ( and just one for Federal MP ). That elected representative MPP is responsible for elevating their party leader to the head of Government position we know as Premier (assuming the Lieutenant Governor can keep it together when presented with the ‘choice’).

Polls – This word may confuse some because it is used to both describe un-official surveys of potential voters, and to describe the official place where about a couple of hundred nearby voters will cast their votes on a ballot. And when the “Polls Close” the word poll is also used in the counting of ballots that is later reported on TV.

Polling Station – The location where a number of Official Polls are held. Typically it is in a public school or a community centre, or a meeting room in a place of worship close to the homes of the voters for those Polls. Some stations may be put in Old-age-Homes/Seniors Residences and have just one Official Poll for the station. Other special stations may be in Hospitals***, Colleges and Universities, and deal with voters whose Official Polls are far far away. Polling Stations are never held in Gas Bars nor Subway Train stations…AFAIK.

Riding – A word you might think of as a verb but used as a noun for elections. The Riding is the area of land where resident voters chose a single political representative. “Riding Associations” are not for Horses but are for “Political Parties” (and not the most fun sort of parties IMO). Those associations act locally to chose and assist candidates in local elections. For those of you into Horses however the term “First Past the Post” (describing our odd election format) does comes from Horse racing. An alternate term is Electoral District.

Returning Officer – This person is not a Police Officer, not a Military Person nor any other Government Official. The Returning Officer is a person you might even know from your street. They signup to work a full day helping people vote and making sure the voting goes properly. They are trained and sworn in by Elections Ontario to take responsibility for keeping an orderly Poll and have powers the Poll Clerk does not. The term Returning Officer is also used for a person higher in rank responsible for a Polling Station, and for a single person responsible for the whole Riding.

Poll Clerk – The Elections Ontario hired assistant to the Returning Officer for a given Poll. This person sits beside the Returning Officer for that Poll and does much (but not all) of the paperwork. The Poll Clerk does not handle the Ballots, but may handle other things and ask the voter questions to help find their place in the Official Voters Register.

Scrutineer – Are observers from the political parties who act as agents for their Candidates. Elections Ontario allows them to be present after making them swear an oath to act with-in the rules, and to maintain the privacy of voters. Scrutineers should not speak to voters nor do anything else to influence voting. Used mostly to help parties see if their likely voters make it to the Polls, Scrutineers also monitor the counting of votes, the determination of spoiled ballots, and any apparent mistakes in the application of Elections Ontario Rules. Their observations may be important if a recount is needed to determine the winning candidate for the Riding.

Voter Card – A postcard mailed to registered voters in Provincial and Federal Elections typically marked with;

    1. Name of Registered voter,
    2. Home Address of voter (Your Address),
    3. The Number of The Poll that voter should vote in. (Poll / Bureau de Vote),
    4. The Place and Address of the Polling Station for that Poll Number (You vote at),
    5. The Date for Polling (Election Day),
    6. The time the Poll Opens and the time the Poll Closes
    7. The name given to the Riding (Electoral District)
    8. Information on how to contact the authority for the election ( Elections Ontario ).


Your card should be with you when you go to vote to save time and bother. You will also need one other piece of identification with your name and current address.

[Ed: don’t forget to look for the card in your mail box this week and visit to verify if you are registered to vote, (preferably before May 29th 2018).]

Federal MP – Member of Parliament.

MPP/MLA – Member of Provincial Parliament / Legislative Assembly (some assembly is always required).

Commentary appearing in italics should not be taken too seriously, as in…
Lexicographer: A writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge…” Samuel Johnston.

*** Note: The three day Hospital Program for patient voting was from May 21 to May 23rd 2018.

Web-extra (May 24, 2018) A Newswest – How To Vote; New Ontario Voters should Be Prepared.

Web-extra (May 24, 2018) A Newswest – How To Vote;
New Ontario Voters should Be Prepared.

With more Canadians than ever being new to our election process, here are some points you as a new Ontarian voter may need to know.

In the days before an election you should;

1) Verify you are registered to vote. If you do it by May 29th you should receive your voter card in the mail in time for the polling day of June 7, 2018. Voter cards are first mailed out starting May 17 to May 25th. More are mailed later for corrections and new voters.
If you have lived at your current address for the last 4-5 years you may already be registered to vote. To verify your registration, or to correct/change your address etc or to register for the first time, there is an on-line registration at . If you cannot access the internet contact your local returning office.

2) Put your voter card in a safe place until you vote. While you can cast a ballot without receiving a voter card, having your card with you at the poll will save you time.

3) Select what Identification you will bring with you. A photo ID with your name and current address is ideal (Drivers license, or other Ontario issued ID cards are best, but some federal ID cards are just as good.) The ID does not have to have a photo nor indicate citizenship but your name and address are required. If you do not have a card with your name and address, you can bring a document that you received in the mail like a bank statement, utility bill, Insurance, Tax slip, Pay receipt etc. For students their Letter of Admissions may suffice. Please note that while you must be a citizen of Canada to vote in the provincial election, you do not need to bring proof of citizenship to the poll. Proof of citizenship might be needed if somebody challenged your right to vote, but you would still be allowed to fill in a special ballot when you got to the Poll. Once your right to vote was confirmed, or if the challenge was removed then that special ballot would be included with the other ballots. Federal officials such as Immigration officials will not be inside your provincial polling station.

4) If you bring with you, as a memory aid, any literature from a candidate, Keep it to Yourself. Once inside the polling station your choice is supposed to be a secret, so don’t let anyone tell you who to vote for and don’t tell anyone who to chose. And leave nothing behind when you leave (except your ballot obviously). The one exception to this secrecy is if you are unable to mark your ballot unassisted then you may request somebody to help you behind the voting screen (or where you can reach). That person will be administered a special oath prior to helping you. There is more on available assistance on-line.

5) Know where to go and how to get there. Your voter card identifies the place and the poll number where you will vote. That information will also be in the hands of the returning office and a few days before the election likely in the hands of someone at the candidate’s Office that you are choosing to vote for. Elections Ontario also provides a Voter Information Service with such information.
If you cannot get to your poll on your own, the local candidates and riding associations organize volunteer drivers on polling days, as well as some community organizations, places of worship, senior’s residences etc. If you are too far away to get home you may still be able to cast a special ballot where you are, so contact Elections Ontario for advice in that case.

6) Chose a time. Polls are normally open 9a.m. to 9p.m. and employers are supposed to allow workers enough time to get to their polling station. To save time chose a less busy moment. Times that may be busy are shortly after the Polls open, before and after supper time. For some polls lunch time and after 8p.m. will also be busy. Voting early is generally better. If you wish to vote earlier Advance polling is often the least busy but a further distance to travel.***

On Election or Polling Day
7) Expect a few phone calls on Polling Day. The law forbids advertising and reporting on surveys the day before, but checking on likely voters is part of ‘getting out the vote’ that Candidates depend on. And remember whether on the phone, or outside the polling station nobody has any right to know how you voted.

[Ed: More on what to expect when you as a New Ontarian Voter arrive at your place for voting in our next article here on-line next Thursday.]

***Advanced date polling locations will be announced for May 26 to May 30th 2018 in your riding. On other days up to June 6, 2018 visit your returning office or use a mail-in ballot.

May 24, 2018: Exit Overwintering Cooper’s Hawk; Enter Frogs and Spring Birding.

May 24, 2018: Exit Overwintering Cooper’s Hawk;
Enter Frogs and Spring Birding.

By Robert Alvo.

Early in this series, I discussed my own path for connecting to nature, which started with shooting birds and recently ended up with the “Being A Bird in North America” approach, a unique combination of science and humour.

Now we’re well into spring, and it’s time to get outside! As I write (May 1), three frog species are singing their distinct songs in various parts of Ottawa: Spring Peeper, Wood Frog, and Western Chorus Frog.

As you read, however, in late May, those three species will have stopped singing (Wood Frogs go for only 10 days in their explosive breeding season) and will have been replaced by American Toads, Leopard Frogs, and perhaps the high-climbing bubbling-sounding Gray Treefrog.

In the meantime, spring migration has begun. The numbers of warblers, flycatchers, vireos, and other “dicky” birds will have peaked on their way northward in the second week in May.

If I had to name the best place in Ottawa to bird that is reachable by public transit (Bus #16), it’s Mud Lake in the Britannia Conservation Area in the west end.

Finding good birding areas in Ottawa is easy via the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club which offers many outings, monthly meetings with presentations, and a newly redesigned website with more birdy information for the Ottawa area; also, there is .

For birding spots across the river, check le Club des Ornithologues de l’Outaouais (COO), at, which published a small book called, “Guide to Birdwatching Sites of the Outaouais” in French AND in English. That book contains a histogram showing the probability of seeing that species in each week of the year. Kudos to that club. I saw copies of the book being sold at the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre.

Next time we’ll look at how the frogs and birds are doing in June and continue with some surprise topics.

May 24, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood; Summer Safety.

May 24, 2018: Neilly’s Neighbourhood;
Summer Safety.

By Cst Dawn Neilly, OPS.

Finally, the time has come to talk about safety and security in the community now that fine weather is with us. You may have noticed the increased presence of bicycles on the street (note: street, not sidewalk, please) and pedestrians doing shopping on foot or just out for a stroll.

It’s a pretty happy looking scene. Something to consider though, is that it’s not just law-abiding residents out enjoying the day; would-be thieves are just as thrilled to be out in the nice weather for a couple of reasons.

Winter is finally over and now we’re into our other season, that is the construction season. This might be nothing more than a bit of work in the backyard, but it could mean that ladders – good for accessing upper storey windows are left lying in plain sight, or tools like hammers and crowbars, both handy for prying open locked doors or windows, are left lying around.

Would-be thieves are pretty canny when it comes to taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves, so no need to make it any easier for them. Put ladders and tools away when they’re no longer in use.

The increased number of bicycles out in the neighbourhood is an attractive proposition to would-be thieves. “I’ll only be gone a few minutes,” is no guarantee your bike won’t be stolen. Get a good lock and use it whenever you’re away from your bicycle even if it’s for a few minutes.

It’s also a good idea to engrave an identifying number, like your driver’s licence number, on your bicycle in case it is stolen and later recovered by police who can then get it back to you.

You can borrow an engraver for free from the Community Police Centre, located at the Hintonburg Community Centre, 1064 Wellington St. West. Call 613-236-1222, ext. 5870 or 5871 to make sure we’re open.

Happy summer!

Web-extra (May 24, 2018): Why Westboro?; Some thoughts from the Street.

Web-extra (May 24, 2018): Why Westboro?;
Some thoughts from the Street.

By Kevin Doyle, Westboro resident.

“Current zoning discussions seem cast as a battle between the future and a disappearing past and many current zoning rules may get in the way of re-defining what is in the public interest.”

Maybe our notion of zoning needs to be redefined. The current construct seems unnecessarily adversarial. Developers with a legitimate interest sometimes appear to behave in a suspicious and underhanded way. Hence Mr. Ludington’s exclaim of “why Westboro” and why is it that developers seem to receive municipal approval of all they ask even though it may not conform to zoning plans or other requirements?

But what is it that Mr. Ludington is trying to defend? What do people want in their community. What is a community? Perhaps we need a new vision of community and one that is not predicated on zones of separate, distinct community interest.

What is the public good? Communities need people and services to be viable and commercial enterprise to fuel a healthy tax base that pays for services.

Westboro of old was failing on that front. Westboro of new is getting better but there is a rub between an emerging new urban environment and its old identity. There is an aging demographic community and aging housing stock that is the shape of the current urban picture.

Is this the future? How do we reconcile transitions – because one is clearly underway. Zoning fights seem unsatisfactory – and set up a winner/loser mentality and outcome. Can we imagine beyond this construct? Do we need, for instance, to update our notion of family dwelling.

Perhaps the era of the single family home detached with large lot is the legacy of another time. Not that it is bad, but other models can co-exist on the same street. Variation is great. What is wrong with infill? What is wrong with the “two for one” regeneration of older housing stock.

Current zoning discussions seem cast as a battle between the future and a disappearing past and many current zoning rules may get in the way of re-defining what is in the public interest. Why, for example, can one side of a street sever lots and grow new housing, while the other cannot because of the invisible zoning line down the middle.

This is not to argue that developers should continue to receive without scrutiny the benefit of municipal flexibility in planning and developing. Perhaps we need to re-balance what the public interest is, and what the community interest is, and level the playing field.

Why Westboro?…well, why not. It is a great place to live and could be better.

About those missed opportunities. Well, there is the transit way and cycle paths and the linear river park very close by. When development happens, please demand that a public corridor be part of all development. That did not happen when the old Ketchum’s factory became condominiums at the corner of Richmond and Berkeley – a missed opportunity to allow the community direct access to their amenities.

If Rochester field is developed along Richmond Road, demand a public corridor so that people can access the park, the river, the bicycle paths.

When the Highland Park Bowling Club is no longer able to operate, what public good will the city demand as part of its development? How will the community of Westboro be made better through the development of this small corner lot.

A kid’s playground maybe a nice idea because as Westboro regenerates so does its population. Golden Ave is full of little ones again. Give them a safe place to play Then maybe we can call ourselves a “village.” I can always dream.

Kevin Doyle,
Golden Ave.