I’ve been enchanted by Stefan Thompson’s art ever since my first days of undergrad - nearly one decade ago!  It’s amazing to watch his work evolve, especially as he learns more and more about non-toxic, ecologically conscious materials, and gets more playful sticks and stones and other things he finds around his studio in the woods.

I don’t drive, so for now a studio visit is out of the question, but I was lucky enough to watch his latest exhibit come to life at Wallspace gallery.   The exhibit opens next Tuesday, as a celebration of Earth Day.  And really when it comes to Ottawa artists, Wallspace couldn’t have picked anyone better to celebrate respecting the earth.  



This report outlines a proposal for a Renewed Strategy for a Smoke-Free Ottawa, designed to protect children and non-smokers from second-hand smoke (SHS) and to reduce tobacco use.   

The proposed strategy includes a significant increase in programming for people who want to quit; new smoke-free regulations to protect people from SHS and a public awareness, community engagement and advocacy strategy designed to make Ottawa a healthier city for all. 

OPH is recommending to the Ottawa Board of Health (BOH), the Community and Protective Services Committee (CPSC) and City Council that existing smoke-free regulations be amended, beginning this year, to prohibit smoking on:

·         All municipal properties, including parks, playgrounds, beaches, sports fields, fruit and vegetable markets and outdoor areas around City facilities; and

·         Outdoor restaurant and bar patios and terraces.  

These initiatives have been developed after extensive public consultation and research and do not require additional funding to enforce or to deliver enhanced services. 

OPH’s consultations and public opinion research indicate that Ottawa residents strongly support creating more smoke-free spaces. If the recommendations in this report are adopted by Council, Ottawa will join a growing number of municipalities that have made such places smoke-free.  

SHS is a known health hazard and studies have found that it can be as toxic outdoors as indoors (1-12). Sadly, every year 1,000 smokers and non-smokers in Ottawa die prematurely of tobacco related illness (13). Smoking and SHS has a financial cost as well, including $2 billion in direct health care costs to the Ontario economy (14). For Ottawa residents, hospitalization costs alone due to smoking-related illnesses are almost $40 million per year (13). 

The purpose of the proposed regulatory amendments is to reduce public exposure to SHS and the resulting risk of tobacco related chronic illness. The proposed amendments are part of an overall OPH strategy to protect children and non-smokers from SHS exposure, reduce smoking rates, increase tobacco cessation attempts, reduce tobacco use initiation, and improve health outcomes such as reducing heart attacks, respiratory illness and cancer.  

The regulations would complement community engagement activities that will advance smoke-free policies in settings such as hospitals and post-secondary campuses, doorways, hotels, motels and bed and breakfast establishments, spectator events, multiple unit dwellings, and outdoor worksites such as construction sites. 

A phased-in approach for enforcement of the regulatory amendments is recommended. Beginning with awareness raising and warnings, fines would not be levied until three months after the amendments take effect. It is anticipated that there would be a high degree of voluntary compliance and, as a result enforcement is recommended to be predominantly complaint-driven and would not require additional by-law staff or other resources. Enforcement would be accompanied by a parallel strategy that includes a public awareness campaign to inform the public of the regulatory changes and to increase awareness of the health risks of tobacco smoke and the dangers of water-pipe use.

Full Report here


Work in progress:The Studio Café 

I’m super excited about this new space opening up in Hintonburg.  Just like its owner Crystal Beshara (award winning realist painter, art instructor, illustrator, and generally awesome lady), The Studio Café  is bright, welcoming, and filled so much positive energy. It’ll be a place to come sketch, or write, or chat about art, or read, or ponder while sipping Happy Goat Coffee and enjoying the art on the walls, or participating in a creative or fine art workshop.  There will be dedicated studio spaces available for short or long term rentals, a classroom workshop space which can be rented out on weekends, big harvest tables in the sunny front gallery, and beautiful displays of contemporary realist art.

Crystal’s dreamt up something amazing for this city, and I think it’d be awesome if we could all support her.  There’s a bit of work to be done before the Studio Café opens in May… but if you’re free this Friday night you’re invited to come in for a sneak peak while helping to raise funds for the final bits needed to get everything up and running.  Come with your cheque books, or come with toonies - there’ll be local art for sale, a fundraising photobooth by Rose Photography (against a pretty teal chalkboard wall that I helped paint!), and a raffle for an original piece painted by Crystal. 

Be sure to click “Going” on the fb event if you’d like to come out - LCBO’s licensing requires all guests’ names to be on the guest list.  There’ll be food and music and booze - all that good stuff, and the opportunity to help Ottawa’s art community put down some roots and grow.

Ottawa-region folks: 24 year old Aisharya Arulnambi has been reported missing and anyone who has seen her is asked to contact the Ottawa Police.

She was last seen in the 100 block of Woodridge Crescent in the city’s west end around 12:30 p.m.

Police say Arulnambi may be heading towards the Rideau Centre or the ByWard Market.

Police describe her as 5’6” (168 cm), 120 lbs, with long black hair and dark brown eyes.

She was last seen wearing a black long jacket with fur trim, a white shirt with a black cat on it and black pants. She was carrying a brown bag.

Anyone with information is asked to call Ottawa Police at 613 230 6211.


Kick off Capital Pride by trashing the beautiful, historical Mayfair Theatre at The Rocky Horror Picture Show - a night you won’t forget for a very, very long time.

This special screening features a performance by Canada’s top-selling shadowcast, The Absent Friends; who are experts at all manner of riotous and debaucherous fun, and would love nothing more than for you to be part of the madness! That’s right - do the Time Warp alongside all those colourful characters who have been icons of the LGBTQ community for over forty years!

When: Saturday, August 16th @ 11:55PM
Where: The Mayfair Theatre (Sunnyside & Bank)
Tickets: $15, $10 for members!