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We will be recording a live episode of the podcast (with stand-up comedy and live music) on Thursday, April 21st at Frank and Oak Ottawa. Check out the details here, and we'll see you there!
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Week 4 closes Dec 3rd!

Friday, January 29, 2016

War Museum to Host Nature Nocturne-Style Event

With the Museum of Nature selling out its monthly “Nature Nocturne” event yet again, the Canadian War Museum has decided to host a similar evening of drinking and dancing.

“Drunk Tank” promises to be an all night party, and features drink specials on molotov cocktails, B52s, and Sex on the Juno Beaches. Patrons will groove to the relentless beats of Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan, who will guest DJ the inaugural event. The museum will also offer a VIP lounge that is designed as a scale replica of Vimy Ridge, where VIP guests will receive further discounts on rounds of shots and Irish car bombs.

Early reactions to the announced event are mixed. While some welcome a new event in Ottawa, others call the affair “tasteless” and “immeasurably insensitive.” Besides the aforementioned war puns for the event, the museum's Hall of Heroes will be converted into a coat check for the evening.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

#89 - Mike Holuj

This week, we introduce everybody to our newest Ottawhat News writer, Mike Holuj. We talked about his workload studying aerospace engineering at Carleton, the process of writing a book in a month last November, and his band Trunk's upcoming album.

The guy has a lot going on, is what we're saying.

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This episode is also brought to you in part by Audible.com. Visit audibletrial.com/ottawhat today and get a free audiobook and free 30-day trial, and feel good in helping support the show.

Mike's writing on Medium
Mike's Band - Trunk

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Forever 39: Mom Culture Comes to Ottawa

Forever 39, the lifestyle store that’s been expanding throughout the American suburbs has finally made its way through customs into Canada. The store is the largest seller of leggings, knockoff yoga pants, cheap wine, and Pinterest craft supplies. The US retailer is opening up shop in the nation’s capital's Tanger Outlets. Its key demographic is suburban women aged 35-55, and the store is set to open here on March 9th.

We spoke with Beth from Kanata Lakes, age 40, who was very excited for the store to open in Ottawa. “I first found the store when my girlfriends and I took a trip to Boston last year. We were amazed; it was the perfect store for us. We all bought matching sweater capes, and bottle of pinot grigio for our night-in at the hotel. We also bought ourselves mason jars and tea candles and made these cute little lanterns we found on Pinterest. I can’t believe they’re finally coming to Ottawa.”

Miranda from Barrhaven, age 37, says about Forever 39, “Even though I’m almost 39, I feel 39 at heart. I can’t believe there’s finally a store for me and all the other moms at book club. I used to go to another craft store for my supplies for the kids, but I think the only place I’ll ever need to go is Forever 39.”

Friday, January 22, 2016

NCC to hear proposal to flash-freeze canal

As early key indicators suggest, Ottawa’s tourism revenue has dropped significantly this winter compared to last year. Many blame the sudden downturn of tourists due to the unfrozen state of the Rideau Canal. The NCC recently launched a Request for Proposal in order to seek creative solutions to help speed up the process of freezing the body of water.

Earlier today, NCC officials heard a bid to flash-freeze the canal using liquid nitrogen, which has been spearheaded by Cryorink, a Missisauga-based company. Cryorink is represented by a capital investment firm headed by Kevin O’Leary, the former Dragon’s Den star who recently finished with a score of -$2,800 on Jeopardy.

Some claim flash-freezing water using liquid nitrogen creates the best type of ice for skaters, but others have serious safety and environmental concerns. The proposal has received a great deal of criticism from Ottawa residents living near the Canal.

“I’d like to know what Catherine McKenna (Minister of Environment and Climate Change) has to say about this. Was she even consulted?” asked Bill Bostic, an Old Ottawa South resident. “What will happen with the Nitrogen left behind on the ice? Will my children be safe to play on the ice? From what I understand, there will be Nitrogen fumes generated from this process - has anyone researched the effect of Nitrogen on the lungs? I don’t think they’ve examined all the potential pitfalls of this plan.”

“I like the plan,” said Deese Blonuts of the Golden Triangle. “The local compressed fluids business has been struggling these past few years and with the downturn in the loonie, this is exactly the kind of projects that can kickstart an economy.”

One thing is certain: With Winterlude only days away, the NCC will have to act quickly to ensure Ottawa does not lose out on any further tourism revenue.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

#88 - Kelly Ann Wilson

This week on the show, we had singer-songwriter Kelly Ann Wilson come on and discuss her music. We talked about growing up and living on a farm in Carleton Place, and her experiences on stages big and small around Ottawa. Kelly Ann also decided to let us premiere her newest music video right here, and she performed 'Clean' for us live on the show.

Sponsor -
This episode is also brought to you in part by Audible.com. Visit audibletrial.com/ottawhat today and get a free audiobook and free 30-day trial, and feel good in helping support the show.

Video premiere of "Clean" by Kelly Ann Wilson

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Exposé: The Ottawa Escape Room Bubble

Escape Rooms, an attraction where participants solve clues in order to leave a confined space, have exploded in popularity within the Ottawa region recently. Keys to their early success have been innovation and novelty. Like any fad, however, there is always the question of when the market will become flooded. As new rooms continue to open, it would appear that owners haven’t clued in to the growing problem.

“It’s puzzling,” says Dr. Edward Scape, an expert in Escape Room Saturation, “the data clearly shows a pattern in other cities. There is only so much room for these kinds of venues in any given space. The fact that Escape Rooms are still popping up all over Ottawa points to an impending burst. Time is running out.”

Ottawa is currently home to a dozen Escape Rooms, with more in development. Many fear that the the wrong combination of factors will lead to the collapse of the entire industry, especially if regulations aren’t put in place. Others feel that capitalism should be allowed to run its course with these companies. Let’s hope that Ottawa finds a way out of this tricky situation.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Canine Union Lobbies for better Dogparks, More Hydrants

As it has done for the previous 12 years, The Ottawa District Canine Union 783 has submitted their yearly list of suggestions and recommendations to increase canine satisfaction through Ottawa-Carleton area. City Hall considered the group’s recommendations this past Monday. The 2016 list is primarily centered around park quality, fire hydrant density, and Leash Laws.

The group recommends implementing a “pay to play” policy at popular downtown parks. A spokesman for ODCU claims that a 1-2 dollar fee to enter the park would allow for upgrades such as fountains, communal toys, and cover cleanup costs resulting from delinquent dog owners unable to control their canine’s output. Some critics say a “pay to play” policy is a blatant discrimination on dogs with owners unable or unwilling to pay this fee.

The union also calls for a higher fire-hydrant density throughout the downtown core. Some dog’s rights advocates claim that many of the hydrants in the Byward Market are overcrowded and that the cost associated with additional hydrants would be minimal but would result in a noticeable improvement in the quality of life for downtown dogs. Sweden implemented a hydrant enrichment program in the late ‘90s and has noticed staggering increases in canine happiness polls. An unexpected side-effect was a net decrease in fire damage in each year.

Interest groups such as Canines Without Collars have lobbied to pass the controversial “Laxer Leash Law” which would allow working class dogs who serve on a municipal level, such as K-9s, to go leashless in municipal buildings and parks. The proposed law is also expected to include expanded rights for collar selection. Currently, municipal working dogs are entitled to a standard issue collar of a single solid colour of the dog’s choice, excluding fluorescent colours. This new measure would allow fluorescent colours to become available for selection by the service dogs.

Most residents are ecstatic about these changes and wish all the best to the dogs, particularly those that select fluorescent coloured collars. However, local Dion Pantouf does not agree “First we got Lassie wearing a pink collar, next we got Larry wearing a pink scarf…. where do we draw the line?”

City Hall has not made a final decision on the recommendations; however, the Canine Union has made clear that if the City does not comply, things could get ‘ruff’.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

#87 - Pablo Juarez

On the show this week, we spoke with Pablo Juarez. He just returned from 15 months in Australia, where he had all kinds of cool adventures (like getting internet-famous for having his picture taken with Genie Bouchard). We talk about those adventures, and catch him up on what's changed in Ottawa since he left.

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This episode is also brought to you in part by Audible.com. Visit audibletrial.com/ottawhat today and get a free audiobook and free 30-day trial, and feel good in helping support the show.

@pabs613 - Twitter

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Snow Plower’s Deal With Devil Backfires

While many Canadians enjoyed the mild beginning of Winter, some were struggling with the lack of snow. Hau Tran has worked as independent snow plower in the Ottawa-Gatineau area for the last 10 years, and says that this season began particularly slowly for him. The lack of snow this season understandably drove him to desperation.

“There was just no snow. Even worse, not even close to snow. 16 degrees in December? It was outrageous,” explained Tran, “I could barely pay the insurance for my plow that month. On Boxing Day, I decided that enough was enough. I summoned the Dark Lord and told him I would do anything for Ottawa to receive a real winter. As you can see, I think I bit off more than I could chew.”

On December 29th, Ottawa was hit with 25 cm of snow, and has been barraged with precipitation and icy temperatures ever since. With more storms expected in the coming weeks, citizens can contact Mr. Tran for snow removal or to thank him for the weather by email at: haucanplow [at] demonfire [dot] org.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Rideau Canal to be Reburied

The City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission (NCC) have finalized plans to rebury the Rideau Canal in central Ottawa, between Mooney’s Bay and the Ottawa River.

The waterway is undergoing its annual transition into the world’s largest skating rink, and was designated a National Historic Site, which required countless hoops to jump through before finalizing its reburial.

“We’re excited that we could get this done in time for St. Patrick’s Day,” says NCC representative Janice McDowell, “it will mean the world to the descendants of the Irish labourers who were used and abused nearly two hundred years ago.” Some are less excited, including local business owners whose business rely on the tourist attraction, particularly during the winter.

McDowell isn’t concerned, “What’s the big deal here? It was meant in case of war with the States but we never used for that reason, so let’s build a road, a park, a rail, anything else really. We could even build a large skating rink and still save money. Besides, what else are we supposed to do with all the dirt we’re digging up from the LRT tunnel?”

As for the Irish descendants, are they as excited as McDowell? “Yeah, this really isn’t something we care about, but good for Ottawa...I guess,” said local resident Brian Finnegan.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

#86 - Brian Lee

This week, we had Brian Lee on the show. Our good friend came back to catch us up on the last 18 months, some of the new things he's up to, and just to chat about what's going on these days in Ottawa.

Sponsor -
This episode is also brought to you in part by Audible.com. Visit audibletrial.com/ottawhat today and get a free audiobook and free 30-day trial, and feel good in helping support the show.

Quinn’s Open Mic

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Ottawa Universities Discuss Merging to Create One Prestigious School

By: Chaz Murphy
Administrations at both universities have been in discussions about a potential merger to occur in the next few years. The merger is expected to create savings through research synergies and lowering overhead costs.

A source involved in the discussions has informed Ottawhat that the University of Ottawa and Carleton University have been holding confidential focus groups with students and staff to discuss the opportunities and drawbacks of a merger. Some findings from the focus groups include:
  1. The challenges of aligning teaching methodologies at the new university;
  2. Students and staff would prefer their respective university name to be chosen for the new university and very opposed to the other university name being chosen; and
  3. Future applicants will no longer have to stress about to which university they apply.
The source informed Ottawhat that the administrations have been addressing two findings: the name of the new university and how they will to proceed with faculty relocation.

The new university name is scheduled for announcement in 2017/2018. The administrations have created a shortlist of three names for the new university:
  • Colonel By University
  • University of Canada
  • Shopify University
Following announcement of the new university names, campuses will be renamed as follows:
  • Carleton University Campus will be renamed to Campus South
  • University of Ottawa will be renamed to Campus North
  • St. Paul’s University will keep its name
Faculty merger and relocation will occur over a summer in order to minimize learning distractions. The administrations have decided:
  • Arts programs will be relocated to Campus North due to the rich history of the Byward market and proximity to museums
  • Engineering and will be relocated to Campus South to allow students to study the design of the Trillium O-train line
  • The University of Ottawa Law faculty relocation has yet to be decided on, with a decision expected in 2025 after a supreme court challenge
Ottawhat has contacted the student body for comments:
“This is great news! It would be so exciting to re-friend my high school friends who chose Carleton University over University of Ottawa. I miss them, but you know, they go to a different university” - University of Ottawa’s Jean Granger II.
“I have no idea how this will affect my course schedules. I hope I won’t have to travel between both campuses on a bus.” - Carleton University’s Samantha Trudell.
Both administrations declined requests for interviews.