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City confirms it has documents at storm-damaged Iron Mountain building

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Hundreds of file boxes are exposed after a section of metal wall on the Iron Mountain secure storage warehouse Kenaston Street in Ottawa was torn off by high winds on Monday.


Kieran Delamount / Postmedia

The city confirmed that it has documents stored at the Iron Mountain records management centre that was heavily damaged in Monday’s thunderstorm, but says it’s still waiting to find out whether any documents have been damaged.

Strong winds ripped a huge section of metal siding off Iron Mountain’s Kenaston Street building during the late afternoon storm, exposing hundreds of file boxes to the elements.

“The City of Ottawa sent a senior employee from the Information Management Branch to visit Iron Mountain’s facility on-site,” Tyler Cox, manager of legislative services with the city, said in an email. “Once it is safe to send staff into that area of the building, Iron Mountain will conduct an audit of the boxes to determine if there is any damage. No rain damage is visible from the outside.”

Cox said that they have been advised that the wire racks that hold the boxes were not damaged in the storm, and that “there is no possibility that boxes fell or were blown off the racking.”

It’s still not clear which boxes were being stored in the location where the metal siding fell off, including whether any of the exposed boxes belong to the city. Iron Mountain is still trying to determine who owned the boxes, and whether it needs to inform anyone about damage.

Cox said that the city is monitoring the security of the documents, which were exposed along a side of the building that was not fenced in and can be accessed by walking through a small section of brush, but that they were confident that Iron Mountain had things under control. “Iron Mountain demonstrated to the City official that a security guard has been posted outside of the damaged area since the incident,” said Cox. “The City’s offsite storage provider is obligated to ensure City records are secure and not damaged and protected from unauthorized access.”

In a statement, an Iron Mountain spokesperson said: “Iron Mountain has sealed the exposed portion of the building’s exterior, and we have restricted access while reparations are under way to add an additional layer of security to the facility and materials inside. In addition, we have added extra security to ensure the continued safety of the customer materials. We are actively working to repair the damage and will provide updates to customers as that work progresses.”

This is not the first time the city has had problems with documents stored with Iron Mountain. In 2006, a fire at the company’s Comstock Road building damaged some city files.

“When the fire occurred at the Comstock Road location in 2006, Information Management created a response team,” said Cox. “Once the City’s team received lists of affected boxes from Iron Mountain, the team created spreadsheets containing descriptions of the material, who the business owner was, (and) whether or not the records were designated as having archival value.”

There is little concern that, as in 2006, any documents have been destroyed. “In the current situation, it is unlikely that records have been completely destroyed,” said Cox. “Records that are water-damaged and/or contaminated with mold can be remediated. This usually involves freeze-drying the records for 30 days to destroy mold, thawing the records, and cleaning them.”

The city said that all costs associated with repairs would fall to Iron Mountain.

Had the damage been more extensive, and had any documents actually been destroyed, the city said that they would have to take stock of what was lost and what they could replace. Many documents now also exist electronically, for instance. In 2006, some of the documents were close to or past their retention date as it was. Some city records need to be retained by law for as little as one year, while others are required to be retained indefinitely.

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Future of Ottawa: Chefs with Kathryn Ferries

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This week in the Future of Ottawa series, we’re taking a deep dive into the bar and restaurant industry—what it’s like now and where it’s headed. Read on for a guest post from Kat Ferries on the future of chefs, or read posts from Quinn Taylor on bars or Justin Champagne on fine dining.

Kat Ferries is Sous-Chef at Stofa Restaurant and a 2020 San Pellegrino North American Young Chef Social Responsibility Award Winner.

Apt613: What is the current landscape for chefs in Ottawa?

Kat Ferries: There is such great talent in Ottawa with so many chefs either being from here originally or have returned after traveling and have since opened some incredible restaurants. Many chefs have focused menus that really highlight their strengths, their heritage, and their passion for food. Dominique Dufour of Gray Jay, Marc Doiron of Town/Citizen, Steve Wall of Supply & Demand, Daniela Manrique Lucca of The Soca Kitchen, and so many more are all cooking up beautiful and delicious food in this city.

If you care to make a prediction… Where is the food industry in Ottawa going for chefs in 2021?

The industry right now is, unfortunately, in a really tough spot. The pandemic has been so devastating on mental, physical and emotional levels for so many and I know that many of my friends in this industry are burning out. There are many discussions happening on work/life balance and what is healthy for everyone. Some may never return to the long, hard hours we are expected to put in day after day and instead opt for a more flexible schedule or hire more staff to lighten the load on everyone, with some even leaving the industry indefinitely. Some may throw themselves back into this industry 10x as hard and create some of the best restaurants and concepts we’ve yet to see. I think all that will happen after the pandemic though.

For this year, it’s mostly about survival and finding happiness in creating what we can in the spaces we have while following all the laws and guidelines from public health officials. I think we will see more chefs creating experiences for guests that we otherwise wouldn’t have: think pop-ups, virtual dinner clubs, cocktail seminars, collabs, etc.

Where in your wildest dreams could the Ottawa culinary community grow in your lifetime?

I would love to see the Ottawa community support more small, local restaurants so our streets are bustling late into the nights like they are in Montreal, New York, or Europe. Having a local restaurant to frequent should be so much more commonplace, where you can enjoy a night out more often than just Friday or Saturday night. I would also love to see many more of our local chefs highlighted for the amazing food they create!

What is the best innovation to take place in your industry since the pandemic started affecting Ottawa?

Turning all our restaurants into mini-markets for customers to enjoy the food and wine of their favourite places at home. We have bottle shops for all your wine, beer and cocktail needs as well as menus that reflect what each restaurant does best. Some have even pivoted to a point where they are 100% a store and have paused any type of “service-style” dining.

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Future of Ottawa: Fine Dining with Justin Champagne

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This week in the Future of Ottawa series, we’re taking a deep dive into the bar and restaurant industry—what it’s like now and where it’s headed. Read on for a guest post from Justin Champagne on the future of fine dining, or read posts from Kathryn Ferries on chefs or Quinn Taylor on bars.

Justin Champagne went to culinary school at Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver. He got his start in fine dining restaurants at C Restaurant under Chef Robert Clark, then at Hawksworth Restaurant under Chef Eligh. He staged at three-Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn under Chef Dominque Crenn before moving to Ottawa and spending five years at Atelier, working his way up to Sous-Chef. He’s now the Head Chef of Bar Lupulus.

Apt613: What is the current landscape of fine dining restaurants in Ottawa?

Justin Champagne: Ottawa punches well above its weight class when it comes to quality restaurants in general. Fine dining is no exception to that—we have some amazing chefs here that are doing really great things. We also have some phenomenal sommeliers in town that are a huge factor when it comes to a guest’s experience in a fine dining restaurant. While there are some fantastic fine dining restaurants in town I do believe there’s room for more, and definitely room for more creativity and unique styles of cooking! I think we’ll see more small fine dining restaurants opening up, “micro-restaurants” where there’s maybe 20 seats. This will be over the next few weeks as the industry did take a big hit financially with COVID-19, but we still have a lot of great young chefs who have the fire inside of them to open their own location!

If you care to make a prediction… Where is fine dining going in Ottawa in 2021?

I’m not sure it’ll be 2021 or 2022 with the way the vaccine rollout and stay-at-home order is going, but I do expect there to be a wave of people looking to go out to fine dining restaurants. We’ve been cooped up cooking for ourselves or ordering takeout for over a year now. People are getting antsy and ready to go out and have fantastic meals again with exceptional wine and not have to worry about doing all the dishes afterwards!

Where in your wildest dreams could fine dining go in Ottawa in your lifetime?

That’s the fun part about “fine dining,” it can go anywhere and it can mean many things. Fine dining is about amazing service and well thought out, unique food that the kitchen spent hours fussing over, being meticulous in execution. Outside of that, you can have a lot of fun and be creative in different ways. My wildest dream I guess is that fine dinning restaurants begin to thrive and are able to charge without backlash the kind of prices that they need to charge in order to keep the lights on and pay their staff a proper living wage!!

What is the best innovation to take place in your industry since the pandemic started affecting Ottawa?

I’m not sure if I would really say there’s been a best “innovation” in my industry during the pandemic, but I will say that seeing the “adaptability” by all the restaurants in Ottawa has been incredibly inspiring. Ottawa’s food scene has always been a tight-knit community, “everyone helping everyone” kind of mentality. And this pandemic has really helped show that—restaurants helping restaurants through all of this!

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Ottawa’s Giant Tiger chain celebrating 60 years in business

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OTTAWA — An Ottawa staple, along with what might be the most famous cat in Canada, are celebrating a milestone Monday.

Giant Tiger is 60 years old.

“It all started with a very simple idea,” says Alison Scarlett, associate VP of communications at Giant Tiger. “Help Canadians save money every single day. Bring them products that they want and need. When you focus on those core principals, it really is quite simple to succeed.”

In 1961, Gordon Reid opened the first Giant Tiger in Ottawa’s ByWard Market. The company now has more than 260 locations across Canada and employs roughly 10,000 people.

“If you were at our store on opening day 60 years ago, the in store experience would be a little bit different from your local Giant Tiger store today. So that’s changed. A lot of our products and offerings have changed or expanded as Canadian consumers wants and needs have changed or expanded,” says Scarlett.

The homegrown department store continues to be a favourite for many shoppers looking to for the best deals on everyday products.

Helen Binda has been shopping here for decades.

“Many years. I can’t remember when. I’ve always loved Giant Tiger. It’s always been a good store for me.”

“I think its amazing and I think that we need more department stores,” says shopper Fay Ball. “And if it’s Canadian, all the better.”

The Canadian-owned family discount store carries everything from clothing to groceries, as well as everyday household needs. They’ve also expanded their online store and like most retailers provide curbside pickup during the pandemic.

“Doing what is right for our customers, associates, and communities. That has enabled us to be so successful for all of these years,” says Scarlett.

To celebrate, Giant Tiger is hosting a virtual birthday party at 7 p.m. Monday with live musical performances from some iconic Canadian artists.

You can visit their Facebook page to tune in. 

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