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Rowdy teens won’t prevent Barrhaven from staging annual Canada Day party, organizer vows





‘I want families to come here and feel safe,’ Darrell Bartraw says of the Barrhaven Canada Day celebration at Clarke Fields Park.

Tony Caldwell / OTTwp

There may be a fence around the park and security guards checking backpacks at the entrance next year, but Barrhaven’s Canada Day celebration will continue, vows volunteer organizer Darrell Bartraw.

The community can’t allow a bunch of teenage hooligans who threw firecrackers into the crowd this year to scare people away, says the president of Canada Day Barrhaven Inc.

“They are not going to beat me.”

Organizers will meet next week to discuss what security measures will be added next year, he said. A fence will probably be erected if they can find money to pay for it. He doesn’t want to charge admission because that would mean the community party would not be open to all.

“I want families to come here and feel safe. We’ll do whatever it takes to do that.”

Bartraw says he can’t believe what transpired at Clarke Fields Park during the fireworks show this year. “I’m saddened, completely saddened, and aggravated and mad.”

His doctor won’t be happy about his blood pressure, adds the retired justice of the peace. “I’m stressed. I work 365 days a year on this frigging thing. It’s my life. It drives my wife crazy. I’m 61, I don’t need this.”

For 38 years, Barrhaven has prided itself on staging a family oriented Canada Day, what Bartraw calls “the safe alternative” to the huge party on Parliament Hill.

Bartraw can’t explain why a gang of teenagers disrupted this year’s event. Maybe the youths were emboldened because it was dark and they were part of an anonymous crowd, he speculates. “They aren’t all bad kids. It’s like pit bulls. It was a pack mentality.

“A few kids lead it and the others just followed.”

Witnesses say a group of teenagers threw fireworks into the crowd for about half an hour.

Volunteers escorted several teenagers out of the park, but the kids just came back in, says Bartraw. “It just escalated and escalated.”

He saw police arrest a 15-year-old who was subdued with a Taser and handcuffed. A group of about 100 teenagers surrounded three police officers trying to arrest the boy and started pushing, says Bartraw. “They were all just circling (the police) and chanting, ‘Fight the police! Fight the police!’

“Another young girl was trying to pull the cops off, saying, ‘That’s my brother!’ ”

Police pepper sprayed the teens to get them to disperse.

“Some of the kids who were screaming (at police) before were crying like babies,” says Bartraw.

Volunteers at the first aid tent treated about half a dozen people for burning eyes, while Ottawa paramedics said they also treated three people who were sprayed.

However, Bartraw said he didn’t see any fighting or weapons. “Just pushing, threatening police and anyone in authority.”

Some of the fireworks the teens set off were roman candle types that shot multiple sparks, according to witnesses.

“One went off about 10 feet in front of us,” said Eric, who didn’t want his name used because he fears the teens would retaliate against his business. “A little girl got hit right in the face. She was about four. She was holding her cheek and screaming and crying.

“Her dad scooped her up, and the mom picked up the other child, and they just ran.”

Eric said he and a few other men in the crowd began yelling at the teenagers: ” ‘Why do you want to be idiots? You are letting off fireworks in the middle of the crowd. There are babies here!’

“A lot of us started getting really angry.” His friend called 911.

Several of the estimated 100 teenagers in the group challenged the bystanders to fight and kicked one man before they ran away, he said. His two children, aged four and 12, were frightened, said Eric. “My son was crying because he thought I was going to get hurt.

“I was a bad kid, too, and I did stupid things,” says Eric. “But nothing like that. Come on. What if a little girl loses her eye?”

He won’t go back to the Barrhaven Canada Day party, he says.

Bartraw emphasizes that the rest of the day was lovely. There was a midway, a fun zone for kids, craft and food tents, a free breakfast for seniors, a citizenship ceremony and live bands on the main stage.

The rowdy teenagers didn’t show up until dark, just before the fireworks began. “I know they didn’t come to see all the great shows and take part in the midway,” says Bartraw with a sigh. “They were just hanging out.”

And he points out that several dozen other teenagers volunteered to help out during the event. “We have some great kids in this community.”



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Future of Ottawa: Chefs with Kathryn Ferries





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





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





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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