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Calypso Waterpark - Ottawa, Limoges

calypso waterpark

It's hard to believe we are already in August and the summer is winding down, but if you haven't been to the new Calypso Waterpark, I highly recommend you go before the weather turns colder.

Calypso Waterpark is about 35 kilometers east of Ottawa in Limoges, Ontario. It officially opened to the public on June 7, 2010. The Calypso wave pool is 52,000 square feet and is one of the largest in North America and the largest in Canada. There are 35 waterslides / rides in total.

Check out some videos of this amazing new Ottawa-area attraction.

Boomerango ride - Calypso Theme Waterpark:

Vertigo ride - Calypso Theme Waterpark:

Clips from the day - Calypso Theme Waterpark:

Ontario's Calypso is the high-water mark for wet amusement parks

I was a bit skeptical. How fun could it be to float along in chest-high water? ... It turned out to be one of high points of our trip...
Learn more about Calypso Waterpark on Cityguide.ca.

image calypso

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Ottawa Rocked By Afternoon Earthquake

No, you did not imagine it. It happened. At about 1:45pm on June 23 the entire Ottawa valley region shook in what appears to be a fairly large earthquake that has been felt in Toronto, New York and Cleveland.

Follow more about the Ottawa Earthquake via Twitter: Ottawa Earthquake updates

The Ottawa earthquake epicentre was 45 kilometres north of Gatineau, and registered a significant 5.0 magnitude.

While Ottawa residents did feel the strongest tremors, Toronto and portions of Quebec also experienced the jitters. This is what it looked and felt like...


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Westfest

The silence in Ottawa between Victoria and Canada Days will be disturbed this weekend, as Westfest kicks off tomorrow evening with a bang.

As stores lock up at the end of business, the vigorous hum of calf skins stretched over wooden hoops will envelop the sleepy hollow that is Westboro village. A massive drum circle called Tam-Tam (based on the weekly event held on Mount Royal in Montreal) is set to begin at 5 p.m. to shake the cobwebs out of the neighbourhood.

A celebration of arts, music, community and family, Westfest has been bringing big-name acts to Westboro Village over the past seven years. This year is no different.

Saturday night Sloan will shake maple keys loose from their branches, being touted as the headliner of the festival. More than 30 acts crossing the lines of performance art, literature, spoken word and music will perform, making it hard to choose a true number-one performance. Sunday's roster is dedicated to local talent, where performers from Westboro-proper and Ottawa at large will fill 11 hours of live music. Look for GOOD2GO, Tokyo Sex Whale and The White Wires for some of the best music in the city.

As always, Westfest is free. There is zero admission and outside food and drink is permissible, so coming to all three days is definitely affordable. Richmond Road from McRae to Broadview is closed to allow room for the festival, making it kid-safe and pedi-friendly. For $2, here is a bicycle parking lot at Richmond and Tweedsmuir to mitigate car traffic, supervised by volunteers.

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A long time Cullen

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Click on the above image or search 'Mayoral Race' on OTTAWA.cityguide.ca for the latest on the race for mayoral candidacy in 2010

The race for the top job in the city of Ottawa has really taken off since last reported, and Alex Cullen is no stranger to pursuits.

An accomplished cross-country skier, cyclist and marathon runner, the current Bay Councillor has been in his fair share of political contests over the past 28 years. He has served as a school board trustee, an MPP and a city councilor, giving him a broad knowledge of representation at different tiers.

Cullen's campaign stands on three tenants: integrity, experience and leadership. Cullen refuses donations from sources other than individual people and wants more transparency when it comes to lobbying. He has been involved in politics for practically forever, claiming his vintage an asset. His plan is to go ahead with the current LRT plan – to convert the transit way from Tunney's Pasture to Blair Road from buses and bore a tunnel through downtown – and fix the sewage-dumping issue when it rains too hard. Cullen has been head of the Transit Committee since 2006, so his knowledge of the transit situation in Ottawa is among the best-versed.

Cullen does have a lot of experience in politics, but he is no stranger to losing a race. A number of campaigns have ended poorly over the years, including his foray into provincial representation.

Cullen is hoping his simple plan of a livable, green, efficient Ottawa is enough to get him into office, but his association with the questionable councils of present and recent past might work against him.

image courtesy of Ottawa Citizen

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Run to the hills

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Well, really you'll be running down the hills, since the Lebreton Flats are on some of lowest land in the city.

Nonetheless, Iron Maiden opens this year's Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest on July 6th. One of the heirloom metal bands still touring today, this July marks the first time Maiden will play the National Capital Region since 1992.

The official lineup of Bluesfest was released today, with tonnes of wicked acts on all of the 12 days of the festival. Billboard magazine ranks Bluesfest as one of the top-ten worldwide, so don't miss a day.

Announced today are the B-52's, Joan Jett, the Planet Smashers, Metric, Roger Hodgson from Supertramp, the Flaming Lips, RUSH, Alexisonfire, Arcade fire, Matthew Good, Great Big Sea, Keith Urban, and Weezer – just to name a small fraction. Expect cards to appear from organizers' sleeves as the festival approaches, as more acts are always added as weeks pass.

Tickets go on sale Saturday at 10:00 a.m. at capitaltickets.ca and a few choice locations. All ticket information will be available the afternoon of the 23rd at the festival website.

Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest
July 6th through July 18th
Lebreton Flats - Booth Street and Ottawa River Parkway
Ticket prices not available at time of publishing

image courtesy of sodahead.com

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Why not kill a Saturday afternoon?

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Sure, you'll miss watching Boston and the Sabres beat the piss out of each other. But why not spend what promises to be a rainy Saturday in the National Capital Region strolling through stalls of artisan-made gift ideas with your other on your arm?

If nothing else, it guarantees you are able to watch the Habs sneak another game past Washington that evening.

The ORIGIONALS spring craft show is in town through Sunday – where you can pick out a nice bouquet of stained-glass flowers, test out wonderfully woven throws by holding them against your face, and treat yourself to some gourmet fudge after a hard day's shopping.

This is the 24th year for the show and there will be close to 200 vendors to keep you busy all afternoon. There will be demonstrations on stage as well with topics ranging from staging your home to increase its value when on the market to tips on taking pictures to make your travel photos truly express what you experienced.

Remember: you are not doing this for yourself, you are doing it for yourself for later. And quite honestly, I'd take a craft show over a rom-com any day.

ORIGIONALS Spring Craft Sale
runs through Sunday, April 18th
Lansdowne Park - 1015 Bank Street
open 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
tickets are $7 for adults, $4 for seniors and students, kids under 12 are free

image courtesy of ORIGIONALS

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Low brow humour and song

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These characteristics are exactly what you will find Saturday in the basement of The Clocktower on Bank Street. A medley of folk melody will be rolling up the stairs with sounds reminiscent of early 60s rock and roll.

Merle Knurling and the Silent K's explain the womens' names tattooed on his body are "not the memory of an old girfriend / Its just the name that I call my arm". It is said "Low brow Humour and Song" appear under his name on his business card, so this gentleman means business.

B.A. Johnston plays songs about losing out with the ladies – as when a 23 year emo boy steals his girlfriend at the Warped Tour. Speaking of tours, B.A. has been on tour for much of the fall and winter, primarily in his mother's Toyota Previa. This show marks the 3rd night of his double-East-Coast tour – which will bring him to Atlantic Canada and back twice by October of this year.

The Muffin Tops will be performing as well. From what the internet tells me they are a burlesque trio that dance to classic rock tunes as part of Sexual Overtones, a performance troupe that spreads the good world or healthy sexuality.

If Saturday is no good for you, these three acts are performing tonight at Cafe Paradiso. This is the second annual Build Our Bank night, a fundraising event hoping to develop a legitimate gay village on Bank Street. The Village is selling tickets online and at six shops throughout the city. Tickets for tonight are $50 a piece, as it is a major fundraising activity.

Merle Knurling and the Silent K's
with B.A. Johnston and The Muffin Tops
Saturday, April 17th - 9:30 p.m.
The Clocktower - 575 Bank St.
$8
OR
Thursday, April 15th - 7-9 p.m. Tonight!
Cafe Paradiso - 199 Bank St.
$50 for one; $90 for two; $195 for five
tickets available online here

image courtesy of Brendan Corey Benson

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The GNAG's all here

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There is something to be said of the eclectic mix of businesses in the Glebe. I like comparing paint swatches or choosing a new tub-stopper with the crack-addicting scent of Mexican cuisine leeching in from next door.

The neighbourhood has obviously gone through some changes over the years – the address housing a Home Hardware and Feleena's restaurant formerly the Avalon Theatre. Built in 1928 and said to be the first site of talking pictures in Ottawa, the theatre closed in 1956 as the Glebe Theatre. The guts of the building were torn out in conversion for a car dealership, making lots of space for the current shelving and tables.

This constant renaissance is the heart of Judy Peacocke's Murder at the Avalon, a local writer's new novel that has been adapted for the stage by the Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group (GNAG).

The story focusses on this plot of land at Bank Street and Second Avenue. A detective is forced to solve the case of a body found in a wall during demolition in the 70s – while the emotion building in the pre-war years is partly to blame for this mysterious murder. Time frames jump back and forth as the story develops, giving the audience an inadvertent history lesson of this ever-changing neighbourhood.

Rehearsals started in early January for this production, with principle roles getting together at least twice a week through the winter. The cast ranges in age from 10 through 70 – making the time-line more realistic.

Peacocke's book is for sale at the Glebe Community Centre (as well as other fine book stores, obviously) for $10, where all sales go directly to the GNAG's theatre department.

Murder at the Avalon
a play by the Glebe Neighbourhood Activities Group
Glebe Community Centre - 175 Third Avenue (at Lyon)
dress rehearsal tonight, 7:30 p.m. - $5
regular shows - $20
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, 2:00 p.m.

image courtesy of capitalneighbourhoods.com

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Thanks for the memories

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Running through May 1st above Thyme and Again is an eight-year collection of photos that are more keychains and bottle-openers than documentary pieces.

Ottawa photographer Tony Fouhse has shot commercially for CBC, the Ottawa Hospital and Best Western, but this exhibit is a carousel of the people he has met in his travels. An Ottawa Xpress article says the pictures of American States are set up to encapsulate the emotion and gut-feelings of the meetings he has with his subject matter.

Fouhse says the pictures are not of how things look, but of how things felt. He says he makes random stops, drums up conversation with strangers and asks them to pose for him. The results are gripping images that tell the story of his new acquaintance and of the meeting they had.

More souvenirs than anything, these snap shots record the social meeting for Fouhse. For us, we get plenty to think about when wondering what that meeting was like.

American States
photos by Tony Fouhse
Exposure Gallery - 1255 Wellington St. (above Thyme and Again)
runs through May 1st
gallery open Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

image courtesy of Siegel Productions

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Patience pays off

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I was sure as soon as I wrote a post about the warm (said half jokingly) weather delaying the opening of the Rideau Canal skateway, it would open merely to spite my words.

Low and behold – open for business while Ottawa enjoys temperatures hovering around freezing. The NCC reported the ice conditions to be fair to good at 7:18 this morning, so now at 8:30 I imagine not much has changed.

The Canal is open from the Mackenzie-King Bridge to the Bank Street bridge, opening up 4.3 kilometres of skating surface.

This year marks the 40th season skating has been organized on the Canal. As a new edition to Ottawa, I was surprised to find out this was not a century-old tradition. According to the Citizen the red tape involved in getting the ice groomed made a lot of people in 1971 doubt it would actually happen.

Luckily, it did. Decades later the joy of open-ice skating is still there and likely never to grow old.

image courtesy of Ottawa Citizen

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