Petrie Island: Summer Fun

Living down the road from Petrie Island is wonderful - this east end beach is a great place to stay cool in the summer, and it also has walking trails and a Nature Interpretive Centre. Our location means that we can easily bike to the islands from our home in Orleans.

There are many things to do at Petrie Island:

  • Check out the nature and interpretation centre - there are aquariums with reptiles, and samples of native plant species. For history and geography buffs, there is a lot of information on the history of the islands and how they were formed.
  • Summer Children's Programs and camps: with hikes, crafts and other activities, kids will really enjoy getting to know the area. We missed it this year, but hope to sign the girls up next year!
  • Hiking: 7km of trails with lookout points along the way
  • Swimming: be sure to check the City of Ottawa's water quality reports, as Petrie is notorious for being closed :( C'mon river clean-up!!!
  • Fishing: not something we've tried, although I remember attending an ice fishing derby one year at Oziles marina
  • Paddling, kayaking: you can launch non-motorized boats at the free boat launch, and Oziles also has these boats for rent.

There's always a very good chance you'll spot a turtle at Petrie...especially if you check out the interpretive centre!

We've packed snacks and lunches, and used one of the many picnic tables in the area. And of course, the young ones enjoy time on the play structures.

Check out the Friends of Petrie Island for information on getting there. Parking is not free (boo), but biking is! I highly recommend you bike to Petrie if you live in Orleans (or further if you're up for it!) Our 5 year-old made it the whole way, with only a couple of stops.

Have you been to Petrie Island? What's your favourite part?


What does your community need?

Have you seen the #CBCStreetTalk team in your neighbourhood? Our local CBC Ottawa team has been busy visiting city wards to speak with residents about local issues (because unless you have your head buried in the sand, you'll know that we have upcoming municipal elections on October 27th!) ward 1

The question they're asking is: What would make your neighbourhood a better place to live?

This got me thinking about ways I would like to improve my own neighbourhood. Choosing where to live in a city is a tough decision - many middle class families can't afford the trendy and vibrant areas like Westboro, Hintonburg and the Glebe. And although I sometimes yearn to be closer to downtown, I do appreciate the big property and quiet that comes with suburban living.

But I want to have my cake and eat it too! How come I can't live in a trendy suburban neighbourhood? Most of us in the older part of Orleans are within walking distance to St. Joseph - but the walkability of our ward is dismal. Who wants to walk around places when you could break your ankle on a broken sidewalk or get run over by a speeding car?

Those complaints aside, I love my neighbourhood and I can't wait to see it flourish! So here's my wish list for Orleans, Ward 1:

  •  A great local coffee shop within walking distance (bonus points if the coffee shop has a playroom for kiddies!)
  • A redesigned "Main Street" (St. Joseph) - making it pedestrian and cyclist friendly
  • More healthy, fabulous restaurants using local ingredients
  • A revival of the Ottawa Farmer's Market, which seems to be dying a slow death in Orleans
  • Ottawa River Action Plan for the health of our river and Petrie Island!
  • More attention paid to the trail system in Queenswood Heights - the bridges which are being replaced have been chained off for over a year now. There was also a major landslide down there, and I'd love to hear how this will be cleaned up and future stability managed.
  • Future LRT (check out this fascinating idea about demolishing the Queensway!)
  • Promotion of cycling to downtown - I discovered this past year it only takes me 1 hour and 15 minutes to bike to work (if that seems crazy to you, it's also possible to bike partway and bus partway). We need more education around safe cycling, and campaigns to get more people on their bikes!

So tell me, how would you make your neighbourhood a better place to live?

Spring Biking

We went out for our first family ride today after a super long winter. My husband and I are training for several charity bike rides this summer, so we were long overdue for a venture out. Living in Orleans, we headed north to the river pathway. As we turned towards the direction of Petrie Island, we quickly realized the path was impassable. Spring flooding has covered both directions!

We decided to turn around and head back towards the house and do some side streets on the way. Just as my husband started to peddle off, the chain on his bike snapped. And being totally unprepared, we hadn't brought any tools or even a cell phone.

I decided to peddle home myself and pick everyone up with the car. The girls were very happy to run around the giant field down by the river, and were super tired by the time we got home.

So lesson of the day? When you're heading out for your first ride, make sure to do a proper bike tune-up ;)

Here are some resources for bike tune-ups in Ottawa:

Re-Cylces: A Community Bike Shop
Kunstadt Sport Kanata
Giant Orleans
Full Cycle 

Now to figure out an alternative biking route to work that will bypass the flooding!

Christmas Old-Fashioned Style

By Angèle There are always a million things to do during the holiday season, but how much is really what matters to you? I know that for me, concentrating on the basics and creating traditions that my child (and her mother) look forward to every year is what matters. So if you’re looking for a simpler Christmas, even an old-fashioned Christmas, here’s a good place to start.

Heritage Villages Cumberland Museum (East of Orleans)

On a late Sunday afternoon last December, my daughter and I, along with friends, went to the Cumberland Museum to experience the Vintage Christmas Village of Lights.  We admired twinkle lights as we walked in the dark and sang carols on our horse-drawn wagon ride.  We then decorated gingerbread men in the old town hall (yes, we ate most of the icing straight from the bag), and admired the handmade decorations in the schoolhouse. Of course, after warming up with hot chocolate around the camp fire, we saw Santa in a very old, charming house. We left filled with Christmas spirit; it was an event to remember.

Needless to say, I plan on going back this year:

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in December, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Families (two adults and unlimited children) $18.

Upper Canada Village (South of Ottawa, in Morrisburg) We haven’t been to Upper Canada Village’s Alight at Night Festival yet, but if it’s anything like what we can do and see there during the summer, it will be impressive. Starting November 30th, we can go on a horse drawn wagon ride or on the lit up toy train, spot the Dickens characters and enjoy carollers in the old church or have a traditional Christmas dinner.  Or we can simply stand and stare at the twinkle lights for hours.

It’s definitely worth the drive from Ottawa.

Angèle is a goofy mum to a daughter and a wife to an evil genius (retired, apparently). She’s also a social media strategist, a podcast host and a teacher in training.  In her other life, she’s a fan of fresh air, yoga, good friends, new places and keeping things simple.  She is the author of two blogs: More of Less ( ) and My C Word ( ).  PS. She often overshare. You’ve been warned.

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Come and tumble, jump and play with us at Starr Gymnastics

Starr GymnasticsIt has been a long time since we've put together an event but this September we've got a great one for you!  Starr Gymnastics, one of our wonderful sponsors (we couldn't run this blog without them!) is welcoming us for an afternoon of fun at their Orleans location. What: One hour of gymnastics activities followed by one hour in the party room

When:  September 9 from 3 - 5 pm

Where: Starr Gymnastics, 520 Lacolle Way, Orleans

Who: We can accommodate 35 kids (plus their parents) and it will be first come first served. We ask that kids be at least 2 to participate in the activity. Please do add yourself to the wait list if the event is full though, we often get last minute cancellations.

Cost: FREE (though we would love if some people brought some peanut-free pot luck snacks to share in the party room)

How: Register for the event on our eventbrite page.

See you there!

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