June 8, 2014
Doors Open Ottawa

This year we went to the Ottawa Curling Club, the Parkdale food centre and the Chaudière Falls Generating Station No. 2 (and yes, we have already been to the generating station in 2012 but Elizabeth wanted to go back) on Saturday and Rogers TV.


The Ottawa Curling Club was probably our favourite. I was surprised by how much early Ottawa history is tied into that building. I was also surprised to discover that it's quite the bustling place in winter time - hundreds of members! I was disappointed not to see things in action, but being summertime there was no ice! We did get to see their extensive collection of silver tea sets and medallions. Apparently way back a Governor General was one of the first patrons and donated a number of trophies. I got to hold the "other" Stanley cup claimed to be the original! (They have the original Grey cup too!)


A couple of random things our guide told us that I found particularly interesting:
There's special granite for curling - it is imported from Scotland and Wales When it was hard to come by, they used iron to be cheaper.
The rocks weigh 40lbs!!!
There are special lightweight rocks for kids, but this club has no kids program (no one wanted to teach them)
The shoes are cool too. Only one has any grip - the other is special for sliding on the ice.
There's an attached apartment which used to be for the ice maker. These days it houses several students who also work at the curling club at the bar or looking after the ice.
Rich lumber baron Joseph Currier donated the Currier cup. He had three wives The first wife is the tragic ghost of Manotick mill. His second wife died too. So when he married a third time he built her a mansion which he called "the place of peace" This mansion is now known as 24 Sussex (the prime minister's residence!).


After the curling club we headed over to the food bank. I was surprised to discover that it was more a community resource centre than the depot of non perishable goods I'd imagined.


In fact, they run frequent cooking classes of 12-14 people to learn how to prepare the donations and to provide a community experience. First time attendees get a crockpot and maybe some utensils. The food bank welcomes cookbook donations.


There is an emphasis on education, making people feel worthy. Our guide told us repeatedly that it was important to them that their clients feel helped, not judged.

There was not a lot of canned food visible either. Lots of halal meat and other frozen stuff, sometimes cheese and butter... They try to give out real (liquid) milk instead of milk powder. They apparently prefer real fresh food to canned stuff and won't give out things like pop. They also don't give out items like dried beans if the recipient has no way (or desire) to prepare them.


They are shortly moving to a new building at which time they will give people points and let them go "shopping" on their shelves. The treats will "cost" more than the healthy food - I think this is brilliant.

They also have a good food box program that anyone can buy (30 are sponsored).


The actual emergency food covers only 5 days once a month, though if really needed they can get a second order for an additional 3 days. That's not a lot, is it? 700 people a month in the island park area rely on this, 30 are babies. They give out disposable diapers, but a 5 day supply is only 7 diapers!

You might have thought this location was not super kid friendly, but Elizabeth and Matthew actually enjoyed it very much because we arrived just as they were taking enormous sugar cookies out of the oven!!! Yum!


We peeked into the Orthodox Russian church down the street but unfortunately it wasn't open yet and the kids had swimming so we couldn't wait. After swimming class we headed to the generating station - this was Elizabeth's request. We were too late for a tour, but enjoyed bumping into friends Jono & Jill and family. We got to see most of them get a bucket lift - brilliant idea Hydro Ottawa had there! Elizabeth wished she was taller. Maybe next year!


We watched the safety demo again without hysterics this year. I learned how to exit a car that has a downed power line nearby. It's best to stay put of course, but if the car is about to explode, then cross your arms, and shuffle or hop 10 m away. Essentially you are turning yourself into a bird sitting on an electrical wire :)


We had ballet (and Elizabeth's fifth baptismal birthday), so that was the end of our Doors Open Ottawa that day. But after church on Sunday we went to see the Rogers community programming TV station, primarily because it promised face painting. Luckily I did not mention this to Elizabeth in advance, since there was no sign of any such activity. In fact, I don't think the presentation was particularly well geared to kids, especially since we had to listen to quite a long spiel and wait a long time in between rooms. Matthew had had enough by the last station and so I was destined not to find out anything about their TV truck...


I did find it quite fascinating to wander their set. We were amused by what was real and what was fake. Some drawers in the kitchen opened, and some did not - in particular things are arranged so that you are never tempted to turn your back to the camera. We got a chance to play with their camera and see the super fancy editing software. We played with their green screen. We oogled the amusing things they keep in storage. Elizabeth was thrilled to get colouring sheets, a tiny ball and a Frisbee out of the deal. But curling was still her favourite.



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