Category Archives: Special Events

Guerrilla Art for Curious People

It took 18 years of rural living for Guerrilla Art for Curious People to appear.

The idea popped into my brain because I love nothing more than discovering public art in unexpected places. Every time I’m surprised by an installation – turning a corner or driving through a neighborhood – my body vibrates, my head alights and I am consumed by happiness. To quote Mr. Whitman, I Sing the Body Electric. Continue reading Guerrilla Art for Curious People

It’s Just Not Christmas Without Homemade Baileys

Every Christmas since I’ve been an adult, I’ve used my mom’s recipe to make bottle upon bottle of homemade Baileys, which I’ve distributed to friends and neighbours.

The original recipe card is so well-used it’s begun to look like an ancient artifact. You’d think I’d have memorized it by now, but every year I pull it out of the drawer and diligently check that I’m getting everything right. The stuff is so damn good as is, I leave no room for improvisation.

For everybody who’s ever asked me for my ‘secret’ recipe over the years and to whom I’ve replied “If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you,” I have a Christmas gift just for you. Continue reading It’s Just Not Christmas Without Homemade Baileys

Larry’s Christmas Cards

I didn’t so much as meet Larry Racioppo as find him. Home from NYC and working on this piece, I admired his photographic work on the 9/11 Memorial & Museum site and he agreed to lend me an image. Turns out, he’s lived a fascinating life; he’s been a NYC taxi driver in the early 80’s, staff photographer for the Department of Housing, Preservation and Development during the city’s lowest (and scariest) point, and a well-respected photo documentarian and keeper of knowledge of life, pre-gentrification, in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan. Check out his site at Continue reading Larry’s Christmas Cards

Manhattan’s Divine Intervention

Unless you leave room for serendipity…how can the divine enter? ~Joseph Campbell

A few minutes one way or the other, heading south instead of north, a conversation, a distraction, a photo or lunch. There’s no good reason I stepped into St. Paul’s Chapel at that precise moment and not another. Filled to the brim – standing room only – I felt I’d stumbled in on a private event, a funeral perhaps. Not so, the man in a dark suit whispered back. You are perfectly welcome.

Crossing the threshold at 12:59 (not earlier, not later) was a flash of serendipity, a flourish of divine intervention, the kind that occurs every minute of every day all around the city. But then St. Paul’s, part of the Parish of Trinity Church and the oldest house of worship in Manhattan, is no stranger to miracles. Continue reading Manhattan’s Divine Intervention

Jane’s Walk Burritt’s Rapids 2015 – Day 1

Being Canadian, I have to lead with the weather: How on earth did we luck out getting the warmest most perfect day of the year so far?

It provided an excellent backdrop for Day 1 of Jane’s Walk Burritt’s Rapids. In another few hours we’ll launch Day 2 with Jane’s Yoga with the Locals, Jane’s Worship with the Locals, and the family-friendly walk/talk/workshop Disappearing Habitat: Killing the Goose That Laid the Golden Egg with John McKenzie at his own natural history museum at 720 River Rd, Burritt’s Rapids (Kemptville). All three events begin at 9:00am.

Between 8:30am and 9:00am I will be a guest of Mary Ito on CBC’s Fresh Air, airing right across Ontario, to talk about Jane’s Walk Burritt’s Rapids and the importance of these kinds of events to community. Tune in on your local CBC station.

More paddling, more gardening talk, more Burritt’s Rapids day lilies for sale, more history, more Doors Open and a noon potluck on deck for today. Check out the full listings here.

We hope you will come out and join us!

Here’s a peek at yesterday’s festivities from local photographer K. Kerr (all rights his):

If I were a kid at Jane’s Walk Burritt’s Rapids…

If I were a kid at Jane’s Walk Burritt’s Rapids, this is what I would do:

1.  Attend the family-friendly Jane’s Walk ‘n Talk called: Disappearing Habitat: Killing the Goose That Laid the Golden Egg.  John McKenzie has a natural history museum in his workshop and there’s lots to see and touch (Sunday)

2.  Take a paddle up the Rideau Canal in a 16-passenger Voyageur Canoe complete with costumed guides (Saturday/Sunday)

3.  Pack a lunch and picnic by the river (Saturday) or picnic/potluck (Sunday)

4.  Hunt around the village to find the ten objects on the scavenger list and claim my prize at the Community Hall (Saturday/Sunday) 

Click here for the Scavenger Hunt page

5.  Hike to the Stoney Steps (Nope! I won’t spoil the surprise) (anytime)

6.  Check out David Watson’s European sportscar collection, which is way nicer than my family van (Saturday)

7.  Walk to Other David’s Open Lab and see what cool science projects are happening (Sunday) – appropriate for older kids

8.  Explore the Tip-to-Tip Trail (I’m on an island!) (anytime)

9.  Say ‘hi’ to the horses at Lone Wolf Farm (anytime)

10.  See how many species of birds and animals I can spot; see if I can find Turtle Rock on the way to the Lock Station (anytime)

11.  Take a reading break in the library at the old Lockmaster’s House (Saturday)

12.  Go to church with my family (Sunday)

13.  Play in the park behind the hall, on the swings down by the beach, and goof around with my new friends (anytime)

If I were a kid I’d be playing to my heart’s content!

Kid at Jane's Walk
If I were a kid….

Schedule of Events & Activities

Please note the change: The classic car collection will only be in the village on Saturday.

Jane’s Walk Burritt’s Rapids is a community-wide festival organized by the people, for the people in partnership with the Burritt’s Rapids Community Association, Inc. (BRCA)

Find information on:

1) Scheduled ‘Jane’s Walk’ Events – Scroll to explore the list of the weekend’s scheduled events for Jane’s Walk Burritt’s Rapids. All of the scheduled events are a go “rain or shine.”

2) All Day and/or Associated ‘Jane’s Walk’ Activities 

3) Exhibiting Artists

4) Doors Open – historic buildings open for exploration

5) Self-guided walks around the village

6) Complementary Activities – Click on the images in the right sidebar for other activities in the area.

Saturday, May 2nd

Jane’s Run with the Locals
Prefer your exploration at a quicker pace? Join the locals for a 10k run around the picturesque countryside. Route length is negotiable according to the needs of the group.
Leaders: Andrew Vignuzzi & Graham Ross
Location: Meet in front of  the Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall
Click for Jane’s Walk Ottawa event listing

10:00am – 11:30am
Frontier Fraternalism: The Rideau Masonic Lodge #25 Collection at the Canadian Museum of History
This presentation will recount the fascinating story of these artifacts and their role in community-building in Burritt’s Rapids two centuries ago. It features an interactive discussion with local Masonic members.
Presenters: Forrest Pass (Historian, Canadian Museum of History) & Bob Parnell (Local Masons)
Location: The Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall
Click for Jane’s Walk Ottawa event listing

11:30am – 12:45pm
Architectural Walk with the Village Doyennes
Burritt’s Rapids was founded by United Empire Loyalists in 1793 and it remains remarkably well-preserved, not to mention charming. The history of the village will be discussed through the lens of its architecture.
Leaders: Olivia Mills & Renee Smith
Location: Meet in front of the Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall
Click for Jane’s Walk Ottawa event listing

1:00pm to 2:15pm
Burritt’s Rapids: 15,000 BP to 1832
Let’s look back….waaaay back. A visual presentation using period maps and images looking at Burritts Rapids from the ice age to the landscape changes brought about by the building of the Rideau Canal. Loosely based on Ken’s book “The Rideau Route – Exploring the Pre-Canal Waterway.”
Presenter: Ken Watson, author/local historian www.
Location: The Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall
Click for Jane’s Walk Ottawa event listing

2:30pm to 4:00pm
Burritt’s Rapids “Living Library” Story Swap
Wherever there are people, there are stories. This will be an informal, moderated discussion with past and present community members who have deep roots in the village. It is a first opportunity to hear (and record) stories that are critical to our oral history. All are encouraged to attend. Bring photos and other artifacts if you like.
Moderator: Andrea Cordonier
Contact:  or (613) 269-4585
Location: The Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall
Click for Jane’s Walk Ottawa event listing

Sunday, May 3rd

9:00am – 10:15am
Jane’s Yoga with the Locals
What finer way to wake up on a sleepy Sunday morning? If the weather is happy, we’ll be outside in Swing Bridge park; if the weather is sad, we’ll be at the Community Hall
Leader: Susan Foley, decorative artist & Kundalini yoga practitioner
Location: Meet in front of the Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall; bring your own mat
Click for Jane’s Walk Ottawa event listing

9:00am – 10:00am
Jane’s Worship with the Locals
Christ Church is a lovely Gothic Revival-style building completed in 1832. It is a critical village landmark. Like many rural parishes with shrinking congregations, it would benefit from the lively joy of a full house. Come worship and take a peek around. Listen for the ringing of the 9:00am bell.
Minister: Reverend Carolyn Pollock
Location: Christ Church Anglican, 4419 Donnelly Dr.
Click for more information

9:00am – 10:15am
Disappearing Habitat: Killing the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg
In this family-friendly, hands-on workshop, John McKenzie will discuss the importance of wildlife habitat and Matt Alkerton will dispel the myths of modern trapping practices. Please see the event listing for additional information.
Presenters/Leaders: John McKenzie & Matt Alkerton
Location: Tall Pines: 720 River Rd South, Burritt’s Rapids
Click for Jane’s Walk Ottawa event listing

10:30am – 11:45am
Shrubs: Diversity & Drama in the Garden
Dave Dunn, one of Canada’s gardening superstars, will discuss how shrubs can be used in the design of a garden to play the role of “bones” and backdrop, as well as add interest, colour and texture. Coping with tight spaces and urban garden scale will also be discussed.
Presenter: Dave Dunn, co-owner of Rideau Woodland Ramble
Location: The Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall
Click for Jane’s Walk Ottawa event listing

12:00pm – 1:30pm
Jane’s Potluck with the Locals
Nothing says ‘community’ like a potluck! Please click on the event listing for important details.
Coordinators: Joanne & Paul Harrison
Action: Please call (613) 859-9116 or (613) 269-3334 to register your dish
Location: The Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall
Click for Jane’s Walk Ottawa event listing

1:30pm – 4:30pm
Snap, Crackle & Pop! Open Lab with David Weston
Engineer. Luthier. Pyrotechnics expert. Forty years experience generating and measuring electromagnetic fields. 

Here’s the deal: Fireworks contain metal particles such as aluminum, magnesium, magnalium, iron grit etc to produce sparkling effects and colour. The concern is: If these particles are exposed to high levels of magnetic and electric fields, such as close proximity to hydro power lines, will the particles heat up or spark between the particles and thus cause detonation?
The experiment on view is to  expose inert material loaded with the metal particles to electric and magnetic fields and monitor for breakdown and heating. On display are the test jigs and generators as well as his ornate 14 course 22 string baroque lute.
Presenter: David A. Weston, EMC Consulting Inc., (613) 269-4247
Location: 325 County Rd. 23, Burritt’s Rapids (Merrickville)

1:30pm – 2:45pm
Architectural Walk with the Doyennes
Burritt’s Rapids was founded by United Empire Loyalists in 1793 and it remains remarkably well-preserved, not to mention charming. The history of the village will be discussed through the lens of its architecture.
Leaders: Olivia Mills & Renee Smith
Location: Meet in front of the Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall
Click for Jane’s Walk Ottawa event listing

3:00pm – 4:15pm
Ethnic Subterfuge: A Personal Walk Through the Rideau Corridor Social History 1830 – 1930
Presenter: Glenn J Lockwood
Location: Christ Church Anglican
Click for Jane’s Walk Ottawa event listing

All Day and/or Associated Activities

Saturday 10:00am – 4:00pm
European Classic Car Collection
Owner: David Watson/Arnprior Fire Trucks (613) 623-3434
Location: The main street of Burritt’s Rapids (Grenville St.)
Notes: The display may be weather-dependent

Saturday & Sunday 9:30am – 4:00pm
Voyageur Canoe Tours on the Rideau Canal 
Guides: Rideau Roundtable – Stew Hamill, (613) 269-3415
Sponsors: Tallman Truck Centre Ltd. & Ann Martin
Location: Meet in the gravel parking lot, south side of the village, adjacent to the swing bridge
Notes: Free interpretive paddling tours will be offered from two 16-person voyageur canoes throughout the day; safety equipment & an intro to paddling will be provided; tours will run rain or shine although high winds and/or high water would be a safety consideration; offered on a first-come, first-served basis; accessibility is at the discretion of the organizers and the activity may not be suitable for everyone.

Saturday & Sunday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Ramble the Gardens of Rideau Woodland Ramble (RWR)
What: Self-guided tours of this popular, award-winning garden centre and public gardens
Location: Rideau Woodland Ramble (RWR) 7210 Burritt’s Rapids Rd. Burritt’s Rapids (Merrickville)
Click for Jane’s Walk Ottawa event listing

Exhibiting Artists

Saturday & Sunday 10:00am – 4:30pm
Exhibiting Artist: Joyce Frances Devlin
Contact: Joyce Frances Devlin (613) 269-4458
Location: Main Hall exhibition space, Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall, 23 Grenville Street
Click here for more information

Saturday & Sunday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Exhibiting Artist: Dave Dunn
Contact:  (613) 258-3797
Location: Rideau Woodland Ramble, 7210 Burritt’s Rapids Rd., Merrickville (Burritt’s Rapids)
Click here for more information

Saturday & Sunday 10:00am – 4:30pm
Exhibiting Artist: Susan Foley
Contact: (613) 269-4309
Location: Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall
Click here for more information

Sunday 10:00am – 4:00pm
Exhibiting Artist: Debbie Alexander
Location: Lower Level Studio, Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall
Click here for more information

Saturday 10:00am – 4:00pm & Sunday 10:00am – 4:00pm (closed for lunch)
Exhibiting Artist: Jayne Couch Molony
Location: The Old Church, 25 Centre St, Burritt’s Rapids
Click here for more information

Saturday & Sunday 10:00am – 4:00pm
Exhibiting Artist: Tracy Kerr
Location: Lounge, Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall
Click here for more information

Doors Open

Saturday 1:00pm to 3:00pm/Sunday 1:30pm to 3:30pm
Doors Open: Merrickville & District Historical Society Archives 
Contact: Nina Donald, (613) 269-4289
Location: Lower Level, Burritt’s Rapids Community Hall

Saturday & Sunday 10:00am – 4:30pm
Doors Open: Christ Church Anglican
Location: 4419 Donnelly Dr, Burritt’s Rapids

Saturday 10:00am – 1:30pm
Doors Open: Burritt’s Rapids Public Library (formerly the Lockmaster’s House)
Location: 1 Grenville St, Burritt’s Rapids

Saturday 12:30pm – 2:30pm & Sunday 1:30 – 3:30pm
Doors Open: Masonic Lodge
Location: 3 Oxford St., Burritt’s Rapids

Self-Guided Tours (Online)

Burritt’s Rapids Walking Tour

Parks Canada – Tip to Tip Walking Trail

Still have questions?
Complete the form below or contact local organizer Andrea Cordonier by email:

Jane’s Walk – Burritt’s Rapids (Ottawa)

Jane’s Walk Burritt’s Rapids is a community-wide festival organized by the people, for the people in partnership with the Burritt’s Rapids Community Association, Inc. (BRCA)

Excuse me, but who is this Jane person?

Jane’s Walk is a global movement of free, citizen-led walking tours inspired by legendary urbanist Jane Jacobs.

Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) was an urban writer and activist who championed new, community-based approaches to planning for over 40 years. Her 1961 treatise, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, became perhaps the most influential American text about the inner workings and failings of cities, inspiring generations of urban planners and activists.1

The walks get people to tell stories about their communities, explore their cities, and connect with neighbours. This festival takes place on the first weekend in May in cities all over the globe.

Jane Jacobs
This is Jane.

We’re calling our event “Jane’s Walk, Run, Yoga, Hike, Paddle, Ramble, Lecture, Listen, Learn, Potluck, Play & People Watch”

Catchy title, no?

2015 marks the first year of Jane’s Walk in Burritt’s Rapids, offering up a tabla rasa – a clean slate – with no preconceived notions about how things “should” be done. So we’ve assembled a variety of walks, talks and other activities that leverage the unique attributes and resources of our teeny-tiny village.

If you bring a unicycle, horse or Segway we’ll gladly expand the title.

Click here for the full schedule of events and activities.

If you’re looking at a map, it may be hard to believe that Burritt’s Rapids is part of the City of Ottawa.

Give or take, we’re about 40 minutes from the Parliament Buildings. But I can assure you that I, and roughly half the village, render unto Ottawa that which belongs to Ottawa. We are one of 26 villages in the rural city, brought into the fold during amalgamation in 2001. Historically, Burritt’s has always been split between two townships – north of the river lies Ottawa, south of the river is North Grenville. This unusual dual-government arrangement creates a few, shall we say, anomalies which we all master sooner or later.

Living in Burritt’s is like having one foot in the city and one in the country. Being on the river and canal, surrounded by forests and fields, it’s like year-round cottage living. It’s beautiful, but like anywhere, there are always advantages and disadvantages of life in a small place.

Here’s what another day at the office looks like for us. And, yes, we do get an inordinate number of rainbows.

Want to find out more about Jane Jacobs, Jane’s Walk and Burritt’s Rapids? Check out these links.

Walking Jane Jacobs’ Hood

Walking the Walk

Parks By (And For) the People

The More Things Change

When Spring Comes




CurioCabinet: “Dame Marjorie’s School” 1894

Much to my delight, Library and Archives Canada continues to post more and more of their fascinating materials online for public access.  Just in time for Halloween, they’ve posted a set of 52 costume/Halloween pics here on Flickr.

Seems Lady and Lord Aberdeen, Canada’s Governor General from 1893 to 1898, ran an enviably entertaining and social household at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.  Here the staff are outfitted as young students of the fictional “Dame Marjorie’s School” as part of a winter ball in 1894.  Feeling very Monty Python-esque, with moustaches tucked in for good measure.

Wish I had a time machine.

Celebrating Happiness

I couldn’t smile any wider if I tried….

It seems the entire population came out for the annual summer celebration of village life in Noyers.

I took the little ones home around midnight and my eldest wandered in around 1:00am.  Apparently there was still a crowd of people in the square until 3:00am, when they shifted to the local after-party.

Getting together en masse is good for a community and all the individual souls within it.

This is what happiness looks like.

Continue reading Celebrating Happiness