Building a music city, Meet the Helpers, cleaning the capital, and more!

In the waning days of the convoy occupation in Centretown, a sign that got popular at counter-demonstrations included the cheeky slogan: “Make Ottawa Boring Again.” Soon after, a local resident had the expression printed on t-shirts, with proceeds going to Minwashin Lodge, Cornerstone Housing for Women and the Canadian Hate Network.

The expression was so funny because we all knew what it was poking fun at: the idea of Ottawa as a sleepy town that rolls up the sidewalks at 4pm. After surviving the endless air horns and honking of the convoy, a little bit of boring sounded like a balm for the soul.

Councillor Ariel Troster at the Battle of Billings Bridge with a sign that reads "make Ottawa boring again".

But the reality is that our city is not boring at all, especially if you know where to look. In Centretown, we have lively street festivals, amazing restaurants, funky galleries, cozy pubs and quaint coffee shops. But one thing we seem to be missing? Affordable and accessible music venues. Across the downtown core, we have seen the closure of so many musical institutions, including Zaphods, Babylon, and Mercury Lounge. While we still have some great venues, including the Bronson Centre and Live on Elgin, there are fewer and fewer places for up-and-coming musicians to hone their craft and find new audiences.

This was one of the key threads of discussion at an event hosted by the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition at Queen St. Fare this week. Working artists gathered to talk about the ways that the city can help contribute to a thriving music scene and nightlife. With Ottawa on the verge of hiring its first Nightlife Commissioner, the timing of this brainstorming session could not have been more perfect.

Barriers that participants identified to creating a thriving nightlife included a lack of reliable public transit, concerns about public safety, a dearth of public bathroom facilities, difficulty in booking city-owned venues and outdoor spaces, and the high cost of rent, particularly in the core.

This is why I put forward a motion to ask city staff to consider implementing anti-poverty initiatives for the arts community. And why I am interested in exploring the adaptive re-use of empty office buildings as studios, live-work or performance spaces for artists. I cannot imagine revitalizing downtown without making space for artists, especially since so many of them are experiencing displacement in the face of gentrification and redevelopment.

In other words – the same elements that make for an accessible, equitable and welcoming city make for a music city. And one that’s less boring.

Warmly,

Ariel

Councillor Troster with council colleagues at the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the Irish Ambassador’s residence this week.

Meet the Helpers: next Wednesday       

Join Councillor Troster and community service providers in Centretown on Wednesday, March 27 at 6:30 pm, for a conversation about who to call and how to get help for yourself or your neighbours. This virtual meeting will include representatives from community organization who work on homelessness, addiction and harm reduction. It will be a chance to learn more and ask questions in a non-judgmental environment. Register here.

Safe consumption site is open at Somerset West CHC

The safe consumption site at Somerset West Community Health Centre has re-opened outdoors in their enclosed courtyard. This is a temporary measure until they can re-open indoors. Health Canada gave them an emergency exemption to allow this to happen. Thank you to all of our community health centre workers who worked so hard to pivot and provide this vital service.

Summer construction on Lyon between Somerset and Gilmour

The City of Ottawa plans to replace the combined sewer and watermain on MacLaren Street and Lyon Street. Both MacLaren Street and Lyon Street will be fully reconstructed with new roadway asphalt and new concrete sidewalks.

For more details please visit the project page here.

Local road closures

  • Booth Street from Raymond Street to Orangeville Street. The road will be closed from Monday, 25 March 2024 to Saturday, 6 April 2024 – nightly between 10:30pm to 5:45am.
  • Rochester Street from Raymond Street to Orangeville Street. The road will be closed from Monday, 8 April 2024 to Saturday, 20 April 2024 – nightly between 10:30pm to 5:45am.

Ottawa Public Art 2024 call for direct purchase

The City of Ottawa Public Art Program invites professional artists, and their representatives, to offer existing artworks for purchase. Applications are reviewed by a peer assessment committee and artworks recommended for purchase become part of the City of Ottawa Art Collection. Artworks from this diverse collection are presented in over 170 public sites across Ottawa. Direct Purchase is a competitive program for participants to offer artwork for purchase to the City of Ottawa. The deadline to apply is Wednesday April 10th 2024.

Learn more and apply online here.

Chief William Commanda Bridge update

The City is anticipating opening the bridge early next week and will provide an official update when it has opened. The opening of the bridge is weather-dependent, and staff are watching forecasts closely.

#Ottmusic applications are open

Since 2015, #ottmusic has evolved into an initiative that brings together City-led programs, opportunities, and information for musicians and residents. In 2020, the City launched three core #ottmusic programs:

  • Music on Hold,
  • O-Buskers, and
  • City Sounds.

 

This is a great opportunity for local musicians to share their music with Ottawa residents and beyond! An Ottawa artist has been defined as one who resides within 150 kilometres of the City centre.

Learn more and apply online here.

Register today for spring Cleaning the Capital

As warmer weather approaches, you might notice a winter’s worth of litter scattered around the city. Twice a year, thousands of residents help keep our community spaces clean and green through Cleaning the Capital and you can join them by registering for the spring 2024 campaign!

Learn more and register online here.

Rain Ready Ottawa applications open

Rain Ready Ottawa is a pilot program that encourages and supports residents to take action on their property to reduce the harmful impacts of rainwater runoff.

Rain Ready Ottawa offers:

  • Information on projects for your home (see below) including a series of self-guided eLearning courses to help you implement rainwater management projects
  • Home Assessments that offer custom advice and solutions to your rainwater problems (Eligibility requirements apply, learn more at Rain Ready Ottawa Home Assessments
  • Rebates up to $5,000 to help you install practices that help manage rainwater where it falls (Eligibility requirements apply, learn more at Rain Ready Ottawa project rebates)

 

Learn more and apply online here.

Sort and score to win a pass to Bluesfest!

The City of Ottawa has launched a “Sort and Score” Virtual Waste Sorting Challenge, which promotes properly disposing of your waste and our Waste Explorer tool. All residents who take the sorting challenge will be entered into a draw to win a full festival pass to Bluesfest! Using the blue, black and green bin continues to be an easy way for residents to reduce their waste and our virtual waste sorting challenge is a fun way for residents to improve their sorting skills!

Take the virtual waste sorting challenge at: Ottawa.ca/sortandscore! May the odds be ever in your favour and your waste be diverted and reduced!  

OMIC Annual General Meeting

Calling all Ottawa Music Industry Coalition members & future members: the OMIC Annual General Meeting is taking place on April 16th! Join us for networking, snacks, music from local DJ MusicByJayel and a presentation of our Annual Report & 2024-2026 Operational Plan.

RSVP now: https://forms.gle/ud9vzr3ydFrdYCtX9

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