It has been 25 years to the day since the Great Ice Storm of 1998

Some people were without power for 33 days in the dead of winter. Martha's mom and dad themselves went for 10 days without power, spending the time reading in front of the fireplace, making tea in the flames.

Martha's mom and dad came from a generation that considered self-sufficiency the default. Many today do not.

We suggest using this anniversary as an excuse to take a look at the Ontario Emergency Preparedness Action Plan page. It goes step-by-step to create a document for your family to prepare for most emergencies, not just winter storms. How will your family contact each other without phones? What will the cat eat, 10 days in?

And if you have trouble getting family buy in to do this, tell them it's a Zombie Apocalypse action plan. That will be guaranteed to work.

– Martha and Darren

Every Wednesday, the ottawan serves up all the important food news in the Capital.


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The Beachcomber Room tiki bar at the Talisman Motor Inn was where Ottawa swingers could be found in the early 60s

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    • 400,000
    • – The number of visits to member agencies of the Ottawa Food Bank, according to its Hunger Report for 2022, the highest in its 38 year history. (CityNews) (Hunger Report 2022)

    Ottawan of the Day

    • Marc Parent
    • The guitarist for Ottawa synthpop band Eight Seconds is taking over as lead singer and guitarist for April Wine, after the retirement of Myles Goodwyn. (CityNews)


    • Didn’t you used to be Jim Watson?
    •  – The former mayor, Jim Watson, describing how he is not as well known as he thought he was. (Ottawa Magazine)


    • 🏒 NHL Ottawa Senators 4 – Columbus Blue Jackets 0 last night


    🚨 Threatening Teen

    • A 19 year-old who threatened Parliament, the Department of National Defence, and the US and Chinese embassies has been arrested. The man made the threats on Twitter in November. In a written statement, he said he was going to use ‘jet fuel and one match’.  (Ottawa Citizen)

    🍽️ Requiem

    • Reader Patti writes us to note the passing of Ralph Nesrallah, of Ralph & Son’s Diner in Crystal Beach.

      Ralph’s has been operating in the same location (though more recently in a new building) for more than 50 years and is a favourite breakfast and lunch destination for many, many loyal customers. My own parents used to go there every single day for breakfast, and I would join them at least once a week. My whole extended family always went there when we had some reason to gather. We were not the only such family, as we would always see regulars there when we went. Ralph’s wife Najla, and his two sons, Nick and Rick, worked by his side every day. Many of their relatives also worked in the diner, and there were loyal staff who were with him every day for years and years.

      Even after he stopped cooking, he was at the restaurant every day, schmoozing with customers, overseeing the staff and occasionally letting his inner curmudgeon play with one of his other long-time customers, now also sadly passed. He would always come over to our table to say hello and sometimes sit for a few minutes to chat.

      It's hard to express what a fixture Ralph was in so many lives. He will be sadly missed by so very many customers and friends.’

      (Memorial page)

    🏛️ City Hall

    • Kitchissippi resident Mayor Mark Sutcliffe has hired former mayor Jim Watson's policy director as chief of staff. Before Watson, Robyn Guest worked in the City Manager’s office, amongst other positions, in a 20 year City career.

      Guest was namechecked during the recent provincial O Train hearings as her brother Brian’s company had a significant role in the O Train office. Guest’s husband, Chris Swail, was chief of staff to deputy manager Nancy Schepers, and therefore boss of Guest’s brother. (CBC)

    ⛷️ Skiing

    • The Calabogie Peaks ski hill has reopened to skiers after a pumphouse fire yesterday. The pumphouse contained snowmaking equipment and no one was injured. (Ottawa Citizen

    🏚️ Vacant Property Portal

    • Owners of properties can declare the vacancy status on the City’s portal as of today. A new law creates a new tax of one per cent of a property’s value if it is left unoccupied without valid excuse. Owners must make their declarations by March 16(Ottawa Citizen) (The Portal)

    🗓️ Shopify drops Meetings

    • Mom and pop business Shopify has canned almost all meetings for the next two weeks. Standing meetings with three or more people, all Wednesday meetings, and all meetings of 50 people or more –except on Thursdays – are now cancelled. The company says that 76,500 hours will be freed up for staff. (CBC)


    Click here to feature your event


    • Head to the Hintonburg Public House tonight for the launch of Knerdy Nights, a new knitting night on the first Wednesday of each month. Drop by between 6:00pm and 9:00pm and join Laura Twiss of Balsam Knits and other knitters for a few hours of fun. 
    • Tango into 2023 with a visit to Milonga de La Confesión. Dance and socialize from 7:00pm to 11:00pm. St John Church parish hall 275 Elgin St. 


    • Enjoy the final Weekday Holiday Afternoon Tea at Zoe’s at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. 
    • 3 Brasseurs Kanata launches WONDERMALT, a California Common beer with English malts and American hops. 
    • The Whale | 6:45 pm | ByTowne Cinema 345 Rideau Street K1N 5Y4. | $11.95 | This will probably be the Brendan Fraser career defining role.
    • EO | 6:45 pm | Mayfair Theatre 1074 Bank St K1S 3X3 | $8 | Follow a donkey who on his journeys encounters good and bad people, and experiences joy and pain. 


    • Cold Comfort, the new exhibition featuring artist Ella Morton opens at SPAO. Morton specializes in experimental analogue photographs examining climate change in the Arctic. Opening reception January 13. 
    • January 6 at Stray Dog Brewing, Tim Loten with special guest Emma Houlahan. Both musicians were born and raised in Lanark County. From 8:30pm, tickets $12. 


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    City Seltzer’s 24 & Mixed Packs will bring some sparkle to your month, whether it’s Dry January or not. $45 


    Ottawa Public Health updates COVID information Tuesdays and Fridays


    It is very inadvisable to suddely change your pet’s food from whatever it is eating to human food. If you must, this page recommends putting cooked chicken and steamed carrots into a blender. Our cats would probably leave and stay at a Holiday Inn until it all blew over.

    We will see you tomorrow  – Martha and Darren


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