Summer 2021 Newsletter

image of a bee on a dandelion flower

Ecology Ottawa’s Summer Bioblitz

What is a Summer Bioblitz? Ecology Ottawa’s Summer Bioblitz is a 3-day event that challenges you to get outside and explore your nearby surroundings for all kinds of wildlife. Participants will document their observations on iNaturalist, a mobile and web app that allows users to document all the nature they encounter. The goal is to collect as many natural observations as you can from birds to plants to insects, you name it! Help us better understand the rich biodiversity present in Ottawa that needs protection.

Find out more, including the results of June’s Bioblitz, here: https://www.ecologyottawa.ca/summer_bioblitz

Rain Ready Ottawa

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

Rain Ready Ottawa offers:

  • Information on rainwater management projects for your home
  • 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)

What’s the problem with rain?

Many of Ottawa’s older urban areas were developed without thinking about managing rainwater. Buildings, streets and parking lots don’t absorb rain like natural areas do. When rain falls on these surfaces, it moves quickly into storm sewers that drain straight into our streams and rivers, picking up pollutants along the way. This can cause problems like:

  • Poor water quality in creeks and rivers
  • Increased risks of flooding and erosion
  • Habitat degradation
  • Beach closures

We all play a part in reducing the harmful effects of rainwater run-off on our streams and rivers.

Be part of the solution

What is the solution?

Soaking up the rain! Through simple actions, each Ottawa home can manage rain where it falls, helping to prevent pollution, maintain healthy creeks and rivers, and ensure our beaches stay open.

Taking on some simple ‘do-it-yourself’ yard improvement projects you can help solve rainwater issues. From simple downspout redirection to more involved projects like rain gardens, you can have an impact on the health of our streams and rivers through actions on your property. Many projects can also add beauty and curb appeal to your home, providing brilliant colours for the growing season as well as winter interest for our colder months. For many residents, properly managing rainwater also brings peace of mind by reducing the risk of surface flooding and basement seepage.

To find a project that is right for your home, learn more on the Rain Ready Ottawa website.

gloved hand filling syringe with Covid-19 vaccine

Covid-19 Pandemic Updates

Ottawa Public Health remains your best source of information locally if you’re looking for case rates, managing your risk by being Covid WISE, or information about vaccines.

It’s a race to get as many people vaccinated as possible to limit our risk from current variants and to limit the creation of new variants.  Ottawa Public Health has a new vaccine wait-list tool for same-day openings at community clinics (kind of like flying stand-by but for vaccines).  More information here: https://ottawa.ca/en/news/new-vaccine-wait-list-tool-same-day-openings-community-clinics

The Public Health Agency of Canada has released guidance on “Life after vaccination” and has provided an infographic to break it down:  INFOGRAPHIC

We’re getting closer to vaccination thresholds and it’s important to keep on keeping on until the experts tell us otherwise.

Yoga in the park with the CGOWCA.  Wednesdays at 7pm in July and August 2021.  Subject to Covid restrictions.  July 7, 12, 21, 28 at Décarie Park.  August 4, 11, 18, 25 at Hiawatha Park

Yoga in the Park

Our summer Yoga series has begun. These free sessions are open to all and are being held each Wednesday night at 7pm. Bring a yoga mat or a towel, and your water bottle.

  • July 7, 14, 21, and 28 will be at Décarie Park (7883 Décarie Dr, Orléans, ON K1C 2J4)
  • August 4, 11, 18, and 25 will be at Hiawatha Park (near the corner of Voyageur and Voyageur)

We hope to see you there!

image of many different face icons in different colours, in the shape of a speech bubble.

Save the Date:  Community Association Annual General Meeting

When:  Monday September 20th at 7pm

What:  Learn about the last year’s activities and finances.  Elect volunteers to the Board of Directors.

If you would like to know more about joining the Board of Directors for the Convent Glen-Orléans Wood Community Association, please reach out to the current board at conventglenorleanswood@gmail.com.  If you aren’t interested in joining the board but would like to help the Community Association with an event or in some other way, please reach out as well!

June 2021 Newsletter

image of colourful flowers

Send us your garden photos

Over the course of the last year, many folks spent more time in the garden. Since the lockdown has prevented garden parties, we want to have an online showcase of garden pictures. Whether you are growing flowers for beauty, food for the table or a natural spot for nature’s creatures, we want to see what creative things folks have worked to grow. 

From July 2nd to 4th, we invite you to post a picture (or two) of your garden in our Facebook group so we can all admire your handiwork. If your spring flowers have peaked, feel free to use a picture from their prime and tell us what you are growing next. If your garden will peak in the late summer or fall, take your before shot for a similar fall showcase at the end of September. We welcome all types of gardens, from first gardens to fairy gardens to wild gardens to formal gardens.

Yoga in the Park with the CGOWCA.  Wednesdays at 7pm in July and August 2021.  Subject to Covid Restrictions.  July7, 14, 21, 28 at Décarie Park.  August 4, 11, 18, 25 at Hiawatha Park.

Yoga in the park

Join us again this year for Yoga in the park.  We offer this free of charge each Wednesday at 7pm.  July’s sessions will be at Décarie Park.  August’s sessions will be at Hiawatha Park.

Sessions are subject to Covid restrictions and we will follow all public health guidelines.

woman lying down and relaxing on a sofa.

Yoga is for Everyone

Tips from Sandy Jones, a Certified Yoga Teacher & Accessible Yoga Ambassador offering Chair Yoga (all postures seated) and Gentle Yoga (on the Mat) via Zoom and in Orleans – www.sandyjonesyoga.com

Two to One Breath.  Try it … it works wonders

It can be done anywhere, sitting on a chair, on your yoga mat, laying on your back, in your bed, at the grocery store, driving your car …

Start by noticing your breath then begin to slow the breath down.  Count how long it takes to breath in and breath out twice as long.  For example, if you inhale to the count of 4, exhale to the count of 8 (or close to it). 

Connecting with the breath is a tool to help prevent the nervous system from jolting into the sympathetic nervous system (fight-flight-freeze).    With all that is going on, this breath can really help, so easy to do, and all it takes is the breath.

May 2021 Newsletter

close up of rear wheel gears on a bike

Get Your Bike Ready for the Season

Guest Author: Gary Bradshaw

Has your favourite bike been sitting neglected in the basement or garage throughout the winter months?  Going through this easy eight step tune-up will not only ensure your bike functions smoothly but will prevent any unnecessary wear and tear on your components.

  1. Wash your bike.  The first thing to do is a general full cleaning of the bike to help identify what needs to be done. Use some degreaser to clean off the chain, chain rings and wheels on the rear derailleur. Use a wet rag to wipe off the braking surfaces on your rims and any grit that is accumulated on your frame.
  2. Check the chain for wear and replace it if needed.
  3. Check your brakes.  Inspect the brake pads at their wear indicator lines. Replace the pads if they are getting thin. Give the wheel a spin to make sure the brake pads are not rubbing.
  4. Make sure your wheels are in good condition and true.
  5. Check and make sure your cables are in good condition.  First inspect your brake and shift cables for fraying at the ends and proper tension. If you find nicks or fraying, replace the cable. If they are stretched, tighten them.
  6. Make sure your headset is properly tightened.  First, turn your stem to make sure it moves freely and smoothly. “Drop the front end of the bike to see if you hear any rattle that would indicate anything in the headset is loose.
  7. Check that your pedals and bottom bracket are rotating smoothly.  Before you jump on your bike, remove the chain from the chain ring. Rotate the crank and just feel how the pedals and bottom bracket are rotating. Removing the pedals and the BB to clean and lubricate them seasonally is also a good idea.
  8. Check your shifting.  Go through all the gears and make sure the chain is not skipping. Make any final necessary adjustments with the barrel adjuster and finally lubricate your chain.
two people cycling on a protected bike lane

Bike Theft Prevention Tips

From Ottawa Police Service News Release

Take steps to enhance the security of your bikes:

  • Use a sturdy bicycle lock (such as a U-Lock);
  • Store your bike in a locked shed or garage;
  • Register your bike on 529 Garage to let thieves and potential future buyers know the bike is registered and help police quickly locate and return your bike if it’s stolen.

Please report it! We rely on the public to help us identify those responsible; if your bike has been stolen you are encouraged to file a theft report online at www.ottawapolice.ca/onlinereporting. You can also help police by pre-registering your bike on the 529 Garage app.

two children sitting on a couch looking at a laptop

Fun for Little Ones

As the pandemic continues, parents may be running out of ideas for things to do with little ones.  Check out a few ideas (most are free) below:

aerial image of construction vehicles on a dirt surface

LRT Construction Headaches

There has been some discussion in the Association’s Facebook group about the intermittent disturbances being caused to many in our neighbourhoods who live near the LRT Stage 2 construction zones. 

While it can feel good to vent and know that others relate to what you are going through on Facebook, the messages may not be seen by those who can do something to solve the problem. 

We want to encourage residents to write to LRT Stage 2 team with any questions or concerns when they arise:  Stage2@ottawa.ca (and you could copy our City Councillor matt.luloff@ottawa.ca).

If you are being disturbed by noise or vibrations after 11pm, you can report the noise or vibration complaint to Ottawa Bylaw by calling 3-1-1 or online: https://so311.serviceottawa.ca/selfserve/?reqId=2003002&lang=en

It may also be helpful to connect to our Councillor, Matthew Luloff, who has spoken about his efforts to minimize disruptions to his constituents on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/matthewluloff4orleans/ .  Finally, you can read the most recent update on the project here:  Project updates | City of Ottawa

April 2021 Newsletter

Cleaning the Capital

[from City of Ottawa]

Early bird registration started on  March 15th. Let’s get cleaning!

Register your cleanup project for the 2021 Cleaning the Capital spring campaign by May 15th.  When the project is completed, provide your feedback with the online Cleanup Report by May 31st.

Join the thousands of community volunteers to help keep Ottawa clean and green in 2021! Looking for folks to join your team? Invite your neighbours in our Facebook group: Convent Glen – Orléans Wood Community Association | Facebook.

For more information on the Cleaning the Capital campaign, please visit ottawa.ca/clean.

Thanks for keeping Ottawa clean and green!

Annual CGOWCA Dog Walkathon – cancelled

Due to the current pandemic restrictions and high numbers, we won’t be holding our annual Dog Walkathon. This fundraiser usually takes place at the end of April in support of cancer research.

Nonetheless, we do encourage you to take a walk outside with your pup, and if you have the means please make a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Discover Bike Ottawa 

Did you know that Bike Ottawa (www.bikeottawa.ca) has been around since 1984?  They are an incorporated, not-for-profit, membership based organization that is entirely run by volunteers.  

With about 400 members as of 2019, they have several focus areas including advocacy, data, and events. Membership is open to everyone, with membership categories ranging in price from $10.00 to $55.00.

Their website offers many useful tools and maps. There are maps that allow you to plan a cycling route based on the level of stress you’re comfortable with. There are also pathway maps that tell you where to find pathways around Ottawa and give detailed information such as their surface type. Additionally, there are collision maps that show where there have been collisions with drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

Recently, they have submitted comments and feedback on the City’s Official Plan, and participate regularly in opportunities for consultation around the city to make sure that safe cycling is part of the conversation.

National Volunteer Week 2021 – April 18-24

We would like to take advantage of National Volunteer Week to say an enormous, heartfelt thank you to the group of volunteers who managed our community outdoor ice rink. Thanks to their hard work, neighbours were able to take advantage of the exceptional ice and spend some time outdoors this winter.

Covid-19 Pandemic Update

Vaccines:

You can get the most up-to-date information directly from Ottawa Public Health’s website, and you can even sign up for Covid-19 vaccine update emails.  

Cases and Trends:

Check out the daily Covid-19 Dashboard for all the stats you can handle on Ottawa’s numbers and trends: https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/reports-research-and-statistics/daily-covid19-dashboard.aspx 

March 2021 Newsletter

Income Tax Season

The end of February marks the time of year when most of us start to think about filing our annual income tax returns.  More and more often, government benefits and social programs are only accessible to those who file income tax.

211’s provincial blog talks about benefits accessible to low income households through filing income tax and offers some links to resources. In general, if you are looking for a free income tax clinic, you can either call 211 to find out about local options or you can check CRA’s website which also lists information on volunteer income tax clinics that will file returns free of charge.  

Due to the ongoing restrictions of the pandemic, demand may be higher than availability if clinics are running at a reduced capacity. We encourage you to seek information early so you can get the help you need.

The Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre is offering a modified bilingual income tax clinic by phone.

Eligibility Requirements: 

  • Resident of Orléans-Cumberland catchment area
  • Completed last year’s Income Taxes
  • Family living with a low-income (see chart on their website for details)
  • Register by phone ONLY at 613-830-4357, ext. 310 from February 16th to April 16th, 2021

Starting Seeds

Who is ready for spring?  One thing we can do from home while watching the snow melt is to start some plants from seed in our homes.  There are many resources online to help anyone give growing from seed a try whether or not you consider yourself a green thumb.

Here’s comprehensive guide developed by the Community Gardening Network of Ottawa and shared by Just Food:  http://justfood.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CGN_Garden_Guide_2015.pdf

If you have children at home and would like to get them involved and excited about growing plants from seeds, Ottawa Public Health produced this handbook that includes several activities you can do with children to help them learn about seeds and caring for plants: https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/en/public-health-topics/resources/Documents/I-love-to-garden-Program-Manual_EN-Accessible.pdf

Lastly, did you know that Ottawa has a Seed Library?  (or are you wondering what a seed library is?) In basic terms, the seed library is a repository of seeds donated by other local growers.  Anyone can donate seeds at the end of the growing season or take seeds early in the season.  Just Food has two seed programs locally – the Ottawa Seed Library and the Regional Seed Program.  You do not need to be an experienced or large scale grower to get involved.  Find out more here: https://justfood.ca/seed-saving-projects-and-events/

Ongoing high-end vehicle thefts 

[From a Public Advisory released by Ottawa Police] (Ottawa) –The Ottawa Police reminds the community that the risk of thefts, and repeat thefts, of high-end Lexus and Toyota vehicles in Ottawa remains present, particularly with Tacoma and Highlander.

There have been 5 luxury vehicle thefts in Kanata (Bridlewood area) in a single overnight. There have been multiple vehicles stolen recently in the Crystal beach and Orleans areas as well. There is no suspect description available at this time.

The Ottawa Police have received over 200 reports of newer model Lexus/Toyota SUVs and Tacomas over the course of 2020 and a further 35 so far this year. Investigators are asking that any Toyota/Lexus SUV or Tacoma owners who notice damage to the driver’s door handle file an information report online. This will assist in identifying the scope of the problem and help direct proactive efforts to the right neighborhoods.

Anyone with information about any of the vehicle thefts is asked to call the Ottawa Police Central Criminal Investigations Section at 613-236-1222 ext. 4127. Anonymous tips can be submitted by calling Crime Stoppers toll-free at 1-800-222-8477 or at crimestoppers.ca.

Investigators would like to advise the public that previously targeted addresses have been repeatedly targeted on multiple occasions, with that in mind we would like to remind car owners of the following tips to protect their vehicle:

  1. Make your vehicle less vulnerable to theft by parking it in a locked garage and or by blocking it in tightly with a second vehicle. Exterior lighting and video surveillance around the driveway can also serve as a deterrent.
  2. Consider installing an after-market electronic immobilizer device, which can interfere with the starting of the vehicle.
  3. Be vigilant that there is no damage to the door locks mechanisms, as this could be an indication that your car has been targeted.
  4. Consider protecting your vehicle with such devices as car alarms or steering wheel locking devices such as “The Club”.
  5. GPS tracking devices have become increasingly popular. Some even allow the vehicle owner to electronically “fence-in” their vehicle, whereby an alarm cue would occur if the vehicle were to leave the fenced-in area without authorization.
  6. Locks to restrict access to the on-board diagnostic plug exist and when applied can impede a thief from re-programming a key.
  7. If you are selling your vehicle, be wary not to let anyone have access to your car keys and do not let your vehicle out of your sight. This prevents a thief from copying your key during a “test drive” so they can return to steal it.
  8. Finally, good old-fashioned neighbourhood watch is a great deterrent. Be vigilant and call 911 to report any suspicious vehicles in your neighbourhood.  Most thefts occur between midnight and 5am in the morning.

Investigators have not yet seen the use of signal amplifiers in Ottawa. In the event that this technology makes its way to Ottawa, a simple line of defense is to consider keeping any vehicle with a proximity key fob inside a radio frequency shield device (RFS device).  This will prevent the key fob’s signal from being amplified to the vehicle from inside the house, protecting it from being driven away.

More safety tips are available online.