Citizens Academy Ottawa

August 19, 2012

August’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Caroline Andrew, Manjit Basi, Davis Carr, Mitchell Kutney, Judith Maxwell, Maureen Molot, and Ken Victor to support the establishment of a Citizens Academy in Ottawa. The Citizens Academy, they explain, will be a learning program for citizens, designed not only to teach municipal literacy but also to develop skills on how to engage, facilitate, ask questions, and present ideas. The participants will represent Ottawa’s age, gender, geographic, and ethno-cultural mix, and involve community groups, businesses and city officials. “By bridging the gaps between citizens and organizations, and educating both groups, we will catalyze civic vitality,” says Judith. “We live in an amazing city with talented people, a stunning environmental setting, and many economic opportunities,” explains Manjit. “Ottawa is a city with a lot of passionate people doing many amazing things. But we are also a city that is growing, complex, diverse, and changing. Some of the changes are cause for concern: the gap between rich and poor is growing, many people lack a sense of belonging, affordable housing is not plentiful, the divide between rural and urban communities is unsettling, and neighbourhoods are not equal for all our citizens. That future lies in the… read more →

Karen Community Farm Project

July 16, 2012

July’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Meaghan Kenny for the Karen Community Farm Project. “The Karen are one of the largest ethnic minority groups of Burma, and have been persecuted for decades,” explains Meaghan. In 2006, the Canadian government announced that it would accept 3000 Karen refugees, over a two-year period, for re-settlement in Canada. In September that year, the first group of Karen refugees arrived in Ottawa from a refugee camp in Thailand. About 200 refugees settled in Ottawa.” “Many of the Karen are highly skilled farmers,” Meaghan continues. “Farming has been their subsistence and their livelihood from their villages to the refugee camps. However, for the most part, these cultural assets and aspects of their identity lie dormant in Ottawa as the Karen now have no outlet for their extensive knowledge, skills, and culture.” Community volunteers have worked since the arrival of the first group of Karen in 2006 to establish a place for them to farm. In 2007, the Karen were given the use of a three-acre field in rural Kanata by a couple who heard the story and offered their idle land for no charge. They welcomed the Karen to their farm, bought tools, cleared fields,… read more →

“Dance Dance (Office) Revolution” Lunchtime Dance Party

July 6, 2012

June’s Awesome Ottawa award goes to Natalie Fraser and Meena Rajulu to organize a giant outdoor lunchtime dance party. “Instead of sitting in the grey walls of your dark, depressing cubicle, who wouldn’t want to get out and dance at lunch,” says Natalie. “Dance Dance (Office) Revolution will break your solo lunchtime routine and get you out into the city for a dance party. This will be your most important business meeting of the week.” Lunchtime dance parties have taken off in Europe over the last few years, especially in Sweden. Natalie and Meena believe it’s time for Ottawa to be a leader in this trend and make Ottawa the first city in Canada to get on board. The pair describe themselves as lovers of travel, food, friends, life, and adventures. Meena left Edmonton to study in Ottawa, where she met Natalie, hailing from Cape Breton. In the past, they’ve embarked on such awesome adventures as organizing speed dating for charity, holding fundraising dinners for Haiti/Pakistan/Mongolian charities, and, as they put it, exploiting their friends to help raise money for worthy causes. We’ll be sure to put out the word when we learn when and where the dance party will take place. We’re… read more →

Ottawa Announces Our New Project: Transplant!

July 13, 2010

“Let not the world’s deceitful cares the rising plant destroy; But let it yield a hundredfold the fruits of peace and joy.” – Rev.John Cawood, 1815 This summer, Emily Comeau (a fibre artist from Quebec) and Emily Cook (a book and paper artist from Ontario) will be collaborating to create an immense and interactive tunnel book made from local plant materials to install in a barren patch of city. The “book” will be 10 feet high and 12 feet long and contain 6 “pages” featuring a cut paper story of urbanism in archway shapes that people can walk through and interact with. The structure will be made of live willow branches and the paper pages made of flax paper infused with seeds. As the elements erode the paper, the sculpture will disintegrate and the seeded paper will sprout. This way the sculpture will have a changing life and meaning as the urban world we create with the cut paper will be eroded and changed by the living materials. Emily Comeau is a recent graduate of Concordia University, majoring in Fibre Arts and was awarded the Prix Diagonale for her artistic achievements. Her art practice is largely fibre based. She has… read more →

Awesome Ottawa awards first $1000 grant

June 5, 2010

The Ottawa chapter of The Awesome Foundation is proud to announce that today we will be awarding our first grant of $1000 to Alicia Dobson of Project Y. Project Y is a group of young and passionate change-makers who aspire to make positive change and change the face of their community. There are all different types of individuals: students, social entrepreneurs, musicians, artists, scientists, and others. Many are Millennium Laureates, some are TD Scholars, and others are individuals with an unbelievable commitment and determination to make positive change. For their kick-off event, Alicia and her team are organizing an Art Flash Mob to show people the beauty that exists here in our city. In Alicia’s own words, “The music, art, and culture in this city is astonishing – we want people to see it.” This exciting first event will take place in downtown Ottawa on the afternoon of May 12th. Look for them and join in the fun! See their video proposal here: Project Y: Art Flash Mob The Awesome Foundation for the Arts and Sciences was founded in Boston in June 2009 and has now spread to six cities. The Ottawa Chapter (Awesome Ottawa), founded in April 2010, awards… read more →