Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October 23: Sketching Haunted Ottawa

Inktober #18 sketch by Cindi Moynahan-Foreman of The Beckta, 150 Elgin
Join us Sunday October 23, 2016 from 1 to 4 pm to sketch some of the more notorious places in Ottawa that are rumoured to be haunted!

Map: Excerpt from Mark Leslie's book: Creepy Capital
As always, arrive whenever you can and stay as long as you like!


What: Sketching "Haunted Ottawa"
When: Saturday October 23, 2016 between 1 and 4 pm
Where: Meet at City Hall to sketch The Beckta House (150 Elgin) and/or The (Former) Ottawa Teachers College at City Hall. We will then move to  Lisgar Collegiate and finish at the Ottawa Jail Hostel.

STOP #1 
The former Grant House "was built in 1875 for James Alexander Grant, a politician and doctor who is said to have maintained a morgue in the basement and to have once dissected a human brain at a nighttime gathering. Grant died there in 1920, a month after falling and breaking a hip. The building later became home to Friday’s Roast Beef House, where employees told of hearing coughs in empty rooms (Grant was asthmatic) and of seeing plates mysteriously crash to the floor. The structure now is home to the Beckta Dining and Wine Bar." (Source: The Ottawa Citizen)

STOP #2 
The (Former) Ottawa Teachers College, 195 Elgin St.

1910 postcard of Ottawa Normal School (now part of City Hall) (Source: Toronto Library)
Eliza Bolton was a teacher at what was then called the "Normal School,"and reportedly (and unfortunately), "Miss Bolton still thinks it's a school. She's often seen by staff walking the first-floor hallway between classes in her long dress and shawl. They know its her because she's there, in an old class photo hanging in the building. One evening, Miss Bolton went too far, and confronted a security guard while in the attic on his rounds, scolding him to return to class. The guard resigned the next day." (Source: Metro News)

Read about the Ghost of the Normal School from the 1916-1917 Yearbook http://hauntedwalk.com/news/normal-school-yearbook-1916-1917/

Image source: Parks Canada - Historic Places (screen capture)

STOP #3 
Lisgar Collegiate,  29 Lisgar St.
1918 Postcard from Centretown blogspot

One of Ottawa’s top rated high schools is also home to a ghost. "Story goes that two people have died at Lisgar Collegiate Institute–one, who was a janitor, was murdered and a student who was killed by fallen ice. They are known to ‘protect’ the school, and it’s a known fact that multiple people have seen a young girl staring out of the window in the attic." (Source: Narcity)

The attic has a small window that overlooks the grounds and many students claim to have seen a young girl staring out at them.

STOP #4 Finish 
Ottawa Jail Hostel, 75 Nicholas St. 

What was once a jail home to many murderers, is now a hostel. "This forbidding stone building on Nicholas Street has long been home to the HI (Hostelling International) Jail Hostel Ottawa, which makes the most of the site’s reputation as “one of the most haunted buildings in all of Canada.” Invites the hostel: “Come hang with us!” (Source: The Ottawa Citizen)

Sketch Challenge: Try Another Angle?

Do  you want to try a sketching challenge? The first two locations (150 & 165 Elgin St.) can be seen from the terrace on the 7th floor of the Morguard's Performance Court office tower at 150 Elgin St. (attached to The Beckta) and  this terrace is open to the public!


Jim Dean, creator of Haunted Walks Ottawa, says:
"ByTown, the first name of the city (Ottawa), was once considered to be one of the most dangerous places in North America. The gang warfare between the rival English, French, Irish and Scottish groups, contributed to significant violence, murder and riots in the city streets. The construction process of the Rideau Canal, today a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also claimed the lives of close to 1,000 workers along its banks. With such a dark and deadly past, Ottawa certainly has all the elements to be one of Canada’s most haunted cities.”   (Source: http://www.where.ca/ontario/ottawa/ottawa-spirits-guide-from-caspers-to-cocktails/)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Sketching the Somerset House

On July 28, the Ottawa urban sketchers chose the historic Somerset House for our outing. (https://www.facebook.com/events/1762033807409046/)

Ottawa Urban Sketchers chose this location because the City of Ottawa recently approved to have Somerset House partially demolished.

This great building has, since 2007, suffered from what Heritage Ottawa calls "demolition by neglect".

The building was built in 1896 to House the Crosby Brothers Dry Good store. If you are interested in reading the entire history of the building (including the mystery behind the missing Turret) visit the link at urbsite by Robert Smythe here: http://urbsite.blogspot.ca/2012/10/the-haunted-hotel-somerset-ritz.html

At this link you will also find a magnificent 1973 ink sketch of "The Ritz" (one of Somerset House's previous monikers) by well known Ottawa artist Arthur II.

Visit link above to urbsite article by Robert Smythe
There were lots of NEW faces to the Ottawa urban sketching group - we LOVE that! And plenty of wonderful familiar faces.

The evening light on Somerset House

The evening light was just starting to hit the western facade and the sketchers located themselves along Bank and started sketching.

5 sketchers sketching from the Second Cup location
 Bank and Somerset is an incredibly busy intersection in the evening! (All the more reason to be sad about this lovely building sitting empty since 2007) Because of the busyness of the pedestrian and vehicular traffic, sketchers looked for alcoves and walls to tuck into to sketch.

Three more sketchers in front of the former "Hartmans"

Sketch by artist/urban sketcher Trish Woolaver

My first sketch of the night.

Unfinished detail sketch by artist Laurie Foster

The sketchers moved over to Gabriel Pizza to share their sketches and talk about some future sketching venues. A great night was had by all!
My last sketch of the evening from Gabriel Pizza

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sketching Ottawa's "Streetside Spots"

On July 6, 2016 Ottawa urban sketchers met at the Percy Station parklet. Please take the time to read Project Percy Station: Filling a void in our community (by Raunaq Singh) to see why these spaces are so important to community.
Sketches of Percy Station by Colin White

Sketch of Percy Station by Trish Woolaver

On July 20th, Ottawa urban sketchers met at the Beechwood parklet that is called "The Water Garden".

 This parklet was designed by Carleton University students.
"When Carleton Architecture Prof. Johan Voordouw learned about the city’s plan to repurpose on-street parking spots into outdoor patios, parklets and vending stalls, he called up city councillors to see how he could get his students involved."
The "Water Garden" parklet at 43 Beechwood, Vanier was designed by fourth-year architecture students Tori Hamatani, Trevor Whitten, Mitchell Gray and Simon Petepiece (below).

Carleton University students with their design (Photo source: CBC)
Quoted from the CBC: 
The guidelines for the mini parks, called "parklets," were that they needed to be able to fit in a parking space, include live plants and be open to the public.

Because of the requirement to have live plants, these students had the roof inverted so that it could collect rainwater that will be stored in a cistern and used to water the plants!!

Sketchbook page by Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

(P.S. The park cost $15,000 to build and will cost $5,000 for maintenance as the park will be torn down each fall and reconstructed each spring)

The "Water Garden" parklet gets beautiful light in the evening!
Sketch by Kristina Corres on twitter

A City of Ottawa Pilot Project 

The City of Ottawa calls this pilot project the "Streetside Spots Pilot Project". The idea originated in San Francisco in 2010.

The value of streetside spots is best stated by Jamie Kwong (Quartier Vanier BIA):

Source: Jamie Kwong's twitter

Eleven locations applied to take part in this pilot program, which runs from April to October.

Four Parklets – public spaces that will contain everything from seating and greenery to games tables and music:

  • The Water Garden at 49 Beechwood – A meeting point, a community gathering space or simply a shelter from the elements, The Water Garden will feature a central column and a canopy designed to channel rainwater to pots of plants, herbs and flowers. The Quartier Vanier Business Improvement Area submitted this design by students from the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism at Carleton University.
  • Percy Station at 605 Somerset Street West – Percy Station will offer rotating programming that includes a coffee house, micro shows, live music, poetry readings and theatre sessions. The design features a seating area that can be configured in a variety of ways. Strip lighting will help animate the structure’s form and illuminate it at night for safety.
  • The Nük on the north side of Second Avenue, east of Bank Street – Nük will feature a seating area and games table, creating a space for people to stay connected through community events. The design features a built-in table and an L-shaped bench that faces Bank Street. It will incorporate vegetation and soft ambient lighting. The Glebe Community Association submitted this design by students from the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism at Carleton University.
  • A parklet on the south side of Third Avenue, west of Bank Street – The neighbourhood, and in particular local merchants and restaurants, will welcome the added seating and greenery this space will offer for relaxing and socializing. Visitors will feel connected to the vibrancy of Bank Street, where narrower sidewalks make it impossible to accommodate patios. The Glebe Community Association submitted this project by a designer who is a resident in the community.
Seven patios – private spaces reserved for patrons of cafés or restaurants that do not have an existing patio:
  • The WORKS at 326 Richmond Road
  • The Ministry of Coffee at 1013 Wellington Street West
  • Corner Bar and Grill at 344 Richmond Road
  • Blue Cactus Bar and Grill at 2 Byward Street
  • The Cupcake Lounge at 6 Byward Street
  • Asian Alley at 8 Byward Street
  • Zak’s Diner at 14-16 Byward Street

Do You Like the Idea of Streetside Spots?

Tell the City of Ottawa what you think!

Complete this short questionnaire by August 20, 2016 for your input to be included in the evaluation.
For more information or comments, send a message to neighbourhoods@ottawa.ca

Monday, May 2, 2016

"Sakura Hanami" Sketch Day

UPDATE: "Sakura Hanami" Sketch Day 
Now scheduled for Saturday May 21, 2016
Between 10:00 am and 2 pm 

Thanks to our Ottawa urban sketcher friends who have sent messages that the Lincoln Fields are ready for sketching, we have now scheduled to meet at Lincoln Field Saturday May 21, 2016 between 10 am and 2 pm.

This timing allows plenty of time to sketch and also participate in the Memorial Bike Run for our friend and fellow Ottawa urban sketcher Mathieu Trudel (known to friends as Mawt Trood.)

 And by scheduling on Saturday, sketchers can take advantage of Sunday May 22, 2016 being FREE museum day at the National Gallery of Canada.


UPDATE: Date delayed - New May date to be determined
Screen Capture: Traffic Cam: Lincoln Fields:
May 4 - Trees NOT ready to blossom
There are two colorful spring events in May that would be great fun to sketch and paint in Ottawa!

Canadian Tulip Festival

There is the Canadian Tulip Festival (http://tulipfestival.ca/) held in Ottawa and Gatineau, 12-23 May/Mai 2016 (Visit the website for more details)

The Tulip Festival is a perfect place to sketch spring colours in Ottawa
"Cherry Blossoms" at Lincoln Fields

And there are the  "Cherry Blossoms" at Lincoln Fields.

After watching the 2010 video below, we thought it would be great idea to organize a sketching event when the blossoms are at their peak again in Ottawa.

The last time that we checked the Lincoln Fields on the traffic cam http://traffic.ottawa.ca/map/cameraWindow?id=153 there was no evidence of any cherry blossoms.

The High Park Nature Centre (Toronto, Ontario) website currently has a cherry blossom watch in effect and they are reporting (on April 22) that, 

"A few buds are just starting to burst!......We are currently predicting peak bloom will begin May 7/8"

Let's Have a  
"Sakura Hanami" Sketch Day 
on May 8, 2016

I first became aware of term "Sakura Hanami" from reading the High Park Nature Centre  website.

Sakura is the Japanese name for flowering cherry trees and their flowers – often referred to as cherry blossoms and, in modern-day Japan, hanami mostly consists of having an outdoor party beneath the sakura during daytime or at night.

2013 Flickr Art Journal Page by Cindi Moynahan-Foreman

 Are The Lincoln Fields Full of Cherry Trees?
(or crabapples?)

According to The Canada - Japan Society of Ottawa (CJSO), "While cherry trees do not do well in Ottawa, the colourful red, white and pink blossoms of crab apple trees provide a good alternative to cherry blossom viewing.  Crab apple trees are usually in full bloom by mid-May"

We were concerned that the Lincoln Fields trees were in fact crab apple trees and NOT cherry blossoms so we contacted Ottawa tree expert Owen Clarkin. Although Owen was unfamiliar with the Lincoln Fields trees that I was asking about, he replied,

"..... there are plenty of Crabapples and Cherries
to be found flowering in springtime in Ottawa."
Regardless of what kind of trees these are at Lincoln Fields, it would be fun to take some time to sketch them. We are predicting that (like the High Park Toronto cherry blossom trees) the Lincoln Fields trees will be in full bloom for Sunday May 8, 2016.  (If you live near Lincoln Fields and you can track for us please help us in the comment section below.)


  • What: Sketch the Cherry Blossoms at Lincoln Fields.
  • Where: Lincoln Fields
  • When: Delayed - Date To be announced
  • How To Get There: The BEST way to get there is by bus or bike. A bike path runs directly through the orchard

Google Maps
  • Above: Routes going to OC Transpo Lincoln Fields (Stop ID: 3014)
  • Below: Ottawa Bike Route Map - Lincoln Field: There are many bike paths that will take you to this spot. You can view the Official Cycling Map for Ottawa-Gatineau and the Outaouais Region online, download the [ PDF – 18.555 MB ]

FYI: The New York City urban sketchers organized a similar sketching event at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens http://nyc.urbansketchers.org/2016/04/saturday-blossom-sketching.html in April! (There are some sketches here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/52358552@N06/26376366961/) and here https://www.flickr.com/groups/1922806@N25/pool/

Sketching the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra Open Dress Rehearsal

On Sunday May 1st, Ottawa urban sketchers met at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa to sketch an open dress rehearsal of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra.

Ottawa urban sketchers meet and line-up to enter Southam Hall

Principal Guest Conductor, Alain Trudel, briefly addressed the audience and explained how he runs his rehearsals and he also talked about the musical piece that was being rehearsed.

Conductor Trudel was incredibly generous with information on how he became a conductor and the rehearsal process. His humour and passion for the music were contagious.

The members of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra are amazing and when you sketch them while they play, you really witness their passion, precision and devotion to their instrument.

Sketch of Conductor Trudel by artist Joanne L.

The music piece that the orchestra practiced was Berlioz - Symphonie fantastique (which I later learned online was featured in the films The Shining, The Witches, and Sleeping with the Enemy)

Sketch by artist Diane D.

First movement: "Rêveries – Passions" (Reveries – Passions)
The Ottawa urban sketchers would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the NAC staff. From our earliest inquiries through the box office manager Mary O’Shea to the amazing ushers who were so helpful when we were getting seated (referring to us as the "Ottawa sketchers" and assisting us with our wheelchair accessibility needs.)

The house lights were kept on during the rehearsal and the artists in attendance used a wide variety of materials to sketch the orchestra. Time really flew. The open rehearsal was scheduled from 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM and when it ended we all could not believe that an hour and a half had passed and that  the rehearsal was actually finished!

Below is a small sampling of some of the sketches posted online. To see all of our sketches, please visit our Urban Sketchers Ottawa facebook group page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/937458512999363/)

Sketch by Laurie F

Sketch by artist Suvitha R.

Sketch by artist Cindi F.
Sketch by Cynthia M.
Sketch by artist Gillian H

Sketchers sharing their sketches at the end of the "show and tell" session
This sketching event was incredibly fun and one that we hope we can repeat in the future.

More Ottawa Sketching Events?

We try to organize sketching events in Ottawa at least once per month.
Winters are challenging but now that the weather is finally warming,
there will be an increasing number of opportunities to gather and sketch being offered.

If you would like to join us, be sure to join our facebook group and/or look for the #urbansketchers hashtag on twitter (also #USkYOW) and/or sign up to follow this blog by email (add your email in the space provided on the right)

Chicago Symphony
 Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique 
(complete performance)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ottawa World Wide SketchCrawl 51

The last world wide sketchcrawl organized in Ottawa was in October 2015 (see our report for WW Sketchcrawl 49 here http://ottawaurbansketchers.blogspot.ca/2015/10/a-great-day-in-ottawas-byward-market.html).

Ottawa is overdue for another WW Sketchcrawl so artist Laurie Foster is organizing a SketchCrawl in Westboro Saturday April 23, 2016. So mark your calendar!

World Wide SketchCrawl?

The idea for a world wide sketchcrawl originated with Enrico Casarosa of San Francisco in late 2004 . Enrico is an  Italian storyboard artist and director who works at Pixar Animation Studios.

Since 2004, SketchCrawl has become a worldwide phenomenon participated by artists around the world armed with sketchpads, pencils, watercolor and other sketching materials.

(To see the list of other countries paricipating in WW Sketchcrawl 51, visit http://www.sketchcrawl.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=78 )

Join Us - In Westboro - April 23 


So - put your pen to paper on April 23 for as long as you can (be it 20 minutes or 5 hours) drawing, sketching, journaling about your day and what you see around you. For one day, slow down, look around you, see ... and draw or write. Record your day. No specific level of skill is expected ! Anyone is welcome.

We will start by meeting over coffee at Starbucks at 421 Richmond Rd

 The stop for lunch will be decided in the morning (when numbers of sketchers is known)
You can choose to meet at lunch or keep sketching

Final check-in is back where we started the day to make it convenient to grab your bike or car
at the Clocktower on 418 Richmond Rd.

Sign Up On Facebook!

Link to our FB public event page
(please share on social media)

Read more about WW SketchCrawls here:

Ottawa Urban Sketchers Sketchcrawl Links
"Sketch Journal"(John Wright) Sketchcrawl Links:
Other Ottawa Sketchcrawl Links: