• Fun Halloween alternative for candy from the City of Ottawa

    Trick or Swim or Skate tickets are on sale now!

    If you are looking for a fun idea for Halloween then the city of Ottawa may just have the treat for you!

    Trick or Swim or Skate is back after taking a break during covid.

    Purchase 10 tickets for $10 to swim or skate at City pools and select arenas. This healthy and fun alternative to the traditional candy overload offers a different kind of treat for children. They are great for loot bags, party favours or just to hand out to your favourite neighbourhood kids on Halloween.

    Tickets are valid for ages three to 15 years (my 13 year old and her friends really love to head over to the pool for a swim on weekends, so it’s not just an option for the littler kids!).

    Tickets can be used from November 1, 2022, until January 31, 2023.

    Available at:

    • Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex-Orleans

    • Brewer Pool

    • Canterbury Recreation Complex

    • Champagne Fitness Centre

    • Deborah Anne Kirwan Pool

    • Fran?ois Dupuis Recreation Centre

    • CARDELREC Recreation Complex

    • Kanata Leisure Centre

    • Lowertown Pool

    • Minto Recreation Complex-Barrhaven

    • Nepean Sportsplex

    • Pinecrest Recreation Complex

    • Plant Recreation Centre

    • Ray Friel Recreation Complex

    • Richcraft Recreation Complex – Kanata

    • Sawmill Creek Pool & Community Centre

    • Splash Wave Pool

    • St Laurent Community Centre

    • Walter Baker Sports Centre

    Great Graphic Novels

    The Ottawa Public Library is back to share some great graphic novels books with us. This month’s post is by Lise Dumas, Supervising Librarian, Children's and Teen Services at the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library.

     

    My love for graphic novels has not waned throughout the years. I still love how the story is told in both words and images, lending depth to a story that is not always possible with words alone.  The images can also evoke emotions words cannot. Graphic novels are particularly helpful for struggling readers, second language learners and reluctant readers as they help develop literacy skills. Many also address difficult issues children might face so they do not feel alone in their struggles. 

     

    For those of you who love graphic novels, the Ottawa Public Library has a wonderful collection for all ages.  Here are some of my favourite children’s selections this year: 

     

    Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas

    Ages 8—12

    This story is about overcoming adversity and making friends in unexpected places. It is an inspiring book about facing challenges and working hard to achieve success. 



    The Aquanaut by Dan Santat

    Ages 8-12

    Fun adventure story involving sea creatures, a marine park, and a daring escape!





    Snapdragon by Kat Leyh 

    Ages 10-14

    This excellent graphic novel explores themes such as the acceptance of others regardless of gender, skin tone, age and body shape as well as the importance of friendship and love. 



    Smaller Sister by Maggie Edkins Willis

    Ages 8-12

    This story explores the relationship between sisters, body image issues, self-acceptance and ultimately the healing of family ties. 




    Button Pusher by Tyler Page

    Ages 10-14

    This autobiographical story chronicles Tyler’s experiences and struggles with ADHD.





    Realm of the Blue Mist by Amy Kim Kibuishi

    Ages 9-15

    Engrossing science fiction adventure about a fifteen-year-old girl determined to find out what happened to her father as she travels in a distant world of magic. 



    Apple Crush by Lucy Knisley

    Ages 8-12

    This book is the second in the Peapod Farm series for children. Its themes include a budding tween romance, awkward interactions, farming, autumn and overcoming new challenges. 


    Cover of the Book LightFall by Tim Probert

    Lightfall. Book Two, Shadow of the Bird by Tim Probert

    Ages 8-12

    Fans of Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi will love this adventure.  Bea and Cad are on a quest to locate her grandfather Alfirid the Pig Wizard and stop the Kest from destroying their world.

    Niagara Falls: Whirpool Aero Car and enjoying the Falls

    This summer we were looking to take a summer vacation that wasn’t too long a drive from Ottawa and that would appeal to three teenagers. We decided Niagara Falls would fit the bill and we weren’t at all disappointed.

    The mix of the splendour of the Falls and surrounding attractions along with the fun and hype of Clifton Hill made for a fantastic getaway that the whole family enjoyed (which if you have teens you may know isn’t always that obvious to find!)

    Whirlpool Aero Car

    The Whirlpool Aero Car was our first stop and I’d never heard of it before we went. Based on how many people told me it must be new when I told them about it, clearly many others haven’t heard about it either but it has been around for 106 years!

    White man and teen smiling on aero car with view of the river behind

    I was worried that my fear of heights and bridges would mean that this ride would be scary for me and others in our group, but it felt completely safe and not like something I needed to be brave to be on at all (which was great!)

    The ride itself only lasts 10 minutes, but the views are spectacular and it’s quite thrilling to be in the car. It was a great kick off to the day and everyone enjoyed it. There is also free parking at the Aero Car which made it easy and convenient to visit.

    Panoramic photo taken from the Aero Car

    Power Station and Tunnel


    The Niagara Falls Power Station was only de-commissioned in 2006 and they opened it as a museum last year. There are a lot of artifacts from the power station to check out and to learn about.

    You can then ride an elevator down 180 feet and see all the levels of the old power station and then walk to the end of a 2200 foot tunnel to come out and view the Falls from a magnificent angle. This is a long walk so anyone with small kids or who has difficulty walking should take note.

    All of the bathrooms at the power station were individual and gender-neutral which was great and something I know many families can have difficulty finding so I was thrilled to see that!

    Journey Behind the Falls

    We weren’t originally sure what the difference was between this attraction and the tunnel attraction.

    Journey Behind the Falls is located right at the main Falls building, and is a shorter experience than the tunnel, and you are closer to the Falls when you come out. You also get to see how impressive the waterfall is from the back.

    My recommendations

    • There are passes that include a bus to get you to all of the different attractions. We were lucky enough to be gifted some tickets to attractions by Niagara Parks but if we had to do it again I would get one of these passes that included the on and off bus.

    • If we had to pick between Journey Behind the Falls and the tunnel we would pick Journey, especially if there is anyone in your group who has challenges with long walks.

    • Food and parking everywhere is expensive - just prepare yourself for that :)

    Disclaimer: we were provided tickets by Niagara Parks to these three attractions. All opinions are our own.

    Outerbridge Clockwork Mysteries


    Smiths Falls is a cute village about half an hour from Ottawa. One of the old train stations is now a theatre called The Station. This is where, until October, the Outerbridge Clockwork Mysteries is playing.

    This is a must-see show! Ted and his wife/assistant, Marion, are true masters of illusion. They did so many cool things including card tricks, rope tricks, predictions, and what can only be called magic. I watched closely to figure out how the tricks were done but couldn't do it!

    This duo has been performing for a long time across Canada and in Europe and work so well together. Ted is the master of illusions while Marion ties the tricks together with movement. She also gets cut in half so props to her.

    photo of a mother and two children (all white and all wearing masks) taking a selfie in a theatre with the stage in the background

    Ted has an immediate connection with the audience and the house lights came on multiple times so he could pull up the perfect audience member to help with the show. My kids almost died laughing when Ted chose me to draw something on stage (I almost died of embarrassment, but it was all in good fun, plus I got a keepsake from my "trick"). Audience participation really adds to the show and shows how clever the tricks are.

    Photo taken during the show on stage

    The show was just about an hour and a half long with a ten minute intermission - the perfect length for kids and anyone who needs a health break after sitting for a bit. The theatre is staffed with the sweetest volunteers and the artwork in the lobby is fun to peruse while snacking on concession treats.

    Ted and the team were in the lobby after the show, but, like all good magicians, I'm not sure they'd tell you any of their secrets. There are posters for sale and even kits for your budding magician.

    I would recommend the Outerbridge Clockwork Mysteries to anyone and everyone, though toddlers may have a hard time sitting through the whole show.

    Tickets are around $35 ($?28.20 plus HST and Eventbrite fees) and the show is running until October 1st 2022 at the Station Theatre in Smiths Falls

    A bit about the show from the organizers:

    World-class magic show OUTERBRIDGE – Clockwork Mysteries returns to The Station Theatre in Smiths Falls (Fridays @ 7:30pm, Saturdays @ 2:00pm & 7:30pm -- $?28.20? plus HST and Eventbrite fees).

    Critics across the globe have hailed Ted and Marion Outerbridge as "Champions of magic" (Bergedorfer Zeitung, Germany), described their performance as "A visual feast" (Jinhua Daily, China), “A master of Illusion” (CBC-Radio Canada), and exclaimed “An astonishing performance” (Ottawa Life Magazine).

    It is the most successful illusion show in Canada, and it wouldn’t be an over-statement to say that OUTERBRIDGE is Canada’s reply to America’s David Copperfield!

    After years of performing around the world including the prestigious Magic Castle in Hollywood, the Outerbridges have recently relocated to Smiths Falls, and are delighted to be performing minutes from their new home in the Ottawa Valley!

    Within seconds of taking the stage, the Outerbridges fuse their revolutionary illusions with split-second artistry to hold viewers spellbound. Keeping their audience enthralled from the first astonishing illusion to the spectacular finale, the Outerbridges create an experience that far exceeds the expectations of every spectator.

    A fantastical event that is at once magic, dance, theatre, and a large dash of wonder.


    Disclaimer: I was gifted tickets to the show in order to facilitate this review.






    Mystery and Adventure – Fantastic Fiction

    The Ottawa Public Library is back to share some of their favourite books. This month’s post was submitted by Elizabeth Fosbery Richardson, Children’s Programming and Public Services Assistant at the Ruth E. Dickinson Branch.

    With the last days of summer upon us, why not take some time to indulge in some fun new adventure and mystery titles from the Ottawa Public Library?

    For Grades 2 to 3

    Chickadee Criminal Mastermind by Monica Silvie

    Chickadee prides himself on being a criminal mastermind because he’s so good at scouting out and then stealing from seed vaults. Things change, however, when he finds out he’s not a rapscallion at all but just a cute bird. Filled with fun facts about chickadees.

    Milk and Juice a Recycling Romance by Meredith Crandall Brown

    Follow Juice on its adventure as it tries to reunite with Milk after finding itself in one recycling centre after another. What really happens when you put containers in the blue bin?

    Batpig series By Rob Harrell

    When a prank goes wrong, Gary the pig is accidentally bitten by his bat friend Brooklyn. Soon Gary realizes he has superpowers and becomes...Batpig! Join Gary and his friends as they battle a giant lizard and an evil butcher in this laugh-out-loud graphic novel series. Perfect for fans of the InvestiGators series and of author Dav Pilkey.

    Sydney and Taylor series by Jacqueline Davies

    Join Sydney the skunk and Taylor the hedgehog as they venture outside of their cozy burrow (and their comfort zones) to explore the big wide world. Cheer for them as they encounter new friends and overcome obstacles. This new early chapter book series is perfect for fans of Owl Diaries or Mercy Watson.

    Sloth Sleuth by Cyndi Marko

    The island of Winklefuss is crawling with criminals so it’s a good thing that Paz, a sleuthing sloth, lives on the island, too. When people start getting sick after eating at the local diner, it’s up to Paz to figure out who is poisoning the locals. This comical graphic novel is a great choice for those who love the Bad Guys series.


    For Grades 4 and Up

     Realm of the Blue Mist by Amy Kim Kibuishi

    Tabby is determined to learn what happened to her father, who was found deceased after researching a tree that leaks a mysterious mist in her neighborhood. What she discovers is that the tree is a portal to a distant world of magic and beauty called Rema. While searching for the truth surrounding her father's death, she meets Philip, who has his own dangerous secrets but has promised to help Tabby get home to Earth. For fans of magical worlds, books like Amulet or A Winkle in Time. Grades 4 and up.

    Deadman’s Castle by Iain Lawrence

    Igor is 12 years old, and Igor is his 6th name in six years. He and his parents have been in witness protection ever since his dad witnessed a horrible crime involving someone who is only known as lizard man. When Igor finally convinces his parents to attend the local middle school, after being home-schooled for years, he does so only under very strict conditions. However, when he befriends the school bully, things change as his new friends persuade him to be more adventurous.  Then he begins to question his Dad’s mental stability. That is only until the lizard man reappears. Grades 4 and up.