Archive for the ‘Rink Of Dreams’ Category

Re-sodding: An Annual City Hall Tradition

- July 17th, 2014

A picture of City Hall on July 17, 2014 after workers covered the damaged lawn with more sod.

More sod went down at City Hall this week after the annual Great Grass Slaughter at 110 Laurier Ave.

The Jazzfest tent destroyed the grass.

Actually, the lawn is usually beat up at least twice a year: During the winter from the Rink of Dreams traffic, and during Jazzfest.

One thing they’re going to try and do at Lansdowne Park is keep stages and other pieces of big equipment on the porch outside Aberdeen Pavilion. No one wants to see the new grass on the Great Lawn ruined.

As for City Hall, I don’t know what the long-term solution will be. Maybe re-sodding is it.

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Vacation alert: Starting Friday, I’m off for a couple weeks on vacation. I’ll be back in early August, so don’t expect much action on the blog in the meantime. Hope you’re enjoying the summer.

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

Food Coming To City Hall This Summer

- April 25th, 2014

Christian Racine tries his sample that he waited in line with his friend Phillip Ash during a food truck rally May 8, 2013 at City Hall. Maybe the popular rally is the inspiration behind the city trying to find food vendors for City Hall this summer. Catherine Jackman/Ottawa Sun/QMI Agency

The city has decided that one of the best ways to get people hanging around the front of City Hall this summer is to provide something they can eat

A search is on to find as many as five food vendors to set up shop in Marion Dewar Plaza between July and September.

According to event central manager Delores MacAdam, it’s “in efforts to animate and make the plaza a people place for all seasons with no cost to the city.”

The vendors would be given a “consent to enter” the plaza and set up along the perimeter of the entrance to City Hall from Laurier Ave., MacAdam says in an email.

So, how does the city decide which vendors get to come on City Hall property?

MacAdam: “The intent of the (request for offers) process is to seek offers that most effectively provide best overall value to the city – monetary, appeal and service to our residents. Furthermore, the overriding aim of the RFO is to provide a equitable and transparent selection progress as required by the city.”

While there’s no cost to the city, I didn’t receive information about whether the city will collect revenue from the vendors.

May 9 is the deadline for vendors to file their applications to the city.

As with most new ideas at the city, it’s a pilot project only for this season.

One of the knocks against the young Rink of Dreams is the drab and boring summer treatment, so it’s nice to see the city pursuing change.

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

Rink Of Dreams Required NCC Permission

- January 31st, 2014

Something stood out for me in Mayor Jim Watson’s Ask Jim chat today with Metroland’s Laura Mueller.

A participant asked Watson about the kerfuffle with the National Capital Commission and the mayor brought up the fact that the city needed the NCC’s permission to build the Rink of Dreams.

The NCC, we’re told, has very specific guidelines about how things look.

Which simply makes me wonder.

Temporary fire pits were brought to the Rink of Dreams during Skate Canada’s national championships at Scotiabank Place this month.

Ok, so I have slagged the appearance of the outdoor rink more than once in this blog and somewhat in print.

The rink itself is very nice. Tried it for the first time this month. Great ice. Really good for learners and kids.

But I still think something needs to be done to improve the aesthetics around the rink, both in the summer and winter. When the skating championships were in town recently, there were some rinkside fire pits installed temporarily. It was a nice touch, and although I acknowledge having open fires roaring outside City Hall all hours of the day is probably a bad thing, it’s that kind of creativity that could go a long way.

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

Those Darn Commemorative Namings

- October 24th, 2013

I have to wonder if staff and consultants tasked with selling naming rights at municipal facilities pull their hair out each time council votes in favour of a commemorative naming.

As Sun City Hall columnist Susan Sherring discovered earlier this year, the once-celebrated sponsorship program isn’t really bringing in much more dough.

There are several lines in the draft of the 2014 parks, recreation and cultural services budget that provide an update on the program, which is projected to miss its revenue target by about $2 million this year.

While the Sponsorship & Advertising Branch has been successful in generating annual revenues of $1.2 million in 2013, the general state of the capital region’s economic environment is creating obstacles in achieving the revenue targets. Reductions and uncertainties in the employment levels within federal government departments mean local businesses and national companies large and small are more hesitant to enter into advertising commitments and are taking longer to make partnership decisions. The long cycle times and repeat meetings with potential partners mean fewer agreements having been signed than anticipated. Additionally, the commemorative naming of new city facilities reduces the assets available for partnerships.

(Bolding is by me.)

The city has done a good job of keeping tabs on its commemorative naming decisions on its website. It’s not easy to argue the names for the facilities should have been sold instead.

But, hey, doesn’t anyone want to put his or her name on the Rink of Dreams?

The Rink of Dreams in front of Ottawa City Hall photographed on Oct. 8, 2013.

City Decks The Hall

- December 13th, 2012

Ok, so, fair to say I’ve slagged the Rink of Dreams in the past, and quite frankly, it could use an injection of excitement in the summer months.

But as I was walking through Confederation Park last night I took note at how excellent the front of City Hall looks this season. There seems to be more lights and I don’t think that giant wreath was outside the building on the Laurier Ave. side last year.

I think staff gussied up City Hall a bit more this year since the mayor’s Christmas celebration was there instead of Lansdowne Park.

Anyway, looks good.

(Yes, that is a Beavertails trailer.)
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I am, however, a little concerned about this deflated Santa that has been stuffed mafia-style in between some concrete blocks for several days.

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