Tame Nature Opportunities in the City

The mellow side of Wild. Here.

Sometimes "wild" doesn't have to be so "wild".  Sometimes "nature" is simply wide open areas or the sun on your face and a breeze at your back or the stars lighting up the sky above an outdoor patio. Outdoor urban nature experiences can be as simple as wide open vistas, fresh air, green grass in a city park can offer a quick slice of respite, a breathing space (as Oprah would say) or even a momentary connection to natural elements that may be missed when immersed in a city-focused life.

Whether I'm exploring a wild corner or just lying on the grass watching clouds drift by or finding an unexpected wildflower patch in a city garden, it's just great to be outside.

During the summer there are tons of opportunities to do things outdoors from yoga in the park, to theatre under the stars, to outdoor music concerts and art in the park events and even impromptu dining al fresco at your favourite food truck (mine are Nacho Cartel in Sandy Hill, Rico Peru (seen in Vanier and at Union Street) and Playa del Popsical in the Glebe - what are yours?).  This year there was even the opportunity to go clubbing right at the beach!

For the past couple of years the City of Ottawa has offered a great variety of summer activities at Marian Dewar plaza from salsa to tai chi to circus jams and even indigenous walks.  If you look a bit harder you'll also find some interesting options at other local city parks.

Photo Credit: Maria @ De Estraperlo Blog (Amsterdam)

Knitting in the Park

You've probably seen guerrilla knitting projects wrapped around trees and signs outdoors but did you know that there is a "World Wide Knit In Public Day" on the second Saturday of June every year?  Here in Ottawa, this day inspired local knitters so much that they are hosting a Knitting in the Park Meet-Up this month at Westboro Beach on Saturday August 20th starting at 3 pm.  (Crochet and other portable handicrafts are welcome also.)  Next year keep your eye on the Ottawa Library website as they host their own "Knit in Public Day" every year in June.  This year it was held at the Beaverbrook library in Kanata with knitters & other crafters gathering in the park behind the building and bringing their own supplies, blankets and snacks to enjoy an afternoon in the park.
The World Wide Knit in Public Day "began as a way for knitters to come together and enjoy each other’s company. Knitting is such a solitary act that it’s easy to knit alone somewhere... (Whereas) this a specific day to get out of your house and go to a local event (with your knitting in tow) just for you and people like you.  Who knows you might even bump into your neighbor! Consider this a spark, to ignite a fire; getting all of the closeted knitters out into fresh air."

Love Maria's photo of handmade crafters in the park - check out her Crochet & Craft blog "De Estraperlo" to be inspired by her handmade crafts!

Blink Gallery (CLOSED as of 2017)

This small unique art gallery located in Major's Hill Park in downtown Ottawa is the current home to the BLINK Collective - a non-profit gallery that supports contemporary artists (from Ottawa and beyond) "with an interest in exploration."  Artists are encouraged to use both indoor and outdoor spaces for their pieces using them "as a laboratory for creative approaches and interventions."  The non-profit offers gallery exhibitions, talks and workshops for the public throughout the summer and into the fall.

This Thursday evening is the launch of the first of nine exhibitions for the 2016 season.  Come down starting at 6 pm to see "Miijim miinawaa mashkiki' (Food and Medicine)" by Rob Friday.  The exhibition continues for three days: Friday to Sunday (12 - 5 pm).  Check out the Blink Gallery exhibition page to see the rest of the seasons artists.
Description from BLINK website on how to find the gallery: 
The heritage building (where the gallery is located), known as Header House, has pedestrian access only. You’ll find BLINK tucked in the back of Majors Hill Park directly across from the National Gallery, at the foot of the Alexandra Bridge.

Bayshore Community Oven

As of 2014, Ottawa has its very own outdoor wood-fired masonry community oven located in Bayshore Park (located off of Bayshore drive on Woodridge Crescent).  The outdoor oven is part of a west end park revitalization project with the community garden association offering community bake days and social gatherings for the summer season.  There are four "Summer Bake Days" listed on their Facebook page including two in August on Friday August 12th and Saturday Aug 27th.  They also have a Bike & Pizza Fair lined up for September 2nd.  There is also interest in using oven is year round so join the Facebook page to be notified of any winter events.

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