Let’s Talk


Let’s talk about family living in Ottawa.

One steamy hot day over 15 years ago, a moving truck pulled into a local driveway. My loved ones and I stepped out – and into an unknown new lifestyle in the capital city, one with a garage, a backyard and a couple of nearby elementary schools. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it. Silly me.

Today, my husband, kids and I live in the same suburban home with our Goldendoodle, Rosie (also known as Holy Flying Piranha). Ottawa is most assuredly home.

Like many local families, we have an active, full life. Regulars at local rinks, we’ve spent countless days at area ski hills, beaches, sports fields and community facilities. The capital’s museums and world-class attractions? Yes. We’ve been to them – sometimes two or three times, explored them and been dazzled. Thanks to the artist in the household, we’ve also been to more than our share of galleries and vernissages, our kids hoisting canapés with some very talented people.

It has been a privilege for our children to grow up in Ottawa. We are loud, proud Sens fans and, luckily, our hockey loving youngster has had the chance to visit the NHL team’s dressing room and meet a player or two. The eldest, a big fan of politics, has been able to meet the prime minister – three times! (Think he’ll come for dinner?)

Sure there are challenges. (Did I mention the dog jumps and climbs over fences?) We’ve had our share of trips to local emergency departments – most notably years ago, at CHEO, when we sat in the waiting room for what seemed like three weeks because the baby swallowed a peach pit. When a young doctor finally saw us, the consult lasted all of 20 seconds, long enough for him to laugh, shake his head and tell us we’d find it in the diaper.

For us, family living in Ottawa has always been full of surprises. Heck, a couple of summers ago a bear wandered down our street and settled in our neighbours’ backyard for a visit.

Gotta love the greenbelt. (I do.) In fact, there are many issues about which I am passionate: education, kids’ welfare, health – including mental health, eldercare, community development, bullying and kindness in Ottawa. I’m also curious about the latest trends, news, styles, leisure offerings and restaurants.

What about you? What does living in Ottawa mean for you and your family.

What’s happening in your part of town?

What events or activities or festivities does your organization have on tap?

Join the conversation. I’ll be organizing the content for Ottawa Family Living Online and I want to hear from you, share your stories and cover the issues and topics you care about.

So let’s talk.

Pam Dillon

Reach me at Pam@coylepublishing.com.

Don’t Handcuff Kids with Autism

by Pam Dillon You’ve probably heard or read that parents of a nine-year-old boy are angry about what happened to their son at school this week. According to a story written by Robert Sibley and published in the Ottawa Citizen, … Continue reading

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by Pam Dillon If I’ve been lucky enough to connect with you online, you probably know I’m a showoff. Shameless, really. On Facebook, Twitter and especially on Instagram, I crow about Ottawa’s many distinctions all. the. time. From Sparks Street … Continue reading

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Life, death and the message of Steven Fletcher

by Pam Dillon . A dozen years ago I was with my mom in an elevator when we met a man in a wheelchair. In the time it took to get from the ground floor to the 5th, we learned … Continue reading

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Starlight: Ottawa’s Liam Elder

By Pam Dillon Just One More Sleep for Liam Elder. One. More. SLEEP. Tomorrow—otherwise known as Tuesday, October 21—the 10-year-old Ottawa boy will get to do the stuff of childhood wishes. At the Toys R Us store in Saint Laurent … Continue reading

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Speak Up for Missing Aboriginal Women

Pam Dillon Please, pay attention to what’s missing at this year’s Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Fest.  And please, join with me to demand a national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Tomorrow, June 21, is National Aboriginal Day. June … Continue reading

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Kind Ottawa Hospital, Thanks to Lucie Filteau

By Pam Dillon Ottawa? A small world? Don’t I know it. So does Lucie Filteau. In a sprawling city of over 900,000, I keep veering into this local mom in the most diverting places. At the scene of a car … Continue reading

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Families Celebrate International Day of Pink

Has your child ever been bullied? Have you ever been bullied? Have you ever acted or spoken in a way that could be perceived as hurtful to others? We all have. That’s why it’s so important to talk—and to think—about what we can do about it.  Let’s start by wearing pink and launching an ongoing family discussion this Wednesday, April 9, on the International Day of Pink. Continue reading

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Suicide Safer Ottawa

By Pam Dillon

The room was full of linen-covered tables, well-heeled parents and leading experts. For this community luncheon every ticket was sold, since the focus was on youth mental health. When a lull in conversation offered the opportunity, one attendee explained why she was there: “My daughter is suicidal.” The mother was matter-of-fact. Her daughter wasn’t going to school, talking to her parents or getting out of bed. Neither was she taking her medication or cooperating with her doctor. Mom looked stricken. Continue reading

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U of Ottawa, the Oscars and Us

It’s one of those days that, as a mom, I’m scared.

As a mom of boys at the edge of adulthood, I’m gathering my words for a family meeting after school. It’s a meeting about Ottawa U, the Oscars and Us. Continue reading

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Smiles on Us

Meeting the Need for Family Dental Health Care

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