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.

Teens, sex and R-E-S-P-E-C-T

By: Pam Dillon

When I dropped my kid off at the golf course last Friday afternoon, the parking lot was full of stretch limos, teens in formalwear and parents snapping pictures. Continue reading

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Kids, Head Hits and Rowan Stringer

By Pam Dillon

Every weeknight at this time of year, the playing fields in my neighbourhood are full of kids.  Right now, there are little ones playing T-ball and soccer. They have knobby knees and wee, toothpick legs. While parents in lawn chairs look on, the players’ younger siblings whip down slides and hang from the monkey bars at the playground. Continue reading

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John Elder Robison and the relabelling of autism

I had the pleasure of meeting John Elder Robison last week, when he was in town to talk about his latest book, Raising Cubby, at the Ottawa International Writers Festival.  John is a New York Times best-selling author who has Asperger … Continue reading

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We Day: Inspiration to Action

The energy was electric. Thousands of young people filled Bob Guertin Arena today for Ottawa-Gatineau’s first We Day. What a crowd! Kids came from 130 different schools. They brought bags packed with food to support food banks, plus hearts packed … Continue reading

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It’s Earth Day, Ottawa

It’s Earth Day, Ottawa! Let’s celebrate. Let’s also take one small step – each – away from messing up the planet. Since 1970, April 22 has been devoted to environmental awareness and action. Annually on this date, over a billion … Continue reading

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Boston, Rehtaeh and Sergeant Desjourdy

By: Pam Dillon

Do you talk about news at your dinner table? At mine, everything’s part of the conversation. Continue reading

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I got crushed by a cybercriminal

“Good morning,” I said.

That’s when the Internet gangster reeled me in, worked me over and locked me out of my own computer. Continue reading

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Unhooked – Kids, Drugs and What Parents Can Do

Like it or not, today’s kids are exposed to movies, music, videos and social situations that normalize and glamorize substance use and drug culture. The reality is anything but glamorous and DOCAS helps get that message across. Continue reading

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Watching the Oscars and Parenting Boys

I made a not-so-rookie parenting mistake Sunday: I let enthusiasm and sparkle-lust get in the way of logic. Continue reading

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No Magic to Being Kind

I was standing there with my finger bleeding, having a silent chat with the Household Management Fairy. “You can do it,” I insisted, imagining Disney’s finest flying over our roof, waving a sparkling wand and delivering magic. Continue reading

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