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.

#SelfiesCanHelp and Giving Tuesday

by Pam Dillon

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are behind us, it’s time to focus on today: Giving Tuesday. In the midst of the season for spending, this is the first annual Canadian day dedicated to giving back. You gotta love that. Continue reading

Posted in Let's Talk | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

WHOOSH! Cooking Lesson Up in Flames

It was what they call one of those “teachable moments.” I looked over at my son, just a couple of feet away, as the wok he was holding burst into flames.  WHOOSH! Continue reading

Posted in Let's Talk | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Family Lessons in Ottawa Politics

By Pam Dillon

At my place this week, we got a true-life glimpse of politics and political journalism in action. Surprise!  The doorbell rang 10 minutes early. Continue reading

Posted in Let's Talk | 8 Comments

Let’s raise our voices about mental health

Just days ago, in a crowd of Ottawa families, I was chatting with some people when the volume of the conversation dropped to whisper-level. I found out later that a fellow parent – friend, neighbor, beloved individual – had committed suicide. Continue reading

Posted in Let's Talk | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Think About This: Fitness = Better Learning

I have a handy accessory in my office that helps my brain function. There’s usually a coffee cup on the desk, but for me this works even better. It’s an old mini trampoline I bought at Canadian Tire years ago for my kid’s seventh or eighth birthday. Continue reading

Posted in Let's Talk | Leave a comment

Cautionary Tale for Hockey Parents

By Pam Dillon

We were sitting outside the rink a few weeks ago watching the action through the glass. I was waiting to drive my kid home and there were three or four dads sitting to one side of me, talking hockey-dad talk. It sounded like a serious TSN-style discussion, but I wasn’t paying too much attention since I was leafing through a magazine on a hunt for recipes. Continue reading

Posted in Let's Talk | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Say No for Nick

By Pam Dillon

What’s new? “Nothing.” So when the youngest came home from his final exam a few weeks ago, I wasn’t expecting any revelations. How did it go? “Good.” Was it hard? “No.” He sat down. I looked over. “Mom,” he said, “Nick Cody died.” Continue reading

Posted in Let's Talk | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

We’re walking In Sir John A.’s Footsteps

By Pam Dillon

If there’s one thing my family is doing for sure before the end of the summer, it’s this: we’re taking the walk In Sir John A.’s Footsteps.  I can hardly wait to go on the theatrical walking tour in downtown Kingston. Excited? You bet. Continue reading

Posted in Let's Talk | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tyler, Charmaine and Your Kids’ Friends

Do you pick your kids’ friends?
Do you steer them away from miscreants-in-the-making and put the kibosh on play dates with class troublemakers?
Odds are – whether you realize it or not – you’re aiming to ensure the youngsters your kids play with are a positive influence. Continue reading

Posted in Let's Talk | Leave a comment

Ottawa? Boring?

By Pam Dillon

Ottawa has been called the place fun forgot. Labeled Coma City.  And “dissed” as a bland, white-bread burg that rolls up its streets as soon as the “suits” go home to the suburbs at 5 or 6 o’clock.
Harumph! (Are these critics from the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce?) Continue reading

Posted in Let's Talk | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments