News Bites

Update from the January Action Sandy Hill meeting

Former Moondog Pub & Grill: Smart Living has purchased and will be re-developing this Laurier Ave. E. property. Action Sandy Hill and the City are encouraging them to maintain the facade and re-install the original porch. Smart Living will be seeking a commercial tenant to lease the building post-renovation.

Break and enters on the rise in condo buildings. Cst. Sebastien Lemay, the Community Police Officer for Sandy Hill and Lowertown, reported that crime is down across the board. Instances of break and enter, however, have risen in condo buildings where parcels have been stolen from mailrooms. Some identifications have been made and charges laid through video surveillance footage. According to Cst. Lemay, condo tenants should be ambassadors for their building and ensure the front door closes and locks behind them.

– with notes from Kathy Moyer and Hilary Duff

Sandy Hill Park renaming in its final steps

By the time you read this, Sandy Hill Park may have a new name. On February 18, the City will vote on renaming the space in commemoration of former Sandy Hill resident and Inuk artist Annie Pootoogook.

Both Councillor Mathieu Fleury and Stéphanie Plante, the sponsor of the name change, are confident there will be no objections and say the park could have new signage as early as fall 2021. “I am so happy with how everything turned out,” says Plante, who led the year-long renaming effort. “Annie is incredibly famous and it’s fantastic that her family and the Inuit community in Sandy Hill will have a municipal space dedicated to her.”

Councillor Fleury is also working with the City to ensure some of Pootoogook’s pieces are displayed in the Sandy Hill Community Centre once it re-opens. It looks like the artist’s memory will live on both inside and outside of 250 Somerset St. E.!

– with notes from Stéphanie Plante

Annie Pootoogook (1969 ‑ 2016), Composition (Mother and Child) 2006. McMichael Canadian Art Collection, National Gallery of Canada. Reproduced with the permission of Dorset Fine Arts

Moving forward on the Strathcona Park gazebo

Representatives from Action Sandy Hill and local architect Barry Padolsky met with City staff in January to discuss next steps for the proposed Strathcona Park gazebo project. Padolsky, the Sandy Hill resident who contributed the original architectural renderings, will be revising his design based on comments received through ASH’s community consultation feedback and open house. These updated designs will be shared with the community when available. Meanwhile, Padolsky will also be approaching contractors to get a detailed estimate of construction costs and see if companies may be interested in providing pro bono services. ASH anticipates launching a fundraising campaign later in 2021.

– with notes from Claude Jobin

Snow clearing standards to be updated

During the next year, the City plans to update its standards for snow clearing operations in terms of the impact on drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. The first steps, reaching out for public comments through an online survey and workshops, finished in mid-February. This public input will be used to formulate revised standards which will be brought to City Council for debate and approval in the fall of 2021 for implementation in the winter of 2021-2022. The most pressing issues the City needs to work through are whether to increase the level of spending on snow clearing and whether to rearrange its priorities regarding what gets plowed in what order. Today, snow clearing operations cost the City in the order of 70+ million dollars each year. Is that enough or should we spend more? Once snowfall exceeds five centimetres, current guidelines call for roads to be plowed within six hours of the end of the snowfall, and sidewalks within 16 hours. Is that the right priority? I know that within Sandy Hill we have many roadways where there are more pedestrians on the sidewalks than cars on the road so I’m scratching my head as to why the roads should be a higher priority than our sidewalks.

If you would like to be kept informed of the progress of this project visit the City’s online engagement website at, go to the Winter Maintenance Quality Standards review section, and subscribe to project updates which will be sent to you by email.

– John Verbaas

Taking aim at invasive weeds

Dog-strangling Vine

On Feb. 10, the Sandy Hill Tree and Greening group organized an initial meeting of Sandy Hill residents concerned with invasive weeds along the Rideau River, nearby parks and open areas, and private property. The virtual meeting discussed work by various groups in Ontario alarmed by the spread of invasive weeds such as Buckthorns, Japanese Knotweed, Dog-strangling Vine, and Wild Parsnips, and how they can displace native plants and damage gardens. Removing these plants while affected areas are relatively small seems to produce the best results.

Meeting attendees talked about the invasive weeds and the problem areas they had noticed in and around Sandy Hill. Possible stakeholders, sources of support, and priorities for 2021 were discussed. The next virtual meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 10. People interested in taking part can contact the Sandy Hill Tree and Greening Group at to be included on the distribution list for future meetings.

– Marilyn Whitaker