August 21, 2009 — First a diplomat, second a fountain

Posted in Uncategorized by nicktaylorvaisey on August 21, 2009

Featured interviews:

  • Hwaida Essam: deputy chief and minister plenipotentiary of Egyptian mission to Canada — [Download] [iTunes]
  • Barry Padolsky: local architect who has researched Strathcona Fountain — [Download] [iTunes]

This week, we spoke with our first guest from the diplomatic corps. We were joined by deputy chief and minister plenipotentiary of the Egyptian mission to Canada, Hwaida Essam. We talked about what it’s like to live the diplomatic life in Ottawa and to work in Sandy Hill, a neighbourhood full of students, families, and small businesses.

During the second half of the show, I played an interview I recorded on Aug. 18 with local architect Barry Padolsky. He and I sat down to talk about the history of the Strathcona Fountain which, as readers might know, is at the north end of Strathcona Park – right across the street from the Egyptian Embassy.

As far as music was concerned, we played some tracks by The Creaking Tree String Quartet, a Toronto band with a guitar, mandolin, bass, and violin. They played the Black Sheep Inn on Aug. 21.


August 14, 2009 — Ghost stories

Posted in Uncategorized by nicktaylorvaisey on August 18, 2009

In lieu of any interviews, I told some ghost stories. It was all inspired by the Haunted Walk of Ottawa, which freaked me out the night before this show.

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The Coming Weeks

Posted in Uncategorized by nicktaylorvaisey on August 12, 2009

The next few editions of Around the Block all revolve around a central theme: hyperlocal history. At first read, that might sound boring or even a bit like the worst idea anyone has ever had. But read me out.

This series is based on my contention that there is something of an historical knowledge gap plaguing Ottawa’s citizens. What I mean to say is: Things happened here not too long ago that were, as far as Canadian history goes, downright exciting. And the places where they happened still exist.

I’m being cruelly vague here, so as not to give away any shows in the near future. Just know this: My mission over the next few weeks is to turn boring into interesting, and learn Ottawa all about its recent-but-not-too-recent history. Oh, and the focus is Centretown and Sandy Hill. I promise that you will never look at some buildings the same way again.

Stay tuned.

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August 7, 2009 – The Clip Show

Posted in Uncategorized by nicktaylorvaisey on August 12, 2009

Toronto kept me from broadcasting live, but I hope you tuned in for Around the Block‘s inaugural clip show. It featured many of the voices from the past three months that you can hear below. There were vaguely enforced themes during both halves of the show: the first half was all about social media and community, and the second half was about hyperlocal politics. Some of the voices were:

  • Morgen Peers
  • Mona Nemer
  • Carl Meyer
  • Ted Horton
  • Bob Brocklebank
  • Paul Dewar
  • Alayne McGregor
  • Jonathan Rausseo
  • Georges Bedard
  • Clive Doucet
  • Sabrina Bowman

See below for full interviews with all of these people. Or click here.

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July 31, 2009 — Slam poetry and local history

Posted in Uncategorized by nicktaylorvaisey on August 4, 2009

Featured interviews:

I suggest listening to those poets above. They’re quite cool. In fact, the show has never been cooler.

During the second half of the show, I presented to you, the listeners, my own version of The 10 Most Interesting Landmarks Or People That Made Their Mark On Ottawa And Are Now Tremendously Underappreciated For It.

It was like a 30-minute quiz show, and it started with me asking listeners 10 questions. A dramatic countdown to the most interesting item of local note ensued. On the show, they were presented in reverse-numerical order, so you might get easily confused. Sorry ’bout that. Here are the questions:

  1. For decades, how far did you have to travel, if you were at the University of Ottawa, to reach the nearest beach?
  2. Where in Ottawa can you find what is arguably the tallest cross – and I mean that as the religious symbol – in the city?
  3. Which bridge in the area is named in honour of Canada’s involvement in the Boer War, the conflict that sent hundreds of Canadian troops to South Africa at the turn of the 20th century?
  4. Which park mere minutes down the street was once a rifle range?
  5. Which church just around the corner is known as one of the more liberal Catholic parishes in the area?
  6. Where can you find one of the oldest department stores in Ottawa?
  7. There is a park in Ottawa that was once the epicentre of Cold War espionage based on the life and experiences of a nearby resident. Which one is it?
  8. Before it was the nation’s capital, Ottawa was widely known as a lumber town. Which local character was known as a baron of that industry who apparently died with $33 million to his name?
  9. Which embassy on Wilbrod Street is quietly famous for housing the German consul general until his expulsion in 1939?
  10. Who is arguably the most important figure in our neighbourhood’s development immediately after World War Two?

Note the speed at which I guide you through the final few answers, which are available for download below, along with the other answers:

Lastly, the music we featured on the show: Winchester Warm, who played the Black Sheep Inn on the weekend; and Old Crowns, who are at Maverick’s on Aug. 6.