Entertainment for All At the 30th Ottawa International Children’s Festival

Kids of all ages were entertained and amazed by the 30th Ottawa International Children’s Festival (OICF)! Each year this festival puts together a list of performers that make all who attended their shows wonder and delight in the spectacle they had just witnessed. The performances and attractions my daughter and I saw during this year’s visit lived up to our expectations of this festival. The OICF was held at LeBreton Flats and the Canadian War Museum.

OICF Pic Collage

When we arrived for our evening of amusement, we journeyed inside of Pentalum Luminarium. It is a structure created by Architects of Air (UK) for visitors to explore and marvel at as they make their way through the winding tunnels and domes.


Once my eldest and I ventured inside, we were instantly amazed by the different coloured areas of this inflatable structure. I was instantly in a state of wonder and relaxation as we traveled through each chamber. I loved that we had to leave our shoes outside of the exhibition. It added to the serene atmosphere around you. There were many dark alcoves where you could just sit back and relax for a bit. Other areas were bright and beautiful to behold. We really enjoyed our time inside the Pentalum Luminarium.


We then ventured into the Canadian War Museum to get transported into the dark side of fairytales as we attended a performance of Hansel and Gretel by Gruppe 38, (DEN) in the Barney Danson Theatre.  It was a fascination rendition of this classic tale from The Brothers Grimm of two children becoming abandoned by their parents the captured by an evil witch. With the assistance of an amusing onstage musician, a narrator brings magic, suspense and laughter to this tale with the use of light and projection. We really enjoyed how this group used the intimate space very well to convey this story to the audience. The narrator did an excellent job at putting us in the world of Hansel and Gretel to allow us to get a sense of what they were feeling and what was happening as the tale unfolded around us.


The final performance we saw was Les Parfaits Inconnus (QC, CAN) in the Circus Tent. Before the performance, Katherine Dines opened the show by presenting Mayor Jim Watson, and the key members of the OICF who make each year’s festival a reality.  Mayor Watson then presented Catherine O’Grady with an award for the 30th anniversary of the OICF, thanking her and her team for their hard work in putting this amazing festival year after year.


It was a performance filled with laughter and amusement as Les Parfaits Inconnus took to the stage. They wowed audiences as they juggled, balanced, flipped through the air and conjured illusions before our eyes. They also played music while performing some of these feats, showcasing their talents and comedic abilities even more. My eldest and I kept looking at each other, wondering how they were able to do all of the feats they did during their performance. It truly was a great show to attend!


The audience was then invited to attend a celebration for the OICF’s 30th anniversary. There were wonderful plates of food for guests to enjoy! There was something for everyone to sample and enjoy. There were also beautifully arranged snack cups for nibble on. These were fantastic! Water, various drinks, and alcoholic beverages for adults to drink were served as well. Catherine O’Grady then cut the OICF cakes so guests could share in the celebration.


This was another thrilling visit to the Ottawa International Children’s Festival! The performances were spectacular, Pentalum Luminarium a new experience which added to the fun of the day, and we were thankful to be a part of the celebration for the anniversary of this unique festival. It was sad to leave, as we wanted to chat with other guests and see more of the performances we viewed. I am extremely curious as to how the OICF will top this year’s list of performances next year!


Having Fun While Helping Children at the 2014 Ottawa Gala – Spies and Dolls!

Hey Readers!

Have you ever wondered what it would like to be spy or a secret agent? Do you like getting dressed up for an evening of fun, entertainment and raising money for a good cause? Well then, if you’re going to be in the Ottawa area on April 26th, get your outfit in order for the 2014 Ottawa Gala – Spies and Dolls at the Canadian War Museum from 8 PM – 11PM!



What is the Ottawa Gala?
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Ottawa Gala, I’ll tell you all about it. The Ottawa Gala is an annual event put on by the Fund for a New Generation (FNG) in order to raise money for youth initiatives in the city of Ottawa. So far, FNG has raised over $700 000 since its inception in 1993. The event is put together by young professionals who are apart of Ottawa’s private, public and universities sectors that are dedicated to raising funds for various organizations around Ottawa.

What Makes This Event So Special?
I became a supporter of FNG after finding out about the different organizations they have supported across the city of Ottawa. FNG supports organizations for younger and older children. The groups FNG supports each year changes, too, so many more children in Ottawa are helped.

The group that FNG assists that influenced me to want to get involved and help raise money for FNG was the Ottawa School Breakfast Program. Not only does this group help children who need breakfast have one before they start their school day, but it is available at all levels of schools around Ottawa, so younger and older children benefit from the support the Ottawa School Breakfast Program provides. Since I know some of the children who use this program, I felt that I should help to try to do my part to help this program give to the children it supports.

Click here to listen to this year’s Co-Presidents, Angela Kemp and Fahim Rahim, speaking to Hot 89.9 about how great this event is!

How Can You Show Your Support to the Ottawa Gala?
The best way to support FNG would be to attend this year’s Gala on April 26, 2014! This is the 21st year that the Gala has been put together to raise funds for youth initiatives in Ottawa. This year’s theme is Spies and Dolls. Pull out your suit, trench coat, dress, or hat and spend a fabulous evening filled with entertainment provided by Hot 89.9, DJ ACRO and the Hornettes, a silent auction, and prize envelopes you can purchase to raise more money for children in Ottawa! You’ll have fun dancing, meeting new people, and helping children across Ottawa. (This is a 19+ event, for those inquiring minds).

There are two sets of ticket prices for this year’s event:
General Admission – $65
This ticket allows you into the event, to explore different rooms set up for dancing and entertainment and a lot of fun!

VIP Admission – $115
This ticket grants you exclusive access between 8:00 PM and 11:00 PM to enjoy a complementary bar, upgraded catering and a separate entertaining area from those in the General Admission area!

Below are some photos, courtesy of the Ottawa Gala, of all of the fun had at last year’s event, The Roaring 20’s, to celebrate the 20th year the Gala has been one of Ottawa’s ultimate go-to events!


Gala Guests Walker


Gala 2013 Silent Auction


Ottawa gala dancers

ottawa gala partying


So, if you want to have a good time this weekend, get all dolled up, and raise money for children in the city of Ottawa, why not attend the Ottawa Gala! I hope to see you there!


I have not been compensated in any way to write this post. I have had a hand in helping to plan this year’s event, and all of my opinions are honest and my own.

CampusBookRentals Helps Students to Save Money and Children to Smile

Hey Readers!

I remember what it was like to be a university student and to have to worry about all of the cost at come along with earning my degree. One of the items I had to find a work-around in order to help cut down on costs was with text books.  If they were too expensive, I had to either borrow one from a friend that took the class before me, split the cost with a friend and share the book, or go to the library and use their copy to photocopy what I needed. Luckily, college and university students have more cost effective methods to help this necessity to higher learning become less of one. One of these amazing options is CampusBookRentals!


How does CampusBookRentals help students save money?

Founded by Alan Martin (a former student himself), CampusBookRentals is a service where students can rent textbooks that they need for their classes for as long as they need them, and pay a fraction of the cost of having to buy these books from their campus bookstore. You might be wondering why you would want to rent your textbooks instead of just paying for your books. Well, here are some of the perks to using CampusBookRentals:

  • Students are able to save 40-90% off of the bookstore prices.
  • Free shipping both ways! So the price you see to rent your textbook is the price you are paying!
  • Rental periods are flexible, so students are not rushed in the rental of a textbook.
  • With each textbook rented, a donation is made to Operation Smile, sostudents are helping to support a worthy cause.


Students can also take advantage of RentBack, a new program from CampusBooksRentals, so they can make more money while they study!

How Does RentBack Work?

RentBack allows students to rent their textbooks so they can make money off of the books they own!  Here is how RentBack works:

  • Find your books in the system at RentBack.com
  • Ship your books to CampusBookRentals
  • CampusBookRentals receives your books so they can then become available for other students to rent
  • Other students rent your books, and you get paid!
  • Your books get sent back to CampusBookRentals so other students can rent them over and over again! This will allow for you to get paid over and over again!

What is Operation Smile?


I also mentioned how CampusBookRentals donates a part of each textbook rental to Operation Smile.  Operation Smile is a group of mobilized medical professionals who provide safe, effective reconstructive surgery and other relative medical care to children and youth born with a cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities in some of the poorest regions around the world.

These procedures are very costly in many of these regions, and, if these children make it past their first birthdays with many of the aforementioned deformities, they have trouble eating, speaking or smiling. These children are also often shunned in their communities, and their parents are not able to afford the surgeries they need to lead more productive lives.

Operation Smile believes that these children deserve to have access to safe, quality surgical care in order to have a better future. Due to the help of dedicated medical volunteers, Operation Smile has provided over 200 000 free surgeries for children and young adults born with facial deformities. This organization also trains local doctors in developing countries and helps to strengthen healthcare systems in these countries so more children can be taken care of and lead more productive lives.

This is the third year that CampusBookRentals has been involved with Operation Smile and between June 2013 and June 2014, CampusBookRentals have pledged to donate a minimum of 80 surgeries to Operation Smile based off of a portion of the proceeds it receives from every textbook rental. CampusBookRentals is also allowing students who choose to use the RentBack program to allocate their earnings towards Operation Smile as well, so even more money gets directed at this great organization. For more information about Operation Smile, please go to operationsmile.org!  This is another reason I like CampusBookRentals.  I like companies that knows the importance of giving back, and I love Operation Smile and what it does for children in need, as well as for the communities its helps!

So, Readers, if you are a student and you are looking to for an alternative to having to buy your textbooks for your next semester of classes, maybe you should go to CampusBookRentals.com and give them a try!  It helps students to save and make some money while they study, and it also wants to help brighten the future of children, one smile at a time.

Until my next post, Readers!


Even though I have been compensated for this post, the opinions expressed are honest, and are solely my own.

Universal Children’s Day, 2013: A Day to Cherish Children

Hey Readers!

Many countries around the world today are celebrating Children’s Day, a day to honor children globally.  On November 20, 1959, it was proclaimed by the The United Nations General Assembly that a day be set aside to encourage countries around the world to have children engage in celebrating the lives of children globally, as well as to bring awareness to and to promote the well being of children around the world.

This is why I love a day like today.  It is suppose to take the focus off of troubles adults are causing, and focusing on trying to make the world a little bit better for the children we are bringing into it.  I am in awe of Canadians like Romeo Dallaire, and  organizations like Plan Canada’s Because I Am A Girl, who are looking out for the welfare of children around the world.

I also must tip my hat to organizations within my own community that are trying to make the lives of children better, as well.  I was lucky enough to have attended a function last night put on by the The Fund for a New Generation (FNG), an not-for-profit organization that supports underprivileged youth within the city of Ottawa.   FNG hosts the Ottawa Gala, an annual event which helps to raise money to be put towards charities that support youth within Ottawa.

The function last night was to thank the sponsors of the Gala last year, as well as to present the charities chosen to be funded by FNG for 2013 with their donations.  I was so happy to have volunteered for this year’s event, and I am excited to be a part of the planning committee for the 2014 Gala!  My eldest goes to school with some of the children who are supported by children who are funded by FNG, so I felt I should give my time to an organization that helps them.

I wanted to add Janet Jackson’s  Livin’ in a World (They Didn’t Make) to my list of favourite Janet Jackson songs, but then I decided against it.  I felt I should keep it for a day like today when the lives and well-being of children are the focus.  I know, it’s a sad song, but it also focuses on what some adults are doing to harm children instead of nurture them.  It’s not the video, but her song with a gallery of pictures put together by ZELLDARAYS on Youtube (thanks!).

I’m giving my little ones eve more hugs today because of how lucky I feel to have them, as well as to guide them to want to give back to those kids who are not as lucky to be as fortunate as they are.

Until my next post, Readers!


Related Article/Links:

Umer Farooq (The Express Tribune with the International New York Times) – Universal Children’s Day: Activists to hold Awareness programs, gathering today – http://tribune.com.pk/story/634102/universal-childrens-day-activists-to-hold-awareness-programmes-gatherings-today/

UN General Assembly – Declaration of the Rights of the Child http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/1386%20%28XIV%29

United Nations  Universal Children’s Day – November 20- http://www.un.org/en/events/childrenday/