Free transit In December in Ottawa

If you’re planning on visiting or shopping in Ottawa in December, you should know that transit will be offered for free that month.

Here are my favourite music stores in the city:

  • Compact Music – 785 Bank Street (at Third St) – Used/New CDs, DVD audio, LPs, vinyl accessories (map)
  • Crosstown Traffic – 593 Bank Street (at Sommerset) – Used/New CDs, DVDs, LPs (map)
  • Granata Music – 1568 Merivale Rd (at Meadowlands) – Musical Instruments/Sheet Music/Accessories (map)
  • Legend Records – 383 Winona Ave (at Richmond Rd) – Used/New CDs, LPs, DVDs, Blu-ray & more (map)
  • Long & McQuade – 66 Hearst Way – Musical Instruments/Accessories/Sheet Music (map)
  • The Odds & Sods Shoppe – 1440 Clyde (at Starwood) – Used/New CDs, LPs, DVDs, Blu-ray & more (map)
  • Steve’s Music – 308 Rideau (at King Edward) – Musical Instruments/Sheet Music/Accessories (map)
  • Turning Point – 411 Cooper Street (at Bank) – Used/New CDs, DVDs, Blurays, LPs (map)
  • Vertigo Records – 1280 Bank St (at Cameron Ave) – Used/New CDs, LPs / turntables & vinyl accessories (map)

A Legend Records is also located in the Hazeldeen Mall (map) whilst Sunrise Record stores can be found in the Bayshore Shopping Centre (map), Carlingwood Mall (map), St Laurent Shopping Center (map) and Place D’Orleans Shopping Centre (map).

You’ll notice that quite a few stores are located along Bank Street, which is serviced by bus routes 6 & 7. Additional information on local transit in Ottawa can be found at the OC Transpo web site.

Goodbye CD Warehouse

My favourite independent music retailer has announced that they will be closing their doors permanently next spring after 25 years of operation.

CD Warehouse had at one time been a major source for compact discs and DVDs in Ottawa with three stores in the Ottawa area and another in Kingston, Ontario. But sales of compact discs have of course dropped significantly since the commercialization of music downloads on the internet and although the retailer has started selling vinyl and renting DVDs/Blurays, the reduction in stores and the closing of the chain was an eventuality.

The chain’s online counterpart,, also faltered and failed to gain traction against the major music retailers online. And unfortunately the industry has not provided enough new releases or re-releases to keep customers like me going to the store.

This closure will unfortunately result in the loss of yet another source for vinyl in my city. And now residents of the city will need to either go downtown for their used and new LPs or order these albums online.

Budget Day Goodies ?

Today is Budget Day in Ottawa. And the current government has been promising to address some issues related to the higher prices Canadians pay for certain products.

Canadians pay significantly more for certain products than the Americans and although some of the price differences can be attributed to tariffs, labour and transportation costs, much of the purchase price is pre-determined by the manufacturer.

“Country Pricing” has become the standard and unfortunately Canada’s prices have not been adjusted to match our dollar’s strength.

Some online retailers have done their best to match prices but Canadians were still forced to either import products from the states or pay higher prices at their local retailers.

I suspect that tariffs will be reduced or eliminated on certain products in this budget, perhaps on books, clothing, electronics and home appliances.

Those are the most imported products, especially on Black Friday. But I’m also hoping they will follow the recommendations in the February 2013 Senate Committee report of the US/Canada Price Gap  and raise the de minimis threshold for postal shipments from $20.

When you import most products by mail you are exempt from duties, fees and taxes if the product or products shipped are valued at less than $20 Canadian.

I’ve managed to save some money using they exemption. But many countries like the United States, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore had raised this minimum to US$100 in November 2011, enabling their citizens to avoid paying the hefty brokerage fees some couriers charge on parcels.

Brokerage fees have recently gone up in Canada so I’m hoping they will at least consider a CAN$50 threshold.

The other probabilities in the budget are reductions in credit card/banking fees, funding for an expansion of high speed internet into rural areas, and the unbundling of cable channels so I guess lots of Canadians will be watching this afternoon.

The budget broadcast will air on television and online on CPAC at 4PM Eastern. Details on the budget will also be made available on the Government’s Official Site after 4 PM Eastern.

More Theater Conversions

Landmark Cinemas will be converting several former Empire Theaters locations today throughout Canada :

Landmark Cinemas 7, Bolton
Landmark Cinemas 9, Brandon
Landmark Cinemas 9, City Centre, Edmonton
Landmark Cinemas 10, Clairview, Edmonton
Landmark Cinemas 16, Country Hills, Calgary
Landmark Cinemas 6, Esplanade, North Vancouver
Landmark Cinemas 8, Grant Park, Winnipeg
Landmark Cinemas 12, Guildford, Surrey
Landmark Cinemas 6, Jackson Square, Hamilton
Landmark Cinemas 24, Kanata
Landmark Cinemas 10, Kingston
Landmark Cinemas 12, Kitchener
Landmark Cinemas 8, London
Landmark Cinemas 10, Mississauga
Landmark Cinemas 10, Orleans (Ottawa)
Landmark Cinemas 7, Ottawa
Landmark Cinemas 10, Pen Centre, St. Catherines
Landmark Cinemas 10, Shawnessy, Calgary
Landmark Cinemas 7, Spruce Grove, Edmonton
Landmark Cinemas 4, University Heights, Victoria
Landmark Cinemas 10, Waterloo
Landmark Cinemas 24, Whitby
Landmark Cinemas 5, Winkler

Three Empire Theaters in the Ottawa area will be converted into Landmark Theaters today. But one of these theaters may close on December 31st, 2013.

The World Exchange Plaza location’s lease is expiring on that date and the mall’s owners has plans for the space according to CBC Television, although negotiations are still underway.

The former Empire locations in Kanata and Orleans had been originally slated to be converted into Cineplex Theaters. But these were sold to Landmark instead.

Please note that the Landmark Cinema web site will be updated with the new locations on November 1st, 2013.

Ottawa Rocks !

A special exhibit celebrating Ottawa’s rock & roll history has been organised by the City of Ottawa Archives at the James Bartleman Centre.

Six decades worth of photographs and other memorabilia have been placed on display at 100 Tallwood Drive, which is located at the corner of Tallwood Drive and Woodroffe Ave, approximately half of a kilometer south of the Baseline Transitway station and Woodroffe Campus of Algonquin College.

View Larger Map

This exhibit will be open on weekdays from 9 am – 4 pm and on Saturdays from 10 am – 5 pm until December 31st, 2013 and events will occasionally be held at the James Bartleman Centre that are related to this exhibition.

One such event, “Music Mania!”, will occur on November 2nd, 2013 from 9am to 12 pm for children aged 10-14. 

During that particular event children will experiment with lyrics and will have an opportunity to design concert posters for their favourite bands.

Admittance to the exhibit is free but a course fee of $10 for residents or $12.50 for non-residence is required for “Music Mania!”, whose space is limited to 20. The code required to register for “Music Mania!” online or by phone at 613-580-2588 is 878960

Success !

Almacantar has been released on iTunes in Canada and the United States.

Known primarily for hit singles "Kiss You When It’s Dangerous", "Sincere" and local Ottawa hit "Where’s Bula", this Rupert Hine production had been discontinued, like many 80’s albums in Canada. But I was one of the fortunate few to have secured a new copy of this album on compact disc shortly after it had been discontinued.

I thought it was a shame this album was no longer available so I decided to publish a simple web site called The Almacantar Project to promote its re-release. And this was of course well before the creation of iTunes so I had hoped it would be re-released on compact disc, which I understand may happen next year.

The band is of course no more. But this album’s singles still aired quite regularly in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec since the band had moved on to other projects in the early 90’s so I am sure many listeners will appreciate being able to download the album.