Monthly Archives: February 2011

Can traffic be polite?

Sometimes, when I wander around Sandy Hill looking for stories, I find myself standing and staring up at various landmarks without realizing I’m next to a stop sign or a crosswalk.  I’ve even been known to walk halfway across a street, become inspired by something behind me, and turn around and walk the other way.

There aren’t many cars driving around Sandy Hill at any given time, but when there are, they’ve been unusually patient with me, hesitating to move until I make up my mind.

A Sandy Hill resident keeps her dog close to her on the sidewalk.

Driving speeds are crawling at their fastest; cars actually stop at stop signs and red lights; and drivers put on their turn signals just to pull into their own driveways.

And it’s not just the drivers who have been courteous.  Though they probably don’t need to, pedestrians are actually willing to walk the extra 10 metres to cross the street between the lines of a crosswalk.

Having very little traffic around Sandy Hill probably helps the abnormally prevalent driver/pedestrian etiquette.  Still, as someone who lives on the campus at Carleton University, where stop signs are mild suggestions and taxis push pedestrians and challenge them to walk faster, it’s a refreshing change of pace.

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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Sandy Hill


Pucks fly at Sandy Hill Park

The Heritage Canada building, Laurier House, period architecture, and cozy location in Canada’s capital might make Sandy Hill a true “Canadian” neighbourhood, but it just wouldn’t feel Canadian enough without an abundance of Canada’s favourite pastime: hockey.

Tucked behind the Sandy Hill Community Centre is a small outdoor rink, caged in by the thin, grayish-brown pieces of wood separated by cheap wooden planks.

Any time I’ve been to Sandy Hill, this meagre rink has been alive with excited shouts from local hockey players — usually 20-something males — and the slick sounds of blades carving ice.

But why this rink?  After all, an  indoor rink boasts the perks of heated seating and more space.  And it’s not as though Sandy Hill can only offer the outdoor rink; Sandy Hill Arena is an eight-minute walk from Sandy Hill Park’s outdoor rink.

Maybe it’s because Sandy Hill Arena already juggles multiple hockey leagues, mostly for a younger set of boys whose parents sip hot chocolate in the stands while watching the game.

Maybe it’s because it’s easier to throw together a pick-up game outside than it is to reserve ice, speaking to the community feel of Sandy Hill.

Whatever the reason, Sandy Hill wouldn’t be complete without a puck, two nets, and a group of players armed with hockey sticks.

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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Sandy Hill


So who lives in Sandy Hill?

Waiting at a Sandy Hill bus stop are a group of 20-somethings with backpacks and books tucked under their arms.  If you only looked at the people walking around the neighbourhood, you might think Sandy Hill was just an extension of the University of Ottawa’s campus.

That’s because the old-fashioned houses peppering the Hill are mostly filled with students, says Jed Burgelis.  Burgelis is a student at the university himself, and he says he likes living there because of the proximity to the campus and a nearby market.

For these reasons, residents say mostly students have been populating Sandy Hill for as long as they can remember.

But students aren’t the only ones living here.  Trudging up the hill past the bus stops are couples pushing strollers, accompanied by small children in colourful snowsuits trotting alongside to keep up.

“I see a lot of families,” says Burgelis.  And if the neighbourhood’s multiple playgrounds and child care centre are any indication, he’s not the only one.

Yet despite the different demographics, Burgelis says everyone gets along.

“I don’t see [many] problems, if any,” he says.

With only the voices of quiet conversations, a few birds, and a slowly moving car heard every so often, it sounds like the neighbourhood agrees.

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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Sandy Hill


What does Sandy Hill look like?

Have a look at my photostory about Sandy Hill.

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Posted by on February 16, 2011 in Sandy Hill