Monthly Archives: September 2014


Depending on which side of the political divide you live on (the last centrist was euthanized in 1996 by order of the Reform Party) there are always wing nuts.  There are those who bemoan the growing of sod, as it removes spotted owl habitat, or those who think that the only good (state name of minority group here) is the one in the ashtray. 

Either end of the political spectrum is inhabited with loons.  Neither end of the spectrum will change their minds, or change the subject, depending on the state of their medication.  Being a media junkie, we watch both ends of the parade, as it shows exactly how each extremity spins reality for their own aims.

For example this headline “Town Tags Homeless with GPS trackers…” courtesy of the Drudge Report.  If you’re of one particular political bent, this speaks to 24/7 monitoring of dangerous, drug-addled homeless hate-filled maniacs who want to lower your property values, invade your home and make you buy another shotgun for self-defense of your property and family members. Grrrrr!  Tag’em all with a .303!

Or, if you actually click on the link and read the story from United Press International, (Danish town outfits homeless with GPS trackers) the story is about a town in Denmark who have asked for 20 volunteers to carry a tracker in their pocket for a week so they can see where the homeless go to provide services and social workers where the homeless actually are. 

Perhaps this might even be somewhat enlightened and intelligent, in that if you don’t know where these folks hang out, you can’t put things and people in place to help them not be homeless.

We’re not saying Drudge has a particular bent, but they know their audience, leaving out the little info-nugget about it being a town in Denmark and the aim of the project being to actually help the homeless.

Which is where media literacy comes into play.  Being bombarded with all kinds of media from that firehose of an internet, we have turned off actual media literacy from overuse.  When there were actual newspapers and television stations, we could take the time to digest and reflect on what was presented to us as news, then make up our minds as to what our take on the item would warrant.

Today what passes for news consists of a local outrage or two, the newest diet secrets of the stars and why (name of any product) will either kill you in a week, or is the salvation of all your ills.  Weather, some sports, giggle a bit for the camera and gone. 

There are some outlets that actually have news that tries to explain things, or at least act as some kind of first-draft of history.  The BBC and the CBC both take their journalism with a modicum of seriousness. 

Newspapers have devolved into distant wire stories edited with all the skill of a moron with ADHD and the frantic reporting of a 12 year old on their fifth can of Red Bull covering the cops, the courts, city hall and the arts for both print, podcasts and video blogs at the same time.  You get more content reading the government nutrition label on bottle of water.

News consuming has devolved to  “Am I in imminent peril of being swallowed by an alien invader?”  “Do these pants make my ass look fat?” And, “Should I bring an umbrella/parka/sunscreen with me today?”   

Which explains why we’ve turned off the media-literacy modules in our brain:  It can’t cope with the mouse-droppings that pass for mass consumer news from the usual content sources, so we barely scan headlines and fall into the trap of thinking that is the whole story.

The hed is rarely the whole story.  Take the time to dig a bit.  Reinvigorate your media literacy and question why a media outlet would spin a story that way.  If three reputable sources report more or less the same thing, then it’s probably close enough to have an element of truthiness about it and you can choose to ignore it, or investigate it some more.

Maybe we need a World Media Literacy Day?

Stupid Computer Trix

We figured it was time to let Mason Baveux out as he’s been taking courses again.  This time he’s been taking computer courses and is now, to quote him, “A friggin’ expert!”  Mason?


Thanks for lettin me take up some bandwidth there Davey as I’se been takin courses again, this time on the ‘puters and how to run em.  Now, you be askin, “Mason, you’re no computer lad like Davey is, as you’re dumber than a bag of deer bait on the best day of your life?” 

To which I say, in yer arse.  I may have been born yesterday, but it was early and I stayed up late readin, so kiss me pink puckered arsehole.  I fixed Maureen’s puter down at the sheltered workshop, so I know a thing or two and figgerd out the rest.  OK Davey helped too.

Here’s what I learned.  Puters are dumber than we are, but somedays we’re even dumber.  Take Maureen’s puter.  It wouldn’t run worth shit and she couldn’t get to her games, so’s she says take a gander at it for me.  I did and I tell you sweet baby Jesus there was more popups on’er than Tuesday afternoon at the toaster pastry factory.  There was popups to fix this, tune than, clean up the other thing, then some on porn that I hadn’t seen, 100,000 smiley icons and a webpage from the FBI demanding Maureen send money or they’d arrest her for diddling little kids.  You know what that told me?  Maureen is dumb and she fell for the oldest trick in the ‘puter book. 

Sees us folks aren’t too sure about puters, so we figgure we’re in over our head and someone else should be able to help us out.  Along comes a helpful webpage that says just that “Yer puter’s slow, arsehole, I’ll fix’er for you, fer free!” 

As soon as you say “effin’ aye, set’er up lad” they start downloadin all this bogus crap that is as much help as a foam rubber crutch.  It don’t do nothin, but on top of that, it ‘helps’ you by redirectin all your clicks to some other jeezly website when all you want to do is check the numbers on the Lottery.  Then along with all that helpin comes even more popups offerin you free this, or free that, or help with your even slower puter.

Here’s what you do and I’ll grab a page outta the Nancy Regan Songbook.  Just say no.  Actually, just say ‘eff off’  Don’t click on nothin you didn’t start.  There’s nobody on the Interwebs that wants to help you for real, for free.  There’s always something else draggin along behind’er like a cling-on shit that won’t go away.  Just say eff No!

That means no smiley face cursors what are animated to wink at ya, free recipes, special healin tarot crystal frigabouts or things what promise to make your puter faster.  They don’t friggin work worth shit. 

You want to make your puter faster?  Put more friggin RAM in’er.  That’s safe and cheap and real, not some jagoff from Assholistan what really wants to put some virus on your puter so he can capture all your bankin info and read your email, especially the ones from your cousin the retard with the plate in her head whose been hearin voices in the walls since 1981.

I’s gonna give you a link here what you can click on, safely like:  Ready?

Thats what you call the Official, Genuine, Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool.  Them folks in Redmond are on the ball and this here tool will take out just about all the bullshit you’ve downloaded what is slowin down your puter.  Don’t be downloadin it from somebody else with the same name, as this one is right from the factory floor, by the lads what made your puter software in the first place, so’s you know they got vending machines all around there where you can get yourself a clue for less than a buck. 

Run that there tool and sit back to wait.  If your puter is like Maureen’s, it’ll take the better part of four or five hours to clean things up.  I did that and holy mother of Jesus she found about 65 pieces of arseholery installed on Maureen’s puter.  No wonder it was buggered worse than George Michaels at the Vaseline factory!

The other one what got Maureen’s sister Millicent was those friggin jagoffs what called her up out of the blue sayin she had a dangerous virus and they was from Microsoft Support so they’s could help her.  I called up Microsoft and they don’t do that. 

Got that folks?  Microsoft isn’t gonna call you up if you got a virus.  It’s a scam from Arseholistan what are callin up everyone, and I mean everyone tellin them they got a virus and all kinds of errors and stuff on their puters that they can fix.  All you gotta do is let them put their little software shit on your puter and all the errors go away.  Along with all your bankin logins and anything else you got what is worth anything. 

What I told Millicent and Maureen was to treat your puter like it was the front door of the house.  If some turd tapper shows up, rings the bell and says I’m here to help you with your exploding hot water heater and that carbon monoxide in your furnace along with the filthy ducts, and poisoned tap water from the copper pipes and that other dangerous stuff, what would you do? 

I know Maureen would offer to kick their arses so hard they’d be shittin out their eyeballs for October and November.  Millicent would invite them in and talk about her friggin cats until they’re heads exploded and their bladders burst from all that herbal tea she was feeding them. 

Got that?  Your puter’s like the front door of the house.  Anyone you don’t know, start with “eff off” and follow it up with, “and get the hell off my front stoop before I take this last half a can of Easy-Off Professional Strength oven cleaner to your face like that fuckwit last week whose still in the hospital and will be blowin snot out his mouth until the next Federal Election or his reconstructive surgery, which ever comes first!”

You could do what Davey does when he gets those calls.  He says he has only Macs and they don’t know what to say.  His missus sometimes plays along for a bit, then asks them all saucy like, “What are you wearin’ honey?  Do you like boys or do you like girls?”  They always hang up when that starts as it ain’t in their script.

The other thing ya gotta watch out for is some of the legitimate softwares out there, sometimes offers you a free this or a free that if you agree to download it.  Make sure to read a bit and if there’s something to unclick, then do that.  Like Java, its always offerin me to get McAfee for the antivirus and Google for the searchin, with their special offer.  Eff that!  I know where to get my Goggle on.  And I already got anti-virus from Microsoft, so I don’t need another one on top of the one I got.

That Microsoft “Security Essentials” is plenty good and it updates automatic like every time I’m on the Interwebs, so I knows I’m protected pretty damn fine.  You can get that here, with this link I’m gonna give you right now  Now, that’s right from the factory, so’s it’s clean and safe and works.  Plus, the best part of it?  She’s free.  Run that and that one I told you about before and your puter’ll be cleaner than my insides after that oscopy surgery I had in the spring.

That’s all I got.  Oh and Maureen’s all happy.  She can get to her games and her lottery pages and her puter runs just fine now.

Boat Trip 2014

We’re fortunate in that two very good friends are boaters. Rob and Juudy own a 34 foot 1980-something Sun Ray cruiser and invited us to share a trip on their boat, the Dissipate III.  For those who know the Rideau Canal, you can skip the next bit.

The Rideau Canal (pronounced Ree-dough if you’re not from here) was built after we won the War of 1812 to keep a navigable waterway the hell away from Americans so people in Montreal could get to Kingston and back, via Ottawa and the Ottawa River. Col. John By and a few thousand friends started digging it in 1826 and wrapped it up in 1832.  It was important as a commercial waterway, but then came trains, roads and peace with the Americans, so it became more of a recreational waterway.  It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It takes somewhere from three to five days to do the Rideau,from Kingston to Ottawa, depending on how fast you want to go and how much punishment your wallet can take paying for fuel.  Our jaunt was two nights, from Westport to Merrickville, where the Dissipate III is docked. Rob and Juudy were returning from their longer trip from Merrickville to Kingston and back to Merrickville.

For those who own pleasure craft of a certain size, you know that boating is an exercise in compact living.  For example, the head (or the toilet for the non-boaty) is small.  As a male you decide if your requirement is for seating or standing and enter with the appropriate side facing where you want to put it. 

With the boat underway, you sit, regardless of what yoDissipate III at Rideau Ferryu intend to do, or take the time to mop everything down when you’re done, having sprayed all available surfaces including the ceiling with your products.  That’s only funny once and not fun for the others on the boat, so it is avoided.

Rob has owned several pleasure craft all around the same size and has boated on the Rideau since shortly after it was built, so his captaincy is certain, safe and assured, which is reassuring.  I grew up on Big Rideau, deep into German Bay, which was the family cottage for many years and in Smith’s Falls, which is about smack-dab in the middle of the Rideau Canal.  Yes, I have been thrown out of Tony’s in Portland for being too drunk to sing properly.  We used to stay regularly at Gallagher House in Portland before it burned down.

Westport was where we started, driving down from Ottawa, with our supplies and sleeping kit.  Dissipate III can, on paper, sleep eight people, if they are all under 100 pounds and are less than three feet tall.  Pragmatically, as grownups, we do not sleep well stacked like firewood.  The solution is for two in the cabin and two on the deck, under the boat canvas, on an air mattress with sleeping bags. 

This might seem primitive, but let me assure you, there is no better night’s sleep than View from the boat at Westportthat, including various hotels’ luxury bedding.  You go to sleep to the sound of crickets, wind in the trees and a coolish breeze across your face and wake when the sun comes up, to the sound of birds warming up their singing voices for the day ahead.  There is nothing better for the soul, including all the natural healing products you can name, organized religion, or mythical crystals hung from your earlobes, than a night’s sleep on the back of a boat. Especially after putting a huge dent in a bottle of Gosling’s Black Seal rum mixed with Harvey and Vern’s Ginger Beer.

Getting underway involves careful packing and stowage as those who have owned campers or RVs can attest.  You put stuff away when you’re done with it, in the right place, enforcing a sense of purpose with your actions, a deliberateness that we rarely perform in our normal life.  Deflate the bed and roll it up, roll up the sleeping bags and pillows, stowing them away.  Move the deck chairs back into place, replace the sofa/futon, a small table for coffee and open up some of the canvas.  Dishes done in the galley, stowed and secured, then a quick trip ashore to look after some biological imperatives, as the boat rule is liquids only to keep the use of the holding tank to a minimum.

Dissipate III has two monstrous carbureted 454 cubic inch engines under the floor, so it can, if so flogged, run like a civet cat with a flaming kerosene enema, up on plane.  This is not our style of transport, as time is not of the essence.  Our pace on the Dissipate III is leisurely, the motors purring along, loud enough to hear, but not so loud as to obliterate all possible conversation.  The water splashing on the hull and the wind make more noise.  You go fast enough to get there but slow enough to say, ‘look at that coming up’, instead of ‘you should have seen that!’

The trip out of Westport navigates you by some impressive summer homes.  Cottages can be different things to different people.  Some like a rustic feel, a few conveniences but mostly it is the view out the windows and endless games of rummy DSC_5404or cribbage with family and friends.  Others insist that their Malaysian Toast Chef has their own guest house near the helipad.  Westport has all of these and so does Big Rideau Lake.  There are joints that haven’t been painted since Dief was the Chief and maintenance consists of replacing the screens every spring where the raccoons ate their way into the cottage last winter.  Others insist their personal funicular railway to the water’s edge is only waxed with 100% Brazilian carnauba by the fourth-generation freelance funicular waxer named Pietro, on retainer from Milan. 

There is an island for sale in the middle of the lake, just under $700,000 with three cottages on it already, one of which looks like it was used to cook meth, while the other two look like they have seen better days.  We considered pooling our resources, but as I only had $11.00 in my pockets and Rob was carrying a cue ball and a coaster from a restaurant in Gananoque, we passed on putting our names forward. 

We had considered buying the island just the same, then buying the upper half of a big while military surplus radome from the Army, and erecting it on the middle of the island just above the treetops.  We figured we could start really bad black-helicopter rumours that could go on for years. 

Locking through is one of the Arts of the Boat.  Locks are a way to raise or lower boats from one area to another and theDSC_5495 essential workings of a lock haven’t changed much since ancient Egypt.  Gates to hold back the water and sluices that let water up high flood the lower locks.  As the water goes up, the boats go up, open the doors at the other end and the boats can sail out, but into the higher water.  Do this enough times and you can raise or lower boats several dozen feet.  Smith’s Falls has a 26 foot rise at the main lock under Beckwith Street.  DSC_5194

Where the Art comes in, is in navigating the boat into the lock.  Imagine parking your car in the front hall closet without punching a hole into the bathroom, or moving so much as one wispy summer throw scarf in one shot, and you have an appreciation of the skill level needed.  Rob is a master in the locks, juggling velocity, wind, inertia, angles, throttles, and props with the delicacy of a surgeon.  It was always beautiful to watch Dissipate III glide into the lock under Rob’s skillful hands.

We stopped for the night at Poonamalie, lock 32.  Poonamalie is pronounced two ways correctly, depending on wheDSC_5502re you are from.  The official Parks Canada pronunciation is Poon-a-mahlee.  If you’re from Smith’s Falls (which is pronounced Smiffallz by the locals) you might pronounce it Poon-mallee.  If you pronounce it Poony-a-mally on the Reedux  you ain’t from around here. 

Regardless, Poon is 22 kilometers from anywhere.  At night it is darker than Sylvia Plath on downers, but we weDSC_5493re on shore power and enjoyed lasagna, Kracken Rum with more of Harvey and Vern’s Ginger Beer and too much wine. The bed was inflated and heads asleep before 10 pm in the pitch black silence of Poonamalie dockside.

Our final day navigated us through Smith’s Falls, Old Sly’s, Edmond’s, with its two foot lift, then Kilmarnock and finally through Merrickville, gliding into Aylings Marina late in the afternoon.  A quick drive back to Westport to pick up our car, then unload our kit from the boat and back home to our own bed.

Which taught us what, exactly?  It taught us not to sear a jerk-spiced pork tenderloin inside the boat, as the fumes from the Scotch bonnet peppers in jerk seasoning react to heat by giving off something near to tear gas for a few minutes. 

It taught us that friends are more important than we sometime remember. 

It taught us that uncontrollable laughing at Jim Jeffries the comedian is truly the best medicine. 

It taught us that travelling gracefully, while at peace with the nature around you, is good for the soul.  It reminds you of the important things and lets you forget the parenthetical and tangential issues of someone else’s monkey in someone else’s circus.   

It also teaches you that 2.5 ounces of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum with 4 ounces of Harvey and Vern’s Ginger Beer and one ice cube in a plastic sippy cup for grownups is, if not perfect, at least close enough to perfect to let you see Perfect through the trees.

For this, we are grateful.  Thank you, Rob and Juudy.

Bars In Ottawa – Reprint

Some days you look back at these posts on Roaddave and see the ones that get the most hits.  In order to slake the feverish imaginings of our readers, herewith a reprint from 2007, as posted with comments attached.

Posted on December 1, 2007 | 31 Comments | Edit

I was doing some reflecting the other day, not in the sense of reflecting light, as I do that well enough, without any special training, but reflecting, in the sense of remembering things.  Bars seemed to come back to me.  Bars, as in licensed beverage alcohol parlours.

Some of these establishments are long gone, but a few still exist.  Others exist hazily as I was probably drunk when I went in and drunker when I came out, but I do have vague recollections of their decor.  Herewith, a list of Bars.

The Maple Leaf in Ottawa, site of much illegal drinking during high school.  A classic linoleum floor, Arborite tables and fluorescent lights.  Cheap draft and ghastly chuckwagon sandwiches that were reheated in a metal box, with what looked like a 300 watt lightbulb inside to heat your lunch.  After you got your chuckwagon sandwich and tore away the partially charred cellophane, you used mustard packets by the handful to douse the taste of the sandwich.   

The Ottawa House, Hull.  Long gone, but a huge beer parlour that sat five or six hundred at a go and had a balcony surrounding the main dance floor.  Quarts of beer served to anyone who could see over the bar.  Also home of my first brush with the original 12 percent Bras D’Or beer.  There was usually a band in attendance.  The Guess Who played there toward the end of their career and apparently I saw them.  Getting puked on from the balcony was a hazard of the Ottawa House, but they didn’t care if you took the party into the street too. 

The Eastview Hotel, Eastview.  (I refuse to call it Vanier, it’s Eastview, dammit!) Also long gone.  Had basement rec-room ‘oak’ panelling in the bar and a perpetually sticky floor from spillage.  Apparently there were people who lived in the Hotel. but I’m reasonably certain those folks never actually ventured out in daylight.  

The Chaud, Hull.  There were two Hotel Chaudieres.  The Rose Room and the Green Door.  The Rose Room was upstairs, where you took a date.  The Green Door is where you went to get drunk and fight.  Both held more than 2,000 patrons at a go.  You were brought a quart as a matter of course; only girls were brought pint bottles.  The servers all had bus-driver change machines hooked to their belts and could carry at least 20 quarts and four jugs on a tray, with one hand. 

In the glory days, the Chaudiere saw Louis Armstrong play the Rose Room.  Later, bands like Sha-Na-Na, the Staccatos, Octavian and the Five Man Electrical Band played there.  The Green Door was the kind of place where when you opened the door, you immediately ducked down, as there was either a bottle or a chair headed your way. 

The Chaud was also home of Gerry Barber, the toughest bouncer on the planet.  One story about Barber will suffice:  A patron was being unruly and Barber asked him to sit down and shutthefuckup, tabernac!.  The patron objected and showed his displeasure by breaking a nearly full quart beer bottle over Gerry Barber’s head.  Normally, this would knock most humans to their knees. 

Barber laughed out loud, in the face of the patron:  The 2,000 drunks in the room instantly became very quiet, as we knew what was going to happen next.  Barber grabbed the patron by the face and genitals, throwing him in the direction of the door, over a couple of tables.  When Barber strode over to where the crumpled patron lay, he was still chuckling to himself.  He picked up the patron by the belt, then used the patron’s head to open the door and toss him into the parking lot.  The band resumed playing and the rest of us resumed drinking.

The British Hotel, Aylmer.  The British sold something they called “Porch Climber”, which was a fortified wine-related fluid:  Sort of a high-test sangria, without the fruit slices, juice, or images of Spain.  Porch Climber was sold in pitchers, like draft and if memory serves, was $3 per 64 oz pitcher, while beer was $5 a pitcher. 

Why it was called Porch Climber was never explained.  However, after a pitcher of that stuff, you’d be unable to get up on the porch, or for that matter, off the front lawn, where you had passed out, face down, the night before.  It also stained white Addidas three-stripe running shoes permanently.

The World, Ottawa.  The World was Ottawa’s premiere blues bar and had 300 as its’ listed capacity.  When bluesman Buddy Guy played The World, they sold 700 tickets and everyone showed up. 

Women, on those nights when the house was full, (Long John Baldry would also pack the joint), would routinely be assaulted, or to use the vernacular of the time, “felt up”, as they tried to move through the crowd.  On occasion, a woman would be body surfed on the top of the crowd over to the bar, or the rest rooms, depending on where she wanted to go.

The Grads. Ottawa.  Originally a old fashioned “Ladies and Escorts” and “Men’s Entrance” type of tavern, it evolved into a watering hole for most of Carleton University, at one time or another.  The colour scheme was beige and red, like an old streetcar or the Ottawa Transport Company buses of the time.  The nicest thing about the Grads was the sign out front in Art Deco typography and design.  The restrooms were from the Night of the Living Dead.

Friends and Co.,  Ottawa.  In the disco era, Friends and Co was a meat-market of oak and brick, the concept being the ‘beautiful people’ of Ottawa would come together to drink and go home with someone different every night.  The beautiful people did congregate there and it was a spritzer and fern joint of the worst kind.

The Talisman, Ottawa.  The Talisman Hotel had a bar in the basement, which was done in full-on tiki lounge, with bamboo lamps, reed wall coverings, woven rattan furniture and servers in mahalo shirts in the dead of winter. 

I can remember vaguely, some of, the Zombies they served, as well as the sounds of a South Korean disco band doing “That’s the Way, I Like It” in very bad accents.  However, they did have a full horn section of stone killers and the keyboard player had a Hammond B3 with the lightweight Leslie speaker cabinet that he knew how to play.  He made the table lamps shake with that organ when they did “Gimme Some Lovin’ by the Spencer Davis Group. 

Barrymore’s, Ottawa.  Barrymore’s had an interesting history.  Originally, the Imperial Theatre, it was a movie theatre on Bank Street, then it was shuttered for a number of years, with the seats and screen still intact inside, covered in dust.  After a decade or two, it was reopened, at least the balcony and loges section, as Pandora’s Box, a strip club that was needlessly upscale for the time and neighbourhood.  Pandora’s restored some of the elaborate painting and gilt work of the original Imperial and recycled some of the velvet draperies for the peelers’ runway. 

Then it closed again and reopened as Barrymore’s, a pre-eminent live music bar and showcase.  Any big act playing Ottawa at the Civic Centre, if they could, would stay over an extra night, or come a night early, to play Barrymore’s.  Barrymore’s held, legally, 550 people.  I was fortunate enough to see George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Tina Turner and Huey Lewis and the News in Barrymore’s. 

There’s something galactically Right about seeing Huey Lewis or George Thorogood in a packed, smoky bar, with the entire place jumping up and down in unison, everyone, including the band, piss drunk.  Tina Turner had just released “Private Dancer” and was a mega-star, who had booked Barrymore’s months before, as a warmup date for her tour.  A Rolling Stones tribute band, the Blushing Brides, used to own the place when they played there.

Licensed as a bar, Barrymore’s didn’t have a bad seat in the place.  A big stage, left over from the strippers, and one of the first GE Talaria video projection systems that was installed for non-band nights.  They’d fire up the video system and play some of the very first music videos on the big screen at ear-splitting volume.  On very quiet nights, they’d hook an Atari Pong game up to the big screen and you could play Pong on a screen that was twenty feet wide.

Pineland.  Ottawa.  In what looked like a small, warmed over rural arena, next to a rental go-kart track, some of the 60’s and 70’s best local bands played Pineland.  The CFRA Campus Club for Coke, with Al Pascal, used to host the bands.  Pineland was the home for the Townsmen, the Staccatos, Octavian, Five Man, the Cooper Brothers, Bolt Upright and hundred more bands.  Ostensibly, Pineland was not licensed, but Gilbey’s Lemon Gin was readily available. 

I’m going to end it here, for now, but if you remember some of the old Ottawa hotspots, like the Red Door, the Laf, Salon Diane and Salon Colette, as well as the Claude, the Elmdale, the VD and some of the other holes, drop me a line.

There are more stories to be had.

31 responses to “Bars in Ottawa Pt I”

  1. sherry | September 6, 2008 at 11:07 AM | Reply | Edit

    These are great stories, hope you don’t mind some additional info about Barrymore’s.
    The Imperial Theatre opened in 1914 and seated 1200 people.  A floor was installed in the 1960’s, running from the bottom of the balcony to the back of the original stage.  This space was eventually rented to Canada’s first all nude strip club, Pandora’s Box.  A floor was also installed at the front of the building over the original lobby, and was used as a massage parlor.  The strip club kept the original balcony theatre seats and had purchased the red velvet curtains from the Capitol Theatre when it was demolished, but never did any restoration.
    Pandora’s Box was closed in 1978 for it’s failure to meet building safety standards.  4 partners bought the lease and renovated the space to open as a disco/supper club.  Cost overruns and a bad review by Ottawa Citizen Dave Brown columnist forced the club into bankruptcy within 18 months.
    In 1981 the lease was purchased by 3 partners who thought it would make a great live music venue.  And so it was for more than 10 years.  What many people may not know is the club’s legal capacity was 198 people, posted on the liquor licence behind the lower bar.  Security’s first priority was to make sure aisles, stairways and exits, were clear, especially if the club was over capacity.  Liquor, fire and police inspectors would drop in from time to time to make sure patrons were safe, and responsible managers were on duty.  The highest attendance was for George Thorogood, more than 550 people.
    The owner’s biggest concern was that the poured floor did not have enough support.  On busy nights the ceiling of the Nervous Onion would move up and down.  Perhaps that is why it is closed now.

  2. Chris | May 15, 2009 at 3:22 PM | Reply | Edit

    Yes Gerry Barber was a very tought bouncer, Im trying to find out more about him or if theres a family historian or any pictures, see i am somehow kin to gerry barber, he was my moms cousin and i googled his name today and thats how i came across your blog, if you know anything elts about him please e-mail me at or if you can point me in the direction of someone who does thank you.

  3. Pierre | December 26, 2009 at 9:38 PM | Reply | Edit

    Your write-up brings back memories, only because I left those places almost sober and remembering everything that went on. Just to make a note about the Chaud, short for Chaudiere Golf and Country Club. It was situated on the Aylmer Road in Aylmer, not in Hull, across from the Glenlea Golf an Country Club, known today as the Champlain Golf Club. The Chaud was a conbination of two watering holes. The Rose Room, situated upstair, was a very classy, old style dance hall with a mezzanine or balcony level on all four walls. The Green Room, on the other hand, was more of a dive bar where you could get wasted on beer and shop for your favorite drugs. Drugs were peddled in the same manner as peanuts and popcorn at a baseball game. “MESC, ACID, HASH!”The Chaud was sold after the owner, JP Maloney, died. It was levelled and replaced by what is now known as the Chateau Cartier Hotel and Resort. The golf course is in much better shape since the change.Another good place for seeing bands, such as the Cooper Brothers, was the Gatineau Golf and Country Club. The building was destroyed by fire and replaced by a Loblaws and strip mall in the 80’s.What memories we have!

  4. Jim | July 6, 2010 at 3:20 AM | Reply | Edit

    Oh, Pineland. I worked there for a couple of years taking money and stamping hands. But more than that, I painted the pictures and murals in dayglo. I painted a wild mandala on Octavian’s drum kits but it flaked off after a couple of shows. Fun times.

  5. David | July 6, 2010 at 9:03 PM | Reply | Edit

    Thank you Arnold, for droppnig by. And also a large thanks to others who have commented and filled in some of the gaps in the memories.

  6. Tom | October 6, 2010 at 10:33 PM | Reply | Edit

    just a small comment re the Chaudiere Green Door – I ‘lived’ there back in 1971 – 1973 when I graduated to the Rose Room after they got rid of Terry Carisse and started bringing in rock bands and I can tell you there’s no way you could fit 2000 people in the Green Door (maybe a couple of hundred); Rose Room – yes, GD – NO

    • Road-Dave | October 9, 2010 at 11:56 AM | Reply | Edit


      OK, I’m guilty of exaggeration 🙂 Thanks for your comment. I’ll refer you over to the main site, which is The ds46ont one was used just for the migration from Live Spaces. See you around.


  7. Brent | October 11, 2010 at 2:55 PM | Reply | Edit

    Great stories!

  8. al d. | September 29, 2011 at 4:17 AM | Reply | Edit

    What was the name of the tavern in the old Union Station in Ottawa. It was across from the Grand hotel (bar) on Besserer st. and Sussex

  9. FRANCINE | January 27, 2013 at 10:21 PM | Reply | Edit

    So glad I came across this info – I had requested photos of The Chaud and here I am… About the Glenlea – was that across the The Chaud a bit down the road on way to Aylmer? I spent lots of weekends @ The Ottawa House – Loved the bands… what was the name of the blind singer -he was so good. Ray Hutchison? There was a nearby venue that I saw The Platters @ – same side as The Chaudiere – maybe further heading again to Aylmer… and The British Hotel in Aylmer – Western singer – Huey Scott… he took forever to prepare – warm up for his shows – back in the 60’s. My then husband’s favorite artist.
    What about the hotels downtown Hull like the dance halls @ Chez Henri & there was another popular one around the portage area. Not far from The Ottawa House.
    Man… it sure feels good to go back in time – I miss those days!

    About the tavern on Besserer & Sussex – it’s on the tip of memory. Shoot!
    Wish I could read more about Ottawa/Hull’s past entertainment venues.

    Oh… I used to go dancing on Bank Street – One b4 the exhibition grounds.. and the Oak Door – anyone remember those two?

    I sang @ age 14 @ La Salle Hotel on Dalhousie – My dad took me and put me on stage – Food was served so I was allowed in. I sang “You Made Me Love You’ lol How I miss my teenage & 20’s years.

    One last place was @ The Riverside in Eastview (Vanier) on Rifer Road.
    Gino Vanelli performed there he said @ his last show in October @ Nepean Centrepoint Theatre.

    I saw Elvis in 56 when he came to Ottawa – hmmm was it the colosium?

    Anyways – Thanks for the memories…

  10. richard | January 29, 2013 at 8:38 AM | Reply | Edit

    Youngsters all what about the rendezvous or the masque rouge maybe Le soleil and for any one with an ounce of class cafe le Hibou

    • Susan Smith | May 3, 2013 at 11:57 PM | Reply | Edit

      I was looking for info on the Rendezvous when I came across this blog. It was my tavern style experience as a University Student, when the bars closed in Ottawa that was where everyone went.

      • Brent Beatty | May 4, 2013 at 7:37 PM | | Edit

        When I drove cab for ABC in the early 70’s, the shift would end about 1:00 am for us and we’ed head over to the Rendezvous. It had an atmossphere that we liked; kinda smokey and not too pretentious. The back room was our favourite and we would be left alone by the bouncers as long as we behaved ourselves, which we usually did.
        But I remember one night when about a dozen or us, guys and gals, showed up and took a table in the back. I had to use the washroom and wasn`t there very long but by the time I got back to the table, the entire crew were getting the bum`s rush out the door. I still don`t know to this day what the Hell happened but somebody must have pissed off a bouncer to a great degree and that was that.
        I miss the place even today as it represented the old Hull before all the Fed. Gov`t buildings went up.
        Fond memories,

  11. raoul duke | March 27, 2013 at 3:46 PM | Reply | Edit

    I remember my first visit to the Chaud; the after party for our grade 12 ‘formal’ (held at the Talisman, natch) which shut down early after a crew member burned half his face while setting off a phosphorous flash-pot with a match, but that’s another story.

    What I clearly remember was someone setting off a backyard sized firework (the ‘Volcano’ sort) on a table next to a back wall of the Green Door. It went off for about a minute. And no one noticed or did anything about it. Coolest thing I have ever seen in a bar.

    Gerry Barber was the reason the Chaud wasn’t a biker bar. ‘Nuff said.

  12. Les | August 10, 2013 at 11:27 AM | Reply | Edit

    The Plaza…Sparks St. west of Bank St, 1960’s -1970’s. Bar downstairs, 25 cent drafts, music upstairs, saw Canada Goose perform there.

    Le Soleil, Hull
    Disco Viva, Hull
    Sacs Disco Bar, Hull
    Bests Bar, Hull
    Rotters Club
    Chez Henri, Hull

    Trying to remember the name of a disco on Riverside that my parents used to go to in the ’60’s….

    • Brent | August 21, 2013 at 9:33 PM | Reply | Edit

      If I recall, and it’s getting harder to do that these days, it was called The Rib.
      But I stand ready to be corrected, among other things.

  13. Michael Krushnisky | August 30, 2013 at 11:55 PM | Reply | Edit

    The nickname for the Riverside Tavern and Disco was “The Rib”. Upstairs, you could find the disco that had Playboy Bunny replicas serving drinks in the early to mid 70’s. The Tavern downstairs, (very similar to the Maple Leaf Tavern located on the corner of Montreal Road and St. Laurent Blvd.) was where all the heavy duty power-drinkers threw back quarts of ’50’, ‘EX’, etc. Fights were pretty common but generally just included fists and boots. Some taverns actually had what they called a ‘panic button’ in their bathrooms, if you got jumped you could reach to hit the buzzer so the waiters could come to your assistance. I remember being able to buy a quart for .75 cents at the ‘Leaf’ and the ‘Rib’ taverns, only place cheaper we knew of was the Ottawa House tavern across the Ottawa River in Hull Quebec for .70 cents. I also remember being able to purchase beer at any of these Taverns long before I turned 18 which was the “drinking age” at the time. As I sit here writing this response to the above comments I realize that I could likely talk about these places for days on end, I somehow completed Grade 13 at Rideau High School inspite of it being located down the road from the ‘Leaf’ (“ML”). I actually remember a teacher at Rideau whose class was scheduled on Friday afternoons, with most of the class down at the draft room of the Maple Leaf each Friday for long lunch hours, he finally relented and even taught a few classes while quaffing drafts with us at the Maple Leaf Draft room. “Those were the days my friend” however different from the old theme song of the All in the Family sitcom – “I knew they would have to end”, HA-HA.

  14. Road Dave | August 31, 2013 at 12:22 PM | Reply | Edit

    In reviewing all these postings, it seems there are several of us with the same mental problem: We were drunk. I’ll add the Sly Fox Disco on Carling Ave (now some evangelical church) that was originalloy the Sampan restaurant. Rumor was the Sly Fox had one of the floor lights from the set of “Saturday Night Fever” in the dance floor. Cheezy Hank (The Chez Henri) was also a fern bar in its’ later iterations.

  15. Mike | August 31, 2013 at 1:13 PM | Reply | Edit

    This is like eating peanuts, I can’t stop recollecting now. Do you remember the Lafontaine Hotel on Montreal Road, downstairs was the proverbial Tavern with more or less same atmosphere as the Leaf and the Rib, but upstairs was the ‘Golden Rail’ – Country music bands at their finest, packed to the rafters Thursday, Friday & Saturday nights, lots of women seated alone, always friendly and easy to meet. I vividly remember being in there one night when they announced that Elvis Presley had just died, there was literally a hushed silence over the place for a good minute while the patrons dealt with their shock. Another really dingy tavern I remember on Montreal Road was the Eastview Hotel, was definitely a place you wanted to have someone watching your back, lot of tough, dangerous characters frequented the Eastview, some had just been released from Prison or the detention centre on Innes Road (Holiday Innes) as they referred to it. Of course all of Montreal Road had plenty of watering holes and was like the gateway to the “Byward Market” by way of the Cummings Bridge (more stories for another day). Some people I knew kept up that way of life throughout their adult lives – I guess thats why I regularly find so many familiar names, only in their 50’s reflected in the Ottawa Citizen Obituaries.

  16. Perry | October 9, 2013 at 2:54 AM | Reply | Edit

    The Raceway Tavern on Clarence St. Classic Market tavern with hookers galore. Live music by Paul Henry. Bouncer Gordie Galinger kept us safe and his wife at the bar kept us drunk. Ahh, my sweet university days!

  17. Susan | October 23, 2013 at 12:55 AM | Reply | Edit

    I remember going to the Chaud to see Cheap Trick, drinking quarts and getting stoned right at your table because back then you could—that was an awesome show, from what I remember, because I don’t remember leaving the Chaud or how I got home that night. Someone mentioned the Talisman had a bar downstairs so for the record I believe it was called the Beachcomber! Also does anyone remember the Black Swan or Club Zink? Great stories …Cheers 🙂

  18. Rob N | November 8, 2013 at 7:00 PM | Reply | Edit

    Wow I am glad I found this page what memories. I grew up in Carp and Saturday and Sunday nights we loaded up a few cars and headed to the Chaud. We never went into the Green Door, although we fought our fair share they had a different code of conduct down in that hole( bottles knives, guns etc). Do you remember the old guy that came around with the flash camera and would take your picture for a few bucks. I still have a pic from there from 83. The only place you could buy anything hash,pcp,lsd,pot uppers downers lol you name it. We just smoked the hash. Remember how the waiters would come around with their coin changers and flash lights. For a small tip they would hold the flashlight so you could see while rolling your joint on the table. If you were in a fight god forbid you had better get your shots in quick and get out of there before Gerry Barber got there and got a hold of you. I saw many a supposed tough guy get the crap kicked out of them be Barber and then ejected with his signature toss out the front door and down the steps, a buddy of mine had that pleasure one evening. One night a buddy and myself went in and had a sprinkle in the can and while we were walking by a stall with the door open we saw a biker looking dude (for lack of a better term) having a crap with the door open. My buddy and I were laughing as we ponied up to the urinal, we stopped laughing emediately when we heard ” hey stretch you think that’s pretty funny eh) my buddy is 6Ft 6 in and had a gun in his ear. Luckily a guy in the washroom saw this and got out and got Barber. The rest is history ( they didn’t call the cops for those things at the chaud).

    Anyway lots of great times. They don’t make places like that anymore.
    As a final note we had to drive through the hull , qpp, rcmp, nepean, Ottawa, opp police forces to get home. Imagine these days!!!

  19. Doug | February 19, 2014 at 9:31 PM | Reply | Edit

    Seems I just jumped in Mr. Peabody’s wayback machine, yeeesh.. yeah, I remember, or not remember getting home from the Chaud many a times. and damn, I shoulda taken that Raquel Welch poster from behind the bar..

    Glad someone remembered the Raceway Tavern. Interesting times were had there. And don’t forget the Albion Hotel. A good place to go when you didn’t want to be around others, or cheerful people. Quite sullen at times, but hey, the drinks were cheap..

    Being a west-ender growing up, there was always the CrazyHorse on March Road to fall back on, if you didn’t want to head into the city.

    And during the university days, the weekend routine was always the same.. Thursday nights at Oliver’s at Carleton U. ( saw some amazing early acts there, Dave Edmunds, Nick Lowe, John Baldry, etc etc). Friday nights were always the Algonquin Pub ( Powder Blues Band, Crowbar, Doug & the Slugs, etc), then over to Hull, hoping to find a date for Saturday night. Saturday night it was Disco Reflections at some hotel ( the Delta Inn) with your date, then over to Hull…. Sunday, sleep it all off and start over again..

    For a good bite to eat with your beer, there was always the Capri restaurant on Merivale, with their square pizza and huge jugs of beer, or Peter’s Pantry in the Carling area ( really hot waitresses there at the time), and damn, the name escapes me right now of the place on Richmond Road in Westboro where the Mill St. Brewery place is now..Kind of a rundown place, but the same faces night after night after night, each with their own life story to listen in on if they let you….

    and if you desperate, really desperate for a date, there was always the singles night at the Concord Hotel on Montreal Road on a winter’s Friday night…

    yeah, good times, good times. Thanks for the memories in dragging a lot of these up. The Rose Room was always the fave and the go-to place though. even at 16, with an underage ID card that would do McLovin’ proud, lol

  20. Chantal | March 20, 2014 at 9:55 PM | Reply | Edit

    Anyone remember the bar where the Restaurant 18 is now or basement where Side Door is located….I can’t remember the name for the life of me…I think it had the word blue in it but not sure

  21. Wayne ( Eggs) Benedict | March 31, 2014 at 3:10 PM | Reply | Edit

    I remember all of those joints. At the same time I ran dances at Pineland, Parkdale, Lighthouse and Beamish Hill Chalet. Also managed Octavian and Liberation, so have a ton of great memories. FUN, FUN, FUN !!!

  22. Dean Hagopian. | April 1, 2014 at 11:29 PM | Reply | Edit

    My nerves I’m hemmorhaging mentally from the waves of memories. EAsy on the hemp everyone. Seem to be missing another of my fave watering holes, super for music and talent too, On the upper Aylmer rd, it was a Golf Course also., Owned by Joe Sax, and his two shall we say very entertaining sons, Spent a lot of time there when I was living in Aylmer and working at OY. Super musicians, seem to remember Russ Thomas, before he changed his name and moved to Montreal. Spent many nights when Johnny Nash was there. We(being the Staccatos played at most of the places mentioned, so you can understand how weird my memories might be. Another kick ass quality bar we liked alot was the Duvernay in Hull. Played and got whacked there on many occasions, cause that ‘s what one did in those days and nights. Thanks for the rushes.

    • Road Dave | April 2, 2014 at 12:38 AM | Reply | Edit

      And thanks for a blast from the past from Dean Hagopian, back when AM radio was Boss! I’ll add memories of Al Pascal, Shelley Emmond, Trevor Kidd, Ivan Hunter, Dave “50,000” Watts, Bill Drake, Tom Lucas, Jim Johston, Art Stevens, Casey Fox, Rick Shannon and the Original Winter’s Nights on BY at the old joint on Richmond Rd.

  23. Sue | April 2, 2014 at 4:52 PM | Reply | Edit

    K Mart resturant for the Algonquin College students was a great watering hole and dancing on the Rose Room floor as it heaved and moved with all the folks is a memory worth while!

Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers passed away today at 81, (in Hollywood years 52) from complications from throat surgery. Like Phyllis Diller, she was one of the first women who did standup and in the parlance of the trade, killed it just about every time she went out.  Vegas, Ed Sullivan, The Tonight Show, films, television and of course, on stage armed with nothing more than a microphone, a glass of water and a spotlight.  She did consummate old-skool standup.  Setup, punchline, setup, punchline, rinse, repeat, topper, kill, bow, get off the stage.

Originally from Brooklyn, Joan Alexandra Rosenberg (nee Molinsky) had a BA in English Lit and Anthropology of all things.  She took Rivers as her stage name on the advice of her then-agent Tony Rivers.  I suspect it was revenge that made her switch from Molinsky to Rivers.

We can joke about her having so many facelifts she has to put pantyliners in the center of her bra, or, when she’s naked, from behind she looks like a Rhodesian Ridgeback, or that her stuff on QVC/The Shopping Channel was so cheap, you’d see a necklace run under the fridge when you turned the lights on.  She didn’t care and if you could give back as good as you got, then game on. 

Or, we could just lament her passing with a pause.

She made people laugh.  Not a bad epitaph for a comedian.   

Summer Wind-Down

We’ve been busy over the summer, what with lounging on the deck, taking it easy and generally not giving a blue-nosed damn about much of anything.  However, since school is back in, we figured, hey, let’s do some of that blogging thing again…

Where to start, as the outrages are thick and deep.  We will condense our reactions to the beheading videos over the summer, courtesy of ISIS.  See that red dot on your fellow fighters forehead?  That’s a laser, a targeting laser.  One, nice, slow pull and about 600 grams of rapidly moving metal will adjust your attitude, forever.  Nice knowing you.

Celebrity nudes hacked.  It looks like it was nothing more than a simple phishing hack, an unsolicited email demanding the users name and password to keep their iCloud account alive, ostensibly for ‘security’ reasons.  The celebrities fell for it, sending the hackers the keys to the kingdom, so they could download anything they wanted.  This included, um, intimate, personal, private pictures and videos which have been and are being traded online by the one-handed typist set. 

So, to help out the celebrities whose antics are more or less public now, here’s a little reminder:  Don’t take photos of yourself or your partners with your phone and don’t store them on a computer, ever.  This is why the Polaroid was invented, but alas, the Polaroid camera is no more unless you score one at a garage sale and bucks-up for Fuji’s instant film.  Perhaps a simpler fix then; stop taking selfies of you enjoying a moment and simply enjoy the actual moment with whomever you are enjoying it with. 

Russia either is, or is not invading the Ukraine, depending on how much shiite you want with your sandwich.  The Ukraine has oil, food and money.  Russia does not, or at least not as much as they did before the Soviet Union decided to implode and hand over all their cash to various oligarchs to buy apartments in London. 

The only problem here is that Putin does not care what we in the rest of the world think; he’s quite willing to do whatever he wants to do with the Ukraine and has the army to back it up.  He’s assuming that the rest of the world is a) trying not to starve to death, or b) discussing the latest Kardashian selfie without a care for geopolitics. 

Putin’s right of course.  Most people in the first world couldn’t spell geopolitics, let alone define it, or understand the ramifications of Russia rolling back to the clock to about this time in 1939.  Which explains why the global reaction has the same intensity and depth on intellectual discourse as the Toronto Blue Jays not making the playoffs, again. 

Actually, there has been more discussion of the Jays not making the playoffs on Sports Radio, as the shut-ins dissect the 2014 MLB season with the half-wits and the under-medicated bipolars who now constitute the audience for most radio station call-in shows.  Russia invading the Ukraine?  We’ve got Gord on the line from Pentanguishine: Perhaps the Jays could get a second-round draft pick form the Ukraine National League?  A good left-hander maybe?

We despair of this planet some days.