Skip To Content
Photos from Apt613 contributor meetings.

A year in the life of an Apt613 contributor

By John McDonald on December 14, 2016

Joe Henry recently wrote on Facebook that “this year has been a hard one in so many respects; and like many, I have been more rattled than I’d care to own.”

(Let’s take a collective deep breath. It’s almost over.)

While I can appreciate fully Joe’s sentiments, he was one reason why these past 12 months have been so memorable for me.

I’m referring to the half hour I spent speaking with him about his project with Billy Bragg, the songwriting process, and the general state of the world.

Photo by Ray Foley.

Photo by Ray Foley.

This opportunity became possible because a year ago I made the decision to become an Apt613 contributor.

What a good move on my part.

I have met such incredibly talented and interesting people as a result.

Local business owner Jodi Samis told me about moving her Cardamom & Cloves bricks and mortar business to an online-only spice shop. Gina and Tony Vachhio spoke of their Italian restaurant, Zolas, celebrating 30 years in business. Diana Riabko reflected on perogies, and her family’s business producing the Ukranian staple.

Jodi Samis. Photo by Kelly Hotte.

Jodi Samis. Photo by Kelly Hotte.

I’ve laughed with Kerri Ough of Good Lovelies, and with singer-songwriter Donovan Woods. Ottawa musicians Sonny Aiken and Mabel Beggs shared their Carter Family inspired song collection. Bluegrass stalwarts Maple Hill helped me explore their new release, and introduced me to this genre of music.

I’ve spotlighted the talents of pencil artists (Alison Fagan), actors (Classic Theatre Festival), and writers (Pamela George).

And I’ve had a chance to experience the important work of non-profit organizations such as the Federation of Canadian Humane Societies, and Ottawa Therapy Dogs.

Derek deLouché, Barbara Cartwright and Luna Allison of CFHS, photo by Kelly Hotte.

Derek deLouché, Barbara Cartwright and Luna Allison of CFHS, photo by Kelly Hotte.

My first piece, a review of the Annual Christmas Goose, appeared on 9 December, followed soon after by a piece about Black Squirrel Books and Cafe. 

Who knows what excitement is on the horizon?

Well, I do. 

I’ll be meeting award winning Mandi Lunan this week to talk about This Charming Mandi, her new business consulting service, post Auntie Loo’s. 

And I’m scheduled to speak with Beau’s co-founder Steve Beauchesne about the Van Kleek brewery’s newly-announced donations program to benefit community-building groups, charitable organizations, and independent arts.

Variety is certainly assured as a contributor. 

That’s likely a reflection of Ottawa (“the small town city”), and Apt613 (“a place where we can learn and talk about new and exciting people, places, and goings on”).

So if you want a taste of that variety, pull out your annual (often written, always ignored) resolution list and add this: become an apt613 contributor.

This is one resolution you’ll be glad you made. 

Apt613 is very grateful for all of our contributors’ hard work!

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer contributor for Apt613, send us an email at We’re glad to connect you with story ideas, or feel free to pitch us a story on anything Ottawa-related. We also hold regular get-togethers for contributors and people interested in contributing. Watch this space for more details on upcoming meetings, or drop us a line to be added to our email newsletter.

  • Tagged in