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Weekly News Review: We’re number 1, Bank street construction, Westfest, state of arts in Ottawa and lots more!

By François Levesque on April 4, 2011

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Photo courtesy of jevelines on Flickr.

For the second year in a row Ottawa/Gatineau has been voted the best place to live in Canada by Money Sense Magazine. The annual ranking of 180 Canadian cities with populations over 10,000 uses a number of different indicators like home affordability, climate, prosperity, crime rates, access to health care and lifestyle. Interestingly, Ottawa ranked 5th in culture based on the number of people employed in arts, culture and sport. Somewhat ironically, given our collective angst over the LRT proposal, we also did well in transit, ranking 8th based on the percent of the population who use the system. Download the full spreadsheet here for more information.

Glebites and Glebophiles, the summer may be a tough one on Bank street. The city will begin construction on the Glebe section of Bank, starting May 15. Council agreed to accelerate the Bank street project so it could be conducted in conjunction with the Lansdowne Park redevelopment. The Glebe Community Association will be holding an information session on the topic Thursday April 7, 2011 from 6:30 – 9:00pm at the Glebe Community Centre.

While the Public Service Alliance of Canada encourages its 172,000 civil servants to get involved in the federal campaign, the Ottawa Citizen reports that many hold back for fear of retribution.  Ottawa Centre Liberal candidate Scott Bradley “There’s such an environment of fear,” he said. “A culture of fear in the government right now that they can’t speak out. They’re worried about their jobs. It’s not healthy.” Is there reason to be worried? With high-profile battles waged by the federal government against top civil servants such as former Nuclear Safety Commission president Linda Keen and ex-Statistics Canada chief Munir Sheikh, there might be.

Mayor Jim Watson recently tweeted about the possibility of hosting the 2012 Junos. I think it would be a fantastic showcase for the city. Watson would like to see a full week of celebrations showcasing not only Canada’s top musicians, but Ottawa music students and local artists as well. In other music news, Westfest has announced its 2011 line-up. Bif Naked will headline Saturday’s show, Mighty Popo will headline Sunday evening, while an all-star cast of Inuit artists will kick off Friday night.

There’s been a number of interesting articles written recently about Ottawa’s art scene. OpenFile asks whether or not we’ve entered into a golden age (a little too soon in my opinion, but I think things have improved in the 3 years I’ve lived here), Unfolding gets an advertiser’s view of the Ottawa art scene. In addition, the city’s just released discussion papers on the renewal of its cultural plan. I encourage you all to go read! I just wish we could comment somewhere…

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