Grants available for Vanier businesses to share ‘What’s Good In the Hood’

BIA offers merchants a chance to let Vanier’s culture shine and build creative spark

Many Vanier merchants and residents might think they know what is good about their ‘hood. Starting this month, the BIA wants business owners and artisans to prove it.

The Vanier BIA is launching its “What’s Good In the Hood” microgrant program in June to help the community harness and showcase its artistic and cultural talents.

With a total budget of $7,500, the new initiative offers applicants the opportunity to apply for a grant of between $100 and $750 for projects that bring more culture to the community.

“Vanier has a very high number of creative individuals and this is a great way to stimulate that (arts scene),” said Thomas Radford, Project Manager for the Vanier BIA, adding how the programming will be created by the community, for the community.

The program is aimed at artists, businesses, cultural programmers and residents, all of whom are encouraged to propose events that will attract people to Vanier businesses.

Capital Rap Battles held an event at One Up on Beechwood Avenue this spring, The event was part of the Vanier BIA’s new “What’s Good in the Hood” microgrant program which offers businesses in the district the opportunity to host small-scale events.

“It can be anything that a person wants to suggest – a pop-up gallery, a burlesque show, a paint night or an out-door concert,” Radford said, giving several examples.

Shawn Marchand, a chef at Bobby’s Table on Montreal Road, is among the local merchants getting behind the initiative.

In March, Bobby’s Table hosted a What’s Good in the Hood pop-up event to help gain interest in the grant program.

The event welcomed musician Dank Aspects and his talented eight-year-old daughter, Illiyah Rose, to entertain a crowd of all-day breakfast diners with what Marchand described as a unique sound of blues, folk, soul and hip hop.

“Everybody that was here had a wonderful time,” Marchand said, adding that there wasn’t a single person in the room – chef, server or patron – who wasn’t singing along or dancing.

The event, he added, also welcomed some new faces to the popular Vanier breakfast spot.

“There were definitely people I had never seen before,” Marchand said. “It really brought everyone together.”

The Ministry of Coffee on Beechwood Avenue also joined the action earlier this year with a disco party, while Capital Rap Battles held a What’s Good In the Hood event this past spring.

Mini Mozaik – based on an event the BIA hosted annually since 2017 – is the BIA’s next What’s Good In the Hood pop-up. The event is planned for June 8.

The past events success highlight how the arts are thriving in Vanier’s business district, Radford said, adding he feels residents and businesses are embracing the idea of neighbourhood micro-events events.

Radford said he expects the first wave of projects to start rolling as soon as early July.

The number of projects that will go ahead depends on how many applications are received and the individual costs per event. More information is available by emailing Radford at or checking out the application process online at

Cathie Orfalie, president, Money Advisors at 235 Montreal Rd.

Cathie Orfali recalls how she got into the “money business”

“As a teenager I loved to work and was very disciplined at saving money – two key ingredients if you want to succeed. By the age of 19 I was able to purchase my first home. I felt this overwhelming sense of accomplishment and it fueled my desire to help other people succeed and accomplish meaningful goals. Three decades later, I am still focused on working on my financial plan and my new goals, but also helping others with their (plans and goals).

Another reason is that I see money as being either the cause of so much good in people’s lives, but if we look around us we can see that money can change people for the worst. I want to help people connect with what is really meaningful to them and how money will be an important part of that – whether it is buying a home for their family or saving for a child’s education or giving money to charities that people love.”

Vanier BIA, community partners roll out new crime-prevention tools

Property audits among measures available to merchants

The Vanier BIA is arming its merchants with the tools they need to become leaders in crime prevention this summer.

The BIA recently met with the area’s community police officer, Crime Prevention Vanier, the Vanier Community Association and local merchants in a proactive approach to reducing crime in the district.

“The BIA and its merchants understand the important role we play in crime prevention,” said Nathalie Carrier, the executive director of the Vanier BIA. “Our approach is to get our merchants the tools they need to contribute to crime prevention,” she added.

The BIA will be offering monthly tips and advice for merchants looking for guidance or new ideas in how to make their business – and wider community – safer.

“We all understand that a safer neighbourhood is not only good for its people, but also for its businesses,”

Nathalie Carrier, Vanier BIA executive director
Lighting up a dark parking lot is just one of the steps a business can make to help prevent crime. Look for a list of tips and tricks from the Vanier BIA in the upcoming newsletter.

This work builds on several existing projects and partnerships, including those with the area’s community police officer, Cst. Vianney Calixte, to conduct audits under a program known as “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.”

These audits help identify physical and design changes that can help reduce crime, such as cutting back overgrown shrubs, improving parking lot lighting and creating better sightlines around a property.

“We all understand that a safer neighbourhood is not only good for its people, but also for its businesses,” Carrier said.


Simply adding lighting is one of the most common suggestions made by Lucie Marleau, the founder of Crime Prevention Vanier. A well-lit parking lot is far less likely to attract undesirable activity than one shrouded in darkness, she said.

Marleau has worked to improve safety in the community for more than a decade and created Crime Prevention Vanier to complement the work undertaken by Crime Prevention Ottawa.

“Experience has taught us that our crime prevention efforts can only be effective and sustainable if every actor plays their part,” Marleau said, explaining that it takes more than just police officers and city officials to make an area safe.

“No crime happens in a vacuum, and each crime touches all of us living (and) working in Vanier in tangible and less tangible ways,” Marleau said.

This team-based approach is also embraced by the Vanier Community Association, which supports the BIA’s efforts to share crime-prevention tools with merchants.

“Business are an important part of our community, and our residents are part of their clientele,” said Lauren Touchant, president of the community association. “We are deeply interrelated therefore, we all have a responsibility to keep our neighbourhood safe and we hope these tips and tricks will better equip business owners.”

Keep an eye out for the latest crime prevention tips and tricks in the BIA’s monthly e-newsletter. Businesses can also visit or for a full list of crime prevention tools.

The ‘hair-zapping queen’

Carrefour Vanier Vein Clinic’s Linda Pisani reflects on how she became a different kind of household name

“I had been doing hair removal for 13 years, and it started when I was on Rogers TV. When I stepped onstage the host introduced me as the “hair-zapping queen.” I was surprised, but the name stuck. Now I’m very happy with (the moniker). Did I think I would grow up to become the “hair-zapping queen?” Absolutely not – I wanted to do pedicures and manicures and facials, but when I started the program I took the laser hair removal course and loved it. When I graduated I went right into that – I loved the laser hair removal results on myself and I figured if it is going to work on me, it will work on anybody. Now, it’s been 13 years that I have been doing it and I have so many people who have success stories. Some people might be disgusted by what I do but I find it so satisfying because my clients are happy when they leave and if they leave happy – I am happy.”

Dan Rees of the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa

Longtime manager reflects on why the Don McGahan Clubhouse at 430 McArthur Ave. is unlike any other after-school program in the city:

“I love seeing kids who have grown up – some aren’t even young adults anymore  – (and) are starting young families themselves. Now they come in and are registering their children. That’s how long I have been here. And what distinguishes us from others is that we grow with the families. The kids that grew up with the club want to give back, and it’s so effective because they have lived the program. And when I think specifically of the Don McGahan Clubhouse, we have some amazing partnerships and I think that’s what gets me excited to do this work. When we work with an individual, or organization, or group – it allows us to be barrier-free – there are no fees. Twice Upon a Time, this program we have is all about book ownership, they have partnered to try and get kids reading. They come in throughout the school year, and they will give out thousands of books. Eat More Soup – we really are thankful for that one – they have a chef who comes with a couple of interns who teaches skills to the children.

I am hoping that people see that there is a huge need and we have a lot of children coming to our programs. We are always looking for partnership opportunities.  I just see the good that this organization does. And it’s easy to get behind that.”

– Dan Rees, senior south/east manager, Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa

Owner and fitness trainer Stephanie Karlovits of Epic Fitness + Lifestyle

Fitness instructor and Vanier resident Stephanie Karlovits discusses how her clinic at 230 Beechwood Ave. is unlike any other – and the first step to being “perfect.”

“To witness people healing, getting stronger, feeling alive and building life practices that will last a lifetime is truly an amazing thing. The energy you feel right when you walk in is special …We have physiotherapy, acupuncture, holistic nutrition and facial stretch therapy. Our physiotherapist has access to our functional training gym as well as the clinic space, so the care we can provide to clients truly is the best. Also, our practitioners speak to each other to the benefit of the client. This way, clients heal from injury and increase their performance faster.

Many people are waiting for perfect – the perfect hour, the perfect outfit, the perfect time, but there is no such thing.  Perfect comes from putting yourself out there and getting started. Our motto is “just show up,” because once you do that, we’ve got the rest and guarantee you success. So, people just need to get started and not wait until the perfect weather or perfect time.”