People of Vanier: The Beechwood Avenue baristas of The Ministry of Coffee

From left, barista Jon Legacy, The Ministry of Coffee manager Julia Norris and barista Heather Swan show off a perfected coffee design at the coffee shop, 18 Beechwood Ave.

Manager Julia Norris and her staff share their favourite requests from customers and why they love working on Beechwood Avenue.  

Meghan Laver, on her most unique order:

“Our clientele varies greatly, so there’s always something interesting happening here – someone once asked me for a “deconstructed latte” so they could build it at their table themselves.”


Anastasiya Gorodnicha, on four-legged customers:

“The community here is so welcoming and nice, but the dogs here are the best! They always have smiling faces and are eager to be out and about. I’m so happy to see them walking around happily with their owners.”


Joanie Rheaume-Bond, on Vanier’s unique feel:

“This neighbourhood is just like a small town. Everybody knows each other and there is truly a sense of community and it is nice to be part of that and to be part of people’s routine … The Beechwood clientele is nice and eclectic, which makes it fun!”


Julia Norris, on what makes working in Vanier special:

“I got into the coffee business through a friend of my sister’s. I worked at that shop for about two years and fell in love with the culture around coffee shops. The best part of working on Beechwood is the customers. There is such a diverse range of people who come into the shop and it’s always nice to get to know them.”

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.

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.”

Meet your merchants: Riding the crest

Lauren Power was no stranger to Vanier when she and Greg launched Red Door Provisions two years ago. She had spent her teens in the area, attending high school in neighbouring Rockcliffe.

After 10 years away, she returned to Ottawa to find big changes afoot in her old stomping ground.

“We saw that Beechwood was right on this crest of new development, with proposals for upscale condo projects,” she said. “We knew the potential of the neighbourhood and we wanted to be part of this renewal, part of the boost.”

This “boost” is happening across Vanier, from Beechwood, to McArthur Avenue and Montréal Road.

“Vanier is an up-and-coming place for sure,” Greg said. “It’s changing every day. We like the neighbourhood aspect – everyone knows everyone. It’s not overrun by big commercial entities. It still feels like most every business is unique to this area. Even the big box stores have this community vibe to them.”

As entrepreneurs, location combined with affordable real estate in their choice of Vanier. Manageable startup costs have allowed them to flourish. Their lunch café and bakery features a unique mix of fresh-made treats, great coffees and house sodas, hearty brunch fare, and Lauren’s own signature jams, marmalades, chutneys and garlic scapes.

Local entrepreneurs Lauren and Greg Power run Red Door Provisions, a cafe and bakery featuring homemade goods and a hearty brunch.
Photo by Mark Holleron