East Feast aims to draw people to Beechwood area

Who doesn’t want to go to a feast? Even better, how about an East Feast?

 Thanks to one Vanier entrepreneur, the backing of his community association and the help of his area city councillors, the first ever Beechwood East Feast will celebrate food and fun on Sept. 10.

 Chris Penton is a man of many hats – he manages the weekly summer farmers’ market, the Beechwood Market at St. Charles Church, he is the president of the Vanier Community Association and he also has a day job – but the idea of creating a festival on Beechwood has always been something he has wanted to do.

 So Penton has put on another community hat and began organizing the festival this summer after he was approached by Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Tobi Nussbaum – a former Beechwood advocate.

“I told him about my idea for a festival and he loved it,” Penton said.

 The intention, Penton added, is for businesses who participate to promote themselves, and in turn bring city visitors back again and again to the street.

 Penton said Nussbaum’s office has helped him with the festival, as well as he worked with fellow Beechwood Avenue councillor, Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury, to help with the city-side of organizing a festival.

 Both councillors are also sponsors of the event.

 The street festival will close Beechwood Avenue from St. Charles Street to Marier Avenue starting at 5 p.m. and will reopen after 10 p.m.

 Activities will include sports with the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, colouring with Ottawa in Colour, live painting with artists from the New Edinburgh Studio Tour, aerial antics with aerial silk dancers, Madonna yoga with Natalie Holst and Market Mobile.

 Local food businesses and restaurants will also participate including Clocktower Brew Pub., Harvest Honey, Bez Gluten Free, Bicycle Craft Brewery, Maison Baguettes and Baccanalle – Caribbean.

 Folkrum Ottawa Community Music will be providing the entertainment that will include Gareth Pearson, Mack and Ben and Nile Groove.

 The Vanier Community Association is hosting the event, but Penton said all four Beechwood-area community associations – the New Edinburgh Alliance, the Lindenlea Community Association, Manor Park Community Association and Rockcliffe Park Residents Association, have offered support and encouragement for the event.



 It was six years ago that a fire decimated a group of businesses between the Vanier Parkway and McKay Street. Since then, it’s been a waiting game to get the missing retail back. Currently under construction, a Minto building, Minto Beechwood will offer street-front retail.

 But even before the fire, Beechwood suffered a loss of retail, which many residents say was the anchor needed in the area to draw shoppers and liveliness to the street.

 The business was Mountain Equipment Co-op and it left the area in 2000. In its wake, advocates for Beechwood Avenue have long said the area needs that anchor business for the street to truly rise and shine.

 Fleury said he doesn’t think the loss of MEC is affecting the street.

“MEC was a draw but now we have individual businesses that do the same thing,” Fleury said.

 Naming off restaurants and businesses, Fleury said little needs to change and the area is only going to continue to improve.

 Fleury added the Beechwood East Feast is showcasing what area residents already know – Beechwood is a really good area.


Source: Ottawa East News