Covert Ottawa Weekly Newsletter: Happy Halloween Edition

Happy Halloween week (for whatever it’s worth)! It shouldn’t take us by surprise anymore that events and holidays that we have grown to love in our life are continuously being cancelled or postponed. This is our new way of life, at least for the time being. Halloween is the latest casualty, with politicians at all levels suggesting (though not yet mandating) that kids don’t go door to door to collect their loot. Yes, the events industry and restaurant industry (among others) have been hit hard, but this is a classic childhood tradition being taken away. I LOVED Halloween as a kid and looked forward to it each year, and to be honest for most of my adulthood, too!! It’s fun dressing up and becoming a superhero, vampire, or pirate for the night….although these days, you are more likely to see the “sexy librarian,” the “sexy firefighter” or the “sexy cave-woman” (WTF???)….costumes have really gone downhill in the past 5-10 years!


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Anyways, even though Halloween is ‘cancelled’ this year and trick-or-treating is discouraged, there are still options to take part in this fun day. In Greely for example, there are people (my beautiful wife is one) who have created Facebook groups for their neighbourhood to hand out treat bags prior to the big night. You just have to sign up with the number of kids in your house and then generous neighbours can drop off treat bags! I’ve seen on CTV News that some households are creating physically-distanced barriers on their front lawns for kids to come and still trick-or-treat; another creative option is the “chute,” that’s a pretty cool idea:

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Whatever your plan for this holiday, please be safe. Numbers are not improving, and I’ve even read that we may not return to our “normal” until at least next summer. If this pandemic continuous to stretch on much longer, it’s our fault; we are the ones not taking enough precautions. Just wear your stupid mask, don’t go to stupid parties, and follow the stupid rules. Hey, anti-maskers and big party attendees…..that’s you! It’s like driving, everyone is an idiot and a bad driver except for you….well guess what? If you’re part of a big group of people and aren’t wearing a mask, it’s YOU.

First 2021 Event Casualty reported in Ottawa

The first event cancellation for 2021 in Ottawa (at least that I’m aware of) has been announced already. I’m sad to say that one of the cornerstone spring events has been shut down due to COVID. The annual Ottawa Boat Show, normally held at the EY Centre in February has been a staple event in the tradeshow community for 45 years, but for 2021, it has been cancelled. It will now be held February 24-27 2022. A little bit of good news though: this year they’ll be introducing a digital platform, where exhibitors can show off their amazing products. We can still get excited for being out on the water!

Halloween Events (update)

For a little positive twist on this newsletter, there’s a great event that is taking place this weekend that can put a smile on anyone’s face. Load up your four-legged best friends and take them to Kichesippi Beer Company to enter into their canine costume contest! With full COVID precautions in place, the brewery will be offering the opportunity to upload your pooch’s photo right there at the brewery. And while you’re there, why not support a local business and purchase some beverages for the Halloween weekend? If you’re not comfortable going into society, you can also post your pics on Instagram. Details can be found on the Kichesippi Instagram page.


The contest runs from the 29th to the 31st of October, with two winners being selected each day, and three grand prizes being announced at the end of the contest!

Just a little news update regarding the Saunders Farm events. Apparently, they’ve had their hands slapped by the fuzz. The night-time FrightFest event has had to change concepts very quickly and modify their show into a drive-through experience. It seems as though “someone” (aka Saunders Farm) wasn’t following the COVID rules and was slapped with over $3,500 in fines by Bylaw. Ooooops!! Frightfest was deemed an outdoor, so the mandated maximum capacity of 25 people for outdoor events has been applied and is being enforced. However, during the day, “haunting season” is continuing as originally planned, as it isn’t as scripted as FrightFest, so basically kids can run wild and go to the various activities in no particular order.

Bits and Bytes

This is my random story and features section. These topics don’t necessarily have anything to do with Ottawa. It could include stories about current news issues, sports, funny videos, and/or perhaps just random things that I’ve discovered over the previous week. I hope you enjoy!

Amazon Prime Empty Box Recycling Day

In previous newsletters, I’ve talked about my morning routine and how I de-stress and prepare for the day with a clear mind. This includes a walk around my neighbourhood of Greely with the #CovertBaby. The Greely loop is about 7kms and roughly two thirds of it is residential, with the remainder being through forested areas. During this daily walk, I have time to think, listen to podcasts, and play little games in my mind. It’s a decently long walk, and can get a little boring through the residential areas for me, as I do need some sort of stimulation. Quietly, and to myself, I typically mock people’s choices on outdoor décor (can someone please tell me what’s the deal with that star on so many houses??), or adversely, admire people’s beautifully maintained lawns and creative landscaping. Although this is fun, I need to play little games too. Every second Friday in Greely is cardboard recycling day and I’ve created a little game where I count the Amazon boxes in people’s recycling and then compare the count to the next cardboard recycling day to see which week wins! (I really need some more competitive sports in my life again). I typically leave the house at 9am, and get home by 11:30, so by the time I’m done, the recycle trucks have been through many streets, so the game gets less fun (if that’s possible) by the end of the walk. In a normal week, I usually see that Amazon smile somewhere between 25 and 35 times at the end of people’s driveways.


Well, let me tell you, this past week, to my delight and excitement, I encountered the remains of Amazon Prime Day, and what a treat! There were a whopping 55 boxes! Wow, do I ever need a life!

Side Hustles

COVID has changed our lives. This is by no means a novel statement for any of us, but the question that is unique to each of us, is exactly how has it has changed our lives. For many, it’s been health changes, some have had to change their daily routines, for some of us it has changed how we shop or where and when we go out for dinner or drinks, but many of us have been impacted by the pandemic economically and financially. Whether you own a small business that has been forced to close, or you’ve been laid off, this affects your bottom line, regardless of any Government assistance that may or may not be available to you.

As an adaptive society, many of us have met this challenge by going out to learn new skills and build on our knowledge base in support of our financial goals/requirements. The unlikeliest of people have become entrepreneurs and have created something where nothing was before. As a society, we’ve rediscovered the Side Hustle.

This is not a new concept, and any serial or even wanna-be entrepreneur such as myself is well-versed in what a side hustle is, but as unemployment numbers climb, or hours are cut, more and more people are looking for a side hustle for help making ends meet again; they may have just not known it was a “thing”. There are a ton of articles to read on side hustles and even more “how to make money on the side” lists, but ultimately, they are very much the same, and may not provide much inspiration. Unless of course becoming an Uber driver or buying stuff at Value Village and re-selling on Kijiji has never occurred to you, then perhaps you could benefit from reading the lists. With a simple Google search, you can find what you’re looking for and way more than you will ever need to know. There are endless documents and articles listing things that you can do to make more money, but ultimately, most won’t help you in actually initiating the plan, or really pointing you in a direction that addresses your goal.



Getting to my point, it looks as though the pandemic is with us for the long haul, and you may want to consider starting something up. This doesn’t have to be life changing, or the start of a new career, the purpose and objectives of a side-hustle may be different for each person. One individual may start it up with the intention of making some money on the side to put towards a trip, or a household renovation, a new car, or any number of larger purchases that may be outside of their normal budget. Another may be looking for a new career path, such as self-employment; many great businesses have started as a side hustle. Finally, another individual may just be looking to monetize their hobby. Perhaps you are really great at making glass-blowing art; how much glass-blowing art does one person really need in their house? You can begin selling it with only a few steps. Start an Etsy account, or create a Shopify business website (much easier and much less scary than you think) and sell off that stockpile. You get to keep your hobby, make some money and most importantly, avoid qualifying for “Hoarders: Buried Alive” on TLC! (That should always be your life goal: Don’t qualify for a TLC show).


If you’re thinking about starting a side-hustle and have zero entrepreneurial tendencies, and/or zero creativity, I can recommend a book for you to read! The aptly named “Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days” by Chris Guillebeau is fantastic. I will admit that the “27 days” part is fairly ambitious, but not out of the question if you have the time to put into starting up your business. And really, in the pandemic era, what else are you doing? This book was very valuable to me! I do consider myself to be a bit of an entrepreneur, with new business ideas hitting my brain every few days (trust me, my wife hates hearing about my next “great idea.”) It’s a very inspirational book and will help out any prospective side-hustler immensely. You’ll learn many tips and tricks, and discover new considerations that you likely haven’t thought through, all of which will help you create a successful side hustle. It’s a very quick read, and I am certain that your life will be better after you read this book. Even if you don’t end up kicking off a side hustle, you’ll gain an understanding and appreciation for all of us who have them, and it may inspire you to support small businesses in a new way. I personally have two side hustles (you’re reading one of them); I’ll get into the other in a future newsletter.

Thanks everyone for reading again this week, I’m glad you’re enjoying these posts. Please share them with your friends and family, it would mean a lot to me! I also encourage comments and interaction with any of my posts either, either here or on social media. Let’s make our big city a small community. I hope you have a great Halloween, and whatever you do, make sure you stay safe out there. Use your common sense please.

Have a great week, stay healthy, and be kind to one another!

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