Alexander Irving

Alexander Irving is a first-year college student in the Algonquin Professional Writing Program. This is his first time writing content content for a website. Alexander has lived most of his life around the Ottawa area but has only been residing in the city proper for two years now. The idea for "Out and About" was a result of his desire to delve deeper into the city and find out what makes it unique.

Out and About

Exploring Ottawa's attractions without breaking the bank.


National Gallery Free on Thursday Nights

Recently, our professional writing class took a unique trip to visit Ottawa’s own National Gallery. The Gallery is on Sussex Drive and is easy to spot—you just have to look for the giant metal spider outside! The “fun day” was intended to give us an opportunity to gain some inspiration for a creative writing assignment, though we were given free rein to explore the exciting location at our own pace. I hadn’t visited the Gallery in years and was not expecting the works on display to be as engaging or varied as they were. As it turns out, just about anyone can find something thought-provoking or entertaining to look at on a visit to the National Gallery.

The section I spent the most time in was the Contemporary Art wing. Here, you will witness the kinds of art installations that always make you look twice. The goal for most of these artists seems to be to make the viewer question where the art begins and ends. Many of these pieces have an incomplete or incidental feel. This was never truer than for one piece that was made to look like the Earth, only as a work under construction. Oceans and continents were crafted from various unusual materials and there was a sense of motion and improvisation that permeated the darkly-lit corner of the room where the piece was housed.

While admiring the piece and musing about whether the multitude of elements contained within were meant to represent ideas in motion or natural forces that shape our world, I had an epiphany. At my feet was a black roller on wheels with a bright yellow rope tying it to one of the main pieces. It was simply left there, with no markings or clear boundaries to signify whether or not it was in fact meant to be there. I had the sense that I could have moved it around if I had wanted to. It is this sort of unanticipated engagement with the art that really makes the contemporary section worthwhile for me.

There are a many other wings at the Gallery of course, encompassing a broad range of classical and cultural interests. These include frequently rotating exhibitions that ensure there is always a reason to go back. General admission is seven dollars for a student; double that for special exhibits. But if you are looking for the most cost-effective entry method, do what we did and show up on a Thursday night, any time between five and eight pm, when admission is absolutely free.     


Feature: Interview with Mark Stobert

For as long as I have known him, Mark has had cerebral palsy. That’s the first thing people see when they meet him and, unknowingly or not, they tend to create certain expectations for someone with CP. Mark routinely shatters these expectations.

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Fiction: One More Thing

The situation was rapidly shifting from bad to worse, but Nelson would not be dismayed. He had made the trip to London, England with the intention of visiting some of its world-famous attractions. At this point, Nelson wasn’t about to let anything, or anyone, stop him from doing just that.

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What Do You Want to Do Today?

Recently, I have been asking my friends who live in the Ottawa area what they like to when they’re “out and about.” I wanted to know what sort of places other people like to go to when they want to get out of the house and have some fun without spending a lot of money.

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Review: Free, the Future of a Radical Price

The proposed goal of Free is to provide entrepreneurs and business-owners with an image of how the 21st century’s historically unmatched abundance of goods has made “free” a feasible and even potentially lucrative price point.

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