Strathcona Park Diaries


Join Odyssey in celebrating Ottawa’s Historic Strathcona Park

What do Boer War soldiers, Lord Strathcona, actors, painters, naturalists, students, historians, athletes, families and theatregoers all have in common? It is a passion for Strathcona Park, an arts and heritage greenspace that has been our home on the Rideau River for 35 years!

Have you ever spent an evening in the Park looking at the stars? Wondered who designed the play structure ruins? Gotten married or met someone special in the Park? Strathcona Park is home to a world of memories for many in Ottawa and we want to hear your stories of our favourite Park!

Check out our latest video here!

This week on Strathcona Park Diaries

Episode 11: August 10 –The Political View

MPP Lucille Collard (Ottawa-Vanier) and City Councillor Mathieu Fleury (Ward 12 – Rideau-Vanier) share their favourite memories of the Park Hear what they think about what’s next for Strathcona! Please join the conversation, share what you want to see in Strathcona Park’s future! 

Episode 12: August 13 – Strathcona’s Folly

Ever wonder why a pair of baby shoes are part of the iconic Strathcona play structure? Find out  from the Canadian actor, puppeteer, and artist, Stephen Brathwaite, known for his puppet work in hit children’s TV series Under the Umbrella Tree and Grounding Marsh, who designed the imaginative play structure in Strathcona Park. Add your voice! Tell us what your favourite outdoor sculpture is or send us a picture!

Last week on Strathcona Park Diaries

Episode 10: August 6 – Bettye Hyde Daycare

Did you know there are rocks with secret messages hidden in Stratchona Park? Want to find one? Meet the folks from Sandy Hill’s not-for-profit Bettye Hyde Cooperative Early Learning Centre. Find out why they’ve been taking kids to the Park for 75 years.  All the kids who attend Bettye Hyde are guaranteed to have some great summer memories, but they aren’t the only ones! Let us know your favourite childhood memory. 

Episode 9: August 4 – Designer Inspirations

Meet architect Barry Padolsky, set & costume designer Brian Smith, and mask and puppet maker Clelia Scala. Find out what inspires them designing for Odyssey in Strathcona Park. Join the discussion, We want to know what inspires you!

Episode 8: July 29 – MICA’s Art in the Park

If you have been in Strathcona Park on the first weekend in August, you will have seen see dozens of painters, artisans and artists offering hundreds of paintings, sculptures and crafts, all part of the annual Art in the Park.  For the past 20 years, the Mental Illness Caregivers Association (MICA) has produced Art in the Park brining some of Ottawa’s best artists together to raise funds for their activities.   Don’t miss Wednesday’s episode of Strathcona Park Diaries to find out how more about this wonderful community organization and how they plan to move their annual art sale to the digital world this summer. 

Episode 7: July 27 – Love for Masks

It seems these days everyone is talking about masks and today’s episode  is no different.  At Odyssey Theatre, we have always loved wearing masks! Odyssey actors Alix Sideris, Ross Mullan, Lise Cormier, Jesse Buck and many more talk about their experience acting with masks in Strathcona Park. Whether it’s aging them 40 years, or elongating their nose by 4 inches, or turning them into mythical characters, masks completely change the way an actor is perceived. Hear about their favourite mask and learn how masks can transform an actor in front of our very eyes.

Episode 6: July 23 – Critters & Creepy Crawlies

One of the joys of performing outdoors, is that the unpredictability of nature can often play a role in your performance.  Hear from some of our actors about the times when Park fauna became supporting cast members with impromptu appearances.  How would you react when a skunk walks by in the middle of your monologue? 

Episode 5: July 20 – Audience Memories

Anyone remember live performances?  You know, where actors performed live,  a few feet in front of you? Well, we miss you our audience — you make a performance special and sometimes very different!  Hear from some of our actors about how audiences can change a performance and some of their favourite moments interacting with a live audience. 

Episode 4: July 16th – Weather Mayhem

Every summer Odyssey loves to perform in the Park under the stars.  A stage illuminated by the moon, a warm summer breeze, the running river and a soundtrack from the critters of Strathcona Park — it’s the best theatre experience one could ask for.  Both our actors and audiences are amazing in persevering through all kinds of weather challenges. Hear from our actors, including Soo Garay, Eleanor Crowder, Alix Sideris and Scott McCulloch, as they share their experiences on how they, and our resilient Ottawa theatre audiences,  weather the weather.

Episode 3: July 13th – Love of Birds

This episode talks all about the birds of Strathcona Park, from the beautiful blue jay, to the magnificent robin, to the proud bald eagle. Watch as Patty McLaughlin, the Education and Public Engagement Coordinator of the Ottawa Valley Wild Bird Care Centre, talks about all the birds in Strathcona and how you can help these cute feathered animals.

Episode 2: July 9th – Park Magic 
Strathcona Park Diaries is back. Hear from some of our award-winning cast members from seasons past such as Alix Sideris, Jesse Buck, Mark Huisman, Lise Cormier, Scott McCulloch, Soo Garay, William Beddoe, and Ross Mullan. This episode will get to the bottom of what actors love most about performing with Odyssey in Strathcona Park. From the magic of performing outdoors to the improv needed to outshine live animals, this video tells-all.

Episode 1: July 6th – Welcome to Strathcona Park Diaries
Welcome to the premiere of Odyssey Theatre’s exciting interactive series Strathcona Park Diaries! To kick things off, Odyssey’s Artistic Director and founder Laurie Steven draws on 34 years of creating award-winning productions  in Strathcona Park to introduce you to this new series and to Strathcona Park. So why did Odyssey choose this downtown Park for their home, anyway?  Don’t miss our first episode to find out.

Look for two video episodes of Strathcona Park Diaries each week featuring interviews with artists, historians, ecologists and other Park aficionados, all of whom will share experiences, joy, wonder and secrets of the Park. Hear Odyssey artists recount their favourite stories of working in the Park including bizarre weather, hilarious bloopers, dogs on stage, costume reveals, SWAT calls to nearby Embassies and more.

“From tornados, to power outages to animals living under our stage, we realized our artists have a lot of great stories to tell about our time in the park.  At a time of social distancing, when we can’t physically be in the Park this summer, this unique project gives us a way to draw the community together and participate in the arts,” explains Artistic Director Laurie Steven.

One of the most exciting aspects of the Strathcona Park Diaries will be the chance for you to add your own diary entries by posting on Odyssey’s Facebook page.  We want to hear your favourite Park story all summer long!

You can also enter your favourite picture of the Park in our art and photo contest that will debut in August with fun categories for all ages and a chance to win great prizes.

How it Works

Starting July 6th, don’t miss Strathcona Park Diaries with a new video episode posted every Monday and Thursday to our Facebook page.

During July and August, post your favourite Park story or memory on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag us on Facebook and Instagram @odysseytheatreottawa or on Twitter @OdysseyTheatre. You can also send us an email and we will post your favourite park story for you!

Participation is as easy is 1, 2, 3…

1 – Head over to our Facebook page! Our videos will feature Odyssey artists recounting some of the wildest stories from their time in the park as well as fabulous fun facts from community members, bird experts, politicians, historians and more. 

2 – In every post  we will pose a question for you to answer. For example: do you remember your first trip to the park? In the comment section of the post you tell us all about your first Strathcona memory (or whatever question we’re asking that day). 

3 – Share our posts on your own social media and with friends and family. to help us spread the word of this interactive community arts engagement project. The more stories we get, the better – we want to hear them all!

Our art and photo contest will run from August 1st to September 1st. The Project Finale will be held September 12th and will include prizes for our contest winners. Stay tuned for more details!

Click here for our latest episode!


Odyssey Theatre has the privilege of partnering with two amazing groups – Mental Illness Caregivers Association (MICA – who stage Art in the Park each August) and Action Sandy Hill (ASH-ACS), to bring our community together online to participate in the an exciting new collective art experience. Thank you also to TD Park People Grants.



Part of 

Thank you to the following  partners for their support