All posts by pamelatourigny

NCVA Member Giveaway: Two tickets to ZenKitchen’s June 10 fundraiser

This giveaway is now closed – thank you to everyone who entered it!

ZenKitchen has been a long-time friend and supporter to the NCVA for more than five years.  From the moment it opened its doors, ZenKitchen offered an NCVA member discount (10%), sponsored several Veg Fests, and has hosted us on a number of special occasions (anyone remember the special NCVA pub night a couple of years ago?)

Not only that, ZenKitchen has been lending credibility to our message that vegan food can be just as tasty as even the most “gourmet” omnivorous food. It has changed the hearts and minds of countless people in the Ottawa region, making our job a little bit easier.

Dave and Keira serving noms at Veg Fest 2010.

So we were pretty bummed out when we learned of ZenKitchen’s sudden closing just over a week ago. It’s not just upsetting from a vegan options point of view; it was also sad to hear about the struggles of our longtime comrade David Loan.  If only we could have helped, we thought.

Now with the fundraiser that’s being held, Great Chefs Go Vegan, we can!  The NCVA has purchased two tickets for the June 10 event, and will give a set of them away to one lucky NCVA member who enters this giveaway.  (You can buy event tickets here.)

Here’s the event description:

Enjoy gourmet vegan street food from a number of Ottawa Chefs, including Tarak Hassan (Gungfu Bao), Dave Kwan (Shanghai) and others. Live jazz, silent auction, and more!

Proceeds from the event will go to help ZenKitchen recover from recent financial issues and reopen for the public’s enjoyment.

To enter:  If you’ve been to ZenKitchen, tell us here on the blog the best memory that you have from being there. If you have not been there, check out their brunch, lunch or dinner menu and tell us what you’ll have when you finally go!


Details: Giveaway is open to Ottawa-area NCVA members, excluding those in Quebec. We’re using the honour system here, but reserve the right to confirm your membership status. If you aren’t a member, you can easily become one. (Participating on our Facebook page does not equal membership.)  If you’re not sure if you’re a member, email  One random winner will win two tickets to the ZenKitchen fundraiser event to be held on June 10, 2014, valued at $214, to be provided at the door.  Giveaway closes on Tuesday, June 3 at 11:59 PM EST.  One entry per person. Winner will be chosen by random number generator.

The NCVA cannot be held responsible for the winner’s enjoyment at the event, nor can this prize be exchanged for anything else, regardless of circumstances. If you win, please do not try to get a refund on your ticket if you’ve already purchased one – that is counterproductive to the fundraising effort. Consider this a bonus and bring some friends.

Veg Fest on hiatus


It is with regret that we must announce that after five successful years, Ottawa Veg Fest is indefinitely postponed.  It is our hope that it will be revived for 2015, but the event faces several obstacles.

Veg Fest was founded and organized for four years (2009-2012) primarily by two key volunteers who are no longer able to continue to devote the tremendous amount of time and energy that’s required. It was revived in 2013 by another set of organizers who expanded the event.

However, the new organizers were unable to secure a suitable venue at which to hold Veg Fest in 2014. The Saint Paul University venue (2014) is not available for the next few years due to construction on Main Street, and other venues are already booked solid.  That brings the organizers back to the drawing board where venue is concerned.

Identifying a new venue is easier said than done.  Issues include location, suitability (i.e. capacity to have speakers, vendors etc.), price, availability, size, and food service contracts that do not permit Veg Fest vendors to sell food. All venues that were considered have at least one of these obstacles, if not several.

Another issue is our understanding of a city requirement that each food vendor purchase a nearly $200 food sales permit for the event. This was not enforced for years 1-4, and we were able to secure sponsorship from the Main Farmer’s Market for year 5 which negated the need for vendors to purchase this permit.

It is our hope that successful Veg Fests will occur in the future, but it is not realistic that these obstacles will be overcome for 2014. The National Capital Vegetarian Association hopes to continue its outreach efforts with smaller scale events such as the We Animals book signing at the Ottawa Humane Society. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at if you’re interested in getting involved as part of the NCVA’s Veg Fest 2015 organizing committee, or for other NCVA initiatives.

We are grateful to everyone for his or her support of Veg Fest over the past five years.


Enjoy yourself for a good cause at the Holiday Howl

We have a little quiz for everyone. Please answer yes or no to each of the following.

I like:

  • Delicious vegan food
  • Animals
  • Saving animals’ lives
  • Having fun
  • Not spending Saturday night on the couch
  • Puppehs
  • Bunny rabbits
  • Karaoke

If you answered YES to any of the above, you really need to come to the Holiday Howl! In fact, what’s stopping you from buying your tickets right now?

(Note that we will not be selling tickets at the door. The cut off for buying them is Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 11:59 PM. As it’s mostly volunteers contributing to the food, we do need to know how much food we need to prepare. Pretty please!)

The Holiday Howl’s proceeds will support New Moon Rabbit Rescue and Sit With Me Shelter Dog Rescue.

Much of the food is being prepared by the NCVA’s own Erin O’Sullivan, who has a cult-like following amongst the Ottawa vegan potluck/event crowd for her amazing kitchen creations.  The Compassionate Rabbit, SimplyRaw Express, and myself are also kicking in contributions.  The Montgomery Legion is generously donating the venue, and terra20 is providing some door prizes and auction items, as well as the sound system.  The NCVA’s sponsorship covers any additional costs.

What this means is that virtually every dollar we collect in ticket sales will go to the animal rescues.  

What are you waiting for?  The animals – including Buzz (below) – need you. And you need a party.

Buzz is losing weight after coming to Sit With Me from a shelter situation, vastly overweight. He is available for adoption!

New NCVA member discount: 10% off purchases at terra20


The NCVA has enrolled in terra20’s Saving For Change program, which offers members a discount on terra20 merchandise.  By enrolling in this program as an NCVA member, you will save 10% on every regularly priced item in-store and while shopping at terra20’s online store, which offers more than 8,000 products. terra20 will also refund 2% of the total purchase amount made by NCVA members to support the association eco-initiatives.

terra20 is an Ottawa-based retailer, with North America’s largest selection of healthy and sustainable products under one roof, including personal care, electronics, household goods, apparel, home décor and much more.  Keep an eye out for the “Contains No Bunnies” icon which signifies that a product is vegan. The beaker icon indicates products that are free of 27 problematic chemicals (although all products at terra20 are vetted to be free of the 15 worst offenders, and to also not be tested on animals.)

The first location is a 15,000 sq. ft. flagship store beside Ikea. terra20 is opening a second location on Nov. 2 at 1304 Wellington Street W.

The enrollment process is easy –

  • To enroll in-store – simply visit the guest services desk in the store, identify yourself as a NCVA member by presenting your membership card or this email on your smartphone or in printed form. From there, you can quickly build a profile, and immediately begin to make purchases at the 10% discount
  •  To enroll online – simply click here and follow the instructions;  your profile will require two business days to become active.

(Here’s a blog post about vegan cosmetics written by NCVA board member (and terra20 staffer) Pamela Tourigny.)



Vegan gluten-free donuts that don’t suck

I attempted a gluten-free donut recipe the other night, and it was terrible. Truly awful.

But all the talk on the NCVA’s Facebook page left me wanting donuts still. So tonight I tried again.  But this time I decided to use my favourite non-gluten-free recipe, and substitute in gluten-free flour.

Why gluten-free? I just like to switch it up. I do not think that gluten is evil (unless you have celiac disease, of course), nor do I think gluten-free = healthy.  I have a colleague who can’t eat gluten, so when I make treats I try to make them gluten-free so that she can enjoy them too.

Even Erin might eat these.

Cake donuts with icing and sprinkles

Adapted from this recipe.

(Makes six donuts)

Dry Ingredients

1 + a bit Cup Gluten-free flour mix (I used 1/3 cup sorghum, 1/4 cup tapioca starch, 1/4 cup chick pea flour, 1/4 cup coconut flour + 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum)

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/4 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp  Nutmeg

1/4 tsp Cinnamon


Wet Ingredients

1/2 Cup soy or almond milk

1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract

Egg Replacer for 1 Egg

1/4 Cup Earth Balance


Icing Glaze:

1/2 cup powdered icing

1 tbsp soy milk



Preheat oven to 350F. Put all the wet ingredients in a small pot on the stovetop on low and whisk together. Heat until just be warm to the touch. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the wet to the dry and mix until just incorporated. Do not over mix.

Grease donut pan. Put the donut batter into a plastic baggie and cut the corner so that you can pipe the batter into the pan.

Bake for 12 minutes or so. Remove from oven. Cool on a wire rack and then decorate.

Don’t miss Plant Power 2013 by Wellness Warrior Coaching

Local vegan coaching service Wellness Warrior Coaching is bringing Plant Power 2013 to Ottawa on April 20 from 2-6pm. World-renowned vegan ultra-endurance athlete Rich Roll, author of Finding Ultra and Michael Greger, MD, nutrition research expert will help you gain a better understanding of the power of plant-based foods.

What you can expect from the afternoon event:

* World class speakers and a panel so your questions get answered

* Great food from SimplyRaw Express

* Green smoothie demo by Catherine Droessler of Almost Raw Vegan

* Strength training for running demo by John Zahab of Continuum Fitness

* Yoga and Wellness expert Donna Davis will share one of her most powerful techniques to help you harness the energy and focus to connect to sustained peak performance.

* Interesting exhibitors

The event takes place at the Old Ottawa South Community Centre (Old Firehall). Tickets are $50 and the event more than 50% sold out – Check the website for more information and to buy tickets: 

Volunteers needed: A volunteer is needed to run the sound system and projector for the powerpoint/keynote presentations, and another is needed to take photos and video. Volunteers are very appreciated and will get into the event at no cost.

Wellness Warrior thanks contributors Good Guys Tri, Enerjive, Camino, Almost Raw Vegan, Continuum Fitness, Shanti Coffee, terra20 and our sponsors – NCVA, Elation Centre, Sue Bird/Arbonne, Natural Food Pantry and SimplyRaw Express.



Ottawa Veg Fest will live on: 5th annual Veg Fest to be held June 22 -23 at Saint Paul University


Ottawa’s premier vegan food and lifestyle event, Ottawa Veg Fest, has drawn more than 10,000 visitors during its four-year run, including more than 3,200 in 2012. However, when its volunteer co-founders both stepped away after its fourth year, the event’s future became unclear.

But Ottawa Veg Fest will live on: The National Capital Vegetarian Association (NCVA), which has run Veg Fest since 2009, is pleased to announce that the 2013 event will be organized by Ottawa Local Motives (OLM). They have a long and successful history of organizing environmental and healthy living events in Ottawa, and will combine Veg Fest with an exciting new event, Yoga Fest and share the theme: “Celebrating a Healthy Ottawa.”

The NCVA will participate as an exhibitor, but will not be involved with the event’s coordination.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Ottawa Local Motives, and have confidence that they will carry on the event in the spirit in which it was founded and executed for the past four years,” says Pamela Tourigny, Veg Fest co-founder and past-NCVA president. “The main organizers have both participated in Veg Fest as vendors in the past, and have a keen understanding of what the event is all about.”

Veg Fest and Yoga Fest will be held on Saturday and Sunday, June 22-23, from 10 am to 4 pm, indoors and outdoors on the campus of Saint Paul University (on Main Street). While previous Veg Fests were one day, the combined event will be two days, and will be significantly expanded. There will be speakers and vegan cooking demonstrations, as well as an array of yoga-related activities. The event will continue to showcase many of Ottawa’s finest vegan-friendly products and services.

Anyone interested in exhibiting should contact the new event organizers or 613-239-4951.

More event information is also available at

Media Inquiries please contact: Heather Garrod –

Veg Fest is being moved from the Glebe Community Centre, where it has been held for the past four years.