a peek inside the fishbowl

24 Apr, 2012

Welcoming a new patron: Help We’ve Got Kids

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Ottawa for kids|Fishbowl patrons|Ottawa

I appreciate it when companies make my life easier in a way that make sense to me. That’s why I’m very pleased to welcome a new patron to the Fishbowl, it’s a website, nay, a mini-social media empire (!) called Help We’ve Got Kids. HWGK is a comprehensive directory focused solely on families, parents and caregivers. It was originally established on 1994 as a print resource and they’ve been growing ever since. HWGK has been online since 2000 in Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Kitchener and Hamilton, and now… drumroll please… they’re starting to build their listings in Ottawa too. Woot!

At the moment HWGK is still largely focused on their founding markets, but it’s growing. If you are a parent in the Toronto area there are thousands of listings to help you find everything you need… whether it’s a birthday party-related business, information about fun family outings, art classes, day camps, and much more. Here’s the best part: listings can be searched by age, area or keyword and they also include comments so you can see what other parents have said about these places too.

Think about what that means, especially as it pertains to things like birthday parties and camps. To have it all in one place is a huge time-saver.

As for Ottawa parents, well, we are going to have to wait a bit as our part of this parenting resource is just being developed as I type. In the meantime, local kid and parent-related businesses might be interested in adding themselves to the site here. (A basic listing is free.)

HWGK has recently started to add blogs and articles from their Help Posse to answer questions they get from parents on a daily basis. And an extra bonus, the site offers contests, deals and a weekly newsletter to keep moms and dads informed about what is going on in their area. I’ve signed up, and you should too! And don’t forget to check them out on Facebook and on Twitter too. Their information is great. For example, here’s a helpful video they produced (starring co-owner Tracie Wagman!) about loot bags (a perennial issue of mine).

I’m wondering… what kind of listings would be most valuable to you as a parent? Party places in Ottawa? Kiddy hair salons? Organizations that offer after-school care and camps? If you have suggestions (or favourites that deserve priority listing!) I’d love to hear them.

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7 Responses to "Welcoming a new patron: Help We’ve Got Kids"

1 | Tracie

April 24th, 2012 at 11:06 am


Thanks Andrea! We are so excited to be launching in Ottawa and would love to hear from your readers. Load us up with any suggestions, places and companies you love and what you’d like to see on our site! We love feedback!

2 | Jen_nifer

April 24th, 2012 at 2:44 pm


Love the idea, but can’t find anything Ottawa related yet. Be sure to keep us in the loop when that changes.

3 | Giulia

April 24th, 2012 at 3:02 pm


Ottawa is present – click on location top right hand side and you’ll see a couple of things, such as Saunders, Laser Quest, Pirates, etc.
Andrea, typo on the second use of HWGK in first paragraph.
I like listing of festivals that are good for kids, including the activities that they offer and we are always looking for things to do outdoors in winter.

4 | andrea

April 24th, 2012 at 3:17 pm


Jen_nifer – they’re crazy busy inputting data and I expect there will be more added to the site in the coming weeks.

Giulia – thanks!

5 | http://morriscgaz.skyrock.com/

April 24th, 2013 at 3:06 pm


I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else encountering problems with your site. It appears as if some of the text within your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them as well? This might be a issue with my web browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
Thank you

6 | Celinda

May 16th, 2013 at 11:27 am


Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to generate a really good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a
lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (15) and Sarah (13). I am the editor of the Kitchissippi Times and a regular contributor to MediaSmarts.ca. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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