Heart to Heart with Dr. Robert RobertsPublished on October 10, 2010

  • Dr. Roberts at work. (Photo by Mark Holleron)

  • Robert Roberts. (Photo by Mark Holleron)

  • Living room painting by 18th century English artist John Theodore Heins (Norwich 1697-1756) (Photo by Mark Holleron)

  • Oushak carpets are found throughout the home, including the hallways and Bobís study. These rugs are from Canadian Rug Traders. (Photo by Mark Holleron)

  • A 19th century Dutch paining hangs above side table in dining room. (Photo by Mark Holleron)

  • The guest bathroom offers the luxuries of a fine hotel. (Photo by Mark Holleron)

  • The guest bathroom offers the luxuries of a fine hotel. (Photo by Mark Holleron)

  • Oushak carpets are found throughout the home, including the hallways and Bobís study. These rugs are from Canadian Rug Traders. (Photo by Mark Holleron)

While the Rockcliffe Park home Bob Roberts shares with his wife Donna is grand in style, there is a comfort factor that greets you with the welcoming embrace of a couple whose decorating choices are based on a passion for quality furnishings rich in culture and history.


Tasteful artwork is everywhere and exceptional quality is found throughout, right down to sumptuous bedding in the guestrooms, making one feel that everyone must be well treated in the home of the President, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and also Director of the Institute's Ruddy Canadian Cardiovascular Genetics Centre.

Dr. Roberts is recognized as a leading educator, scientist, geneticist and one of the founders of molecular cardiology. The Roberts also have two children; Alison, who lives in London, U.K. and Brandon, who is continuing his studies in the U.S.

Bob's work occupies a considerable amount of his time, but when he gets the chance, he makes an effort to enjoy Pinot Noir, jellybeans, British history, and dancing with Donna.

Where did you grow up? I grew up in a very small town in Newfoundland called Grole, on the southwest coast. My father owned some boats, a small farm and had people that fished for him. He was a tremendous role model for hard work and never wanted to depend on anyone else, while my mother, a teacher, stressed the importance of getting educated.

Why did you choose the field of medicine? I always wanted to do something for people like being a minister or a doctor. My teacher, minister and doctor were my three main role models. I love being a cardiologist and a scientist - the two go together because I have spent most of my life being a discoverer.

How does Ottawa compare to other major cities you have lived in? Ottawa is a beautiful cosmopolitan city; more like a big town than a small city. It has a big international flavor, being the capital, and is naturally inclined with gorgeous rivers, incredible buildings and yet so safe. In my neighborhood, people are far more interested and knowledgeable about national/international affairs than anywhere I have lived before.

Do you help Donna with decorating? Donna does such a good job that I really do turn it over to her. I like the elegance of her decorating, so I leave it all to her.

Are you able to take time to relax or are you always on the go? I do take time to relax. I enjoy playing tennis and I make it a regular part of my day. Growing up on the ocean has been a big part of my life, so I take some time off to go to our summer home in Nova Scotia.

Do you like to read? Any favorite books or magazines? I am an avid and fast reader, and read more than just for enjoyment or for education. I am very much into the facts of understanding life. Reading is part of my mental health.

You predict we may be able to live to 150 years of age. Would you want to? I love life and I would like to live as long as I can and have quality of life. That is the issue. There is no question that people will live that long and there are more people over the age of 100 than you can imagine.

How do we maintain good heart health? Exercise has to be part of your life and is more important the older you get. Eat foods that are low in saturated fats and calories - what we eat is as important as exercise and for our mental health.

What are you most proud of? I am very proud of my family and the opportunity I have had to travel and to be educated through my profession. I have been so fortunate to have the challenges I have had in my life and been able to meet most of them.

What is your favorite Ottawa restaurant? El Meson. It is local, good food and unusual in that it is quiet enough so you can chat. You see a lot of neighborhood people there - it gives us a good opportunity to reunite.

What is your greatest strength? I have always been a visionary, even as a child. It has given me the ambition and leadership necessary for me to do what I have done. I try to always be better prepared and project those features that would provide leadership. The feature I learned from my father is to let what you do speak louder than what you say.


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