Growing up, my father's job saw our family move often. But, in the spring of 1977 when a call came for us to transfer to Ottawa from Montreal, I was aghast! I could not bring myself to tell my friends for weeks, fearing the ridicule I would get for leaving my cosmopolitan existence for life in a small, unsophisticated town . . .
Okay, truth-be-told, we lived in a West Island suburb. My city life consisted of the occasional trip downtown for shopping and lunch. Typically, this meant a visit to Woolworths on Saint Catherine Street to pick up a Bonne Bell lip-gloss or a dangling pair of earrings, then over to Ben's Deli for a gravy-soaked sandwich - but to a grade-eight gal - this was living large in the city.
I was so distraught at the thought of moving that my parents brought me on their house-hunting trip. Over thirty years later, I can remember each house we looked at; my affinity for homes started at a very young age.
One house in the suburbs appealed for its pool. Another off Main Street appealed, well, because I thought living "down off Main Street" sounded cool. But then I fell in love with a charming older home just off Island Park Drive, close to several embassy homes, that, simply put, felt cosmopolitan. I practically chained myself to the front door so that my parents would buy it . . . they did!
Today, I live in a house across the street with my husband who also grew up on the same street. So, not only did I fall in love with the home, the street, the boy next door, but the city itself. Instantly, I loved everything about Ottawa - the downtown core was actually more accessible and a chic lifestyle much more attainable. Goodbye Saint Catherine, hello Sparks Street Mall! Weekends were spent cruising the outdoor mall with friends, smoked-meat lunches turned into café salads, and shopping grew more sophisticated, just as Ottawa did.
To celebrate local love in this issue, we pay tribute to people who have enhanced the growth of the city and whose talents are recognizable on a national and international stage. They have enriched the vibe of this city with their skill and are showing the world that Ottawa is a dynamic place to work and live.
Mary Taggart, EDITOR IN CHIEF
NOTE: Congratulations to Petit Bill's Bistro for winning ?our Seven Days of Holiday Windows contest in December.