In our summer issue, we focus on Canada 150 with the celebration of our country within the city of Ottawa. And with that in mind, we asked some of our subjects about their favourite places in the capital. Tu Ly, our Outstanding Canadian (page 29), cites the ByWard Market as the best shopping destination, while Jantine Van Kregten at Ottawa Tourism mentions her much-loved local brew pubs along with her more recent affinity for the roof-top bar at Andaz hotel, where she chose to be photographed for our Step Inside feature (page 53).
I challenged myself to think of my favourite places in Ottawa, and of course faced the difficulty of how to pinpoint only one or two spots in a city that makes a fun lifestyle so accessible. Living in Wellington Village, my neighbourhood faves include The Wellington Gastropub and Supply & Demand for top dining spots, with Bridgehead Coffeehouse, Thyme & Again and the Ottawa Bagelshop always in my roster. After popping into Chesterfields for our brunch feature (page 55), I know that this hip spot will become a regular breakfast haunt, along with John’s Quick Lunch.
It’s an even greater challenge to make a personal pick from the entire city when there are so many beautiful places to visit in the National Capital Region to experience Canadian culture. Yet, the Chateau Laurier Hotel is a location that tugs at my heart and is rooted in my memory from the late 70s before I moved to Ottawa from Montreal. My father worked for Bell Canada and during the months of “rate cases” he and his colleagues lived at the iconic hotel. Together with my mother, sister, brother and occasional friend, I visited for several weekends during this time. These visits not only fostered my love for the traditional beauty of the hotel, but also began my career as a wedding crasher and star chaser!
As a couple of 13-year-old girls with a bit of savvy flair, a friend and I worked our way into a couple of weddings on one weekend stay. Sipping champagne and nibbling canapés, we mingled with guests and chatted about how fab the bride looked. We then got wind that Engelbert Humperdinck was staying in the hotel, and made our way up to the elevated floors, tapping on doors and calling out his name with hopes of catching a glimpse of the crooner.
To this day, I still smirk to myself as I think back on that weekend which gave me a little more audacity than I likely should have had. There really is something about the historical hotel that always makes me feel like I can walk a little taller, be a little bolder and celebrate a little more simply by strolling through the lobby.