it’s an exciting time to be an artist in ottawa

Tariq Anwar, photographed downtown at Atomic Rooster on Bank.

I first met musician Tariq Anwar at a music event at The Hintonburg Public House – he was there supporting one of his best friends and music collaborator Mindy Amelotte, of Dynamite Motel. Since that first meeting, I’ve been lucky enough to see Tariq play a number of open mics at the HPH and I’ve definitely become a big fan. In many ways Tariq personifies what I love so much about Ottawa – a humble understated veneer mixed with a kind and creative heart. Chinatown resident, Tariq was born and raised in Ottawa and boasts he wouldn’t live anywhere else. “Ottawa has such a beautiful mixture of urban and green space. Walking along the Rideau Canal in the summer time is such a pleasure. The old architecture, Parliament Hill, The National Gallery, etc. This place is full of beauty!”

© dwayne brown studio  – the  loveOttawa  project

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

It’s not surprising to hear that Tariq loves the arts scene in Ottawaor that he feels privileged to be a part the tight knit and supportive community of artists that help give Ottawa it’s creative texture. I think the spirit of pure collaboration is very Ottawa, the ability to transcend genres, dismiss age groups and avoid clique-ish behavior is just fantastic. It’s an exciting time to be an artist in Ottawa.”

Tariq has many favourite spots in Ottawa to eat, drink and to also play and hear music –  but one place that has a special place in his heart is Atomic Rooster, as it’s where he cut his musical teeth performing at their various open mic events. He also loves The Laff, Avant-Garde Bar, Pressed Urban Sandwich Bar, The Daily Grind, Raw Sugar, Jadeland (best food in Chinatown), Hintonburg Public House, Chez Lucien – all great places for music, food, craft beer and coffee!

Ottawa is experiencing a real creative awakening right now, and Tariq seems to be right in the middle of it all – arranging house concerts, playing and collaborating on music projects, and always championing other artist’s creative projects. “I’ve seen many of my own friends decide to take action and really embrace that independent side of life business and art, whether it’s in the making of an album, a blog or starting a promotions company.” One of Tariq’s favourite projects, is Ottawa Velo Vogue, a bicycle/fashion blog his friend Zara started a few years ago. It’s really taken off with great photography and quite the following!”

Ottawa really is a town with creative heart and a community of artists who love supporting each other. Thanks so much to Tariq for sharing what he loves about Ottawa and for being such a great proponent for creative projects in town!

Check out Tariq Anwar’s music on Bandcamp at:  and you can find out when he’s playing next in Ottawa, by following his Facebook Page.