fitness from the inside out – spirit, mind and body

Marshall Page, photographed in Hintonburg Park.

Marshall Page is the owner of Marshall’s Integrated Fitness, an Ottawa gym that focuses as much on the body as it does on the spirit and the mind. Marshall, a body building champion, martial arts trainer, sports nutrition expert and life coach has been in the health, wellness and fitness fields for over thirty years, helping people gain a better quality of life through physical and personal development programs. His approach to personal improvement is truly all encompassing and his motto simple: “Believe. Persist. Achieve.” loveOttawa caught up with Marshall in the summer as he was busy preparing some clients for the Parapan Am Games.

© dwayne brown studio  – the  loveOttawa  project

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

How does your positive philosophy of using mind and heart to help the body benefit your clients?

“So many view fitness as a physical thing when in truth the physical is the end result of what first takes place in the heart and mind. Everything we do in life is at first a thought that we infuse with emotion, giving it meaning for us. Total fitness encompasses spirit, mind and body. The proper order of anything we wish to accomplish is from states to conditions. We must create coherence between these components to realize all we can be. Without this coherence we are off balance. Perhaps we could call it fitness from the inside out.”

What do you most love about Ottawa?

“I think Ottawa is one of the most beautiful cities to be in during the summer time. I also love the fact that within 15 minutes from anywhere in the city you can be in the country, where there is so much to explore. I also love the parks, the fact you are able to bicycle anywhere thanks to the extensive bike paths. As well, the fact there is always something happening somewhere – whether it be a concert, supporting one of our sports teams, or any number of activities to enjoy.”

Your gym is in Hintonburg. What is it about this Ottawa community that you love?

“The people of Hintonburg are awesome. They are so supportive of small business and local events. It is definitely one of the friendliest communities in Ottawa.”

What is it about the people in Ottawa that you most enjoy?

“I love the way Ottawans, as a community, pull together in support of many worthy causes, assisting those who may have experienced substantial loss or could be facing a major life challenge.
For the most part I find the people of Ottawa to be friendly, courteous, and easy to talk to.”

Are there any cafes and/or restaurants that support and are there any that share your passion for health and positivity?

“I am not one to go out very often, however Bridgehead, of course – at least one visit per day! One of my favorite places to visit is Sanguiccio on Preston Street. They have real homemade Italian food from scratch – the best sandwiches in town, and that is not just my opinion.”

Thanks so much Marshall for taking the time to share some of your life and fitness philosophies, as well as what you love about Ottawa!

To get more information about Marshall’s Integrated Fitness:

in love with canada’s capital and its diversity

Christiane Millet-Alexis, photographed downtown on Sparks Street Mall.

Christiane Millet-Alexis is an Ottawa businesswoman who, with her contagious and positive energy, spreads enthusiasm to anyone she comes across. Christiane is the founder and director of Interlangues, one of Ottawa’s oldest language schools.

Interlangues has been providing official and foreign language training to thousands of government, federal and city employees, as well as private clients, for almost four decades. The school also offers a wide range of French and English language programs for foreigners, bringing in students of all ages and nationalities year-round. We caught up with Christiane, who is French-born, a few weeks back on Sparks Street Mall, juggling her always very busy travel schedule, and sharing how passionate she is about Ottawa!


© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

When did you arrive in Ottawa and why did you choose to live here?

“I arrived in Ottawa on September 12th, 1974. I had just accepted a sessional lecturer position at Carleton University. I loved Carleton, my students, all of the infrastructure that was presented to me as an educator and the richness of character of my new co-workers, whom I fondly remember (Alvina, Jean-Jacques, Pat and, of course, Steffi!). My daughter, Barbara, was two years old, and we were so well received. Having come from a small Southern French town, I instantly fell in love with Canada’s capital and its diversity. I felt I had the world at my fingertips!”

How has it changed since you arrived?

“Ottawa has lost some of its green spaces downtown but it is now more vibrant: “terrasses” on the sidewalks, nice restaurants and clubs, festivals, shopping centers. It is no longer the quiet capital where I arrived 40 years ago! And I love it!”

Do you feel Ottawa is a good place to do business in? Is it more than just a government town in your industry?

“Yes, Ottawa is more than a government town and there is a dynamic business community‎. There are vibrant, renowned universities, associations, sports events, and you can work and have fun in both our official languages! It is a great place for language schools like Interlangues to welcome international students, who thrive in Ottawa for many reasons: the quality of the academic community, the great variety of activities the city offers year round, the fun places to visit, the social life and the numerous opportunities to volunteer and to be a part of the community. It’s a fantastic place to practice your language skills. And, of course, the relatively small number of international students in the city guarantees a faster integration and a real immersion in both languages.”

What do you like the most about Ottawa? What are your favourite restaurants, places to go?

“Being a theatre and music lover, of course I will put the National Arts Center as my number one choice, followed by Blues Fest, the Jazz Festival and the Ottawa Little Theater. And since I love seafood, “terrasses” and “ambiance”, Le Métropolitain is my favorite restaurant! If I want a great sushi, Kiko Sushi Bar is my place!”

Thanks so much Christiane for sharing what you love about Ottawa! For more information about Interlangues and the great work that Christiane and her team are doing, please take a look at their site:

a cool entrepreneurial city that I can help move forward

Yang Li, photographed in Hintonburg in front of The Ministry of Coffee.

We photograph such a wide variety of people for loveOttawa, all with different backgrounds and unique stories. Art Director, Yang Li, has a very cool story and perspective. As a new immigrant, he moved to Canada from Bejing, China when he was 18. He attended art school in New Brunswick, then landed his first job as a graphic designer in Ottawa. He quickly fell in love with the city. Yang really enjoys the friendliness, the freedoms that living here offers and he loves how Ottawa is progressing as an entrepreneurial city.

© dwayne brown studio  – the  loveOttawa  project

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

You moved to Canada from Beijing when you were 18 to go to school. You could have moved and lived anywhere after school – why did you choose Ottawa, and why did you stay?

“Serendipity brought me to Ottawa. Little did I know, I’d end up falling in love with the city! In the past 10 years, our city has been going through gentrifications, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, and it’s happening at a steady pace. I’m really starting to see a more progressive city and people really do care about supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs. I think this is very important, because they shape the commercial landscape and make Ottawa unique.

As a creative person, I love visiting big cities like New York City, Paris and Helsinki…but I always think to myself, “If everybody moves to the ‘cool’ cities, who will be building and adding to the coolness of our own town?”. Most importantly, in Ottawa I have met so many great friends over the years whom I see as my family.”

Are there any specific things about Ottawa that you love the most?

“I love going to art exhibits at the National Gallery of Canada or watching an old movie surrounded by Mayfair Theatre’s old world charm. The Rockcliffe Parkway is my favourite drive in the city. I also love how close I am to nature, the Rideau Canal, the Ottawa River, city wide trails and paths and Gatineau Park. I adore Lansdowne Park because I believe public spaces play a vital role in creating a sense of community and promote human interaction. We need more urban parks.”

As a creative person, what are your favourite places to spend time? Do you have any favourite restaurants, bars or cafés?
Ministry of Coffee in Hintonburg is my favourite place to have a morning coffee and kick start my day, but I also like Bridgehead as it’s conveniently located in my building. I like Dosa, Streetside Curry, Flapjack’s and Urban Cowboy food trucks for lunch. I love El Camino on Elgin when I get my taco cravings and I go to Local at Lansdowne if a game is on. The newly opened Belmont in Old Ottawa South has a cool menu for food and drinks. For special occasions, I go to Taylor’s Genuine Food and Wine Bar. They source fresh local ingredients and prepare them with heart.”

As a relatively new resident of Ottawa, are there any hidden gems that you love, that you’d share with someone new to our city or even just visiting?

“Water Plaza, located at the southeast corner of the Great Lawn at Lansdowne Park, is a nice place to hang out with friends or just to read a book. In future, it will be a reflecting pool with the soothing sounds of cascading water from the “uplift” monument. I was there while it was still under construction, so I can say that I got first dibs on those cool multi-tiered continuous benches.”

You like to get around on your long board. Do you use it to commute or is it more for leisure? Where do you love to take it?

“I do the occasional commute to work on my longboard, but I use it mostly for pleasure, a weekend or evening ride along the canal.”

Thanks Yang for sharing what you love about Ottawa! If you’d like to follow Yang Li on social media, you can find him on twitter at: @hyperdirector and on Instagram at: @hyperdirector

for the love of food and sharing it with ottawa

Tanya Whelan, photographed in front of Ottawa’s War Memorial.

Tanya Whelan is the founder of TW Events, and the host of the Ottawa Street Eats Festival, which takes place tomorrow August 1st, at the Aviation Museum.

This first year event features some of the city´s top culinary food trucks and craft breweries, bringing together food experts and lovers.

The creation of TW Events came about when Tanya, who received her professional training at Algonquin College and has always worked in the industry, was faced with some health challenges, resulting in the loss of her ability to taste food. Her passion for culinary delights sparked the idea of a festival where Ottawans could not only taste new cuisine and sip delicious craft beers, but also connect with chefs and brewmasters directly and share their enthusiasm for local.

© dwayne brown studio  – the  loveOttawa  project

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

Please tell us more about your event this weekend.

“Street Eats is about celebrating our local talent from craft beers to homemade pulled pork. Come and hear their stories as we interview each vendor and dance around the outdoor patio!  We are trying to do something different than the regular food festivals and we are really thinking about your experience and the vendors´ experience. For our guests we have set up games, tents, lots of seating, free parking for the first 200 cars, going green with compost stations and partnering with Escape Bike tours, providing live music by the Lionyls, a rock/soul band from 2-7pm and a DJ from Dsound to open and close the night. We are joined by five local craft breweries (Kichesippi, Mill Street, Beaus, Big Rig, Whitewater), seven food trucks (Angry Dragonz, Bytown Bayou, Original Souvlaki, Rico Peru and more), one Caribbean grill (Island Grill restaurant), two dessert booths (Deep fried chocolate and Ice Cream), and one gourmet coffee bar (BrewBar).”

What do you love the most about Ottawa?

“I love the culture, the rising passion for quality food, the huge festivals like Bluesfest and Jazzfest. I love how we preserve the beauty and greenery in this city. There are so many gorgeous places to sit and watch the sunset, lie in a park or beach, or take a windy road drive.”

When you’re not planning your own events, where do you love to eat and/or have a drink?

“I love to eat out so much, even with my new metal mouth (as I call it!) Some of my favourites are Murray Street, Melos and Fraser Cafe.”

Are there any hidden gems you’d love to share with someone new to Ottawa?

Melos is one for sure. It looks like a normal diner but you have to go inside for dinner. It’s delicious and extremely creative. They also have the best burger, I think. It’s like a grilled cheese/burger. We need to get rid of the burger bun and use sandwich bread. This leads me to my other favourite gem off the beaten path, Art Is In bakery. They have the most delicious sandwiches and soups, all homemade!”

Don´t miss out on this unique event, which will run from noon to 8 pm!

For more information about Tanya Whelan and her event marketing company: and/or follow her on twitter at: @tweventsottawa

being a part of a hotel team that feels more like a family

Executive Chef Kenton Leier, photographed in the Westin Ottawa’s kitchen.

As long as I’ve lived in Ottawa, I’ve always known the Westin Ottawa to be a beautifully appointed hotel with a great location and supported by a quality international brand. Now that they are sponsoring our loveOttawa project, both Anita and I are getting to see more behind the scenes, and we’re learning it’s a hotel with heart and a very hospitable team who consider themselves a big family!

The other week we were fortunate enough to meet and photograph Kenton Leier, who’s been the executive chef for the hotel for the past five years. Kenton told us how much he loves the excitement and pace of the Westin’s kitchen. He especially enjoys working with his closely knit team. “We serve everything from very large gala dinners for hundreds of people to small VIP functions. We cater outside the hotel as well, so it’s a huge challenge to plan and execute it all at a very high level and that’s what I love about it.”

© dwayne brown studio  – the  loveOttawa  project

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

Kenton loves that Ottawa has all the great things a big city offers…“great dining, entertainment, shopping and culture without the hassles of a really big city. I also love that there is so much green space, parks, trails with such easy accessibility.” Kenton appreciates how much the city’s dining scene has evolved over the past 10 years. “We can definitely compete with any other city for the number of quality places to eat and everything from very low key and casual to upscale and formal. There is lots of culinary talent here in Ottawa!”

Kenton’s favourite places to eat in Ottawa are quite varied. “I love the sandwiches at La Bottega in The Market and Pho at a number of places in Chinatown. Murray Street is a favourite restaurant, as well as The Cheshire Cat Pub in Carp, breakfast at Sconewitch, Baker Street Café or Wilf and Aida’s.”

Thanks so much to Kenton Leier for showing us around the kitchen at the Westin and for sharing some of what he loves about Ottawa! Please follow Kenton on Instagram at @chefleier to see what he and his team are working on in the kitchen!

supporting ottawa’s art scene with such heart

Tom Lawson and Shelia Casey, photographed at Champagne dit Lambert Antiques.

Tom Lawson and Sheila Casey have lived in Ottawa their whole lives and both have a passionate fondness for exploring any new diversions that pop up in our city. Anyone who’s met Tom and Sheila knows exactly what I mean when I say ‘they are the coolest, nicest and most authentic couple in town’. They both have a creative and sophisticated style that is so wonderfully complimented by their respectful ‘presentness’ when you talk with them. Tom and Sheila are ardent supporters and patrons of the local art scene in Ottawa, and they love their city very much. They especially love local artists Guillermo Trejo, Danny Hussy, Daniel Martelock, Marc Adornato, Stephen Frew, Andrea Stokes, Peter Smnelzer and Guy Berube of La Petite Mort. “We are really fortunate to connect with this creative group.”

© dwayne brown studio  – the  loveOttawa  project

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

In familiar Tom and Sheila style, they’re always on the move – so they’re also big fans of Ottawa’s outdoors. “Cross country skiing is twenty minutes from downtown. The world’s best skating and hundreds of kilometres for biking and running without the worry of crossing busy streets are right at our door step.”

Tom and Sheila are also loyal fans of the local culinary scene and they love that you can really get to know so many of the owners of Ottawa’s best restaurants, shops and bars. “We have wonderful purveyors of food and drink in the city: Isaac and Miriam for morels at Byward Fruit, Rocco for burrata at Bottega Nicastro, Yael for raisin chai at True Loaf, Johnny and Jessie for ling cod at Whalesbone, Mary and Stephane for rib eyes at Glebe Meat, Quinn for ABC Seasonal at Quinn’s Pub, Adrian and Will for fried chicken skins at The Belmont and Summer for potato chips at The Hintonburg Public House.” Ottawa is a city where you can really get to know the owner of the shop, as Tom and Sheila always do!

So what’s the story behind the location for our shoot? Tom and Sheila love art and they love to buy it, and Champagne dit Lambert Antiques is where they bought their very first piece of real art many years ago, and it’s a shop that will always hold a special place in their hearts.

Thanks so much Tom and Sheila for sharing what you love about Ottawa and for being such great advocates for the creative, the positive and the caring side to our town, including your support of the Community Foundation of Ottawa.

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.

sharing the love – one cupcake at a time

Veronick Ayling, photographed at V’s Cupcakes in Manotick.

At loveOttawa we get the chance to meet and photograph all types of wonderful and generous people. Veronick Ayling, owner ofV’s Cupcakes in Manotick, was all of that and more.

Veronick’s unique logo (the letter V capped off as a heart) tells the story of a woman who came by her dream through the belief that when there’s hope, obstacles can be overcome. Faced with a serious health challenge two years ago and forced to leave her twenty year career in the military, Veronick, with the help and support of her husband Mike, took the road less travelled. While dealing with this challenge, she came up with a business plan, designed every detail of her future cupcake café and put all of her love into a dream.

© dwayne brown studio  – the  loveOttawa  project

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

The result is felt as soon as you walk in: the sweet smell of made-from-scratch baking, the crisp and welcoming decor, the attention to small details and, of course, Veronick herself, a vibrant yet soft spoken woman who has, in less than 5 months, worked nonstop to create a unique and very special cafe, serving a delicious and varied offering of cupcakes and baked goods and catering to all types of clients. “We can and have answered to diverse customer desires, from large corporate orders to exquisite custom designed wedding cakes.”

When asked about her business, Veronick replies, “V’s Cupcakes is our dream, humbly shared with the community. We want customers to feel like they have arrived at a destination, rather than stopping by during errands.”

Veronick and Mike love Ottawa and  although busy, they enjoy skiing in the winter and boating on the Rideau River in the summer, with their three children. Their favourite downtown Ottawa restaurant is Bekta. They are especially proud of being a part of the Manotick community. “In Manotick, La Piazza is our go-to restaurant most of the time when we eat out. My Toy Shop on Tighe Street is a wonderful store to discover surprises you would never find at the big box toy stores. It’s like Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium in there!”

Thank you, Veronick, for sharing your story and dream with loveOttawa!

Please drop into see Veronick’s lovely shop in Manotick at 5556 Manotick Main Street. For more information: and you can follow them on Twitter at: @vscupcakeshop and Instagram at: @vscupcakeshop

the warmest and friendliest folks in ottawa

Jen Dykxhoorn, photographed in front of Raw Sugar on Somerset.

Some might call Jen Dykxhoorn a hard core all-season cyclist, and that might be true – but she’s also the coolest and kindest natured cyclist I’ve ever met! I first saw Jen last month cycling through Hintonburg on a wickedly snowy day wearing her vintage fur coat, a lovely scarf and her bike helmet, of course. She was sporting the most beautiful vibrant turquoise bike. I snapped and Instagramed her photo with a message that I needed to photograph her for loveOttawa. By the end of the day I had found her!

When I asked Jen if she had a favourite café to serve as a background for our photograph, she quickly offered up Raw Sugar Café. She loves its cozy atmosphere and wonderful shows, with hot toddys with maple whiskey that can warm any wintery day! (One of our favourites too!)

© dwayne brown studio  – the  loveOttawa  project

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

What Jen loves most about Ottawa is how the city embraces every season. “The city actually blooms in the spring with tulips and enthusiasm, the summer is rich with music festivals and farmers’ markets, and most uniquely, the sparkles in the winter, embracing the snow and ice and buzzing with an abundance of winter fun.”

Not surprisingly, Jen also shared how she loves the bike paths along the canal and river – and the easy and adventurous bike commute she does each day. “Rather than sitting in traffic, or waiting on a bus, cycling gives me the freedom to move through the city and have micro-adventures every day.” She loves that cycling connects her to other fellow road-warriors, especially in the winter where only a few are braving the frost, ice and salt. “When stopped at a stoplight with a fellow winter cyclist, you invariably exchange pleasantries and find that you are connected to the warmest and friendliest folks in Ottawa.”

Jen also loves living in the interesting and lively neighbourhood of Wellington West. “Wellington West has everything: the best shops including beautiful boutiques like Victoire and Flock, many coffee shops and restaurants (including Macaron & Madelines and Absinthe), and of course, wonderful bike shops (like Tall Tree Cycles)!” Another favorite spot of Jen’s is Legend Records, where she loves hunting for musical treasures.

Ottawa really is a big city made up of so many small, connected and unique neighbourhoods – with an abundance of great places to shop, experience and hang out!

Thanks so much Jen for sharing – we can’t wait to see you back out there on the road!

For musings about bicycles, epidemiology, and life, you can look at Jen’s blog: and/or instagram: @lovelyoutlier  And if you’d like to learn more about safe cycling in Ottawa, Jen is a big supporter of the work of Citizens for Safe Cycling.

a passionate culinary community connects the region

Marysol Foucault, photographed in front of her Gatineau restaurant Chez Edgar.

What a treat it was to meet and photograph award winning Chef Marysol Foucault earlier this week and it was fun to do it while set up in the middle of the street in front of her restaurant. I’ve been following her on Twitter and Instagram for quite some time and everyone I know who’s eaten at her restaurant raves about her wonderful food and her humble yet passionate presentation of her restaurant. I feel like I’m the only person left in Ottawa who hasn’t eaten at her restaurant Chez Edgar, but I’m going to remedy that this week I promise!!!

To finally meet Marysol was to really experience her passion in person, and so cool to be able to ask her what she loves about the Ottawa and Gatineau region. I love that so many of her answers were focused on the dynamic connection between Ottawa, Hull, Gatineau and Aylmer. She really loves the abundance or green-space which keeps her grounded and at home here. “I love that we have cycle paths that connect the dots between Ottawa/Hull/Aylmer/Gatineau and allows us to really appreciate that we have so much green-space.”

© dwayne brown studio  – the  loveOttawa  project

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

It may seem obvious, but Marysol really loves the booming local restaurant community. “I am proud to be here as the restaurant scene is booming and finding its groove. There is a great sense of community that is humbling.” It’s so difficult for Marysol to name just a few of the restaurants she loves the most in Ottawa, but some of her restaurant/bar crushes include Supply & Demand and The Wellington Gastropub which are closest to her home in Aylmer. Other Ottawa restaurants she loves are Town, Union 613, Murray Street and Allium. “I feel I can always just go as I am, even tired from work, dine or snack in a casual setting, and the guarantee that I will always have great food and excellent service.”

Marysol loves that the region is finding it’s culinary identity. She’s happy that we have less and less copies of successful restaurants from other cities, and less copycat restaurants in our own city. “There is a curiosity about craftsmanship that is beautiful and that will most probably result in restaurants/chefs each embracing a specialty.” The region is so rich with tradition and Marysol is very proud to know how to prepare Québécois dishes and it makes her so happy to share it at Chez Edgar – be it as small as a garnish of pets-de-soeur on a brunch plate, or going full-on ragoût de pattes de cochon and cipaille at Christmas. “It is who I am, no matter what language I speak, where I live, where I work.”

A close to home gem in Aylmer that Marysol loves is Cassis Gelato “Nami, the owner and her husband are such genuine people with such a good product.” She feels the same about Corazon de Maiz in the Market. “Eric and Mariana are amazing and such hard workers.”

Marysol has such a generous spirit and heart – she’s so proud of her team at Edgar and she is very passionate to be a part of the Ottawa/Gatineau culinary community. Giving back with her cooking talent is also very important to her – in November she’ll be cooking as part of a team for the Gala des Grands Chefs for a very important and very dear to her heart fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society. She also donates time and food to the Ottawa Food Bank and to Harmony House every year.

Thanks so much to Marysol Foucault for sharing what she loves about the Ottawa region and for being so passionate about our culinary community. To find out more about Marysol and Chez Edgar, you can take a peek at: and you can see loads of beautiful food on her Instagram feed at: @marysolfoucault  You can also follow her on twitter at: @chezedgar

making their mark on the city they love

Alex and Marta, photographed at their Railbender studio in Hintonburg.

Photographing and meeting Alex Néron and Marta Jarzabek in many ways is why I love the loveOttawa project so much. Alex and Marta are the nicest couple you could ever meet – they’re creative, genuine, humble, curious, generous and very entrepreneurial. I first heard about them and their Railbender Tattoo Studio through social media, then on Kickstarter where they were raising money to help build their Hintonburg studio. I immediately knew I wanted to meet and photograph them for loveOttawa!

Alex and Marta built their studio right in the heart of one of their favourite Ottawa neighbourhoods Hintonburg – right next store to the awesome micro brewery Beyond The Pale and around the corner from the Parkdale Market where they love to support local producers in the summer months. I should also mention that their studio has also a small gallery where they’ve been showcasing local Ottawa artists since they’ve opened – artists like Mat Dubé, Stephen Frew, Marc Adornato, Andrea Stokes, Daniel Martelock and more! I love that it’s so important to Alex and Marta that they’re helping other Ottawa artists with their Railbender studio and gallery.

© dwayne brown studio  – the  loveOttawa  project

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

So what do Alex and Marta love about Ottawa? They love the clean and super accessible green spaces that Ottawa has to offer. “The Rideau canal, the Rideau River, the many parks, and extensive networks of trails and pathways in this city, are the arteries of Ottawa – we Love them all!”  They also love all of the great music venues around town, especially the National Arts Centre! Alex shared a great NAC memory – “Tony Bennett proved the NAC is by far the best music venue for sound in Ottawa. When he performed live a few years back, he asked all power be shut off and sang live. The sound was incredible and carried throughout the venue so perfectly!”

Something really cool that Alex and Marta love, is just how supportive and positive the editorial and blogging community is here in Ottawa. They’re so appreciate all of the support they’ve received from the folks at Apt613, Herd Magazine and GUERILLA Magazine. “Ottawa has always had a lot to offer, but now people are making an effort to share with one another, to get the word out. Ottawa is buzzing, but we haven’t seen anything yet!”

Community is super important to both Alex and Marta, which is why they love the PEOPLE-oriented neighbourhoods of Hintonburg, Westboro and Sandyhill. These urban Ottawa neighbourhoods to them have a rich blend of ‘a little bit of something for everyone’ – the arts, entertainment and health & well-being. A non-profit community initiative that is very close to Marta’s heart is the Debra-Dynes Family House. It’s a multi-service community resource in the low-income social housing area of Prince of Wales and Meadowlands. “They are the definition of community driven, and are committed to improving the quality of life for multi-culturally diverse families who are low income and working poor.” The Debra-Dynes Family House serves more than 100 people a day through their many services, and as with many initiatives, depend heavily on volunteers and are very appreciative of financial help and donations.

Thanks so much to Marta and Alex for sharing some things they love about Ottawa. I’m certain their Railbender Tattoo Studio & Art Gallery is going to have amazing success!

For more information about Railbender: and you can follow them on twitter at: @rbenderstudio


a great city for families + creative characters

Jamie McLennan, photographed on Wellington Street in Hintonburg.

It was great to photograph designer Jamie McLennan the other evening and then over a couple pints chat about family life, creative stuff and Ottawa. We all love Ottawa for different reasons and maybe one of the best and most honorable reasons is that it’s a great city to raise a young family, as Jamie and his wife are. The cool thing is, is that they’ve decided to buck the usual trend of suburban life and move into and embrace the rich urban lifestyle of Hintonburg.

Jamie loves the independently owned shops and restaurants of his neighborhood – places like Anthony’s on Wellington where he and his family regularly go for “real authentic Italian pizza” or The Hintonburg Public House for a pint of locally crafted beer with friends. Ottawa and it’s urban hoods are all so rich, but Hintonburg has such an unique mix of residential architecture, varied demographics and such wonderful textures including the old West Park Bowling sign in our photo.

© dwayne brown studio  – the  loveOttawa  project

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

When chatting with Jamie, our conversation kept returning to his kids, so it’s not surprising that some of his other Ottawa gems were places he takes his family. In the summer one of their favorite spots is the Agriculture Museum (hands on fun with farm animals) and in the winter it’s a big neighborhood rink super close to their home for the kids to skate. On the creative side of things, Jamie loves how open and collaborative Ottawa’s creative community is – and he’s pretty excited that he’s recently joined design forces with Ryan Thompson as a partner with Character Creative.

Thanks so much Jamie for sharing and good luck with the new creative venture!

a city of neighbourhoods

Christopher Ryan, photographed in Minto Park, Centretown.

Today was incredibly cold, but we still braved the bitter minus 20’s to photograph self-proclaimed history nerd Christopher Ryan. I first noticed Chris on Instagram with his sensitive and understated portraits of lovely old buildings and homes in Ottawa (mostly Centretown). I was drawn to his imagery because his photographs seemed to gently pay homage to the overlooked yet important mid-century architecture of Ottawa. What I discovered today was that Chris’ love for heritage architecture and urban history goes way beyond photography – he also writes an extensive and insightful blog called The Margins of History which celebrates Ottawa’s rich urban history.

© dwayne brown studio  – the  loveOttawa  project

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

When I asked Chris if he had any favourite Ottawa cafés or restaurants, his first and quick reply was the Ministry of Coffee on Elgin – it’s where he does most of his writing he said! (this really is such a cool and friendly little café) – He’s also been known to tip a pint or two at The Sir John A Pub and grab tacos from El Camino’s take-out window. Now considering how Chris is such a passionate neighbourhood guy, I wasn’t surprised when I asked him where he’d take guests visiting from out of town and his reply was to take them to some of his favorite Ottawa neighbourhoods (one being Manor Park in the east end of Ottawa)!

It truly was a treat to meet Chris and to learn so much about his passion for Ottawa’s rich urban history. You can see some of Chris Ryan’s Centretown photography on his Instagram feed: @chrisarrrrr,  or follow him on twitter: @chrisarrrrr and read his blog:

Thanks Chris for bundling up and braving the cold! :)

living the dream in the quintessential canadian city

Camille Dubois Crôteau, photographed in front of The Rink of Dreams.

What a better place to photograph Camille Dubois Crôteau than in front of one her favorite places in Ottawa – City Hall’s Rink of Dreams! Skating means so much to Camille. She told me it takes her back to her childhood and gives her the visceral feeling of freedom. The sounds of blade to ice is almost meditative. And what a better way to experience the joys of winter than ice skating in Ottawa. :)

When not skating, Camille is living and working the dream by working in marketing for the National Arts Centre Orchestra (I’m fortunate enough to work with Camille on photography projects for the NACO). She loves that she gets to work with a world class orchestra at a place that in her passionate opinion is the pinnacle of Canada’s performing arts scene. It’s cool to know that Camille doesn’t just work at the NAC, she’s also an ardent and appreciative viewer of as many performances as she can fit in – as she puts it, she loves to witness the magic of performance come together for the audience.

© dwayne brown studio  – the  loveOttawa  project

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

When I asked Camille if she had a favorite Ottawa restaurant, a big smile came over her face and she said there’s no where she feels more comfortable than Chez Lucien, with it’s eclectic inclusiveness and authentic warmth. At the end of the day, Camille is a person with an authentic appreciation for big city culture and a down-to-earth respectful experience – and that’s so Ottawa!

Thanks so much Camille for sharing!