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THIS CITY: Parlez-vous English? Debating Bilingualism in Ottawa


This article was originally published in the May 2015 edition of Ottawa Magazine.

Illustration by Michael George Haddad

Illustration by Michael George Haddad

Is it time for the capital to become officially bilingual? Some people think so, and they have set the deadline as 2017, when the city is to play host to the celebrations of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation.

It would be a symbolic time, they say, to take a significant step toward ensuring that Canadians are just as bienvenue in the capital as they are welcome.

But hold on — isn’t Ottawa already officially bilingual? After all, the three levels of government strive to offer services in both languages, children speak French on their way to school, people converse casually in the two official languages, and “rue” precedes the names of streets on signs, just as “St.” follows. It is, some would say, what many Canadians want to believe their capital is: a model for bilingualism.

Not so fast. While the city has a policy to serve people in both English and French, language rights are not engrained in law — a fact that could lead to the erosion of French being spoken in the capital.

The region is full of anglophones, francophones, allophones (a Québécois term for people whose mother tongue is neither English nor French), and people who are bilingual. But unlike Montreal or Moncton, where shopkeepers greet customers in both languages, there seems to be a mentality in this region that English is, for the most part, the language spoken in Ontario, while French is the language of choice in Quebec. Rarely shall the two meet (outside the public service).

An example of the awkwardness surrounding un-official bilingualism in Ottawa can be seen in the banners for the 150th festivities. They hang off city hall and federal buildings downtown, as well as at the train station, where visitors arrive. “Be Here for Canada’s Big Year” is written in large letters; in smaller letters, “Où le Canada entier célébrera sa fierté” (“Where all of Canada will celebrate its pride”).

The best way to celebrate that pride, according to Jacques de Courville Nicol, the person who started the official bilingualism initiative — the National Movement for an Officially Bilingual Capital of Canada — is by enshrining the equal rights of English and French in the capital into law, thereby leaving a legacy project after the big bash in 2017.

“It’s a strong message when your capital is officially bilingual. Our country is. Why not our capital?”
~ Geneviève Latour, the National Movement for an Officially Bilingual Capital of Canada

A 73-year-old staunch federalist who worked for the federal government under Pierre Trudeau, de Courville Nicol says Ottawa is supposed to be the bridge between English Canada and French Canada. “Ottawa is not just another city of Ontario. It is the capital of Canada.”

Francophones, he says, “deserve to be a part of our national capital, for god’s sake. It’s not normal.” De Courville Nicol believes the lack of official bilingualism means French lacks a certain legitimacy in Ottawa.

And there is a group of young people who agree. Regroupement étudiant franco-ontarien is an Ontario francophone student group. They have started an online petition asking Canadians from across the country to sign on.

The 150th anniversary is a “milestone,” says 27-year-old Alain Dupuis, the group’s director. Official bilingualism for the city would give Franco-Ontarians “protection that their services are guaranteed and they will be for generations to come,” he says.

Dupuis, a Sudbury native, says the change would be a great “nation-building” move that would help the French language thrive in the capital. In addition to its practical use, the move would be a powerful symbol, one that might not be important for the anglophone community but is for francophones.

“It’s a strong message when your capital is officially bilingual. Our country is. Why not our capital?” says Geneviève Latour, the group’s co-president, who is 27 and grew up in St. Albert, Ontario.

Latour says that a capital that doesn’t represent the country’s linguistic duality sends a message “that French is not as important or is the second official language — and it’s not. Language equality should be engrained in law in the capital,” she says.

What official bilingualism would mean in practice, in terms of French use in business or on commercial signs, is not clear because opinions vary. De Courville Nicol is clear on one thing, though: he doesn’t want language police.

The most direct way for official bilingualism to become a reality is for the city to ask the province to change the City of Ottawa Act, which seems unlikely because of the lack of interest among city councillors.

Mayor Jim Watson, whom many see as a friend of the francophone community, is against the idea.

Capital Ward councillor David Chernushenko, who also opposes the idea, agreed to meet in his office to explain why he thinks official bilingualism is not necessary.

“There’s a big gap between the noble sentiment of being bilingual and the reality of making it happen”
~Capital Ward councillor David Chernushenko

The reasons why he disagrees with the proposal are many: he has not heard the issue raised by his constituents, he is worried about the increased costs that he suspects would come with official bilingualism, and he is concerned that the move would ignite the fire of angry people who are vehemently opposed.

“If we open up this one, from both sides, you will have the ardent francophone on one side saying, ‘That’s not bilingual enough,’ and you will have the English ‘Oh, we’re all so hard-done-by repressed majority. What a waste of money. No one’s going to make me learn French.’ ” He laughs at the thought.

Chernushenko says that the city does have a double standard, favouring anglophones, and that by operating as it does, it is taking the side of the growing majority of English speakers who might otherwise raise hell if it were any other way.

“I wish it weren’t that way. I wish it was easier and that we were all sharing both cultures,” says Chernushenko.

What he prefers is something that could be labelled unofficial “practical” bilingualism, which, he says, is what exists now. This approach is about fixing what is not working for francophones in the city.

But de Courville Nicol, Latour, and Dupuis say that is not good enough, because it means French language rights are at the mercy of city council. Madeleine Meilleur, MPP for Ottawa-Vanier and the Ontario minister of francophone affairs, agrees. She says that right now, if the city wanted to get rid of services in French, it is within its rights to do that.

In an interview at her Vanier office, she said it is her hope that the city will reconsider, because the province will certainly not move to make the city bilingual on its own.

“Let’s hope that they have the vision and the goodwill of offering this gift to the francophone community living in and outside of Ottawa,” says Meilleur, adding that the federal government should pick up the tab on extra costs because it is the national capital, after all.

Official bilingualism for the city would be a “safeguard for the future,” says Meilleur.

Ottawa may never be that city, like Montreal, where two anglophone strangers naturally speak to each other in French, or Moncton (the country’s first officially bilingual city), where people begin a sentence in one language and end it in another, but some francophones here are hoping to make small steps toward that. They admit, though, that they can’t do it without the anglophone community wanting it as well.


Denis Calnan has written for The New York Times and the Toronto Star. He has reported for the CBC in six provinces and is based in Ottawa.

SHOP TALK: Prepping for beach season at York Street Spa


Have you seen the Summer 2015 edition of Ottawa Magazine? Our Shop Talk for that issue can be found in the Exposed! series — and Kyla Clarke, our gregarious and stylish intern, can be found in the background. In this post, she reveals the prepping that went on before the shoot.

Kyla Clarke models Nordstrom shoes — and her mani-pedi by York Street Spa. Photo by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio

Kyla Clarke models Nordstrom shoes — and her mani-pedi by York Street Spa. Photo by Marc Fowler/Metropolis Studio


Walking through the bright red doors of York Street Spa is like walking into heaven. The converted historic home, which now houses the renowned salon and spa, reminds me of an old mansion or castle — and they  sure treated me like a queen.

Quickly offering to take my coat, the friendly receptionist sat me down in the cozy waiting area (next to an impressively elaborate espresso bar) while I waited for my appointment. When Tanya came down to take me away, she had no idea I was with Ottawa Magazine, but she didn’t treat me any differently after I told her. She offered me one of three (yes, three!) choices of water — lemon, cucumber, or regular. I opted for cucumber and, damn, that stuff is refreshing!

Tanya and I instantly hit it off, chatting about summer, shopping, life … girl talk. But that didn’t distract her from taking great care when handling my neglected tootsies and dry hands. She knew just what to say when it came to suggesting polish colours, caring for my embarrassing toenails, and even what I should get for my mom for Mother’s Day.

Pretty nude shade to keep it safe for photo shoot day!

Pretty nude shade to keep it safe for photo shoot day!

I decided while I was there that I should squeeze in an eyebrow wax (when in Rome, right?), but I was worried because I usually prefer threading, a gentler method. Tanya assured me she would be gentle — and I couldn’t be happier. I did not shed a tear (which I normally do during a wax) and the shape was amazing. So thick and full! She gained herself a repeat customer in this writer, and I walked back out through those red doors feeling like nothing short of royalty.


WEB EXTRA: Yoga instructor Sarah Atkinson on the appeal of nude yoga

This Q&A explores nude yoga, as written about in an article published as part of Exposed!, a collection of articles about everything under the sun, which was printed in the Summer 2015 print edition of Ottawa Magazine.
Ottawa Magazine editor Dayanti Karunaratne chats with Bare-Roots teacher Sarah Anne Atkinson of Bliss Yoga & Thai Massage, who has practised asana (physical postures) for seven years, about the appeal — and challenges — of nude yoga.
Sarah Atkinson is an instructor with Bare-Roots Yoga

Sarah Atkinson is an instructor with Bare-Roots Yoga. Atkinson and Stef Caissie are co-organizers at Bare-Roots Yoga.

When did you get involved with Bare-Roots?
Shortly after its debut in May of 2014 I joined a class led by Teresa Splinter.  The class was a refreshing change from what else was being offered in Ottawa.
And why?
My partner encouraged me to check it out as we have done other activities nude. I liked the message that was being cultivated in a sacred space allowing our true selves to exist around total strangers.  I also enjoy the community that is forming out of the yoga group.
How has Bare-Roots affected your yoga practice?
I have gained so much self confidence as a teacher and as a student. It is part of a growing practice to let thoughts in the mind go. It is even more challenging to do this while nude. The inner critic plays over and over about body image and imperfections. I am so grateful to this practice for allowing me to let go of my negative self-image issues.
Would you call yourself a naturist? Have you attended any naturist activities outside of Bare-Roots?
A naturist is a person who is comfortable with nudity and prefers to do most activities nude and spend time at home or out with others. I am a very proud naturist, a member of ON/NO (Ottawa Naturist/Naturiste d’Outaouais). I enjoy not only practising yoga in the nude but also tanning in the sun and most times at home with my partner.
What, if anything, surprised you about the experience of nude yoga?
I think that it surprises me how many people are new to yoga coming to Bare-Roots.

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SUMMER 2015: Cheap Eats, Short Fiction Winners, plus The Bare Facts on Skin

1_finalcover.inddHere comes the sun! And with it, the bustling farmers’ markets, meandering strolls, and languorous days of summer. Whether your perfect summer day is spent speeding down the Gatineau Hills on a mountain bike or lounging on a patio, summer offers long days — and warm weather — to do it all.

Likewise, this issue has something for everyone. If summer brings out the nature lover in you, read “Gifted, Naturally” (page 28), which tells the inspiring story of Paul and Cathy Keddy, who dedicated substantial time and financial resources to conserving a pocket of land in Lanark County for future generations to enjoy.

Love to hunt down unique eateries for the best-bang-for-your-buck dinner? Check out “Cheap Eats” (page 50) for 50 tips from food writers and local chefs (plus a few wacky ideas from our illustrators).


Our wide-ranging “Exposed!” Feature (page 35) is a must-read for sun lovers, as well as anyone who spends time outdoors. Do you welcome the opportunity to shed layers of clothing? Then why not bare it all and get to know the local naturist community? I can tell you that nude yoga was an experience i’ll never forget — check out my take on page 37. Then again, I have a young daughter, and my family will soon be facing the bikini question, which two parent bloggers debate in “Faceoff” (page 39). From skin-care technology to tattoo trends, barefoot running to cosmetic surgery, this timely editorial package explores a number of issues we’re faced with when temperatures rise.

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FATHER’S DAY! Give the gift of quality time at Centrepointe Theatre

Ah, Father’s Day. It’s no quite Mother’s Day, which sees children of all ages go over-the-top with gifts and celebrations for She Who Gave Them Life. And yet you don’t want to ignore the day completely — it’s good to have the big guy in your corner. But breakfast in bed doesn’t seem right — if he’s anything like the guys I know, breakfast items are part of The Things They Do Right. So even if you can make a mean eggs benny, don’t show him up on his big day.

So when Centrepointe Theatre came to us with the idea of Ways to Spend Quality Time with Dad, we thought, brilliant! Plus, because these shows are happening in late 2015 and early 2016, you have some time to plan a weekend around the show — and let dad know he’s appreciated all year long.

Herewith, a selection of shows playing at Centrepointe in their upcoming season.

For the Science Geek-Aging Rocker Dad: ArcAttack combines a love of music with a fascination with scientific processes like electricity, magnetism, and robotics. Meet King Beat, a robotic drummer, see band members walk through lightning, and get a glimpse of the band that’s gaining a Hollywood cult following.

Friday, November 6 at 7 :30 p.m.

Howie Mandel comes to Centrepointe Theatre this fall.

Howie Mandel comes to Centrepointe Theatre this fall.

For the Wannabe Stand-Up Comedian Dad: Howie Mandel made his big-screen debut in Make Me Laugh and has since appeared in St. Elsewhere, Bobby’s World, and The Howie Mandel Show, as well as frequent appearances on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. Give dad some education for his next dinner table routine with tickets to this stand-up legend.

Friday, October 2 at 7:30

For the Dad Who Takes Music Seriously: Your dad likely remembers a time when albums were listened to in full, start to finish (for a break only to turn over the record, if he’s a real audiophile). Is your dad also a Pink Floyd fan? If so, then Classic Albums Life: Pink Floyd – The Wall is the show for him. With the full album recreated on stage by full bands (including, at times, obscure instruments and choirs of children), you can challenge your dad to find a mistakes in the reproduction. Just don’t interupt!

Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 8 p.m.


Darcy Oake performs at Centrepoint Theatre on November

Darcy Oake performs at Centrepoint Theatre on November 10

For the Follow Your Dreams Dad: Does your dad dream of another career, in which he’s on the stage or travelling the world or creating awe-inspiring illusions? Show him that anything is possible with tickets to Darcy Oake: Edge of Reality. This Britain’s Got Talent winner satisfies audiences hunger for nail-biting feats of illusion. Plus, Darcy’s story goes back to when his own dad (Canadian sportscaster Scott Oake) showed him — accidentally! — a really cool card trick. That oughta gets dear old dad’s attention!

Tuesday, November 10 at 8 p.m.

SHOP TALK: Going to great lengths with Caryl Baker Xtreme Lashes


When I booked my (complimentary) lash extension service at Caryl Baker Visage at Bayshore Shopping Centre, I pictured myself on a stool for twenty minutes or so. I thought the process would be like getting a manicure — a short session during which I would quiz the esthetician about the salon, the service, how she got into that line of work, her weekend plans. It would be a peek into the world of beauty that would someday serve some sort of editorial package.

To be honest, I really only accepted the invitation because I had an event that night — the Riverkeeper Gala — and being a pregnant gala-goer is tough. No drinking, achy back, cravings to be in bed with House of Cards … I needed something to bring back the spring in my wedge-heeled step. Eyelash extensions sounded like it would do the trick. Quick little pampering session, right?

Luckily, the people at Caryl Baker noted my suggested appointment time of 3 pm might not be a good idea. In the end, I was at their stylish face-spa for over 2 1/2 hours!

And perched on a stool I was not. When I arrived, the staff ushered me into a special room, about six feet by 15 feet, and asked me to fill out a fairly long form. (I’ll admit, I started to get cold feet at this point! I could never go through with plastic surgery … ) But the esthetician, Lianne, answered all my questions fully and with such confidence that I quickly started to relax.

The reclining chair — located in a small, quiet room.

The reclining chair — located in a small, quiet room.

Lianne explained that, while other salons might put three or four extensions on each lash, Caryl Baker Visage’s new Xtreme Lashes put one extension on each lash, which makes for a “natural but noticeable” look. She assured me that the extensions aren’t “heavy” and will only cause damage to the natural lash if you’re prone to rubbing your eyes (so not good for little babies who miss their nap, I suppose!).

And then, I lay myself down for the process.

The worst part: eye guards. These are little pieces of plastic that are taped on right below the eye (you know, where we show our lack of sleep.) The more she asked if they were itchy, the more they became itchy. I dug deep: I have given birth. I can do this.

Another bad part: the sound of needle nose tweezers — and scissors, did I hear scissors? — operating very close to my eyes.

The best part: the music, the room, the confidence and fluidity with which Lianne worked. At times she would put one finger on my nose, just to steady me/her. I fell asleep right away!

Xtreme Lashes Before and After

Xtreme Lashes Before and After

Another good part: the glue — medical grade and hypoallergenic — needs to be changed regularly, which means a quiet alarm goes off every 15 minutes. (You’re 15 minutes closer to being done! I quickly lost track.)

The really, really best part: the end result. They’re 11 mm — that’s 2 mm longer than my 9 mm natural length, which I learned is the norm.

I don’t wear a lot of makeup to begin with, but I almost always wear mascara. I guess I’ve always felt my lashes were quite short and thin. Of course, you can wear mascara with these extensions but it’s best to avoid a waterproof one, as so much rubbing is required to remove the stuff. But me, I think I’ll avoid the stuff for the month or so while these suckers stay on.

In the end, the extensions did give me an extra thrill at the event that night, and I’ll enjoy looking a little more put-together. I don’t think they look fake — as my husband said, I just look a little “Disney-ified.” I’ll take that as a compliment!

Plus, Lianne suggested that extensions are great for vacations, when you don’t want to spend a lot of time putting on makeup. Me, I think they’re great for pregnant ladies who might be feeling awkward about their rapidly changing bodies.

Caryl Baker Visage

Rideau Centre, 613-230-2212
Bayshore Shopping Centre, 613-820-2140
St. Laurent Centre, 613-746-5301
Place D’Orleans, 613-841-7222

DESBRISAY DINES: Share Freehouse

Anne DesBrisay is the restaurant critic for Ottawa Magazine. She has been writing about food and restaurants in Ottawa-Gatineau for 25 years and is the author of three bestselling books on dining out. She is head judge for Gold Medal Plates and a member of the judging panel at the Canadian Culinary Championships.

Share Freehouse. Photo by Anne DesBrisay

Share Freehouse. Photo by Anne DesBrisay

Share Freehouse opened two months ago in a space that’s seen its share of turnover.

Three-two-seven Somerset was the long-time second home of the long-running French restaurant Le Metro. Then of the excellent-but shuttered-in-a-hurry Benitz Bistro. There were other attempts to fill it, but most lately, it’s where 327 Wine Bar used to be.

Share is owned by the husband-and-wife team of Thomas and Maeve McVeigh.

In the kitchen is Danny Mongeon, formerly of the (now-former) Gatineau restaurant, Brut Cantina, and the Rideau Street restaurant Hooch Bourbon House. At least he was in the kitchen for my first two tastes. At my final visit, just as dessert arrived, I learned he had left. About a week ago, maybe two, our server said.

Good grief.

It explained a lot — the long wait for food and well-off-the-mark pacing (they were also down one server, leaving a single hard-working, admirably unflappable man to manage the room and patio). But here’s the thing: once the food did come, it was still very good, with Mongeon or without Mongeon.

Steak tartare. Photo by Anne DesBrisay

Steak tartare. Photo by Anne DesBrisay

At Share Freehouse, everything on the menu is up for sharing, from cheese and charcuterie to soup and salad, steak and pie. Over the years of sampling this direction in restaurants, I’ve decided sharing – with the exception of places like Table 40 with a family-style set menu — works better as a warm and fuzzy idea than it does in practical application. Sharing at a restaurant table is more natural with a life partner than with the boss. It suits twenty-six year old women more than it does sixty-two year old men. It’s easier to share a plate of cheese than a bowl of soup. And at most places with standard-sized tables, over-sized platters simply don’t fit well.

And then there’s the matter of sharing the bill. At Share Freehouse, the pricing is a bit confusing. The first price listed, closest to the dish description, is ‘For Two’. The next number is called ‘Plus One’. Single portions are available, though no price is given. So if you’re a table of six say, and three of you want to share the duck (For Two, add Plus One) and one wants a single sliders order (price of that is unclear, but turns out to be half of For Two, plus a few bucks) and all want Brussels sprouts (For Two, times 3?) how exactly that computes makes my head spin.

In fact, just seeing $32 next to ‘Cauliflower’ is a bit jarring. Granted, it’s supposed to be enough for two, but Share is asking for a serious leap of faith; it had better be the best damn platter of roasted cauliflower on the planet. Ditto for the investment in forty-two dollars worth of duck. What if it is overcooked?

In the end, we elected to share some starters and asked for individual mains and veg, which I noticed some tables around me were also doing.

But here’s the good news about the food: it’s really good. It started with a board of ‘Preserved and Cured’ — pungently smoked duck prosciutto, richly flavoured pots of duck rillette and Mariposa Farm pork creton, served with mustards, pickles and a sweet onion marmalade. House-made cranberry crisps were provided to ferry meat to mouth.

Charcuterie. Photo by Anne DesBrisay

Charcuterie. Photo by Anne DesBrisay

Then a beautifully balanced bison tartare. Beneath layers of crisped shallots and a rough chop of herbs was the puck of well seasoned, very lean raw meat, carefully cubed. Over this was a toupé of sunny yellow curls – grated, cured egg yolk, which added a salty, rich, eggy pop (and much more fun than parmesan). Boston lettuce leaves were provided for scooping.

A salad of ancient grains with puffed wild rice and beets was fresh, balanced, with yogurt lending a nice tang. The roasted cauliflower gratin ‘soubise’ (with a creamy onion sauce pooling beneath) came with steel cut oats, puffed wild rice, tart cranberries, and the same dill-parsley salad we had on the tartare.

Duck. Photo by Anne DesBrisay

Duck with wheat berries, mushrooms, sour cherries, and jus. Photo by Anne DesBrisay


Individual mains were an impeccably fresh and precise piece of trout and juicy slabs of ruby duck. The fish shared the plate with heirloom potatoes and fiddleheads; the duck with braised wheat berries, king eryngii mushrooms, pickled sour cherries, and a polished jus.

A dessert called lemon cherry curd arrived deconstructed on the plate — hunks of spongecake, a scoop of buttermilk ice cream, coral coloured blobs of lemon-cherry curd, dots of cherry coulis, and meringue in crisp, torn sheets. Very nice.

We didn’t try a cocktail — the bar was already taxed — but the bitters, cordials, syrups, and such are house made, and you’ll find quite the whiskey list here. There’s a good selection of craft beer, on tap and in bottles, and the wine list has enough variety to please, at prices that are neither kind nor overly unreasonable.

They were down the chef, a server, and a bartender on our final night, so service was a bit of a mess. Still, we ate well. If Share keeps that part working, perhaps the rest will follow.

Share Freehouse
327 Somerset St. W. 613-680-4000
Daily from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.


THIS CITY: Zebra Mussels Wreak Havoc With Ottawa River Ecosystem

This article was originally published in the May 2015 print edition of Ottawa Magazine

Illustration by Michael George Haddad

Illustration by Michael George Haddad

By Matt Harrison

Stemming the flow of raw sewage flooding into the river after heavy rainfalls is one of the major problems being addressed by the Ottawa River Action Plan (ORAP). Indeed, earlier phases of the plan have already significantly reduced pollution entering the river. The final phase of the ORAP — building large storage tanks to contain overflow — is supposed to kick into gear this summer, but it requires provincial and federal funding, and so far, none has been promised. [Update: $65 million in federal funding was announced in April.]

But rethinking the Ottawa River isn’t such a bad idea. In fact, it may lead to a more holistic approach — one that addresses not only overflow but other factors affecting the health of the river.

The zebra mussel — and the herculean task of rescuing native mussel populations from its death grip — provides a perfect example.

Read the rest of this entry »

#TBT: Eight Years Later, Lindsay Ferguson Returns to the Black Sheep

This article was originally published in the April/May 2007 issue of Ottawa Magazine.

Lindsay Ferguson appeared in our Pick 3 department in 2007

Lindsay Ferguson appeared in our Pick 3 department in 2007

A couple of weeks ago, singer Lindsay Ferguson sent us an email with the subject line “Good Morning From Switzerland!” We don’t get too much spam from the Alps, so I opened it.

In it, Ferguson gave us the update on her career — she now splits her time between Bern, Switzerland and Wakefield — and let us know she would be releasing her new record at The Black Sheep Inn on May 23rd.

She took us on a trip down memory lane by sending us a clipping of the feature we ran in advance of her 2007 release party — also at the Black Sheep.
Check out Ferguson’s new sound on Saturday, May 23rd at The Black Sheep Inn.
$12 in advance, $15 at the door
Herewith, Lindsay Ferguson’s 2007 Pick Three feature, in which she dreams up her fantasy concerts, dates, and favourite power ballads.
Photo by Christina Riley

Photo by Christina Riley

3 Favourite Possessions

  • My guitar
  • My fingers
  • My life

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EATING & DRINKING GUIDE 2015: The Ottawa Food Lover’s Guide to Everything



All around town, chefs are focusing their considerable talents on preparing comfort food. Many restaurants are striving to become neighbourhood destinations as knowledgeable diners gravitate to casual eateries and skilled home cooking, modestly presented. The trend is toward gathering in groups, sharing both plates and tables. We want to kick back, enjoy unpretentious dishes made with fresh local ingredients, and wash it all down with a seasonal craft beer or a new wine discovery from Prince Edward County.

The 2015 edition of Eating & Drinking reflects this sensibility, with Ottawa Magazine restaurant critic Anne DesBrisay paying special homage to neighbourhood destinations and tucked-away eateries as part of this season’s guide to 32 must-eat restaurants. As the desire for a more intimate dining experience takes off, so does the appetite for a more personal connection to the growers and makers of all that we eat and drink.

Small-batch foods, artisanal cordials, and craft beers are tempting because they taste great but also because we feel a connection to the farmers, brewers, bakers, and butchers who are preparing them just for us. Welcome to the table.

By Sarah Brown 

Ottawa’s most exciting new food businesses and best restaurants

New and Noteworthy
Fifteen of the tastiest new additions to the culinary landscape. By Shawna Wagman

Small-batch finds
The yummiest, the most sophisticated, the trendiest small-batch things you need to try right now. Our opinionated checklist for the discerning locavore. By Cindy Deachman, Anne DesBrisay, and Shawna Wagman

Some offer a boisterous evening at the bar; others are comfortable old-timers, innovating gracefully to keep up with the times. Ottawa Magazine restaurant critic Anne DesBrisay selects 32 restaurants for this year’s must-visit list. By Anne DesBrisay

Festive Gourmet
An overview of the next 12 months of finger-licking celebrations. By Matt Harrison

Adventurous Gourmet
Restaurateurs are devising all manner of inventive special events to satiate our hunger for novelty. By Amy Allen

The much-anticipated Fauna makes it onto Anne DesBrisay's "Eat Here This Year" list. Photo by Marc Fowler

The much-anticipated Fauna makes it onto Anne DesBrisay’s “Eat Here This Year” list. Photo by Marc Fowler

Briana Kim of Café My House talks about raw agave, Kitchen Nightmares, and other favourite things in the 2015 edition of Ottawa Magazine's Eating & Drinking. Photo by Luther Caverly

Briana Kim of Café My House talks about raw agave, Kitchen Nightmares, and other favourite things in the 2015 edition of Ottawa Magazine’s Eating & Drinking. Photo by Luther Caverly

A curated guide to satisfying your gourmet grocery and takeout needs. By Cindy Deachman

My Favourite Things

Rich Wilson of The Pomeroy House
Briana Kim of Café My House
Cyril Nebout and Leslie Yang of Cylie Artisans Chocolatiers
Sara Pishva of Top Shelf Preserves
Kimiko Uriu of Kimicha Tea

Wines and craft beers to suit every event on your social calendar. 

David Lawrason details his 47 favourite bottles.

The Ultimate Beer Run. By Jordan Duff

Refreshing Craft Beers. By Jordan Duff

Back Page
Dinner With the Family: Erling’s Variety

Susan Phipps, owner of the Joy of Gluten Free, is highlighted in the Bakers section of the 2015 Eating & Drinking guide. Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen

Susan Phipps, owner of the Joy of Gluten Free, is highlighted in the Bakers section of the 2015 Eating & Drinking guide. Photo by Justin Van Leeuwen