ottawa’s a city full of friends and support

Sarah Corbett photographed at The Urban Element.

I met Sarah Corbett last week at the launch event for ‘A Taste For Life’ and she was so nice to meet and photograph – so full of life and generosity. Sarah’s been a supporter of Bruce House for the past two years, donating her beautiful cupcakes to their various fundraising events. There’s a lot of cupcake businesses out there, but Sarah J’s Cupcakes are on a level all on their own! I loved when I asked Sarah what she loved about Ottawa her immediate response was her friends and how amazing and supportive they are. I know that’s not really about Ottawa, but perhaps it is – we live in a city that seems to be bursting with great people who have such heart and generosity.

© dwayne brown studio - the loveOttawa project

Still being relatively new to this city Sarah loves exploring and taking in all that Ottawa has to offer including some great restaurants. She loves Black Dog Bistro in Manotick as a favourite meeting place for her and her girlfriends. “I’ve tried just about everything on the menu and it is always so delicious.” Her family loves Big Rig Kitchen and Brewery for its great menu, staff and the beer. “Brunch at The Brookstreet Hotel is another favourite place to go and I also love Navarra for the crab and avocado salad, it is simply to die for!” One restaurant Sarah hasn’t been to yet but it’s at the top of her list is El Camino. Soon! :)

Another Ottawa organization that’s very close to Sarah’s heart is TIPES (Thinking in Pictures Educational Services). TIPES is a non-profit educational and therapeutic service that provides support to children, teens and young adults who have pervasive developmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorders and related/additional exceptionalities. This sounds like an amazing organization helping Ottawa families who are challenged with Autism.

Thanks so much Sarah for sharing what you love about Ottawa!

For more information about Sarah J’s Cupcakes: and you can follow her on twitter at: @sarahjscupcakes

old ottawa east – what a hidden treasure

Jessie and Gregory Wilson photographed on Main Street, Old Ottawa East.

It was so awesome to photograph Ottawa’s interior design couple Jessie and Gregory Wilson this week. This creative couple love their Old Ottawa East neighbourhood, they love home design and staging – and they love some really cool things about Ottawa. Jessie and Gregory love that their super central and slightly wedged-in neighbourhood allows them to grab a great coffee from their favourite french-country influenced coffee spot Café Qui Pense on Main Street, then in 5 minutes be walking their dog along Echo Drive which winds along the Rideau Canal. Or walk in the other direction towards Brantford Park and find themselves sitting on a cottage style dock right in the middle of the city. “For being such a small and central neighbourhood there is this amazing community spirit!”

© dwayne brown studio - the loveOttawa project

Another advantage to living in such a central Ottawa neighbourhood is Jessie and Gregory are only minutes away from some of their favourite eating and hanging out spots. They love the food and beer at Brother’s Beer Bistro or catching Ottawa’s musical icon Lucky Ron at The Laff  (Chateau Lafayette), both in The Byward Market. They also love Flapjacks Pancake Shack on Bank. “We love Flapjacks, because who doesn’t want a delicious gluten-free pancake sandwich?!”

Beyond pancakes and beer ;)  Jessie and Greg are really enjoying how Ottawa as a city is evolving from mostly a government town into a progressive creative community with the help of positive catalysts like Creative Mornings, Invest Ottawa and Urban Craft. Organizations like these are helping to ignite Ottawa’s passion to move our city forward as an innovative community with positive and creative heart.

For more information about Jessie and Gregory’s interior design and staging business FourthWall Interiors: and you can follow them on twitter at: @fourthwalldecor


a taste for life – hope made delicious

Steph Legari photographed at the ‘A Taste For Life’ launch at The Urban Element.

I set out earlier this week to photograph Chef Steph Legari to help raise awareness for the ‘A Taste For Life’ fundraising event that’s happening next Wednesday April 23rd (Steph’s the SpokeChef for the event). I was met by Steph’s super warm smile, an enveloping handshake and a passionate man wearing an amazingly brazen chef coat and pants. What I learned is, Steph Legari’s heart is on fire for Ottawa, for the chefs and restaurants of our city and for the people of Ottawa. This passionate heart of Steph’s is hard to ignore and so perfect to help encourage Ottawa to participate in this cool upcoming culinary fundraiser which will raise funds for Bruce House and The Snowy Owl Aids Foundation.  It’s a perfect fit for restaurants, Chefs and diners to give back without having to fill out forms, buy tickets or pay fees. All you have to do is go out for dinner and the rest is taken care of. “How perfect is that, it’s Hope made Delicious.”

© dwayne brown studio - the loveOttawa project

So not surprising, Steph Legari has more than enough love to go around for Ottawa’s restaurants, especially to Ottawa’s Chefs who in Steph’s opinion are always at the forefront of the culinary scene. As a chef, it’s hard for him to single out a handful of his favourite restaurants, and he tends to love different places more based on his mood than one being better than the other. Some of his favourites that do come to mind are Art-Is-In Bakery for Keven Mathieson’s delicious creations, the fantastic sushi and wonderful people at New Generation Sushi  and for a great burger he loves Burgers and Shakes. “Always always tasty!”

For pizza Steph has a couple places he loves. Milano’s Pizza is the pizzeria he grew up with and loved for years. “This is our place to go to for great pie.”  For truly gourmet pizza, Mountain Station Pizza (just south of town) is at the top of his list. “The CN trains that run alongside the shop actually stop and pick up pizzas. Seriously!

For BBQ……Steph’s backyard is the only place to be, but if he wants to go out and enjoy the company of good friends and experience a stellar band he loves The Branch in Kemptville which makes some of the best Brisket and you’d be hard pressed to find a non tasty item on their Texas BBQ themed menu. Chef Enloe brings in some of the best bands to entertain the guests while they enjoy some great BBQ. “Cozy and delicious. I love this place!”

Steph of course mentioned many more Ottawa restaurants he loves (places like Pelican Grill, Kettleman’s Bagel Company, Mama Theresas, Fatboys, Pub Italia, Winchelsea and even Ottawa’s Beavertails), but he brought me back to the list of over 45 restaurants who are participating in The Taste for Life event. These restaurants donate 25% of their total revenue for that one evening to this charity enabling the recipients to live with dignity and care. “These are the restaurants I love!”

For more information about the Taste For Life event:  or for more information about Steph Legari:  and you can follow both the Steph and The Taste for Life on twitter at: @ggourmet1 and @atasteforlifeot  


ottawa is a part of the new board game revolution

Amy Boyce photographed at ‘Games for All’ in Westboro.

Like many people, Amy Boyce grew up in Ottawa then moved away to Toronto for a while, but returned because of the small town feel and sense of community that our city is so well known for. Amy especially finds this local community feel in Westboro Village, where her and her partner Marquis Coté have recently opened their board game store and lounge – Games for All. “Westboro is the perfect neighbourhood for our new store because it’s so family and community focused.” She also loves Westboro because of all of the great locally owned restaurants, cafés and shops. Amy loves local!

© dwayne brown studio - the loveOttawa project

Amy also really loves the heritage buildings downtown like The Parliament Buildings, and she enjoys shopping and walking around the Byward Market where you can find so many small independently owned shops – and of course all the farmers selling fruits and vegetables in the summer. When I asked Amy if she had a favourite Ottawa restaurant, her’s was definitely Two Six {ate} on Preston. “I love that they really focus on presenting smaller meals using as much local food as possible.” Amy also really loves the eclectically vintage Raw Sugar Café, where you can even see local bands in the evening.

Thanks Amy for sharing and because board gaming is all about face to face connections and conversation, I’m certain your venture is going to be a big success in Ottawa. For more information about ‘Games for All’: and you can follow them on twitter at: @gamesforallca



ottawa is a great city to come home to

Abe Bourgi photographed in front of Ottawa’s Parliament Buildings.

Yesterday I photographed Abe Bourgi, who has been almost obsessively capturing Ottawa with his smart phone and posting countless wonderful images of our city on Instagram. Abe has been traveling the world since before he could even remember – and when I asked him how many countries, it was hard for him to remember exactly how many (definitely over 30). The thing is he always loves coming back to Ottawa of which he’s called home for a dozen years. “I love the open Ottawa skyline and I’m really loving exploring the neighbourhoods of Westboro and Wellington West.” Being a serial traveler I thought it was a cool compliment to Ottawa that Abe also loves the type of tourists who travel so far to visit here. Our city has such a rich historical and cultural draw, bringing tourists from all across Canada and around the world.

© dwayne brown studio - the loveOttawa project

When I asked Abe about his favourite Ottawa restaurants, he prefaced his answer by telling me how much he loved breakfast – and that The Savoy Brasserie in Westboro does such a awesome French influenced breakfast and brunch. Other favourite west-end restaurants are The Hintonburger for their delicious burgers and the Wellington Gastropub for great food and their beer sampler.

Something else that Abe loves about Ottawa are the people, of which his images are starting to include more and more of. His people images tend to capture local folks unaware of Abe’s camera – allowing him to naturally capture them interacting with their city and/or apart of a bigger Ottawa scene. His photography is almost painterly and definitely worth checking out!

A big thanks to Abe Bourgi for being on the other side of the camera and for sharing what he loves about Ottawa! To view Abe’s photography you can check out his Instagram feed at: @boodzz  and you can also follow him on twitter at: @boddythebest


a blank canvas waiting to be painted with new ideas

Michael Grigoriev photographed at the TEDxElginSt 2014 conference.

It was great to have the opportunity to photograph Michael Grigoriev this past weekend before he spoke at the TEDxElginSt conference. Micheal’s name is synonymous with positive and thoughtful change to Ottawa (he co-organizes the Ottawa chapters of Creative Mornings and DesignMeets). He has an industrial design background with a passion for user experience and digital behaviors – and I believe he also has an equaled passion for how we experience and use our city, so what a better person to photograph for loveOttawa than Micheal!

Like many, Micheal loves how this city can offer so many different types of experiences all in such close proximity. Go for a hike or cycle along an amazing network of bike paths, and ten minutes later you can have a fantastic local beer at an up-and-coming brand new restaurant. He loves that perfect balance between small-town outdoorsy options with amazing infrastructure to support it and increasingly exciting urban amenities. Micheal’s also excited how supportive the community is to help get just about any new initiative off the ground. “It feels a lot like a blank canvas waiting to be painted with courageous new ideas and people”.

© dwayne brown studio - the loveOttawa project

Micheal certainly loves all of the new restaurants and craft breweries opening up and he keeps a running check-list of places to check out, but right now although it’s not new, his favourite restaurant is Mello’s Diner. “You can’t beat the mix of accessibility, creativity and quality for a super reasonable price”. And just across the river, Marius on Promenade du Portage is an amazing new French inspired sandwich shop/bakery/cafe that as he likes to say “knows the deal”.

HUB Ottawa is very near and dear to Micheal. In his eyes HUB is much more than a space, it’s a co-working creative and innovative community which is one of the city’s most important non-profits that’s helping shape an Ottawa that we’re all excited about. “I really point to them opening up and the amazing work they’re doing as probably the biggest turning point for me in this city”. Micheal’s not sure where the new positive cultural shifts we’re seeing in Ottawa originated, but this new-found energy definitely helps all kinds of new initiatives and start-ups materialize. These positive attitudes also lead to a more pronounced pride to live and work in our city, which perhaps is the greatest reason to love Ottawa!

Thanks Micheal for sharing and for being a great proponent for positive and creative change in our city. For more information about Michael Grigoriev you can visit his website or his Linkedin profile and you can follow Micheal on twitter at @grigonometry



rethink + rebuild = positive passion for ottawa

Attendees of TEDxElginSt 2014 photographed at The Museum of Nature.

It was so nice to be asked by the organizers of the TEDxElginSt 2014 conference to drop down today to meet some of the speakers, volunteers and attendees – and of course to take a few loveOttawa portraits. And how appropriate, because everyone attending definitely loves Ottawa! It’s an awesome line up of great speakers, all chatting about thinking differently – Rethink + Rebuild.

I invite any and all attendees to share your thoughts below about what you love about Ottawa and/or what you’ve pulled from today’s conference to positively think about our city moving forward.





© dwayne brown studio - the loveOttawa project

Thanks to Vicki and Erin for inviting me and to everyone who braved the camera today! For more information about TEDxElginSt: and please follow them on twitter at: @TEDxElginSt