creatively collaborating and loving ottawa

Dwayne Brown and Anita Ruivo in front of Ottawa’s Parliament Buildings.

As many of you know, over the past year and a half I’ve been curating and photographing so many wonderful people who love Ottawa – and it’s been truly awesome! The project has been evolving and growing every month it seems, with more and more visitors to the site as well as overwhelming growth with Twitter and Instagram. With growth come opportunities and I’m very proud and excited to be now creatively collaborating with Anita Ruivo.

Anita is the founder and owner of Funlanguages Canada, a really dynamic company bringing international students to Ottawa to improve their English language skills as well as broadening their hearts and minds by introducing them to Canadian life. “Ottawa is a truly picturesque, diverse and friendly city. I am extremely proud to share it with our international students. They return to their countries with many great memories of its lovely people and captivating beauty. loveOttawa is an extension of my love for the city through my work with international clients and Ottawa-based collaborators. I am very excited to be a part of this fun and dynamic project!”

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

With Anita’s creative involvement with loveOttawa, we have some new exciting ideas that we’ll be sharing next month! If you love Ottawa and would like to brave our camera and/or have any interesting ideas or event invites for us, please drop Anita an email at

courage and kindness

Cheryl Woods of Make-Wish-Foundation, and the Rope for Hope challenge.

One of the great common denominators of what people love about Ottawa is just how kind and generous it is! After I photographed Make-A-Wish foundation director Chery Woods rappel down the side of The Marriott Courtyard Hotel for the Ottawa Rope for Hope Challenge, I asked her what she loved about Ottawa. She like many, loves the green space and walking trails, how clean a city it is, the growing number of great restaurants, but most of all – she loves to see how Ottawa continues to progress as a philanthropic city!

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

Make-A-Wish® Canada grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Rope For Hope was launched as a national event in 2014 across Canada in eight sites, including Ottawa. Over $870,000 was raised nationally that will directly support over 500 wishes in 2014!

pit bash love

The Unshaven Mavens 2014 Pit Bash at House of Targ.

One of the great aspects of The loveOttawa Project is that we get to meet and photograph so many great folks in Ottawa who not only are helping others, but who are doing it with creativity and such heart! Anita and I were lucky enough to head down to House of Targ the other evening to photograph this year’s Unshaven Mavens who’ve let their under arm hair grow to help raise money for Rethink Breast Cancer and to raise awareness for self examination. A big thank you and congratulations to Amie Beausoleil and Malorie Bertrand (the ladies behind the Unshaven Mavens project) for such a great event and a super successful month of October!

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© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

the power of the positive

An impromptu loveOttawa session across from our Parliament Buildings.

This week Ottawa found itself sadly and dramatically at the centre of our news world, with a tragic event reminding us all of the fragility of life and how profoundly valuable liberty is. The loveOttawa project has always focused on the positive and the beautiful – so I thought it necessary to set our canvas up this morning across from our Peace Tower and ask a handful of people what they love about our humble yet great city. And in light of a confusing week, I’m again refreshed and reminded that Ottawa is indeed such an incredible city to love and to be proud of!

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© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

A super big thanks to everyone today who braved our camera and shared their words – and thanks so much to Anita, Lucia and Juan for teaming with me to make this post happen!

teaching ottawa students about smart culinary choices

Chef Kent Van Dyk photographed at the Parkdale Market.

We all hear how important it is to shop and support independent restaurants and to buy our food from local producers – well Kent Van Dyk is going one step further and teaching Ottawa high school students about how to make those important choices. Kent runs a Barrhaven high school culinary arts program teaching cooking and restaurant management, with a focus on cooking from scratch, eating locally and sustainably. Kent is hoping in some cases to have students move on to the culinary world but he really wants to educate future consumers about what they buy, where they buy, how to cook it and the joy of preparing food from scratch and sharing it with people.  At the school they have a kitchen garden and in grades 9 and 10 the field trips they do feature visits to orchards, sugar bushes, Ottawa farmer’s markets and businesses that promote sustainability!

When I asked Kent about what he loved about Ottawa, it was no surprise to hear that he loves so many of the great independent sources for food. “I really like shopping at the local farmer’s markets (particularly Parkdale) and small local purveyors like Glebe Meat Market and Whalesbone Sustainable Fish Supply and then cooking for friends.”

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

There is so much more that Kent loves about Ottawa – the multitude of music festivals from Folkfest to Arboretum to Chamberfest and everything in between.  He also loves all of the outdoor activities you can do in Ottawa – from hiking and cross-country skiing in the Gatineu park to walking/running along the canal. Ottawa has so much to offer all year round!

Kent’s attention, of course returns back to the fantastic restaurant/food culture in Ottawa. “I like a lot of different restaurants in Ottawa and I don’t want to leave anyone out but some of my favourite restaurants are Town on Elgin St.,  Edgar for brunch on the weekend and  Sidedoor for son-in-law egg and panang curry. I also really love Supply and Demand and Wellington Gastropub (around the corner from my house), Union 613 for Southern hospitality and of course El Camino.”

Kent is super happy that Ottawa’s old image of a sleepy government town is rapidly changing. “When I walk by restaurants on say a Wednesday night and people are still coming in at 9:30-10:00 for dinner…I’m happy!”  It’s so great that Ottawa has really evolved into a dynamic city that embraces eating locally and supporting the many artisanal producers in the region…from craft brewers to cheese makers to amazing farmers.

Thanks so much to Kent for sharing his love for Ottawa!

For more information about Kent Van Dyk:

ottawa is such a jewel – la joya de la corona

Anita Ruivo and some really awesome kids visiting from Madrid, Spain.

The loveOttawa project is all about asking people what they love about Ottawa – and helping to reveal the heart of our city. As someone who lives here, it’s sometimes obvious to see this spirit and yet sometimes it’s something we can even take for granted. But to meet Anita Ruivo of Funlanguages Canada and a bunch of the teen students she’s brought to Ottawa from Madrid Spain (to improve their English and to help evolve their life skills) – it really helps to see our city as a great city to love. A city that truly is a jewel – la joya de la corona!

Anita loves that Ottawa is so perfect for the educational programs that Funlanguages provide. Ottawa helps to make the student’s time in Canada fun yet safe, enriching and such an authentic Canadian experience. “Our students are enamored with Ottawa. They love the people. Ottawans are friendly, always smiling and willing to lend a hand. Ottawans always say thank you! Ottawans are honest – they will even return a misplaced wallet or a lost phone.” Anita loves that her students can independently and safely venture around Ottawa on transit or by foot, which is so good to help build a young student’s self confidence. “The students have loved Ottawa so much, many of them don’t want to leave – and many will return!”




© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

For more information about Anita Ruivo’s work with Funlanguages Canada, please take a peek at:


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

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