jazz is love

Shared by Anita Ruivo + Dwayne Brown

Backstage at the TD Winter Jazz Festival’s Leonard Cohen tribute concert.

Yesterday was such an amazing Valentine’s Day. It was capped off with an up-close and intimate experience meeting and photographing many of the artists performing in the TD Winter Jazz Fest’s Leonard Cohen tribute concert, as well as many of the folks working behind the scenes. From the moment Anita and I walked in the side door of the Dominion-Chalmers Church to when we were all set up in the cozy hallway alcove ready to shoot, we were so well taken care of by the Jazz Festival’s staff and volunteers. It felt so much like a fun, welcoming family.

Our loveOttawa project is always focused on shining light on what a great city we have. We wanted to use the evening as an opportunity to share how lucky we are to not only have great musical talent gracing Ottawa, but also how friendly the folks who make it happen are. We had fun telling that story by asking people to write one or two words describing what they loved about the Jazz Fest and/or what they love and how they feel about the music.

Last night we were surrounded by some incredible talent: Martha Wainwright, Jay Malinowski, Scott Helman, Reuben and the Dark, Don Francks (Iron Buffalo), Kelly-Lee Evans and more. But what really struck us was everyone’s kindness and humility. Yes, the music was amazing and so emotional as these artists paid tribute to the great Leonard Cohen, but they were all so nice and generous with their time!

Scott Helman

Martha Wainright

Jay Malinowski



Don Francks – Iron Buffalo

Reuben and the Dark






Petr Cancura – Ottawa Jazz Festival Programming Director

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

it’s valentine’s day – what or who do you love?

Shared by Anita Ruivo + Dwayne Brown

Customers, staff and Adam the DJ, all photographed at Flowers Talk Tivoli.

Today is a special day, a day to celebrate love – so we thought we’d expand on our usual question of “What do you love about Ottawa?” to “Who or what do you love?” The results and experience, again remind Anita and I, why we do this – it’s because of the pleasure of meeting positive people who love sharing a bit of themselves for our project! Big thanks to Elizabeth Young and her awesome team of florists at Flowers Talk Tivoli, who have been so helpful this week by preparing the 50 free bouquets for the Youville Centre’s teen moms, and for helping us today share our project with their customers.

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© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

braving the cold and warming hearts

Shared by Anita Ruivo + Dwayne Brown

Sam Chen and Tammy Whelan photographed in The Byward Market.

We just got back from photographing Sam Chen (Ottawa’s Flower Boy) and Tammy Whelan from Whole Foods Lansdowne, while they were braving the sub-zero weather and handing out Valentine’s Day Flowers to strangers – yes, that’s right to strangers! Sam has been doing this now for years, because he feels everyone deserves flowers on Valentine’s Day and everyone deserves to be happy. Sam and his team were out today and will be hitting the streets tomorrow. So nice and so inspiring! Happy Valentine’s Day everyone – thank you for loving Ottawa and supporting our loveOttawa project!

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

supporting ottawa’s art scene with such heart

Shared by Anita Ruivo + Dwayne Brown

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

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.

from the canal to art, and ice sculptures to beaver tails!

Shared by Dwayne Brown

What do YOU love about Ottawa and Winterlude?

What better way to spend a Friday afternoon in Ottawa than to head downtown to ask folks what they love about Winterlude and their city? We started at The Westin and met Ivano – the nicest doorman in town, who’s worked at the hotel for over 25 years and who’s a huge fan of Winterlude. We then spent some time on the canal and Confederation Park, where we ran into folks who were nice enough to share what they loved. I had no idea we have a zamboni that helps prime the skateway for skaters. I do, on the other hand, know how delicious BeaverTails and poutine are! ;) I loved that one couple’s word was ‘opportunity’ when I asked them what they loved the most about Ottawa. But the coolest thing about heading out and asking strangers in Ottawa to participate in a project, is they always say “yeah, sure” and they do it with a generous smile!

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© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

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

Shared by Dwayne Brown

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

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.



ottawa loves ‘friends with benefits’

Shared by Dwayne Brown

Tonya Price photographed in the studio at Carleton’s CKCU FM.

It was great to meet New Brunswick transplanted radio host, Tonya Price the other day – she was so positive and such a treat to photograph! Tonya has been hosting a really cool radio show called ‘Friends with Benefits’ for the past three years. The show is broadcasted every Tuesday at 4PM and generally profiles Canadian musicians with new releases and artists who are coming through Ottawa. Tonya also tends to favour artists who are performing as part of NAC Presents. “I think it is an amazing series that has really been a positive contribution to the Ottawa music scene.” Tonya also loves to feature charitable events, festivals, local Ottawa musicians and artists.

Tonya loves her work with campus/community radio as it’s helped her to get so much more in tune with all the events going on in Ottawa and has helped her make great connections with people through her show. “I love asking questions and hearing my guest’s stories. There are a lot of excellent, hard working Ottawa musicians and people who contribute to the ‘scene’ in Ottawa.”

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

Being a creative person Tonya really loves the supportive and collaborative nature of Ottawa’s community – and just how kind and helpful people are. She’s also loving how the evolving Ottawa restaurant scene has grown a lot in the last few years in terms of choice, creativity and quality. Places like Play, Supply & Demand, Cafe My House, Patty’s Pub and the Clocktower Pubs! Tonya also points out how the regional, destination music venues have grown a lot in the past few years. “We don’t just have the BlackSheep Inn anymore. We have The Branch in Kemptville, The Neat Cafe in Burnstown, and now McCloskey’s in Chesterville – and North on 29 near Almonte, which just opened. It’s very exciting!”

I love asking people for their Ottawa hidden gems, and Tonya had a few awesome ones! House of Targ (Pinball and Perogies), Flying Piggy’s (Bistro Italiano), The Record Centre (Awesome Vinyl), D’Rienzo’s (Sandwiches Worth the Line-up), The Orange Art Gallery (An Old Bank Full of Art), The Loft (Salon & Spa) and the coolest silver jewelery from local designer – Ania Gerts, available at Zahara Jewellery in Westboro.

Thanks so much Tonya, for sharing what you love about Ottawa and for being such a great proponent for local and Canadian music!

For more information about Tonya Price’s radio show take a peek at: CKCU 93.1FM online  and/or you can follow Tonya on Twitter at: @little_tonya and on Instagram at: @little_tonya



sharing the love – one cupcake at a time

Shared by Anita Ruivo

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 of  V’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

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

sharing a little love with a new friend in town

Shared by Anita Ruivo + Dwayne Brown

What do you love about the new Frank and Oak store in Westboro?

Today was a really cool experience in social networking – asking people what they love about Ottawa and what they love about a new store in town. We set up our canvas in the new Frank and Oak store in Westboro for a few hours and asked customers what they loved, and surprisingly their answers were hard to distinguish between Ottawa and Frank and Oak. It was also really awesome to meet so many interesting folks – tattoo artists to teachers, photographers to hair stylists, restauranteurs to print specialist, designers to writers and archivists to artists. It truly was a social networking event that combined welcoming a new store to town and celebrating some very cool and positive folks who help make up the vibrant community of Ottawa!



“I find myself constantly inspired in this community, whether it is just by walking through the streets or along the canal, meeting new people, taking a yoga class, or discovering parts of the city I haven’t seen before. For this reason ‘Inspiration’ was my word of choice.” ~ Sarah Gleason

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Thanks so much to Heather and her team for making today so fun for us and all the customers!

Drop by the store in Westboro at 297 Richmond, and for more information about the Frank and Oak brand and offering, you can take a peek at:  and/or follow the Westboro store on their Facebook page.


© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

the warmest and friendliest folks in ottawa

Shared by Dwayne Brown

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

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.




welcoming with the cozy warmth of home

Shared by Anita Ruivo + Dwayne Brown

Laurie Jones photographed downtown at 222 Lyon Tapas Bar.

Today is the last day of our “12 days of responsible Christmas celebrating” series and I’m so proud to finish the series with owner Laurie Jones photographed in her lovely Spanish influenced restaurant  222 Lyon Tapas Bar.  As soon as we arrived, it felt like Laurie was welcoming us into her home – it’s no wonder she has such a great following with loyal regulars! As much as this series is about alternative cocktails for designated drivers, it’s really a continued tribute to the warm heart that Ottawa wears so proudly – and Laurie so wonderfully reflects that heart. Thanks so much Laurie for sharing this very delicious Virgin White Sangria, made with pineapple, orange and cranberry juice, San Pelligrino soda, blueberries, oranges, limes, strawberries and raspberries!


© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

Thanks so much to all the great restaurants, bars and hotels in Ottawa who care so much for their patrons and our community by offering such awesome non-alcoholic cocktails for designated drivers during the festive season. Thanks also to great initiatives like Operation Red Nose who by the generous assistance of volunteers and sponsors help people get their cars home if they’ve had too much to drink. Happy and safe holidays from loveOttawa!

great food, cool atmosphere and a sober sling

Shared by Anita Ruivo + Dwayne Brown

Niall Robertson-Patterson photographed at El Camino on Elgin Street.

I’m a super big fan of Matt Carmichael’s famed El Camino, not because it’s Ottawa’s coolest restaurant, but because it’s an awesome combination of great food, respectful service, fair prices, passionate bar staff – and even holiday responsible cocktails for designated drivers! Anyone who’s met Niall or has watched him behind the bar at El Camino knows there isn’t anyone else in town more passionate at making cocktails, so we’re so appreciative that he created one of his non-alcoholic cocktails before his busy Saturday night dinner service. The Sober Sling is made with pineapple, cherry, cucumber, ginger beer, agave and for a little heat….some hot chilies. So delicious!


© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

Thanks so much to all the great restaurants, bars and hotels in Ottawa who care so much for their patrons and our community by offering such awesome non-alcoholic cocktails for designated drivers during the festive season. Thanks also to great initiatives like Operation Red Nose who by the generous assistance of volunteers and sponsors help people get their cars home if they’ve had too much to drink. Happy and safe holidays from loveOttawa!

celebrating responsibly with a landmark herb fresco

Shared by Anita Ruivo + Dwayne Brown

Fletcher photographed in Zoés Lounge at the historic Chateau Laurier Hotel.

Our 12 days of responsible Christmas celebrating series has taken us from the cool and hip, to the culinary unique and excellent – and now to the historic and landmark Chateau Laurier Hotel! (On that note, I just love how the best Ottawa restaurants and bars really get behind an idea or project.) Super big thanks to Fletcher for making and sharing this amazing Herb Fresco, made with ginger ale, pineapple juice, and fresh mint and rosemary!

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

Thanks so much to all the great restaurants, bars and hotels in Ottawa who care so much for their patrons and our community by offering such awesome non-alcoholic cocktails for designated drivers during the festive season. Thanks also to great initiatives like Operation Red Nose who by the generous assistance of volunteers and sponsors help people get their cars home if they’ve had too much to drink. Happy and safe holidays from loveOttawa!