ottawa is home, it’s where my roots are
Élise Gauthier photographed downtown on the corner of Elgin and Sparks.
It’s always so wonderful to photograph creative people who love Ottawa, they tend to see and feel the real spirit of our city – and they have creative ways to express that spirit. I not only got to meet and photograph Élise Gauthier for loveOttawa the other day, I also had the opportunity to be inspired by her passion for Ottawa. Élise eats, sleeps and breathes her city – and she loves to share her love for Ottawa with her art. It’s a little tricky to describe exactly what Élise is or does. She’s a actor, a playright. a director, an acrobatic stilter, an Ottawa tour guide, a theatre teacher and most impressively a poet. Élise has been creating a bilingual series of really touching and poignant video poetry presentations about loving Ottawa.
Élise loves that Ottawa is her home, the city she’s grown up. It’s where her roots are. She loves that every time she shares her city with someone, she learns to love it even more – and every time she learns something new about a specific part of Ottawa, she grows more attached. “It’s like learning to love a person, you discover their quirks, their hidden gems, their little secrets.”
© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project
As an actor Élise really loves the theatre scene in Ottawa, especially the smaller theatre companies who are trying new things and are performing in less than traditional venues like a church, a park or even a house. “I’ll go wherever there’s good theatre!” Élise loves how Ottawa is coming into it’s own – it’s growing and becoming more and more exciting. She loves that interactive city events like Nuit Blanche and Harvest Noir are being so well embraced and experienced in Ottawa.
The thing that Élise loves most about Ottawa is that it’s a city that’s easy to discover on foot or by bike (a big thanks to the OC Transpo bike racks). As a self proclaimed Ottawa nerd, Élise remembers as a teenager she’d take her friends around Parliament Hill late at night and tell them about all the statues. There’s so much history and so many stories behind those statues. She also loves to take people on a walk through the Byward Market, telling them about the history of the people who used to work and live there. This rich history of the Byward Market includes her family’s history – where her grand-mother grew up, where her grand-mother’s grand-father had a blacksmith shop, and where her great-great-grandmother came to sell her butter. “I think the best way to share a city is to talk about the people who lived there, it makes the history more real.”
Thanks so much to Élise Gauthier for sharing her love for Ottawa and for doing it so creatively and passionately. For more information about Élise’s projects you can take a look at her blog and seeing her video poetry is a must. You can also follow her on twitter at: @OttawaZel