smiles, kindness, and all around grooviness

Shared by Anita Ruivo + Dwayne Brown

Sarah and Jessica, photographed in Hintonburg’s Bread By Us.

Anyone who’s stopped in Bread By Us, knows what we mean when we say “it’s Ottawa’s kindest bakery!”. This small, independent Hintonburg bakery exudes humility, friendliness and hard work – not to mention the comforting smell of freshly baked bread! It was lovely for us to have the opportunity to photograph Sarah and Jessica, the owners of Bread By Us. Sarah and Jess are excellent examples of social entrepreneurs, who deeply care about putting out a delicious and honest product, while embracing a slow-food philosophy and also helping the local community. When we asked them about their business, they quoted a recently departed staff member who so eloquently described their bakery. “In this day and age it seems being kind and open-minded is an act of rebellion, which is why Bread By Us will remain in my memory as a safe, inclusive space, where smiles, hard work, and all around grooviness stand strong in the face of adversity and opposition.”

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project


What do each of you love about Ottawa the most?

Sarah: “Ottawa has been my home for several years now. In that time, I have come to appreciate it as a place I can easily learn and navigate. It has all of the amenities of a large city, but conjures the feelings and comfort of a smaller town. It is relatively easy to find and connect with communities. I enjoy the proximity to nature, and the beauty that surrounds Ottawa, especially in the summer when everything and everyone seems to come to life.”

Jess: “Ottawa is, and will forever be home, which is why I cannot properly describe it without emotional bias. It would feel shallow for me to describe my love for Ottawa only in terms of its buildings and waterways, or its festivals and restaurants, although all of those things have their charm. Ottawa conjures up positive feelings of comfort and family. I most love the radical, out-spoken, and open-hearted people that make up this city’s social fabric. I have made my most meaningful human connections in this city.”

What is it about the Hintonburg community that you love?

We cannot say enough how much we ABSOLUTELY LOVE Hintonburg. It was a huge blessing that we found a suitable space for our bakery in this hood. We could go on and on about the abundance of amazing independent businesses that truly are gems, but it really comes down to the people who live here. We see anywhere from 100-200 people come through the store on any given day, and we truly believe this neighbourhood has some of the most loving, open, and creative people in the city. It is dense with artists and community activists, and just generally plugged-in people. We are hard-pressed to think of another place we have come to know where people are as interesting and caring as they are in Hintonburg.”

Have you seen a positive change in Ottawa over the past few years and has it been helpful for your business?

We were fairly in tuned with our intuition that Ottawans were ready for more high-quality, artisan bread. Compared to other major cities, we knew there was room for more bread bakeries in Ottawa, and based on our conversations with people, we knew people’s knowledge and awareness of the importance of “real bread” was growing. The slow-food and artisan bread movement has finally hit our city in the last few years thanks to some pioneer bakeries in the city, and we felt the timing was right for us.”

Are there any cafes, restaurants and/or bars that you love to spend time at when you’re not busy with Bread-By-Us?

Heck yes!! It is hard to narrow it down, but here goes:

We have a ritual on most Mondays (when we are closed at the bakery) to start off the morning slowly with our second-favourite coffee in the city (after ours of course), at the Wild Oat Bakery. Their coffee is seriously spot-on, and their breakfast is a delight.

Our favourite spot for lunch is The Pantry inside the Glebe community centre. Caroline is one of the finest and most creative veggie chefs around.

Take-out is almost always Fairmont Confectionary, which turns out amazing Thai/Laotian dishes. We eat from Fairmont guilt-free at least weekly. When it’s not Fairmont, it is Tennessee Willems for superb pizza and company. The staff there are so kind, and their food is killer. We are thoroughly enjoying their in-house lemonade cocktail right now.

For a special night out it’s The Manx Pub for their delicious pub food, and veggie friendly options. The vibe is always cozy and groovy.

For the most special of evenings, it’s got to be Murray Street Kitchen, which in our minds, is the most ambitious, creative, and consistent restaurant in the city.”

Thanks so much Sarah and Jess for such a great shoot and your thoughtful insights on Ottawa! For more information about Bread By Us, you can take a peek at or better yet, drop in to say hi to the girls, and try one of their delicious sandwiches!

Categorised as: Dwayne Brown Studio, loveOttawa

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