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Kitchissippi
Jul 12, 2010, 7:01 PM
Discovering Canada's cool capital
(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/08/AR2010070805403.html)

By Michael Kaminer
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, July 11, 2010

When I was growing up in disco-era Montreal, we Canadians had a snarky sobriquet for our nation's capital: "The City That Never Wakes." It may have been our home and native land's seat of power, but Ottawa also meant somnolent streets, dull dining and nonexistent night life.

O Ottawa. When did you get so hip?

So when I read that this summer, the National Gallery of Canada would be the only North American stop for the Tate Modern's blockbuster "Pop Life" show -- an ambitious three-decade survey from Warhol to Hirst to Murakami -- I did a double take. Was it possible that the parochial Ottawa of my childhood had actually become hip?

To find out, I spent an early spring weekend navigating the compact capital. And I left planning a second visit. Ottawa still isn't Toronto or Montreal (nor do I think it wants to be). But it felt lively, smart, quirky and confident: a city waking up to its own potential after many dreary years.

In fact, if anything now characterizes the city, I'd say it's an unselfconscious cool. There's a proudly indie aesthetic in its neighborhoods, but without the hipster posturing of Toronto. Unlike language-obsessed Montreal, the city has a relaxed attitude toward bilingualism -- everything here comes in both official languages -- that lends Ottawa an easy cosmopolitanism.

And there's a buzzing food scene that turned out to be the weekend's big reveal. Larger cities get the glory, but Ottawa's kitchens might be some of North America's best-kept secrets. Locavore-fueled creativity here arguably rivals that of San Francisco or Chicago, albeit with less ego, zero attitude and gentler prices.

A disparate pair of restaurants on opposite ends of town best symbolized Ottawa's transformation. The first night, after sightseeing around my hotel, I walked down Elgin Street to Somerset and dinner at ZenKitchen. A traditional French restaurant formerly occupied this old house on the edge of Chinatown; in 2009, it became Canada's first fine-dining vegan restaurant. A bookish, prosperous-looking crowd packs the place for such locally sourced specialties as panko-crusted seitan with Asian slaw and a killer raw chocolate-mint-coconut parfait. "People told us Ottawa wasn't ready for a vegan restaurant," New York-trained chef and co-owner Caroline Ishii told me as she surfed the cantaloupe-colored room, greeting diners. ZenKitchen is now one of the hottest tables in town.

Aggressively Canadian bistro Murray Street is like ZenKitchen's funhouse-mirror counterpart. It's another rehabbed French-continental spot, but its signature dish is a whole smoked pig's head. It equally epitomizes Ottawa's new spirit, with serious creative chops, a singular Canuck-vernacular menu and wicked irreverence. Where else will you find a poutine of "hand-cut herb spatzle, shredded mariposa duck confit, roast duck gravy" or a kitchen board assortment described as "kind of like 'The Island of Misfit Toys' . . . but, food"?



"Ottawans are coming out of their culinary shells," bearded chef and co-owner Steve Mitton enthused as I nibbled sublime Ontario and Quebec cheeses at the bar while British noise-funk band the Go! Team blared from the sound system.

There's a similar independent streak in Ottawa's neighborhoods, where non-chain shops rule. My favorite quarter was the Georgetown-like Glebe -- a word meaning "land belonging to a parish church," according to Webster's -- whose heart is a 10-block stretch of low-slung brick buildings along Bank Street. Along with lefty bookstore Octopus, homemade-dessert shop Cafe Morala and vegetarian bakery Wild Oat, I found Slaysh, nominally a skateboard shop but actually a trove of smartly curated design. My most prized Ottawa souvenir is Slaysh's own T-shirt, with a heavy-metal-inspired logo, for about $33. You'll also find pieces by Montreal jewelry designers Uranium (brass, feather and peace-sign earrings, about $23) and Colab sunglasses from Australia, so limited-edition that they're numbered, such as the "Ultra Violence" model I tried on (more than $250 -- I put them back).

The Glebe also has a comfy branch of ubiquitous local coffee chain Bridgehead, where WiFi is free and a kid with an extravagantly teased Mohawk pulled me a perfect espresso shot.

Hintonburg and Westboro, two more quietly indie neighborhoods -- think Berkeley -- are small enough to handle in an afternoon. Nearly all of Hintonburg's shops, strung along Wellington Street West, are local independents: Lida Boutique and Clothes by Muriel Dombret for chic-looking women's clothes, Collected Works for books and snacks, Nectar for teas and tastings. There's also an unassuming corner cafe where one of Ontario's locavore pioneers holds court. Sheila Whyte of Thyme & Again was a founding member of local-food boosters Savor Ottawa. Everything in the cafe -- "including marshmallows and jam," she told me -- is made in-house, with local ingredients.

Even Ottawa's kitschy Byward Market, the city's historic center, yields quirky treasures if you avoid touristy strips such as York Street, which is ruled by chain restaurants. Shops on Dalhousie Street, at the Market's eastern edge, form a sort of mini-Greenwich Village. Workshop, which claims to stock 140 handmade Canadian collections, carried brilliant political finger puppets from an Ottawa outfit called Fish on Fridays. The day I came in, artist Gabe Thirlwall was dropping off her latest creation: miniatures of Helena Guergis, a disgraced cabinet minister who had been fired that week. Washingtonians will appreciate the sentiment.

A few doors down, streetwear emporium the Layup carries statement clothing from such local brands as Raised by Wolves and Flying Coffin. And across the street, you'll find Ma Cuisine and Mon Cadeau, adjacent stores with Ontario-made products that make great little gifts: Rootham preserves, Jules + Kent jellies, Cocolico dessert sauces and Mrs. McGarrigle's mustards.

Oh, yes: Ottawa also boasts Canada's Parliament, along with the National Gallery, the Royal Canadian Mint, the Canadian War Museum, Rideau Hall, the Canadian Museum of Nature, the Canadian Children's Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum and the Canadian Museum of Civilization. They're all gleaming, serious attractions, with collections often lauded as some of the world's best.

They used to be the reason for a visit to Ottawa, with restaurants and shopping an afterthought. These days, don't be surprised if you find the opposite to be true.

Kaminer is a freelance writer based in New York.

Jamaican-Phoenix
Jul 12, 2010, 7:05 PM
:lmao: :lmao: :lmao:

Oh, if only that poor author KNEW how backwards and silly this city is about so many things! :haha:

kwoldtimer
Jul 12, 2010, 10:22 PM
No idea who the guy is, but a National Gallery exhibit doesn't really say much about City of Ottawa "hipness" and the rests read like he's trying to make amends for having had a typically Montrealer view of Ottawa. Good press is always nice though! :)

Jamaican-Phoenix
Jul 12, 2010, 10:32 PM
No idea who the guy is, but a National Gallery exhibit doesn't really say much about City of Ottawa "hipness" and the rests read like he's trying to make amends for having had a typically Montrealer view of Ottawa. Good press is always nice though! :)

What little "hipness" Ottawa might have is courtesy of generous Federal expenditure and not because our City Council thought it was a good idea. Look how council can't seem to decide if it wants West Wellington Village to be the new arts district, if we want/need LRT and if we want/need a tunnel, the fighting that goes on behind closed doors and appealing almost every proposed development to the OMB.

Hell, last year they turned Bluesfest DOWN because it was too noisy. Apparently a two-week music festival is too much to handle for those hip people living in Ottawa. :rolleyes:

This author definitely smoked some good hashish from a swanky club in urban Montreal before catching the subway to the bus station in the heart of downtown Montreal before heading to Ottawa where he then would've found himself in an old building, on the edge of downtown, serviced by only one occasional bus on a drab and industrial street.

rodionx
Jul 13, 2010, 1:41 AM
You Ottawans have trouble taking a compliment. Ottawa consistently scores number 1 or number 2 in Canada on all kinds of 'best of' lists (often just after my own home town - Victoria :) ) and every time it results in howls of outrage from Ottawans. It's like you've been a punching bag for so long, you've gone and internalized it.

Even during my first sojourn here back in the late nineties, Ottawa was a fun town, but you had to have a gay friend to tell you what was going on and where. Now things are taking off and people are noticing. You'll just have to learn to deal with it. :cool:

Jamaican-Phoenix
Jul 13, 2010, 2:36 AM
You Ottawans have trouble taking a compliment. Ottawa consistently scores number 1 or number 2 in Canada on all kinds of 'best of' lists (often just after my own home town - Victoria :) ) and every time it results in howls of outrage from Ottawans. It's like you've been a punching bag for so long, you've gone and internalized it.

Even during my first sojourn here back in the late nineties, Ottawa was a fun town, but you had to have a gay friend to tell you what was going on and where. Now things are taking off and people are noticing. You'll just have to learn to deal with it. :cool:

Here's the problem; you're a tourist. We respond with howls of outrage because the people who write articles like this haven't lived in this city. Live here, and you will see why we are so outraged and full of dry, dark humour.

rodionx
Jul 13, 2010, 4:01 AM
Here's the problem; you're a tourist. We respond with howls of outrage because the people who write articles like this haven't lived in this city. Live here, and you will see why we are so outraged and full of dry, dark humour.

I lived here from 1995-99 and from 2004 to the present. Always in the core, except for two horrifying stints in the suburbs. Maybe it's the suburbs that get people down? One thing I'll say that should please Ottawans: you have the grimmest suburbs I've ever seen. All suburbs are grim, but holy crap. St. Joseph Boulevard is an abomination. And the suburban shopping malls here will suck the lifeforce right out of you. I particularly remember the one in Orleans, and the Merivale something. Such sad, sad places. They actually summoned feelings of despair.

The core, however, is great. The advantage it has over larger centres is that all the good spots are within a reasonably easy stagger of each other. The guy who wrote the article tweaked on that as well. Lots of diverse neighbourhoods sitting on top of one another, and a very low risk of getting mugged in any of them.

bikegypsy
Jul 13, 2010, 8:40 AM
Here's the problem; you're a tourist. We respond with howls of outrage because the people who write articles like this haven't lived in this city. Live here, and you will see why we are so outraged and full of dry, dark humour.

Seriously Jamaican-Phoenix, you are outraged because someone is writing positive things about this city? This actually outrages you? The things that outrage me are to see children begging on the streets of Mumbay, a homeless man with no legs on the streets of Manila and assholes trading in drugs, arms and slavery. But according to you, we should forever be ashamed of ourselves and eternally twitching in our humid basements in fear that -- Oh God what will I do then? -- someone might actually like us.

The author of the article wrote it from the point of view of a tourist for tourists. Full stop. It's not his game to get involved in inadequacies at council and all cities generate their own petty squabbles.

There's a problem? Speak for yourself, there is no “we” here and certainy don't assume that we all think that Ottawa is a shit hole. YOU respond with howls of outrage dude. For my part, I am proud to see this city making a mark for itself and that it's being appreciated by many others. Is this a crime? Good things are finally emerging – Ottawa has great festivals, a decent nightlife, a great music scene, good restaurants, an unprecedented number of planned downtown buildings and is attracting increasing O/D air traffic as well as a record number of conventions – and all you want to do is bitch?

The only crime Ottawa has committed is to be located right next door to what is considered to be one of the most interesting cities in North America, which -- if you have lived in and experienced a small part of the rest of the world -- speaks volumes for the general standard of culture on this continent.

Rodionx is right, Ottawans have been (unjustifiably) hit for sooo long that for most of them reacting in this sad little way is the only thing they know how to do in respect to their civic identity. Thankfully, these whiners are getting sooo very old and so is their talk. It is undoubtedly too difficult to change, especially after years of constant and comfortable radle radle.

When I lived in Montreal, several of my friends loved to come for a weekend here and hang around the market. A friend of mine works for a visa company in Montreal and goes to Ottawa every week in order to drop off a bunch of passports at the Chinese embassy (no Chinese consulate in Montreal). It’s his favourite day of the week. He gets to lounge around the market all day and he even hits the beaches during warmer months. Ottawa attracts millions of tourists every year who for in most part enjoy their trip. What is so wrong about appreciating this city? I go back to Ottawa regularly and am stunned of the changes. Although it has been quite cosmopolitan for a while now, it is increasingly becoming worldly and I can sense the city is forging it’s very own urban identity. I love Ottawa, as many others do. It's not Paris and even better yet, it's not trying to be something besides Ottawa.

You who speak so eloquently of our sister to the east, have you ever experienced it fully… not only as a tourist but as someone who has to earn a living there? Have you experienced its rampant attitude of “do this and it will be good for you” which we freelancers hear constantly? Or its culture of nepotism? Or worst yet, its attitude of “we’re too good for you”. Still I love Mtl and I just want to know we talk on equal terms.

I lived a decade in Montreal and worked for businesses ranging from small restaurants to a large ad agency with corporate clients in the US. I even had my own business there. You think Ottawa is the only place with a dysfunctional council?... Give it a rest. Every city goes through a process of breakage as it moves upward along the urban population scale. Here in Ottawa, we are currently wrapping our small town brains around the fact that “eh, we ARE a city”. Nymbism is everywhere, hesitation is found in every city and with this comes some failures. And I will not digress further into Mtl’s successes as a champion of white elephants and as a master of the art of the "here today gone tomorrow", since I know you are already well acquainted with those.

Please, accept that the world has all sorts and that it doesn't take several angry posts on your part to make the rest of us understand that you hate Ottawa. We get it and this is fine. I hope you find greener pastures.

Ps. The last time I tried to smoke in a cool posh Montreal urban bar, not only was I immediately threatened to be expelled, but also fined.

jeremy_haak
Jul 13, 2010, 10:00 AM
What little "hipness" Ottawa might have is courtesy of generous Federal expenditure and not because our City Council thought it was a good idea. Look how council can't seem to decide if it wants West Wellington Village to be the new arts district, if we want/need LRT and if we want/need a tunnel, the fighting that goes on behind closed doors and appealing almost every proposed development to the OMB.

Hell, last year they turned Bluesfest DOWN because it was too noisy. Apparently a two-week music festival is too much to handle for those hip people living in Ottawa. :rolleyes:

This author definitely smoked some good hashish from a swanky club in urban Montreal before catching the subway to the bus station in the heart of downtown Montreal before heading to Ottawa where he then would've found himself in an old building, on the edge of downtown, serviced by only one occasional bus on a drab and industrial street.

The sort of problems we all know that occur in Ottawa occur everywhere else as well. The only reason you are so aware of it in Ottawa is because you live in Ottawa and not everywhere else, the exact transgression you place on the author of this piece.

Also, I don't see where City Council has anything to do with this article. What was he supposed to write... "this neighbourhood is great, but Ottawa's City Council is waffling on LRT, so you really shouldn't visit?" It's a travel article and he was underscoring, for a change, some of the attractive qualities of this city beyond all the usual tourist attractions. Kudos to him for doing so.

Dado
Jul 13, 2010, 12:10 PM
You Ottawans have trouble taking a compliment. Ottawa consistently scores number 1 or number 2 in Canada on all kinds of 'best of' lists (often just after my own home town - Victoria :) ) and every time it results in howls of outrage from Ottawans. It's like you've been a punching bag for so long, you've gone and internalized it.

And every time one of those lists comes out the usual suspects down at City Hall pat themselves on the back in self-congratulation.

Ottawa tends to rank high on these things because of federal government employment (high incomes) and the trappings of being the capital (including the past efforts of the NCC, most notably for the Greenbelt and the Gatineau Park). We are fortunate geographically to have a large river that permits all manner of watersport, hills to the north for outdoorsy pursuits and the Rideau Canal for all-year round recreation, but that's all locational and nothing much to do with anything Ottawa has itself done. There's not much of a private sector here, and the one major private sector there is, "high tech", has been a bit of a flop in the end. Moreover, this high tech expertise doesn't seem to make its way into government all that quickly. A bureaucratic mentality tends to dominate just about everything.

Just as an example of the bureaucratic mentality, this morning CBC radio ran a lengthy piece about street food vendors and the problems they're having trying to bring more diverse street food to Ottawa (basically City Hall is slowly throttling the number of food vendors). Restaurants and cafés in Little Italy and elsewhere have had similar problems with patios that encroach on city property.

Areas like the Byward Market are (rightly) praised, but how do the powers-that-be treat it? They run interprovincial trucks through it and none has any intention to do anything about it. Ottawans have historically had a high level of transit ridership and how were they rewarded? By building busways rather than a real transit system. There is no longer a downtown train station, and this fact doesn't seem to upset the powers-that-be, none of whom have any apparent intention or plan to rectify it. Overall the transportation planning, which drives (pardon the pun) so much else, is still being carried out by suburban-minded engineers who are basically trying to enable people to flee the city as fast as possible. Our universities can't even manage between the pair of them to cobble together an urban planning school.

Most of post-war Ottawa and its suburbs are uninspiring overall and hardly an example to anyone (at the neighbourhood level some of the older parts of Kanata are not too bad, but they lack for commercial and retail). The grand Parisian-like vistas of the Gréber Plan and earlier plans (the Bennett/Holt Plan in particular) have come to nothing, being supplanted instead with freeways and expressways. All the neighbourhoods that the author of this article mentioned are either inner city or old villages and/or suburbs along rail or streetcar lines. Basically this author likes Ottawa as a modernized version of what it was in the 1950s.

flar
Jul 13, 2010, 2:33 PM
I definitely wouldn't say Ottawa is cool, but it's a very healthy city. Westboro and Bank St. through the Glebe are very nice, very healthy shopping districts. The ByWard Market is obviously very touristy, but it's an undeniable success and quite vibrant and impressive. Tons of greenspace, top notch amenities, extremely clean and well maintained. Ottawa also has excellent transit (trust me it does). This city is spoiled rotten. While there is always room for criticism and improvement, I wince every time I hear Ottawans complaining about something when they have it better than most cities in the world.

I would also contend that Ottawa is a progressive city. I know many here have complaints about the municipal government and NIMBYs, but seriously, there are NIMBYs everywhere and all municipal governments are corrupt and incompetent. Look at all the successful infill in core neighbourhoods, look at transit ridership, look at the healthy retail districts, consistent property values, etc. Roads are in great condition, parks and city facilities are in excellent repair (and plentiful). The NCC is good for the city too. The idea of closing parkways for cyclists wouldn't even be entertained in most other cities.

Sure Kanata, Orleans and Barrhaven are the ugliest most sprawly, impractical big box hell holes you can imagine, but you have to remember that Ottawa has a very large middle class, many of whome have expressed a preference for that suburban lifestyle, just as in nearly every other city in NA. Luckily for Ottawa a significant segment of that large middle class has opted for a more urban lifestyle, which, along with comfortable gov't salaries, supports those very nice retail districts in Westboro, the Market and the Glebe.

So why isn't Ottawa cool? Because it's bland, and the people are mostly bland. People here are so uptight it makes me uncomfortable. Too much is overplanned, canned and lacking in spontaneity. There's little creativity and nothing really to draw from if you want to be creative. Ottawa is just not inspiring. I've never seen such unenthusiastic crowds at concerts and events. It's strange but not surprising in a city of well educated middle class bureaucrats and their families. Maybe it's a symptom of having too much too good.

reidjr
Jul 13, 2010, 7:04 PM
Flair
I am not sure if i would say its bland i don't think it is.I do think there are issues in the city i aslo think there are some that love to bash ottawa left and right.The bottom line is its very rare to have a city of ottawa's size to have what it has and its alot.

Proof Sheet
Jul 13, 2010, 7:46 PM
I've never seen such unenthusiastic crowds at concerts and events. It's strange but not surprising in a city of well educated middle class bureaucrats and their families.

What do you mean unenthusiastic....that virtuoso of innovative music, Roger Hodgson got the middle class crowd going at Bluesfest from what I read in the newspaper:banana: You can't get more cutting edge than him:worship:

waterloowarrior
Jul 13, 2010, 8:39 PM
What do you mean unenthusiastic....that virtuoso of innovative music, Roger Hodgson got the middle class crowd going at Bluesfest from what I read in the newspaper:banana: You can't get more cutting edge than him:worship:

Yeah, I was at Bluesfest on Saturday and you could definitely see the lawn chairs rocking back and forth for the Supertramp hits! :yes: :righton:

Jamaican-Phoenix
Jul 13, 2010, 10:32 PM
Seriously Jamaican-Phoenix, you are outraged because someone is writing positive things about this city? This actually outrages you? The things that outrage me are to see children begging on the streets of Mumbay, a homeless man with no legs on the streets of Manila and assholes trading in drugs, arms and slavery. But according to you, we should forever be ashamed of ourselves and eternally twitching in our humid basements in fear that -- Oh God what will I do then? -- someone might actually like us.

Actually, I am not outraged. Merely dumbstruck by the author's assessment of our city being cool when I see so much evidence to the contrary that it makes me laugh.

I would also kindly appreciate it if you wouldn't make random assertions to my personality and my beliefs. When did I ever say we should be ashamed of ourselves? All I said was that this author and I clearly do not see eye to eye on the state of affairs in Ottawa.

The author of the article wrote it from the point of view of a tourist for tourists. Full stop. It's not his game to get involved in inadequacies at council and all cities generate their own petty squabbles.

Okay, if we're going to play this game then I've been to other cities as a tourist. I can tell you right now that cities larger and smaller than Ottawa are far cooler. Regardless of my city council comments, one just needs to take a look around this city to see that it isn't all that cool. We turned the volume down on Bluesfest, object to almost anything fun and new and interesting (Case in point, Lansdowne), it took 25 years to get a pedestrian bridge in an urban area, we choke our downtown with buses, we didn't put Botanical Gardens in this city since it would "destroy the neighbourhood and change the dynamic of the Arboretum". When you pull stuff like this, you aren't cool; you're a old man left with nothing to complain about except petty crap.

There's a problem? Speak for yourself, there is no “we” here and certainy don't assume that we all think that Ottawa is a shit hole. YOU respond with howls of outrage dude. For my part, I am proud to see this city making a mark for itself and that it's being appreciated by many others. Is this a crime? Good things are finally emerging – Ottawa has great festivals, a decent nightlife, a great music scene, good restaurants, an unprecedented number of planned downtown buildings and is attracting increasing O/D air traffic as well as a record number of conventions – and all you want to do is bitch?

I never said Ottawa is a shit hole; it just isn't as cool as the author implies. Seriously, did you properly read my posts? And what outrage? You're being rather delusional. Not sure how posting laughing emoticons and a dry post about how this author clearly is on something can be construed as outrage. :rolleyes:

As far as bitching is concerned, the only one doing that is you, judging from your obvious hostility. Methinks I touched a nerve. Ottawa is not as cool as this author implies, but it isn't a shit hole like Detroit either. And I will continue to "bitch" so long as this city conducts itself like a senile old man. For God's sake, Chatanooga is a smaller, far classier and cooler city than Ottawa.

The only crime Ottawa has committed is to be located right next door to what is considered to be one of the most interesting cities in North America, which -- if you have lived in and experienced a small part of the rest of the world -- speaks volumes for the general standard of culture on this continent.

No, the only crime Ottawa has committed is to be so preoccupied with due process, bureaucracy and an aversion to anything new, fun or exciting. You see, there are reasons why Ottawa has been and is still called "the City than fun forgot". That cannot be denied.

Rodionx is right, Ottawans have been (unjustifiably) hit for sooo long that for most of them reacting in this sad little way is the only thing they know how to do in respect to their civic identity. Thankfully, these whiners are getting sooo very old and so is their talk. It is undoubtedly too difficult to change, especially after years of constant and comfortable radle radle.

Well good for us and changing; it's been a long time coming. The fact remains that Ottawa is still not that cool. It could be, and we have nice stuff, but this city is far from being cool.

When I lived in Montreal, several of my friends loved to come for a weekend here and hang around the market. A friend of mine works for a visa company in Montreal and goes to Ottawa every week in order to drop off a bunch of passports at the Chinese embassy (no Chinese consulate in Montreal). It’s his favourite day of the week. He gets to lounge around the market all day and he even hits the beaches during warmer months. Ottawa attracts millions of tourists every year who for in most part enjoy their trip. What is so wrong about appreciating this city? I go back to Ottawa regularly and am stunned of the changes. Although it has been quite cosmopolitan for a while now, it is increasingly becoming worldly and I can sense the city is forging it’s very own urban identity. I love Ottawa, as many others do. It's not Paris and even better yet, it's not trying to be something besides Ottawa.

Ottawa's main tourist draws are not creations of our city, but creations of the Federal Government. Remove those, and Ottawa has next to nothing. We are extremely lucky in that regard. I'm not asking Ottawa to be something it's not, let alone Paris but I shall continue to stress that this city is not that cool. Most of our tourist draws were made possible because the government wanted nice things to show tourists and because this is the capital.

You who speak so eloquently of our sister to the east, have you ever experienced it fully… not only as a tourist but as someone who has to earn a living there? Have you experienced its rampant attitude of “do this and it will be good for you” which we freelancers hear constantly? Or its culture of nepotism? Or worst yet, its attitude of “we’re too good for you”. Still I love Mtl and I just want to know we talk on equal terms.

Considering I am 21, I haven't exactly had time to earn a living in many cities. However, I've spent enough time in Montreal, San Diego, Los Angeles and New Delhi to see those cities as second homes. I am aware of Montreal's growing NIMBYism among other problems, but Montreal is actually cool and it didn't have to rely on the Feds for most of its nice things.

I lived a decade in Montreal and worked for businesses ranging from small restaurants to a large ad agency with corporate clients in the US. I even had my own business there. You think Ottawa is the only place with a dysfunctional council?... Give it a rest.

Okay, when did I ever say, let alone implied that Ottawa was the only one with problems? If you're going to attack things I've said, please make sure I've said them. :rolleyes:

Every city goes through a process of breakage as it moves upward along the urban population scale. Here in Ottawa, we are currently wrapping our small town brains around the fact that “eh, we ARE a city”. Nymbism is everywhere, hesitation is found in every city and with this comes some failures. And I will not digress further into Mtl’s successes as a champion of white elephants and as a master of the art of the "here today gone tomorrow", since I know you are already well acquainted with those.

No argument there, but Ottawa and Montreal are still very different especially with regards to who provides the "cool" and nice things in these cities. I would also like to take this moment to add that you are clearly a rash individual who is incredibly reactionary, takes no time to fully read and interpret posts and makes random accusations of character and emotion. Fine job, boy. :tup:

Please, accept that the world has all sorts and that it doesn't take several angry posts on your part to make the rest of us understand that you hate Ottawa. We get it and this is fine. I hope you find greener pastures.

I never denied that other places have problems. God, you're thick. And seriously, what's with the angry? I laughed. Laughed! Good God man, do you understand anything? :koko:

Ps. The last time I tried to smoke in a cool posh Montreal urban bar, not only was I immediately threatened to be expelled, but also fined.

Yes, because one random and unfortunate occasion is enough to derail someone's argument and evidence to the contrary. :rolleyes:

I am suddenly reminded of Franky and his assessment that BRT is terrible because the one time he took it, some drunken idiot urinated on the bus.

P.S. If anyone has truly come across as outraged, it is you. Never before have I seen someone who lives in another city attack my post about my hometown which I have lived in almost all my life so readily and without really reading it. :haha:

The sort of problems we all know that occur in Ottawa occur everywhere else as well. The only reason you are so aware of it in Ottawa is because you live in Ottawa and not everywhere else, the exact transgression you place on the author of this piece.

Perhaps, but I've been to other cities, bigger and smaller, and I still feel that Ottawa is not that cool. Not saying that we don't have some nice things here, but they are few and far between and many of our nice attractions are courtesy of the government we love to hate more than our municipal government.

Also, I don't see where City Council has anything to do with this article. What was he supposed to write... "this neighbourhood is great, but Ottawa's City Council is waffling on LRT, so you really shouldn't visit?" It's a travel article and he was underscoring, for a change, some of the attractive qualities of this city beyond all the usual tourist attractions. Kudos to him for doing so.

To be fair, he did mention some rather obscure aspects and draws of this city but he is still guilty of playing it up far more than he should have. I found large parts of the article incredibly dishonest. For example, when he mentions the typical draws as being something that makes Ottawa classy and cool, those were pretty much because of the feds and not the City of Ottawa. If he had been more direct in terms of "Ottawa has some cool shit, but that's because it's the Capital and because the Feds need shiny and cool things for tourists", I'd have been far more lenient in my criticism, and would have laughed a lot less.

jeremy_haak
Jul 14, 2010, 2:25 AM
To be fair, he did mention some rather obscure aspects and draws of this city but he is still guilty of playing it up far more than he should have. I found large parts of the article incredibly dishonest. For example, when he mentions the typical draws as being something that makes Ottawa classy and cool, those were pretty much because of the feds and not the City of Ottawa. If he had been more direct in terms of "Ottawa has some cool shit, but that's because it's the Capital and because the Feds need shiny and cool things for tourists", I'd have been far more lenient in my criticism, and would have laughed a lot less.

Such a footnote would be ridiculous. Whether the City or the federal government or the provincial government is responsible for an attraction, it doesn't make it any less a part of the city. This is an article about Ottawa the place, not Ottawa the municipal government.

Jamaican-Phoenix
Jul 14, 2010, 3:17 AM
Such a footnote would be ridiculous. Whether the City or the federal government or the provincial government is responsible for an attraction, it doesn't make it any less a part of the city. This is an article about Ottawa the place, not Ottawa the municipal government.

I understand that, but I find it dishonest on the author's part since I find that he implies that Ottawa's attractions such as those that I mentioned are due primarily by Ottawans, which is most certainly not the case.

lrt's friend
Jul 14, 2010, 3:20 AM
I just want to comment that a large part of the article was about neighbourhoods, shopping and dining opportunities. The Glebe, Westboro, the Byward Market and Wellington West and the improved dining choices are mostly creations of the city and the private sector. We are indeed beneficiaries of the federal government and the various museums and parks that they have built but that was not the central focus of the article.

When comparing ourselves with Montreal, we have to be careful. Montreal has a lot more history than Ottawa, had a lot of old money that built many things and a very dynamic mayor in the 1960s and 1970s who delivered the Metro, Expo, and the Olympics. They had a big head start on Ottawa but our city has made tremendous progress in the last couple of generations.

Jamaican-Phoenix
Jul 14, 2010, 3:25 AM
I just want to comment that a large part of the article was about neighbourhoods, shopping and dining opportunities. The Glebe, Westboro, the Byward Market and Wellington West and the improved dining choices are mostly creations of the city and the private sector. We are indeed beneficiaries of the federal government and the various museums and parks that they have built but that was not the central focus of the article.

When comparing ourselves with Montreal, we have to be careful. Montreal has a lot more history than Ottawa, had a lot of old money that built many things and a very dynamic mayor in the 1960s and 1970s who delivered the Metro, Expo, and the Olympics. They had a big head start on Ottawa but our city has made tremendous progress in the last couple of generations.

True, we have some fantastic neighbourhoods. I love the Glebe (grew up there) and the other urban neighbourhoods I've lived in. Ottawa isn't that bad of a city. We have a decent thing going on here. But are we cool like the article suggests? My gut and experience tells me no. We could be, and I'd love for us to be, but we simply aren't really that cool right now.

vid
Jul 14, 2010, 3:31 AM
Ohhhh! The Washington Post fancies you!!!

ikerrin
Jul 14, 2010, 4:16 AM
Ohhhh! The Washington Post fancies you!!!

"Yes, but is Washington cool, that we should care what they think!"

Kitchissippi
Jul 14, 2010, 10:56 AM
The author isn't exactly a complete stranger, he's an ex-Montrealer, and his description was that Ottawa has become "unselfconscious cool", meaning being "fashionably attractive without realizing it". Sounds about right judging from the denials in this thread. Being cool isn't for you to decide, it's for others to say about you.

I know a a lot of people in New York City (and I would never live there), and believe me, if you lived in that urban jungle with a box called Central Park (it gets old fast but you convince yourself it's the best park in the world) as your only access to sizeable greenspace, you'd think Ottawa's vast natural riverfronts are pretty cool. I've even taken visitors on a tour of City Hall and they think it is pretty cool that we can walk right into the council chambers most of the time. There's an openness to this city that makes it easy for anyone to sink in and feel like a local if they want to. That's what people find attractive.

There's also a sense that the spirit of this city is still being formed, and that we still have the power to influence, participate and be part of it. Try that in other cities steeped in so much history that you are stereotyped and spoon-fed as how you should be as a typical citizen.

It is impressive that events such as Canada Day, Sunday bikedays, WestFest, etc., all rely on an army of active local volunteers to pull it off. We often forget that we ARE this city, and if you think this place is boring, you are probably not getting off your ass to do something useful or to contribute anything interesting.

A vast majority of tourists are pleasantly surprised when they leave Ottawa, feeling they've discovered a well-kept secret. That's a feeling that is getting harder and harder to get elsewhere.

O-Town Hockey
Jul 14, 2010, 11:37 AM
We'll never be 'cool' in the Montreal or Yorkville sense of the word because that's just not what Ottawa is. People come to Ottawa because they like the feeling of a small big city and its close connections to the outdoors not to be immersed in high fashion or fine dining. Our little city is maturing and our tastes refining in recent years and that is what this author is trying to convey. Any previous comments about the NCC or city council are bogus as they really have nothing to do with our overall personal experiences of Ottawa, especially when it comes to the neighbourhoods mentioned. Ottawa is not cool, but I'll settle for hip, and I feel that is a better word to describe the recent changes we're seeing.

harls
Jul 14, 2010, 12:33 PM
Once we get a subway, we'll be cool.

http://lesinge.org/ch/86/ch860929.gif
http://lesinge.org/ch/index.php?search=1&showfrom=ch860828

bradnixon
Jul 14, 2010, 1:19 PM
I understand that, but I find it dishonest on the author's part since I find that he implies that Ottawa's attractions such as those that I mentioned are due primarily by Ottawans, which is most certainly not the case.

Wow, Jamaican... I've agreed with you on many things in the past but you're not making any sense in this thread.

Everyone on this board thinks our city could improve, but I definitely don't share your opinion that it sucks. That kind of attitude isn't going to get us anywhere.

In reply to your quoted comment above.... the musems, monuments, etc have been built and run by Ottawans... people who work at those museums or at the NCC are still Ottawans.

Jamaican-Phoenix
Jul 14, 2010, 2:45 PM
We'll never be 'cool' in the Montreal or Yorkville sense of the word because that's just not what Ottawa is. People come to Ottawa because they like the feeling of a small big city and its close connections to the outdoors not to be immersed in high fashion or fine dining. Our little city is maturing and our tastes refining in recent years and that is what this author is trying to convey. Any previous comments about the NCC or city council are bogus as they really have nothing to do with our overall personal experiences of Ottawa, especially when it comes to the neighbourhoods mentioned. Ottawa is not cool, but I'll settle for hip, and I feel that is a better word to describe the recent changes we're seeing.

I wouldn't even call it hip. I'd call Ottawa 'nice'. Because that's what it is; a nice city.

Jamaican-Phoenix
Jul 14, 2010, 2:51 PM
Wow, Jamaican... I've agreed with you on many things in the past but you're not making any sense in this thread.

Okay then, good to know.

Everyone on this board thinks our city could improve, but I definitely don't share your opinion that it sucks. That kind of attitude isn't going to get us anywhere.

I too think it could improve, and I never said that my city sucks. It just isn't cool. Or hip for that matter. It's simply a nice city.

In reply to your quoted comment above.... the musems, monuments, etc have been built and run by Ottawans... people who work at those museums or at the NCC are still Ottawans.

And were payed for and proposed by the Feds and that's why we have those nice things. The only cool and truly progressive thing I've seen lately is how we finally got started on that awesome Convention Centre. Having said that, look how long it took to get that project off the ground. Same goes for the proposed Concert Hall and the moving of the Ottawa Art Gallery to a facility where it would have room to showcase its vast collection. We've let Lansdowne fall apart and we're still arguing about what to do with it. If we weren't the Capital, I'd have little faith that we'd have been as nice and cool as this author is saying.

jeremy_haak
Jul 14, 2010, 3:59 PM
And were payed for and proposed by the Feds and that's why we have those nice things. The only cool and truly progressive thing I've seen lately is how we finally got started on that awesome Convention Centre. Having said that, look how long it took to get that project off the ground. Same goes for the proposed Concert Hall and the moving of the Ottawa Art Gallery to a facility where it would have room to showcase its vast collection. We've let Lansdowne fall apart and we're still arguing about what to do with it. If we weren't the Capital, I'd have little faith that we'd have been as nice and cool as this author is saying.

For what it's worth, there are a number of museums/events that are local initiatives. The Diefenbunker, Canadian Ski Museum, Billing's Estate, Bytown Museum, and even the National Arts Centre (initiated by local citizens, supported by government), etc. are all local initiatives. Many of the festivals, including Bluesfest, the Folk Festival, the Hot Air Balloon Festival, and even the Tulip Festival (started and initiated by locals) have roots in and are run by the local community. Finally, you can't just look at the city as two separate solitudes like that and say that this here is a federal institution, and so doesn't count. The ROM is a provincial institution and a fine museum... and Toronto is better for it. Just like Ottawa is better for the National Art Gallery and all the other federal institutions. Maybe Ottawa is "nice" despite its local government, but I think you'll find that's true for most municipalities. How great would Washington DC be without the federal government in the US? What if London or Paris weren't the centres and capitals of their respective countries? I'm sure they would all still be great places, but they would also be far less then they are now.

d_jeffrey
Jul 14, 2010, 6:36 PM
We'll never be 'cool' in the Montreal or Yorkville sense of the word because that's just not what Ottawa is. People come to Ottawa because they like the feeling of a small big city and its close connections to the outdoors not to be immersed in high fashion or fine dining. Our little city is maturing and our tastes refining in recent years and that is what this author is trying to convey. Any previous comments about the NCC or city council are bogus as they really have nothing to do with our overall personal experiences of Ottawa, especially when it comes to the neighbourhoods mentioned. Ottawa is not cool, but I'll settle for hip, and I feel that is a better word to describe the recent changes we're seeing.

But then again, the people in Ottawa are extremely chauvinistic. People will spend a fortune just to impress others and to make the others look poor. I have never noticed such attitude in other Canadian cities.

Having money doesn't mean you have some tastes. So even if the city has high priced meals, it's to show other people that you can afford to go.

What was the condo on Queen St., where the builder is actually telling people that the prices are inflated just to impress others?

Kitchissippi
Jul 15, 2010, 1:18 AM
But then again, the people in Ottawa are extremely chauvinistic. People will spend a fortune just to impress others and to make the others look poor. I have never noticed such attitude in other Canadian cities.

Having money doesn't mean you have some tastes. So even if the city has high priced meals, it's to show other people that you can afford to go.

What was the condo on Queen St., where the builder is actually telling people that the prices are inflated just to impress others?

Man, you were definitely circulating in the wrong circles when you lived in Ottawa. You can't be farther off the mark.

I also do not understand your use of "chauvinistic". Do you mean prejudiced or pretentious? If so Toronto and Montreal has a lot more of this. I've worked in all three cities and I would say Montreal has more of a "Big Boys Club" that is harder to break into. There is lots of sad mediocrity in Montreal that is overpriced and over hyped, it makes the crap in Ottawa look like gold.

d_jeffrey
Jul 15, 2010, 2:31 PM
Man, you were definitely circulating in the wrong circles when you lived in Ottawa. You can't be farther off the mark.

I also do not understand your use of "chauvinistic". Do you mean prejudiced or pretentious? If so Toronto and Montreal has a lot more of this. I've worked in all three cities and I would say Montreal has more of a "Big Boys Club" that is harder to break into. There is lots of sad mediocrity in Montreal that is overpriced and over hyped, it makes the crap in Ottawa look like gold.

Thinking they are better than another certain group (hence poor people). We'll agree to disagree then, though I know about 10 people who moved out of Ottawa in the last 2 years since they couldn't to know other people or make friends.

Jamaican-Phoenix
Jul 15, 2010, 3:43 PM
For what it's worth, there are a number of museums/events that are local initiatives. The Diefenbunker, Canadian Ski Museum, Billing's Estate, Bytown Museum, and even the National Arts Centre (initiated by local citizens, supported by government), etc. are all local initiatives. Many of the festivals, including Bluesfest, the Folk Festival, the Hot Air Balloon Festival, and even the Tulip Festival (started and initiated by locals) have roots in and are run by the local community. Finally, you can't just look at the city as two separate solitudes like that and say that this here is a federal institution, and so doesn't count. The ROM is a provincial institution and a fine museum... and Toronto is better for it. Just like Ottawa is better for the National Art Gallery and all the other federal institutions. Maybe Ottawa is "nice" despite its local government, but I think you'll find that's true for most municipalities. How great would Washington DC be without the federal government in the US? What if London or Paris weren't the centres and capitals of their respective countries? I'm sure they would all still be great places, but they would also be far less then they are now.

While you do have a point that there have been several successful local initiatives, the Diefenbunker is now closed and not many people come here to visit the Ski Museum or Billings Estate. The big draws are those big museums mentioned earlier and in the article. I never tried to make the argument that we aren't better for having the federal institutions or looking at the city in two solitudes. I just think it's misleading to portray the city the way the author did. In some ways, we are fortunate to have the NCC because they've occasionally gotten us some really nice stuff that let's face it, never would've passed council. For me, that is the heart of the problem; we may have nice stuff in this city but it's usually payed for by other Canadians.

Furthermore, the very Bluesfest you mentioned, had a decibel rating imposed on it last year. We turned down the volume on one of the world's largest Blues festivals because people in LeBreton and even the Glebe were complaining about it being too noisy too late at night. As for the Tulip Festival, if we want to get really technical, it was the Dutch Royal Family that started it. ;)

Again, I'm not saying Ottawa isn't nice; I love my city/hometown. But is it cool? No, and it won't be for a very long time the way we think and act and take forever to progress in this city. Case in point, Lansdowne. We go through the process of having a design for an urban park and the one that's selected brought people directly to the Canal, proposed to bury part of QED and had a funky looking pedestrian bridge. So what do the powers that be declare? Parks Canada says we can't touch the Canal since it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the NCC literally said "we can't bury the QED right there because there are nice views offered from it", and City Council said that the island and bridge would be much too expensive. On top of that, we have people in the Glebe who mistakenly believe that Lansdowne can and should become Ottawa's version of Central Park.

Another example, the Concert Hall. You'd think a city would be capable of getting more high art in its downtown core, but this is proving a challenge and again, it's a question of money. While we are downtown, let's take a look at our silly height limits and opposition to a new grocery store in an area that could really use it and needs it.

Now let's saunter on towards Bayview and look at those parcels of land near City Centre that a developer wants to develop and thereby make that area less dirty looking and bring more people and uses into the urban area, and they are being stonewalled by the very council who supposedly wanted that area developed. :koko:

I keep asking people when the Parkdale Market is going to get those permanent booths/stands/tents installed making the area nicer, and it's been delay after delay after delay.

Bike paths. Who knew that something that is proven to work in European cities with a similar climate to Ottawa's would need so much studying and face such opposition?

LRT. Oh, LRT. Not only did we cancel our first plan after a decade of studies and planning, but we were sued and had to foot the bill. Furthermore, with our new plan we have citizens and councilors questioning the need for an LRT tunnel, let alone LRT.

And the final aspect of this city that is truly the reason why I believe Ottawa won't be "cool" for a while, is the ridiculous civic mantra that has come to exist here and is "Ottawa is like a big city, but with a small town feel". No. No, no, no. This idea needs to stop and until it does, Ottawa will never be cool. We might have some nice things, but this city is far from cool and until I begin to see some serious changes to the way this city and its people think and act, I'm not likely to change my mind.

Kitchissippi
Jul 15, 2010, 3:44 PM
Thinking they are better than another certain group (hence poor people). We'll agree to disagree then, though I know about 10 people who moved out of Ottawa in the last 2 years since they couldn't to know other people or make friends.

So why didn't you and those ten people get together then? Eleven people makes a decent circle of friends. To label the average Ottawan as "extremely chauvinistic" seems unfair just because your chemistry and environment just did not work out.

So are you saying rich Ottawans look down on poor Ottawans? (that happens anywhere) Or Ottawans look down on people from other places? (hardly true, most people here come from somewhere else). I think personal attitude bounces back on other people, and if you have a disparaging view of someone, that's what you'll get in return from them.

phil235
Jul 15, 2010, 4:34 PM
But then again, the people in Ottawa are extremely chauvinistic. People will spend a fortune just to impress others and to make the others look poor. I have never noticed such attitude in other Canadian cities.

Having money doesn't mean you have some tastes. So even if the city has high priced meals, it's to show other people that you can afford to go.

What was the condo on Queen St., where the builder is actually telling people that the prices are inflated just to impress others?

Wow, I've heard a lot of criticisms of Ottawa, but this has to be the most bizzare.

Ottawa people flashing their wealth around to make others look poor? Really? You must hang out in different areas of the city than I do.

lrt's friend
Jul 15, 2010, 4:44 PM
Thinking they are better than another certain group (hence poor people). We'll agree to disagree then, though I know about 10 people who moved out of Ottawa in the last 2 years since they couldn't to know other people or make friends.

Usually, when you are unable to make friends, you are not looking in the right places or you need to have an honest look in the mirror. Please don't take offense. Look at your interests and get involved in groups that share that interest. As a natural introvert, getting involved with others sharing the same interests makes it so much easier to reach out to others. It works!

reidjr
Jul 15, 2010, 5:03 PM
As for the sky line is odd as it sounds not everyone looks massive sky lines with 50 story buildings.Ottawa's sky line does appeal to alot because its not over whelming and is not massive buildings every where you go.As for arts don't forget unliek some other city its not in one location it is spreak city wide.Ottawa is a real good city much more so then most think it is.

Jamaican-Phoenix
Jul 15, 2010, 5:06 PM
As for the sky line is odd as it sounds not everyone looks massive sky lines with 50 story buildings.Ottawa's sky line does appeal to alot because its not over whelming and is not massive buildings every where you go.As for arts don't forget unliek some other city its not in one location it is spreak city wide.Ottawa is a real good city much more so then most think it is.

Well for me, that's part of the problem. I hate having an almost uniform box top skyline with thick, ugly buildings. I'm not advocating 50 storey condos be built everywhere, but some diversity and sleekness in our skyline would be rather nice.

How does our skyline appeal? Most here hate it. There are massive buildings; the ones we have because to cram more space into these shorter buildings they've built out instead of up, creating "fat" buildings.

I'm not denying that it's a good city; it's just not cool.

reidjr
Jul 15, 2010, 5:46 PM
Well for me, that's part of the problem. I hate having an almost uniform box top skyline with thick, ugly buildings. I'm not advocating 50 storey condos be built everywhere, but some diversity and sleekness in our skyline would be rather nice.

How does our skyline appeal? Most here hate it. There are massive buildings; the ones we have because to cram more space into these shorter buildings they've built out instead of up, creating "fat" buildings.

I'm not denying that it's a good city; it's just not cool.

I would not say most here hate it.I am sure if you did a pool most would say they have no issues with it.On the flip side if you did a poll asking if people would want a sky line like toronto most would say no.THere is a reaosn so many move away from city like toronto they can't satn the amount of buildings.

d_jeffrey
Jul 15, 2010, 6:28 PM
So why didn't you and those ten people get together then? Eleven people makes a decent circle of friends. To label the average Ottawan as "extremely chauvinistic" seems unfair just because your chemistry and environment just did not work out.

So are you saying rich Ottawans look down on poor Ottawans? (that happens anywhere) Or Ottawans look down on people from other places? (hardly true, most people here come from somewhere else). I think personal attitude bounces back on other people, and if you have a disparaging view of someone, that's what you'll get in return from them.

I know these people from Montréal, not when I lived in Ottawa.
It was more, "Oh, you used to live in Ottawa too!".

I'm saying that Ottawans like to flash, in a conservative way. I know 4 buisinessmen in Ottawa that want to have the highest prices around, because when they have the highest prices, people will be able to show off with their products. Two of them say that this approach doesn't work in Toronto, where people will actually compare the value.

There is always the different approach from Ontarians and Quebeckers. Ontarians are usually regarded as cold and level-headed, while Quebeckers tend to be direct and boiling with emotions. Friendship is then not defined as the same.

Personally, I'm still with my kindergarten friends from New-Brunswick...

d_jeffrey
Jul 15, 2010, 6:32 PM
I would not say most here hate it.I am sure if you did a pool most would say they have no issues with it.On the flip side if you did a poll asking if people would want a sky line like toronto most would say no.THere is a reaosn so many move away from city like toronto they can't satn the amount of buildings.

And that's why instead of wanting to change a city, maybe you want to change cities. People like Ottawa for the way it is. Look how long it takes to have a LRT system running.

Many people move away from Toronto? Really? The reasons I heard why people move to Ottawa is because they got a job there. Do you heard teenagers saying, I want to move to Ottawa, it's such a nice and cool city!

What I can't stand, is the amount of fud that is being spread around the newspapers. There are so many opinions push out as fact that people actually think that they're true. But at least people are finally understanding that most of it is BS.

Jamaican-Phoenix
Jul 15, 2010, 7:09 PM
I would not say most here hate it.I am sure if you did a pool most would say they have no issues with it.

Well then, let's find out.

http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?t=183319

On the flip side if you did a poll asking if people would want a sky line like toronto most would say no.THere is a reaosn so many move away from city like toronto they can't satn the amount of buildings.

And there are lots of people who move TO Toronto because of the amount of buildings. I don't think it's a random coincidence that most of the world's most well-known, popular, cool, important and populated cities have lots of sleek, shiny and tall buildings. Cases in point; Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing, Singapore, Mumbai, Dubai, Chicago, etc.

reidjr
Jul 15, 2010, 7:32 PM
And that's why instead of wanting to change a city, maybe you want to change cities. People like Ottawa for the way it is. Look how long it takes to have a LRT system running.

Many people move away from Toronto? Really? The reasons I heard why people move to Ottawa is because they got a job there. Do you heard teenagers saying, I want to move to Ottawa, it's such a nice and cool city!

What I can't stand, is the amount of fud that is being spread around the newspapers. There are so many opinions push out as fact that people actually think that they're true. But at least people are finally understanding that most of it is BS.

It is not right to put alot stock into what teens say not all but a fair number just want to go where they can have fun and not put much stock into anything else.If you want to get a fair judgement of a city ask people over 25 most will not have the same mind set as a teen in terms of just going to where they can have fun.As for people just move to ottawa because its for a job that is 100% false i know people and have have friends who know other people that have moved to ottawa not for a job per say but because they like the city.You seem to think toronto is this great place and every one loves it and everyone would love to move there as again its not true.Toronto is a ok city not as great as you seem to think and i have nothing aginst it but to basj ottawa the way you are almost acting as its this awful place that is what i have a probleam with.Ottawa is not perfect but not nearly as bad as you seem to think not even close.Here is a exzample ottawa in 2009 was ranked 5th in arts and culture while vancouver was 6th.

phil235
Jul 15, 2010, 8:08 PM
It is not right to put alot stock into what teens say not all but a fair number just want to go where they can have fun and not put much stock into anything else.If you want to get a fair judgement of a city ask people over 25 most will not have the same mind set as a teen in terms of just going to where they can have fun.As for people just move to ottawa because its for a job that is 100% false i know people and have have friends who know other people that have moved to ottawa not for a job per say but because they like the city.You seem to think toronto is this great place and every one loves it and everyone would love to move there as again its not true.Toronto is a ok city not as great as you seem to think and i have nothing aginst it but to basj ottawa the way you are almost acting as its this awful place that is what i have a probleam with.Ottawa is not perfect but not nearly as bad as yous eem to think not even close.Here is a exzample ottawa in 2009 was ranked 5th in arts and culture while vancouver was 6th.

I can vouch for that. I moved here from Toronto 7 years ago because I liked the city. I wouldn't say it was the "coolness" of the city (whatever that is) or the skyline that drew us, but it was because I had a prospect of getting a house in an urban neighbourhood without selling my soul at work. There really isn't a downtown neighbourhood in Toronto that is comparable to the Glebe or the Golden Triangle, and there certainly isn't an equivalent that is remotely affordable to most people.

I was in Toronto for 8 years, and I can say that in my experience there is far more flashing of money there than there is in Ottawa. To say that Ottawa people like to flash money more than people in Toronto is kind of silly.

jeremy_haak
Jul 15, 2010, 9:24 PM
I was in Toronto for 8 years, and I can say that in my experience there is far more flashing of money there than there is in Ottawa. To say that Ottawa people like to flash money more than people in Toronto is kind of silly.

I agree. This characterization of Ottawa is so bizarre and counter to anything I've encountered that I don't even know how to respond.

d_jeffrey
Jul 15, 2010, 9:56 PM
I agree. This characterization of Ottawa is so bizarre and counter to anything I've encountered that I don't even know how to respond.

I'm actually surprised that people here are surprised by this. I thought it was a common stereotype.

bikegypsy
Jul 16, 2010, 1:54 AM
I'm actually surprised that people here are surprised by this. I thought it was a common stereotype.

You've got to be kidding. Firstly, this money flashing thing you're talking about pretty much exists everywhere. Secondly, of the three most important cities in the east, Ottawa is far less driven by the "flash" than the others.

I lived this to an extreme in Montreal in my work environment. There, the "m'as tu vu?" (have you taken a look at me) is omni present in my profession and tints the entire process. I haven't experienced Toronto in the same way but from what I've seen of it, it ain't that far.

RTWAP
Jul 16, 2010, 2:32 AM
the Diefenbunker is now closed

Really? The signs are still up and the website still has a schedule for tours in July and August. I was thinking about going with the kids.

RTWAP
Jul 16, 2010, 2:38 AM
I know these people from Montréal, not when I lived in Ottawa.
It was more, "Oh, you used to live in Ottawa too!".

I'm saying that Ottawans like to flash, in a conservative way. I know 4 buisinessmen in Ottawa that want to have the highest prices around, because when they have the highest prices, people will be able to show off with their products. Two of them say that this approach doesn't work in Toronto, where people will actually compare the value.

There is always the different approach from Ontarians and Quebeckers. Ontarians are usually regarded as cold and level-headed, while Quebeckers tend to be direct and boiling with emotions. Friendship is then not defined as the same.

My wife is from Quebec and went to school in Ottawa. At first she thought people didn't like her because even the people she thought were her friends didn't "greet her as friends" (hugs and kisses). And then she found out that other folks thought she had 12 boyfriends or something.

There's a cultural disconnect. You can't expect people to act the same all over. And if you fail to notice you're in a different culture then that's your problem.

Personally, I'm still with my kindergarten friends from New-Brunswick...

Funny. I grew up in Ottawa and didn't know any of my current good friends as kids. I think that means Ottawa is an easy city to make new connections in, and perhaps you're not so good at making new connections.

I'm actually surprised that people here are surprised by this. I thought it was a common stereotype.

I know lots of folks well into the 6-figure income doctor/executive category and none of them drive anything more ostentatious than a Subaru. The complaint about Ottawa is that it isn't flashy enough, not that it's too flashy.

bikegypsy
Jul 16, 2010, 2:45 AM
Many people move away from Toronto? Really? The reasons I heard why people move to Ottawa is because they got a job there. Do you heard teenagers saying, I want to move to Ottawa, it's such a nice and cool city!


People experience and perceive things differently at different times. We all go through different phases during our life and setting my hometown aside, it's interesting how my perception of Montreal, Toronto and NY has changed over the years. At 18, I used to find Montreal so cool, Toronto boring and NY just down right nasty and it really scared me. Now that I've actually experienced and worked in those three cities, Mtl is fun and relaxed, TO still souless although it has gotten better and NY is just awesome.

In your case, it would appear that most people you know who move to TO do so for other factors than work. In my case -- the ones I know --, it's the opposite, it is all about work or school when it comes to Toronto. Further more, I know some people who have left all of these cities -- including Ottawa -- running, so much their own personal experience of them had been horrible.

I've said how much I appreciate NY. To me it's the only place I've seen where everything appears to be possible. It offers the quintessential urban living; world famous clubs, restaurants, people; the best art scene in the world, etc. One could very probably could buy a lime green fridge on Christmas night somewhere in Manhattan. But where I currently live, I know former New Yorkers who have made a huge change in their lives and would only return to Manhattan if their life depended on it. They now dread it with an extreme passion as their wishes and what they see fit for themselves as changed over time for various reasons. We are simply not all the same nor do we think the same.

I've grown to be wary of the effects time has on my desires -- as change is part of everything and I now respect the one great lesson it teaches us: nothing is for ever. You're not aware -- as none of us are -- of the amount of change you will have gone through in 5, 10, 20 years. Chances are that you will find yourself craving the simple and quiet life that you probably once had in New Brunswick. You'll hook up with a nice girl, have a kid or two and start to look for a nice safe neighborhood for a family home, maybe in Repentigny or St Jerome. Or maybe you'll be a bachelor become extremelly successful at what you do, become ultra rich -- you'll be wining and dining some cute Montreal gonzesses, be a respected guest in all the cool clubs and drive around in a fast sexy car-- and then BANG!, you'll have an epiphany, after which you'll give your downtown condo to your mom, trade your Ferrari for a sail boat and find yourself in the middle of the Pacific, simply mesmerised by the waves and happy to be free from what you once perceived as a king's life. So on and so on.

bikegypsy
Jul 16, 2010, 11:54 AM
And the final aspect of this city that is truly the reason why I believe Ottawa won't be "cool" for a while, is the ridiculous civic mantra that has come to exist here and is "Ottawa is like a big city, but with a small town feel". No. No, no, no. This idea needs to stop and until it does, Ottawa will never be cool.

Very true. Perception is everything. There's an entire generation of people in this city which categorically refuse to be part of growth. And by having this perception, some of them -- who are in positions of power -- continually commit silly errors because they make crucial decisions based on an ancient state. They foreever qualify Ottawa with terms like "community" and "small town" in order to reassure themselves. This, on the long run, hinders the process of urban development and ends up being costly --Transitway is a prime example.

In respect to the relation to the "cool factor", as you said, this is also fully applicable. We have to accept to make this change of state. If we apply this to people, we tend to find the ones who fully accept who they are and are comfortable with their person -- even if they are fat, too tall, too short, etc..-- to be the coolest of them all.

Having said that, most of the "small towners" are nearing the end of their careers.

RTWAP
Jul 16, 2010, 12:41 PM
Anyone who think Ottawa has a small town feel has never been in a small town. Ottawa hasn't had a small town feel since about 100 years ago.

Ottawa does have a small city feel in lots of ways. And some of that is pleasant. Drivers here are a fair bit less aggressive (on average) than in Montreal or Toronto. My personal theory is people will act like dicks in big cities because there's effectively zero chance that they're cutting off someone they know. That's just not true in Ottawa, yet, for most people.

And it's a small city in that there are two bar districts, but it's a 5-10 minute walk to get from one to the other.

And it's a small city in that you can reach wilderness about 5 minutes drive from downtown.

There are people who think the best size was about 100,000 people ago. I think that's wrong. We'd have a lot less going on if we were smaller. But by the same token, I'm not convinced we should be striving to be vastly bigger. I think we will reach a point in the years ahead where the benefits to be gained from more population will diminish in relation to the costs. When exactly that will happen is probably an interesting topic for debate. One million? 1.2M? 1.5M? Never?

But intensification, if done right, will help to push that ideal number up, keeping us near the sweet spot for longer. And it will make more resources available to mitigate some of the problems of growth in the future.

lrt's friend
Jul 16, 2010, 1:42 PM
You know, Ottawa has a lot going for it and many of those things have been pointed out. Cost of housing is not obscene, traffic is generally not horrendous, you can get out of town without waiting for hours or travelling through endless suburbs and increasingly there is lots of things to do. If you want to experience the big city, you can make a quick weekend getaway, but you don't have to put up with some of the down sides of big city living such as 1.5 hour commutes each way.

I am a native Ottawan, and the city has changed a lot in my lifetime. Some of this from a growing population, from a more diverse population but I think mainly from changing times. People are no longer content with just going to the movies or eating at the local greasy spoon, or shopping at Woolworths or visiting with family and friends on a Sunday. This is just a natural progression in modern society and it is happening in every city.