Going Out

ASK A LOCAL: 5 Ottawa notables discuss political junkies, canal spying, bad drivers, and other city stereotypes

Mark Monahan
Executive/artistic director of the RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest and the Ottawa Folk Festival 

Why I came to Ottawa: I was born here and never left.

First Ottawa job: Working a Crown and Anchor game for the Ottawa Ex at the age of 14.

My neighbourhood: The Glebe.

Most accurate Ottawa stereotype: Political junkies obsessed with The Weather Channel.

Least accurate Ottawa stereotype: Sleepy government town.

Proof I’ve made it in Ottawa: Private parking spot at the Greyhound bus station (Bluesfest is housed inside the bus station).

Five words that describe Ottawa now: Scenic, safe, energizing, green, interesting.

Five words I hope will be used to describe the city in 15 years: Scenic, safe, energizing, green, interesting.

Favourite spot: Any golf club on a sunny day.

Josie Geuer, a.k.a. Josie and The City
Program director and entertainment reporter for The New Hot 89.9

Why I came to Ottawa: I made the big move from Almonte after high school. I was buying time and taking acting lessons because I wasn’t sure about my future plans.

First Ottawa job: Mrs. Tiggy Winkle’s. I played with toys all day and listened to children’s music on repeat.

My neighbourhood: Depends on my mood: Funhaven/Farhaven/Barrhaven/The Burbs.

Most accurate Ottawa stereotype: It’s flippin’ freezing! At least that applies to this past winter.

Least accurate Ottawa stereotype: Stuffy government town. We know how to get down.

Proof I’ve made it in Ottawa: I haven’t. Waiting on the bronze statue.

Favourite spot: Along the canal, especially at night when those people who live in the mansions keep their blinds open. I love seeing how other people live.


Pierre Brault 
Actor, playwright, comedian 

Why I came to Ottawa: After the company I was working for in Montreal went bankrupt, I was given the choice of termination or a transfer to Ottawa. I took the transfer thinking I would stay in O-Town for maybe a couple of years, then leave. That was in 1990. Still happily here.

First Ottawa job: I was a corporate video producer for Pizza Pizza. I would write, act in, direct, and edit training videos with such notable titles as Cleaning Your Pizza Oven and The Art of Pizza Delivery. While it may seem mundane, the job did allow me to train myself in all aspects of production, which helped my career enormously.

My neighbourhood: Old Ottawa East.

Most accurate Ottawa stereotype: Cold winters.

Least accurate Ottawa stereotype: Officious, boring civil servants who stay at home dreaming of advancing in the civil service.

Proof I’ve made it in Ottawa: Seeing my face on a giant banner hanging off the NAC. It was an ad for my solo show Blood on the Moon, which ran for three summers.

Five words that describe Ottawa now: Dynamic, livable, breathable, friendly, scenic.

Five words I hope will be used to describe the city in 15 years: The best city in Canada.

Favourite spot: The path along the Ottawa River behind Parliament. A perfect spot for serenity and peace. I get a lot of inspiration there.


Vinod Rajasekaran
Executive director of HUB Ottawa

Why I came to Ottawa: To become a rocket scientist (seriously, I studied aerospace engineering at Carleton University).

First Ottawa job: Selling floppy drives and PalmPilots at Staples. Yes, it was 10 years ago.

My neighbourhood: South Keys.

Most accurate Ottawa stereotype: Ottawans love the outdoors.

Least accurate Ottawa stereotype: Ottawa is boring and has nothing interesting going on (if you’re in this boat, stop by The Hub).

Five words that describe Ottawa now: A city realizing its creative talent/innovation potential.

Five words I hope will be used to describe the city in 15 years: Best G20 capital to kick-start solutions that change the world.

Favourite spot: The O-train. Trains help me problem-solve — I sometimes ride it back and forth many times. Looking forward to an expanded offering.


Lucy van Oldenbarneveld
Anchor, CBC News Ottawa

Why I came to Ottawa: I came here permanently in 2002 to take a job as the field reporter for CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning.

First Ottawa job: Working at Harlow’s bar and restaurant in the Market as a summer job when I was 21.

My neighbourhood: Centretown.

Most accurate Ottawa stereotype: Bad drivers. Holy mackerel, don’t get me started!

Proof I’ve made it in Ottawa: Having people recognize me as “that woman with the long name.”

Five words that describe Ottawa now: Best-kept secret in Canada.

Five words I hope will be used to describe the city in 15 years: Creative, green, livable, affordable, innovative.

Favourite spot: Dundonald Park in my neighbourhood. It’s so vibrant and always filled with a wonderful assortment of characters. People love their area green spot. Centretown movies are there, too, in the summer.