People and Places

Share your memories of Justin Trudeau

Above photo (cropped from original): Justin Trudeau, top, with his brothers Michel and Sacha, peeks around the office of his father, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, in 1979. Photo by Rod MacIvor/Ottawa. See more of Rod MacIvor’s award-winning photos of the Trudeau family here. (All photos copyright Rod MacIvor)

The winds of change are sweeping across Ottawa as we prepare for a new government and a new Prime Minister. Many of us already feel we know Justin Trudeau — we watched him grow up in the capital when his father, Pierre Trudeau, was Prime Minister from 1968-1979 and again from 1980 to 1984. During these years, many of us had brushes with the Trudeau family and a young Justin Trudeau. As he returns to the city as a leader, husband, and father, we’re asking readers to tell us about what they remember most about Justin Trudeau as a boy or a young man. Did you meet him? Go to school with him? Bump into him in an Ottawa restaurant? Tell us about your favourite memories of our next Prime Minister and we’ll share them (along with any photos you’d like to include) on this site. Send your memories and photographs to Ottawa Magazine editor Ruth Dunley, ruth.dunley [at]

Our first memory comes from in house — our publisher, Dianne Wing, met Justin Trudeau when he was still in elementary school.

Teachers in front of the Energy Van, mid-1980s, which visited a school where Justin Trudeau was being taught by grade 6 teacher (at the time) Dianne Wing (centre bottom), now publisher of OTTAWA magazine
Rockcliffe Park Public School teachers in front of the Energy Van, which visited the school in 1980, when Justin Trudeau was being taught by (at the time) Grade 6 teacher Dianne Wing (centre, bottom), now publisher of OTTAWA magazine.

The Early Environmentalist

“In March 1980, I was hired by the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources to be part of a team of teachers that would roam the province in an Energy Van. Armed with solar radios and recycled maps, our job was to preach the virtues of energy conservation and explore the new world of renewable energy with students — these were the days of the infamous National Energy Program. Eleven-year-old Justin Trudeau was in the Grade 6 class of Rockcliffe Park Public School the day my Energy Van came to visit. As part of the program I talked about recycling and taking care of the environment. I asked the class how many had been to McDonald’s recently and bought Big Macs in styrofoam containers. Hands went up enthusiastically, except for Justin’s. A lot, of course, has changed since then. Big Macs now come in paper boxes and Grade 6 Justin is Canada’s new Prime Minister.”

— Dianne Wing, publisher, Ottawa Magazine