Since I started here at the Lord Elgin I have been able to chat with my boss Ann a fair amount and I have learned in passing that she has worked at the hotel for a long time. I wanted to interview her on her time here at the hotel and to just get to know her more! Here is what we chatted about:
1. Where were you born and raised?
I was born and raised in the West end of Ottawa
2. How long have you been working at the Lord Elgin and what were your different positions?
I started here over 35 years ago when I was 18. It was my summer job and I took reservations. I worked from May to August every summer while I was going to University, I always came back! After University I left Ottawa for a while to work in other fields and then devoted some intense time to my family for 6+ years as I had four boys in four and a half years. When my baby was 3, I returned to work at the Lord Elgin, as a Sales Coordinator. I worked my way up and jumped back and forth to the Lord Elgin where I landed again as the Director of Sales & Marketing in 2004. It was like coming home… I haven’t looked back since.
What is your favourite thing about the Lord Elgin?
It’s such a big part of Ottawa. It has such a unique past, with it’s link to Ottawa’s history (MacKenzie King was instrumental in the building of the hotel) and the Lord Elgin in Scotland is still very much connected to the hotel. My grandfather walked to work with MacKenzie King in the morning down Laurier Avenue. My family goes back here to 1847, so I too have deep roots here.
Because it is locally owned, it feels very much like a home (our owner lives in house). When I started here as a student, Don Blakslee (then GM and the gentleman in the photo) was an icon in hospitality business. He lived in the hotel with his family and so it very much felt like home then. We were all very tight. My best friends still are those I worked with here over 30 years ago. My connections to this hotel then have several layers.
Our current General Manager, David, has very much the same touch – he has a great personal connection to everyone. Strangely enough, both David and Don are from the Kingston area – small town, strong ties. Because of this, we are a very tight bunch.
What University/College did you attend?
I started at the University of Ottawa for nursing and then switched to the University of Guelph graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition.
5. What do you remember most about the Lord Elgin?
The people and the friends I have made here. They have become the best friends I have and could ever ask for. It is a small but mighty team.
6. What is one thing you hope to preserve and one thing you hope to change about the hotel?
One thing I would like to preserve would be its personality. I think the word “authentic” describes it best. We don’t pretend to be something that we’re not.
As far as change goes, I think the hotel has enormous potential to be as grand as we want…we can dress it up to be quite the grand dame. But we would hate to lose that authenticity…. tricky balance!
What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
Too many things to mention..
8. What is one goal (career or not) you want to achieve in your life?
I had four children…I would have loved 8. I love big families and came from a family of 8.
9.What did you want to be when you were younger?
A nurse or doctor.
10. The best book you have ever read?
The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama
11. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
I’d love to live in a variety of places for a short period but I love to come back here, especially to my cottage, which is a slicee of heaven.
12. What is your biggest passion?
13.Where is your favourite place to shop?
Too many to mention, but I would love to go back to New York again.
14. If you could change places with someone for the day who would it be?
No one – I am a pretty lucky gal.