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Author: admin
• Monday, January 27th, 2014

Just a few blocks away from the Lord Elgin Hotel is one of Ottawa’s most known places, The ByWard Market.

Established by Lieutenant-Colonel John By in 1826, the ByWard Market is one of Canada’s oldest and largest public markets. The legendary builder of the Rideau Canal, Colonel By himself laid out the street plan of the Market, designating George Street and York Street to be extra wide to accommodate the creation of a public market and gathering place.

An area roughly four blocks square, The ByWard Market offers many museums, cafés, specialty food shops, boutiques, galleries, restaurants, pubs, hair & aesthetics salons and more! Easily accessible on foot, by transit or by car, the ByWard Market offers a unique experience for a everyone who walks its streets.

The ByWard Market is Ottawa’s number one tourist attraction, and is the premier destination for shopping, dining, arts, entertainment and professional services for residents and visitors. This area averages 50,000 visitors per weekend in the summer months. It is home to both a local farmers’ market and artisans with over 260 stands, as well as over 500 businesses. In 2013, the ByWard Market will played host to 6.3 million of the 7 million visitors that visited the Nation’s Capital in 2013.

Business Highlights:
108- Restaurants, including 2 – 24 hour restaurants (Zak’s and Dunn’s)
35 – Food Retail Establishments
23 – Nightlife and Entertainment Venues – including:
The Chateau Lafayette – Ottawa’s oldest tavern, established in 1849, and the home to the ‘Lucky Ron Show’
25 – Arts, Culture and Education Facilities – and home to:
The National Gallery of Canada
Notre Dame Basilica – Ottawa’s oldest and largest church – opened in 1885
11 – Books and News Shops
57 – Fashion Shops –
Home of designer Richard Robinson’s shop and haute couture school
18 – House and Home Shops
19 – Boutiques
39 – Health and Beauty Salons
43 – Services

The ByWard Market is a must see if you visit Ottawa at any point of the year. For more information on the ByWard Market visit their website at or like their Facebook page.

Category: Near The Lord Elgin  | Comments off
Author: admin
• Friday, January 24th, 2014

Alanna has now left us at the Lord Elgin Hotel as the social media intern but there is now a new face around the office. Although Alanna will be greatly missed, we welcome AJ Adams to the team.

AJ is studying public relations at Algonquin College here in Ottawa. He has an extensive background running social media, from his high school’s Facebook page, to charity campaigns to his hometown’s BIA Facebook and Twitter accounts. The Lord Elgin Hotel is the 16th Facebook page that he has run and he is only 19 years old.

AJ is from a small town called Kincardine, ON located roughly eight hours from Ottawa, along the shores of Lake Huron. AJ is in his last semester of his program, which is a work placement, which lead AJ to the Lord Elgin. From working summer jobs in the tourism industry back in Kincardine, working at the Lord Elgin Hotel is a great fit and interest for him.

AJ loves social media, local history, photography and graphic design. He is a self-described “creative-nerd”.

AJ is planning on taking a post-grad certificate next year in either event management or interactive multimedia at Algonquin College.

“Everyone here on the sales team is extremely friendly and nice. Everyone has welcomed me with their arms wide open and it has been an easy and great transition from a classroom setting to the “real world,” says AJ.

“Ann, Liz, Max, Tessa and Andrew are all great people and I am very excited to be working with them over the next few months,” adds AJ.

AJ will be working as the social media intern for the Lord Elgin Hotel until the end of April.

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Author: admin
• Friday, January 24th, 2014

Do you have a portable keyboard at home that is not being used? Not sure what to do with it?

Our friends at the National Arts Centre have the answer!

The NAC’s Music Alive Program in Nunavut is interested in acquiring used portable keyboards to donate to Peter Pitseolak High School in Cape Dorset. This school recently acquired a beautiful digital piano, thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. With this addition to their music room, students have had the opportunity to work on keyboard skills, songwriting, and digital recording techniques.

The schools’ music teacher, Christa Borden, is giving free piano lessons to a number of interested students, and the Music Alive Program is working with the school to support some exciting opportunities for the students to develop their musical skills. However, these students don’t have instruments at home to practice on, or to work on individually in class.

If you have a used portable keyboard that could be donated to this worthy program, the NAC would love to hear from you. They are interested in all makes and models, but donated keyboards must be in playing condition and should not require any repairs. Qualifying instruments may be eligible for a charitable tax receipt from the NAC Foundation. Please contact Music Alive Program Administrator Natasha Harwood at 613-947-7000 ext 233 or for more information, or to donate an instrument.

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Author: admin
• Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

‘Near the Lord Elgin’ will be a reoccurring blog post that will be written here on the Lord Elgin Hotel Blog. ‘Near the Lord Elgin’ will feature attractions from around the Ottawa area. Anything from a museum to an art gallery to stores to festivals. The attraction will all be feature on this blog as well as a photo album on our Facebook page. Our first ‘Near the Lord Elgin’ post is about the Canadian Museum of Nature.

The Canadian Museum of Nature, located just 1km down the road form the Lord Elgin Hotel is a must see when you visit the City of Ottawa. With many amazing exhibits, interactive displays and awesome staff, The Canadian Museum of Nature is a great part of Ottawa.

Originally built in 1912 as the Victoria Memorial Museum, the building has had a long and interesting life. In 1916 when the Canadian Parliament buildings burnt down, the Victoria Memorial Museum was a temporary home (For four year) to the Canadian Government. Now the building is home to its only tenant, the Canadian Museum of Nature. The building has gone through several changes over the years including a huge renovation creating the “Queen’s Lantern”, which is the giant glass structure you see at the front of the building.

The Museum of Nature has many exhibits featuring giant prehistoric skeletons, “real” T-rexes attacking a herd of triceratops, more birds then you can count, rocks and gems everyone, a giant whale and so much more.

One of the best parts about the Canadian Museum of Nature is it is fun for the whole family. Throughout each exhibit the museum staff have created interactive displays. Some for any age and some for the young ones who want to play in a submarine or look for gold in a mine. The Museum of Nature is friendly for anyone of any age. There were even people in their 80s playing with the interactive displays and would say aloud how nice it would be to be a kid again. This museum brings back fun and life into everyone who walks through its halls.

Currently, the museum has a special exhibit called “Frogs – A Chorus of Colour”. The exhibit features a rainbow of frogs from around the world. You never new frogs could be so small or so big! “Frogs are among the most visually stunning, vocally pleasing, and adaptively remarkable life forms on Earth”. While at the museum you will get eyeball-to-eyeball with tree frogs, tomato frogs, bullfrogs, horned frogs, dart poison frogs, toads and more. Live specimens are presented in attractively re-created native habitats complete with plants, rock ledges and waterfalls. If you go with your family you must try out the hands-on activities, including frog calls, origami, frog drawing, crafts and more. If you’ve never thought of frogs as beautiful, this exhibition will change your mind! Frogs – A Chorus of Colour runs until May 11, 2014

The Canadian Museum of Nature is fairly priced and you get what you pay for – Amazement and excitement for the whole family.

Adult: $12
Student (13+)/ Senior (65+): $10
Child (3–12): $8
Tiny Tot (Ages 2 and younger): Free
Members: Free

If you want to learn more about the Canadian Museum of Nature visit their website at

You can check out all of our amazing photos from our trip to the Museum of Nature on our Facebook page.
Click here to see photos

Category: Near The Lord Elgin  | Comments off
Author: admin
• Wednesday, December 04th, 2013

The Holiday season is one of the most magical times of the year. Getting together with my loved ones to celebrate this special time is always my favorite part of the year! Holiday traditions are something every family has, so for my holiday blog I decided to ask some of my friends in the sales office what some of theirs are… Here’s what they told me:

Q: What do you celebrate and what are some of your family’s traditions?


I celebrate Chanukah. I have one big family dinner which my daughter and I prepare together, We make homemade Potato Latkes and spend the day cooking and bonding. We make it all from scratch even the applesauce, so it takes the whole day. After our dinner we usually play Dreidel, and exchange little gifts and tokens. People usually exchange Chanukah gelt (money!) which is where the idea of chocolate coins came from! Every Jewish family celebrates it differently, and typically people will invite other families over to celebrate Chanukah too. We light the Menorah and celebrate together, it’s very wholesome.

We celebrate a mid-winter feast with neighbors and friends. The time usually changes every year, and to cater to everyone’s schedules we sometimes celebrate 2-3 of them! We try to get as many people together to celebrate. There are typically lots of children playing together and lots of socializing; it’s a pretty relaxed atmosphere. My wife is Ukrainian so we incorporate some of her traditions, she makes perogies and our big breakfast consists of scrambled eggs and kielbasa (Polish sausage). Last year we actually got our turkey from the restaurant here in the Lord Elgin and it was the best thing we’ve ever had! It’s a great time of socializing with friends, and lots of phone calls from our family all over the country.

My family celebrates Christmas. Since my family is further away, we alternate between my family and husband’s family every year. This year we’re going to my moms. On Christmas day, we will wake up and have our breakfast together and then we spend the day making the cheese fondue we eat for Christmas dinner! We have a huge fondue with meats, fruits and vegetables to dip with lots of different cheeses. I’m Dutch, so this is a tradition my mom has brought back with her from Holland. We also wait to open and exchange our gifts until the evening, and we spend time together celebrating. On Boxing Day we get together with my extended family which can be anywhere between 20-40 people! We have a traditional turkey dinner and have a regift exchange, which is where everyone will bring a gift or something they have received to regift and we play the white elephant gift exchange with them! It’s hilarious! Everyone ends up with these random objects, it’s a great time.

My family celebrates a very traditional Canadian Christmas – in other words, a blend of several traditions. I have four boys who are all coming home so it is a very special time of the year for us. We attend midnight mass together on Christmas Eve, and we then come home and have a big buffet including tortiere, shrimp, lots of appies and of course eggnog and brandy! On Christmas morning we wake up and first open our stockings which are are full of the coolest things. Then we open the piles and piles of gifts, it’s an opening frenzy for about an hour… we always seem to overdo it! This is followed by a big breakfast together and then the rest of the day is spent lounging and getting the dinner ready since we usually have between 15-20 people come over for a traditional turkey dinner.

Boxing day is usually a get together with our extended family –- I have 6 siblings, so we are at least 50 people with all the grandchildren etc. more food, more drink and loads of fun!! Nothing like a big family when it comes to Christmas!

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Author: admin
• Friday, October 25th, 2013

Fall in Ottawa is arguably the best season of the year for a variety of reasons. The changing leaves, the sunny crisp days, and most of all (in my opinion!) the shopping. Fall shopping is hands down the best season you can shop for. Think riding boots, knit sweaters, leather jackets, scarves, layers… the list is endless! The stores in Ottawa have it all. Walking in the market browsing the shops I see lots of dark skinny jeans, big circle scarves, oversized sweaters and my favourite so far – sweatpant trousers! Basically they are skinny legged looking trousers you would wear out to dinner or to work but are made out of sweatpant material! Best of both worlds right? If you want stylish, quality made clothes without spending a fortune, Ottawa is a great place. Many of the smaller boutiques carry great brands with adorable clothing that won’t leave your wallet empty. A couple of my favourites: Roadtrip and Trustfund. They both carry good quality and well priced clothing that are stylish and comfortable. You feel unique wearing their clothes, their pieces are genuinely one of a kind. A few others I love in the Byward Market: Schad, Wold & Zed (Awesome shoes!), Urban Barn (Home Furnishings) and Magpie Jewellery (in the Rideau Centre). Ottawa has something for every style, just walk around the Market and you’ll see for yourself

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Author: admin
• Monday, September 09th, 2013

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?
My family

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.

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Author: admin
• Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Before starting my job here at the Lord Elgin I had a small appreciation for this city. I complained there wasn’t a lot to do or wasn’t anything going on, but really it was because I didn’t check to see the events and festivals happening around Ottawa. Now that it is my job to know, I have a better appreciation for how much this city has to offer.

This past weekend was National Capital Craft Beer Week and I had the opportunity to go and check out some local breweries and they did not disappoint. I had a great time trying new beers, talking to some of the brewers and just meeting new people, I am so glad I went. The Ottawa Folk Festival is another one I have discovered. This festival has been going on for years but the lineup has gotten better and better and is attracting people from all age groups. Our museums are getting new, interesting exhibits (Star Wars anyone?) and every festival just seems to be getting bigger and better each year. Oktoberfest and Ottawa Wine and Food festival are two of the most popular happening in Ottawa during the fall (Folk Fest too of course) and those too are ever expanding. Ottawa has something for everyone, you just have to get out there and explore.

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Author: admin
• Monday, July 29th, 2013

As you may know, the former social media gal Kiara left her job here at the Lord Elgin to move to Australia for a few months. While it was really hard to say goodbye to her (she’s one of best friends) she was kind enough to score me an interview with her then boss (and mine now!) Ann, the Director of Sales & Marketing here at the hotel. We chatted about University and even found out we both frequent the same yoga studio in Ottawa. When Ann emailed me offering me the position I was more than thrilled. I started here not knowing what to expect and feeling a bit anxious, however I automatically felt welcomed and part of team when I stepped into the Sales office. Max, Liz, Andrew, Tessa and Ann (Kiara did blogs on all of them!) are the most gracious and helpful co-workers one could ever dream of having.

That being said, here is a little bit about myself. I am twenty years old and am currently completing my undergrad at the University of Ottawa in English and Psychology (one more year!) After I graduate uOttawa, I’m planning to attend Algonquin College for their Public Relations program, the same one Kiara completed. I also serve part time at Big Rig Kitchen & Brewery, which is a great place to work. I am an avid reader and shopper (ask any of the sales team!) I love to practice yoga, try new food and especially to travel. I hope this helps you get to know the new girl behind the social media and I can’t wait to learn more about the Lord Elgin!

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Author: admin
• Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

This past week at the Lord Elgin has been one to remember. Just stepping into this hotel makes you feel like there is a great amount of history to be told and uncovered. I was fortunate enough to hear stories from some very special guests we had at the Lord Elgin this week.

Dale with his father and mother - 1953

We first met with a man named Dale Leitch, who definitely had a story to tell. Although his tale about his time at the Lord Elgin was difficult to hear, it is one worth listening to. He has written his story out in a short book, which we had the opportunity to read.

Dale stayed in our hotel sixty years ago on a vacation with his family, and although he was only four years old at the time, he could recall the room his family stayed in. So when he and his wife Karen came to Ottawa this time, they asked for the same room (542). As he walked down the corridor he said, it was like walking down memory lane. In 1953, his family traveled from their home in Winnipeg to Ottawa for a holiday and was visiting friends in Bryson, just outside of Ottawa. Within days after their arrival, Dale his 2 year old brother and his mother all came down with flu like symptoms. Shortly thereafter they were all diagnosed with polio which was an epidemic in Canada during the early 1950s. They assume they contracted the disease in Winnipeg before they left for vacation. Manitoba was particularly hard hit by this epidemic.

Sadly, the youngest brother, who was then only two, died within two days of being admitted to the Strathcona Hospital in Sandy Hill (the hospital no longer exists). Dale eventually recovered and left the hospital and returned to the hotel with his father. His aunt joined them in Ottawa to assist. His mother, however, had a very slow recovery and spent many months in Ottawa, first at the Strathcona and then at the Civic Hospital, which was new at that time. Dale and his father and their aunt set up a temporary home at the Lord Elgin during this time. When his mother was finally discharged, she could only breath with the help of an iron lung. She was forced to rely on the iron lunch for most of her life to help her breath.

It is just one more reminder of how fortunate we are today. We somehow take for granted that we are immunized against these diseases which once took our loved ones away, or afflicted them for life.

Dale and his wife Karen checked out yesterday and went back to Victoria, BC, their home now. Before they left, they took some time to go through an scrapbook on the Lord Elgin that we have. It brought back many memories for Dale.

Thank you Dale for sharing this story with us.

Dale & Karen Leitch

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