Archive for the Category ◊ Uncategorized ◊

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.

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.

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!

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

Author: admin
• Friday, July 12th, 2013

Exploring a new city is one of my favourite things to do, but finding a good restaurant without being familiar with the city is always a little difficult and overwhelming. So lucky for us Ottawa’s dining is diverse and unique at the same time. We have every type of food you could ever dream of, as well as quality and fair prices. So if you are looking for some good places to go out I have made a list of some noteworthy restaurants, and if you are already from Ottawa check these places out.
First off, I have made this list especially accessible to those staying in the Downtown area, however most are an easy commute from any part of the city you may be staying in. Most of the restaurants listed have their own website for more info & to view the menu!

Italian food lover like me?
- Cafe Mio: Very well priced and huge portions! (Wellington West)
- Fresco Bistro Italiano: Delicious food & they offer gluten free pizza crust and pasta! Make sure to try their Caesars! (Elgin St)
- Tennessee Williams: Very cozy spot, fair prices. Pizza is awesome! (Wellington West)

Want a great burger but looking to save money?
- The Works: Any burger topping you could ever want. There’s a couple of locations in Kanata, Barrhaven, and Westboro. (Westboro being closest to downtown)
- Hintonburger: Very casual, but yummy & inexpensive (Wellington West)

Mmmm… Seafood
- The Whalesbone Oyster House: Worth every penny! Their seafood is all sustainably fished & the menu changes daily! (Downtown, Kent st.)
- Supply & Demand: Can’t recommend this one enough! (Wellington West)
- The Elmdale Oyster House & Tavern: Great late night location and their Lobster roll is to die for (Wellington West)

Cuisine Française:
- Petit Bill’s Bistro: Lobster poutine is a guilty pleasure. This spot is a little bit more pricey so if you are looking for a nice night out this is a good one (Wellington West)
- The Savoy Brasserie: Newly opened but worth a trip. They also offer one dollar oysters and jumbo shrimp Monday-Friday between 3:30 and 6:30 (Westboro)
- The Metropolitan: My favourite patio in the city! This place is a no brainer. (Downtown, Sussex)

Some other gems:
Union Local 613: My number one pick in Ottawa. Food, drink and service are on point, and the atmosphere is exciting. Southern styled food & drink, with predominately communal tables. Check out their speakeasy bar in the basement!
Agave: Delicious Mexican! Well priced and worth the trip. Try their Margaritas. (Wellington Westboro)

Author: admin
• Tuesday, July 02nd, 2013

The residents of Ottawa all know the winter can be difficult. For about six months out of the year the weather is typically less than ideal and short days make it nearly impossible to wake up in the morning (who wants to wake up before the sun?) So that being said, when I see people choosing to sit inside instead of the patio on a beautiful day, I can hardly understand it. Ottawa is situated in one of the best places geographically in Canada, in my opinion. We have the luxury of living in a “big city” atmosphere, amazing dining, great nightlife with the Byward Market and a fantastic hockey team, but we also have that small town feel. We have great green space with our parks, bike paths, the Rideau canal and we are ideally situated a short drive from the beautiful Quebec with the Gatineau Hills.

Therefore most of us residents of Ottawa want to spend as much time as possible outside this time of year, especially after the winter we just experienced. This is also a great way to get active if you have been putting it off (like I have), and we are lucky enough to live in a City that makes this quite attainable. That being said I have created a list of some ways to get outdoors and get active:

- Exercise does not always mean going to the gym or doing the same workout routine every day. Summer makes is easy to add different modes of exercise and allows you to change it up so you won’t get bored.
- Go for a walk. Yes I know this is an obvious option but how many of us really do it? This especially helps if you are stressed or having a difficult time sleeping at night. I know from experience it is hard to motivate yourself to exercise when you’re feeling the pressure from work or life, so get outside and take a short walk and I guarantee it will help clear you mind.
- Explore the city. There are fantastic neighborhoods in Ottawa worth spending some time exploring and shopping. Hintonburg and the Glebe are some of my favorites with great shops and restaurants that you’ll never know existed and very accessible by walking.
- Outdoor markets. The Parkdale market is awesome and open daily from dawn to dusk, check it out instead of going to the grocery store for produce! Westboro recently started doing one in Byron park Saturdays 9:30am-3:00pm. They have everything you could ever want from produce to meat to jewelry. Brewer park also offers one Sundays 8:00 am-3pm and Centrum Plaza in Orleans Fridays 10:00am-3:00pm. I can’t recommend these enough! (you will also be supporting local vendors and what’s better than that?)
- Bike paths. Utilize these! We have over 300km of bike paths in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. The great thing about many of these bike paths are they are off the roads so it’s a good activity to do with the kids. These can also be used for walking, rollerblading etc. The canal is always a popular one, as well as the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway. For more information on finding the right bike paths visit this website: http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/things-to-do/cycling
- Ever been to Gatineau Park? There is lots to do including cycling, hiking, swimming, rock climbing, even guided tours! The park also has great picnic areas so bring a lunch and spend the day! For more information on the park: http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/places-to-visit/gatineau-park
- Yoga lover or ever wanted to try? Lululemon offers free yoga on Parliament Hill every Wednesday 12pm-1pm. All levels welcome! Yoga is a great way to get some exercise and spend some time outdoors if you have been in the office all morning. Don’t be intimidated if it’s your first time! There are teaching assistants there to help and you have the freedom of going at your own pace. Try it out! You might end up loving it.

These are just some of the many resources Ottawa offers to get outside this summer. Remember: do everything at your own pace! Now get outside and get the most out of your summer

Alanna

Author: admin
• Tuesday, June 11th, 2013


Tessa Webster is the Government Sales Manager at the Lord Elgin Hotel. Tessa is a smart and motivated young woman. She is consistently sweet and happy- she never shows the stress that I’m sure comes with having a two year old at home and dealing with government clients all day. I tend to get stressed about the silliest things, and seeing how she deals with her everyday life so collectively and positively really puts things into perspective for me.
Tessa is a great listener with a fantastic sense of humour. I am very comfortable coming to Tessa if I need to have a quick rant about something. She is relatable and has certainly contributed to my experience here at the hotel.
1. Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
I was born in Holland in a small village outside of Amsterdam. When I was nine I immigrated with my mom and my sister to Canada.
2. How did you come to work at the Lord Elgin Hotel? How long have you worked here for?
I’ve worked here for two years. Before, I was working in the GTA. Then my husband received a promotion that brought him to Ottawa, so I needed to find a job here. I asked one of my former bosses if she would help me/ refer me to hotels I could apply to. So, she emailed IHG hotels in Ottawa.
Through that process, David came across my resume. I had worked with him many years ago and I suppose he recognized my name and, lucky for me, he and Ann took a chance.
What is the biggest challenge when working with Government groups?
The challenge is trying to understand their ever changing needs and trying to adhere to their rules. I think it’s a never ending cycle because things are so quickly changing in Government. You really need to stay on top of all the news around you.
3. If you had the chance to go back in time for one full day, where and when would you go?
I would go back to my first few years in Holland. Back when life was easy and all I did was sit in a row boat with my best friend with no worries or stress. We would just row around on the canals. Life was simple.
5. If a genie granted you three wishes, what would you ask for?
I would ask for endless amounts of time to spend with my daughter, to return to the resort in Jamaica where I married my husband (with my husband, of course) and a life time membership to Le Nordik Spa.
6. What is your fondest memory from the University of Guelph?
I think, more generally, what I liked the most was the great sense of community I had there. I made a lot of really good friends who I still keep in touch with. My professors were amazing. I worked downtown as well and developed some really great relationships; I really felt like I was part of the city. Overall, I had a really amazing University experience- a lot of fun.
7. How old is your daughter Maddy, and what is her favourite thing to do?
My daughter is two years old. She loves to go to the park and feed the ducks. As of late, she really likes to boss me around. Today she said “Mama go get my water” and “Mama go get my boots”.
8. Where are three places you would love to travel to?
Oh my gosh, if I had endless amounts of money I’d want to go everywhere. If I had to chose three, I would go to Prague, Thailand and Turks & Caicos.
9. Where is your favourite restaurant to eat in Ottawa?
To be honest, I love The Keg. Both the service and the food quality are very consistent. I have never been disappointed.
10. What type of person angers you the most?
Arrogance is really frustrating.
11. Name something you are very good at, and something you are very bad at.
I am very good at improvising bed time stories. I am bad at remembering people’s names, which is bad in my line of work so I’m trying to train myself.
12. What quality do you appreciate most in your husband?
I really appreciate his thoughtfulness.
13. If you could star in any TV show, past or present, which show would it be?
The Cosby Show. They’re the kind of family you would want to model after.
15. Describe yourself in one word.
Compassionate.
16. Since it is Friday, describe your perfect weekend!
It would have to be spending it with my family. I’d enjoy taking Maddy to her music class, having a picnic and going out for dinner with my husband.
17. What is your favourite quote/saying?
Don’t worry, be happy. (Ha, it’s a quote and a song! Words to live by. I love it)

Author: admin
• Monday, June 10th, 2013

When I first began at the Lord Elgin Hotel, Maxine was away on maternity leave. I was able to use her desk for my first three months and was grateful for this because it made me feel like part of the team. When I asked if Maxine would mind me sitting there, all her coworkers laughed and went on about how kind Max is and that she would absolutely not mind.
Every day I saw the beautiful photos of her two girls on her desk, and a stunning photo of Max and her husband on their wedding day. I looked forward to finally meeting her when she returned in April.
After meeting Maxine, I realized that you really cannot say enough good things about her. She is genuine, charismatic and funny. She is not only passionate about her work, but she also cares so much about the people surrounding her.
I first noticed her thoughtfulness when Max walked by my new desk, which is a large table in the centre of the office, used for meetings or sometimes group lunches. As I did my work, there were a couple of items left over from someone’s lunch and a few unwanted sheets of paper, on the desk. Maxine immediately started clearing it all off, confused as to why anyone would leave this on “my” desk. This small act gave me a large amount of respect for Maxine. My respect has since grown over the last month and even more so after interviewing her for our blog.
Hope you all enjoy!
1.Where were you born and where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Ottawa.
2. How did you get your job at The Lord Elgin? How long have you worked here for?
I have worked here going on eight years in July. That will be my anniversary! I worked at another hotel before, working in the same market. Whenever I would travel on business or meet my clients, I’d ask what hotels they used in Ottawa. They would ALWAYS say the Lord Elgin.
Sure enough, my friend worked in the Lord Elgin sales department at the time and she called me saying a position had become available. I came in almost right away for an interview with Ann and David and I got the job within a couple days. Like they say, if you can’t beat them, join them.
3. At work, what is your biggest daily challenge? What do you enjoy the most?

I’m pretty lucky because I don’t think I have too many obstacles that I can’t overcome. I think that I’ve learned with age not to take things so personally. Whether working with clients or your daily interaction with staff you have to remember that business is business. However, when you are so emotionally involved in something, and when you put you entire self into it, it can be a challenge not to take things personally.

It can sometimes be an obstacle telling a potential client that maybe we are not the best fit. Sometimes when you’re in courtship with a client you realize that what we have and what they want may not be the same thing. Since part of my job is to get new business and nurture relationships, that can be difficult.
What I enjoy the most is Ottawa, I love Ottawa. Even though I have been the Tour & Travel Sales Manager for eight years and in this market for ten years, I still get excited about what Ottawa has to offer. I get inspired. I also think the hotel is amazing so it makes my job a lot easier. I love my coworkers, our products and who we are within the community. I love my job.
5. If you could describe your ideal day off, what would it involve?
I think it would for sure be a family outing. It would be either going to my parents’ house on the lake with the girls and my husband, or just staying at home with my family.
6. What is a movie title that describes your life?
Right now it would be “Parenthood”, both the movie and the title.
7. What is your biggest pet peeve?
I can’t stand it when you let someone go ahead of you on the road and they don’t give you the “thank you wave”- I hate that! I also don’t like when people don’t return their shopping cart to the proper spot, like when they leave it next to a car or something.
8. What do you do for fun/relaxation?
Right now my fun is my family. I think it would be playing with my girls, whatever it may be- that’s fun to me now. To relax, read a book, or if I’m lucky, watch a movie. I also love reality shows. They are so ludicrous that it really puts things into perspective in my life, and for me that’s relaxing.
9. How did use choose the name Maude for your daughter?
Okay, this is crazy. Even before I was pregnant, whenever I do something mindless (driving, going to the washroom) I just go through names constantly. It’s weird, just so bizarre.
So I had a name picked out for some time- Magalie. And we have really close friends who were pregnant before us and we had their baby shower for them. We were all talking about names and she said that she wanted to use the name Magalie. We had never discussed the name before! I was like “Oh man, as if!” She had a great story behind it and was also pregnant first, so I decided it wasn’t meant to be.
I wanted a name for my daughter that she would be proud of, and could do whatever she wants with, whether a restaurant server or a president. I wanted the name to be a strong and respected name but also soft and calm. When she was born, we still went a day without calling her Maude. But we are happy now, her name really suits her.

10. Do you find it hard to balance your work life and home life since you’ve had your baby girl?
No because when I’m at work, it’s work. The moment I’m out the door, it’s family. It’s tough when I travel because I’m away from my family, but I know it’s my job and I can switch it on and off if I want to.
11. What are three things you can’t live without?
My family, and food- I get excited about food. Everything revolves around food. Anything you celebrate there’s usually food- so it’s definitely up there. And the outdoors. I really enjoy being outside, in the fresh air and sunshine.
12. Describe yourself in one word.
This is hard because life is a quest to find out who you are, so we never really know. What I may think I am, people around me may not think I’m that person. One thing that would describe me pretty well is that I wear my heart on my sleeve.
It’s tricky because if I just say I’m passionate, or emotional, it can be construed as different things. I think with me what you see is what you get- maybe I’d say I’m “intense”.
13. If you could have any superpower what would it be, and what would you do with it?
I would want to be able to time leap back in time and into the future, for my own beneficial reasons. Also, I could probably help a lot of people with whatever cure.
14. If you could be any other person in the world, who would you be?
I want to say a person with some kind of statue- prime minister or celebrity- so I could make a difference. Then again, I’m Maxine, I’m not really anybody but I hope I can still make a difference in someone’s life. Why do we need statue? I over think things too much but I probably wouldn’t want to be President. It’s too much stress and responsibility-I just want to be me and hope I can be the best person, and change someone’s world or life- even if it’s just a little thing.
15. What is the last thing you regret buying?
Everything. I’m one of those shoppers that unfortunately like’s nice things, therefor I buy them. Then, I get home and have buyer’s remorse. And I hate returning things to the store! It’s uncomfortable! But I seem to have been doing that a lot lately.
16. If you were reincarnated as a food item, what would you be?
I’m thinking cheese, I love cheese. But the problem with cheese is you have one bite and then it’s gone!

17. What is your favourite quote or saying?
I don’t have one to be honest. The ones I find myself using more commonly are: “What comes around goes around”, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” and “Blood is thicker than water.” I’m French too so the French sayings aren’t necessarily the same in English. I tell my girls in French “I love you more than the earth”, but it doesn’t really make sense in English.

Author: admin
• Monday, June 10th, 2013



Shannon is an exceedingly hard-working young woman. It seems that she is the go-to girl for everything and anything at The Lord Elgin. Every day I hear people (including myself) ask Shannon “How do I get this printer to work?” “What’s the Lord Elgin Meeting internet password?” or “What should I make for supper tonight? And how?”
Shannon also has this hilariously mischievous giggle that makes me laugh every time I hear it. Her vibrant style and honest personality make her a fabulous person to both know and work with. I have a feeling she will do great things in the near future.
1. Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
I was born in Cambridge, Ontario, and I group up in Williamstown, Ontario.
2. How did you come to work at The Lord Elgin and how long have you worked here for?
I have worked here for two years. I got my job through Ann, who is a personal friend.
3. What is the biggest challenge you face as catering manager?
The biggest challenge I face is collecting all the details from people. It can often be very last minute, and some people are unsure of what they want.
4. What do you like most about The Lord Elgin?
I love organizing successful events and having happy clients.
5. What is it like have an office partner?
It’s both fun and distracting. Mostly I distract Amanda by talking to her.
6. What are three things you cannot live without?
My puppy Bentley, my shoes, and my family.
7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I’d love to own a Bed & Breakfast. I worked in one when I was growing up and knew that I was meant to own one someday.
8. What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Chocolate.
9. How did you discover your love for cooking/baking?
My mom. She has been doing it my entire life, and probably her entire life!

10. If you had to throw a dinner party tonight, what would you cook?
Hmmm! I would make a stuffed goat cheese pork tenderloin, with a cherry reduction sauce. Broiled asparagus, and mashed potatoes.
11. Where are three places you’ve never been but would love to go?
California, the Caribbean and Thailand.
12. Describe yourself in one word.
Fabulous.
13. If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?
Rachel Green, from Friends.
14. Who do you admire most in this world, and why?
My mom, she won Citizen of the Year this year for our township back home. She puts in long hours volunteering, baking cakes professionally, and of course being a mom. A mother’s job is never ending with 3 grown children and 4 beautiful grandchildren.
15. If you were invisible for one day, what would you do?
I would spend the day with the Kardashian’s.
16. What is your favourite quote or saying?
I love you to the moon and back.
17. Name something you are very good at, and something you are very bad at.
I’m very good at sewing. I’m very bad at knowing music artists. Geoff [her boyfriend, a DJ] will often say “Who sings this? You know every word!” and I’ll say “I have NO idea.”
18. If you won a million dollars, what would you do with it?
I would buy a huge house and a cottage somewhere on a lake.

Author: admin
• Monday, June 10th, 2013

Christopher Ward is quite an extraordinary whom I had the pleasure of interviewing this afternoon. Due to different schedules, I never got the opportunity to get to know Christopher before today. I was urged by multiple coworkers to choose him for my next blog profile- and rightly so.
Christopher has travelled to what seems like everywhere in this world. He is cultured, knowledgeable and an expert on endless subjects. A couple times during the interview we got off topic and I became completely memorized by his stories and experiences. He has been to so many diverse places in the world that he says it’s become impossible for him to think inside the box- those walls have been broken down.
When it comes to his role at the Lord Elgin Hotel, he is highly respected by both guests and colleagues. He has won more “Stars of the City” than anyone else in the hotel. He is great at his job because he genuinely loves people. Christopher goes above and beyond for our guests on a daily basis. He will even come in on his day off to show visitors around the city and has kept in touch with many of them over the years.
Overall, he is a remarkable asset to the Lord Elgin team with his kindness, fearlessness and “no regrets” attitude.
Thank you, Christopher, for the interview.

1. Where were you born and where did you grow up?
I was born in Brockville. I grew up in Crystal Rock, which is a junction of about 12 houses just south of Spencerville.
2. What is your favourite thing about your job at The Lord Elgin Hotel?
My favourite thing is interacting with international people and different cultures on a daily basis.
3. What is the most difficult situation you’ve been involved in while working here?
There was a difficult situation when I was approached by a guest who was not able to communicate in English. They spoke a language that we couldn’t find anyone who understood. They were distraught and clearly upset about something. I had been in their situation while travelling where I really needed to communicate with someone but couldn’t because of a language barrier, so it was frustrating not being able to help. Eventually, we did find someone who could translate. They just needed to get in touch with someone back home and didn’t know how to use our phone.
4. What is your favourite thing about Ottawa?
The multiculturalism, the greenness and the friendliness.

5. Where are the three most recent places you have travelled to? Which one did you enjoy the most?
I just came back from a month long tour through six countries in Southern Africa. The ones that stand out those most are South Africa, Malawi and Botswana. I enjoyed South Africa the most because I used to live there. It’s like finding an old, favourite pair of jeans after three years and having that comfortable fit and feel.
6. Where are three places you have never been but would love to go?
Nepal is one, Ethiopia and Uzbekistan. I like the off-the-wall stuff.
7. I hear you make fantastic biscotti, where did you learn to cook?
Through travelling I have tried so many different foods and I try to emulate them here. There’s a lot of trial and error, and I have very patient and understanding friends and family who are willing taste testers. I’ve also learned that anything with chocolate is never a failure.
8. I’ve also learned that you are a great photographer, what do you like to photograph the most?
I think I always try and find that “wow factor” photo. One that amazes even me when I see it afterwards. I am so lucky to be able to travel and see and experience cool places. I try to capture the essence and feeling of wherever I am to bring back [to Canada] and share that moment with others. I do it not only to show people, but to transport me back to that moment.
I don’t buy mugs or t-shirts anymore for souvenirs. My souvenirs are the memories of going through a local craft market. So, I try through one image, to capture the sights, smells and feelings of that moment. It allows for people to see part of the world that I’m seeing that they may not be familiar with. I try to be as creative as I can. The benefit of digital photography is there are no mistakes. I like to photograph the essence of where I am and create the “wow factor”.
9. What are three things you could not live without?
Music, chocolate and my passport.

10. What is your fondest memory from travelling abroad?
First thing that comes to mind is when I met a man who was carving a piece of art in Zanzibar. I sat and spoke with him for about half an hour. We had a dialog about how long it took him to make the piece and where he found inspiration. I’m sitting talking with this guy and I’m learning about his family, how his daily life is, and all while watching him carve this piece of art, which was sort of like a tree of life.
There were three pieces and I bought one of them. The biggest regret that I have is that I didn’t buy another one. At the time, I felt I didn’t have enough money. He was selling them for $25.00 which was nothing at the time, but to him it was a fair price. It took him two whole weeks to make and it was so beautiful. I have a hard time bargaining overseas. If it is something an artist puts his blood, sweat and tears into, to bargain would be to belittle his artistic creativity. I know bargaining is part of the culture in some countries, but I asked how long it took him to create and I used my consensus conscience as a guide and bargained to $24.00 and we were both happy. I felt that because I had watched him carve the tree of life, I was setting up a relationship, not just a buyer.
At the time I was working on a cruise ship and thought I would be back in 10 days. I told him I would return and buy another then. I realize now- Murphy’s Law- that when you have an opportunity, you seize it. We ended up having to sail by Zanzibar because of a storm. Of course, by the time I eventually got to go back, I couldn’t find him. Every time I returned I looked, but never found him. In a way the art is even more special now because I only have the one beautiful carving and because I was there with him while he was making it.
What is the scariest thing you have seen abroad?
I was once in a scary situation where I got in a taxi in St Petersburg, Russia- by myself and very late at night. I don’t speak Russian and so I had the bartender explain to the taxi driver where I was going.
When I took the taxi there, it was a left and a right and I was there in maybe five minutes. To get home, the taxi driver took a long detour and it took 25 minutes. I couldn’t communicate with him to say “What are you doing?” We were driving through a very rough part of town and it was really terrifying. I started to get giddy, but- maybe that was the vodka too… thinking I was being kidnapped! I was sitting in the back seat, and could only see the man’s eyes in the mirror watching me sweat. All I could hear in my mind was the little voice of my mother saying I should never get in a taxi, alone, late at night in a foreign country!
Finally, I started to recognize my surroundings. I later found out that in St Petersburg there are many bridges and locks that close during different hours. The bridge for the short route home had closed and that’s why we took the detour. By the time I got back I was shaking badly. I paid the cab driver, who was chuckling, as I’m sure he could sense my fear, the only $10.00 I had and felt very glad to be back in my destination!

11. Can you tell me about your years working on a cruise ship, what did you do and for how long?
I worked for Princess Cruises for four and a half years. I started as a Junior Assistant Purser on the Front Desk and then moved into the Shore Excursions department and worked up to Assistant Purser level. After Princess, I work as Shore Excursions Manager on a private ship for a year.
12. Describe yourself in one word.
Eclectic.
13. What is something that makes your angry?
Racism.
14. If you had the chance to go back in time one full day, where and when would you go?
I would go back in time to ancient Egypt to see how they really built the pyramids.
15. What is your guiltiest pleasure?
It would probably be to have a raspberry pie all to myself and not share.
16. What is something you are really good at and something you are really bad at?
I’d say something I’m good at is cooking. Something I’m bad at is effectively packing for a long trip.
17. If you could be any fictional character who would you be?

The invisible man.

18. What is your favourite quote or saying?

“I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world” By Mary Anne Radmacher – Hershey. I heard this saying once and it really stayed with me.