This year’s Forty Under 40 recipients give us 40 reasons (or more) to love downtown Ottawa

downtown Ottawa, public servants, civil servants

Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal, the restaurants, the walkability — there’s a lot to love about downtown Ottawa.

As leaders from both the private and public sectors work to revitalize Ottawa’s downtown, hard hit by the pandemic and the move to hybrid work, we asked some of this year’s Forty Under 40 recipients to tell us what they love about the downtown core. From iconic landmarks and historic architecture to delicious restaurants and a vibrant community, downtown Ottawa has plenty to offer, according to these young professionals. 

Here are their answers to the question: What do you like most about Ottawa’s downtown core?

OBJ360 (Sponsored)

Kate Agyemang, 39, Senior Associate, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Ottawa’s ability to feel like a small-town hidden gem while being home to so many locally owned businesses providing world-class services, products and expertise.

Jason Anbara, 38, CEO, NorthLend Financial Inc.

Its blend of historic charm and modern amenities. From iconic landmarks like Parliament Hill to vibrant neighbourhoods with diverse dining and entertainment options, Ottawa’s downtown offers a unique mix of culture, architecture and convenience. It’s a dynamic hub where you can experience the city’s rich history while enjoying its contemporary urban lifestyle.

Richard Beranek, 37, Managing Partner, Brash Inc.

The concentration of great restaurants, parks and Parliament Hill, all within walking easy walking distance.

Matthew Blostein, 34, Wealth Advisor, CIBC Wood Gundy

I have noticed in the last decade an increasing number of boutique restaurants and bars have been opened throughout the downtown core. It’s inspiring to see so many entrepreneurs work alongside the city’s best chefs and mixologists, taking risks and creatively testing new concepts.

Neel Chadha, 35, Physician / Entrepreneur, Lanark Lifestyles Ltd.

How walkable it is.

Laura Dionne, 39, Senior Director People and Culture, Ottawa Senators Hockey Club

Our great museums and walkability of the downtown core.

Fares Elsabbagh, 39, CEO, Ottawa General Contractors

Its simplicity.

Yasser Ghazi, 35, Director and Team Lead, Commercial Services, Meridian Credit Union

The diversity. Every walk of life and offering is available in one space.

Nicolas Gosselin, 39, CEO, Nomad Telecom

The capital city of Canada is amazing for its cultural richness and bilingual culture.

Geoff Howe, 39, District Manager, PCL Construction

As a child, I loved walking through the Market with my parents on weekends and having breakfast downtown. I found the core had a lot of warmth and a lot of great energy and that was a very positive experience for me. Today, the downtown core is different in complexion and energy, largely from the impacts of COVID. However, I really enjoy walking with my kids down Sparks Street and catching glimpses of Parliament and some of our national emblems along the way.

Heather Jeffery, 34, Founder, Designer, Re4m Design and Fabrication

I like the walking paths the most because I love nature! I have never experienced such a major city that has the abundance of nature paths right in the core.

Agatha Krajewski, 38, Director of Product, Shopify Inc.

After growing up in Ottawa, I left for university to Montreal and was excited to explore new cities. I’ve lived in Montreal, New York and even Heidelberg (Germany). Of all these places, Ottawa’s balance of a lively downtown core (with presence of some of the biggest companies in the world), while surrounded by nature make it the perfect city for active families and couples.

Breanne Lapointe, 39, Deputy Chief, Lanark County Paramedic Service

The Rideau Canal.

Bonnie Martell, 33, Senior Manager, Development, Colonnade BridgePort

The diversity in spaces and uses, from local retailers to year-round programming. Ottawa’s downtown core is an urban district that is beautifully situated along the Ottawa River and fosters the ability to live, work and play.

Chris McCluskey, 39, President, The McCluskey Group

The proximity to the Ottawa River and the kilometres of bike paths to explore.

Victoria McGlone, 39, CEO and Founder, Three Cliffs Inc.

Parliament Hill and the sights and colours of the Ottawa River.

Stacey McMillan, 38, Senior Manager, Client and Pursuits, Regions East, KPMG LLP

The incredible community of business leaders and organizations that make Ottawa a great place to live.

Karim Merani, 39, Owner, Carleton Place IDA Drugmart Inc.

I like its vibrant atmosphere and diverse array of offerings. The eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, cultural institutions and green spaces. The various events and initiatives hosted downtown that promote health, inclusivity and civic engagement.

JP Michel, 39, Founder and CEO, SparkPath Inc.

Proximity to Parliament, the locks and the Ottawa River.

Jacob Milosek, 39, Managing Partner, Hendry Warren LLP

Having grown up in a small town, for me Ottawa is the perfect mix of city and rural living, with something for everyone.

Michael Montone, 35, Founder and CEO, Firon Roofing

The cleanliness, historic landmarks, parliament, and being close to nature.

Patrick Moore, 39, Program Manager / Superintendent, 176026 Canada Inc. / Amor Construction

One of the things I like most about Ottawa’s downtown core is its blend of historic and modern architecture. Walking through the streets, you can see majestic buildings like Parliament Hill, the Château Laurier and the National Gallery of Canada and then seamlessly transition to bustling urban areas filled with trendy shops, restaurants and cafes. The downtown core also boasts picturesque parks and green spaces, providing a welcome retreat amid the city’s hustle and bustle. This mix creates a unique atmosphere where you can experience the city’s rich history while also enjoying modern amenities and cultural offerings. Additionally, it is very walkable, making it easy to explore the various shops, restaurants and attractions that line the streets.

Jonathan Murray, 37, CEO, Heartee Foods

The restaurants of course!

Lisa Paul, 37, Director of Community Programs, St. John Ambulance National Office

The vibrant and colourful energy! The people, art, gardens and parks bring Ottawa’s downtown alive in a way that is refreshing!

Magnolia Perron, 29, Indigenous Women and Youth Program Manager, National Aboriginal Capital Corp. Assoc.

It’s a vibrant hub where people from all walks of life come together and you can find a wide variety of shops, cafes and cultural experiences that represent the best of the city.

Wendy Ramsey, 39, Owner / General Manager, Pirate Cove Marina / RBK Distribution Inc.

The Rideau Canal.

Jeremy Reeds, 37, President, Windmill Development Group Ltd.

Ottawa’s downtown is easily accessible by bike and closely connected to nature, whether it is a walk along the canal or a bike ride out to Gatineau park after work.

Alexandre Rizk, 32, CEO and Vice-President, Groupe Loyal

The culture it has to offer.

Eric Saumure, 35, Principal, Zenbooks

The restaurants! Such variety and underappreciated restaurant scene in Ottawa!

Conal Slobodin, 36, Senior Manager, Public Affairs, Walmart Canada

The historic sites and natural beauty.

Kyle Smendziuk, 34, CEO, Founder, WebMarketers Inc.

The parkway/trails from the west into the downtown area and beyond. Getting out for fresh air always sparks innovation and great conversations.

Red Thaddeus D. Miguel, 35, Vice-President and Chief Technical Officer, Thera-Business Inc.

I most appreciate the vibrant community and rich history of Ottawa’s downtown core.

Branavan Tharmarajah, 34, Head of Sales, Growcer

The mix of tourism attractions, green space, and stunning views.

Megan Van Rijt, 39, Director of Sales and Design, Deslaurier Custom Cabinets

The various summer music festivals.

Tiffani Westerman, 39, CEO, WCS North America

The beautiful landscape of Parliament and the eclectic local cuisine.

Jordi Wills, 39, President, Wills Transfer Ltd.

Downtown Ottawa is cozy and I love eating on the patios on Spark Street.

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