My Ottawa Life: Calian boss Kevin Ford hits all the right notes as a community builder

Kevin Ford, president and CEO of Calian, performs at the Rainbow Bistro on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, as part of the Hip Heals concert benefit for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, held in memory of Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie. Photo by Matt Stewart
Editor's Note

My Ottawa Life is an occasional column where we ask local business personalities about their life in the nation’s capital and what they like most about the city.

Whether it’s being a driving force in saving the iconic Rainbow Bistro, raising money for local charities or leading one of Ottawa’s most valuable publicly traded companies, Kevin Ford is always trying to make the National Capital Region a better place to live, work and play.

The chief executive of Kanata-based Calian Group is among the most recognizable faces in the capital’s business community, not to mention one of the city’s most passionate boosters. 

In the latest instalment of OBJ’s My Ottawa Life, Ford talks about where he finds “the heartbeat of the city,” the community builder he admires most and why he thinks the nation’s capital “has it all” when it comes to being a great place to call home.

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What area of the city/region do you live in?


What type of home do you have (condo, house, etc.)?


What type of pet do you have?


What type of car do you drive?

Hyundai Genesis GV70

What’s your favourite part of town?

The ByWard Market – I still view it as the heartbeat of the city.

What is your favourite place to eat in Ottawa?

There are many choices. My favourite at this time would be Cabotto’s in Stittsville.

What is your favourite activity in Ottawa?

I love walking around the ByWard market and downtown area.

What’s your hobby?

Playing the guitar.

What’s your favourite local charity or cause?

Many! Health care is so important, so the Ottawa Hospital, Royal Ottawa, the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation and CHEO are among the big ones.

What’s your favourite festival?


What’s your favourite local sports team?

Ottawa Senators

What’s your favourite retailer in Ottawa?

Mmmm. I’m not sure if I have a favourite retailer (I’m not a shopper per se!).

What type of music do you listen to?

All genres – blues, progressive rock, classic rock.

What’s your favourite live music venue?

The Rainbow Bistro

Where do you get your hair cut?

Haha = I wish – bald is beautiful. 🙂

What Ottawa personality, past or present, do you admire?

Terry Matthews. He is truly a company and community builder.

If you took a staycation in Ottawa, what would you do?

Rent a condo downtown and enjoy all the sites, museums, restaurants, etc.

What’s your favourite business event or conference in Ottawa?

I love the Best Ottawa Business Awards.

What’s your favourite meeting or convention venue?

The Shaw Centre. You can’t beat the views from the third and fourth floors.

What’s your favourite thing to do in Ottawa to pamper yourself?

Enjoy a nice restaurant meal with my darling spouse.

What’s your favourite thing about Ottawa?

It has it all – entertainment, green space, good job opportunities and it’s relatively safe.

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