My Ottawa Life: Susan Odle is in tune with nature and with music in the nation’s capital

Susan Odle (centre) performs at Irene's Pub. (Supplied)
Susan Odle (centre) performs at Irene's Pub. (Supplied)

As a city with a million residents, Ottawa is the perfect place to find the right balance between small-town community and big-city living. That’s according to Susan Odle, the founder and CEO of 8020CS, a local company that teaches businesses how to grow and change. 

In this instalment of OBJ’s My Ottawa Life series, Odle reveals her favourite spot to grab a bite, her love for all things music, and the local artist she thinks deserves more recognition.

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

Nepean. Inside the Greenbelt; a short walk to NCC land.

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

A Campeau house. I’ve owned four over the years, so I’m giving a shout-out to the best-built older homes in the city.  

What type of pet do you have? 

We had a dog, cat and gecko. Our dog passed away a few months ago; I will admit that I’m enjoying the freedom of not having the responsibilities of a dog at this time. 

What type of car do you drive? 

Toyota Highlander AWD. Even though it is a very long SUV, it turns on a dime, is super reliable, and comfy for long road trips.

What’s your favourite part of town? 

I can’t pick one. So I won’t. In the city, it’s a tie between Wellington West/Hintonburg/Chinatown and Ottawa South/Glebe. Between those two, you’ve got just about every experience covered. 

What is your favourite place to eat in Ottawa? 

Bar Lupulus. They have the best service in the city, the staff is so engaged with each other and their patrons, and their menu and presentation are so thoughtful and ever-changing. 

What is your favourite activity in Ottawa? 

Spending time with friends. The “what” is secondary. 

What’s your favourite hobby? 

Music. Writing, playing and singing have been a constant and always will be. I released my last music project in 2017, I’m due, stay tuned.

What’s your favourite local charity or cause? 

The Ottawa Humane Society. I’ve been a monthly donor for years. Animals are helpless in our care. Too many people take on a pet for fun and then fail to step up to their pet’s day-to-day and emotional needs. The OHS takes on so much of the dark side of how easy it is for people to have animals.

Who’s your favourite live music artist in Ottawa? 

Lynn Miles. It blows my mind that she is less well-known than Jann Arden or Blue Rodeo. To me, she is Canada’s Patty Griffin in terms of songwriting, vocals, stage presence and catalogue. She is so funny as well. If you haven’t seen her live, you must. 

What’s your favourite retailer in Ottawa? 

I am not a shopper. Also, malls are miniature contained versions of hell. When I need something, I know where to go and get in and out as fast as I can. 

What’s your favourite live music or entertainment venue? 

For a fun night of live music and excellent pub food where you don’t have to stay quiet, Irene’s Pub. For a night of enjoying live music in a beautiful space with the best sound in the city and an audience that wants to listen to the music, Red Bird Live. As a singer-songwriter who’s played there, the sound is by far the best in the city, on stage and in the room.

What type of music do you listen to? 

All music. I started playing classical piano as a kid through the Royal Conservatory. My parents would play country music, church songs and a wide variety of adult contemporary music. I was born in England, my family from Guyana and I grew up in the GTA, so I don’t think you can live on two continents, be influenced by three, and go from the ‘70s through the 2000s and not have a broad appreciation for musical genres.

Where do you get your hair cut? 

Studio 198. 

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

A hotel stay within walking distance of a good selection of restaurants, live music, a pool hall, and nature walks. That is doable in this city!

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

Invest Ottawa’s International Women’s Month. Every year, the depth of this event grows. Special shout out to Sonya Shorey, interim president and CEO of Invest Ottawa, for her long-term commitment to this month-long business event. It is making a difference, and it is just a great event from a networking, collaboration and learning perspective. 

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

I’m a foodie. So, a night out enjoying good food is the way I pamper myself more than anything else. We have many good restaurants here. It’s been a long time coming. 

What’s your favourite season to spend in Ottawa? 

It’s a tie for early spring and fall. The two times of the year when the mosquitoes are not ravenous and I spend most of my time outside. I love nature, so to see wildlife celebrating the end of winter and preparing for the coming cold is special and vital in balancing the stressors of our lives. It reminds me of how precious time is and to be present for all of it. 

What’s your favourite thing about Ottawa?

Two things. The balance between a big city and a small city lifestyle. In a city of one million people, there is a good chance you’ll bump into someone you know. The way nature runs through this town is a gift. If you’ve grown up here, you may not realize how amazing this is. It’s not the norm. We are very lucky. 

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