From British Columbia to Ottawa: Kelly-Anne Maddox becomes a Local Tourist

Kelly-Anne Maddox relocated to Ottawa from British Columbia in 2010 and is busy being a mom to her one-year old daughter.

Kelly-Anne Maddox

I’m not the sort of person who adapts well to change.

Major upheavals in my life have brought with them fear, trepidation, and a not-so-healthy dose of introspection. So when my husband announced to me last year that he had been transferred from British Columbia to Ottawa, it was with much kicking and screaming that I tagged along. I lamented the loss of my dear friends, my job, my house, my beloved mountains, and the bounty of Okanagan produce.

I had been to Ottawa as a tourist many times in the past, visited Parliament, strolled along the Canal, and wandered through the museums, and was well aware that I was moving to a beautiful city. But nonetheless, I was plagued by doubt as to how I would live my everyday life here: Would I get to know people? Would there be interesting hikes? Would I like the neighbourhood I had yet to see? And were the people of Ottawa interested in 100-mile food?

We arrived in Ottawa on September 1st, after a meandering ten day road trip. For the first couple weeks I sat at home, brooding, with a six month old and a dog for company. As I started to put a finger on my initial loneliness, I realized that I was in mourning for lost connections and companionship. With two choices in front of me – get out of the house or go mad – I decided I had to start building my own community in Ottawa.

As luck would have it, I found out about the Boomerang Kids Strollercise program around that same time, and before I knew it Baby and I were whiling away three mornings a week walking the Canal with other moms and chatting over coffee in the Glebe. We added Mom and Baby Fit classes at the Glebe Community Centre to our routine, and signed up for Hush-a-Bye Babies, a locally owned song and rhyme class. My family and I discovered our Quartier Vanier Farmers’ Market and, at the last market of the season, I won their gift basket – a delicious welcome to the neighbourhood! We expanded our radius of exploration and spent Sundays at the Lansdowne Farmers’ market, and weekend afternoons hiking in Gatineau Park. We found sustainable beef and heritage pork, and a nearby organic store where the shop owner now exchanges pleasant banter with us.

My original questions were all eventually answered with a resounding yes. I’ve made friends though the various programs I became involved in, gratefully embraced the heartpounding ascents of the Wolf trail, planted roots in our delightfully colourful neighbourhood, and unearthed a locavore presence that’s very much alive in my new city.

Thanks for the post Kelly-Anne! We hope to see more of you soon!

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