Rediscovering Ottawa: At last, Mike Cullen becomes an urbanite

Photo credit: Christiane Michaud (via Flickr)

Mike Cullen is a young public servant who is also a regular contributor to (Cult)ure Magazine as a music editorialist. His passions include music, coffee, writing, travel and comic books.

I recently moved downtown for the first time in my life.

That’s right, I left behind the life of a suburban young professional for the glitz, glamour and excitement of downtown Ottawa. Okay, so it is not really glitzy, I am hardly glamourous, and the word ‘excitement’ is rarely used to describe Ottawa. That said, this has turned out to be one of the best decisions of my adult life (second only to my decision to make a two week holiday to London, England three years ago for the dual purposes of buying clothes and finally seeing Kylie Minogue in concert).

In the short time that I have lived in Centretown, I have come to realize just how much of a walking city Ottawa can be. I am now twenty minutes from work, about ten minutes from the grocery store, and I have about half a dozen friends all within a two kilometer radius of my new apartment. I am accessible to more restaurants than I could possibly ever visit, plus a bunch of great cafes, bars and clubs. I am a also only short walk away from the Museum of Nature.

Then there are the walks just around the neighbourhood: homes nestled between apartment buildings and office buildings, and for a more scenic, natural look, the Rideau Canal is only a hop, skip and a jump away.

I have quickly adjusted to the urban noise, probably more in part because my last two partners both lived downtown, but also because after you learn to block out the more obnoxious noises of downtown (horns, screaming drunken people), the hum of the downtown core actually ends up being rather soothing, and you find yourself listening to it when you want, and ignoring it when you do not need it.

I have come to realize that for a city I have resisted to love for nearly fifteen years, this city actually has a lot of charm. The real kicker; you do not have to go far, or search deep to find that charm.

Ottawa, I think our relationship may be improving, and I may just end up falling in love with you after all.

Welcome downtown Mike!