Ottawa, Canada
Beccy, 25
Visual & Experience Designer
see her Ottawa city guide

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What do you do and why do you do it?

I'm a strategist and user experience designer, with a past in branding and visual design. I love what I do because it's not just making things look nice - it's finding the solution that users actually want. It's a blend of common sense, design, psychology, and business, and technology.

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

Jungle's self-named debut album. It brings me back to driving around Cleveland with the windows down, dancing in the kitchen, hearing their songs while travelling... all the times I feel most alive.

Name some spots in Ottawa that are good for a Tinder date.

One of my strangest yet most enjoyable Tinder dates was Escape Manor on Queen Street. You learn a lot about someone when you're trying to escape from a locked room together.

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

I find a lot of my favourite clothes on my travels, actually! I find it more meaningful to be reminded of my trip by something I wear daily than a typical souvenir. Otherwise, I love the top floor of Simon's - they have great deals if you go at the right time.

What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

The outer 'burbs.

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

I love to bike around the canal on my 90's Giant road bike, as fast as I can go! Same in the winter - ice skating as far and as fast as possible.

What’s the most decadent / extreme dish you ever ate in Ottawa and where did you get it?

That would hands down be the Cabane à Sucre Au Pied De Cochon near Montreal during maple syrup season. Think 7 courses of elaborately presented seasonal Quebecois dishes with foie gras, maple butter, pork, and pastry - and enough leftovers to fill 3 takeout containers each. The reservation process is quite involved but it's an experience like no other and is a hilariously extreme intro to French-Canadian cuisine.

What’s the most expensive restaurant / spa / hotel you’ve ever been to in Ottawa? How much did it cost and what did you get there?

Spa Nordik is a splurge with a $68 entrance fee, with robe rentals extra, and plenty of treatments, massages, food, and drinks to spend all your money on. I just do the entrance fee plus a drink or 2 to enjoy in the panorama pool - there's a lot of value included already.

What restaurant in Ottawa looks crap, but the food’s amazing?

Rice Pea on Carling Avenue. If you can read the peeling sign from the busy road and don't mind fingerprints on your glass, this is an incredibly good Northern Chinese spot.

Where can you get the best cocktail in Ottawa? Which one do you like?

Clear Blue Skies at Union 613 is my usual. It's off-menu but they'll know what you mean. Most foodie restaurants have fantastic cocktail menus: El Camino, Fauna, Citizen, Common, North and Navy, Fairouz... we're spoilt for choice.

Where would you take your partner in Ottawa if you wanted to really pamper them?

We'd start the day with brunch at Edgar before going to Spa Nordik for a few hours. Then we'd go to Bar Lupulus for a meal, and end up at Union for late-night drinks.

Which snacks can you only get in your country, and which ones do you recommend?

If you want to try poutine remember: the better the design, the worse the poutine. You're looking for an unpainted chip wagon with a lineup, a roadside truck stop in Quebec, or the most humble stand at one of our many poutine festivals. Other than that, try the international dishes we take very seriously: pho and shawarma.

What’s the one place you think is overrated in Ottawa?

The Byward Market! It's filled with tourists in the summer but there really isn't a lot to do, making it feel highly-strung and a little stressful. The city has tried to smooth it out by installing planters, chairs, kiddie-trains, giant connect-4 games, and a big Ottawa sign (famously reading Awatto) but it just comes off as tacky and surface-level.

What’s the one place you think is underrated in Ottawa?

Gatineau-Hull, which is our sister city across the border in Quebec and within walking distance of downtown. Most Ottawans never go because it has a reputation for being the place to drink for 18-year-olds (the legal age is 1 year lower than Ontario). In my opinion it has Ottawa beat for beer, food, drink, art, festivals, nature, general vibe... the list goes on and I should probably move there.

Tomorrow’s your last day in Ottawa. How do you spend it?

A picnic with my friends by the river on the Gatineau side. Then we'd go for dinner at Clandestin and a slow walk back through the city at night, ending with a night cap on the Union patio.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

I love Lisbon for its friendly people, walkability, and visible history. Unlike many city destinations, it's not so overrun by tourism that you can't see lives being lived.

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Zara Ansar