People of Ottawa – Fall 2015 Edition

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We had a long and warm fall season and we all made the most of it, hanging out outside. Then we switched to winter time, and now the sunset is early and the nights are cold.

After our trip to France last summer, it was hard for me to get used to the quietness of Ottawa. Except for the downtown core and the Byward Market at the height of the tourist season, most streets are deserted here. People drive, they don’t walk around. Stubbornly, I walk everywhere as if I was still in Europe. But I’m not. Most of the time, I only see squirrels, rabbits and the occasional cat in the street. The other day, I chatted with the mailman, a new guy who told me he felt lonely on his route because he never got to see anyone. I understand the feeling. I appreciate nature and empty spaces but I like crowded streets better. And we aren’t even in far-away suburbia, our neighborhood is actually lively by Canadian standards!

So whenever I need to see people, I just head downtown. And some days, I have my camera with me.

Here are a few candid shots of People of Ottawa.

You can see the complete set of People of Ottawa on Flickr.

Taking a break outside the Rideau Centre

Taking a break outside the Rideau Centre

Crossing on Rideau Street

Crossing on Rideau Street

Waiting

Waiting

Calling

Calling

Gone shopping

Gone shopping

Resting at the Rideau Centre

Resting at the Rideau Centre

Shoppers at the Rideau Centre

Shoppers at the Rideau Centre

On-the-go Tim Hortons Coffee

On-the-go Tim Hortons Coffee

Smoke break in front of the pharmacy

Smoke break in front of the pharmacy

Gonna wait for a while...

Gonna wait for a while…

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

12 Comments

  1. So weird for people to be dressed like this in November! Apparently it will break this weekend though. I have just walked the dog and even tonight it is so warm!

    • Tiens, c’est marrant… c’est vrai en plus! Rigolo. En fait, explication rationnelle, je crois que beaucoup de femmes en journée (les photos ont été prises en semaine, la magie de l’emploi du temps flexible de la pigiste!) sont accompagnées d’enfants, et pour plein de raisons, j’évite de prendre des photos sur le vif des enfants (droit à l’image, tout ça…).

      • Yeah 🙂 absolutely I am, and I am quite happy about it…Hey you know what I remember when you clicked that first photo, Shikha and I had just met you, we all were talking and then I saw it; you, swiftly took out your camera, focused, I looked in the direction your camera was pointing, I saw this guy, I looked back, the camera was back in the bag 🙂 I was like ‘wow! she is quick’

  2. Just my theory but I think the combination of weather and bad public transportation system pushes people to use cars and keeps them off the streets a lot of the time. Ottawa is not generally known for its friendliness either. People here tend to keep to themselves and are quite busy, which just further cultivates social isolation. I think people who can’t stand being that introverted end up moving away eventually, and by natural selection we end up more and more introverted.

    I always get comments from people at how aloof people are (or nastier comments) and how fast life is here, but it’s not even that fast compared to some other Canadian cities. Having lived here most of my life I’m used to it, and I do keep to myself and find it strange when strangers want to chit chat about nothing – cultural conditioning! …but I also can see why it wouldn’t be for everyone, and why someone who didn’t grow up that way would be lonely. I’ve met numerous immigrants from around the world who have had difficulty with understanding just HOW introverted we can be. Memorable encounters were an older Italian man, a Jamaican woman, and an African woman, who were all distressed that no one had time to talk and people were always working.

    If you want lots of crowded streets and people, downtown Toronto mid-summer would be right up your alley.

    • You are spot on. And I do love Toronto for the “busy streets” feel, especially in Chinatown or Kensington. I find people here very friendly and easy to chat too, even if this is just small talk. What I truly miss is the feeling of being part of a crowd… because there aren’t any crowd here, expect during rush hour I guess but everybody is his car. French are not very friendly to random strangers either, much less than Canadians. But I like it when everybody is in the street, going shopping, going to work, going places. It makes me feel like I’m part of something. I miss that feeling in Canada.

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