Friday, September 17, 2010

Tenth Annual TOP 50 People in the Capital

Top Fifty



On January 2001, OLM published its first Top People of the Capital Issue. Over the past decade, OLM has compiled a selection of the best and brightest honourees from all corners of the City. Choosing the TOP 50 is always a challenge — the National Capital Region is rich with likely candidates. Each year, our goal is to produce a list of individuals that is as thought provoking as it is diverse. Our TOP 50 reflects only a small swath of the citizens who lead and inspire the community. While honourees differ greatly in vocation and social circumstance, they share a commonality of making Canada’s capital city a better place… some of our selections are simply inspirational. We sift though all nominations and determine collectively who should be included. While we have a numbered list of TOP 10, the rest are considered first among equals, a rule that we maintain each year.

This year Gentleman Jim Watson earns the top spot. Kim Lochhead’s cover story profiles Jim’s long history of outstanding achievements in Ottawa and his 'back to the future' race to become Ottawa’ next mayor. Ellen Treciokas, the widely successful designer of the Pop Life show at the National Gallery of Canada, is our second selection for helping to highlight the creativity of the Capital. Authors, actors, builders, restaurateurs, educators and community leaders form this year’s list. Again, all are just a sampling of the amazing people who make Ottawa a wonderful place, This year’s list is as intriguing and inescapably contentious as in years past. OLM is excited to celebrate our 10th Anniversary of the TOP 50 — a meritorious medley of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. We salute our TOP 50 picks and thank them for contributing to the fabric of our great city.



OneJim Watson


Jim 1It’s over 44˚C on a Thursday evening in Orleans and while most escape the extreme humidity by remaining inside, leaving yard work undone, many venture out of their air-conditioned homes to shake the hand of Jim Watson. As his sweatdrenched team stuffs mailboxes with brochures, the mayoral candidate wipes his own brow, ensures his canvassers are feeling fine and takes a swig of water before greeting an eager resident. His team continues walking the winding course of the suburban neighbourhood.

“I met Jim at the Relay for Life event in Nepean and I’m fairly new to Ottawa” said Chris Dore, a volunteer with the campaign. “I decided to help out because he’s a genuine guy and that’s what I really like about him. I look at others running and I don’t get that sense from them. In terms of consensus and getting things done, I think he’s the better guy for it because of his years in politics and he did a great job being mayor before. It’s a no-brainer to me.”

While the former provincial cabinet minister and MPP for Ottawa West-Nepean is very well known and instantly recognizable from his extensive political career, he approaches each doorstep with a humble attitude, extending his hand and explaining why he is running in the mayors race. To him, the role of a mayor is to be the facilitator and chief in getting business, labour, community groups and Council all working together.

“I have a philosophy of helping people. When I was mayor I had a sign put above my office door that said ‘how many people have we helped today?’ and it was a gentle reminder that we are in the helping business,” explained Watson. “People come to you as a politician because they need help – sometimes as a first resort they have no idea where to go, or often as a last result because they have gone through the bureaucratic process and run into a brick wall, desperate for help.”

Ottawa is indeed crying for help. However, instead of pointing fingers for the mess the city is in, Watson said his plan of getting things back involves simple cooperation:

“We haven’t had a great cooperative relationship between the mayor and other levels of government. In order to get anything done, you need to cooperate, compromise and develop a consensus. One of my strengths is that I’m a consensus builder by nature. I recognize not everyone is going to agree with what I will say and vice versa. You need someone who will put a little water in their wine and work well with others.”

This doesn’t mean he intends on diluting the issues, instead, he calls himself the “Buckley’s Medicine of Politics,” being upfront and willing to reveal the truth of a situation. “People need to know the reality.” For example, when it comes to taxes, there are some politicians that like the expression ‘do more with less’ but that just defies logic. Sometimes you can trim around the edges but if you want more, you have to pay more. It’s not a defeatist attitude; it’s a realistic one,” said Watson.

In 1997, he was elected as Ottawa’s mayor. His term saw a debt reduction, an increase in city reserves and a twoyear tax freeze. Halfway through his term, the government approved legislation to amalgamate Ottawa. Watson’s last year in office was taken over by the transition board, a group responsible for converting eleven cities into one. With a different mandate, the city was unable to begin new and large-scale projects. If fortunate to be elected, this go around Watson said he would be able to implement long-term plans including those for Lansdowne, light rail and cleaning up the Ottawa River.


Early Years

Jim 2Watson spent his childhood in Lachute, QC, a small town with a 80 per cent French-speaking population. His mother was a French teacher and his father was a chemical engineer. “My parents worked really hard for everything they had and instilled that sense of civic responsibility in both my sister and I at an early age when we did fundraisers for our church and school,” he said.

Perhaps it is this upbringing that led Watson toward political career that is motivated by a desire to help others. Jim has used his profile for charitable works. In fact, 2002, he was named honourary chair of the United Way campaign.

“They asked me to be chair not because I’m an expert in fundraising, but because they thought my profile would attract good people to help fundraise for good causes. It’s important because it keeps you grounded as a politician. I’ve seen too many people who have become captive of the trappings of the office.

Watson has always kept his feet on the ground. During his time as mayor, he would serve lunch at the Shepherds of Good Hope. “At the soup kitchen, you’re brought down to the reality of what our fellow citizens face just to get a meal, to find a place to live, to survive.

The teenager years for Watson were somewhat nomadic. He attended five high schools in four years. “I could never establish any roots, but looking back on it, I think it made me a better rounded person,” he said. “I grew up in a small town but have lived in three of the largest cities in the country. I think I can relate well to the challenges Ottawa faces because it’s a series of small towns that make up a big city.”


Political Optimism

Watson credits his parents for his values and his“feet on the ground” approach to politics.“ Most people get into politics for all the right reasons, not to get rich or powerful but to do good. Along the way some of them lose sight of this.” he said.

The next candidate to take the reigns of City Hall will need this sort of reasoning to support Ottawa’s revitalization (as well as patience and strong leadership abilities).

It is the art of the possible that in part drives Watson. As Minister of Health Promotion, he enacted a huge change that will affect generations to come by implementing the Smoke Free Ontario Act, a ban on smoking in public places. “As a result, lives will be saved, whether it’s the waitress or bar tender who had to inhale second-hand smoke or whether it encourages more young people not to smoke – it had a profound impact on people’s behaviour,” Watson added.

While Waston is an optimist, he is also a realist. As Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Watson witnessed the improvement of many municipalities across the province. He oversaw 444 of them and understands the struggles and challenges that they face.

“One of the reasons why I decided to run provincially back in 2003 was because I was becoming frustrated with what was happening with cities. They were being told to do more and more yet were given fewer resources. The opposite of what should be happening,” he explained. “More pressure was put on the property taxpayer and as a result, finances at the municipal level were at a crisis state.”

Ontario was the only province in Canada that still forced property taxpayers to also cover the cost of welfare and social services. As Minister of Municipal Affairs, Watson created a ten-year plan to make Ontario’s cities more sustainable by uploading costs from the municipal level to the provincial level. So far, the disability support program and drug plan costs have been uploaded and soon welfare and court security costs will follow, saving cities a collective $1.5 billion. Ottawa’s chunk accounts for $121 million.

He is also aware of people’s views regarding experienced politicians. “Some people look down on them but I think they are a good counterbalance to experienced public servants,” Watson notes. “You have that ying and yang between the public servant who is always there and the politicians who come and go with elections. If you have a never-ending revolving door of politicians who come in for a term or two and leave, I think it puts too much power in the hands of the bureaucracy – that’s not helpful in a democratic system. Conversely, you don’t want people who have been around for 30 years, you want revitalization as well.”


Jim 3The Case for Ottawa

Bringing back credibility, reliability and sustainability to Ottawa will prove to be a significant challenge, particularly given the public’s cynicism towards Council.

“More and more people have come to realize the “Zero means Zero” slogan was just that — a slogan with no plan attached to it. Taxes have gone up 14 per cent and bus fares have gone up more than that. A lot of people are disillusioned,” said Watson.

In his campaign speeches, Watson has outlined a tax plan he believes to be both sensible and implementable, setting the bar at 2.5 per cent.

“I’d like to see it go lower and we may be able to do that, but I don’t want to hoodwink the public and tell them something they want to hear, I’d rather be upfront and honest.There are costs that do increase on an annual basis whether its gas for the buses or road salt for the snowplows,” he added.

As part of the revitalization of the city, Watson said we need to do a better job of attracting business, to create jobs and incentives for young people to stay and move here.

“We’ve put a lot of our eggs in the government’s job basket and unfortunately, at some point, there will be a slow down in jobs created because they have a significant deficit. We’ve been generally protected in this past recession but I think it’s somewhat of a false hope. The government will always be the largest employer because we are the capital but we have to be on the lookout that the government is not moving jobs out of the country.”

Economic development is stalling and a more aggressive attitude is required to compete with other bigger cities for business opportunities.

“I think one of the jobs as mayor is to be the salesperson and chief, to go out there, find out what is going on in the world in terms of who is investing and looking to open an business, get on the phone or on a plane and start courting that person to think of Ottawa,” said Watson. (Watson should know, from 2000 to 2003, he served as the president of the Canadian Tourism Commission) As we head towards celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation Watson says, “Ottawa should own that year. Every major event of the country should be taking place here in 2017, whether it’s the Juno Awards, NHL Grey Cup or All Star Game”.

“I always admired Jean Pigott, a former MP and Chair of the NCC for her philosophy that Ottawa should always be every Canadian’s second hometown,” said Watson. “It’s more than a cliché — it’s really something we should all strive for.”

We at Ottawa Life admire Jim Watson and believe that revitalizing Ottawa begins with a new style of leadership from a former Mayor. Let's get Back to the Future.

TwoEllen Treciokas



EllenThe woman behind the National Gallery of Canada’s exhibition design proves the capital is a booming creative hub.

Self-proclaimed ‘arts addict’ Ellen Treciokas, a senior designer at the National Gallery, takes art very seriously. With the Gallery for over 20 years, she has designed nearly 100 exhibitions. (Her latest is the famed Pop Life show, an exhibition that originated at the Tate Modern in London and the National Gallery of Canada is its only North American stop.)

Her love of art began early on. She studied visual arts at Canterbury High School and went on to earn a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from Queen’s and a Master’s in Architecture at Carleton. On top of that? She is an artist herself. All in all, she gets art.

Over the years, the nature of her work has changed somewhat, particularly given the rise of the internet. These days, if you want to see Picasso, Renoir or Tom Thomson, you just need to Google them instead of heading to a gallery. But Treciokas explains that while virtual art experiences are seductive and the internet delivers endless information, there is nothing quite like standing squarely in front of a work of art. It is timeless and powerful.

“I’m not a luddite, because I use a computer every day for graphic design and architectural design purposes. I am also excited about the creative potential of internet and social media as a catalyst for art-making and for research, as much of our wonderful collection can be viewed online. I just believe in the joy and impact of real art experiences”.

“The viewer can become more visually connected to the art work through seeing the actual detail of a brushstroke than on the Internet,” said Treciokas. “It’s comparable to having a phone conversation or meeting someone in real life. She says there are so many nuances and unexpected aspects of art that you don’t get with an online experience, like being able to get up close or to see the patina on an older work.

“As a mediator, I’m one of those people who flies below the radar. We’re looking at ways to better engage our visitors and we are continually working towards that goal. It’s hard to compete in this visual world, but I think the message that needs to be sent out to Canadians is to come and visit the gallery and see everything first-hand, after all it’s here for everyone to enjoy. Our exhibitions and collections are truly first class and world class. Through design, I want to excite people – it’s about pleasure and spending time to enjoy the artwork here,” said Treciokas. Renoir’s Portraits, Picasso, Van Gogh's Irises and the Renaissance in Florence, are just a few of the renowned exhibitions that she has designed.

Once assigned to a show, the creative process is ignited as Treciokas collaborates primarily with the exhibition curator and the education, communications and technical services departments “to distill all of their ideas into design proposals,” she said. There are enthusiastic people involved from different areas of the gallery always working toward the best result. The core team begins by working around a scaled model to lay out the exhibition to create themes, groupings and see how it can best fit in the gallery’s spaces. For larger shows, this sometimes involves architectural renovations. “We always take into account the viewer’s experience, how the show flows from one theme to another and how people discover the art as the exhibition unfolds,” said Treciokas.

The current show Pop Life required quite an installation, as anyone who visits can attest. “I think it’s wonderful that Pop Life is here. It’s an international scale exhibition and we’re fortunate that Ottawa is the only North American venue. To me, one of the main functions of art is to see the world from different perspectives and to push the envelope. By bringing these big shows here, it allows us to stretch as it’s allowed me to stretch as a designer,” said Treciokas. Focusing on historical artworks is just as important as bringing contemporary pieces to the Gallery, she added. Merging the two agendas, in addition to presenting both uniquely Canadian and international artists is our mandate. Despite criticism of Ottawa’s lacklustre appeal as an art destination, Treciokas says the capital does have an edge on other metropolitan centres.

“Larger cities by their nature attract more people – Ottawa is largely populated but may have more difficulty competing with larger centers for visitors. I think people will make the trip to come see major shows. Ottawa is a jewel in Canada’s crown and you can trace all of our history in one destination. It is easy to get around and is very accessible. There are many local art galleries and to explore. “It’s important to fund and support the art and determination, perseverance and finding alternate ways to get it out there are just as important,” said Treciokas.

“Art has the power to bring us together, transport us to other cultures, to take us back in time, and to see inside other people’s imaginations – it’s amazing. I wish more people would see that and come experience the real thing which can never be replaced by a virtual view. Seeing the object beautifully presented and in the context of an exhibition can be a truly transformative experience.’


ThreeJohn Jarvis


JohnJarvis came to Ottawa in 1998 and embraced the challenge of directing the largest hotel in the Capital and we’re awfully glad he did. On top of overseeing recent major renos at the Westin Ottawa, he is an active member of the community. Not only is he the Chair of the Algonquin College Advisory Committee for the Hotel and Restaurant Program, but he is a Member of the Ottawa Congress Centre Chairman’s Council for the OCC expansion, Co-Chair of the Christmas Cheer Foundation and he recently joined the Ottawa Food Bank Board of Directors. He is also past Vice-Chair of the Board of Ottawa Tourism, past President of the OGHA (Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association) as well as previous Member of the Convention Committee. In addition, John has also been involved as a Board Member of The Christmas Exchange and the Canadian Diabetes Foundation. One of his most honoured achievements was receiving the United Way Community Builders Recognition in 2006 and what a community builder he is.


FourNazira Naz Tareen


NazWhen it comes to volunteering and promoting better understanding among faiths, there is nobody like Nazira Tareen. Tareen was a founder and past president of the Ottawa Muslim Women’s Organization which was established soon after 9/11. She got together with about 50 other women of various multicultural and multifaith backgrounds to form the organization. She has been tireless in her efforts to establish mutual respect, acceptance and a better understanding of all cultures, traditions and religions through various events. She was a recipient of the YMCA/ YWCA Women of Distinction Award for 2000 for Community Volunteer. Over the years, she served three terms as the President of the Ottawa Muslim Women’s Auxiliary. Since 1977 Nazira has been teaching about Islam to hundreds of high school students and helping new immigrant families. On average, she addresses about 3000 Grade 11 students per year from the Roman Catholic Secondary Schools who are enrolled the five great religions of the world course.


FiveNational Chief Shawn A-in-Chut Atleo


It’s only been a year since National Chief Atleo was elected to a three-year mandate as National Chief to the Assembly of First Nations and he has been making his mark. Recently,he served as Honorary Chairperson of the August 2010 National Conference of the Institute for Public Administration of Canada. He served two terms as Regional Chief of the British Columbia AFN, overseeing in March 2005, the signing of an historic Leadership Accord, overcoming decades of discord among First Nations leadership in BC. Chief Atleo graduated in 2003 with a Masters of Education in Adult Learning and Global Change from the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. In 2008, Chief Atleo’s commitment to education was recognized in his appointment as Chancellor of Vancouver Island University, becoming BC’s first indigenous Chancellor.


Betty Ann Lavallée

The National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples currently has two big passions: she is a tenacious advocate for employment for women in non-traditional roles and she is very protective of inherent rights for the off-reserve Aboriginal people. Her philosophy? “I believe in quiet diplomacy and working issues out in a non-confrontational manner. I do not believe that, in this day and age, issues cannot be resolved if both parties keep the lines of communication open. This takes time and patience and, in some cases, compromise – a skill that I believe most women acquire from a very early age.” Lavallée spent 17 years in the military, earning many kudos in the process. She retired from the military in 1996 to take on the job of Economic Development Officer for Wabanaki Enterprises Inc., an off-reserve Economic Development Corporation. She also served as the Chief of the New Brunswick Aboriginal Peoples Council for 13 years.




Cyril M. Leeder

A quiet, yet authoritative voice in our community, Leeder, president of the Ottawa Senators, is synonymous with hockey in the Capital. One of the founders of the Senators (which puts him in the hero category in anybody’s books), he is the man who brought the World Juniors to Ottawa and is working to bring the NHL’s All Star game to Ottawa. He is the force behind the Bell Capital Cup, the largest hockey tournament in the world and a top tourist draw to the city. Leeder is part of the 2017 Committee looking at ways to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in Ottawa and he was the driving force behind the bid to bring major league soccer to Ottawa and a new soccer-specific stadium to life as well. He is also part of the fundraising team to build a grand-scale monument to the Stanley Cup. On top of all that, he is a good family man and a community builder.


Rob Snow

Since taking over the drive home slot on 580 CFRA in 2004, Rob Snow has built his “Afternoon Edition” into one of the region's most popular and influential radio shows. A native of Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Snow studied at both Carleton University and Algonquin College before launching his broadcast career on CFMO-FM in Smiths Falls. Next stop was CHEZ-106FM where he honed his craft covering some of the biggest local stories in recent memory. Lured away to CHUM radio, Snow became one of the city’s top financial and technology reporters, as the creator and original host of CFRA's popular ”Business@Night”, still Ottawa’s only business and financial news radio program. Almost ten years and 10,000 interviews later, Snow continues to give his listeners a daily dose of debate and opinion that has turned into can’t-miss radio for Ottawa’s political junkies.



Grace Xin

Take a look down Somerset Street West near Bronson, and you will see some of the results of Grace’s leadership. The stunning Ottawa-Beijing twin-city project — the Chinatown Gateway — had been a dream for the community for many years. Led by the Somerset Street Chinatown Business Improvement Area (CBIA), and a dediated Gateway Committee, the dream has become a reality. Supported by a cast of financial supporters, Xin, (who has been the CBIA Executive Director since 2008) oversaw everything as the Gateway’s project manager. She came to Canada in 1999 to study at the University of Ottawa and graduated in 2002 with Master’s degree in Business Administration. From 2006-2008, she was the National Executive Director of the Hong Kong Canada Business Association (HKCBA) and was responsible for the operation of the regional bilateral trade organization with 8 sections across Canada.



James McCracken

A born leader from a humble background, James McCracken served as Director of Education for seven years with the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB). (He recently retired after a successful 34 year career in education.) The Board flourished under his leadership with continual improvement in student success, staff development, and stewardship of resources. During his tenure as director, the board achieved a balanced budget. Earlier this year, he was presented with a letter from Mayor Larry O'Brien proclaiming May 20, 2010 as official James G. McCracken Day in the City of Ottawa. (He has also received a number of other awards for his contributions, such as the Civic Award for Humanitarianism.) Among his other activities, McCracken led the OCSB’s United Way Campaign, serving on the United Way Campaign Cabinet – Education Sector and as Campaign Chair in 2009. He also sits on the Board of Directors for the Shepherds of Good Hope and is Chairperson of Success by Six, a program to introduce literacy and learning to youth.



Robert Gillett

President and Chief Executive Officer of Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology Gillett has been a face of education in Ontario for over forty years. He taught for thirteen years (high school) and has been a fixture in educational administration for twenty-seven years, all at the most senior management levels. Gillett was Director of Education and Secretary/ Treasurer for the Ottawa Board of Education. Gillett holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton University as well as a Master’s degree in Education and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Ottawa. Gillett is a Director and past Chair of the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Ontario College Applications Service and the United Way.




Salma Siddiqui

Salma Siddiqui owns and operates corporate travel agency Uniglobe CBO Travel. She is the second vicepresident of the Circle of Canadians and is also Senior vice president of The Muslim Canadian Congress. Ms.Siddiqui is heavily involved in the community, including fundraising for the Food Bank. She works with Aboriginal youth, sharing her business expertise and opening doors for them in the corporate world. She has also been involved in organizing Black History Month celebrations. She is a member of the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security. Siddiqui is a 2006 recipient of the Women of Distinction for Entrepreneurial Community Giving Award. She works across cultures, building bridges, promoting the rights and responsibilities of citizens.



Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull

He’s an incredibly accomplished, Internal Medicine doctor, a Professor and Chief of Staff at the Ottawa Hospital and newly minted President of the influential Canadian Medical Association. But Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull is all heart. Every week, he sets out to serve several shelters as Director of the InnerCity Health Project in Ottawa, a program he helped start. In the 1990s, Jeff became increasingly interested in providing better clinical care to homeless men in the Capital. Along with others, he wondered whether a medical program that combined supervised alcohol consumption with compassionate clinical care would improve health outcomes. He was right.The Inner City Health Project has won numerous awards and received international acclaim for providing cost-effective care. For his contributions, Jeff was recently awarded the Order of Canada.




Mark Carney

As Governor of the Bank of Canada, Mark Carney touches our lives every day. Born in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, Mr. Carney has all the prerequisites for the job. Armed with a BA in Economics from Harvard University, he went on to obtain an Master’s degree in Economics in 1993, and a doctorate in Economics in 1995 from Oxford University. Prior to joining the public service, Mr. Carney had a thirteen-year career with Goldman Sachs in its London, Tokyo, New York and Toronto offices. Carney was appointed Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada in August 2003 but headed over to Department of Finance in November 2004 to become Senior Associate Deputy Minister of Finance - a position he held until his appointment as Governor of the Bank in 2008. He may be the youngest Governor we’ve ever had, but with Carney at the helm, the Bank is in good hands.



Thomas Assaly

Known for his brassy style and golden heart, Thomas G. Assaly’s growing legacy is in philanthropy. The Assaly family helped to herald the modernization of the downtown core and continues to engage in community development, from support of Aboriginal initiatives, research, and education in the NCR to providing medical training to the Monkolé Medical Centre of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. This summer, Assaly sponsored the Faucher-Douglas Golf Tournament. Heavenly music from the Sacred Music Society’s Sparrows Children’s Choir Program (offered at OCSB schools) is perched to rival St. Michael’s in Toronto and exists thanks to Tom’s vision for a world-class children’s choir in Ottawa. (The Assaly Financial Group gave a $1M donation). A man of the earth and turf, Tom lives on a ranch with his eight children and wife of twenty-two years.


Stephen Beckta

For feeding us well, Beckta has once again made our list. While Beckta on Nepean is a stalwart in fine dining in the capital and is known internationally for its superb quality and service, this past year saw Beckta offer a new dining experience. Play on Sussex, is perfect for those without an expense account who want to experience Beckta’s genius. The food is amazing and the ambience hip and more laid back than at Play’s sister restaurant on Nepean Street. Beckta was named Top Independent Restaurateur in Ontario by the Ontario Hostelry Institute (2007), nominated for the Bill Joe Restaurateur of the Year Award three times by the Ontario Restaurant Association (2005-2007) and nominated for the Ontario Premier’s Awards in Business (2006).As for Beckta himself, you couldn’t ask for a nicer guy.



Peter Milliken

First elected in 1988 as the MP for Kingston and Islands, Milliken has been re-elected ever since. While his dedication as an MP and his encyclopaedic knowledge of parliamentary procedure are enough to put him on the Top 50 list, Milliken recently broke the record for the longest sitting Speaker of the House of Commons in Canadian history. On January 29th, 2001, he was elected 34th Speaker of the House of Commons. He is the third Speaker in history to be chosen by a secret ballot cast by his fellow Members of the House of Commons. Quite a feat, especially in a minority government. He is one of the most well-respected Parliamentarians around, known for his combination of tact and gregariousness.




Margaret Dickenson

International award-winning cookbook author, recipe/menu developer and TV host on Rogers Ottawa 22, Margaret Dickenson tickles our tastebuds. In May 2009, at the Cordon d’Or - Gold Ribbon Academy of International Cookbook & Culinary Arts Awards, Margaret was named "Culinarian of the Year" to honour her successes, contributions to charity and community activities and of course her position as a culinary ambassador for Canada. In Sept 2006, Margaret self-published a new cookbook, Margaret’s Table — Easy Cooking & Inspiring Entertaining. It won 4 major international awards, including the Best of the Best Cookbook in the past 12 years in the entertaining category at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Oct 2008. It also took the gold medal for Best Entertaining Cookbook in the World at the 2006 Gourmand.



Steve Martin

The first year of any business startup can be rough, but the Gladstone Theatre had a number of hard balls thrown its way in its inaugural year in ‘08. Ottawa businessman and Gladstone owner Steve Martin managed to steer his theatre through the effects of a bus strike, major construction on Preston Street and a recession with a string of successful shows. Sensing there was an entertainment niche to be filled and a need for performance venues, Martin saved a piece of Ottawa's cultural heritage by purchasing the former Great Canadian Theatre Company space in 2008. Investing over $1 million on his own, Martin transformed the space into a glamorous Art Deco type building. And the amazing thing is that Martin receives no government funding.




Aliya-Jasmine Sovani

Aliya-Jasmine Sovani, MTV Host, is the face (and breasts) of ReThink's Save the Boobs campaign and acting cochair of the annual Boobyball Gala. The Save The Boobs campaign, written and created by Aliya-Jasmine herself, is meant to shine a new light on breast cancer. It is designed to use the tactics seen in ad campaigns for a cause that benefits the breasts which are so often sexualized by the media. Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, Aliya- Jasmine attended University of Ottawa and received her BA with a major in Broadcast communications before moving to Toronto. She has also been involved in many humanitarian projects. She travelled to Sudan for MTV’s Girls of Latitude (a look at women and girls in poverty around the world) and she produces many social issue pieces for MTV News, her daily half-hour show.


Dr. Vern Krishna

When it comes to taxes, Krishna is the authority. Currently Tax Counsel, Mediator and Arbitrator in the Ottawa office of Borden Ladner Gervais, he also teaches tax law at the University of Ottawa. Author of dozens of texts related to international tax and business law, his writings are frequently cited by the Supreme Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada. Krishna has been active in both of his professions – law and accounting. A Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada since 1990, he was elected President of the Certified General Accountants of Ontario in 1995 and he served as a Commissioner on the Ontario Securities Commission from 1995 to 1998. He was a Visiting Scholar in International Tax at Harvard Law School from 1998 to 1999 to boot. Krishna has received many accolades for his work, including the Order of Canada.




Mike Bourget

Just follow your dreams. As far back as he can remember, planes have been his passion. As a military child, the love of aviation grew with him. Mike worked in the financial services sector in 1981 and in 1989 struck out on his own as a mortgage broker. After the death of his parents, he wondered why he was working in an industry he no longer enjoyed so he sold his successful mortgage brokerage business to his business partner and followed his dream. Mike became an Air traffic controller. His first day on the job was Sept 11, 2001. “That day was just weird. Despite the chaos of that first day, I love this job. I get to live, breathe, and talk to airplanes and pilots all day every day. A dream”. In 2008, he started High Flight Adventures Aviation Camp to allow him to share with youth his passion for flying. His motto? “Don't wait to do the things you want to do, do them now.”



Ruth Dunley

While seeking out the best and brightest people of the capital, Ruth Dunley is one who cannot be overlooked. Dunley was promoted to associate editor of the Ottawa Citizen in 2005 and now works for Postmedia Network Inc. Thanks to Dunley's dream, 2005 also became the first year of the Critics and Awards Program (better known as Cappies) in Ottawa. She has been the program director of Canada's Capital Cappies for the past five years, and devotes countless hours attending high school plays, monitoring discussions, and editing students' reviews. In our region the program has grown from 13 schools to 35 (She is currently on maternity leave). In 2007, she received the YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the Arts and Culture category.



Riley Brockington
Trusted trustee

Ottawa-Carleton District School Board Trustee for River Ward and Chair of Budget Committee – Vice President of the Ontario Public School Boards' Association Trustee Member, Business Services Committee Brockington, a life-long resident of Ottawa, is serving his second term on the Board. First elected in November 2003, he is the first Trustee for Zone 11 to be re-elected in 15 years. By day, Riley is a production manager and survey analyst of the Elementary-Secondary Education Statistics Survey at Statistics Canada. Riley works with all Ministries of Education in Canada, and analyzes their enrolment, graduation, staffing and expenditure statistics.



Mike DeGagné

Executive Director of the Canadian Aboriginal Healing Foundation, De Gagné is a community leader who has dedicated his life's work to improving the health, wellness, education and governance of Aboriginal peoples. Recently awarded the Order of Ontario for his work, Mike has worked in the field of addiction and mental health for the past 25 years. He lectures and teaches nationally and internationally on issues of Aboriginal health, reconciliation, and governance. He holds degrees in health and administration, and has a PhD focusing on Aboriginal post-secondary education. For his efforts, Mike is a recipient of the Order of Ontario. He is currently the Vice- President of the Child Welfare League of Canada, Board member of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network, and past Chairman of the Queensway Carleton Hospital.



Yasir Naqvi

Elected in October 2007, Yasir has been impressing people ever since, including the Premier McGuinty who appointed him a Parliamentary Assistant to a Minister a year after his election. (Yasir is currently the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Revenue.) A tireless advocate for public transportation and sustainable community growth, he helped to secure an historic $600 million investment in public transit for Ottawa and over $250 million in infrastructure upgrades and community projects. He has sat on the Board of Directors of the Centretown Community Health Centre for four years and he has been the Co-Chair of the Capital Food Bank Blitz since 2005. A first generation Canadian, his family arrived in Canada in 1988 after the Pakistani government imprisoned his father for leading a prodemocracy march.



Fred Seller

While Seller is a successful lawyer (he is a founding member of the firm Brazeau Seller), Fred takes great pride in his volunteer work for various charities throughout the Ottawa community. He is currently the cochair of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation's Courage Campaign which is in the second phase of a $50 million campaign. In 2005 and 2006, Fred was co-chair of the Ottawa Citizen-Ottawa Jewish Federation Golf Tournaments. He is also a past chair of the United Jewish Appeal, Legal Division, and currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Ottawa Jewish Community School. He recently won the ‘outstanding small business philanthropists’ award’ from the Association of Fundraising Professionals.



Shannon Gorman


One of our community’s rising stars, Gorman spent more than a decade at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation helping to raise more than $20 million for cancer care in our region. She is currently the National Director of Community Investment and Engagement at TELUS and responsible for all public and community affairs initiatives for Canada, including corporate giving programs and an annual budget of more than $16M. She now oversees nine TELUS Community Boards. (She launched the ninth TELUS Community Board in Atlantic Canada.) She also developed and executed an Atlantic Canada Cause marketing campaign in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Canada, resulting in a donation of $679K to the Boys and Girls Clubs.



Rachel Wilson


Beautiful and talented Ottawa-born actress Rachel Wilson is from the new hit CBC television series Republic of Doyle (now picked up for a second season). Widely recognized for her role as Tamira Goldstein in the popular 90s TV series, Breaker High, Rachel has since been credited in some Hollywood’s films (The Glass House with Leelee Sobieski and Anywhere But Here with Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman). She also regularly voices the role of Heather on the awardwinning Teletoon cartoon Total Drama Island. Her credits also include filming the seventh instalment of the horror franchise Saw a BravoFACT! short called Not Over Easy. Also look for her in the upcoming TV miniseries The Kennedy in which she stars alongside Katie Holmes and Greg Kinnear.



Heidi Bonnell


Heidi Bonnell leads federal government relations for Rogers Communications. Active in many community and charitable organizations, Heidi also serves as President of the Canadian Club of Ottawa. A double cancer survivor, Heidi created Hope Live, an annual Ottawa Fundraising Gala to benefit Fertile Future. Each year, an estimated 10,000 young Canadians face a cancer diagnosis. Approximately 8,000 of them will win this battle. Without knowing the importance of fertility preservation prior to their treatment, many are left infertile with few options. Fertile Future aspires to change this reality for cancer patients. Hugely successful, Hope Live raised almost $100,000 in its inaugural year. This year’s Hope Live event will take place on Monday, November 29th at the GCTC and will include Rick Mercer and Jann Arden.



Daniel Alfredsson

We all know that this Senator is the all-time leader in games played, goals, assists and points. All of Ottawa was there to celebrate that special day on April 6th, 2010 when Alfredsson played his 1000th career game. (Mayor Larry O’Brien named the following Saturday, April 10th Daniel Alfredsson Day.) Alfredsson may be a hockey hero legend to everyone in the capital but he is also a champion for mental health in the region. Back in 2008, he agreed to lead the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health’s you know who I am campaign, to honour his sister who struggles with mental health issues. That makes him not only a sports superstar but an all round good guy.




Constance Backhouse

Well-known for her feminist research and publications on gender and race within the Canadian legal system, Backhouse is one of Canada’s leading legal minds and was recently awarded the Order of Ontario her work. An accomplished author, Backhouse was also involved in compensation claims for Grandview Training School for Girls (1995-98), and she adjudicated compensation claims for the former students of Aboriginal residential schools across Canada. She has served as an expert witness and consultant on various aspects of sexual abuse and violence against women and children. She is a member of the board of directors for the Claire L’Heureux- Dubé Fund for Social Justice and the Women's Education and Research Foundation.



Caroline Pignat

Local author Pignat has been earning kudos for her children’s literature. Both of her young adult novels have garnered nominations galore and Greener Grass: The Famine Years won her the Governor General’s Literary Award for Children this past year. The sequel Wild Geese, continues the story of a young girl’s journey from famine Ireland to Bytown will hit the shops in October. Before becoming an author, she worked as a book seller, a grocery store cashier and a medical transcriptionist. She also worked as a bank teller for six years where she jokes she was robbed at gunpoint ‘only three times’. Born in Ireland, she was raised in Ottawa and now lives in Kanata. On top of being an author, she is an elementary school teacher.



Graham Richardson

Graham Richardson joined CTV Ottawa in 2010, after nearly four years covering Parliament Hill for CTV National News. During his time on the Hill, Richardson travelled the world covering the Prime Minister, filing reports from countires such as Afghanistan, India, Singapore, the Czech Republic, Poland. You probably also saw his face on the hustings in the 2008 election covering the Tories and the Liberals. Before his assignment on Parliament Hill, Richardson was CTV's Los Angeles Bureau Chief, covering the Michael Jackson trial, Hurricane Katrina, space shuttle landings, the Mexican election, and the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino Italy. When he's not working or volunteering, Richardson and his wife Leigh Anne can be found in dozens of rinks across the region, watching their two young sons play hockey.



Susan O’Sullivan
Deputy TOP COP

As one of our top cops, Susan O’Sullivan is responsible for the Criminal Investigative Services, Support Services and the Emergency Operations Division. She’s one we’re glad is in our corner. Under the direction of the National Capital Strategic Security Council, she has cochaired the Joint Intelligence Project as well as a Counter-Terrorism Project in relation to Threat Levels within the Capital region. A dynamic member of the community, she has been involved with many charities. She is the recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, The Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal, the YMCAYWCA Women of Distinction Award (Public Sector Award) and the House of Commons Ottawa-Centre Community Leadership Award.



Stephen Kiar

You may not have heard of Stephen Kiar, but chances you have been called by his company Phoenix SPI. Kiar created Phoenix SPI in 2003 and it immediately took off, becaming one of the top suppliers for public opinion research to the federal Government. Phoenix SPI has conducted many polls that have appeared in the Ottawa Citizen and other publications, including major polls on city amalgamation (just prior to it actually happening), the city’s IT industry, the Ottawa Senators, and many others. When it comes to public opinion Kiar has his finger on the pulse of the people.



Kristina Groves

Hitting our list again is Ottawa-born Olympian Kristina Groves who was first selected last year for heading to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games but has now landed a rightful spot for bringing home serious hardware. Kristina thrilled us with her impressive speedskating skills, winning the silver medal in the Ladies’ 1,500 metre and the Bronze medal in the Ladies’ 3,000 metre races on home soil. With an enduring Olympic career, she first hit the international competition in the Salt Lake City 2002 Olympics followed by the 2006 games in Turin, Italy. A gluten-free baker, Kristina is a strong advocate for healthy living and aims to encourage physical lifestyles among children. On her blog, she supports many charitable organizations including Right to Play, Clean Air Champions, David Suzuki’s Play It Cool, Kids Sport Canada and



Hon Madeleine Meilleur

Where would Ottawa be without Madeleine Meilleur? She has been a fixture in Ottawa politics for close to 15 years. Currently the provincial Minister of Community and Social Services (since 2006), she is also Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs (since 2003). Thanks to her leadership, Ontario passed two new laws in 2008. The first law promotes the social inclusion of persons with developmental disabilities; the second law gives Ontarians access to open adoption records. As Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, she has been committed to building stronger French communities through critical investments in education and health services, including the expansion of the Montfort Hospital. A registered nurse and lawyer specializing in labour and employment law, Minister Meilleur was elected to the provincial legislature in 2003 after more than a decade in municipal politics in Ottawa.


Akash Sinha


Dharma Developments plans and builds environmentally conscious development projects. Akash is an icon of corporate social responsibility, believing that giving back to his community is as integral to success as producing a healthy financial bottom line. He actively promotes the arts and supports charitable organizations. In 2004, he founded Urbana, an annual event that raises funds for organizations that work to end homelessness. To date, Urbana has donated $65,000 to local groups. A staunch supporter of the arts community, Akash is the founder of Dharma, an online magazine that features local and emerging artistic talent. He is also a founding partner of 7en Entertainment Group ( and RhythmWORKS (, which produce electronicmusical events that feature internationally renowned DJs at various venues in Ottawa.



Sir Terry Matthews

What can you say about Sir Terry that hasn’t already been said before? Not much. So we at OLM just want to tip our hats yet again to this incredible Ottawan/Welshman who continues to make us very proud. This telecoms pioneer billionaire, who hails from Wales, has impacted the everyday lives of just about everybody. Whether it was Mitel, Newbridge, March, or the fact that he is Chair of many other technological companies, Matthews’ touch can be felt. Whether it is your touchtone phone or your laptop, chances are Sir Terry has had a hand in creating your technological toys. A softie at heart, he turned the maternity hospital where he was born in Wales into the Celtic Manor which will (for all you golfers out there) host the 2010 Ryder Cup in October.


Brenda Hollingsworth


The recipient of the Women’s Business Network (WBN) of Ottawa’s 2009 Businesswoman of the Year Award in the professional category, Hollingsworth is a bilingual plaintiff-side personal injury lawyer. Together with her husband, Richard Auger, she owns and operates Auger Hollingsworth. A real dynamo, she has authored two books: An Injured Victim’s Guide to Fair Compensation and Crash Course: A Savvy Woman’s Guide to Ontario Car Accident Cases. In 2008, Hollingsworth took home one of the Ottawa Business Journal’s Top 40 Under Awards, and in 2006, Auger Hollingsworth was recognized by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce as the Bronze Winner of the Business Achievement Award in the New Business of the Year Award category.



Mark Gatien


Sgt Gatien has been the Business Case Holder for Operation E.R.A.S.E (Eliminate Racing Activity On Streets Everywhere) for 2.5 years working out of the East Division Traffic Unit. The ERASE team hits the roads throughout the summer months with zero tolerance on general poor or dangerous driving habits. Gatien has been an Officer for 26 years with 16 of those years in the Canine Unit. Gatien was the first Canine Team of the former Nepean Police Service. Before Policing, he was a civilian employee with the Military based at CFB Lahr, Germany. By making our streets a safer place to be, he’s a top Cop in our books.


Mike Fisher


Since being drafted by the Ottawa Senators in 1998, Mike Fisher has played an increasingly important role in Ottawa both on and off the ice. Named Alternate Captain this past season, he is a hard working, clean and fair player. Off the ice, Fisher’s passion for hockey and kids is shown in his many community service efforts. Committed to the Sens Foundation, he has also established the not for profit Mike Fisher Foundation, which focuses on annual hockey camps for novice, atom and peewee players, providing a first class summer hockey program and financially supporting Ottawa’s Roger’s House and the Make a Wish Foundation. His dedication to children and youth has made him CHEO’s Honorary Ambassador for its Big Steps Campaign. A deeply committed Christian, he works quietly and gives generously to children in need.



Louisa Simms

It all began in June 1987 when four Alta Vista area churches donated money to hire a coordinator for a food distribution centre for a three month period. After three months it was obvious that they had to continue to provide help to people in need. Many other churches and school groups in the South East Ottawa neighbourhood soon joined in, providing money, donating food and sending volunteers. Heron Emergency Food Centre has been helping people in need in the Southeast Ottawa area for over 23 years. In 2009 HEFC provided food to over 13000 people, including families and single people - making it one of the largest food banks in the city of Ottawa.




Teena Tomlinson

For half a century, the In Community has contributed to improving the lives of people with disabilities living in the Capital. Executive Director, Teena Tomlinson, has helped to shepherd in an era of Inclusion, Integration, and Independence. The organization has grown to be the largest supportive housing provider in Eastern Ontario, with 6 housing locations. Its programs include support groups, Barrier Free Environment assessments, community education, life skills training, clients/ caregivers coping tips and group discussion. The latest program, In Community’s Special Needs Equipment Exchange Service recycles equipment that is available free of charge to children, adults and seniors with disabilities with tax receipts issued for equipment with an appraised value of $50.00 or more.


Ritchard Brisbin


Take a look around downtown and chances are you will see Brisbin’s handiwork. He did the World Exchange Plaza, and most recently he designed the Ottawa Convention Centre, now under construction.His company (which includes partners in Toronto) was also responsible for the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the Neurological Research Institute at the University of Ottawa and Metropolitan Toronto's new city hall, Metro Hall.While he has won many design awards and he is one of Canada’s greatest architects, his has not been a household name. We hope to change that.


Rachel Décoste


Despite her young age, Décoste has been very active in the community in local causes (from the 90’s effort to save Montfort Hospital to her recent tenure as eCommunications Director for the Black Canadian Scholarship Fund (which has awarded 25 bursaries over 11 years to atrisk Ottawa youth). When the earthquake hit her parents’ homeland, Ms. Décoste sprang into action merely hours after the news reports came in. Within 48 hours, Rachel and a few acquaintances organized the first quake relief fundraiser in the Ottawa area, raising almost $10k. Along with a handful of Canadian community leaders of Haitian decent, she was invited to meet with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and General Walter Natynczyk to discuss Canada’s role in the immediate aftermath of the Haiti quake. This Fall, she is inaugurating a private fundraiser in support of increasing diversity in Ottawa City Council.



Hunsdeep Rangar

By day, he works for the House of Commons as an Information Management Analyst. By night, for the past 15 years, Mr. Rangar has been a pioneer in the South Asian community. Today he spends a lot of his time in the promotion of arts and culture as the Executive Producer of Multicultural Programming on CHIN Radio and has emerged as a leader focused on promoting the South Asian presence in Eastern Ontario. As the cultural landscape of Eastern Ontario began to change, CHIN Radio entered the market. Hunsdeep was instrumental in ensuring that the visibility of the South Asian community would be a priority for the new station. He created the banner known as Mirch Masala Radio, which encompasses Music, Interviews, Community Events and Topics of Special Interest as part of the Drive Home Show (5-7 PM) on 97.9 FM.


Gary Corbett


Corbett was elected President and CEO of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada in June 2009. He began his career as a scientist with Natural Resources Canada, conducting operational research on the coal mining industry in Cape Breton. He relocated his family to Ottawa in 1998 following the shutdown of the industry and focused his attention on policy development as it affects the role of public science in decision-making. A strong advocate for the concerns of all members, particularly those who work in the fields of science and technology in the federal public service, Gary was instrumental in the development of the Institute’s Scholarship Program. He played a leading role in the 2007 International Science Policy Symposium, which brought together leading scientists from the public, private, and academic sectors in support of public science policy issues.


Jeff Hunt


It’s hard to believe that this is Jeff’s 13th season with the Ottawa 67’s and what a successful ride it has been. With a long list of championships under his watch, Hunt has certainly lived up to expectations. And on the fan-fun side, the 67’s have ranked number one or two in CHL attendance every year since he took over. Jeff has quadrupled the number of season ticket holders, and average game day attendance has increased by over 300 per cent. More recently, he was an active participant in the successful bid to bring World Junior Hockey Championships to Ottawa and he is one of the four partners spearheading the Lansdowne Transformation Project that will provide sports fans with a CFL football team, a professional soccer team and a new stadium.