The Top 25 People in the Capital: 11-20
This year we teamed up with Crusoe,
the Celebrity Dachshund, to sniff out
the top dogs in the city that are actually people.
Crusoe got his game face on and scouted out
Ottawans that are the ones to watch.
They are the best that the capital has to offer
and have made their mark on their communities,
be it at the local, national or even global level.
These are Ottawa Life’s 2017
Top 25 People in the Capital.
Politician on the upswing
Andrew Scheer is surprisingly young to already own such an accomplished political biography. This year he became the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, and is consequently the leader of the opposition. Strong support carried him through the 13 rounds of voting and meant, in the end, that he beat out more than a dozen candidates. The concise nature of his campaign slogan — “Real Conservative. Real leader” — reflects the efficiency, thoughtfulness and work ethic which Scheer exercises in his political work. During his campaign, Scheer kept the specifics of his advocacy to a minimum, supporting changes to the carbon tax and promising to be tough on crime, but he has a notably consistent voting record. Scheer was born and raised in our nation’s capital, attending the University of Ottawa while working in the correspondence department of the office of the leader of the opposition. After living in Saskatchewan for several years, he became the Member of Parliament for Regina-Qu’Appelle in 2004. It’s safe to assume that Canada can expect great things from Andrew Scheer.
When it comes to summing up the popular festival she created 14-years ago, Elaina Martin likes to keep it simple: “It means community.” She’ll be the first to say how it “ain’t no party like a Westfest party.”For three days in June, Martin’s communal festival vision flourishes now in Mechanicsville’s Laroche Park. The inclusiveness of the event is paramount to Martin. As an openly gay woman, her early years were spent overcoming sexual violence and intolerance. The self-proclaimed “loud and proud queer woman” left that “hurtful, homophobic and widely uneducated” life behind her 26-years ago and hasn’t looked back. A skilled producer, Martin would settle in Ottawa becoming instrumental in bringing artists like Cyndi Lauper, Indigo Girls and Ani DiFranco to the city. She also produced two Rock City Women’s Festivals in Wakefield. Music is what puts her in motion; not surprising considering she started her career as a musician.
Jordan is the relatively new CEO and part owner of Shared. This past May, Nabigon participated in QuantumShift, a one-week intensive program designed to help Canadian business owners accelerate productivity. Only 540 business owners have ever been selected to participate. Sponsored by TD Commercial Bank and the Globe and Mail, 2017 marks QuantumShift’s 14th anniversary. Originally from Long Lake First Nation in northern Ontario, Nabigon moved to Ottawa at the age of 10. He became Shared’s CEO in December of last year. Originally launched in 2005 as an advertising network with a staff of only three, the website rebranded in 2015, and is now part of the digital content industry — creating and curating content for social media. Currently, Shared has 30-million fans, its videos generating more than one-billion views monthly. Our country’s competitive edge lies in the drive and productivity of private business like that exhibited by Nabigon and his team.
Academic, Author, Thinker
Professor Ann Dale’s work which involves teaching, writing and activism, focuses on environmental sustainability, and has received international recognition. Dale’s research has practical intent — seeking to provide those in power with the tools to make real change on a large scale. Dale also holds a Canada Research Chair in sustainable community development. Innovation is at the heart of her work, as evidenced by her passion for debate. Dale is a professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University, but she promotes her research even further through her YouTube channel, HEADTalks. Dale also founded the National Environmental Treasure (NET) of which she is now chair. Not only is Dale committed to researching sustainable development, she is also invested in the ways our society perceives the idea. Her new book, Edging Forward, explores how information about our environment operates — how cultural ideas shape our development, and with it, our ability to act on climate change. The book calls for immediate action, condemning the slow pace that we have settled for so long. Dale combines elements of her own experience recognizing and reconciling our relationship with our environment, drawing from both the professional and the personal. The practicality of her work and the drive with which she presents these issues will be invaluable in whatever progress we make towards a better future.
Our Top 25 this year wouldn’t be complete without #65! Ottawa’s SENSational Swede, Erik Karlsson, perhaps more than ever exemplified why that C adorns his jersey. Midway through the season, the Senators captain set a team record when, on March 4, he played in his 312th consecutive game. The streak wouldn’t last much longer, however, as later that month he’d suffer an injury to his foot after blocking a shot finally sidelining him. Not wanting to miss what would prove to be a spectacular playoff run, Karlsson returned in time for round one revealing only after a series-clinching victory in Game 6 against Boston that he’d been playing with not one but two hairline fractures. His heart and endurance through the pain would be pumped into a hungry Sens team who came one goal shy of making it to the Stanley Cup final. His 2016-2017 season would show, despite the injury, he remained a step above the rest.
Esther Brake, a former McDonald’s manager in Kanata, is renowned for winning a six-figure settlement. Kevin Philips, the Ontario Superior Court Justice who decided the fate of her case, found earlier this year that Esther’s 20 years of hard work and dedication warranted better treatment by one of the biggest companies in North America. After scoring a decade of excellent performance reviews, Brake was one day moved to a poorly-performing McDonald’s. There, she became held to what Judge Philips later called “arbitrary and unfair” performance standards, and was continually dealt 12-hour shifts. Despite being able to meet the new higher demands, Brake was informed that she was being demoted from manager to first assistant. The ultimatum — accept it without complaint or leave her job entirely — was presented, and Brake decided to quit. Now her story is one of inspiration and justice. Her hard work has been recognized, and her compensation finally earned. Going up against a company after years of devoted work takes a unique kind of courage and self-respect. The successful settlement of Esther’s case is a testament to her fortitude and integrity.
Allaire is one of Ottawa’s hidden gems. A persistently passionate musician, this year he is celebrating . . . having performed his 2,000th gig. Allaire began his career in 1984 with bands like The Town Cryers with whom he released a No. 1 hit, All’s Well. In the 1990s he formed a punk band before moving on to produce his own solo albums, including Ghosts of the Royal Motel, Up Hill… Both Ways, and most recently, South of Solitude. After a heart attack in 2010, rather than slowing down, he instead came out with the album Heart of Steel. Allaire has a weekly gig at Quinn’s on Bank Street, and also fills the pub’s Saturday slot with guest performers. 2017 was an exciting year for Allaire — as he marked the 25th anniversary of his old band, The Town Cryers. To mark the anniversary, the band is releasing a remastered version of the 18-song work, called Stanley’s Cup. The release includes a tour and you can catch the band on Dec. 8, at Irene’s Pub, in Ottawa’s Glebe neighbourhood on Bank Street.
Big SKATES to fill
You could say that hockey runs in James Boyd’s blood. The new General Manager of the Ottawa 67s first became interested in the sport through his father, who coached kids in his hometown of Midland, Ontario. After being asked to coach his former junior team, The Belleville Bulls, Boyd discovered that his own passion for the sport extended to coaching. In his new role of General Manager, Boyd’s goals are to make sure that the players have all the tools they need and that the team runs smoothly. Long term, he has big dreams for the 67s to be a team that competes for division, conference and league championships. This year marks the team’s 50th anniversary. Over the course of those years, the 67s have not only given opportunities to dozens of NHL calibre players, they’ve provided an environment for creating family memories. “Our prime objective this year, is to deliver an exceptional hockey experience for our fans,” says Boyd. “It’s going to be a fun season.”
THE REAL DEAL
Currently the MP for the riding of Timmins – James Bay, Charlie Angus is running for leadership of the New Democratic Party of Canada. His campaign focuses on several issues: affordable housing, ensuring equal opportunities for Canada’s Indigenous people and implementing a national carbon budget. Angus is also concerned with the status of the new working class that, he argues, is emerging from what used to be the middle class, and is made up of both white and blue-collar workers burdened with student debt, moving through contract work and trying to survive without benefits and pensions. Angus’s steadfast drive for social justice is clear. He spent the 1980s as a community activist in Toronto and the 1990s in northern Ontario where he founded the award-winning HighGrader magazine. Angus entered federal politics in 2004. His remarkable presence of mind and strength of will was proven in 2005 when he refused to yield to the outcry from his own church against the legalization of same-sex marriage. Angus voted with the government and withstood the tide of public reaction. This country and its capital city benefit from the hard work and backbone of people like Angus.
This summer has been an explosive success for air-guitar champion Genevieve LeBlanc. In May, she took home the gold medal at the Toronto regional championship before tearing up the competition at the national championship in July. Leaving Canada in the dust, she attended the world championships in Finland. LeBlanc is the first woman to represent Canada in the international competition. Air guitar is performance art more than musical exhibition. In these competitions, performers are given one minute to exhibit their song and character, and while fire and glitter are important factors, stage presence and energy is what really takes home top prize. A great deal of work goes into an air guitar performance as successful as one of Genevieve’s. Last year, her stage name was Gen the Geek Girl, but this year she’s dubbed herself Phoenix — an apt title given the trajectory of her success.
Crusoe will be
back tomorrow with
the final five
top dogs in