a peek inside the fishbowl

01 Dec, 2015


Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Westboro|Ottawa

I heart my coffee!

Shop the Neighbourhood went down on Saturday. (I wrote about it right here if you need the backstory.) It was a WHIRLWIND. Although I was the Ottawa representative of the campaign I was assigned to cover Westboro. And so, on Saturday morning, I laced up my sneakers and walked down to the village. I saw, I shopped, I chatted, I tweeted and Facebooked and Instagrammed my heart out until early Saturday afternoon, at which point I went home with sore feet and an iPhone that was almost completely drained of battery life. It was a fun gig – so cool to see the sea of #ShoptheHood-themed yellow – and I was reminded of how much I love this city we live in, and how many passionate people there are out there: shoppers and shop owners alike.

Retail opportunities, a good cup of coffee, and a good beer is definitely a part of what makes a great community, but it’s also about the people, isn’t it? It’s the people who live here that ultimately make the difference. It makes me so happy when I’m walking the dog and a fellow dog walker stops for a moment for a sniff (that is, the dogs do the sniffing!) and a chat. It makes me happy to loan our lawn mower to a neighbour needs it, and when that person takes in the garbage can knowing we’re away. It makes me happy to chat with the barista at the coffee shop, when someone holds open the door for me at the pharmacy, or to exchange a quick nod and smile when passing a stranger on the sidewalk as I’m walking home.

I don’t write a lot about my work here, but this feeling of community extends into the stories we share in the newspaper about our neighbours. These stories make me doubly glad to live here, whether it’s about a neighbour who is going to great lengths to help refugees coming to Ottawa or an accomplished rapper who tours Ottawa elementary schools with a motivational message and has been drumming up community pride with series of videos he’s produced for the Ottawa Senators.

Friends, neighbours: your are doing great things, both big and small, and every action you take in your community makes our neighbourhoods more vibrant, happy, and prosperous. And for that, I thank you.



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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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