OUR NEIGHOURS:  Catherine Patterson

Feb 2018 Our Neighbours - CPBY BONNIE WEPPLER

She is currently taking both swimming and skating lessons.  Her PhD dissertation is titled:  The heritage of life and death in historical family cemeteries of Niagara, Ontario. Her best friend lives in British Columbia. 

Meet Catherine Patterson.  A transplant from Hamilton, Patterson arrived in Ottawa almost two years ago for a job at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission where she is responsible for ensuring the maintenance of memorials and headstones for the Commonwealth war dead as well as the proper commemoration of the names of the war dead.

Kate loves her job and is grateful that she got one of the few non-academic opportunities in her field, one that allows her to immerse herself in her passion.  

Patterson has been “forever interested in cemeteries” and has long loved the phenomenon of family farm cemeteries.  During her undergraduate studies, she had a project researching farm cemeteries with considerations around conservation, modern care and historical research.  She had the opportunity to work on four headstones in a family farm cemetery in the Acton, Ontario area.

“The stories are personal but can also scope out the story of a town and community – the carving, architecture and landscape”, explains Kate.

When Patterson knew she would be moving to Ottawa, a colleague sent her a map of Ottawa.  Kate, her mom and uncle, came up one weekend and drove around the different areas to see where she wanted to live.  Her primary consideration was the ability to walk to work.  She looked at places in Sandy Hill, New Edinburgh and Old Ottawa East.  She contacted one landlord about a place in Sandy Hill; he recommended her to another of his buildings in Old Ottawa East.  She returned to Ottawa the following weekend and the deal was done.

When asked about her thoughts on Old Ottawa East, Patterson comments that she likes the architecture, the people, and the neighbourhood is a convenient place to live and be able to walk to so many places.  

“It’s good; it’s residential but there are a lot of things going on.  It’s a friendly spot.”

When giving general directions as to where she lives, she uses the Green Door as the landmark. “I am a fan of the Main Street strip,” she said.

Patterson is still exploring all that Ottawa has to offer but she loves Bike Sundays and she’s involved with the Ottawa Outdoor Club.  

“It’s a great way to meet people as a newcomer to the City.  It’s how I got to know Gatineau Park.  We also went to Algonquin Park’s Radio Observatory for a three-day star-gazing trip.”

Patterson has participated in Heritage Ottawa lectures as well  NCC’s Urbanism Lab lectures.  She has run around the city during Doors Open and Jane’s Walks weekends.  

“Ottawa is starting to feel like home,” she said.

Patterson is looking forward to using her newly developed skating skills on the Rideau Canal skateway.

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