Old Ottawa East casts a spell on this group of friends and family – it’s a community that “makes you want to stay.”

Dianne Wing 

Peter Croal photo. This group of family and friends have most willingly gone to the dogs! Pictured here at the Hawthorne Avenue "little treasure" of a park, starting with the "two leggers" from left to right, are James Tourigny, Tracy Townsend, Dianne Wing and Emma LaFloor. Indie (left), Luna (centre) and Greta (right) are the lovable "four leggers" who patiently posed for this group photo.

Peter Croal photo. This group of family and friends have most willingly gone to the dogs! Pictured here at the Hawthorne Avenue “little treasure” of a park, starting with the “two leggers” from left to right, are James Tourigny, Tracy Townsend, Dianne Wing and Emma LaFloor. Indie (left),Luna (centre) and Greta (right) are the lovable “four leggers” who patiently posed for this group photo.

 

There is something about Old Ottawa East that makes you want to stay. For me, it was the canopy of maples and a secluded front verandah.

I don’t remember much else about my decision to buy a  home on Hawthorne Avenue in 1983 but I don’t regret that choice.

Many maples have come down, but new trees are planted, and the verandah is still my little bit of heaven.

For Tracy Townsend it was the character of the old brick walk-up on Hawthorne Avenue renovated with all the modern conveniences that drew her to buy her home in 2012. She loved the history of the row house circa 1912 and the location with a little park across the street. A Senior Manager/Advisor at the Public Health Agency, she had been living in a condo in Centretown and was ready for more space. It was a bonus that her parents at that time were living nearby on Evelyn Avenue.

For Emma LaFloor it was the pandemic that drew her back to her childhood home, the one with the secluded verandah, to live with me (her mother). Emma had recently returned from teaching in Frankfurt, Germany. Little did anyone know how long the pandemic would go on and, by March 2020, Emma became restless to find a home of her own. That little park across from Tracy’s row house is a hidden treasure for Hawthorne Avenue residents. Children play, build forts and practice throwing balls there. Dog owners convene there with their ever-growing canine population. Emma played in that park as a child and my three generations of dogs romped there on a daily basis. People and dogs become friends. It was in that park that Emma and I met James Tourigny.

His dogs, Indie, a seven-year-old Lab/Collie/Cattle dog mix and one-year-old Luna, a mystery rescue mix, liked to play with  Greta, Emma’s three-year-old Labernese dog. While dogs play, people chat. We learned that James was a Senior Learning and Organizational Development Advisor at the House of Commons and that he had married Tracy in 2018. It was a surprise then, one August morning to see a For Sale sign appear at Tracy and James’ home. They had been keeping an eye out for houses in the area for a few years. Old Ottawa East had cast its spell and they knew they wanted to stay in the neighbourhood.

They walked often in Brantwood Park and admired its beautiful homes and proximity to the river. As Tracy says, “it is  the perfect  escape while still being so centrally located. It is truly the best of both worlds.” And one day they found the right house. Meanwhile, Emma had decided to postpone her dreams of finding a home in the crazy Ottawa real estate market, hoping things might be better in the spring. She was now teaching in the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and feeling settled back in Ottawa.

But on that August morning Emma’s new home found her, across the street from Greta’s daily dog park. Like Tracy, she loved the old world charm and the modern renovation. It was the perfect size for both Greta and Emma. And it was just down the street rom her mother and her childhood home. Doggie day care and car sharing were among the many benefits of buying Tracy and James’ home. Again the best of both worlds. There is something about Old Ottawa East that makes you want to stay. I know that Tracy, James, Indie, Luna, Emma and Greta would all agree with me.

And after Tracy and James moved to Brantwood Park, Emma moved into her dream home with a welcome gift of dog treats and toys from Indie and Luna to Greta.

Dianne Wing will be profiling other wonderful neighbours in her ongoing column. Please let her know about other amazing folks in OOE who can be featured. (mdianne.wing@gmail.com).

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