Our Neighbours – Meet Dave Longbottom & Carrie Colton: For This Echo Drive Couple, Collaboration is the Essence of Community

Dave Longbottom and Carrie Colton first met at Maxwell's on Elgin Street, just a short jaunt from Longbottom's current "community", Flora Hall Brewing. The couple's move to Old Ottawa East in 2019 was a perfect choice and a homecoming of sorts. Photo Supplied

Dave Longbottom and Carrie Colton first met at Maxwell’s on Elgin Street, just a short jaunt from Longbottom’s current “community”, Flora Hall Brewing. The couple’s move to Old Ottawa East in 2019 was a perfect choice and a homecoming of sorts.
Photo Supplied

Dianne Wing

Dave Longbottom and Carrie Colton believe in collaboration and that collaboration is community. While his first career as a technology executive and entrepreneur saw him travel the world, Longbottom calls Ottawa “home sweet home.” Colton was born up the line in Arnprior. It was her passion for art and design, by way of Montreal, that brought her to Ottawa. The two met at Maxwell’s on Elgin Street, just a few blocks from the location of Longbottom’s newest community, Flora Hall Brewing.

While they are relative newcomers to Old Ottawa East, having moved here in 2019, it was a bit of a homecoming. They raised their son Zak in Old Ottawa South in the 1990’s and moved to the Glebe a decade later. Then, after a little time out of the core, they returned downtown. Old Ottawa East was the perfect choice, close to water and nature, beautiful, full of life and sitting between the two neighbourhoods of their earlier days. Now they walk or cycle to their respective places of work; Longbottom to Flora Hall and Colton to Studio Sixty Six in the Glebe.

Flora Hall was created to provide a gathering place for the communities in and around Flora Street in Centretown, a place for neighbours to meet and share food and drink, joys and sorrows. Longbottom took meticulous care in restoring the heritage industrial structure, a former garage and repair shop that dates to the 1920’s. In collaboration with Colton and Studio Sixty Six he has added original works of art from such artists as Guillermo Trejo, Amy Barker, Christian Chapman, Troy Moth and Andrew Morrow to continuously enrich the space. The Moth and Morrow pieces were true collaborations in that they were commissioned specifically for Flora Hall.

Longbottom and Colton worked directly with the artists to realize the works. Collaboration comes in many forms. Sometimes it is as simple as familiarity. Christopher Griffon’s gorgeous Northern Right Whale comes directly from Griffon’s patronage of Flora Hall and his suggestion when sitting around the bar. It hovers in a place of honour over the taps.

Like Flora Hall, Studio Sixty Six is a labour of love for Colton. The gallery originally featured the best emerging contemporary artists in the area, and over time the roster has evolved to include several accomplished, well-established career artists sought after by private collectors and institutions alike. First-time buyers can feel comfortable that the gallery and artists are approachable and welcoming and will help buyers, as they helped Longbottom, fall in love with original art works.

Longbottom and Colton share a collective vision of life. They work together on beers and art projects and whether it be a gathering place for neighbours or a hub for artists and art collectors, it all comes down to community.

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