Ottawa romance: Kait McNamara will plan you the perfect city date
If you’re looking for romance in Ottawa, Kait McNamara can help. She isn’t a matchmaker – you’ll have to figure that part out on your own.
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If you’re looking for romance in Ottawa, Kait McNamara can help. She isn’t a matchmaker – you’ll have to figure that part out on your own. She isn’t a couple’s therapist, either. Her job is to plan the perfect Ottawa date.
“Every single date is different,” she explains. “And it’s completely customized.”
To start, couples fill out an extensive survey on her website, A Date By Kate, detailing how they met, what they like, and what they don’t like.
Sometimes the consultation goes further: third-party best friends are interviewed to make sure McNamara really understands her lovebird clients.
From there, she begins to brainstorm ideas and calls local businesses.
On one of her dates – organized for a couple that loved fruit loops – they headed to Ottawa’s Oh So Good bakery and café. There they got to create a custom cheesecake under the watchful eye of owner Peter Elmarji. They named it “Loopy in Love” because it was covered in fruit loops.
“It was super cheesy and adorable,” said McNamara.
“It was a really nice experience,” said Elmariji, who set up a “work station” for the couple in the back of his Westboro café. “They must have enjoyed it because they were here for a few hours.”
Most of McNamara’s dates depend on the co-operation of local businesses. In addition to Oh So Good, she’s partnered with Sidedoor restaurant, World of Maps, The Loft, and Iron North Fitness.
“It’s great to help someone who is starting something new, not a lot of people know about Kate and it really works well with my business,” said Elmariji.
By day, McNamara is a marketing manager in Ottawa, but she spends her free time planning the dates. The lowest-tier for a full day starts at $300, which could include cost of meals, drinks, tickets for shows and her planning services. The entire itinerary is a surprise for both parties.
The idea for her A Date By Kate service started when McNamara’s two friends were getting married. As a wedding gift she planned them a special day, to take place after all the excitement of the wedding and honeymoon.
She said she loves coming up with the ideas, but as she delved deeper into the dating game (she’s been planning romance for almost two years) she’s started reading about the psychology of it as well.
“Children are so enthusiastic about the little things in life, and as an adult it’s my mission to get people to almost think like a kid again. Love each other in the moment,” she said.
And love doesn’t have to be about chocolates, diamonds and roses.
One of McNamara’s dates was planned for couple of self-identified chatterboxes – they never stopped talking. So she offered them a challenge over their dinner date: spend five whole minutes in silence.
They only made it 120 seconds.
“They were like ‘We did it for two whole minutes, but then we needed to talk,’” she said with a laugh. “But it’s just the fact that they tried it. Even that is something new. It’s something fun.”
“Life gets busy, you end up going to the same ‘dinner and a movie’ spot because it’s easy, but that’s exactly why I exist. You have to shake things up and get thinking outside the box,” she said. “And you should never stop dating your significant other.”