Local blogging team producing Ottawa travel guide for millennials
Zainab Muse and Dave Ebere are two Ottawa locals with a new plan to rebrand the city that fun forgot.
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Zainab Muse and Dave Ebere are two Ottawa locals with a new plan to rebrand “the city that fun forgot.” The duo is creating a millennial-focused travel guide filled with high-quality photos and stories of creative and passionate Ottawans.
Both attended high school in Toronto but came the capital city to attend the University of Ottawa for health science. They fell in love with Ottawa, but still have trouble explaining it to friends from bigger cities.
“We’re always thinking, what can we give to people to let them know Ottawa is not boring?” said Muse. “If you’re in a room and someone says ‘I love this city’ it’s usually a local. We’re giving people an inside perspective of the real Ottawa.”
“I didn’t know much about Ottawa when I first came to Canada,” added Ebere, who is originally from England and said he enjoyed learning some French to help navigate the bilingual city.
“It’s quite surprising that such an amazing city isn’t well recognized. That’s what our project is about,” he said.
The first part of the book will be a travel guide, sorting recommendations based on the interests of visitors. Categories include adventure, nature, intellectual, youth, nightlife, community and culture.
“Let’s say you’re new to a place – you probably want to experience it in a different way than I would,” said Muse. “So we’re giving people different itineraries.”
The second part of the book will be an essay anthology full of stories that will feel like magazine features, featuring people in Ottawa of all ages.
“We want to attach human faces to the first part. We want to associate people with all the places we recommend you go,” said Muse.
Muse and Ebere aren’t working alone – a team of 10 photographers and 15 writers are helping to bring the project to life.
“We’re all real Ottawa enthusiasts. When we’re all in the same room talking about how much we love this city – it’s a bit overwhelming,” she said.
Sparked in part by their success in engaging the Ottawa Instagram community, the book is also focused on photographing the city’s underrated landscapes and architecture.
“Think of a visual experience in print. That’s what the book is about,” said Muse. “We want to make this into something that will serve as a journey through Ottawa. Visuals are powerful.”
Muse and Ebere are new to book publishing, but in 2013 they co-founded an online publishing platform called Wingd that operates out of Ottawa.
They first met while attending school for Health Science at the University of Ottawa and were looking for something different from their science-based classes. They created Wingd to publish local content as well as essays on art and global affairs.
Since the project started Wingd has won a Canadian Online Publishing Award and has a volunteer writing roster of 20 members, most of them from Ottawa. The book is a way to celebrate the success of the blog and showcase the city.
Wingd is partnering with a local Ottawa publishing company called Baico Publishing Inc., who have agreed to help the project with a reduced cost.
The team is hoping to get publishing underway this summer. To cover the remaining cost of producing and publishing the book, the group is fundraising money to create the book at their website, wingd.ca/book-ottawa.
If you had to pick just 5, what are your personal favourite things to see, do and eat in Ottawa?
Both founders of Wingd said they wanted to list hundreds of Ottawa attractions, not just five. Here’s their list of essential things to do in the capital.
1) Watch a film at the Mayfair Theatre
2) Picnic on the hill overlooking the TD place stadium on Landsdowne Park
3) Eat, Eat, Eat. Ottawa has so many wonderful restaurants (i.e. Green Papaya, Crust&Crate, Fiazza Pizza, Mandarin, Oh So Good, Pure Kitchen).
4) Buy dairy-free desserts desserts from Thimblecakes - I have a dairy free diet, so this is nirvana for people on dairy free diets with a sweet tooth.
5) Watch the sunset from the Rideau Falls.
1) Museum of Nature
2) Visit the Rideau Canal both during the summer and winter
4) Light show at parliament
5) Tour Ottawa’s universities