I began Storyline after a lifestyle change to Ottawa from Toronto and here is my story.
I was working for a big brand company in Toronto for almost ten years. Although I loved my job and the unique culture of the organization, I was realizing my quality of life was suffering. I was beginning to resent the 2 plus hours I spent in my car travelling to and from – despite the fact that I was living relatively close to the office. The impersonal facade of Toronto started to take its toll. I began to question everything and my spirit was slowly being eroded.
When my best friend, who was going through a personal dilemma as well, asked me to pack my bags and go on a weekend adventure with her, I didn’t hesitate. We had no destination in mind and started driving east. Time flew by quickly in the car. After getting caught up on our lives as only best friends can – we looked up and saw the sign to Ottawa and instinctively took the exit.
Next stop – the Château Laurier. I instantly fell in love with the city and throughout the entire weekend, I kept remarking about how I was going to retire in Ottawa some day. We began to confide in each other about the frustrations we were experiencing in our lives… and every now and again, I interjected my retirement plans. After a few too many martini’s, and listening to my girlfriend’s predicament, I told her that it was high time she take more risks in life. She just simply turned the mirror around and asked “If you love Ottawa so much – What are you waiting for?” Without skipping a beat – I responded with “You’re absolutely right”.
The next thing I knew – I was informing my friends and family about my plans for a “lifestyle change” and started doing my research. I began to look for a place to live, hired a moving truck and handed in my resignation to an organization that had been like family to me. Gusty? – Perhaps. Much needed – Definitely.
I spent the first few months discovering the Gatineau Hills behind a camera lens and soaking up the wonderful culture – absorbing as much of the city that I could possibly drink in. It was very rejuvenating and cleansing for my soul and was instantly happier spiritually. I haven’t looked back since and have no regrets.
Shortly after my move, Storyline was born – a labour of love that took ingenuity to get off the ground… it meant brushing up on my high school French, networking, meeting new people, finding communications and PR circles and getting connected. Something that doesn’t happen overnight, but I was finally content personally and was confident that with a lot of hard work and persistence – it would pay off… and it has. I have met some wonderful clients, friends and colleagues over the years who have been very loyal. Ottawa was exactly the breathe of fresh air I was looking for and I am thankful that I had fortitude to follow my own advice – “Sometimes, you just have to take a few risks in life”.
To this day, several years later, my friends all ask me when I am moving back to Toronto and why I love Ottawa so much – and I simply respond by saying, “because my drycleaner smiles and waves at me when I walk by”.