fashion’s coming out(aouais) party

It’s a bit too much like one of those old jokes about our city.

Did you hear about Ottawa Fashion Week?

It’s three days long and takes place in Gatineau.


Downtown Ottawa during Ottawa Fashion Week

I well remember greeting a Lonely Planet contributor some years ago, to aid the UK-based intrepid travel-writer with her understanding of our nation’s capital. Her first question to me: “Is it true the nightlife of Ottawa is in Hull?”

Au contraire, I huffed. Those days are long gone. We’ve now got great live music venues like Barrymore’s and The Cave and The Liquid Monkey and The Underground and Perfect Strangers and The Whipping Post and, well, I could go on. Plus, there are great dance clubs like Atomic and The Well, all-ages venues like Two Steps Above and even our own dance troupe: Le Groupe Dance Lab. So don’t go saying Ottawa has no nightlife; all of these will be with us for a while.

Okay, so names and venues change. And we won’t talk about Barrymore’s. But there’s something disturbingly old school about moving an Ottawa thing (other than federal government offices, of course) across the river.

The website skirts the issue by citing the host city as Gatineau-Ottawa. But, curiously, it’s not being billed as Gatineau-Ottawa Fashion Week. Much less Gatineau Fashion Week.

That may be for the best. For one thing, one wouldn’t want Pauline Marois to get word of any new designs that feature religious symbols as part of their accessories. And under the circumstances, I do hope there are some.

There are, at least, local designers represented. From Ottawa, no less. So there’s that.

Ottawa train

Arriving for Ottawa Fashion Week by train

The venue is the Casino du Lac-Leamy. (Presumably, once Ottawa gets those casinos flowing, fashion can return to Ottawa.) The casino, the website helpfully tells us, “is only five minutes from Ottawa, the nation’s capital.” That’s good news for attendees that might want to take a side-trip to Ottawa during Ottawa Fashion Week. “The Ottawa, Canada hotel is also only 15 minutes from the Ottawa train station,” it also says here. Ottawa has a hotel? My how we’ve grown! Perhaps it’s that hotel that was once across the street from the Ottawa train station.

Of course, in those days, Ottawa’s nightlife was mostly in Hull.

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