Category Archives: Entrepreneurial Features

Friday Entrepreneurial Feature- Vanessa Dewson

We would like to extend a warm welcome to Vanessa Dewson as our Featured Entrepreneur for this Friday!  Check out what Vanessa has to offer below…..

Vanessa Dewson is a professional portrait and wedding photographer, as well as a graphic designer. Living and breathing visual creativity and transforming what she sees into art is her passion. This includes capturing amazing and fleeting moments in her clients’ lives: a mother-to-be’s awe and wonder at the life growing in her belly; a curled up, precious newborn; a smiling, curious babe; a rambunctious toddler; a child’s growing wisdom and individuality; and all the intricate relationships of a family. Children grow up much too quickly, so whether it’s to remember the sweetness of a time when the world is a wonderful new place or the excitement of watching them begin to spread their wings, or even ensuring that special bond between a grandparent and a child is captured, photographs preserve our history like nothing else and can evoke such strong emotions linked to memory. Although most people own a digital camera, seeing your child or your family through the eyes of a professional photographer will not only ensure you all look your very best, it also allows the parent who is normally behind the lens to actually participate in the memory making instead of capturing it. Even if YOU don’t like to be in photographs, your children will cherish them! 
Vanessa also offers custom framing and gallery wraps (images printed on canvas and stretched on a frame like a painting). She encourages you to think beyond the pixels and the 8x10s by getting photographs off the computer and creating artwork for your walls. Make professional photography a part of your lives, plan and budget for it, and you will soon realize just how priceless the results are. Visit to view her portfolio and for more information on pricing or contact Vanessa directly at or 613-859-9584 . You can even set up a free in-home consultation that includes pre-planning a shoot (choice of clothing, colours and location) so the end result is artwork that suits your home décor.


Friday Feature- Mathieu Fleury

I would like to welcome Mathieu Fleury, our Friday Feature.  Mathieu is currently running for Ottawa Council and would love to share with you his platform and a little bit about himself. 

About Mathieu Fleury


Mathieu Fleury was born and raised in Ottawa.  He grew up in the Sandy Hill and Lowertown where he attended both elementary and post-secondary school. As the only child, Mathieu learned to become an active member in his community at a young age.  He was involved in many sports including hockey, baseball, and swimming. He attended camps at Le Patro d’Ottawa and learned to excel in swimming at the Lowertown Pool, where he later became a certified lifeguard for the City of Ottawa. Mathieu soon realized that it was not only important to know your community, but to serve it as well. He has volunteered for the Sandy Hill Minor Hockey Association and Plant Recreation Centre and has over 10 years of work experience with the City of Ottawa in department of parks and recreation specifically in aquatics, children and family programming.

Mathieu currently holds a B.Sc. in Human Kinetics and a M.HK. in Sports Management from the University of Ottawa. His work experience includes organizations such as Diving Canada, Volleyball Canada and as well as the Office of Minister of State for Sport where he was in involved in sports policy and the 2010 Winter Olympic Games project. Mathieu has also volunteered for Baseball Canada’s Women National Baseball Team during the 2008 World Cup in Japan and as well as Canadian Olympic Committee during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Overall, his commitment in life is to lead by example and in helping others to embark on healthier, more active lives through both physical activity and improved nutrition.

Mathieu’s life work experience and qualifications includes lifesaving and aquatics, coach, mentor, instructor, community service, and city program operations and strategies.

Why Am I Running for Ottawa City Council (Rideau-Vanier Ward)?

Ottawa needs civic leaders who are active, dedicated, honest, and open to bringing new ideas to the community and city. I am such a person, one who is willing to help build on the very strong foundations of our communities and to engage in dialogue that will lead to making good and meaningful decisions for the future of Rideau-Vanier ward and the city at large.


My vision for Ottawa incorporates leadership and new ideas. I believe in being a part of the community, as well as serving it. I want to help foster growth, maintain safety, protect our environment and provide quality services and programs in order to help keep Rideau-Vanier community as the best place in Ottawa to live and to raise a family.

Most importantly, I believe we need to keep our communities healthy and diverse. We need to protect the services that are important to families, seniors and our children. We need safe streets, a strong local business environment and a municipal government that works in the best interests of its residents and addresses the needs of its citizens.

So on October 25th, I invite you to join me at the polls and to vote for change even if you don’t live in the Rideau-Vanier ward. Only through active participation in democracy can we ensure that government is reflecting the will of the people.

For more information on how you can get involved visit, send an e-mail to or call 613-600-VOTE (8683). Mathieu is always open to hear your ideas, thoughts and comments.

Home Inspections in Ottawa

I would like to welcome Ottawa Realtor Christiane Lafleur, our Friday Entrepreneurial Feature.  Christiane is an ambitious, hard working real estate professional who approaches her business with the same energy that she does her life. Christiane offers her clients a unique experience; one that is centered on their needs. Her bilingualism, real estate experience, superb negotiating skills, dedication to her job and clients, flexibility, and honest enable her to provide the level of service that her clients deserve.  Christiane is equipped with an easy-going attitude and a sense of humour, she goes above and beyond the call of duty for her clients.  She provide buyers and sellers with a positive, stress-free, and successful real estate experience. 

Little Lotus Yoga extends a warm welcome to Christiane Lafleur! Please see her blog post below…..

I would like to share with you a question that a client asked me last week regarding home inspections in Ottawa. Below you’ll find her email to me which is actually quite a commonly asked question – I thought I’d share since many of you may be asking yourself the same thing!?

Hi Christiane, I was talking to a friend about the process of buying a house and she mentioned that a house inspection is ALWAYS done after an offer is presented. Is this ALWAYS the case or can a buyer request an inspection before putting in an offer? Is this something you have seen before? And, is it NOT OK to go that route? Just thought I’d ask someone who may know the answer! Your help is much appreciated!

To be completely honest, in my opinion, it is best to do a home inspection in Ottawa BEFORE you put in an offer – many buyers get emotionally attached to their new potential home once the offer is negotiated and may pay less attention to issues if they arise during the inspection due to their emotional attachment.  Now having said that it is not very common for Buyers to proceed that way – the majority negotiate their terms, secure the home and THEN perform their home inspection. 

In today’s Sellers market many buyers are choosing to bring an inspector with them during their showing to avoid that condition alltogether when presenting their offer to the Seller. Since many offers are now in competition; bringing forward an offer with the least amount of conditions possible works in your best interest.  Overall it really depends on the Buyer, their motivation and the process they wish to take when Purchasing a home.

In my opinion if you are aware of issues with a certain home before putting in the offer it would be in your best interest to it BEFORE. You could save yourself a lot of time – yes it’s 400$ out of your pocket before you even know if you have the house; but at least you’d know what you were getting yourself into.

I’m always pleased to answer any questions in regards to home inspections in Ottawa or any other real estate related matters. For more detailed information about the Selling and Buying process feel free to visit my website anytime

Follow Christiane on twitter & facebook

Your Soul Matters, Oh Yes It Does!

I would like to welcome Sue Fay from Soul Matters, our Friday Entrepreneurial Feature.  Soul Matters is located in Old Ottawa South at Bank & Sunnyside. I invite you to visit this true gem of a store the next time you are in the area. There is a wonderful array of children & adult books, teas, incense, gems, music & much more! A great compliment to the wellness therapies and events they offer.

The philosophy of Soul Matters is to encourage “wellness from within”.  We are here to help “awaken the senses, soothe the spirit, inspire the soul and educate the heart”.

Soul Matters is more than a boutique, it is a place of community that offers its customers the opportunity to either begin or continue on their journey of self- awakening and inner happiness. As we journey within, it is also important to look outside ourselves and become more aware of our local, national and global effect. With this in mind, we offer products that are eco-conscious and fair trade. Our collection ranges from tree-free greeting cards, fair trade wisdom banners and Numi tea to Respecterre bamboo clothing, crystal healing jewellery and Zen Alarm Clocks.   We carry  product lines that are handmade here in Canada as well as imports from fair trade companies around the world.

A unique feature of Soul Matters is the team of healing practitioners who visit our boutique to offer services such as Personal Life Coaching, Registered Massage Therapy, Medical Massage, CranioSacral Therapy, Reflexology, Nutritional Counselling, Reiki, Clairvoyance and Mediumship, Energy Healing, Intuitive Counseling and Mentorship. 

At Soul Matters we also have monthly workshops and seminars that help educate, and inspire the community to learn new skills or challenge old habits on their journey.  We also have Soul Circle Café run by Diane Merpaw, which brings together a community of like-minded individuals which opens up a forum for them to be able to discuss relevant issues in what is considered to be the “New Age”.  We can discuss the latest book on Metaphysics, Health & Wellness or have a guest speaker – it is all designed around being interactive to generate participation and learning.  Soul Matters continues to lead and offer unique and alternative solutions to all levels of the communities health and wellness, regardless of age.  If you are making in a decision making process of how to choose the direction in your life, Soul Matters is there to either offer guidance, support or resources.

Please feel free to visit our website at which has our calendar of events or drop in at 1093 Bank St. (corner of Bank & Sunnyside), Ottawa, Ontario K1S 3X4

Purposeful Walking! Nordic Walking is For All

As part of our new Friday Entrepreneurial Feature I would like to introduce Anna Ekstrandh from Outstride. Anna is a leading fitness professional in the world of nordic walking. I highly recommend you check out one of Anna’s classes in the Ottawa area. Read on to learn about the benefits of nordic walking and how using a simple piece of equipment such as poles can increase your workout efficiency.

 Have you also noticed more and more people around the city walking with poles?  Are you intrigued? So was I a few years ago. Everyone in my family, back home in Sweden, was training by walking with poles. I got my sister to take me for a short walk around the block and I was hooked right away. I came back to Ottawa, found an instructor course in Vermont and got certified. The rest is history! 

If you are a walker that have found that you are not getting as much out of your walks anymore or a frustrated runner, with injuries coming and going, then Nordic Walking might just be for you. 

By adding poles to your workout, you are all of a sudden using your entire body to propel yourself, while when running and walking, you are only using your legs. Add the poles to the equation and you will train your upper body muscles, work on core and posture, burn more calories and also remove sharp impact from your joints. This is truly a full body workout! 

Ottawa is such a wonderful place for outdoor exercise. It is really invigorating to get out of the house, get in tune with the seasons, enjoy fresh air, build up your vitamin D stores, all while getting a good workout. And at the same time as Nordic Walking can be a great workout, it can also be very contemplative. The upper body movement creates a wonderful rhythm, which can be the foundation for a very meditative walk. 

All you need to Nordic Walk is a good pair of shoes and a specific pair of poles. I strongly recommend a fixed length pole with a strap, which is what the original Nordic Walkers in Europe are using. In addition to that an introductory class with a certified instructor will get you going. Nordic Walking isn’t rocket science, but in order to gain all the amazing benefits I always recommend walking with an instructor. 

Weekly classes and introductory workshops are available at many community centres around the city. You can find me at Dovercourt, Old Ottawa South, the Glebe (GNAG) and Pinecrest recreation centre. As a National Coach for a world wide association I also provide personal training and instructors courses. If you are looking for poles, I have extensive experience of fitting poles for different body types and needs. Outstride also carries a full line of poles in all sizes. 

Anna Ekstrandh

INWA National Coach

Outstride's Enthusiastic Nordic Walkers