How Ottawa (de)tours started

In early 2013, we had an idea for a business that is: always inspiring and empowering; physical and tangible, not simply virtual; sustainable; philanthropic, and unique. Ottawa (de)tours was incorporated federally in early 2014.

The name

The bracketed “(de)” plays with concepts of deconstruction and deviation from the norm. Our walking tours help people think critically about the past, the present and the future.

What we do

Whether you’re a first time visitor to Ottawa or a local, we will offer you a unique place-based experience.

Our walking tours offer individuals a chance to delve into issues of national importance.

Guides lead groups of up to 8 along a 1.5 hours walk through the local hotspots related to the tour’s theme. This offers a chance to learn and (re)think.

Then, over lunch, dinner, picnics, or potlucks, guests can continue the conversation and get to know each other better.

What we believe:

• We believe people should get to know their cities, their neighbourhoods, and their neighbours if they want to know where they came from and where they are going

• We believe learning to “read” a city is fascinating and that what’s not out there tells you almost as much as what’s out there

• We believe everybody has a bias and that that is quite alright. Our seminar guides believe in disclosing their biases; they will tell you plainly what their side of the narrative contains, where it fits in with the predominant narrative, and what other currents of thought exist on the issue

• We believe power relations are everywhere, and that the powers that be usually form the official narrative around any issue. We also believe there are many narratives around topics as complex as the ones we showcase, and that that plurality of knowledge is important

• We believe people are creatures drawn to narratives – stories are the most powerful learning tool; we want to use it for good as our guests dream and imagine what can be

• We believe people’s lived experiences are more valuable than the most insightful of books; we are constantly amazing and inspired by the iconography of central Ottawa, and the depth and expertise among its citizens

• We believe stories need to be shared before they are lost. We have amazing stories among us – if we have ears to hear

• We believe people have to use technology to their advantage (hint: book their walking tours online), but that they must come live in the physical world

 Our local partners:

bridgeheadlogoBridgehead Coffee: www.bridgehead.ca – Thank you for the shelter and the coffee!

hub_logoHub Ottawa: www.ottawa.the-hub.net – Thank you for the inspiration and support!

r2flogo – Roots2Fruits: http://www.roots2fruits.ca – Thank you for helping us reclaim our connection to nature!