In early 2013, we had an idea for a business that would be sustainable, inspiring, empowering, and that would exist in physical space.
Ottawa (de)tours Inc. was incorporated federally in early 2014.
If you're curious about our name, the bracketed “(de)” is our nod to deconstruction and deviation from the norm. Our walking tours help people think critically about the past, the present, and the future.
Here's our ideology
• We believe people should get to know their cities, their neighbourhoods, and their neighbours if they want to know where they come from and where they are going.
• We believe learning to “read” a city is important; what’s not out there tells you almost as much as what is.
• We believe everybody has a way of viewing the world and that's normal and very fine. Our guides believe in disclosing their preferred beliefs; they will tell you plainly what their side of the narrative is, where it fits in predominant storyline, and what other currents of thought exist on the particular topic.
• We believe power relations are everywhere, and that those in power usually form the official stance around any issue. We believe there are many narratives around topics as complex as the ones we showcase, and that those stories need to be told if we are to understand what's going on.
• We believe people are creatures drawn to narratives – stories are one of our most powerful learning tools. Ottawa (de)tours wants to use these stories for good, allowing those who walk with us to dream and imagine what can be.
• We believe people’s lived experiences are more valuable than the most insightful of books; we are constantly amazed and inspired by the iconography of central Ottawa, and the depth of experience and expertise among the folks who live here.
• We believe stories need to be shared before they are lost. We have amazing stories among us; we just have to have ears to hear them.
Since 2013 we’ve been showing the different faces of Ottawa through our thoughtful theme-based walking tours led by expert guides.
(de)tours is one of Dan's favourite projects. He's constantly amazed that (de)tours became a thing, and he's proud to continue to slowly build on it each year.
Susan is passionate about the transformative power of stories, and how they help us better understand each other and our communities.
Want to work with us?
We are always looking for our next tour -- we all know there are enough amazing topics out there! Here's what we typically look for, but by all means don't hesitate if you have a potential collaboration opportunity in mind.
Develop a tour
Every year we solicit the development of new (de)tours on any of the areas below: arts, culture, democracy, economics, finance, health, human rights, international affairs, journalism, media, militarism, peace-building, public institutions, the press, religion, security, or anything that fits with Ottawa’s downtown and which may be relevant for a great discussion. Deadline: rolling basis, so apply when you come across us or have a good idea: we are always getting ready for next season!
Volunteers & interns
We are always looking for passionate people to help us grow. If that's you, please get in touch.
User experience testing
We test out a couple new (de)tours each season. If you want to join us for free in exchange for your thoughts on the experience, please get in touch.
Get in touch
If you have any other questions, want to partner on a project you think would be up our alley, or just want to chat, use the form below.