Heart of Orléans BIA

The Interview: Catherine Kitts

Welcome to the new councilor for Cumberland Ward, Catherine Kitts! We caught up with her recently between her many duties with the Ottawa City Council. Enjoy her responses to The Interview.

What do you love most about the Heart of Orléans?

As a lifelong east end resident, the Heart of Orléans holds a very special place in my heart. I had my elementary school graduation party in the basement of Delicious. I went on my first high school date to the former Cineplex. I celebrated my 2018 Election Night at Stray Dog Brewery. Among the big milestones have been many instances of great services received, great meals shared and great shopping trips made. St-Joseph Boulevard has been the site of many of my special memories, and I’m excited for the ones to come.

What makes the Heart of Orléans the perfect spot to locate a business?

We are so fortunate to belong to such a vibrant and supportive community. With Phase 2 of the LRT coming into Orléans, it’s going to be transformational for the east end. As the first suburb to get light rail, the Heart of Orléans has a lot of potential for renewed investment. The Heart of Orléans will also benefit from increased pedestrian traffic once the new east end LRT stations are functional. 

What do you think the most important issue facing the Heart of Orléans is?

With the city’s ongoing Orléans Corridor Secondary Plan Study, there will be an added focus on economic growth, residential intensification, affordable housing opportunities and new green spaces for the Heart of Orléans. Change can be hard, but I hope our community will embrace the immense potential we are being afforded.

Name a new type of business you would like to see in the Heart of Orléans.

I would love to see a locally owned coffee / bakery / breakfast café come to the area. My spouse and I spent a few months living in a small town called Altrincham in Manchester, England. We had a daily routine of strolling to one of the many unique cafés to sit on the patio (when it wasn’t raining!) and start our day with a pair of Americanos. 

What do you think the Heart of Orléans will look like in 2045?

I think it will look very different than it does today! My hope is to see mixed-use properties (businesses on the bottom, residential on top), thriving local shops, lots of pedestrian traffic, cycling lanes and improved landscaping.

Which two BIA businesses do you love and why?

It’s impossible to pick just two! 

I would like to highlight the Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre and the Community Compassion Centre for their tireless work looking after the needs of others, particularly through this challenging pandemic. Thank you to all front-line workers – our community is stronger because of you. 

What Inspires you?

When I read this question, I immediately thought of the life of my grandmaman. Born before women had the right to vote in Canada, she never held a position of influence or even learned to drive a car. But, the values to “love thy neighbour” and be devoted to your community that she instilled in her family have reverberated through generations. I think everybody, no matter your circumstances, can make a difference in the lives of others and can choose to lead by example. I know she would be very proud to know that the legacy of kindness and compassion that she left behind continues to inspire her youngest granddaughter today.

Who (living or departed) do you admire most and why?

Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand. I really admire her style of leadership. She has led New Zealand through difficult years with grace. I have modeled my own political mantra around this quote of hers:

“I really rebel against this idea that politics has to be a place full of ego, where you’re constantly focused on scoring hits against one another. Yes, we need a robust democracy, but you can be strong, and you can be kind.” 

What’s the most interesting thing about you that we wouldn’t learn from this interview alone?

I’m a total foodie and happiest when enjoying a snack with loved ones at a local eatery. I also love to cook for my family, but for some reason I haven’t had a lot of spare time for that lately … 

If someone narrated your life, who would you want to be the narrator?

I know everyone always says Morgan Freeman, but … Morgan Freeman. 

What else would you like us to know? 

I’d just like to reiterate how grateful I am to the entire community for supporting me in my journey to city hall. I do not take the responsibility lightly and am so honoured to have the opportunity to represent east end residents at the council table.