According to Zainab N-Muse, the initial idea for Wingd.ca was born from classroom boredom but also, from a lack of millennial and Ottawa-relevant content online.
In an interview with Ottawa Tourism, N-Muse explained that herself and Wingd co-founder David Ebere were bored in class one day and were searching various things online to keep themselves occupied. She noted that they realized that there was lots of content available about celebrities etc., but not a lot of content that spoke to young Ottawans. “So we thought, ‘Okay, why don’t we do that?’,” she said. “Let’s create a platform where people can just share things that they’re passionate about.” N-Muse added that herself and Ebere wanted a platform for the younger Ottawa community to share pieces on the arts, photography, travel, fashion and more. “So that was three years ago and that’s how we started it,” she said.
For N-Muse, one of the best things about Ottawa is that it’s a big city with a small town feel. She noted that it’s common to run into the same group of people at different events, as the Ottawa community is “close-knit.” “Everyone comes together to appreciate Ottawa,” she said. “People that live here really appreciate the city.” She added however that as Canada’s Capital, Ottawa is “malleable.” “It can be a small town for people who like small towns or it can be a big city for people who like big cities,” N-Muse said. “You get the best of both worlds.”
In terms of one of her favourite spots in the city, N-Muse said that Lansdowne and the Glebe area are worth a visit. In particular, she noted that the Hill at Lansdowne is a great spot to relax. Located just beside the new TD Place Stadium, the Hill, which is marked by a “Moving Surfaces” sculpture, overlooks Lansdowne’s Great Lawn. “You can actually see into the stadium,” N-Muse said. “You can have a picnic there. It’s absolutely beautiful.”
For more adventurous Ottawa visitors, N-Muse also recommends visiting the Lusk Cave. Located south-west of Philippe Lake in the luscious Gatineau Park, this popular cave is located towards the end of a 12 kilometre (7.5 mile) hiking trail. According to the National Capital Commission (NCC), the Lusk Cave, which you can actually go through, was formed 11,000 years ago. “The Lusk Cave is such a beautiful natural wonder that I think everyone should go to,” N-Muse said. She added that when people visit Ottawa, they should seek to venture “off the beaten path.”
N-Muse also noted that the old Prince of Wales Bridge is another great place to visit in the city. This bridge, she said, crosses the Ottawa River and though it is heavily photographed, many people forget to take in the spectacular view of Ottawa that it provides. “The view is what makes this place unique,” N-Muse said. “It’s very pretty.” No longer in use, this railway bridge was built in 1880.
In terms of her favourite season in Ottawa, N-Muse told Ottawa Tourism that it was the fall. She noted that the beautiful leaves and the good weather make it the perfect time of year to be outside. N-Muse said that the fall is a great time to visit Gatineau Park. “It’s stunning,” she said.
Want to know more about what you should see in Ottawa and about some of the city’s hidden gems? N-Muse and the team at Wingd have you covered.
This fall, N-Muse said Wingd will be releasing a book that’s all about Ottawa. She noted that the book, entitled An Insider’s Guide to Canada’s Capital, will focus on photography and on Ottawa’s more creative side. “I once heard somewhere that Ottawa is an uncreative city and that it doesn’t have a lot of creative people,” she said. “So that was the [creative idea] behind the book – squashing that negative review of the city.”
According to N-Muse, the new book will cover various travel elements from culture, to nature, to the culinary scene, to adventure and more. She added however that the book will also highlight Ottawa’s interesting everyday people such as artists, professors, mothers and even skateboarders. “We have all of these different people put together and basically, they tell their stories,” she said. “So [readers] can see the types of people that are in Ottawa and kind of get a sense of what the city’s like.” N-Muse said the book is a result of people coming together – 24 writers and photographers – who really love the city and who wanted to create something different about Ottawa.
N-Muse noted that the book’s release is scheduled for the first week of September, ahead of the One Young World Summit in Ottawa (from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, 2016). She added that the book will be available for purchase in a few Ottawa bookstores and it is currently available for pre-order on the Wingd website.