Chantal is an entrepreneur, makeup artist, blogger, small business consultant, and locavore. Her two blogs, The O’ Valley and Me So Pritti keep her engaged in the community and in-the-know about the latest events and store openings.

My name is Chantal. I moved to Ottawa almost eight years ago from Toronto – I came here for school. I went to the University of Ottawa because it was in French, and I went to French elementary school and French high school in Toronto. I’ve always had a knack for marketing, so now I’m doing communications for the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. It’s been a huge learning experience, and I really love my job. I love what I do and why we’re doing it; it’s all about women’s health and international women’s health, and it’s just nice to be a part of something real with a purpose.

I like to shop, and I like to cook a lot. I’m not a baker, but I like to cook and invent stuff. I like experimenting with my garden – that was a fun challenge this year. It was the first time that I really dove into it and used it. I watch the Food Network religiously. Eventually I’ll have my own cooking show.

What’s kept you in Ottawa?

I’ve pretty much stayed in Ottawa because I met someone. We got married a year and a half ago, and we just bought a house… so I guess my home is Ottawa now! 

Really, coming from Toronto, I found Ottawa very quiet without much to do. But then I thought, well, maybe I have to be a part of the change. You have to get out there and do something, so I started blogging. I had to learn about the city, and what better way to do it? So I do a lot of restaurant reviews, collect information about things that are coming up on the weekend, what there is to see and do. It’s really created a sense of community for me.

I really like supporting small businesses, and my blog helps me do that. I work in Old Ottawa South, so you really get to experience that small-business feel. I guess it’s because my dad has a small business in Toronto in an area that has that same community feeling. I really want to support local businesses because that’s what makes a city seem so unique, and not just copied and pasted.

I think my goal with this is just to express the attitude that “if you don’t like something, you can’t just complain about it!” You have to do something, and be a part of change. I had a friend who moved with me for school, but she really hated it here. She laid low and didn’t really indulge in what this city had to offer her. She finished school and left. I feel like I’ve had a completely different experience. I really want to support local businesses, I want to know what’s going on and tell people what’s going on. I’m really happy with my blog and where it’s going for that reason. I have a pretty strong presence on Urban Spoon, and that really helps me support local restaurants. I try to help populate the listings and choices. I want to highlight places that are small and up-and-coming.

We did your photos at the Bank Street Bridge – why is that a meaningful place to you?

I really have a thing for Old Ottawa South, so I thought of the bridge right after Lansdowne Park. I work nearby, I bought a house nearby, and I love all of the little stores down there. I skate a lot on the canal in winter. It really represents me in Ottawa.

Thanks, Chantal! Chantal writes two blogs: The O’ Valley, in which she outlines things to do and see in the Ottawa area, and Me So Pritti, which is a scrapbook of her interests. She’s also a professional makeup artist – you can check out her services and portfolio at Me2Morph. And as if she didn’t have enough going on, Chantal recently founded her own small business consulting group, Concetto Consulting.