Ottawa is a relatively small town and if you are what they call ‘old Ottawa’ , you know what I mean. With my ancestors going back to Bytown days (1830’s and 40’s), the names are all very familiar. It is no wonder I love working for a family-owned business, as I grew up in one. We are a tough lot. Resilient and hard working!
So it is fitting that we all celebrate when one of the family businesses does good! While the Lord Elgin and our sister hotel, the Metcalfe Hotel remain closed during this time of COVID, we are thrilled that the Carleton Suite Hotel & Residences (yes, you can now live there) is now open for business. We can finally get back to what we know and do best, welcoming our guests and making them feel at home. It feel SO good to be back in the saddle. Gives us all a sense of purpose and hope!
This pandemic is ‘testing our metal’, our resilience, particularly, as it stretches on. I have been listening to a number of podcasts on Stoicism – an ancient philosophy that highlights courage, wisdom, temperance, strength. In particular, a book called The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius provide some wonderful sage advice.
So we march forth and know that we will all get through this as long as we work together! We are so fortunate to have resilient folks in our tourism industry in Ottawa and in our individual hotels, the Lord Elgin Hotel, The Metcalfe Hotel and the Carleton Suite Hotel. They are all dedicated to not just survive, but to thrive during this time. A huge heartfelt thanks goes out to all of them for helping us re-open our doors and warmly welcome you back!! It gives us all hope, which we need!
Today, June 29th, would typically mark the beginning of an extremely busy week in our hotel. With Canada Day just two days away, we would be in super busy prep mode getting everything ready for the big day. The check-list is reviewed over, staffing is beefed up, supplies are counted and recounted to be sure we have enough. Staff are outfitted in red t-shirts and caps. We are all revved up and ready!
Starting days prior to Canada Day, tourists coming from near and far are checking in with all the necessities for the big celebration. The entrance to the hotel is buzzing with excitement. The anticipation in palpable. Everyone loves the energy. The valets are running back and forth to the garage. Luggage carts go up to the floors and we follow to try to keep up with the demand for them in the lobby. All hands are on deck to help.
We are blessed with one of the very best locations in Ottawa for this special day. Being on the ceremonial route, the day starts with the changing of the guard marching up to the hill, right in front of the hotel, as it does every day from the end of June to the end of August; a tradition we never tire of watching. The street is closed to traffic and the parade of people continues all day and into the evening. We love it!
Confederation Park, is a buzz as the Jazz Festival has free performances all day!
Our patios are buzzing with people. Starbucks cannot open their doors early enough for the early birds coming to get their morning Joe on the way to the festivities. Our Grill 41 patio is serving breakfast and is busy as soon as the doors open at 6:30am.
Given our location, many locals, as well as our guests, come in to cool off and rest for a bit in our air conditioned lobby. Given the heat we often experience on Canada Day, our location is perfect for that. Our guests venture out for a while, come back in to rest and cool off and then head back out for the big finale – the fireworks that caps off this day!
This year, we will have none of these festivities. The entertainment and excitement has moved online where you can take in virtual performances and celebrations. Not your typical Canada Day!! Our hotel sadly remains closed. The tourists are just not coming this year due to COVID-19. It will be year like no other is our long history – almost 80 years.
So next year, when we do in fact celebrate 80 years and hopefully we have climbed our way out of this pandemic, we will celebrate like we have not done in some time. It will be likely as big or bigger in the hearts of Canadians, as our 150th was.
We at the Lord Elgin are a resilient lot. We have been through a lot and are a hard working, dedicated and committed team. We will survive and thrive and while we are not together, we all join in the desire to welcome you back!!! We sure miss the excitement you bring to us on this day and every day.
Happy Canada Day all!!!!