Jim Watson Q&A

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson (Photo: Pat McGrath/The Ottawa Citizen)

Jim Watson is Ottawa’s everywhere mayor. He takes his job of representing the City of Ottawa — and appearing at events large and small — seriously.

Before beating Larry O’Brien in the 2010 mayoralty race, Watson had stints as a city councillor (1991–1997). pre-amalgamated Ottawa’s youngest mayor in history (1997-2000), CEO of the Canadian Tourism Commission and provincial Liberal cabinet minister. He took time out of his non-stop schedule to answer our Q&A.


OCS: Who are your style icons?

JW: Tommy Hilfiger, Harry Rosen and Ralph Lauren.

OCS: What’s on your bedside table?

JW: An alarm clock, reading lamp and three books.

OCS: Best home accessory?

JW: My blender (for smoothies)

OCS: Best recent fashion find?

JW: A half-price dress shirt at Tommy Hilfiger at Place D’Orleans.

OCS: Who would you invite for dinner if you could choose anyone in the world?

JW:  Nelson Mandela. I met him once for a few minutes when I was working on Parliament Hill but would like to talk to him about politics, sacrifice and the significant role he has played, not just in South Africa but as a symbol for freedom worldwide.

OCS: You can see the debut of any piece of music in history. What would it be?

JW:  John Lennon singing Imagine.

OCS: What’s your earliest memory?

JW:  As a four-year-old with my cousin tearing up fresh asphalt outside my home in Lachute and putting it in toy dump trucks and getting it all over my hands, face and clothes

OCS: Your biggest fashion faux-pas, when, where and how?

JW: At least four to five times a year, mismatching suit pants with the wrong suit jacket.

OCS: Proudest moment?

JW: My proudest moment professionally was implementing the Smoke-Free Ontario Act as minister of health promotion. I know that this law will help save lives and protect others from second-hand smoke.

OCS: Favourite piece of furniture?

JW: An antique display cabinet I bought in the ByWard Market. I now use it to hold vases, gifts and knick-knacks.

OCS: Qualities you most admire in a person?

JW: Honesty.

OCS: Describe a perfect day off (it can be anywhere in the world).

JW: Spring skiing at Whistler.

OCS: Favourite visual artist, living or dead?

JW: Philip Craig from the Glebe.

OCS: Favourite local artist (if different from above)?

JW: Andrew King from Westboro.

OCS: Best book you read in the past year?

JW: Arts and Politics: The History of the NAC by Sarah Jennings

OCS: Favourite food?

JW: Roast beef, roasted potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, peas and corn on the cob.

OCS: Most-oft-played song on your iPod or MP3 player?

JW: Good Mother by Jann Arden.

OCS: Wine, beer or both?

JW: Neither (water).

OCS: Mac or PC?


OCS: Fine dining or plain old diners?

JW: Plain old dinners

OCS: Best restaurant in Ottawa?

JW: Newport Restaurant for casual dining; Beckta dining & wine for fine dining.

OCS: Person, place or thing that makes you proudest/happiest that you live in Ottawa?

JW: The Rideau Canal, both in the winter and in the summer.

OCS: Fave blog or website?

JW: Apt613.

OCS: Twitter, Facebook or both?

JW: Both.

OCS: What’s your guilty pleasure?

JW: Dairy Queen (cookie dough Blizzard)

OCS: Favourite place to spend time?

JW: Any cottage on a summer day with friends and a barbecue.

OCS: How would you like the world to remember you? What would your eulogist ideally say?

JW: Hopefully he or she would paraphrase Lord Baden Powell’s philosophy of always leaving the campsite in better shape than you found it: “He left our country in better shape than he found it.”

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