This Issue |
By Dayanti Karunaratne
When a pattern starts emerging in an issue, an editor can’t but ponder its significance. This issue, as stories were submitted about our feature homes, we noticed that most people, when asked to choose a favourite piece in their home, pointed to their dining table. In Westboro, an eating area was designed around the dimensions and colours of a locally made table — among the few pieces brought from their former home (“Green Dream”, page 52). In Little Italy, the first “adult” piece of furniture bought by Holly and Julia has been brought to a beautifully renovated row house, as Holly and daughter Addison embark on a new phase of life (“A Fresh Start”, page 44). And in the Glebe, a unique handcrafted table that was gifted to the homeowners upon their departure from Senegal serves as a concrete reminder of their years in the foreign service (“Retirement as Renewal”, page 22).
Interestingly, all three were brought from previous homes. While these stories celebrate creation and change, there are always difficult moments — the art that won’t fit in the new condo, the farewell to a family home that holds so many memories — that naturally include removal, dismantling, and other hard parts of moving house. I like to think that having the same table to gather around softened the transitions for those families.
Pondering further, I think on the table from my childhood, which was bought in Colombo, Sri Lanka, over 40 years ago. When my father found himself a widower with two young children, he decided to forge a new life in New Zealand. At the time, Future Shock was making waves, and my dad bought into the central tenet of the 1970 book by Alvin and Heidi Toffler: society was experiencing “too much change in too short a period of time,” resulting in a negative effect on our well-being. Disposable goods, the transient nature of jobs (and the friends and community that come with those changes), and the general “death of permanence” were all on his mind as he decided to pack up that teak dining set. Nearly five feet in diameter, with chairs to match, the table was damaged by salt water when the shipping container broke en route to New Zealand, but my father was undeterred, repairing the table and reupholstering the chairs. After my mother came into the picture and the decision was made to relocate to Canada, the table once again came with, a tangible object that offered permanence amid change. It was the setting for books and meals throughout my young life in London, Ontario, and was shipped again to British Columbia when my parents relocated there some 20 years ago. I like to think that my family’s philosophy is one that welcomes change and does not become overly attached to material objects — but we must also be kind to ourselves. Like the tables celebrated in this issue, it continues to offer welcome stability in a fast-paced world.
Speaking of moving, Ottawa Magazine recently relocated to City Centre. We didn’t need as much space and are finding the fun in being in closer quarters. (Art director Jeff Eustace is the reigning Hangman champ.) We’ll still be close to our Chinatown haunts but are having a blast exploring this nook of the city. Coming Up: Our Best Restaurants issue takes a neighbourly approach with a roundup of over 20 go-to restaurants. Whether you want to know the best place to eat in your neck of the woods or enjoy the adventure of exploring the city through its restaurants, our Winter issue has you covered. We’ll also bring you ideas for winter getaways, chat about the #MeToo movement with a former Playboy Bunny, and cook up a cannabis-infused meal fit for a king.