Ottawa Magazine

Out for Lunch

Want the picnic brought to you? Call Spread Delivers

- — Sarah Brown

Best known for her corporate breakfasts and lunches, delivered via bike courier, Julie Harrison of Spread Delivers has parlayed her expertise into a thriving “picnic boutique.” Hers is a travelling canteen, with a team from 2 Wheels Ahead Courier showing up at parks around town to drop off her gourmet picnic lunches between May and September. Her clientele? Office workers, stroller moms, and romantic dates. All you have to do is place an order by 5 p.m. the day before, then wait at your designated picnic spot for lunch to show up.

How did you get the idea to offer picnics? Summer is short. I’d see everyone outside on a nice day, but by the time you’ve lined up for food, there’s hardly any time left to hang out. I started thinking about all of Ottawa’s green spaces and how people would love it if they could just show up at the park and have lunch delivered. I began offering picnics in the park to a few of my corporate clients, and it spread from there through word of mouth.

Why do you think the picnic-inthe-park idea has taken off so quickly? There’s so much appeal to lounging in the grass — a middle-of-the-workday picnic is cooler than anything!

Are picnic dates a thing? They are. We even had a picnic proposal a couple of summers ago. It’s a great way to impress a date — you look pretty good when your picnic rolls into the park!

How do your bike couriers find the picnickers? They’re used to searching out picnickers — so, for instance, you might tell us that you’ll be at Lansdowne Park at noon by the water feature and you’ll be wearing a blue T-shirt and a Blue Jays cap. The courier will find you. As a last resort, they have your cell number, so they can give you a quick call.

What’s the key to a good picnic? Keep it not too messy and not too fussy. Picnics should be simple and easy to eat.

Top picnic spots around town? Our top three delivery spots are Lansdowne Park, the waterfront at the Canadian Museum of History, and the Museum of Nature. Dow’s Lake is pretty popular, and we get quite a few calls for Major’s Hill and Vincent Massey parks.

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