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Pages from Ottawa in Colour, image from their website.

CONTEST: Ottawa, now in colouring book form

By Mer Weinhold on August 24, 2016


Mer Weinhold is an Ottawa-dwelling writer, editor, book reviewer, and costuming enthusiast. You can follow them on Twitter.

We’re having a colouring contest!  Read on to find out how you can win a copy of Ottawa in Colour.

If you’ve been in a bookstore recently, you may have noticed that colouring books are popular right now. Rather than featuring farm animals, princesses, and trucks, these are meant for older audiences. Personally, I can highly recommend getting together with a few friends and a lot of coloured pencils or markers to hang out and make some cool art.


Image from the Ottawa In Colour website.

Foliage, abstract patterns, and large designs with small details are common themes, but what if you want something localized? For Ottawans, there’s now a chance to paint the town any colours you like.

Jason Cobill found the nation’s capital underrepresented in the available city-themed colouring books, and decided to fix this problem by creating Ottawa in Colour.

“I saw books featuring New York and Tokyo, and I told my friend who was with me ‘Someone needs to make an Ottawa colouring book!’ then the fireworks went off in my brain, and I shouted ‘WE need to make an Ottawa colouring book!’”

Pages from Ottawa in Colour, image from their website.

Pages from Ottawa in Colour, image from their website.

Armed with the concept, Cobill found a colleague to help make it a reality.

“Maxime Gauthier-Kwan and I work together. He has the business brains and I’m the creative direction, so all we needed were the artists. From the outset we wanted to feature as many local artists as we could. The final book has 32 pages drawn by 22 artists, including myself.”

Cobill was excited to work with artists with a variety of styles. With contributors from all over the city, many different subjects are represented — artists drew whatever they loved about Ottawa. The only iconic scene you won’t find is Parliament Hill, which was specifically off-limits to avoid an entire book of just the Hill. To name just a few of the artists:

Darren Bird is a cartoon animator, Adam Tupper does comic books, Colin White and Cindi Foreman are members of a notable local urban sketch group. Emilie Darlington draws these amazing, super-detailed mandalas, big swirly patterns. I’m a huge fan of her Tulip Festival drawing. Emma Cochrane and Katie Sheedy drew tranquil urban scenes that will be familiar to people who grew up here.”

Some specific locations will also be quite recognizable. Jordan Richer chose the Elgin Street Diner, which was enthusiastic about being included.

“I drew a picture of the Elgin Street Diner, a regular haunt from when I first started hanging out downtown as a teen. To me, you can’t say “Ottawa” without the ESD, so I wanted them included.”

Cobill adds, “We called them up and asked for permission to use them in the book, and they were ecstatic. Pretty sure Jordan is set up for poutines for life.”

Other artists set themselves the challenge of capturing whole neighbourhoods on just one page.

“Joel Grunerud drew a really lively Chinatown complete with a dragon dancer, and just down the street Dan Asencio drew Wellington West like it’s almost dancing off the page.”

Grunerud got involved in the project early on:

“Ottawa in Colour showed up in my Facebook feed during the early stages, so I contacted them and told them that 1) I made a colouring book a few years ago called Postcards from the Space Farm and 2) I live in Chinatown. They suggested that I do a page including the Chinatown gate, which is actually impossible to draw. I tried to convey its jumbly magical awesomeness and wound up only able to cram in about 1/4 as much awesome as I would have liked. The stretch of Somerset from the bridge to Bay Street is just loaded with hidden treasures.”

If you’ve always wanted to beautify the city, try designing your own colour scheme with a copy of Ottawa in Colour.


You can win a copy of the colouring book! Print off and colour in the above Apt613 page [click here to download a PDF version], then share a picture of your finished piece with on Twitter or Instagram by September 25th to enter the draw.  Be sure to tag @apt613 @ottawaincolour and #colourthe613 to be entered in the draw.

Ottawa in Colour is available online, or at many bricks-and-mortar stores: Boogie + Birdie, The Village Quire, The Papery, Wallack’s, JV Studios, The Crazy Moose, or any Chapters, Coles, or Indigo in Ottawa.