HOK #120: Meet Brigitte Pellerin

A self-taken photo of a woman with a painting in the background.
Brigitte Pellerin. Photo courtesy of Brigitte Pellerin.

“I grew up in the suburbs of Quebec City, and I was there for almost 30 years, and then I spent a couple of years working in Montreal. When I moved to Ottawa in late 2000, I started living straight in Kitchissippi ward, and I’ve been here except for the two and a half years when I was an exile in Nepean. 

At the moment, I am the editor of publications for the Canadian Bar Association. I am responsible for all our publications; I write a number of articles for our national magazine. I have a law degree, and, while I’ve never practiced as a lawyer, I’ve always been interested in law not as a practical thing, but as a theoretical thing. I’ve also been working with the Ottawa Citizen for almost 20 years now as a freelance opinion writer on and off, and I’ve been there fairly regularly for about two years. It keeps me in touch with the community and allows me to sometimes vent a little bit. I love being able to uplift and showcase people doing great things in our area. 

I published a book in April 2021 about the year I spent driving for Uber. It was published in French and has been doing well. I think it hit a nerve because a lot of people are interested in that type of story. There is a long story attached to it, but it was following a difficult separation. Not having worked professionally for a while because I was homeschooling my three children for 12 years, I needed some kind of job that came with some flexibility. It was interesting; it doesn’t pay much, however, it allows you to get to know the people who live in your city. I also have a few other book ideas on the go. 

Something many people don’t know about me is [that] I am a two-time karate world champion. In 2017 and 2018, I won in point fighting and won gold. I’m retired now but I did karate for about 17 years — most of that time at a dojo in Westboro. I had one of my daughters who also competed with me and qualified twice for the world championships. We went to Ireland, we went to the US, so it’s something that not just let me push my limits, but go through that experience with one of my kids and it was a great bonding experience. 

I Iive in Westboro, and I absolutely love this neighbourhood because everything is so walkable; you have access to shopping and stores, and you see people out and about walking even when it’s cold, and we are crazy and go outside anyways. I like to go for a jog around the Experimental Farm, and I always go at the same time and see the same people, and we are all friends now.”

Story collected by Charlie Senack.

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