Dr. Alayne Main is a busy family physician in Ottawa’s west end, but her commitment to the community she serves continues even when she leaves her practice at the end of the day. Not only does she work with her patients and their families to care for their personal and mental health, but she founded Draggin’ Docs in 2008, a group of over two dozen female doctors who participate annually in the Tim Horton’s Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival.
Not only do they compete, but Draggin’ Docs has been the top fundraising team – out of almost 200 – for the past seven years, raising significant money for dozens of Ottawa charities, and Dr. Main commits extra time as a member of the Dragon Boat Foundation Board of Directors. For her commitment to care in all its forms – health and philanthropic – Dr. Alayne Main is one of #150GreatPeople in Ottawa. Here, she answers the questionnaire:
What makes Ottawa special to you?
I never thought that I would fall in love with Ottawa. I am from Windsor, the most American City in Canada, where my family reads the Detroit Free Press every day and they still talk about the weather in Fahrenheit! I have been living here, in the most Canadian City of Canada, since 2001, and what is most special to me is the fierce Canadian pride that I have developed as a result of being surrounded by so many proud Canadians. And I can’t believe that I have developed a huge love of WINTER! Windsor is almost tropical in comparison, where there are 6 extra weeks of summer on either end of ours. But Ottawa does winter soooo well – the most special month of the year for me is February, when the Rideau Canal Skateway and Winterlude are absolutely MAGIC!
What do you love most about living and working in Ottawa?
Ottawa has been a wonderful city for my husband and I to raise our family. It is safe, clean, and there are so many activities, museums, theaters, events, green spaces and waterfront for young families to be active and do things together. It is a big small town with the added flavour of interesting people from all over the world, who sometimes just pass through and sometimes stay. I love that Ottawa has a great downtown, many successful sports teams and great concerts. And I love how the wild wilderness of both Ontario and Quebec is so accessible. I have travelled extensively, including 4 years on a sailboat circumnavigating the globe through 42 countries, and 2 years of living in gorgeous Switzerland. Yet at the end of all that, I feel this city is a true gem – this is a really beautiful part of the world. Working as a doctor in Ottawa has been very rewarding as well. My colleagues, staff and patients are so kind and always appreciative of every little thing. And they feel like I do – that we are all so lucky to live here!
The work that you do helps to make Ottawa a better place – why is this important to you?
My work as a family doctor is important, but equally important is the example I set in the community. I encourage all people to work hard, to be reasonable, open, inclusive and kind to each other, to take care of both their physical and mental health, to set goals and push themselves towards what they really want, and to find ways to give to those who need our help. As a family doctor, both professionally and personally, people look to me for guidance and I feel it’s important for me to be a leader in healthy living, making good choices and living a meaningful and diverse life.
You give back to the Ottawa community in various ways – is there one Ottawa-related achievement of which you are most proud?
I am most proud of being the founder of the Draggin’ Docs, which began in 2008. We are an Ottawa team of 28 female physicians who compete annually in the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival every June at Mooney’s Bay. This wonderful group of women have been the top fundraising team for the past 7 years – the top team out of up to 200 teams! The Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation supports many important Ottawa charities, and I am also very proud to be on the Board of Directors. This year we celebrated Canada 150 by hosting the first ever Ice Dragon Boat Festival in North America. And we were incredibly proud that Rick Mercer featured this event on his show in February, by joining our Draggin’ Docs team for a day!
What do you hope for Ottawa in the future?
I hope that Ottawa continues to be an attractive place for hi tech and other businesses, and for their families to come and live. I also hope Ottawa continues to provide its current high standard of medical care. And I really hope more and more people in Ottawa will join the Draggin’ Docs in giving to our wonderful Ottawa charities!