From her passion for languages to her love for British Period Dramas and marathon running, CTV Ottawa Multi-Skilled Journalist Leah Larocque offers insights into her life beyond the camera lens and reveals her aspirations for 2024.
You grew up in Ottawa. What are some of your favourite memories of the city?
I am so proud to be from Ottawa. I grew up in Kanata, and was a pretty busy kid. I was able to walk everywhere and had such a great network around me. I loved walking home from school and being able to jump into sports, piano lessons, or just using my imagination in the backyard with my sister or friends. Of course, one of my fondest memories was when the Senators made their run for the cup in 2007. I hopped on my bike and rode to the Coral Centre, or what’s now the Canadian Tire Centre, just to take in the excitement- horns honking, fans cheering- it was amazing to see the community support our team!
Who was your favourite journalist from CTV news when you were growing up?
News was always around me growing up- paper, radio, television. I admire so many female journalists who really carved a path for me, and all the other women who work in this industry. Joanne Schurr was one of the best reporters Ottawa has ever seen. She has a passion for local news, doesn’t care about the noise and distractions around her, and always does things right. When I got the opportunity to work with Joanne, I learned so much. I truly believe I am where I am today because of women like Joanne. Strong female journalists in the industry like Katie Griffin and Annie Bergeron-Oliver are proving that women can have it all, and we owe a debt of gratitude to Joanne for being a trailblazer!
When was the moment you first realized you wanted to be a journalist?
Tough to say. Many people always told me I’d do well in this industry, but I was determined to set my own path. After I graduated from Queens with an undergraduate degree, I worked in communications for the Ottawa Senators. Through this experience I realized I wanted to be the one in the community telling the stories.
What are two of the most memorable stories you’ve covered during your career?
I have always had a passion for sports and look for opportunities to take on sports stories any chance I get. When Ottawa hosted the World Curling Championships I had the opportunity to do some pretty unique stories, putting a local twist on them. Interviewing the curlers’ families, as well as some young curlers from Sweden is an experience I’ll never forget, and a story I feel very privileged to have told. I also have a passion for city hall reporting. It is the level of government that affects residents the most. It is the heart of local news. Covering local stories such as the LRT inquiry, and the Fallow highlighted just how important City Hall’s decisions are. I feel very lucky to be able to bring these important stories to residents on a daily basis.
As a well renowned multi-skilled journalist, what has been one of the biggest challenges in your career?
Definitely when our newsroom made the shift from reporting to multi-skilled journalists. I quickly had to learn to report, shoot, write, and edit my stories for TV, radio, web, all over the course of just one day. New technology was thrown at me and I had to adapt and learn. It was a challenge to balance all these new technologies and demands, while still being true to the essence of reporting.
Outside of work, you are also an avid Marathoner! Tell us about how you got into this, and your advice for those who may be interested in trying out marathons?
I began running track in high school, and was on the varsity team at Queen’s. I was also on the varsity cross-country team. It was a way for me to be competitive, be fit, and balance a busy school load. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my teammates and teams – it truly helped shape the woman I am today. I’m lucky enough to have met my husband through running, and some of my longest and strongest friendships started through running. Now, running is a passion, a stress reliever and a way to stay social. I have raced in so many cool places, New York, Boston, and even Morocco! I always said I would never run a marathon and now I have done seven! My advice for anyone wanting to run a marathon is to be smart. It truly is a long journey. You have to start small, plan, and take it one day at a time. The best form of accountability is to find a training buddy. And of course, listen to your body!
What are three big goals of yours for 2024 (or resolutions!)?
Now that we have talked about it, I need to freshen up my Spanish! I’d also love to be able to read more. Finally, I just finished my fall racing season a few weeks ago. I’ll definitely have some running goals, but I’ll have to think a bit more about what these goals will be.