Rising Treasure from Under the Sea



Barbara Mireault  (3rd from left) honoured with Entrepreneur  of the Year (2012) by  the Women’s Business Network of Ottawa.

Barbara Mireault
(3rd from left) honoured with Entrepreneur
of the Year (2012) by the Women’s Business Network of Ottawa.

 Above photo: Barbara Mireault (3rd from left) at the awards ceremony with members of her team. From left: Erin Andrews, Andre Joyal (Barbara), Bob Johnson, Chris Hovey and David Beausaert

Rising Treasure from Under the Sea

by Dani-Elle Dubé

The last time you strolled through the Byward market trying to decide on which restaurant would satisfy your hunger, chances are you ate at one of the several popular eateries headed by Barbara Mireault.

Sitting on the corner of York Street and William Street in Ottawa’s famous market is a seafood lover’s paradise. The Fish Market Restaurant, Coasters Seafood Grill, and Vineyards Wine Bar Bistro are three of the city’s signature specialty restaurants and Barbara is the lady responsible for the sinfully good food.

Being the 2012 recipient of the Women’s Business Network of Ottawa’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Barbara’s journey has lead her to become one of the city’s most successful business entrepreneurs.

Her journey began when she was just thirteen years old and scored her first job at a McDonalds while moonlighting as a babysitter. Coming from a big family of 12 kids, she was eager to make her own money to afford the things she wanted. From then on, she would continue working in the food and hospitality industry as a waitress in her hometown of Windsor, Ontario to help her pay for University. She holds a degree in accounting and business planning and is a certified esthetician.

“I had other things I wanted to do,” she says, “but I just kept getting pulled back to this because I love the industry.”

Barbara attributes her success to determination and perseverance. She explains, “ I didn’t come from money and I didn’t inherit a set of keys. I actually had to buy into this business. I was a girl making a feeble manager’s wage while being a single parent raising my daughter, and I had to come up with the money to buy into this.”

Thankful to those who supported her along the way, Barbara recognizes the contributions of the people that have helped her achieve her dreams, “I had family members, one in particular, who has helped me incredibly…

The previous owner, who was my previous partner in the business, also gave me the opportunity to buy in he could have went out and found anybody out there with a big thick purse, but he didn’t, he took a chance on me.”

Owning and operating a business, let alone three, is a difficult job that requires sacrifices along the way. Valuable family time and a social life were two things Barbara were often absent from. “There’s a lot of Christmas and holidays that us managers don’t get to enjoy. You just hope your family understands it and that you can try and make it up with other times.”

Another matter Barbara surrendered was her health. However, she has learned to better manager her time and is able to continue her role as a professional weight lifter, a hobby that many people are not aware that Barbara takes part in.

Barbara is a single mother of one, a daughter who is now 25 and follows in the footsteps of her mother as an entrepreneur in the field of nutrition. Describing her daughter as her best friend, Barbara often worried about the role she played in her daughter’s life but was reassured of her success. “I asked her, ‘Did you ever miss me or feel my absence?’ and it took her a second to say ‘I can’t remember an event you weren’t at, or a night you didn’t tuck me in, or a morning you didn’t take me to school,’ I somehow did it.” Now being all grown up, Barbara looks forward to her daughter’s wedding in January.

The future of Barbara’s businesses is wide open. The busy businesswoman is always looking for new professional opportunities and often thinks of expanding her businesses beyond the Byward Market.

Women looking to start their own business can take a page from Barbara’s book. Her advice, “Find something that you love… and be passionate about it. Keep the balance (between family and work) and find time for yourself.”

Barbara wears many hats; mother, daughter, sister, friend, and business owner. It may be difficult to juggle many roles at once, but she has found her balance. What makes her successful is not the fact that she is the owner of two successful restaurants and a wine bar in downtown Ottawa, it is her drive, character, values, and attitude that makes her a woman to look up to and a role model for all women.


Category: FOOD & DRINK, Other