From Ottawa’s Main Street to TV’s Schitt’s Creek, Annie Murphy has come a long way from her beloved hometown! But the Canadian actress, 31, remains close to her roots in the capital city, from where her husband – Hollerado frontman Menno Versteeg – also hails and which her family still calls home.
Here the TV star dishes her favourite local hot spots and must-see places to visit on your next trip to Ottawa, all with the loveable whimsy that’s made her a fan favourite on the hit comedy series. Consider this your insider’s guide to Ottawa with Annie Murphy leading your tour .
Favourite brunch spot
Head to Elgin Street Diner (374 Elgin St., open 24 hours), where I spent my prom night crying into a delicious poutine. Yummy, greasy diner food for your saturated body and soul.
Or pick up a bunch of sesame bagels and some dill cream cheese from Kettleman’s Bagel Co. (912 Bank St.), a.k.a. the best bagels west of Montreal.
Favourite treats to pick up from the ByWard Market
Take your friends to Le Moulin de Provence and order the Obama Cookie. This cookie shot to superstardom when a certain Barack Obama visited the bakery, ate the cookie (then probably just called “The Regular ol’ Maple Leaf-Shaped Cookie That Says ‘Canada’ On It”) and exclaimed, “I love this country.” Follow in his footsteps! Escape the madness! Eat what he ate! Love this country!
Best summer patio
If you’re looking for food and drinks and fresh air and a very gorgeous, very Ottawa view, you should head to Tavern on the Hill (1223 Alexandra Bridge). It overlooks the Parliament Buildings, the Fairmont Château Laurier, the Ottawa River, the National Gallery of Canada and people making you jealous by having fun on their boats. But that’s okay! Because on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings there’s live jazz, so you can feel real fancy, too.
Best artisanal coffee shops
Fiending coffee? Equator Coffee Westboro (412 Churchill Ave N.) is organic, fair trade and locally roasted, and The Ministry of Coffee (1013 Wellington St W.) in Hintonburg has both coffee AND beautiful, shiny, solid bike posts close by to strap Old Faithful to.
Favourite date-night spot
In high school, I’d go on double-dates with my three best friends to Light of India (730 Bank St.) at least once a month. The food was delicious and there were small, beaded lampshades on each table, which we would remove and wear on our heads as hats.
If Indian food and making hats out of things that aren’t hats doesn’t sound like the perfect date night, packing a picnic dinner and heading to one of the many beautiful spots along the Ottawa River is also fun and romantic (but sadly lacking in beaded lampshades).
Best place to take a friend who’s visiting Ottawa for the first time
If your friend likes jukeboxes, cozy vibes and burgers that make you go “THIS IS GOOD!” while accidentally drooling a bit, take them to Chez Lucien (137 Murray St.) in the ByWard Market. On top of the good vibe, good music and good food, they insist that your burger comes with both fries and salad, so you can eat the 15-20 fries you were craving while also feeling proud of your very, very healthy life choices.
Coolest night spots in Ottawa
…I had to ask a friend to help me out with this question, shhh. He suggested Riviera (62 Sparks St.). The name is written in cursive, the cocktails look fancy and delicious, they have oysters, and the pictures of the food make everything look very, very edible. And Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market (325 Dalhousie St.), a trendy-looking hotel that cool influential people probably stay at, with a rooftop patio called Copper Spirits and Sights that offers up a very gorgeous view of the city.
Your favourite neighbourhoods
Ok, I maaaay be a little biased as I grew up here, but Old Ottawa South /The Glebe are by far my neighbourhoods of choice. Divided by the Rideau Canal, the two hoods are easily walkable in 40 minutes or so and are full of awesome little restaurants, shops and bars. And babies and dogs. And my parents, who are often wandering around running errands and being adorable.
Best hot spots only locals know about
If there is one piece of life-altering information I can share with you, it’s this: whatever you do, no matter what, even if you’re only in Ottawa for one tiny hour, GO TO COLONNADE PIZZA (280 Metcalfe St.). I’ve eaten an embarrassing amount of pizza in my lifetime, and this is. By far. My favourite. Pizza. In. The. Entire. World. There’s no doubt in my mind that a pizza from Colonnade Pizza would be my last meal request. So, please, do us both a favour and go.
Runners up include: Sherwood Market & Deli (111 Sherwood Dr.), for the chicken bacon avocado sandwich on thick challah bread with secret sauce. DiRienzo Grocery & Deli (111 Beech St.) has sandwiches the size of your face and homemade pasta, and Quinn’s (1070 Bank St.), a tiny wood-paneled pub with good food and very good vibes.
Best place to watch the Ottawa Senators play
Let’s be honest, the BEST place to watch a Sens game is from a box seat at the Canadian Tire Centre (1000 Palladium Dr.) that your rich and well-connected aunt hooked you up with. If, like me, you are sadly lacking in rich, well-connected, sports-obsessed aunts, I’d suggest heading to any number of small pubs you’ll find scattered across the city.
If you’re thinking to yourself “Man, I could really use some beautiful flowers, and a 25-minute drive to a small town where the beautiful old mill is haunted by a ghost named Anne,” have I got a florist for you! Mill Street Florist in Manotick, Ont. (just outside of Ottawa, and where my husband grew up!) is a pretty little shop just minutes away from an old haunted mill. Say hi to Anne for me, and tell her we should definitely do lunch sometime soon – it’s been too long.
Favourite local art galleries
Cube Gallery (1285 Wellington St. W.) is a beautiful gallery for contemporary art, and of course, we can’t ignore the National Gallery of Canada (380 Sussex Dr.). The beautiful National Gallery is home to a lot of incredible works of art and exhibitions that leave me both inspired and depressed about my astonishing lack of artistic talent. I once danced through this ol’ gallery at midnight wearing a stranger’s wedding dress to the sounds of a live orchestra, but that’s a story for another time. Plus, there’s an over-30-foot spider named Maman standing guard outside, so please go do some gawking.
Best way to spend the day in Ottawa
Ok, we’ve been over this. You need to get yourself to Colonnade Pizza immediately. When you’re done eating the best pizza in the world, take a walk down Bank Street all the way to the Parliament Buildings, have a peek at the Centennial Flame, and then check out the gorgeous view.
Best way to get around town
Biking all the way, baybee! Ottawa isn’t too sprawling, so you can check out a lot of it in a day on your bike. If you’re not one of those people that owns and travels with a bike, you can rent a VeloGO bike and rip around on that. Ottawa has a ton of really lovely bike paths, so you can cruise along the Rideau Canal or through the Central Experimental Farm (960 Carling Ave.) without having to dodge cars and their opening doors.
Best trails to take a hike
The bike paths I just mentioned are also jogger/walker/dawdler-friendly, but if you’re looking for some dirt under your feet, and outdoor birds and animals going “eeeeeeeeeee” from the trees, head to Gatineau Park, which is just a 15-minute drive from downtown Ottawa. The park is full of beautiful lakes and trails my 16-year-old-self wandered while wistfully daydreaming about my hot and heavy hypothetical relationship with Josh Hartnett (circa Pearl Harbour).
Best family-night-out spots
My mum and dad and my in-laws still live in/around Ottawa, so we’re home a few times a year to visit. On the very, very rare occasion my family convinces me not to eat Colonnade Pizza for every meal, we head to either The Green Door (198 Main St.), a very yummy cafeteria-style vegetarian restaurant, or the Siam Kitchen (1050 Bank St.), VERY delish Thai food. Then we walk over to Mayfair Theatre (1074 Bank St.) in Old Ottawa South – it’s a really beautiful and old one-room independent theatre that shows movies that have recently left theatres AND rad older movies that you forgot you loved.
Best shops for vintage finds
Some people don’t love the idea of wearing clothes that have been worn and lived in by others. I am not one of those people. Vintage all the way, baby! The breaking-in has already been done, the clothes have lived lives you’ll never know about – what’s not to like? Head to Bellwethers Vintage (9 Florence St.) or Darling Vintage (502 Somerset St. W.) for well-curated collections, or to Ragtime (43 Flora St.) for some treasure hunting.
Best jewellery shops
There’s an annual rummage sale at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church (95 Somerset St. W.) that can offer up some pretty awesome finds if you’re having a lucky day. If that one weekend a year isn’t the most convenient time to try to find some jewellery, head to Magpie (430 Richmond Rd.).
Remember that music video that Carly Rae Jepsen put out in 2015 for her single I Really Like You, starring Tom Hanks in a leading lip-synching role?
Toronto band Little Junior certainly does, so much so that they painstakingly remade the video, frame-for-frame.
Sure, the budget was nowhere near that of Jepsen’s, and Schitt’s Creek’s Annie Murphy acts as a stand-in for Tom Hanks (in a rather disturbing mask, mind you), but somehow this video seems far more joyful than the original.
Filmed in one hectic twenty-hour day at The Brandscape studio on Dupont, director Max Parr helped the band piece the video together with more than a little help from their friends (keep your eyes peeled for cameos from fellow musicians such as members of July Talk and Hollerado).
Bonus: all the money made from the song and video will be donated to Youth Line, a youth-led organization providing peer support to the city’s LGBTQ2 community.
“We had to figure out how “shot-for-shot” we could really get it,” said Parr.
“We wouldn’t be able to find city streets in Toronto identical to the ones used in the original video, and we weren’t going to be able to get as many extras.”
“I knew we were going to have to lean in the opposite direction of reality and fully swede the video. This meant shooting everything inside and making all of the city streets and buildings out of foam and cardboard. I’ve worked on a number of ambitious art-heavy videos, but this one was next level.”
Sweding, a term coined by director Michel Gondry, means “to remake something from scratch using whatever you can get your hands on”.
This video does just that, as charming hand-painted set pieces and props take the place of the original New York City locations.
“The band spent many late nights with Marty (MacPherson) in a little garage, building and painting set pieces. Basically while one scene was shot, stuff was being built and painted for the next shot,” said Little Junior fronter Rane Elliott-Armstrong, who dressed in Carly drag for the video.
High fives are in order for Murphy, who sported the prosthetics, courtesy of The Butcher Shop FX, for 18 hours and truly embodied Hanks’ rather awkward performance.
“In the original video Tom Hanks doesn’t fully nail the lip-syncing of the song, so Annie broke down all of his lip movements PHONETICALLY, so she could sync up perfectly with Tom’s performance and not the track,” said Parr.
“After being caked up with Tom’s face, we realized that the articulation of her mouth was very limited and not entirely capable of the complex mouth choreography she had been practicing.”
“That said, I think it still worked out amazing and her limp mouth just adds to the eeriness of her Tom,” said Parr. “We were all convinced her face would no longer be there when the make-up came off.”
“She absolutely slayed her performance, there’s a side-by-side version floating around YouTube and it’s uncanny how similar they are!” said Elliot-Armstrong.
The video has many easter eggs moments, including Parr in the video as one of the Tinder matches, and the book on the bedside table in the opening shot being changed from “The Manly Art of Knitting” to “The Art of Sweding”. And yes, Jepsen’s seen the video.
“(She) saw the video and said she liked it. We screamed when we heard that,” said Elliott-Armstrong. “We are huge fans of Carly Rae, we play her music in our van constantly.”
There’s no knowing how many times Parr and the production team watched the Jepsen version to truly nail the remake, but all that work certainly paid off.
“I’m afraid that every video I make from now on will just unintentionally end up being a remake of CRJ’s “I Really Like You” because it’s the only thing I see now when I close my eyes,” said Parr.
What a finale!! This week’s episode (which was season 4’s finale) was phenomenal. I can’t wait for season 5. I can’t wait, I can’t wait! I’ve added HD screencaps and missing stills. I will work on adding all the missing extras from season 4 soon as well as any missing Schitt’s Creek images to the gallery. Enjoy!
Q: I’m 22 years old and—yikes!—still a super virgin. I’ve tried dating through apps and have had no success because everyone seems to be looking for an “instant gratification” that I can’t give them. I feel so behind the curve. How do I date when everyone I meet expects to have sex right away? Should I feel badly for being a virgin when my peers are sexually active?
Well, hello and welcome.
Here is my short answer: No, no, NO. You should absolutely, positively not feel badly for being a virgin at ANY age.
Here is my long answer:
If this big, beautiful, overpopulated world can offer us one scrap of comfort, it’s this: the likelihood of you being the only person to experience, well, anything, is very, very unlikely. Therefore, I would put a large amount of money on the fact that when it comes to being a virgin later in the game, you are not alone!
Losing the oooool’ V-card (ugh, I’m sorry) means different things to different people. There are people who make mixtapes comprising mostly of Goo Goo Dolls and Enya, and wait and wait and wait for a rainy day when their parents aren’t home, then slap on some fairy lights and invite their longtime boyfriend over for “the big event.” (Why are you looking at me like that; that’s not MY story. OK it was me.) Then there are people, like one of my best friends, who just wanted to get it over with, so they had sex with one of their friends in a bathroom at IHOP. (Don’t worry, I’ve been assured that bathroom was one of the “bigger, cleaner ones.”)
If you’re one of those people who want to wait for a really special person to lose your virginity to in a really special way (which is great), do that. I know that in today’s world of Tinder/Grindr/Whatevr-style instant gratification, it can feel like all people are looking for is someone to have sex with RIGHT NOW BEFORE THEY JIZZ A HOLE IN THEIR PANTS. While this may be the case with some, there are also lots of people out there who are looking for something slower-paced and meaningful. Something that will ruin fewer pants. If you don’t mind waiting a little longer, I have a lot of faith that the right person will come along, and they’ll understand and appreciate where you’re at.
But if you’re one of those people that juuuuuust would rather. get. that. virginity out of the way (which is also great), do that. Maybe—like my friend—you have a person in your life that you’d feel comfortable having your first time with. Call ’em up! Tell them the sitch! If you’re both cool and comfy with said sitch, have a drink! Do the sex! Have a laugh! Or maybe you meet someone online that you vibe with. Go on a date! Tell them the sitch! If you’re both cool and comfy with said sitch, go on another date! Do the sex!
If none of this applies to you, and you’re totally happy being a virgin (which is also also great), stick with that. There are lots of fun, sexy things to do that don’t have to involve losing your virginity. Laser tag and handjobs, for example. Sally Jesse Raphael reruns and going down on each other. Sitting next to an untouched Scrabble board and touching each other’s boobs while listening to Shania Twain. The possibilities are endless!
Maybe NONE of this applies to you and you’re totally happy being a virgin who doesn’t engage in any sexual activity (which is ALSO GREAT), so do that. What’s important is that you’re being true to yourself and not being pressured to do anything you’re not comfortable with. Anyone making you feel otherwise can go for a long trot off a tiny diving board, as the saying goes.
Goo Goo Dolls and IHOP aside, the main point I’m trying to make is, don’t worry about being “normal.” Go at your own pace. Be honest about your virginity. Let things happen on your own terms. Losing your virginity doesn’t have to be “special” in the sense that you should spend 10 years crocheting a blanket upon which you shall be deflowered, but it certainly should be special in the sense that you are in control of, and comfortable with the situation when it happens. Go forth!!
Ew, David! The journey of Alexis Rose has unfolded in fascinating ways over the past four seasons of Schitt’s Creek, with the sassy materialistic heiress not only leaving her billionaire past behind, but downright thriving in her new boondock town. She’s finally a high-school graduate at the ripe age of 30, running her own one-woman public relations business, and all while serving such chic bohemian lewks! Ahead of the Schitt’s Creek season finale, which airs Wednesday night on Pop, Vulture hopped on the phone with actress Annie Murphy to discuss how she landed the role of Alexis, what it’s like to play around with Catherine O’Hara’s fabulous wigs, and the inspiration behind that great vocal fry accent.
I feel like Schitt’s Creek mania has swept across the U.S. over the past few months!
It’s so cool to watch it start snowballing. People are still coming out of the woodwork who haven’t heard about it. All of a sudden they binge it over a weekend, and they’re in. Keep bingeing, everyone!
I heard that you auditioned for Stevie because Abby Elliott, Chris Elliott’s real-life daughter, played Alexis in the original pilot. In those early stages, were you like, Jeez, this show is just a cesspool for nepotism?
[Laughs.] Abby did play Alexis in the pilot, and she was in the video of the pilot they sent around initially. But then she ended up booking something else and wasn’t available to play Alexis anymore. Thank God, let me just say. I auditioned for Alexis and I got a call from Dan [Levy] after my first audition, asking me to also audition for Stevie. So I ended up testing for both of those ladies, and it was super fun to be able to play different characters. But as soon as I met Emily [Hampshire, who plays Stevie], I was like, Why on earth would these people entertain the idea of anyone else playing this part? She blows it out of the water. I think a part of it was, I was a brunette when I auditioned. And Eugene was having a really, really hard time wrapping his head around the fact that Alexis is blonde and Annie Murphy is brunette. He couldn’t quite get there, so Dan had to tape pictures of blonde hair on my picture. It finally got through to him, thank goodness.
In an alternate universe, how do you think your Stevie would’ve compared to Emily Hampshire’s Stevie?
I couldn’t pull off that deadpan like Emily does, so who knows? Let’s not even think about this, girl! I don’t want to live in a world where Emily doesn’t play Stevie!
Your accent work is the highlight of the show for me. Was there an evolution of how you perfected it, and did you study anyone’s voice in particular?
Ah, that nasty old vocal fry. I couldn’t bring myself to watch full episodes of things, so I watched a lot of YouTube clips of certain reality shows about certain rich famous people. I popped my eyelids open with toothpicks and watched and watched and watched. It’s a level of comedy where it’s so beautifully unnatural and I had to bring that fry to the character. Alexis certainly has a voice and a tone to her. For the first couple of weeks every season, I end up bringing it home with me. I’ll talk to my husband, Can you turn the heat down? I’m cold! Luckily, it fades after two weeks and my husband is thrilled when it finally stops. This is the first role I’ve done where it’s a significant departure of me in real life, so it’s fun to strap on fancy shoes and a made-up face and be Alexis.
Did Catherine model her accent after someone as well?
There are a couple of people, friends of friends, who she’s met over the years at parties that had their particular way of speaking. But I’m not naming names! It’s so magical to watch her draw a one syllable out into five- or six-syllable word. It’s an art form.
Most importantly: Have you gotten to play around with all of her wigs?
I’m desperate to. Dan and I are drooling most of the time over those wigs. On occasion, we’ve maybe gone into the hair and makeup trailer and did a bit of a wig fashion show. Only a couple of times! Maybe Catherine doesn’t need to know about this. The wigs are just so much fun, and it’s hard to keep our grubby little paws off them.
Is there a quota on the amount of times you have to say “David” per episode?
It’s become a bit of an epidemic in the script. [Laughs.] In season two and three, it really started hitting its stride. It’s written in the script like, You’re gonna do this anyway, but we might as well just write in on paper. Sprinkling it in is similar to saying like all the time. It’s a crutch at this point.
Speaking of David, how would you define the sibling dynamic between the two?
David and Alexis, although they would never, ever admit it, are best friends. They’ve formed such an incredible bond. Before they lived in the motel, they were on other ends of the earth most of the time with their fake friends, and this situation in the motel really formed a bond between them. They’re more similar than it seems and they care a lot more for each other than they let on. Even though they fight and bicker like an old married couple, they’re a proper brother and sister and always there for each other. It’s been such fun to play with Dan. I met him at the audition for the show, but it always felt like we’ve known each other for too long. Years and years and decades and centuries. Being able to bring the dynamic that we have in real life to the set has been so much fun.
Alexis’s slow transformation from a spoiled, bitter brat to a ambitious professional has also been lovely to see unfold. Was there a particular moment when this switch occurred?
I think it was when she had her heart broken for the very first time. With Mutt and Ted — what a lucky, lucky girl with those two — she’s come into this situation having broken a lot of hearts and not really caring about it. She never truly cared for another person before, or being in the position of not having what she wants. Having your first heartbreak is so significant and she’s having it at the age of 30, just after graduating high school. [Laughs.] I’m so proud of the way she deals with it, because we all know how nasty it can be.
Do you see this new Alexis as her true personality now, or do you think she’ll revert back to her old ways?
Irresponsible Alexis is never going anywhere! Let’s not kid ourselves. But I do think having this newfound independence and confidence is really appealing to her and she’s having a lot of fun being a bossy-boots and running her own business. I don’t think that drive isn’t going anywhere, but the old Alexis is still very much alive and well.
Have the writers explained why the show is always set during the summer? I feel there would be so many hijinks to mine during a Schitt’s Creek winter.
Have you painted yourself a vivid picture of what shooting in Canada is like in the middle of winter?
It could be … fun?
Not at all. It’s pretty damn bleak. [Laughs.] Also, the town in Ontario that we shoot is blossoming this time of year. The trees are turning green and the skies are blue and the air is fresh. There’s this bakery on the corners of an intersection where we shoot, and they have the best butter tarts. You don’t know what butter tarts are, you’re American! Think of the most delicious dessert from heaven. So we go to the bakery and we stand around outside in the sun, as opposed to crying tears of ice in the cold. That’s why we shoot in the summer. And also because we’re big babies.
At this point, if the Roses were to suddenly be reunited with their money, do you think they would leave the town?
This is only speculation, because if I give anything away, Dan will drop a bunch of locusts into my bedroom while I sleep. But I think Moira, no matter how comfortable she becomes in the town and no matter who she befriends, will get the fuck out of there tomorrow. In a heartbeat. Right now, she’d leave no matter what. Johnny will go with her because he’s such an adorable and loving husband. The kids have found their first true friends and true love, but still, both of them have this inherent worldly and travel-y wild side to them. I’m in the dark as much as you are. All I know for sure is that Moira would get the fuck out of there.
What would she do without her wigs?
She can fly them out when she misses them, wherever she is, whatever island she’s on, whatever part of Paris she’s in. She’ll find a way, don’t worry.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
I’ve added HD screencaps from this week’s episode of Schitt’s Creek. What a great episode it was! I can’t wait for next week’s episode. This season is fantastic. Enjoy the photos.
I’ve added a bunch of missing photos of Annie from Schitt’s Creek from seasons 1 – 4, including HD screencaps from the most recent episode. I’ve also added higher quality replacements of a recent photo session of Annie. Thanks to my friend Claudia for the North Vancouver magazine scan. Enjoy!
Schitt’s Creek: 04×10 – Stills
Schitt’s Creek: 03×12 – Stills
Schitt’s Creek: 02×13 – Stills
Schitt’s Creek: 02×01 – Stills
Schitt’s Creek: 01×01 – Stills
Schitt’s Creek: Promotional Images
Schitt’s Creek: Posters
Schitt’s Creek: Promotional Graphics
2017: North Vancouver Magazine
I’ve added HD screencaps to tonight’s episode of Schitt’s Creek. What a FANTASTIC episode! Enjoy.
“Schitt’s Creek” actress Annie Murphy was also a late-joiner, but says she’s made “great strides” online, thanks to help from co-star Daniel Levy. “Great strides. I think before the show, I had tweeted maybe three times and now look at me!” Murphy jokes. “Sometimes I retweet things twice a week!” “I’ve also, over the course of four seasons, been like, ‘Hey, you want to live tweet maybe tonight because the show is on? I don’t know? Could help.’ You’ve shown up. You’ve shown up,” says Levy. “Flourishing social media presence!” Murphy found social media “overwhelming.” “I think I just got quite overwhelmed by the constant bombardment of information and not necessarily information that I wanted to absorb,” she admits. “But it’s unavoidable.” Season four of “Schitt’s Creek” premiered Jan. 24 on the Pop Network in the U.S.