• Students build on Youth Futures success

    Ottawa – Today the City of Ottawa, the University of Ottawa and Ottawa Community Housing recognized the accomplishments of 50 students from the Youth Futures program at a graduation ceremony held at the University of Ottawa.

    The students participated in an exciting bilingual 15-week program offering leadership training, summer employment and post-secondary workshops. The program provided a taste of campus life for low-income students from families who have never attended college or university.

    “I am very proud of the dedication, drive and hard work shown by this year’s Youth Futuresgraduates,” said Deputy Mayor Steve Desroches and Chair of Ottawa Community Housing. “The City is proud to support this exceptional program as a part of the Housing and Homelessness Investment plan approved earlier this year.”

    Family and friends joined the graduates at the ceremony, which featured a certificate ceremony, a video presentation and valedictorian speeches.

    “The Youth Futures partnership has given this year’s graduates an unparalleled opportunity to build confidence, gain valuable work experience and learn about academic and career opportunities,” said Allan Rock, president of the University of Ottawa.

    “The student mentors and staff from the City and the University of Ottawa have given tremendous support to this year’s graduates,” said Jo-Anne Poirier, chief executive officer of Ottawa Community Housing. “This partnership allows graduates the chance to continue to build on the strengths of their successes to date.”


  • Council approves community’s vision for Rideau Street Primary tabs

    Ottawa – City Council today approved the community’s Rideau Street Vision Statement and Guiding Principles that will help to inform ongoing and future development in the area from Mackenzie Avenue to the Cummings Bridge.

    “We want Rideau Street to be a world-class, cosmopolitan ‘high street’ in the heart of the city,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “We are eager to work with local business and residents to create a rich mix of urban activities and cultural expression that will strengthen the vibrant character of the street and appeal to people of all ages.”

    “Rideau Street is one of the premier thoroughfares in our city that links tourists and residents to our downtown core,” said Rideau-Vanier Councillor Mathieu Fleury. “It must be an easily accessible downtown hub with shopping, arts and culture. Our goal is to make it an even more unique and exciting public place that attracts residents and tourists alike to come and experience our downtown.”

    In creating this exciting new plan for Rideau Street, City staff surveyed a broad cross-section of the local community for their input. Members of the Downtown Rideau Business Improvement Association were also key to developing the vision statement and principles that will be used as a guide for all future initiatives and projects in the area. The community requested a more rigorous maintenance program, upgrading of landscaping, new public art and lighting to distinguish the area and improve the perception of safety.

    The end result is a comprehensive plan that encompasses six guiding principles that will see Rideau Street become:

     1. A commercial “high street”

    2. A thriving social and cultural hub

    3. An accessible destination

    4. A lively, inviting and animated place

    5. A gateway to Parliament Hill

    6. A well-balanced, transportation system

    This ambitious neighbourhood project will begin with the reconstruction of Rideau Street from Dalhousie to the Cummings Bridge. The effort will include full roadway, curb and sidewalk reconstruction, replacing the existing watermains, valves, hydrants, and services. The project is planned to begin in 2012 and last for two years. Construction is subject to budget approval. Other major projects, such as Light Rail Transit, will also fit into this long-term revitalization of one of Ottawa’s most historic and key areas.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Lionel Laurin of Orléans

    Mayor Jim Watson today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Lionel Laurin of Orléans for his dedication and contribution to many volunteer activities in the city over the years.

    Since the 1960s, Lionel Laurin has dedicated himself to volunteer efforts in support of many causes within the community. He worked in conjunction with CFRA and local schools to raise literacy awareness and support the establishment of libraries in the north.

    He has assisted in raising funds for colon cancer research and in support of the local Boy Scouts. He has made donations in support of the Navan International Ploughing Match and he co-organized a Heart and Stroke Foundation fundraising event with the local Legion that raised some $10,000. Mr. Laurin has also been active in helping the Divine Infant Church in raising funds to assist single mothers. Finally, Mr. Laurin has been integral to the development and continued growth of the Orléans Community Garden.

    Mr. Laurin is the owner of the very successful Orléans Ace Body Shop. His community involvement and dedication truly defines the term philanthropist and is a testament to his desire to help improve his community for everyone.

  • Chinatown Gateway project receives prestigious award

    Ottawa – The Chinatown Gateway Arch on Somerset Street, a unique “twin-city” project with Beijing, China, was recently named Public Works 2011 Project of the Year in the Structures category by the American Public Works Association (APWA). This project was completed in October 2010 with funding from three levels of government and the strong support of the local community, individuals and the Chinatown Business Improvement Association (BIA).

    “This award is a wonderful tribute to all the exceptional people who were responsible for turning an idea into a magnificent achievement,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Visitors and residents alike are truly impressed by this imperial gateway to Chinatown and I want to thank and congratulate everyone who played a role in its creation.”

    The APWA awards are presented annually to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects, recognizing the alliance and cooperative achievement in this instance, between the City of Ottawa as the managing agency, the primary contractor, R. W. Tomlinson Limited, and the primary consultant, Delcan Corporation. The award presentation will take place in Denver Colorado during APWA 2011 International Public Works Congress & Exposition from September 18-21, 2011.

    “The Chinatown Gateway is breathtaking and already a much-loved landmark in Ottawa,” said Somerset Ward Councillor Diane Holmes. “It is a shining example of what can be achieved when the City works with other levels of government, the private sector, residents and community groups.”

    The Gateway, at the corner of Somerset Street and Cambridge Avenue just west of Bronson Avenue, was opened on October 7, 2010 in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Canada-China diplomatic relations. The City of Beijing contributed the concept design and finishing and decorative materials. A team of traditional artisans and technicians from China assembled the decorative panels, the roof sections, and painted the gateway.

    The governments of Canada and Ontario each provided $125,000 and the Chinatown BIA provided $350,000 towards the cost of the Gateway. The BIA also contributed another $80,000 in additional expenses required to complete the project and, of its total contribution, the BIA received almost $330,000 through generous corporate and private donations. The City of Ottawa provided the space required for the construction of the Gateway at no cost, as well as $290,000 in roadwork and other modifications required to accommodate and complete the structure. The City of Beijing contributed $300,000 of in-kind services, including architectural design, premium-grade materials and the expertise of Chinese tradesmen.