• Council approves lowest tax rate in five years

    Ottawa – City Council today approved the budget for 2012 with the lowest tax increase in five years – 2.39 per cent – in keeping with the guidelines set by Council last year.

    Budget 2012 will allow the City to proceed with much needed city-building infrastructure projects. Ottawa on the Move will see roadwork and bridge repair, sidewalk upgrades, sewer and culvert improvements and cycling infrastructure investment across the length and breadth of Ottawa. The plan will advance the work by many years and help prepare the City to host Canada’s sesquicentennial.

    “City Council set a solid fiscal framework when it assumed office last year and this budget continues on the promise of prudent financial management,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “We have listened to our residents and are delivering a predictable rate that also allows us to provide high quality services and opportunities for Ottawa families. “

    Ottawa on the Move will see improvements to all transportation networks across the city. Council made the decision to maximize transportation choices for our residents in advance of the light rail construction period and in advance of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017. Through the Ottawa on the Move program, $340 million worth of projects will be completed and a record amount of funding will go towards cycling initiatives.

    The budget includes a continued freeze on fees for City recreation programs, a transit fare increase limited to 2.5 per cent and an investment of $5.5 million in additional funding for OC Transpo to add some 66,000 service hours to address the almost six per cent growth in transit ridership on our transit system. Also, for the first time since 2004, the City is reducing the size of its workforce.

    For the owner of an average home assessed at $304,800, the 2012 budget will mean a property tax increase of $75 for the year. The rate-supported budget for the water and sewer services will be presented in January.

    After the draft budget was tabled at City Council in October, the City held four city-wide public meetings. The City also held meetings of its seven Standing Committees, the Library Board, the Board of Health, the Police Services Board and the Transit Commission. In total, there were 15 forums where the public could comment on the budget, in addition to a budget e-mail address set up by the Mayor.

    “The 2012 budget plan was carefully planned not only for today but with an eye on the City’s long-term needs,” said City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick. “This budget will build our city infrastructure more quickly than planned, while saving taxpayers money through improved operations and a prudent amount of low-cost borrowing.”

    The 2012 operating budget for the City of Ottawa is $2.5 billion and the capital budget is $850.8 million.

    The City of Ottawa is in strong financial health, with the lowest debt-per-capita among the big Canadian cities. By accelerating our investment in capital projects, at interest rates below three per cent, it is estimated the City will save $12.9 million. The City will undertake approximately 150 infrastructure projects.

    Among the many projects the City is proceeding with are:

     – Construction of major new recreation facilities in Barrhaven and Kanata North

     – Building 17 new parks

     – Redevelopment of Arts Court

     – Additional sewer system work to improve water quality in the Ottawa River

     – 200 kilometres of road construction

     – 70 kilometres of bicycle lane and road-shoulder construction

     – 20 kilometres of additional sidewalks

     – 120 road resurfacings and 27 bridge and overpass projects

     – Targeted funds for the bus transit system to meet rising demand and ease crowding

     – New systems for easy payment for transit service and to inform riders about bus arrivals

     – 75 new double-decker buses to improve transit commuter service

     – Six new trains for the highly successful O-Train service

     – Improvements to the Kanata storm sewer system

     – Changing the development approvals process to expedite approvals for projects that meet high environmental sustainability standards

     – Reorganization of City staff, operations and technology to save money and improve service to residents through the new Service Ottawa department

    Budget Documents

    – Mayor Watson’s 2012 Budget Address

    – Budget at a Glance

    – Ottawa on the Move

    – Building on Success 

    – Regional Highlights

    – City Infrastructure Funding

    – Budget 2012: Compensation & Benefits

    – 2012 Draft Operating Capital Budgets

    Highlights from Budget 2012

     – A proposed tax increase of just 2.39% – the lowest rate in 5 years.

     – Forty-seven full time equivalent positions have been eliminated in Budget 2012 contributing to savings of more than $3.4 million each and every year.

     – Transit fares held in check: This year even with fuel prices up by more than 12% and ridership up by 6%, we have once again kept fare increases to 2.5%.

     – Police, Library and Public Health tax rates at or below 2.5%.

     – $3 million in the coming year for green building retrofits and $500,000 a year to expanding our green fleet program.

     – $14 million in vital funding for housing and homelessness initiatives across the city.

     – Budget 2012 devotes an additional $3.2 million to boost service to deal with growth in OC Transpo ridership.

     – In addition to growth, Budget 2012 provides a targeted $2.3 million in funds to boost capacity on routes like the 87, 94, 95 and 96.

     – An additional $10 million over three years for cycling infrastructure.

     – We are expanding our park and ride network.

     – Ottawa on the Move, which will devote $340 million over three years in resurfacing, road reconstruction, sidewalk improvements, cycling infrastructure and rehabilitation of aging structures.

     – A plan to reform the planning process in Ottawa.

     – Creation of a Green Express Lane for development applications that meet high standards for housing, buildings and renovations.

     – More money for the Environmentally Sensitive Land Fund we created last year, dedicated to making sure the City has the resources to buy key parcels of land that make sense.

  • James Bartleman naming proposed for new Archives and Library Materials Centre

    Ottawa – The Commemorative Naming Committee is recommending that the new City of Ottawa Archives and Library building be named the James Bartleman Archives and Library Materials Centre honouring Ontario’s first aboriginal Lieutenant-Governor, noted author and lifelong public servant, James K. Bartleman.

    “I believe that naming our wonderful new building in honour of James Bartleman is a fitting tribute to an exemplary Canadian who spent much of his life in our city,” said Mayor Jim Watson, Chair of the Finance and Economic Development Committee and a member of the Commemorative Naming Committee. “Mr. Bartleman’s contributions to our community, province and country are perhaps not well enough known as he has always been very modest and low-key about his own tremendous achievements.”

    James Bartleman’s career as a diplomat spanned more than 35 years and through it all he called Ottawa home – living on St. Laurent Boulevard, Sweetland Avenue and, finally, on Dunloe Avenue in Manor Park. Mr. Bartleman served and represented Canadians around the globe in many capacities in Bangladesh, Cuba, Cyprus, Israel, South Africa, Australia and the European Union. He also served as a senior foreign affairs advisor to prime ministers and ministers.

    Mr. Bartleman was then sworn in as Ontario’s 27th Lieutenant-Governor on March 7, 2002. As the Vice Regal representative he set three priorities – to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness, to fight racism and discrimination, and to encourage aboriginal young people – all of which represent the spirit of community-building and public service that are the hallmarks of his life.

    The Lieutenant Governor’s Book Drive, which Bartleman initiated in 2004, exemplifies his commitment to people. This remarkable effort collected 1.2 million good used books for First Nations schools and Native Friendship Centres throughout Ontario. The following year Bartleman started a Twinning Program for native and non-native schools in Ontario and Nunavut, and established literacy summer camps in five northern First Nations communities. In the winter of 2007, he completed a second Book Drive, collecting another 900,000 books for aboriginal children across the north. In 2008, the Province of Ontario created the James Bartleman Aboriginal Youth Creative Writing Award as a legacy to Mr. Bartleman’s far-reaching vision and efforts in promoting literacy among aboriginal youth. It is a fitting tribute to the first aboriginal Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario.

    In addition to his many other achievements, James Bartleman has displayed his talent as an author. He has published several titles including Out of Muskoka (2002), On Six Continents (2004), Rollercoaster: My Hectic Years as Jean Chrétien’s Diplomatic Advisor (2005), Raisin Wine: A Boyhood in a Different Muskoka (2007) and, most recently, As Long as the Rivers Flow earlier this year. His writing prowess and his love of books are particularly applicable to the building being named.

    The Commemorative Naming Committee made the recommendation after considering the results of a 60-day public comment period that began on September 2, 2011. The Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO) will consider the naming of the City of Ottawa archives and library materials facility at its meeting on December 6, 2011. Following FEDCO consideration of the recommendation, the proposal would advance to Council on December 14, 2011.


  • Speech to the Tourism Industry Association of Canada Annual Conference



    Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

    I would like to welcome all of the delegates from across Canada to Ottawa and thank David Goldstein and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

    As Canada’s only national organization representing the full cross-section of the country’s $74 billion tourism industry, your work on behalf of Canadian tourism businesses promotes positive measures that help the industry grow and prosper.

    As former President and CEO of the Canadian Tourism Commission, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with your organization on a number of occasions.

    And I know just how important your work is in our country.

    Tourism is a very significant industry in Canada.

    This is also true of our city.

    Tourism is the third largest industry in Ottawa after the public and high tech sectors.

    In 2007 alone, 7.8 million tourists visited the Ottawa area and spent more than $2.2 billion.

    As the nation’s capital, we start from a position of strength when it comes to tourism.

    Ottawa is home to a number of national and international cultural and heritage attractions.

    As the historic seat of our national government, we have so many gifts here left to us by previous generations of Canadians.

    This includes:

    – The Rideau Canal

    – Parliament

    – The ByWard Market

    – National Museums such as the Museum of Civilization, Canadian War Museum, and the Museum of Natur

    We also host more than 35 major festivals each year, including:

    – Canadian Tulip Festival,

    – Winterlude,

    – Canada Day,

    – Bluesfest,

    – The Jazz Festival; and

    – The Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival.

    Ottawa’s tourism industry does well.

    But this doesn’t mean that standing still is an option.

    Standing still means falling behind…

    So we must always be creating new opportunities and exploring new endeavours.

    And that means creating events that draw tourists to our region at low times of the year…initiatives like the Bell Capital Cup that attracts young hockey players and their families from around the world is one example.

    Back in May, I was pleased to join the announcement that Ottawa will host the 2013 IIHF Women’s World Championship of Hockey.

    The tournament will attract more than 200,000 fans to 21 games and inject up to $20 million into our local economy.

    And the provincial championships held at the same time will add an additional $15 million in economic activity to our City.

    This is great news for our merchants, our hotels and our restaurants.

    In January, Ottawa will host the 2012 NHL All-Star Game, and we are currently bidding to host the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in 2014 and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

    We will continue our strategy of aggressively bidding on such events because they pay dividends for our local economy.

    They also strengthen the Ottawa brand across our country and the world.

    Events like the 150th birthday of our country need to be the subject of a focused team effort to make sure Ottawa is the national and international destination of choice for a celebration to remember for the next 150 years.

    We have a lot of new tools available to us to help grow our tourism sector.

    The momentum is building and there is a lot to look forward to in the coming years.

    – The new Ottawa Convention Centre is a spectacular and cutting edge facility that will draw business visitors from across the country and around the world.

    – We are renewing Lansdowne Park…which will play host to fantastic events and will spark a whole new set of possibilities for our community.

    – We are renewing public transit with a major upgrade to a modern rapid light rail service that will reduce bus traffic on downtown streets and deal with the bottleneck in the core.

    – This past June, I was part of a tourism delegation that visited China for the Beijing International Tourism Expo 2011…renewing Ottawa’s Sister City relationship with Beijing and promoting Ottawa as a preferred destination for tourism, post-secondary education and investment.

    – We will also work closely with the Ottawa Convention Centre to secure a new 400 to 500 room marquis hotel complex in the downtown core to support the growth of our convention centre.

    Each of these projects is a powerful economic driver both in the short-term and in the long-term, as they secure tremendous benefits for the community for many decades to come.

    And those are just a few examples of the hard work the City has been doing on the tourism front.

    I am extremely committed to the tourism sector in Ottawa, and I look forward to working with many of you to capitalize on the many great things our city has to offer.

    I wish you all a very productive, successful and memorable conference.

    Thank you.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – John Higgins

    Mayor Jim Watson, with Somerset Ward Councillor Diane Holmes, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to John Higgins for his outstanding volunteer work and contributions to the community.

    Over the past 10 years, Mr. Higgins has been an active member of the Elgin Street Public School. Parent Council as Treasurer, Council Co-Chair and is currently Fundraising Chair. He is Assistant Coach of the girl’s soccer team and also the Elgin Street P.S. Accommodation Review Committee Representative for the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and Treasurer of the Ottawa Carleton Assembly of School Councils.

    Every student in the school benefits from the tireless energy that Mr. Higgins exerts in collecting books and item donations from all over the city, making the annual fundraiser a tremendous success. As a result of his efforts, students are able to attend and host many special events.


  • Ecology Ottawa Annual Dinner: Address by Mayor Jim Watson



    Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you this evening.

    It’s my pleasure to be here today to talk directly with people who are volunteering their time to make Ottawa a cleaner, greener and better place to live.

    Over the next few weeks we will continue to hear from the public and council deliberate the budget on November 30.

    Ecology Ottawa put forward a thoughtful and comprehensive pre-budget submission – thank you.

    I hope you will agree that this budget moves on many of your priorities, to see Ottawa on track towards a truly sustainable future.

    We may not be able to do everything we want in one budget, but we will continue to undertake improvements in a way that is both environmentally and financially sustainable.

    I want to take some of our time here this evening to describe some of the action we’re taking at City hall that will make us greener immediately and will also position us for the future

    A good city works to make sure that are a mix of active mobility options so you can get where you need to go, quickly and safely – when you need to go.

    As we all know, transportation emissions are the fastest growing portion of our green house gas problem.

    We fight that with better planning that integrates cycling and walking into communities from the start.

    We fight that by saying no to uncontrolled urban sprawl.

    We fight that by providing public transit that is convenient, affordable and comfortable.

    Nobody wants a community where we have to burn a litre of gas in the car to get a litre of milk at the store.

    Public transit is key to the environmental health of any major municipality.

    It is our circulatory system and we can’t tolerate interruption for long.

    That is why we worked hard this year to ensure we didn’t have to deal with another painful winter strike and we signed a fair collective agreement with our union.

    Our public transit dollars have to go far.

    That is why we had to introduce our network optimization last year, to get rid of wasteful routings.

    Good public transit is structured to strive for more and more efficiency.

    It must, because we need our ridership on public transit to grow.

    And it is growing.

    I’m happy to say that transit ridership in Ottawa is up 6% this year over last year.

    The September 2012 numbers are 5.6% higher than they were in September of 2011 alone.

    That is good news and we want to keep it up.

    Budget 2012 boosts funding for OC Transpo by $5.5 million.

    There is a $3.2 million increase in service to deal with growth in ridership and a targeted $2.3 million to expand capacity on routes like the 87, 94, 95 and 96.

    More trips and more high-capacity buses will be added to these busy routes.

    Throughout the coming year we will be adding some 66,000 service hours to address growing demands on our system.

    This increased service will begin by January 1st of 2012.

    And, our new double-decker bus fleet will begin to arrive later in 2012, adding further high-capacity service.

    Work will also begin so that frequency and capacity of the O-Train can double almost 10 years ahead of schedule in 2014 as the new trains we purchased to serve the north-south route take their place on the line.

    Council also acted in 2011 to get light rail back on track.

    This project is vital to our plans to step up public transit in Ottawa.

    It will eliminate the bottleneck in transit we now face in the downtown core.

    The long lines of bumper-to-bumper busses that crowd through the core have reached their limit now.

    Adding more busses doesn’t actually increase capacity – it just serves to slow down everyone.

    So we’re investing some $2.1 billion in fixing that with a new modern, high capacity rail system that will be completely separated from traffic tie ups.

    As we prepare for the construction of light rail we need to make sure that our existing transportation infrastructure is up to date and ready to handle the demands that will be placed on it throughout construction.

    We need to take care of the roads we have before we expand.

    Let’s maintain our infrastructure well now, so we can be prudent with money and prudent with growth.

    That’s a key part of why Budget 2012 introduces Ottawa on the Move.

    Ottawa on the Move accelerates the planned transportation infrastructure projects – many of which were planned as far as five years out.

    We’re repairing and improving.

    And as we fix up roads it gives us a big opportunity to improve cycling and walking in our city.

    Building on last year’s budget’s push in this direction, through its resurfacing program, Ottawa on the Move will see the construction of more than 70 km of new bike lanes and paved shoulders. It will also fund 20 km in existing sidewalk improvements and repairs.

    There is no point in creating cycling paths in isolation from one another.

    They need to be part of a network so you can set out to get from where you are to where you need to be with confidence.

    Ottawa on the Move will see to it that this network is built, and built quickly.

    We will be working hard to fill the gaps in our cycling network to improve interconnections and safety so you can get where you are going by bike.

    Off-road pathways near the Aviation Museum, through Hampton Park, along the O-Train corridor from Carling to the Ottawa River, and extending the Sawmill Creek path from Walkley to Brookfield, will all be completed this term of Council.

    We will put in place a 12 kilometre East-West Bikeway over the next three years to provide safer and more comfortable commutes.

    Work on the design to implement a pedestrian bridge over the Rideau from Donald to Somerset will also get underway this year.

    In total, Budget 2012 provides an additional $12.1 million over three years for cycling infrastructure.

    This funding is on top of the $8 million over four years provided in Budget 2011, and does not include an additional estimated $6 million in new bike lanes and paved shoulders that will be done through Ottawa on the Moves’ road renewal program.

    In total, this term of Council will provide the largest financial commitment ever put towards building our cycling city – over $26 million, a new record.

    We have heard you loud and clear: Ottawa needs accessible, affordable and sustainable transportation options that encourage residents to choose a green commute.

    I believe that our Ottawa on the Move plan is a significant step towards that reality.

    Sustainable Ottawa

    A green community isn’t just about transportation infrastructure.

    That is why, again this year, the City is doing its part by moving ahead with green technology in both our buildings and our fleet of vehicles.

    For example we are investing in our ice rinks to replace aging cooling systems with more energy-efficient refrigeration technology.

    Through our green fleet program we’re buying electric ice-resurfacing machines to get rid of the engine exhaust and improve the air quality for the parents and children who play in our rinks.

    Budget 2012 devotes $3 million in the coming year to green building retrofits and $500,000 a year to expanding our green fleet program.

    So far our Smart Energy initiatives have achieved annual savings of $800,000 each year, by retrofitting City facilities with lighting upgrades, controls for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, reducing our water consumption, as well as converting from electric, oil and propane to natural gas.

    Budget 2012 commits $750,000 in capital support and $150,000 in additional operating funds to implement projects that make Ottawa green.

    As part of this, to help build a greener, more ecologically robust City:

    – $100,000 will be committed to redesigning three public spaces to show green design and practices, one urban, one suburban and one rural property;

    – Launching a pilot waste reduction project with the NCC to offer access to our organics program at major events like Winterlude and Canada Day.

    – The Community Environmental Grant Program will be expanded to help increase the ability of the community to undertake small-scale initiatives;

    – The City will work with partners to seed the development of an Ottawa Land Trust that would use conservation easements and fundraise for acquisitions of high conservation value land;

    – Putting in place a green roof program through education and building towards development of a green roof bylaw for large low-rise institutional, commercial, and industrial buildings;

    – Piloting water efficiency measures at the Britannia wading pool;

    – Committing $20,000 to assist with implementation of water-efficiency measures at City splash pads where they are supplied by wells in rural areas so we can expand water recreation opportunities in these areas;

    – Conducting a green design competition between developers on a designated piece of land.

    The winning developer would then construct the project.

    Budget 2012 put down some important markers on greener buildings.

    This year we will create a powerful incentive to undertake more energy efficient and environmentally sustainable building – the Green Express Lane.

    Those who strive for more…

    – Who maximize energy efficiency;

    – Set the bar higher on water conservation;

    – Incorporate reused materials;

    – Minimize waste from construction and demolition; and

    – Work to reduce strain on our roadways by being close to transit…

    …will be provided with a more direct and accelerated permitting process.

    We will examine and pre-approve the new better build techniques to which we want to give priority and we will support them.

    We will set a tough standard for housing, buildings and renovations to qualify for a new Green Express Lane.

    Builders and homeowners who include these better build techniques such as solar hot water heaters, photovoltaic systems, storm and gray water re-use systems will not face barriers as has been the case in the past – they will instead get express lane service.

    We will also add to the Environmentally Sensitive Land Fund we created last year, dedicated to making sure we have the resources to buy and protect key parcels of land.

    Already there is $4.4 million in the fund and we will add approximately $1.4 million this year.

    We will continue to work at reducing the household and commercial waste produced in Ottawa.

    As you know waste is a major source of greenhouse gasses.

    Any landfill creates methane, a powerful global warming gas.

    The trucks that long-haul the majority of commercial waste generated in Ottawa to the United States produce emissions as well.

    Under Maria McRae’s leadership we are making progress at increasing diversion and reducing our reliance on landfill.

    We are expanding the scope of our efforts to divert material and reuse, recycle and recover waste to highest and best use.

    Next year we will save money and increase our diversion rates as we move to weekly green bin pick-up year-round.

    To make sure we at the city continue to mind our own performance and do even more to lead by example, Budget 2012 provides $25,000 to increase waste diversion at municipal facilities, including expanded access to the Green Bin program.

    We are also following through with the next phase of the Ottawa River Action Plan.

    That work will be done in conjunction with Ottawa on the Move.

    We are now seeking funding from our federal and provincial partners so we can complete work the work of fixing the problem of combined sewer overflows.

    One point I know people have been noticing is the lack of tree cover we’re seeing put in the suburbs.

    The reason for this is a decision by Council last term to stop tree planting in new sub divisions.

    The answer is not to stop planting trees on residential streets over vast parts of our city.

    This year we are committed to getting an answer to the situation we’re in with trees not being planted through large portions of the city where Leda clay prevails.

    We will provide some ingenuity and common sense to get back to tree lined streets in the suburbs.

    I want to end by specifically addressing our desire to take up the full benefit of Ontario’s forward-looking feed-in tariff.

    As some of you know we’ve had a problem here in Ottawa gaining the full benefit of the program, but that is about to change.

    Up until now a limit at the Hydro One facility on Hawthorne has made it impossible to connect major new green energy generation to the grid here in Ottawa.

    Some smaller generation has been able to move ahead.

    But nothing large was approved here because the equipment at the one Hydro One Transmission station couldn’t take it.

    Early in this year I wrote to Laura Formusa, President and CEO of Hydro One to ask her to personally assure me this would be fixed.

    Now it is a major upgrade to our grid so it can’t happen over night, but I am pleased to tell you that I have received a commitment to fix this limitation and that the Hawthorne problem is on the list for work next year.

    Home owners can move now, but by 2013 we should have an open field to make more progress on larger green electricity projects.

    I will be looking to the province to see that we secure an allocation for this city going forward that reflects the grid limits we’ve laboured under here in Ottawa, limits caused by Hydro One’s infrastructure.

    With the future of the Feed-in Tariff in better focus and the provincial election behind us, I am confident we can get activity going in Ottawa.

    Algonquin College just announced a major expansion in Ottawa focused on building the skills of green technology and building techniques.

    If we have the will to really push over the next few years, we can make a dramatic difference.

    Working together for a better Ottawa

    Thank you again for providing me this opportunity to give you an overview of the key environmental and sustainability measures at the City.

    I am also grateful for your organization’s continued involvement in the pre-budget process – dedicated volunteers such as yourselves are a vital part of building a community that reflects the priorities and values of its residents.

    I am proud of our track record on green issues:

    – Record money for cycling

    – 1st downtown segregated bike lane

    – Creation of an environmentally sensitive land reserve fund

    – Solar panels on city buildings, including city hall

    – Expansion of recycling opportunities

    – Stand alone Environment Committee

    And all this in just 10 months in office.

    I look forward to continuing to work with you to make Ottawa a greener, more sustainable, and better place to live.

  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Phil Nguyen

    Mayor Jim Watson, with West Carleton-March Ward Councillor Eli El-Chantiry, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Phil Nguyen for his outstanding volunteer work and contributions to the community.

    With his wife Amelia, Mr. Nguyen co-created and has taught the award-winning Bully Bustersprogram to more than 1,000 school children and raised $4,000 for non-profit organizations such as the Western Ottawa Community Resources Centre and Child and Youth Friendly Ottawa.Bully Busters teaches children and youth skills in assertiveness, communication and martial arts to respond to bullying and other schoolyard conflicts in a confident, non-physical and peaceful manner.

    Mr. Ngyuen is also active in supporting youth education in entrepreneurship and was the keynote speaker for the 2006 Canadian Junior Achievement Conference held in Ottawa which attracted more than 175 students from around the world who are destined to be future entrepreneurial success stories. He was also the keynote speaker at the Young Entrepreneurs Business Awards in 2007 where he motivated more than 300 high school student entrepreneurs to conquer their fears and follow their dreams.

    Among other community and motivational activities, Mr. Nguyen has been a member, president, area governor, club mentor and contest champion for the non-profit Toastmasters International, leading, motivating, coaching and mentoring hundreds of individuals to help them improve their communication and leadership skills.

    He and his wife Amelia have also delivered the ABCs of Self-Defence, teaching students in local schools as well as Boy Scouts and Girl Guides safety tips, self-empowerment strategies and self-defence techniques. In 2006 he also served as MC for World Religion Day in Ottawa, an event that attracts adherents of various faiths to promote oneness of the world’s religions.


  • Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame Opens at City Hall

    Ottawa – Ottawa’s sports greats are once again proudly on display with the official opening of the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame at its new downtown location.

    “I am honoured to officially open the new home of the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame right here inside the historic Heritage Building at City Hall,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “This space will preserve and showcase the tremendous achievements of our athletes for over more than 100 years and attract residents and tourists alike to share the proud history of Ottawa’s greats.”

    Mayor Watson was joined by inductees of the Hall of Fame, community sports leaders, and representatives from the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame and the Ottawa Sports Awards at the official opening event.

    “We are rich in sports history and deep in sports talent – it lays the foundation of who we are as a city and how we act as a community,” said Mike Flanagan, Chair of the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame board.

    In addition to the 243 plaques of all the hall of fame inductees, the new site includes the memorabilia from local sports legends such as former Rough Rider Russ Jackson and New York Islanders Denis Potvin. Visitors will also see enlarged photos of various sports teams from the late 1800s and early 1900s that illustrate the evolution of sports over the years.

    “The Ottawa Sports Awards, now in its 59th year of celebrating the best amateur athletes in Ottawa is pleased to join with the Mayor and the Hall of Fame in welcoming all of Ottawa to the new display site,” said Bob Wilson, a Director with the Ottawa Sports Awards. “The Ottawa Sports Awards is one of the largest amateur athlete recognition events in Canada and we are pleased to see so many of our winners recognized here for their excellence.”

    The Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame is located on the first floor of the Heritage Building. It is open to the public Monday to Sunday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free.


    The Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame was officially established in 1968, to preserve the history and development of sports in the City of Ottawa. It recognizes persons and teams that by their achievements in, or contributions to, any field of sport or athletic endeavour have brought special fame to the City of Ottawa.

    Its first home was the upper concourse of the newly completed Civic Centre. In 2005, it was relocated to the second level concourse at Scotiabank Place.

  • City of Ottawa salutes service personnel during National Veterans’ Week

    Ottawa – National Veterans’ Week, November 5 to 11, affords Ottawa residents the opportunity to recognize the contributions made by local war veterans, while at the same time honouring the sacrifice of those who went to war and did not return.

    “Ottawa is home to many veterans who have served their country with valour and distinction around the world,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Our men and women in uniform have accomplished impossible feats of courage and sacrifice and have earned our undying respect and appreciation for their efforts.”

    The City will pay homage to local veterans throughout the week leading up to Remembrance Day by flying the Poppy Flag at all City Hall and Client Service Centres starting Saturday, November 5 until Friday, November 11.

    Throughout Veterans’ Week, OC Transpo and STO (Société de transport de l’Outaouais) will offer free rides to veterans who wear their medals and/or uniforms. Companions accompanying veterans will also be able to ride at no charge.

    On Remembrance Day, November 11, flags at all City of Ottawa sites will be lowered to half-mast from sunrise until sunset to recognize the accomplishments of Canadian soldiers and to honour those who gave their lives while serving their country.

    City Hall offices and Client Service Centres will also be closed November 11, and the City’s Remembrance Day By-law will be in full effect, requiring retailers to remain closed until 12:30 p.m., with a few exceptions. For more information on Remembrance Day regulations, visit ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1.

    The City also pays tribute to its local veterans annually through its street-naming initiative. This year, a permanent street sign featuring the poppy – a symbol of remembrance – and bearing the name “rue des Soldats-Riendeau St” will be installed in Mattamy Homes’ Half Moon Bay development.

    The name commemorates the late Ferdinand Riendeau, a First World War combat veteran, and his son, Ferdinand Paul-Emile Riendeau, who followed in his father’s footsteps by serving in the Second World War. This is the first time the City has honoured a family of veterans during a commemorative street-naming ceremony, which was presented to the family on November 3 by Mayor Jim Watson during the Candlelight Tribute for Veterans.

    The street-naming initiative is a partnership between the City of Ottawa, Veterans Affairs Canada, the Royal Canadian Legion and local private developers