• Holiday Greeting

    It seems hard to believe that the holiday season is before us again. I want to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    2015 has been a year that we won’t soon forget.

    As we finish a highly successful and collaborative first year, I look forward to working with my Council colleagues preparing for the important milestones and projects planned for the years to come. Although there is still much work to be done, we have made significant progress over the past year:

    • Kept taxes affordable
    • Council has made record investments in affordable housing.
    • A new Ottawa Art Gallery and revitalized Arts Court will open its doors in 2017.
    • Secured full funding for Cleaning up the Ottawa River with the Ottawa River Action Plan.
    • Kept Confederation Line construction moving forward quickly with progress now visible on the surface
    • Approved Stage 2 Plan to extend LRT further east, west and south.

    Holidays are an excellent time to reflect, but they are also an opportunity to plan for the years to come.

    To that end, preparations for Canada’s 150th birthday in 2017 are well underway and we have made significant progress.

    I recently had the pleasure to announce that The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences has selected Ottawa as the host city for the 2017 JUNO Awards. We have also secured major events like the Canadian Video Game Awards, Canadian Track and Field Championships, The Canadian Olympic Curling Trials – Roar of the Rings and many more to be announced.

    The energy, excitement and investments generated by Ottawa’s 2017 celebrations will serve as a catalyst for long-term tourism growth. As the spotlight descends upon the capital, we are working hard to position Ottawa as THE place for all Canadians to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation.

    Check out our website www.ottawa2017.ca to find out how you can contribute your ideas for this important milestone.

    I hope you can take some time over the holidays to come and enjoy the SENS RINK of Dreams at City Hall, or our refrigerated outdoor rink at Lansdowne Park.

    Most of all, enjoy some quality time with your friends and family at this wonderful time of year.

    Happy holidays.

  • Ottawa 2017 and CIBC Announce Partnership in Celebration of Canada’s 150th Birthday

    Today Ottawa 2017 along with Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson announced that CIBC (CM:TSX) (CM:NYSE) will be the lead partner as the city hosts a year of celebrations to mark Canada’s 150th birthday.

    The partnership will see a number of high caliber events and activities presented in the Capital throughout 2017, a year that marks both Canada and CIBC’s 150th.  CIBC’s commitment to Ottawa 2017 extends beyond a monetary contribution and includes a comprehensive marketing strategy, cultural program management and a proven track record of grassroots engagement and community activation.

    “The partnership between Ottawa 2017 and CIBC is the single largest partnership for an event in Ottawa’s history and a strong show of confidence in our city by CIBC,” said Mayor Watson, accompanied by Councillors Cloutier and Fleury, co-chairs of the City’s efforts in Ottawa 2017. “Together, we will amplify Canada’s 150thcelebrations and offer Canadians and visitors from around the world an exceptional and memorable year of high-caliber experiences.”

    “As we celebrate 150 years together, CIBC and Ottawa 2017 will co-host landmark celebrations designed to inspire and strengthen our connections as Canadians,” said Stephen Forbes, Executive Vice President, CIBC. “This partnership with Ottawa 2017 will create memorable experiences that ignite pride, creativity and passion.”

    Details of the partnership were announced this morning at the popular Mayor’s Breakfast Series. A full year of celebrations will be offered from January to December.

    One of many incredible experiences to come, on July 1, 2017, Ottawa 2017 and CIBC will present an evening celebration at the Shaw Centre, with entertainment never seen before in Ottawa along with a breathtaking view of the fireworks. Also planned is an exciting new program in the capital called Inspiration Village. It will feature each of Canada’s provinces and territories for a full week of tributes over the course of the summer in 2017. Full details will be revealed soon.

    “It’s an honor for Ottawa 2017 to be the first organization Canada-wide to benefit from a significant private sector contribution in respect to Canada 150th celebrations and to partner with CIBC, a distinguished Canadian institution,” said Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau. “Together, we will showcase the nation’s capital from an avant-garde perspective and create energizing moments for the millions of Canadians from coast to coast to coast that will take part in these historic celebrations.”

    Ottawa will be centre stage in 2017, as a record number of Canadians are expected to visit the capital to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Ottawa 2017 will be announcing many more initiatives in the weeks and months ahead, as it gears up for this once-in-a-lifetime celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday, right here in the capital.

    To stay informed on the latest plans, visit ottawa2017.ca.

  • Mayors make their bet official

    Ottawa – Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson have officially agreed to the terms of their bet for the upcoming Grey Cup final in Winnipeg.

    The terms:

    1. The losing city’s Mayor will wear the winning team’s jersey to a City Council meeting

    2. The winning city’s Mayor will donate to the food bank of the losing city

  • Ottawa delegation meets with more than 100 investors in Beijing


    Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson presented an Ottawa Senators jersey to Beijing Deputy Mayor Sui Zhenjiang, whose portfolio focuses on technology and innovation.‎ They each provided opening remarks at a business and innovation seminar organized by Invest Ottawa, which was attended by more than 100 Chinese investors.

    BEIJING – On their second day in Beijing, Mayor Jim Watson and mission participants took part in an investment and innovation seminar organized by Invest Ottawa and hosted by Zhongguancun (Z-Park) Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (ZVCA). The event attracted more than 100 Chinese investors and businesspeople, who participated in “match-making” sessions with Ottawa businesses.

    “Today was a great opportunity to promote Ottawa as a leading innovation centre in Canada,” said Mayor Watson, who provided opening remarks at the session. “The message to potential investors is clear: Ottawa is open for business.”

    ZVCA is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to promoting the Private Equity and Venture Capital industry in China. It was co-founded by 10 nationally renowned private equity investment companies based in Z-Park, the biggest technology hub in Beijing. The purpose of the event was to promote Ottawa as an innovation and technology hub to potential Chinese investors, specifically those interested in the wireless, communication and medical device fields.

    During the seminar, Mayor Watson also took part in several interviews with local Chinese media.

    In the last two years, Invest Ottawa has organized 10 outgoing missions to China and received about 30 incoming delegations. To date, about 120 local high-tech companies have benefited from bilateral trade, investment, and partnership activities.

    Mission update

    On the second full day of the mission, Mayor Watson and Ottawa Tourism also met with representatives from Beijing Tourism, the World Cities Tourism Federation, China’s Ministry of Culture and Beijing Caissa International Travel Service, one of the largest tour operators in Beijing. The purpose of the discussions were to identify partnership opportunities related to the Canada 150 celebrations in 2017 and Beijing’s hosting of the Winter Olympics in 2022.

    With the recent addition of a direct Beijing-Montreal flight, Ottawa has become an easier option for visiting businesses and tourists. Between 2005 and 2014, the number of annual visitors to Canada from China increased significantly from about 117,000 to more than 450,000.

  • Five agreements signed during first day of Ottawa mission in Beijing

    BEIJING – Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun witnessed the signing of five agreements during the Ottawa delegation’s first full day in Beijing. The agreements mark a strengthened collaboration between the two cities that will lead to continued success for Ottawa businesses doing business in China.

    These agreements include:

    – Two agreements for cooperation and service between Invest Ottawa and Zhongguancun Development Group which will allow Invest Ottawa to continue to host a specialized incubation centre.

    – A cooperation agreement between Invest Ottawa and Zhongguancun Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (ZVCA),  a non-profit membership organization dedicated to promoting Private Equity and Venture Capital industry in China, with a focus on accelerating domestic and international deal activities.

    – A $5-million investment agreement between Graphite Software Corporation (an Ottawa virtual phone solution vendor) and ZVCA that will enable the company to double its Ottawa workforce.

    – A global partner agreement between Beijing NationSky Network Technology, a Chinese enterprise mobility solution vendor and Graphite Software Corporation.

    “The Ottawa-Beijing relationship is an important for Ottawa’s many high-tech companies that are working to expand their presence abroad and create good local jobs,” said Mayor Watson. “These agreements are important commitments to ensure we continue to collaborate on areas of shared interest.”

    “Our unique partnership with ZDG allows our incubation companies to fast-track their technologies and stay competitive,” said Bruce Lazenby, President and CEO of Invest Ottawa. “This new agreement will broaden the scope of opportunities for Ottawa companies by bringing ZDG’s International Incubation Centre in California into our existing partnership.”

    “We’re pleased to be participating in the Mayor’s mission in order to raise the profile of our company and products in China,” said Alec Main, CEO of Graphite Software Corporation, which yesterday also announced the opening of its Beijing office. “Today’s agreement will allow us to further accelerate our company’s leadership in the enterprise mobility field both in China and globally.”

    The ZDG Incubation Centre hosted by Invest Ottawa was opened in 2012 to assist innovative companies to gain direct investment and market access to China through its network and services. The centre supports early-stage technology companies in the ICT, Life Sciences and Cleantech sectors and other companies that fit the China market.


    Mission update

    Before the signing ceremony, Mayor Watson met with Beijing government officials to discuss Ottawa 2017 initiatives.

    Mayor Watson and Mayor Wang last met in 2013 when they signed a renewed partnership agreement between the two sister cities.

    “The 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017 provides us with a unique opportunity to discuss exchange and collaboration opportunities with our partners abroad,” said Mayor Watson. “It is my hope that these discussions will yield positive results for local business, trade, investment, culture, education and tourism.”

    Mayor Watson formally invited the Mayor of Beijing to visit Ottawa during Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations. It would be the first time a Mayor of Beijing would conduct an official visit to Ottawa. A key component of the year’s festivities will be several “Ottawa Welcomes the World” cultural events that will see more than 40 countries each celebrate their national days at the Aberdeen Pavilion or Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park.

    As it prepares to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, the City of Beijing has expressed its interest in exchanging best practices in the area of sports tourism during the winter months.

    The two mayors agreed to continue to discuss these common interests and exchange opportunities in the coming months.

    In the afternoon, Mayor Watson and delegates travelled to Haidian District of Beijing and met with the Deputy District Mayor Yu Jun and other government officials.

    Home to 2.2 million residents and 18 post-secondary institutions, Haidian District is the second largest district in Beijing. The district is a hub for software and technology companies.

    Mayor Watson and the delegation visited a research and development facility for Huawei, which also has an office in Kanata. During the visit, Huawei announced that it will become the official smartphone supplier for the Ottawa Senators.

    The day concluded with a reception at the official residence of Guy Saint-Jacques, Ambassador of Canada to the People’s Republic of China.‎

  • City of Ottawa salutes local war veterans

    November 4, 2015 – Ottawa marked the start of Veterans’ Week (November 5 to 11) with a candlelight tribute ceremony at the Canadian War Museum this evening, hosted by Mayor Jim Watson and the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence.

    The ceremony marked the first in a week of events offering residents the opportunity to recognize the contributions made by local veterans and to honour the sacrifice of those who lost their lives in service to Canada.

    “With the symbolic passing of the torch of remembrance from veterans to youth, we are reminded of a simple truth: that the world is a better place because of the generations of brave Canadian men and women who have served and continue to serve their country,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “For all they have given our country and our community, in times of conflict and at times of peace, we owe them our unending gratitude.”

    Following the act of remembrance, Mayor Watson announced the latest veteran honoured through the City’s Veterans’ Commemorative Street Naming program. This year the City is honouring Vice Admiral Ralph Hennessy, D.C.S., C.D.

    Born to an army family, Vice Admiral Hennessy chose a career instead with the Royal Canadian Navy – the first Hennessy in four generations not to serve in the British Army in time of war. While he broke from family tradition, he nevertheless distinguished himself with a long and illustrious career that included service during the Spanish Civil War and World War II.

    “At his passing in 2014 at the age of 95, he was Canada’s oldest living vice admiral,” noted Mayor Watson. “For a life so dedicated to Canada’s Armed Forces, it seems only just that Vice Admiral Hennessy join the ranks of the other brave local men and women whose lives have already been celebrated through the Veterans’ Commemorative Street Naming program.”

    Vice Admiral Hennessy was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on September 5, 1918 and passed away on June 13, 2014. The Mayor offered his thanks and presented Mrs. Diana E. Hennessy with a replica of the street sign for Ralph Hennessy Avenue, a new street in the community of Riverside South.

    The City of Ottawa wishes to thank Urbandale Corporation for providing this street to the Veterans’ Commemorative Street Naming program.


  • Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance announces local economic impact from hosting FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015

    November 5, 2015 – The Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance released a report today indicating that Ottawa received $28.6 million in overall economic activity as a result of hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ in June.

    The report also indicated that Ottawa benefited from $5.8 million in direct GDP (Gross Domestic Product) impacts for the local economy as a result of the event.

    “Hosting this prestigious sporting event has elevated Ottawa’s international profile and showcased the many attributes that make our city an amazing place to live and visit,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “The FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ generated significant tourism revenues for the local economy and clearly demonstrated to the world that Ottawa is well-positioned to host these types of events in the future.”

    Ottawa was one of six Official Host Cities across the country that hosted the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ between June 6 and July 5, 2015. In Ottawa, more than 270 volunteers worked to ensure that it was a success.

    “There is a lasting legacy to events like this that goes beyond dollars and cents. Ottawa now has three amazing training fields that meet FIFA Quality Pro specifications for all current and future residents to enjoy,” said Innes Ward Councillor Jody Mitic. “As Sports Commissioner, I am committed to continuing to work hard to help our city continue to attract and invest in these types of world-class events.”

    “The Ottawa venue was a significant success in that it exceeded the revenue and spectator goals, with a 95 per cent attendance rate over the six match days resulting in a total attendance of 189,460,” said Peter Montopoli, Chief Executive Officer of the National Organizing Committee of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ and General Secretary of Canada Soccer.

    The FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ and the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Canada 2014™ supported $493.6 million in economic activity for Canada – exceeding the preliminary projections of $337 million made in February 2014 by 46 per cent.

    The total initial expenditure for both events nationwide was $216 million, which generated $249 million in net economic activity (Gross Domestic Product) with $97.6 million in tax revenues supported across the country. Of the $97.6 million in tax revenues supported, $46 million accrued to the federal government, $36.7 million to the provincial governments and $14.9 million to the official host cities.

    Nationally, the FIFA’s events were an immense success with a total attendance of more than 1.35 million spectators – a new total attendance record for a FIFA competition, besides the FIFA World Cup™.

    The FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ was part of the City’s continuing Bid More, Win More, Host More economic development initiative.


  • Ottawa set to host spectacular JUNO Awards in 2017

    Ottawa – The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) has selected Ottawa as the host city for the 2017 JUNO Awards. The JUNO Awards Broadcast will take place at the Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday, April 2, 2017, following a week of musical celebrations in venues across the National Capital Region.

    Mayor Jim Watson, Co-Chair of the Ottawa 2017 Board of Directors, made the announcement at Mercury Lounge in the Byward Market, before the invited guests were treated to a surprise performance by local artist Rise Ashen and Toronto-based Ammoye. Both artists have previously been nominated for JUNO Awards and have recently collaborated on a new full length album, entitled Haffi Win.

    Mayor Watson’s announcement included a challenge for the local arts and music community to begin planning an unprecedented week of music in the Capital. “For JUNO Week 2017, we want to fill every venue. We also want workshops, clinics and classroom programming,” he said. “This is your chance to inspire the next generation of Canadian artists and contribute to the legacy of Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations.”

    Allan Reid, President & CEO, CARAS/The JUNO Awards & MusiCounts cited Canada’s sesquicentennial and the enthusiastic support of the Province of Ontario and City of Ottawa as the key reasons for bringing the ceremony to Ottawa. “The Capital’s devoted music fans are passionate supporters of both their local and the national music scene, making Ottawa the perfect home for the JUNO Awards in 2017,” he said.

    “From kitchen parties to concert halls, music gives a voice to our culture and inspires our celebrations,” said Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau. “This is why we are so excited to include the JUNO Awards as one of the many high caliber events Ottawa will offer Canadians during our year-long celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday.”

    Speaking on behalf of the Province, Minister Bob Chiarelli (MPP, Ottawa West–Nepean) noted that “the Government of Ontario is committed to supporting arts and cultural events across the province that draw tourists, boost local economies and create jobs. We’re proud to work with partners like Ottawa 2017 and CARAS to create meaningful celebrations all Canadians can come to enjoy.”

    JUNO Week in Ottawa will take place March 27 to April 2, 2017 at venues across the National Capital Region. For more information, visit ottawa2017.ca.

  • Transportation available to Max Keeping funeral

    Ottawa – Three OC Transpo buses will be made available to take residents to the Canadian Tire Centre for a Celebration of Life for Max Keeping on Tuesday, October 13 on a first come, first-served basis.

    Buses will depart from the Lisgar Street entrance of Ottawa City Hall at 11 a.m. and return from the Canadian Tire Centre 15 minutes after the end of the ceremony.

    Max Keeping passed away on October 1. He leaves behind a community legacy that is ours to protect and build upon.

    The City will also honour Max Keeping by flying the flags at City Hall at half mast from sunrise to sunset on Tuesday, October 13.

  • Ottawa Tops List of Business-Friendly Cities in the Americas

    OTTAWA – In a ceremony at the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), held in Anchorage, Alaska Tuesday night, the city of Ottawa was awarded the title of most “Business Friendly” mid-sized city in North and South America.  On hand to receive the honour was Ottawa City Councillor Stephen Blais and Invest Ottawa Vice-President, Lana Legostaeva.

    Attended by over 1000 people, the IEDC conference includes the presentation of fDi Magazine’s American Cities of the Future Awards. These awards are the largest regional rankings that the magazine publishes in terms of geographical ground covered and it is an intensively competitive field, 421 locations were analyzed for the study.

    Ottawa was ranked as follows for mid-size cities in the 2015 survey:

     – First for business friendliness

     – Second for economic potential

     – Tenth for human capital and lifestyle;

     – And third overall (one of only two Canadian mid-size cities in the top ten.)

    This award is further proof that Ottawa’s talented network of knowledge-based companies is helping attract new investments and jobs to our city,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “In the years ahead, we will continue to support this key industry, work to diversify and grow our economy, and give investors even more reasons to chooseOttawa.”

    The Ottawa ecosystem continues to be recognized for its hi-tech strategies,” saidBruce Lazenby, President and CEO of Invest Ottawa. “Consider the following…

     – In the last five years, Ottawa software companies have raised more money in the public markets than every other city in Canada combined.

     – Ottawa companies have spent nearly $1 Billion buying foreign companies.

     – Of the top 250 Canadian ICT companies, Ottawa is home to more thanVancouverMontrealCalgary or Waterloo.

    …Combine this with our local talent and resources; there has never been a more exciting time to grow a business in the nation’s capital.”

    More background on the award can be found here: