• 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:


  • Federal leaders submit their answers to Mayor Watson’s local issues questionnaire

    The responses by the federal parties to Mayor Jim Watson’s questionnaire are now available to be viewed online.

  • City mobilizes to help refugees of Syrian crisis

    Mayor Jim Watson launches Refugee 613, United for Refugees at Public Forum

    Ottawa – Today, Mayor Jim Watson welcomed residents, local agencies, and subject-matter experts at City Hall to mobilize the community to help refugees of the Syrian crisis. The Mayor’s Public Forum on Syrian Refugee Resettlement Efforts saw the launch of Refugee 613, a short-term project in response to the global refugee crisis, and United for Refugees, a new fundraising initiative to support local sponsorship and settlement efforts.

    More than 22 community agencies and faith groups were represented at the forum, as well as an information fair featuring community organizations involved with refugees, and a dynamic panel discussion with a question and answer period.

    “Ottawa has an extraordinary resource pool of experience, insight and wisdom when it comes to issues of refugee resettlement,” said Mayor Watson. “We’re not sure how many and we’re not sure when, but we want to be ready to welcome these families properly when they do arrive. Like Canada, Ottawa has the reputation of being a place that is friendly to newcomers from around the globe, regardless of their background. We want to showcase Ottawa’s generosity by getting residents to help in one of two ways: either by sponsoring a family through Refugee613, or by donating through United for Refugees.”

    Refugee 613

    Community groups and concerned citizens created Refugee 613 as a short-term project in response to the global refugee crisis. Refugee 613 will coordinate refugee resettlement efforts in Ottawa and act as a clearing house for information and activities related to refugee settlement. Refugee613.ca is intended to be the first point of reference for anyone interested in sponsoring refugees, volunteering their time or learning where to donate.

    “The goal of Refugee 613 is to relieve the pressure on local settlement agencies and help residents who want to offer a safe haven to people caught up in the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe,” said Louisa Taylor, director of Refugee 613. “We know Ottawa has a big heart, and we’re here to help.”

    United for Refugees

    Launched by United Way Ottawa, Community Foundation of Ottawa, the City of Ottawa, Refugee 613 and other community partners, United for Refugees will focus on raising the necessary funds for the sponsorship and settlement of refugees affected by the Syrian crisis.

    “Ottawa is uniting to welcome refugees of the Syrian crisis as an important part of our community,” said Michael Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer, United Way Ottawa. “We are so proud to be part of this important initiative. Together, we can lift these families out of despair and offer hope.We can help bring refugees to Ottawa and give them the best start in their new lives.”

    People can make a contribution by visiting UnitedforRefugees.ca (#UnitedforRefugees) or calling 613-228-6767.

    Refugee Sponsorship Support Program

    Also present tonight were many members of the legal community who have come forward to facilitate the process for residents. These approximately 40 lawyers from the Refugee Sponsorship Support Program were matched with residents wanting to sponsor refugees, to whom they will provide pro-bono legal advice and help in navigating the application process over the coming months.

    The Refugee Sponsorship Support Program (SSP) by the uOttawa Refugee Hub brings together pro-bono lawyers, law students, and sponsorship experts to offer direct support to Canadians seeking to sponsor refugees. It aims to help more Canadians help more refugees, faster, by matching sponsoring groups with trained lawyers so that each group can have a designated ‘legal guide’ help them navigate the complex sponsorship process. Information for sponsoring groups seeking support and lawyers looking to help is available at refugeessp.ca.

  • Statement: Max Keeping

    Ottawa has been blessed to have Max Keeping as an important part of its local family for as long as anyone can remember. As a journalist, he was a part of our dinner hour every night as he shared important stories of our city and our world. As a community leader, he worked tirelessly to raise funds to help children get healthy, stay positive, and reach their full potential.

    Max devoted every part of himself to the people and the challenges around him. Even as Max battled cancer in recent years, he did so with his trademark brand of positivity. Even in his most difficult times, he still found a way to inspire us to build a better community.

    As we remember Max, we will remember a man who encouraged us all to reach higher and dream bigger. He leaves with us a community legacy that is ours to protect and build upon. This legacy is to be a city that protects its most vulnerable, that cheers each other on, and approaches the future with a sense of hope and optimism.