• Mayor Watson’s State of the City Address 2012



    I am privileged today to deliver my first State of the City address after a year of accomplishment together and to share some thoughts on the year ahead.

    Since being elected we have set a new tone around this council table….and – most importantly – in the community.

    We are committed to action – to getting things done…to delivering tangible, achievable results for our communities.

    This is what our residents expect of us…and it’s also what we demand of ourselves.

    Nous sommes résolus à agir, à nous lancer à l’attaque pour réaliser des choses… à obtenir des résultats tangibles, réalisables pour nos collectivités.

    C’est ce que notre population attend de nous… et c’est ce que nous exigeons de nous-mêmes.

    I know from my days as a Councillor that you are the best resource on what is needed in your ward, in your communities and neighbourhoods.

    You are meeting with people every day and hearing the concerns and aspirations of the people you represent.

    As Councillors, you hear first when things aren’t right, and you have the best understanding of what to do to set things on the proper course.

    Our last budget is a good example of what has come from listening and learning from Council.

    I met with each of you about your wards and your priorities.

    Out of that effort emerged some common priorities: our road system was in need of repairs, our network of cycling paths needed to be improved, and our sidewalks needed upgrading right across the City.

    So our budget delivered Ottawa on the Move – and it’s fair to say that this initiative is – simply put – the result of better listening.

    Council listened and acted to build a strong package of improvements that residents will value.

    But listening has to be an everyday job – it can’t and doesn’t happen just at Budget time.

    I have tried to be there for you when you have an issue or a concern and to provide a Mayor’s Office that is there to help.

    I have also pushed for more collaboration between members of Council, my own team and City staff and I am proud to say that we are making good progress.

    La population veut une équipe de conseillers et une administration municipale à son écoute, qui réalisent des choses et qui trouvent des solutions.

    Thanks to that philosophy, we were able to take on an ambitious agenda for our first year.

    One of our Council’s first decisions was to pass, with the power of a unanimous vote, a motion that demonstrated to taxpayers our collective commitment to capping tax increases at a maximum of 2.5%.

    Councillors also undertook – in a unanimous vote – to find the money within each budget envelope to pay for new spending.

    It’s the kind of discipline that families impose upon themselves to live within their means.

    Across the board, we have worked hard to contain increases in the various fees and rates the City charges, including freezing recreation fees and reducing increases in transit fares by 60% compared to the previous three years.

    Putting transit on a sustainable footing was ambitious – a challenge others had tried to meet before without success.

    This Council created a transit commission with public membership and we moved our transit system forward, modernizing our routes and making key changes to make better use of scarce taxpayer dollars.

    I want to thank Councillor Deans and members of the Transit Commission for their hard work in 2011.

    In 2012, we will continue to make progress on improving our transit – a vital service that delivers over 1 million transit trips each week across the largest municipality in Canada.

    And we’re listening to get this done.

    We have added $5.5 million in additional bus service – taking into account what residents told us and strategically addressing bottlenecks in the system.

    We will also continue to make progress on transparency and integrity.

    We are working to implement our promised registry of lobbying in a practical way – so it can work well without putting up walls to community access to elected officials – and add to the confidence residents have in their municipal government.

    Our proposals for a Council Code of Conduct and a gift registry will also come to Council for your consideration, later this year.

    We are also making progress on a number of ambitious infrastructure projects.

    La population d’Ottawa appuie le train léger sur rail, mais elle s’inquiétait des coûts et des risques associés à un tunnel creusé en profondeur, un tunnel qui circulerait sous les stationnements souterrains d’édifices comme le World Exchange Plaza.

    Le projet de transport en commun par train léger sur rail est bien amorcé.

    This Council moved to a new shallower alignment, one that reduces risk for taxpayers and improves the result. We have also carved out one and a half years from the schedule.

    We look forward to choosing a successful proposal this fall from one of three accomplished international teams competing for this important city building project.

    This Council also continues to work steadfastly to ensure that we can proceed with the planned redevelopment of Lansdowne Park.

    The improvements and renewal we will see are quite impressive.

    I believe we will deliver a magnificent City-wide asset, revitalized to the benefit of all our residents.

    Last year we saw the first step of renewal with the demolition of the south side stands – ahead of schedule and under budget.

    On Lansdowne we’ve listened more, worked with the community and set our sights on success.

    I was pleased that this approach led to a Pre-OMB agreement with community associations that expedited the process, saving time and taxpayers’ money.

    I want to take this opportunity to again thank the City Manager for his dedication and professionalism in moving this important City-building project forward.

    We have also made progress on redeveloping Arts Court and the Ottawa Art Gallery.

    This project has been talked about for far too long – this Council has decided to move from talk to action.

    Ce projet de plusieurs millions de dollars, un effort d’équipe réunissant nos principaux partenaires municipaux issus du milieu des arts, fournira un nouveau domicile à la Galerie d’art d’Ottawa et à la Cour des arts, qui abrite de nombreux organismes dynamiques à vocation artistique de la région.

    Le réaménagement de la Cour des arts jouera un rôle déterminant dans la revitalisation du cœur du centre-ville et renforcera la vitalité culturelle de la ville en entier.

    And 2011 saw Council create a new fund that will allow us to compete for more visitors.

    Managed in collaboration with our partner agency – Ottawa Tourism – this fund will allow the City to “bid more, win more and host more” marquee events that generate economic activity, tourism and jobs.

    This strategy is already paying off.

    This week, our City will host the NHL All-Star game; then Ottawa will welcome the Juno Awards in April; and the Women’s Hockey Championships in 2013.

    Also, earlier this year, thanks to the good work of Paul Benoit and the Airport Authority, Ottawa has announced two new direct flight options for our community – Delta Airlines direct to New York City and US Airways direct to Regan International Airport in Washington, D.C.

    This is also the year we begin the process of renewing our Official Plan.

    Ottawa is among world leaders in air quality and water purity.

    We were chosen “Best Place to Live” again this year by Money Sense Magazine.

    The Mercer Group pegged us 14th best city in the entire world for quality of life…

    All of this says a lot about why our city is a great place to live, work, play and raise a family.

    I want to make sure it stays that way as we grow as a City.

    Je veux, tout comme les membres du conseil municipal, m’assurer que ce plan officiel place la barre haute; je veux m’assurer que nous faisons preuve d’ambition pour cette merveilleuse capitale nationale et la collectivité tout aussi dynamique où nous vivons.

    I will be working closely with Councillor Hume on this year’s Planning Summit to kick off our work on our new Official Plan.

    We want to hear about the City our residents want to build for the future and for their families.

    We will set the course that will govern our development from 2014 until 2020 with the rethinking of our Official Plan.

    We will decide what kind of improvements we want for our transit system over the long term and how we will safeguard and enhance our mobility as our city grows.

    We will make a lot of decisions that will affect the financial strength of our municipality far into the future.

    Le débat légitime entourant la densification se poursuivra dans le cadre du renouvellement de notre Plan officiel.

    Et c’est un débat que j’encourage, car il n’y a pas d’alternative acceptable à la densification.

    Les villes qui ne prennent pas de mesures énergiques pour contenir l’étalement urbain sont aux prises avec des centres-villes qui se détériorent petit à petit et de façon irréversible.

    The legitimate debate about intensification will continue as part of our Official Plan renewal.

    And it’s a debate that I welcome, because there is no acceptable alternative to sensible intensification.

    Cities that have not moved aggressively to contain urban sprawl have seen their downtown core suffer a steady, irreversible decline.

    We all know intuitively that urban sprawl is both expensive and unsustainable.

    Yet, many of us find it difficult to accept that our communities will be different from those of our parents or of their parents.

    In Ottawa, we are already seeing some of the benefits of intensification as our downtown core and many of our communities near the core are much more alive and vibrant than they were as recently as 10 or 15 years ago.

    I can remember, not that long ago, when it was difficult to find a place to have dinner that was still open in the downtown core after 6 p.m.

    Now, more of our communities are bustling with people, activity and vibrancy.

    Yet, we need to do more to strike the right balance between the need for intensification and the legitimate needs and concerns of our neighbourhoods.

    I don’t think we have struck the right balance yet, and I hope that our Planning Summit will identify some innovative ideas to move us in this direction.

    2012 is also the year I want to challenge everyone in our organization to put more innovation into practice.

    Private business has its own discipline for companies that can’t innovate to keep up with the pace of change.

    They go out of business.

    In government we face the same relentless pace of change but we don’t have the same external force driving continuous improvement.

    So we need to create conditions that will foster that change.

    We have an excellent base in our existing administration and a solid start through our multi-year ServiceOttawa roll out.

    This year you will notice a big difference in accessing city services and information.

    A restructured and redesigned website will soon be making ServiceOttawa easily available to our residents to conveniently access City services and information online instead of in person or over the phone.

    Residents will also be able to complete 250 different service transactions such as booking and paying for last-minute ice time, reporting graffiti, requesting a recycling bin, and registering for classes and activities through the ServiceOttawa gateway.

    And, the ServiceOttawa department will decentralize the majority of business licensing services from Ben Franklin Place to the seven Client Service Centres so that residents have more convenient locations and service hours to conduct business with the City.

    We have invested heavily in our program to deliver better services to residents and do so for less.

    And this year we will really begin to enjoy the benefits of that investment.

    But it can’t stop there.

    We’re going to improve our efficiency and effectiveness in planning this year.

    We will change the planning system to make it more inclusive, clear and easy to navigate.

    I have asked Peter Hume as Chair of Planning to oversee the implementation of the City’s new Green Express Lane for development approvals and I know he will be sharing good news with Council and the public on this front in the coming months.

    And we need to keep showing innovation on the economic development front.

    Next month, we will see the official launch of Invest Ottawa, the City’s new agency for boosting investment, trade and innovation.

    Invest Ottawa has a job to do – a single mission – to aggressively and systematically attract investment to our City.

    The Federal government will table its 2012 budget in the coming months, which will likely see the size of the public service decrease.

    So now – more than ever – we need to take our economic development destiny in our own hands.

    The days of relying on the Government of Canada to be the primary engine of this community’s growth are behind us.

    Maintenant plus que jamais, nous devons nous approprier le destin de notre développement économique.

    L’époque où l’on dépendait du gouvernement du Canada comme moteur principal de la croissance économique de notre collectivité est révolue.

    So much more is possible when we work together to get things done.

    Today I am announcing a series of new initiatives and ideas that I believe will be well received by our community.

    Young people play a critical role in the success of our community.

    These will be challenging times as they graduate and enter this job market.

    Councillor Mathieu Fleury will Chair a city-wide Youth Summit in the fall of 2012 on the issues that are important to young people.

    I invite members of Council to engage in this important dialogue.

    Building on the format and success of the Seniors’ Summit, we will also ask our city’s youth for their advice on issues ranging from employment to transportation to art and culture and ways to eliminate bullying in our society.

    Je suis aussi fier d’annoncer une nouvelle entente de collaboration avec le Regroupement des gens d’affaires.

    Ensemble, nous allons rassembler la communauté d’affaires, deux fois par année, dans le cadre du petit déjeuner du Maire.

    J’aimerais remercier Joanne Lefebvre, présidente du RGA, pour son leadership dans le développement de ce partenariat.

    Our first breakfast event with the RGA will be on Thursday, February 16th right here at City Hall….and we are privileged to host the Federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities as our first guest speaker – the Honourable Denis Lebel.

    With 2012 under way, we must also ramp up our Sesquicentennial planning, the 150th birthday of our nation.

    I have asked Councillors Hobbs and Bloess to Co-Chair a task force on Canada’s 150th Anniversary taking place in 2017.

    I am delighted to say that they are both very enthusiastic to take on the challenge of making sure that Ottawa is ready to roll out the red carpet in 2017.

    We must aggressively go after national and international conferences, annual general meetings, sporting and cultural events, conventions and trade shows.

    Quebec City was extremely successful in 2008 as it used its 400th Anniversary as a magnet to attract more and bigger events to their city.

    I want to ensure that our city – the nation’s capital – owns 2017.

    A number of our City’s partners are excited about taking part in the 2017 Taskforce.

    I am pleased to recognize the following organizations that will help Ottawa welcome the world in 2017 in collaboration with the Tourism Development Council.

     – Ottawa Tourism, under the leadership of Noel Buckley;

     – The Ottawa Convention Centre, under the leadership of Pat Kelly;

     – The Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, represented by Erin Kelly;

     – The Ottawa Airport Authority represented by Michael Crockatt;

     – The Ottawa Senators;

     – The City’s Economic Development team, represented by Saad Bashir;

    …and several other groups who will participate on this important task, including:

     – Le Regroupement des Gens d’affaires lead by Joanne Lefebvre;

     – And the new CE Centre, under the leadership of Kevin McCrann;

    Merci à tous nos partenaires dynamiques d’avoir accepté de faire partie de cette équipe.

    Our City is first and foremost a gathering place of tremendous people who, from all walks of life and through all sorts of contributions, make this City welcoming, generous and an all-around exceptional place to live.

    I am pleased to announce today that I will work with Deputy Mayors Steve Desroches and Eli El Chantiry – and all of Council – to bring a proposal forward in the spring to renew and consolidate our city’s civic appreciation awards and to create a new distinguished award to recognize great people in our community – the Order of Ottawa.

    This will be our chance to recognize distinguished residents of Ottawa for their incredible contributions to our community.

    Further, I am very proud to report that Ottawa’s most decorated athlete, Olympian and world champion figure skater, Barbara Ann Scott has generously donated her entire collection of medals, awards and other historic memorabilia to the City of Ottawa.

    C’est avec beaucoup de fierté que je vous annonce que Barbara Ann Scott, l’athlète la plus déterminée d’Ottawa, médaillée olympique et championne du monde en patinage artistique, a généreusement fait don à la Ville d’Ottawa de l’ensemble de sa collection de médailles, de prix et autres souvenirs liés à sa carrière.

    Ms. Scott – who is known as “Canada’s Olympic Sweetheart” – captured the imagination and the hearts of generations of Ottawans and Canadians through her amazing performance:

    The winner of the Junior Women’s National title in 1940, the National Senior Women’s title from 1944-1948, the North-American championships 1945-1948,  two European championships 1947-1948; two World championships 1947-1948 and an Olympic gold medal at the 5th Winter Olympic Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland on February 6, 1948.

    When I spoke with her last week, Ms. Scott told me that “all of this material really belongs to Ottawa, because Ottawa gave me my start, and is my hometown”.

    Working with the City Archives, the space soon to be vacated on the first floor of City Hall will be transformed into a showcase of Ms. Scott’s remarkable achievements, complete with historic photographs, costumes, silver plates and her champion gold medal.

    The Barbara Ann Scott Room will nicely compliment our new and very successful Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, located in the heritage building.

    I want to sincerely thank Ms. Scott for her thoughtfulness and generosity.

    I look forward to hosting her later this year when we dedicate the room in her honour.

    I would like to pay a special tribute to a great supporter of this initiative, the late journalist Earl McRae and to thank him for championing this idea.

    Members of Council, we have come a very long way in a very short year.

    We have made a lot of progress in building confidence in our City government over the course of the last year, and each of you has played an important part in helping to make this a reality.

    In the coming year, we will stay the course on taxes.

    We will continue to work to honour the commitment we made to cap municipal tax increases at no more than 2.5% for the remainder of this term.

    But we will do so while preserving and protecting the important public services that our residents deserve and expect.

    And I am proud to say that we will continue the spirit of listening and collaboration that have marked the first fourteen months of our mandate.

    I would like to thank each member of Council for your strong commitment to listening to one another, to working together as a team and to making progress on the issues that matter to the people of Ottawa.

    Because at the end of the day, that is what matters most.

    I want to conclude by introducing you to some special guests who are with us today in the front row of the visitors gallery.

    Each and every day, like you, I have the incredible opportunity to meet some remarkable people who help make our City the special place it is.

    Through their everyday gestures and generosity, they contribute to making our City truly extraordinary.

    They do so without expectation of reward, without great fanfare and outside of the glare of media.

    Let me introduce you to some residents who I had the opportunity to come across this past year.

    I would ask that you hold your applause until the end.

    Let me start with Raphaelle Ferland – a young woman I met last November who shared her story with me about living without a home from the age of 15 to 18.

    Eventually Raphaelle found support at the Youth Services Bureau….first by dropping-in and then attending counselling sessions.

    Raphaelle found a home and in 2008 enrolled in a social work program at la Cité Collégiale – graduating 2nd in her class.

    Today, Raphaelle is 22 years old and in her second year of civil law at the U of Ottawa – where she is also president of the U of O chapter of Lawyers Without Borders.

    Facing adversity and numerous challenges….she found support from the community…

    And now, following her tremendous perseverance, she is giving back to our community.

    Tyrone Henry is an 18 year old student at South Carleton High School.

    Last year, he sustained a spinal cord injury which left him paralyzed from the waist down.

    The rehabilitation was a long process but Tyrone describes the experience as “having been given a new life.”

    He has set goals for himself and through courage and hard work is attaining them one by one.

    Last year, using his hand-cycle, Tyrone participated in the Army marathon and the 9-Run-Run marathon….inspiring crowds along the way.

    In November, he was invited to join the Rick Hansen 25th Year Anniversary Relay – carrying the medal as an Endurance Team member from Windsor to Thunder Bay.

    His father wrote us a note that day – it was filled with such excitement and pride.

    Great news came in last week and Tyrone will once again join the Rick Hansen Relay this coming March.

    Tyrone, you have chosen to use your life and resources to inspire and help others overcome similar challenges.

    Ottawa is a stronger city because of you.

    J’aimerais maintenant vous parler d’une bénévole exceptionnelle qui s’appelle Jeannine Legault.

    On la voie tout simplement partout.

    Depuis plus de 60 ans, Jeannine s’implique de façon fervente dans diverses organisations dont les Guides franco-ontariennes, la Caisse Populaire Vision, l’ACFO et la Fédération des femmes canadiennes-francaises de la paroisse Notre-Dame et Sainte-Geneviève.

    Jeannine Legault has been a volunteer in our City’s francophone community for over 60 years.

    For context, Jeannine started volunteering when Louis Saint-Laurent was Prime Minister of Canada.

    L’an dernier, elle a reçu le prix Grandmaître et on l’a reconnu pour son engagement exceptionnel!

    Jeannine nous montre que c’est avec le travail et la persévérance que la communauté d’Ottawa s’épaule et grandit. Merci Jeannine.

    Tobias Lutke and Harley Finkelstein are the young founders of Shopify – Ottawa’s fastest-growing private company for the past two years.

    This start-up specialises in e-commerce and has mastered the art of creating and powering online stores.

    Last year, users of Shopify technology sold more than $250M in merchandise online.

    Only in their 6th year, Shopify helps more than 16, 000 online retailers from over 80 countries worldwide.

    They expect to add 6,000 to 8,000 more stores this year alone.

    In 2010 Shopify was able to secure $7M in venture capital funding which was followed, 10 months later, by a $15M Series B round funding.

    The worldwide online community is keeping a close eye on Shopify’s headquarters located in the Ottawa Byward Market which employs 100 staff, several of them are recent graduates from Ottawa universities and colleges.

    Tobias and Harley are also engaging the start-up community of Ottawa by hosting an event called FreshFounders.

    It takes place at their office and invites the top 100 Ottawa based entrepreneurs to network and share stories.

    Tobias, Harley and the Shopify team are exceptional entrepreneurs who demonstrate to the world that Canada’s Capital is place of innovation and ingenuity, a place of perseverance, a place where economic success can be realized.

    Ils sont des entrepreneurs exceptionnels qui font la preuve aux yeux du monde que la capitale d’Ottawa est un milieu d’innovation et d’ingéniosité, un milieu de persévérance et un milieu où le succès économique est possible.

    Sam, Simon and Billy Saykaley own the Carleton Tavern and representing all the brothers here today is Billy Saykaley.

    Each year, the brothers gather volunteers, food and musicians as they host one of Ottawa’s greatest Christmas dinners, providing local residents with a warm place to share a meal and feel at home.

    They are joined by members of the Hintonburg Economic Development Committee, who help coordinate this event that – for the last 10 years – just keeps getting bigger each year.

    The last Christmas Day Dinner at the Tavern served or delivered over 800 meals – that’s over 30 turkeys, six hams, 60 meat pies and an endless supply of coffee and refreshments.

    Volunteers show up in full force to be a part of what has now become a community tradition.

    I have had the privilege of attending this event on several occasions.

    And each year turns out to be an incredible feast and celebration filled with music, crafts, gifts for the children and some Christmas carol warmth for all.

    By treating their fellow residents as a part of their extended family, they help make Ottawa an exceptional place to live.

    Members of Council, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in recognizing these exceptional individuals for their contributions to our community.

    I have chosen to highlight the contributions of these exceptional Ottawans to remind us, as a Council, and to remind the residents of Ottawa, that our sole purpose here is to improve the quality of life in our community for the people of Ottawa over the long term.

    J’ai choisi de souligner l’apport de citoyens et citoyennes exceptionnels pour nous rappeler à nous, en tant que conseil municipal, et pour rappeler aux résidantes et résidants de cette ville que notre unique raison d’être est d’améliorer à long terme la qualité de vie dans ce milieu pour l’ensemble de la population d’Ottawa.

    It’s an inspiring reminder that community is about much more than places, budgets and infrastructure. It’s first and foremost about people.

    I am deeply convinced that each member of Council has worked hard in the last year to make Ottawa a better place for our residents.

    I encourage you to leave no stone unturned and to spare no effort to make Ottawa an even greater City in the course of the coming year.

    Thank you.


  • Mayor Watson outlines the year ahead in State of the City Address

    Ottawa – Today Mayor Jim Watson delivered his first State of the City Address to members of Council, residents and staff at City Hall. The speech focused on progress made in 2011 and how Council can continue to move forward in 2012 on economic development, streamlined urban planning, better transportation and increased tourism. A number of new initiatives were also unveiled.

    “Since being elected we have set a new tone around this council table and, most importantly, out in the community,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “In 2012 we need to keep up the momentum. This is what our residents expect of us and it’s also what we demand of ourselves.”

    The Mayor noted that in the coming year the City will be choosing a successful proposal from one of three international teams competing for the Ottawa Light Rail Project – the biggest infrastructure project in the city’s history. There will be greater innovation and use of technology to reduce costs through the roll-out of Service Ottawa, which will allow residents to access City services online such as last-minute ice time, reporting graffiti, requesting a recycling bin, and registering for classes and activities. This year will also see the launch of Invest Ottawa, the City’s new agency for boosting investment, trade and innovation in the nation’s capital and the renewal of Ottawa’s Official Plan will begin with the upcoming Planning Summit.

    A number of new initiatives were also announced:

     – Councillor Mathieu Fleury will lead a Youth Summit in the fall of 2012 to engage the city’s youth for their advice on issues ranging from employment to transportation to arts and culture and ways to eliminate bullying in our society.
    – There will be a new breakfast series hosted in partnership between the Mayor and the Regroupement des gens d’affaires. The first breakfast will take place on Thursday, February 16th and the guest speaker will be the Federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Denis Lebel.
    -Councillors Katherine Hobbs and Rainer Bloess will Co-Chair a new task force to plan for the celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation in 2017.
    – Deputy Mayors Steve Desroches and Eli El-Chantiry will work with the Mayor to bring forward a proposal to renew and consolidate Ottawa’s civic appreciation awards and to create a new distinguished award – The Order of Ottawa – to recognize great people in the community.
    – The creation of the Barbara Ann Scott Room at City Hall to showcase one of Ottawa’s most accomplished athletes and ‘Canada’s Olympic Sweetheart’.

    The text of the Mayor’s Address can be found here.

  • Construction milestone for the Rink of Dreams

    -UPDATE –

    Ottawa – Today, Mayor Jim Watson, Cyril Leeder, Ottawa Senators President and Danielle Robinson, President of the Sens Foundation, placed three pins in the Rink of Dreams before concrete was poured over the area. This is the next major milestone before the outdoor refrigerated rink opens at the end of January in time for the 2012 NHL All Star Game.

    The three pins – one from the City of Ottawa and two from the Ottawa Senators – signify the partnership between the two groups, who have been working in collaboration to bring Ottawa’s newest downtown attraction to life. The City will operate the rink and is contributing $250,000 towards constructions costs. The Sens Foundation along with local partners and construction companies will contribute the remainder of the design and construction budget for the Rink of Dreams project.

    – 30 –

    Posted on October 5, 2011

    Ottawa – The city’s newest downtown attraction is one step closer to reality today following the groundbreaking of the Rink of Dreams at City Hall by Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Diane Holmes, Cyril Leeder, Ottawa Senators President, Jim Durrell, Chair of the Hockey Canada Gala Committee, Danielle Robinson, President of the Sens Foundation and Todd Jackson, Senior Manager of Member Services for Hockey Canada.

    “The Rink of Dreams will serve as a hub and attraction for residents and tourists alike, breathing new life into Marion Dewar Plaza and our downtown core,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “It also creates new opportunities for us to collaborate with the community and host exciting events that complement the many festivals and attractions held in our city.”

    Once completed, the 12,500-square-foot refrigerated ice surface will be open for skating until March and serve as a community space during the spring and summer months. The refrigerated rink will be open again for skating in November 2012.

    “We are extremely pleased that in less than a year we have completed the fundraising, finalized design, rallied support across the community and are commencing construction,” said Cyril Leeder, Ottawa Senators President. “Every organization and individual that we approached to be involved with this project said yes and each one of them asked ‘what else can we do?’ – all evidence that the Rink of Dreams is an important project for our community.”

    “The goal of the Hockey Canada Foundation’s Gala and golf tournament held this past June was to raise funds to make the Rink of Dreams a reality,” said Jim Durrell, the chair of the Hockey Canada Gala Committee. “As a result of those events, more than $400,000 in funds will be directed to this very significant project.”

    The City will operate the rink and is contributing $250,000 towards constructions costs. The Sens Foundation along with local partners and construction companies will contribute the remainder of the design and construction budget for the Rink of Dreams project.

    For more information on the Sens Foundation, visit www.sensfoundation.com. For more information about the Hockey Canada Foundation, visit http://www.hockeycanada.ca/foundation.


  • Curtains rise on bigger and better Centrepointe Theatres

    Ottawa – John Baird, Member of Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean, along with the Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure and Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean and His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa, participated in an official ceremony today to recognize the successful completion of thousands of infrastructure projects across Ontario that have received federal and provincial funding through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. The event also marked the recent expansion of the Centrepointe Theatre in Ottawa, a project that has nearly doubled the size of the world-class venue.

    “Through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, our Government delivered timely and targeted investments that created jobs and boosted the economy,” said MP Baird. “We are proud to have supported more than 2000 projects across Ontario through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. The Centrepointe Theatre expansion is great news for the entire community, and will encourage the development of local artists and the presentation of local works for many years to come.”

    “Through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, our government has made strategic investments throughout the province to support our communities, strengthen the economy, create thousands of jobs and provide sustainable, quality infrastructure that Ontarians can rely on for decades to come,” said Minister Chiarelli. “As one of many successful projects now complete in the Ottawa Region, this expansion will allow Centrepointe Theatre to enhance its position as a cultural and theatrical landmark in our community, and provide even more opportunities to serve residents, visitors and performers.”

    “Centrepointe Theatres are a vital part of Ottawa’s arts and culture scene,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “And it is great to see all three levels of government come together to invest in the future of our artists and this important element of our local economy.”

    Already the second largest performing arts theatre in the National Capital Region, Centrepointe Theatres now boast a 253 seat, state-of-the-art studio theatre behind the main stage — ideal for intimate performances, business functions, lectures, rehearsals and workshops. The expansion also saw the installation of a new production centre, with expanded loading dock, workshops, storage rooms and a stage-door reception area; a catering kitchen; two large dressing rooms; a double green room to serve both theatres; a volunteer lounge and kitchen; barrier-free washrooms; a first-aid room; public elevators and administration offices.

    The governments of Canada and Ontario each committed $4 million toward the project through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. The City of Ottawa matched these funds. The City’s $4-million share of the project is funded through a grant of up to $363,636 and a low-interest loan of up to $3,636,364, both from the Green Municipal Fund administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

    Combined, the governments of Canada and Ontario have committed funding to a total of more than 2000 projects in communities across Ontario. Projects have been completed in every corner of the province, creating jobs when the economy needed them most — from the rehabilitation of water infrastructure in Kingston, to upgrades of municipal roads in Sudbury, to the construction of a new transit facility in Oakville, to a new facility for the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara.

    The Infrastructure Stimulus Fund is part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan. Thanks to Canada’s Economic Action Plan and our strong economic and financial fundamentals, the Canadian economy has recovered from the global recession better than most other industrialized countries. Canada has been a leader amongst G-7 countries throughout the recovery with nearly 600,000 net new jobs created since July 2009.

    This project also supports Building Together, the Government of Ontario’s long-term infrastructure plan to repair, rebuild and renew the province’s roads and highways, bridges, public transit, schools and postsecondary institutions, hospitals and courthouses. Ontario is investing $12.8 billion in infrastructure projects in 2011-12, bringing the government’s total infrastructure investments since 2003 to $75 billion. Building modern, efficient infrastructure has created or preserved close to 100,000 jobs each year, on average, making Ontario’s economy more productive and improving quality of life, now and in the future.

    For additional information about investments in infrastructure, visit infrastructure.gc.ca.

    For further information about Canada’s Economic Action Plan, visit actionplan.gc.ca.

    To download a short broadcast-quality video highlighting a few of the many successful infrastructure projects across Canada, visit infrastructure.gc.ca/video/video-eng.html.

    For more information on how Ontario is revitalizing its infrastructure, visit ontario.ca/infrastructure.


  • 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.


  • 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

  • 2011 Ottawa Book Awards and Prix du livre d’Ottawa winners announced

    Ottawa – Three local writers shared the spotlight tonight as winners of the City of Ottawa’s prestigious Book Awards. The ceremony took place at Library and Archives Canada.

    “With these awards, we proudly celebrate Ottawa’s remarkable writers who continue to inspire readers at home and abroad”, said Mayor Jim Watson. “We are pleased to add this year’s outstanding winning books to an impressive list of past winners.”

    Each award is worth $7,500 and is presented for books published in the previous year. The Ottawa Book Award recognized the top English books in the categories of fiction and non-fiction and the Prix du livre d’Ottawa honoured the top French non-fiction book. No award was presented in the French fiction category due to insufficient entries.

    Ottawa Book Award winners:

     – Non-fiction: Eric Enno Tamm The Horse that Leaps Through Clouds: A Tale of Espionage, the Silk Road and the Rise of Modern China, (Douglas and McIntyre)

     – Fiction: Gabriella Goliger, Girl Unwrapped, (Arsenal Pulp Press)

    Prix du livre d’Ottawa winner:

     – Non-fiction: Lucie Joubert, L’envers du landau : Regard extérieur sur la maternité et ses débordements, (Les Éditions Triptyque)

    Winning books were each selected by a different jury of peers:

     – English non-fiction: John Geddes, Sarah Jennings and Kerry Pither

     – English fiction: Lori Weber, Blaine Marchand and Ian Roy

     – French non-fiction: Yves Frenette, Patricia Smart, Anne Trépanier

    Descriptions of the winning books and author biographies are available online at ottawa.ca/rec_culture/arts/awards/book/index_en.html.


  • Trick-or-Treat with Mayor Jim Watson in support of the Baby Supply Cupboard

    Ottawa – On Saturday, October 29, 2011, join Mayor Jim Watson at Ottawa City Hall from 5 to 7:30 p.m. for the Mayor’s fifth annual Halloween party in support of the Ottawa Food Bank’s Baby Supply Cupboard. It’s a trick-or-treating event for the whole family that’s so much fun, it’s scary!

    “This event is a great way to get into the spirit of Halloween while providing much-needed assistance to those less fortunate in our community,” said Mayor Watson. “I look forward to seeing many Ottawa families demonstrate their costume-making skills and community spirit at City Hall on the 29th.”

    The evening starts with trick-or-treating through the haunted house in the Heritage Building, followed by ghoulish tales in Andrew Haydon Hall. Trick-or-treaters can decorate their own pumpkin in the pumpkin patch and join the Mayor for a safe Halloween party in Jean Pigott Place.

    After leaving the main building, the festivities continue as guests trick-or-treat on Marion Dewar Plaza.

    Trick-or-Treat with the Mayor will be a spook-tacular evening for everyone, and an important opportunity for local families to support the Baby Supply Cupboard with donations of non-perishable baby food, formula, diapers, wipes and so on.

    The Baby Supply Cupboard helps parents in need by providing items in high demand such as formula, baby food, cereals and diapers. Chronic shortages of donations of these basic needs make stocking the Baby Supply Cupboard one of the Food Bank’s most expensive, but most precious, priorities.

    Trick-or-Treat with the Mayor will take place at Ottawa City Hall on Saturday, October 29 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Admission is a donation to the Baby Supply Cupboard. For more information, visit ottawa.ca/mayor or call 3-1-1.

    – 30 –

  • 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.”