• Happy International Women’s Day

    Today, March 8 2017, is International Women’s Day. It’s a day to honour all women for their accomplishments and to pay tribute to inspiring women everywhere who have made a difference in the lives of others and who have led – and continue to lead – the way forward towards a more equal and just society.

    It’s also an occasion to recognize that women all over the world have brought positive change to many facets of life, but that they continue to face challenges in the fight for gender equality.

    2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage in Canada, when the right of women to vote in political elections was granted to a limited female franchise. Ever since 1917, Canadian women across our country have been continuously fighting for the rights all women and for gender equality.

    To commemorate this anniversary, Canada’s theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is Equality Matters. Gender equality means that everyone can benefit from the same opportunities and be treated equally, regardless of their gender.

    Our society and communities are much stronger when we have female leaders in the workplace, shared participation in home life and women involved in the democratic process through political leadership roles. We invite you to reflect on why gender equality matters to you, and share those thoughts with family, friends and colleagues.

    I wish you all a Happy International Women’s Day!

  • Visit Ottawa’s rural attractions this year!

    One of my favourite things about Ottawa is its particularly large geographical scale. But despite having a total land surface of 2758 km², it is easy to travel from our vibrant urban neighbourhoods to family-centric suburbs to rural and farming areas in 20 minutes. family-centric suburbs and.This year, visit Ottawa’s rural attractions!

  • My poem for Mayor Naheed Nenshi – 2016 Grey Cup bet

    As tradition would have it, the Mayor of Calgary, Naheed Nenshi, and I placed a bet on who would win the 2016 Grey Cup: the Ottawa RedBlacks or the Calgary Stampeders. As we all know, the Ottawa RedBlacks came back from Toronto with the 104th Grey Cup in hand. To honour our bet, my good friend Mayor Nenshi wore the RedBlacks’ jersey at his City Council on December 5, sent over a dozen donuts from Jelly Modern Doughnuts, donated to the Ottawa Food Bank and read a poem I wrote for him aloud during his Council meeting. I look forward to next year’s Grey Cup bet, and to our RedBlacks defending their championship right here in Ottawa, as we host the 2017 Grey Cup!

    Twinkle, twinkle, little star
    How I wonder why the Stampeders were subpar
    Up above the world so high
    Are the RedBlacks, I can’t lie

    When my hopes of winning were gone,
    And all I could shout was come-on!
    Mayor Watson showed me the light
    And said “don’t worry, you’ll be alright”

    Once again, Ottawa proved to be the bigger shark
    And blew us right out of the park
    I should have been chanting Go RedBlacks Go!
    And high-fived their mascot Big Joe

    The truth is, I envy Ottawa
    The whole city leaves me in awe
    They do everything better than Calgary
    And their people are lovely and merry

    Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
    I’ve learned my lesson from Mayor Jim
    I know better now, next time I’ll listen to him

  • Canada was named the number 1 country to visit in 2017 by Lonely Planet

    I’m very proud to see that Canada was named the number 1 country to visit in 2017 by Lonely Planet. With Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations just around the corner, our Nation’s Capital is ready to host the biggest party ever thrown for our great country. Be here for Canada’s Big Year!

    Read Ottawa Tourism’s News Release below:


    Ottawa Tourism elated Lonely Planet recognizes Canada as #1 place to visit in 2017
    Capitalizing on Ottawa’s year-long celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday

    OTTAWA, October 25, 2016—Ottawa Tourism lauds the decision by Lonely Planet, announced today, to name Canada as the #1 country to visit in 2017. As Canada celebrates its 150th birthday next year, Ottawa is the only city to plan a full year’s worth of celebrations. Under the direction of Mayor Jim Watson and with the leadership of Guy Laflamme and his team at the Ottawa 2017 Bureau, Ottawa will be THE place to be in Canada in 2017.

    “Ottawa Tourism has been working closely with Mayor Watson and the Ottawa 2017 bureau throughout the planning process for next year’s celebration,” says Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “Our team has been promoting Ottawa 2017 for quite some time now, in our leisure marketing, convention sales, travel trade, travel media relations and social media efforts. The Lonely Planet announcement provides yet another boost to the worldwide awareness of what is planned.”

    “As mayor of our nation’s capital, I’m very proud that Canada has been recognized as THE place to visit in 2017,” says Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. “We have put a lot of time and resources in creating and promoting our exciting year-long program of events for Canada’s 150th birthday, and this recognition confirms that our efforts have indeed captured the attention of the media worldwide.”

    “The travel experts at Lonely Planet recognize that Canada will be a destination beyond compare in 2017, with festivities to mark our country’s 150th anniversary from coast to coast to coast,” said Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau. “Ottawa in particular, will offer Canadians and visitors from around the world an exceptional and memorable year of high-caliber experiences to celebrate this important milestone for our country.”

    Ottawa Tourism will leverage this recognition of Canada as it promotes such blockbuster events as

    • the lighting of an Ottawa 2017 cauldron at Ottawa City Hall to kick off a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration that will extend to Parliament Hill on December 31, 2016;
    • the world championship Red Bull Crashed Ice event in March;
    • a series of 17 epic stunts and gatherings throughout the capital called Ignite 150 that will take place throughout the year and include a yoga session on a barge floating down a local waterway accompanied by a live orchestra, a movie on a downtown terrace rooftop, Sky Lounge, a gourmet experience 150 feet in the air, and more;
    • the Juno Awards (celebrating the best in the Canadian music industry) March 27-April 2, 2017;
    • a summer-long free underground multimedia experience in a future light rail transit tunnel downtown;
    • a series of 20 unique one-day outdoor events called Agri 150 taking place over the course of the year in rural Ottawa;
    • Inspiration Village, a free display using shipping containers in the ByWard Market neighbourhood from May 20 to September 4 to highlight each of Canada’s provinces and territories;
    • the first-ever Interprovincial Picnic on the Bridge offering picnic spots overlooking Parliament Hill and the Ottawa River on July 2;
    • the North American premiere of La Machine’s roving, larger-than-life mechanical spider and dragon roaming Ottawa streets July 26-30, 2017;
    • the Grey Cup championship football game in November; among other reasons to visit Ottawa in 2017.

    For a full list of next year’s events, visit www.ottawa2017.ca.

    Ottawa Tourism provides destination marketing, strategic direction and leadership in cooperation with members and partners to service the travel media and attract visitors, tours and conventions to Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region. Its vision is to build recognition of Ottawa as an outstanding four-season tourism destination.
    www.ottawatourism.ca

     

  • Trick or Treat with the Mayor!

  • Congratulations Ottawa Champions, 2016 CanAm league Champions!

    Ottawa Champions fans joined me and my fellow City Councillors today to celebrate the Ottawa Champion’s first CanAm league victory!

    Nearly 300 people attended a rally held in Jean Pigott at City Hall, along with players from the Ottawa Champions team and members of the Ottawa Champions office. It was great to hear from David Gourlay, President of the Ottawa Champions and from Sebastien Boucher, local Ottawa Champions player, as they outlined the highlights of their season and the impact Baseball is having in our community.

    The rally concluded with my proclamation of September 19 as Ottawa Champions Day in Ottawa, and with a photo and autograph session with the Ottawa Champions. Even Champ the mascot was part of the fun!

    I’d like to thank all the fans who came out today to congratulate the team on winning the Can-Am League title, and I look forward to celebrating many more of their successes with you.

    Let’s go Champions, let’s go!

  • City of Ottawa and Ottawa Champions baseball team invite residents to join in honouring Max Keeping on Saturday

    The City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Champions baseball team are inviting residents to remember popular local community builder Max Keeping, by filling the RCGT Park baseball stadium for the ball game on Saturday, July 16, at 7 p.m., when the Champions will host the Rockland Boulders.

    The game will be preceded at 6:30 p.m. with a short ceremony renaming the Coventry Pedestrian and Cycling Bridge over Highway 417 the Max Keeping Bridge in honour of the late broadcaster, community booster, longtime booster of baseball in our city, and tireless advocate and fundraiser for vulnerable and sick children and youth in Ottawa.

    Mr. Keeping helped raise more than $100 million for organizations such as the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Roger’s House, the United Way, the Boys and Girls Club, Operation Come Home and the Cancer Foundation.

    In recognition of his generosity, the Ottawa Champions will donate $1 to CHEO from each ticket to the July 16 game that is purchased in advance.

    Mayor Jim Watson and David Gourlay, president of the Ottawa Champions Baseball Club, encourage residents to buy a ticket, enjoy the ball game as the Champions play the Rockland Boulders, and take a moment to remember Max — a local hero who changed countless lives for the better.

    The Max Keeping Bridge connects the Overbrook community, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park (baseball stadium), the Via Rail station and the future Tremblay Station of the O-Train Confederation Line.

  • North American Leaders Summit 2016

    On Wednesday, June 29, 2016, I had the privilege and honour to welcome and meet United States President Barack Obama here in Ottawa, during the North American Leaders Summit. The American leader met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto. Together they discussed and developed strategies for clean energy, economic growth and collaboration between the three countries.

    In the receiving line, President Obama and I talked about my tie, the Obama cookie, but most importantly, the need to continue to welcome Syrian refugees in our countries. President Obama concluded his visit by addressing the Parliament of Canada House of Commons with a powerful and compassionate message of unity and respect between our nations.

    I’d like to thank Global Affairs Canada for sharing photos of the greeting.

    Mayor Watson 1 Mayor Watson 2 Mayor Watson 3 Mayor Watson 4 Mayor Watson 5 Mayor Watson 6 Mayor Watson 7

  • Downtown Ottawa is open for business with free special bus service and free two-hour parking

    This weekend, Rideau-Vanier Councillor Mathieu Fleury and I encourage you to to spend some time in downtown Rideau and in the ByWard Market to support our local businesses and the people who work there. We want to make it easy to get to the core, so the the City will provide two hours of free parking on Sunday June 19 and 26, and free shuttles on those same Sundays from Trim, Eagleson and Fallowfield Park & Rides. More information is available by clicking here.

    We would also like to thank the crews who have been working day and night to rebuilt Rideau Street. Thank you.

     

  • My message in the wake of the Orlando tragedy

    It was with great sadness that I learned this morning of the horrible tragedy that happened in a nightclub in Orlando overnight, where the lives of 50 members of the LGBTQ community were taken. This was the deadliest shooting in the history of the United States. My condolences go to the families and friends of the victims, and to our American friends who are mourning this loss.
     
    I have been advised that a vigil organized by Capital Pride will be held at 8 p.m. this evening at the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street. As a show of solidarity to those who are mourning this loss within their community, I have asked that the Pride flag be flown in front of the Heritage Building, and that the American flag be flown at Marion Dewar Plaza, both until sundown on Thursday, June 16. 
     
    We are fortunate to live in a city and a country that embrace diversity, and where people are free to love who they wish to love. But this act of hate and terror reminds us that we must keep making progress until this climate of acceptance is extended to all members of the LGBTQ community around the world.
     
    There is simply no reason for this senseless act of violence. We will keep those affected by this tragedy in our thoughts and prayers, and we wish them strength in their battle against hatred, discrimination and extremism.
    Jim Watson
    Mayor
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