• 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
  • Historic transit win for Ottawa residents

    On June 3, the Province of Ontario announced an investment of $1 billion towards the City’s Stage 2 LRT initiative, plus 50 per cent of the cost associated with extending the O-Train system to the airport and from Place d’Orléans to Trim. This is a total investment of $1.16 billion. This is an historic vote of confidence in the future of the City of Ottawa.

    This is also the single largest one-time infrastructure investment by the Province of Ontario in the economic transformation of our city.

    My stated goal as Mayor of the City of Ottawa, working with my Council colleagues, is to ensure that we continue to expand our LRT system to meet the needs of our residents – we don’t want to put shovels away in 2018 once the Confederation Line is complete.

    With the Province’s support, we can keep building on this momentum as we work to extend LRT farther west to Bayshore and Algonquin College, even farther east to Trim, and farther south to Riverside South and to the Ottawa Airport.

    The Province’s investment strengthens our ability to deliver a reliable, world-class, environmentally sustainable LRT system.

    By reducing traffic congestion and better connecting our city, this project will support our region’s economic success – boosting Ottawa’s competitive edge and the ability of local firms to compete with the world, while welcoming a greater number of visitors from around the globe with a modern light rail system that will enhance the visitor experience in our magnificent city.

    Stage 2 will see us further expand Ottawa’s O-Train network to a system with more than 50 kilometres of rail. The reach of this investment will bring 70 per cent of the city’s population to within five kilometres of a station by 2023.

    This is a game-changer for Ottawa – for our local economy, for our environment, for spurring smart growth, and for our quality of life.

    It will provide fast, comfortable and convenient connections between our residential areas, our largest employment areas, major retail outlets, and key cultural and recreational destinations.

    It will also support our efforts to build an education and innovation powerhouse, anchored by our four post-secondary institutions – the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Algonquin College and La Cité Collégiale.

    As for improving the quality of life for our Ottawa residents – we know an hour spent in gridlock is an hour away from family and other much more productive endeavours.

    Stage 2 will take more than 10,000 cars off the road, it will dramatically reduce the number of buses on our streets and roads, and will help fight gridlock in our fast-growing city.

    The system will integrate stations into the urban fabric of our neighbourhoods and will improve walking and cycling, as well as providing a transit system that is accessible to all.

    Friday’s funding announcement symbolizes the progress we have made as a city.

    I am very proud that Council unanimously carried the proposal to build the Confederation Line, followed by the unanimous decision to build Stage2.

    Without that teamwork, we would not be here today.

    I am also proud of the tremendous support we have received from the people of Ottawa since launching our proposal to bring LRT to Ottawa and to build it with a downtown tunnel.

    Demand for LRT is growing across our city as residents seek a sustainable alternative to the worsening gridlock.

    Ottawa used to be the laughing stock of the province after north-south rail was cancelled. That is no longer the case.

    We are moving forward with a bold plan with the unwavering support of the Province of Ontario. In the coming months, we will work with the Government of Canada to secure their contribution to Stage 2 LRT as well.

    My commitment to the residents of Ottawa is to stay the course and pull out all the stops to see this vision through.

    The Province’s funding commitment is a very important stop en route to our goal of building a world-class transit system for the residents of Ottawa.

     

  • Ontario Committing More Than $1 Billion for Stage 2 LRT in Ottawa

    Today, the Province of Ontario announced more than $1 billion in funding towards the City of Ottawa’s Stage 2 LRT expansion project. This historic investment in our City will boost our economy, connect our city and improve the quality of life of residents.

    Read the official Province of Ontario News Release below


     

    News Release

    Ontario Committing More Than $1 Billion for Light Rail Transit in Ottawa

    June 3, 2016

    New LRT Will Create Jobs, Drive Growth and Improve Quality of Life

    Ontario is committing more than $1 billion toward the City of Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) expansion project to help grow the economy, reduce travel times and connect people to jobs.

    Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the investment in Ottawa today. The funding represents the largest provincial transit investment in Ottawa’s history. New, modern light rail vehicles on tracks separated from regular traffic will offer fast, efficient service and improve travel for people across the region. The expanded LRT will also lower greenhouse gas pollution, improving air quality and fighting climate change.

    The Stage 2 LRT project will add 30 kilometres of new rail and 19 new stations, extending the LRT network to the east, west and south. Ontario’s funding commitment will also help support the capital costs of two additional extensions: a spur to the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport and an extension to Trim Road in Orléans. These will add 6.5 kilometres of new rail and three stations. Construction on Stage 2 is expected to start in 2018, once the Stage 1 Confederation Line is completed. Stage 2 is expected to enter service in 2023.

    Ontario’s funding for Stage 2 is part of the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province’s history — $160 billion over 12 years — for projects such as roads, bridges, transit systems, schools and hospitals. The planned investments would support 110,000 jobs on average every year across the province. In 2015, Ontario announced support for more than 325 projects that will keep people and goods moving, connect communities and improve quality of life.

    Investing in priority transit infrastructure is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

    Quick Facts

    • Ontario has already committed up to $600 million towards the Stage 1 LRT project, called the Confederation Line — a $2.1 billion project that is jointly funded with the Government of Canada and the City of Ottawa.
    • Stage 2 will extend the Ottawa LRT network to the east from Blair to Place-d’Orléans Station; to the west from Tunney’s Pasture to Bayshore Station and southwest to Baseline Station; and to the South from Greenboro Station to Bowesville in Riverside South.
    • Ontario’s commitment of more than $1-billion will also support two additional extensions, a two-stop spur from the Trillium Line to Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, and a one-stop extension of the Confederation Line further east from Place-d’Orléans Station to Trim Road in Orléans.
    • Construction is expected to generate nearly 24,000 person-years of employment, or nearly 1,000 full-time jobs.

    Additional Resources

    Quotes

    “Our investment in the Ottawa LRT will make a big difference in people’s everyday lives. It’s one of a number of historic investments in infrastructure that our government is making. It will help to create jobs and grow our economy now and for years to come.”
    — Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

    “The province remains committed to working with the City of Ottawa as it moves forward with implementing its Stage 2 LRT project. We know how important public transit is to managing congestion, curbing emissions, creating jobs and building communities.”
    — Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation

    “Ontario’s funding of Stage 1 and now Stage 2 of LRT is a major contribution to the economy and quality of life of Canada’s capital city; an efficient and complete transit system is a necessity for our dynamic city.”
    — Bob Chiarelli, MPP for Ottawa West-Nepean

    “This is the largest one-time infrastructure investment‎ by the province of Ontario in the economic transformation of our city. On behalf of the City of Ottawa, I would like to thank the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, and local caucus members for this historic vote of confidence in Ottawa’s future.”
    — Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa

  • Ottawa 2017 welcomes Bell as Premier Partner, announces La Machine – a North American first coming to Ottawa

    I am proud to announce that Bell is joining Ottawa 2017 at a Premier Partner and as the Official Media Partner for Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations in the nation’s capital. Together, we announced an Ottawa 2017 Signature Event. A North American first, La Machine will captivate audiences with its ambulatory urban theatre on the streets of downtown Ottawa next summer. Watch this video, courtesy of La Machine, for a glimpse of their larger than life production: https://vimeo.com/168814587

    Read the complete Ottawa 2017 News Release.

  • Remembering Heather Crowe, Smoke-Free Ontario advocate

    From time to time I’m asked, particularly by students, what one action I’m most proud of as a politician.

    And I always answer that it was having the opportunity to implement the Smoke Free Ontario Act, as Ontario’s first minister of Health Promotion back in 2006.

    But while I had the honour of making sure this important law was implemented, the true credit for this ground breaking piece of legislation rests with a humble, and courageous waitress named Heather Crowe.

    Heather was a kind, soft spoken hospitality worker who I first got to know when she waitressed at The Newport Restaurant on Richmond Road in Westboro.

    She had worked for 40 years in the restaurant industry, and never smoked a day in her life.

    Yet for those four decades she was exposed to that awful blue haze known as second hand smoke.

    It seems unbelievable today, but it wasn’t that long ago that you could light up a cigarette in virtually any public place such as a dining hall or a bar. How many remember that famous line when entering an eatery: “smoking or non-smoking section?”

    Heather was diagnosed with stage 3B non small cell lung cancer in the upper lobe of her left lung in 2002.

    Yet instead of bemoaning the fact that she had a serious health challenge, she quickly became one of the most effective advocates for a smoking ban in public places.

    She traveled the country and spoke to politicians, service clubs, and anti smoking groups and eventually had the opportunity to speak with Dalton McGunity, who at the time was Leader of the Opposition and putting together his platform for the 2003 campaign.

    Due to her passion and personal story, her quest for a smoke free Ontario found its way into McGuinty’s platform. The campaign promise made its way into a bill, which passed and became law on May 31, 2006.

    I can still recall the outrage some restaurant and bar owners had towards the legislation, saying that it would kill their business and that thousands would lose their jobs.  Of course this did not happen, and today there are more people working in these establishments than ever before.

    Sadly, Heather passed away in 2006 just a few weeks before the legislation came into effect, but thanks to her advocacy and her own personal courage and fight, Ontario lead the country with the toughest and most progressive anti smoking legislation. A decade after her passing, her voice is as strong as ever.

    On May 31, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Smoke Free Ontario Act, and I know that this one act has and will continue to save lives of both patrons and hospitality workers who are no longer subjected to the dangers of second hand smoke.

    So when I have the opportunity to talk to students about what I’m most proud of, I also take the time to thank Heather for her courage and determination. Her actions have given waiters and waitresses the right to go work in a safe and healthy environment, while eliminating the risk of second-hand smoke illness and death in the workplace.

  • Mayor’s Annual Canada Day Celebration for Seniors

    I am hosting my Annual Canada Day Celebration for Seniors on Friday, July 1 from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at the Aberdeen Pavilion, Lansdowne Park. 1015 Bank Street, Ottawa.

    Tickets are required for entry and to claim prizes. There is limited free parking for ticket holders from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tickets are available now by calling the City of Ottawa at 613-580-2424, ext. 25683 or by emailing protocolrsvp@ottawa.ca by Wednesday, June 22. They will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, with a limit of two tickets per person.

    A limited number of tickets will be available to couples celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in 2016.

    I look forward to seeing you there!

    Click on the image below to see the poster and additional information.

    Canada Day EN

     

  • Registration now open for Tourism Summit on May 30

    The City of Ottawa and Ottawa Tourism, in partnership with the Economic Club of Canada, will hold a Tourism Summit on May 30, bringing together tourism experts, stakeholders, businesses, and the general public to examine Ottawa’s tourism industry beyond 2017. The summit, part of Tourism Week in Canada, is sponsored by the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association and the Shaw Centre.

    “Next year is our big year as we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. As the nation’s capital, Ottawa will be the epicentre of attractions for visitors from Canada and around the world, and the resulting boost to the local economy will be significant,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “In the lead up to this milestone year, the City and its partners want to look at ways to sustain the momentum and keep drawing visitors back to our beautiful city for years to come.”

    “We look forward to having a wide variety of businesses with a stake in tourism attend the Tourism Summit because everyone has a perspective on how to make Ottawa a stronger destination,” said Michael Crockatt, President & CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “It will provide a forum for networking and a synergy of ideas that will propel Ottawa to greater destination success and, ultimately, increased visitation and cachet for Ottawa.”

    The Tourism Summit will discuss what happens after 2017 and will be held in two parts. Part one will be the Tourism Outlook Luncheon, which will be a paid ticketed event ($75 +HST) and will feature:

    • Moderated by Councillor Jean Cloutier, an armchair discussion with Mayor Jim Watson and Michael Crockatt, President & CEO of Ottawa Tourism, on their vision for the industry.
    • A panel discussion on how Ottawa can leverage 2017 to build long-term strength, moderated by Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of Ottawa 2017. Panelists will include:
      • David Goldstein, President & CEO of Destination Canada
      • Charlotte Bell, President & CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada
      • Daniel Gélinas, former CEO of Québec 400
      • Katherine Henderson, CEO of Curling Canada

    Part two of the summit, after the luncheon, is a facilitated workshop examining the results of the DestinationNEXT Survey, an initiative of the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Tourism. The survey was completed by hundreds of stakeholders impacted by tourism – including businesses, government and academic institutions – and asked questions about governance, attractions, accommodations and visitor experience.

    Registration is required whether participants want to attend one or both parts of the summit. Deadline for online registration is May 26.

  • #Ottawa4FortMac tickets now on sale

    Today, Mayor Jim Watson and Ottawa Senators player Chris Phillips announced that #Ottawa4FortMact tickets are now on sale. They are in limited quantities and can be purchased online at www.JimWatsonOttawa.ca/Ottawa4FortMac, at Big Rig locations and at the Mayor’s office at City Hall, at the cost of $ 80 each.

    #Ottawa4FortMac is a fundraising event in support the Canadian Red Cross’s emergency appeal and the United Way’s relief efforts directed towards helping the residents of Fort McMurray rebuild their lives and their community.

    Together, Mayor Watson and Chris Phillips are committed to helping those who have been affected by the devastating Fort McMurray fires, and invite you to join them by attending #Ottawa4FortMac.

    The fundraiser will feature an evening of live country music with Kira Isabella, River Town Saints,  The Abrams, Meghan Patrick and Jordan McIntosh, as well as western-themed activities, and refreshments from Ottawa’s craft breweries and offerings from Ottawa’s pizzerias. The fundraiser is taking place on Wednesday, June 8 at the Aberdeen Pavilion, 1000 Exhibition Way, from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

     

  • Al and Betty Arseneault, Crystal Beach–Lakeview outdoor rink volunteers, receive Mayor’s City Builder Award

    Mayor Jim Watson and Bay Ward Councillor Mark Taylor presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Al and Betty Arseneault at today’s City Council meeting.

    The Arseneaults are longtime residents of Crystal Beach-Lakeview. Their love of outdoor sports – hockey, skating and curling in particular – fondness for their neighbourhood, and enthusiasm for building community come together in their commitment as volunteers, working with the City’s Seasonal Recreation branch, to construct, create and maintain an outdoor arena and separate three-sheet curling rink in Lakeview Park each winter.

    Al is well known as the first volunteer rink operator in the city to get his boards in place, the first to coax skate-worthy ice out of an early cold snap, the most meticulous at maintaining the ice (it’s near NHL quality), and very quick to clear any snowfall. This means the retired public servant has to make himself available 24/7 during the outdoor skating season to flood and groom the ice, sometimes trucking loads of Zamboni ice shavings from nearly indoor arenas to fill in spots after a melt. Al also helps the Seasonal Recreation staff to train and coach new rink volunteers each fall at the start of the winter season.

    The curling rink has three full-size sheets with all the correct markings, and the Arseneaults host an annual Lakeview Outdoor Bonspiel that is always fully booked with enthusiastic curlers from all over the Ottawa Valley. Local indoor curling clubs lend the rocks for curling events.

    Thanks to Al and Betty, Crystal Beach-Lakeview and area residents, from young kids wobbling on their first pair of skates to seniors enjoying a game of shinny, are fortunate enough to have free high-quality winter recreation opportunities at their local park.

    The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that has, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements.

    Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by members of City Council or the public.

    The award is presented at the beginning of each City Council meeting.

  • Mayor Watson announces Ottawa4FortMac, a fundraiser in support of the Fort McMurray relief efforts

    Today at City Council, Mayor Jim Watson and Ottawa Senators player Chris Phillips announced Ottawa4FortMac, a fundraising event in support of the Fort McMurray relief efforts. The fundraising event is the Mayor’s direct response to the tragedy that is taking place in Fort McMurray. As a Fort McMurray native and Ottawa resident, Chris Phillips is eager to partner with the City on this initiative.

    Together, Mayor Watson and Chris Phillips are committed to helping those who have been affected by the devastating Fort McMurray fires, and invite you to join them by attending #Ottawa4FortMac.

    The fundraiser will feature an evening of live country music, a pizza dinner catered by local pizzerias, local craft beer sampling and western-themed activities such as wild mechanical bull rides. The fundraiser is taking place on Wednesday, June 8 at the Aberdeen Pavilion, 1000 Exhibition Way, from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

    Tickets will be available for purchase early next week.

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