• Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin receives Ottawa’s Highest Honour

    March 23rd, 2016 – We all carry keys with us:  keys to doors, cars, lockers, you name it — anything we feel is valuable enough to put a lock on. But very few people own a Key to the City of Ottawa.

    An ornamental key – the Key to the City – is presented to esteemed residents, visitors and others whom the City of Ottawa wishes to honour. The key is symbolic of medieval walled cities, the gates of which would be guarded during the day and locked at night. Being given such a key means the recipient is free to enter and leave the city whenever they want, as a trusted friend of city residents.

    On Tuesday, March 22, Mayor Jim Watson presented the Key to the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada. She was the most recent of 85 individuals and organizations to receive Ottawa’s highest honour.

    Chief Justice McLachlin is the 17th and current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, the first woman to hold this position, and the longest serving Chief Justice in Canadian history.

    The first Key to the City of Ottawa was presented by Mayor Stanley Lewis at Union Train Station on

    November 4, 1935, to Lord and Lady Tweedsmuir as they arrived in Ottawa to begin Lord Tweedsmuir’s term as Canada’s Governor  General.

    Past Key-to-the-City recipients include Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II), Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, author Margaret Atwood, photographers Yousuf and Malak Karsh, the Community Foundation of Ottawa, actress Sandra Oh and Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.

  • City of Ottawa named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers

    February 24, 2016 – For the fifth consecutive year, the City of Ottawa has been named one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers in a competition that recognizes organizations for their exceptional workplace diversity and inclusion programs.

    The winners were selected by editors at MediaCorp and are featured in a special section of today’s Globe and Mail.

    “The City is working to implement best practices for creating a diverse workforce by strengthening partnerships with community organizations and building new ways to enhance diversity and inclusion,” said Mayor Jim Watson.

    The competition judges recognized the municipality for its commitment to reflect, in its workforce, the diversity of the Ottawa community. In particular, the judges selected the City as a national leader for:

    • its immigration strategy, which incorporates employment initiatives and economic development programs. The judges lauded the Annual Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards, which recognizes the achievements of new Canadians, and the Professional Internship for Newcomers Program, which provides temporary work placements for newcomers.
    • its partnership with Hire Immigrants Ottawa to host an annual coaching event for new Canadian job-seekers
    • its role as a member of the Employment Accessibility Resource Network (EARN), an initiative to help persons with disabilities find employment, and as the host for EARN’s annual career fair, which attracted more than 155 job-seekers with disabilities in 2014, the career fair’s first year

    “We are shaping the City’s future with a Corporate Diversity Plan and departmental strategic plans that outline how the City will continue to remove barriers and create opportunities for residents,” said City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick.

    The Mayor and City Manager thanked and congratulated City employees, who are continuously developing ways to improve services, access and business practices to reflect the community’s burgeoning diversity.

  • Ottawa 2017 Arts, Culture and Heritage Investment Program

    The Ottawa 2017 Bureau and Mayor Jim Watson, in collaboration with lead partner CIBC, today announced an investment of $250,000 in a new funding program that will enable the capital’s arts, culture and heritage communities to add vibrancy to the celebrations of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

    The Ottawa 2017 Arts, Culture and Heritage Investment Program is a one-time dedicated funding opportunity available to eligible groups in Ottawa’s diverse arts, cultural and heritage sectors for projects in Ottawa during 2017 celebrating Canada’s sesquicentennial.

    “This investment will enhance the celebrations of Canada’s 150th birthday throughout our city with projects that ignite pride, creativity and passion,” said Mayor Watson. “By launching this new funding program, we’re providing increased opportunities for arts, culture and heritage groups to create inspirational experiences that will contribute to a vibrant and positive image of Ottawa.”

    In partnership with Ottawa 2017, the program will be stewarded by the AOE Arts Council, the Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa and the Ottawa Arts Council.

    “We have a dynamic cultural capital full of creativity and ideas just waiting for this type of opportunity,” said Victoria Steele, Executive Director, AOE Arts Council. “The funding is timely as it will enable planning to get underway so that local artists and arts groups will be ready to offer programming that contributes to the celebration in a meaningful way.”

    “Ottawa’s cultural community is brimming with original ideas to be explored in 2017. Our creative sector is by nature entrepreneurial, and can take modest investments and turn them into something extraordinary. I’m confident we will see some exciting results through this program’s encouragement and contribution,” said Peter Honeywell, Executive Director of the Ottawa Arts Council.

    “We’re very pleased to help steward this special sesquicentennial cultural funding initiative,” said Catherine Lindquist, Executive Director, Council of Heritage Organizations in Ottawa. “We’ll be especially excited to see proposals come forward that showcase Ottawa’s rich heritage in marking this important historic milestone of Canada’s 150th anniversary in the capital,” she said.

    Several arts, culture and heritage organizations were gathered at Orange Art Gallery for the announcement, which included a performance by local singer-songwriter Gabrielle Giguere (Her Harbour). At the event, a challenge was issued to the local community to begin planning an unprecedented year of artistic and cultural programming in the capital.

    “As co-host for the Ottawa 2017 festivities, CIBC is pleased to invite arts, culture and heritage groups to share their talents with celebration-goers,” said Monique Giroux, Vice-President, Sponsorship Marketing & Strategy, CIBC. “Their participation will broaden the array of activities that Canadians can enjoy in the capital throughout next year.”

    Speaking on behalf of the Province, Minister Yasir Naqvi (MPP, Ottawa Centre) noted that “Projects funded through this initiative will have a wide reach across the region and will serve to deepen our understanding of each other and strengthen our connections as Canadians.”

    “This investment program is a win-win all around. The funding will engage Ottawa’s arts, culture and heritage communities to showcase excellence and creativity in cultural fields while providing residents and visitors with an increased quantity, quality and diversity of ways to celebrate Canadian culture and history in 2017 across the city,” said Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau.

    At a glance:

    • Application deadline: Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 4 p.m. EST;
    • A total of $250,000 in project funding is available;
    • Projects will be funded at a minimum of $5,000 and up to a maximum of $25,000 each;
    • Projects should be a new or enhanced activity for 2017;
    • All project activities must take place within the geographic boundaries of the City of Ottawa and must occur between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017;
    • Projects should be open and accessible to the general public.

    An independent five-member jury, with representation from the Ottawa arts, cultural and heritage communities and one representative from the Ottawa 2017 Bureau, will assess the applications.

    For full details on the Ottawa 2017 Arts, Culture and Heritage Investment Program, please visit: www.ottawa2017.ca/get-involved.

    Today’s announcement is the second in a series of three announcements concerning community investment for Ottawa 2017 celebrations. In November, Ottawa 2017 announced $150,000 towards the Ottawa Civic Events Funding Program to help local organizations plan unique celebrations for Canada’s Sesquicentennial all across the city. An announcement regarding festival funding will take place in the coming months.

    Canada’s 150th celebrations will offer Canadians and visitors from around the world an exceptional and memorable year of high-caliber experiences while bringing a record number of visitors to Ottawa in 2017 to celebrate this important milestone for our country.

    Stay informed on plans for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations in the capital. Visit ottawa2017.ca, follow us on Twitter @2017ottawa (#Ottawa2017) and on Facebook.

  • City Council selects Steve Kanellakos as next City Manager

    Ottawa City Council has appointed Steve Kanellakos as the City of Ottawa’s next City Manager at a special meeting this afternoon. Mr. Kanellakos is a former City of Ottawa Deputy City Manager with more than 30 years of experience overseeing key municipal services and projects.Steve Kanellakos - Low Res

    “We are delighted to have Mr. Kanellakos return to Ottawa City Hall to continue his great work on behalf of Ottawa residents. He is a trusted leader and consummate public servant with impeccable credentials in the planning and delivery of a broad range of municipal services,” said Mayor Jim Watson, the Chair of the hiring panel. “The City of Ottawa is undergoing unprecedented growth with the expansion of light rail transit, a new Innovation Centre, new cultural landmark facilities, and other city-building projects. Our Council, residents, employees, and stakeholders will be well served by the dynamic and prudent management style of Mr. Kanellakos as the City moves forward with its challenging, ambitious priorities.”

    On September 23, 2015 City Council approved a recruitment process that saw the Finance and Economic Development Committee act as the hiring panel for the new City Manager. All Members of Council were consulted on their expectations and the desired qualifications for the ideal candidate. Following an extensive search, the hiring panel reported back to City Council today with the recommended candidate.

    Mr. Kanellakos first began his career with the Gloucester Police Department in 1985. Over the ensuing three decades, he devoted his entire professional life to building a stronger national capital.

    Mr. Kanellakos served as a member of the City of Ottawa Executive Management Team between 2000 and 2015. As Deputy City Manager for City Operations, Mr. Kanellakos was responsible for the majority of the City of Ottawa’s employees and front-line service departments including: Parks, Recreation and Culture; Public Works; Emergency and Protective Services; Transit Services; Community and Social Services; Environmental Services; ServiceOttawa; Human Resources; and Information and Technology Services. Most recently, he was involved in key city-building projects such as the Arts Court redevelopment and Ottawa Art Gallery expansion, Shenkman Arts Centre, two Sensplex arena facilities, and a new paramedic headquarters.

    Mr. Kanellakos holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Public Administration from Carleton University. He has served as a volunteer on the board of directors of local organizations such as the United Way and Crime Prevention Ottawa.

    Mayor Watson took a moment to recognize the significant contributions of current City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick. He led the City of Ottawa in a period characterized by a great number of complex and challenging city-building issues such as the Lansdowne Park revitalization and the construction of the Confederation Line.

    Mr. Kanellakos is currently the City Manager for the City of Vaughan. He will assume his new post on May 2, 2016.

  • TD Place to Host Skate Canada’s 2017 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships

    TD Place is excited to announce that it will host the 2017 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships from January 16-22. The championships will be one of the first sporting event in Ottawa’s year-long celebration of Canada 150th anniversary.

    “We are thrilled to be hosting this marquee event,” said Mike Cerha, VP Entertainment and Venues at TD Place. “2017 is going to be an exciting year at TD Place and the National Skating Championships are just the first in a long list of events that will help celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary at Ottawa’s downtown sports and entertainment destination.”

    The pre-eminent all-Canadian sporting event will feature approximately 250 skaters in the men’s, women’s, pair, and ice dance disciplines, competing in three levels: senior, junior, and novice. Athletes will vie for spots on the Skate Canada National Team and the Canadian teams that will compete at the 2017 ISU World Figure Skating Championships, 2017 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, and 2017 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships.

    “We are excited to be back in Ottawa for the 2017 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships. From our first championships in 1914 to our 100th anniversary of the event in 2014, Ottawa is a very special place for Canadian skating,” said Dan Thompson, Skate Canada CEO. “We are proud to be able to kick-off the National Capital’s celebrations for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations. Like past years, we know the support from the community, fans and volunteers will allow for another amazing event that will inspire Canadians to embrace the joy of skating.”

    Ottawa hosted the very first National Skating Championships in 1914 as well as in 1922, 1925, 1929, 1935, 1940, 1949, 1953, 1958, 1987, 1996, 1999, 2006 and 2014. The 2017 event will be 15th time that Ottawa will have hosted the largest gathering of Canadian skating talent. Canada’s capital has also played host to several other Skate Canada produced events, including Skate Canada International in 1976, 1981, 1993 and 2008, as well as the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in 1978 and 1984.

    All-event ticket packages for the championships will go on sale later this year. Register at www.SkateCanada.ca for ticket sale notifications.

  • State of the City 2016

    Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson looked ahead to a busy year of collaboration in his annual State of the City address. In 2016, residents will see continued progress on Ottawa’s LRT system, the opening of the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards, and two summits focused on the local economy.

    “We are seeing historic amounts of investment and activity focused on growing our local economy and improving quality of life,” said Mayor Watson. “We are building a more dynamic and sustainable city by maintaining our commitment to keep taxes affordable, invest in community infrastructure and supporting job creators.”

    The City of Ottawa will continue to move forward with a number of significant infrastructure projects in 2016:

    • Moving forward with the Confederation Line on time and on budget, including the completion of the downtown tunnel, assembly of vehicles, and installation of track
    • Opening the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards as a hub of entrepreneurship and economic development
    • Continuing construction of the revitalized Arts Court and expanded Ottawa Art Gallery
    • Breaking ground on the Bayshore-Moodie west transitway extension
    • Beginning construction on cycling lanes on O’Connor Street and Mackenzie Avenue
    • Continuing the final phase of the Ottawa River Action Plan with the start of construction on the Combined Sewer Storage Tunnel

    During the speech, Mayor Watson also shared two significant civic recognition initiatives that will be coming forward in 2015:

    • Awarding of the Key to the City to Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin in March
    • A proposal to rename the new pedestrian and cycling bridge near Coventry Road after Max Keeping

    Residents can also look forward to a number of important milestones and community events in 2016:

    • A Tourism Summit, which will focus on long-term growth strategies for Ottawa’s third-largest industry
    • A Summit on Education and the Economy, which will focus on stronger economic collaboration among universities, colleges, research institutes and other partners
    • Major events such as the Brier and the One Young World youth summit
    • Continuing to make progress towards a new main library, which has solicited interest from potential partners including Library and Archives Canada and both proponents for the LeBreton Flats redevelopment
    • Selection of locations for the Canada 150 Groves program, which will see collections of 150 Canadian native maple trees planted in each of the 23 wards in 2017

    Following a successful trade and tourism mission to China and Thailand last year, Mayor Watson will lead the City of Ottawa’s first-ever business mission to India in 2016. With more than 1.2 billion people and a large middle class, India holds significant potential for several of Ottawa’s key industries including high-tech and tourism.

    On January 1, 2017, Mayor Watson will host his first New Years Levy at City Hall. This will begin a year of celebrations in the nation’s capital for Canada’s 150th birthday:

    • 2017 Canadian Track and Field Championships
    • 2017 Red Bull Crashed Ice
    • 2017 Roar of the Rings (Olympic trials)
    • 2017 Interprovincial Picnic on the Alexandra Bridge
    • 2017 Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Association of Municipalities of Ontario Conferences
    • 2017 Canadian Canoe and Kayak Championships
    • 2017 Juno Awards

    For a copy of the speech:

    State of the City Speech 2016

    For more information:

    Brook Simpson

    Press Secretary

    Office of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson

    613-580-2424, ext. 21526



  • State of the City Speech – 2016

    State of the City 2016

    A Year of Collaboration

    Good morning and Happy New Year.

    I hope everyone had a healthy and restful Christmas and holiday season.

    I also want to welcome those in the audience for joining us this morning.


    As I said in last year’s State of the City speech, 2015 was a Year of Momentum.

    And 2016 will be a Year of Collaboration – working together for an even better city.

    Before we look ahead, let’s review some of our accomplishments from the last 12 months.

    We broke ground on the revitalized Arts Court and expanded Ottawa Art Gallery.

    We began work on the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards.

    And we moved forward with LRT construction… on time and on budget.

    We also saw several community projects completed.

    We opened our 5th bridge in three years, the Adàwe Crossing over the Rideau River.

    We also opened the new Miracle League of Ottawa accessible baseball field.

    We also unveiled a full-size rendering of the Alstom Citadis Spirit train in the Aberdeen Pavilion.

    2015 was also big for our sports franchises.

    Baseball returned to the nation’s capital with the Ottawa Champions, in a refurbished RCGT Park.

    The Ottawa Fury FC came very close to capturing the NASL championship.

    And the Ottawa REDBLACKS made it to the Grey Cup game…

    Ottawa’s first Grey Cup appearance since another Trudeau was Prime Minister.

    I am proud that we have strengthened our local sports industry through projects like Lansdowne Park and the baseball stadium.

    Residents have rallied behind our new franchises.

    Last year we also hosted a number of major events, to the direct benefit of our local economy.

    2015 saw Ottawa host the FIFA Women’s World Cup at Lansdowne Park and the Canadian Little League Championships, in Barrhaven.

    These major events will prepare for an exciting calendar of activities that is still to come:

    • 2016 Brier
    • 2016 One Young World conference
    • The 2016 and 2017 Canadian Women’s Hockey League Championships
    • 2017 FCM and AMO Conferences
    • 2017 and 2018 Canadian Track and Field Championships
    • 2017 Roar of the Rings (Olympic trials)
    • 2017 Canadian Canoe and Kayak Championships
    • 2017 Juno Awards / 2017 : Les prix Juno
    • 2017 Red Bull Crashed Ice

    And, it remains my hope, we will be able to add the 2017 Grey Cup and an NHL Outdoor Game to that impressive list as well.

    A few years ago, we established our “bid more, win more, host more” tourism strategy.

    I am pleased that this plan has been such a huge success.

    I want to thank our 2017 Co-Chairs, Councillors Fleury and Cloutier…

    And our entire 2017 team, under the leadership of Guy Laflamme, for their impressive work to date.

    It probably feels like we have been talking about 2017 for quite some time.

    Some people have joked that they’re looking forward to 2018 even more because it means I will stop talking about 2017!

    Today, I am pleased to announce that the very first event of our 2017 calendar will be a New Year’s Levee at City Hall.

    We will gather as a community on January 1 to get the year started on the right note.

    From there, we will set off for the year and welcome the world.

    Colleagues, these major events are not just great for the economy and job creation.

    They are also important opportunities to showcase our city.

    A city that will become even stronger in the years ahead.

    I am ever more confident of this any time I sit down with a Minister or other elected officials from a senior level of government.

    When you look at what’s happening at the federal and provincial levels…

    You cannot help but get the sense that the stars are aligning in many ways.

    There’s a new sense of optimism.

    For quite some time, municipalities such as Ottawa have called for increased investment in community priorities:

    Housing, transit, community facilities…

    And, finally, it looks like we have all three levels of government agreeing on these issues.

    It presents us with a unique opportunity in the months and years ahead.

    For this reason and others…

    2016 will be a Year of Collaboration.

    Let me tell you how.

    This year we will host two important summits focused on the future of our local economy.

    You may recall that in the past we’ve hosted summits on topics such as youth and seniors, with very positive and meaningful results.

    I like these events.

    They bring together the right people at the right time.

    And they set multi-year goals for how we will be successful.

    We will host a Tourism Summit this spring.

    The purpose of this discussion will be to focus on long-term growth strategies for our third-largest industry.

    Yes, we have a solid game plan for 2017.

    That game plan has attracted millions in private-sector sponsorship to ensure we make it a year to remember.

    But we need to avoid a possible “2017 hangover” by being ready to build upon that success year-over-year.

    I have asked Councillor Jean Cloutier to be the Chair of this summit.

    At the event, we will be collaborating with our key partners…

    Such as Ottawa Tourism, major facility owners, sports franchises, and arts and festival groups.

    Let’s come up with some winning strategies to ensure we keep the momentum going.

    As for the second summit…

    In the fall, we will host a Summit on Education and the Economy.

    The reason for this is simple.

    Ottawa is blessed with one of the most educated workforces in the world.

    We are a knowledge-based economy.

    We’re often recognized as having the most creative and innovative entrepreneurs and workers in the country.

    Ottawa is home to more engineers, scientists and PhDs per capita than any other city in Canada.

    This is of course bolstered by our excellent colleges and universities – which are significant contributors to economic growth.

    When you look at all of this together: There’s a big opportunity here.

    Let’s sit down with these education leaders to talk about the future of our economy.

    I am pleased that Councillor Riley Brockington, a former school trustee, has accepted my invitation to Chair this summit.

    At the event we will be asking some important questions.

    How can we make the most of our new Innovation Centre?

    How can we better collaborate with researchers and skilled trades people to ensure we stay ahead of the curve?

    How can we attract and retain the best and brightest students and workers?

    These two summits were election commitments that I will be pleased to see move forward in 2016.

    Winners in the economy of tomorrow will depend upon those who know how to make connections and work together.

    We have seen some of that success when we’ve collaborated with our sister city Beijing.

    I have led several economic development missions to China during my time as Mayor…

    And each time we have come back with agreements and leads for our local businesses, in the millions of dollars.

    I am pleased to announce today that I will be leading another such trade mission in 2016.

    This time… to India.

    At over 1.2 billion people and a large middle class, India is an important market for our city to have a presence in.

    Ottawa’s business community has made it clear to me that they have the potential for significant growth in India.

    Further, the City of Ottawa also has growth potential as a major tourism destination.

    This delegation to India will be a first for our city.

    And I am pleased that there has already been a strong response to the mission among our business leaders.

    This delegation will feature companies like Ottawa’s EION Wireless.

    They are a local businesses looking to build on the high bandwidth and WiFi products they have already deployed for public and private sector clients in India.

    Representatives from EION are here today and they are joined in the gallery by members of our great Indo-Canadian community who are supportive of this important trade mission – thank you all for being here.

    That’s collaboration on a global scale.

    Now let’s look at collaboration on a community scale.

    This year, we will move forward with our Canada 150 Groves program.

    You may recall that this is one of our Strategic Initiatives and it will be a special project for 2017.

    As we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, there will be different ways we will leave a legacy for future generations.

    A Canada 150 Grove will be a grove of 150 maple trees in each of the 23 wards.

    These will be native Canadian sugar, red and silver maple trees.

    In 2016, staff will work with Members of Council to identify a suitable location in their ward.

    Then, we’ll plant the groves in spring and fall of 2017.

    It is my hope that we will collaborate with community associations, schools and other interested groups…

    As we pass along this gift to our community during Canada’s 150th.

    The Canada groves project is in addition to our collaboration with Ecology Ottawa and the one million tree campaign that Tree Ottawa has well underway.

    We will also work to make our communities even safer.

    The core of this effort will be the 25 new police officers we approved in the 2016 budget.

    Also… under the leadership of our Police and Crime Prevention Chairs, Councillors El-Chantiry and Qadri…

    We’ll continue our efforts with our gang exit strategy.

    We know that gun and gang violence will not be solved in one month or even one year.

    It’s a complex social issue that requires constant attention.

    But we will continue to show these young men and women that there are better options out there.

    2016 will also see the City begin to roll out the first of 20 new red light cameras that we’ll install before the end of the term.

    Every Member of Council knows that road safety is a top concern in neighbourhoods across the city.

    It’s also an issue that requires constant attention.

    We want to make sure that all of our road, path and sidewalk users feel safe.

    These new red light cameras will be another tool we can use to ensure our streets are safe for everyone.

    And they will complement the funds each Councillor has to implement traffic calming measures in their wards.

    Of course, some of the collaboration I’ve talked about is in addition to the important work being already done by our colleagues around this table.

    Let me give you some examples.

    I have admired the hands-on approach that Councillor Bob Monette has been using to drive economic development in Orléans.

    I took part in a very informative real estate tour of the east end where he brought realtors and other potential investors on a bus tour to see firsthand the available land and development sites.

    It’s the same tour that Councillor Monette has taken potential investors on many times.

    This is the sort of hands-on collaboration that will lead to real results for our local economy.

    I also want to give kudos to Councillor Jan Harder, Chair of our Planning Committee.

    She is collaborating on two related projects: Building Better Smarter Suburbs and the Infrastructure Standards Review.

    These are very important to the quality of life of our residents and financial sustainability of the City.

    Looking ahead, the Planning and Growth Management department has some important collaboration initiatives on its work plan.

    As a result, we will see stronger community and stakeholder engagement…

    And continued progress in improving the calibre of planning proposals in the months and years ahead.

    Let me give you another good example of a Councillor leading economic development.

    Councillor Allan Hubley raised the idea of allowing local businesses and entrepreneurs to pilot their technologies at City Hall.

    After all, with a significant number of employees and many lines of business…

    The City of Ottawa would be a perfect laboratory to test new products, technologies and ideas.

    This concept led to a new program in our Economic Development and Innovation department called the Innovation Pilot Program.

    To date, I am pleased to update you that the City has received nearly 50 applications.

    We have selected about 5 of them to pilot.

    The City will be announcing the successful participants in the next few weeks.

    I think you will be very impressed by the quality of the innovation and ideas of our local entrepreneurs.

    We’ll also be collaborating more on our efforts to sell surplus properties in 2016.

    These efforts will be led by Councillor Marianne Wilkinson, Chair of the Ottawa Community Lands Development Corporation.

    There are unneeded properties in many parts of our city.

    For example, on Randall Avenue in Alta Vista there is a site which used to house a water tower but has sat vacant since 2002.

    Finally, this past fall the site was put up for sale for $1.6M and has generated significant interest from the private sector.

    When they sit idle, these types of properties are a double-loss for us financially.

    We don’t receive the one-time revenue from the sale of the property.

    And we aren’t receiving the payment of any property taxes.

    We will aim to improve this situation in 2016.

    Also, since 2016 will be the Year of Collaboration – there’s no better example of collaboration than music.

    Councillor Jeff Leiper has accepted my invitation to be my representative on the local host committee for the 2017 Juno Awards.

    He is working hard with the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition to bring together members of our music community.

    When we host the Junos…

    We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to take part in this important celebration of Canadian talent.

    The two co-chairs of our Juno local host committee are here with us today and I would like to thank them for accepting this role and for their hard work on this important celebration.

    We need to use this event to strengthen and grow our economy for years to come.

    Here’s another example.

    Councillor Mitic, our Sports Commissioner, has been working closely with Ottawa Tourism and our bid office to identify potential events we can bring to Ottawa.

    As you know, we don’t secure these events overnight.

    It often takes years of work.

    In 2016, he will lead exploratory efforts for a potential bid for the Canada Summer Games in 2021.

    The last Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke in 2013 attracted over 16,000 visitors.

    It had a local economic impact of $165 million.

    If we decide to bid on and win this prestigious event…

    It would mean the potential to upgrade some of our aging sports facilities, alongside our federal and provincial partners.

    We look forward to considering a bid on this exciting event.

    As well, Councillor Qaqish has accepted my invitation to be the City of Ottawa’s special liaison on refugee resettlement.

    Councillor Qaqish will work and liaise with refugee settlement groups like Refugee613 and Ottawa Catholic Immigration Services.

    He will also work with staff to monitor the progress our new residents are making to integrate – especially after their first 12 months.

    And he will coordinate a community welcome celebration, and if necessary, fundraising to help with resettlement costs.

    It is hard to not be touched by the amazing support that we have seen in our community.

    To date, we have welcomed more than 500 refugees to Ottawa.

    Let me share one of my favourite stories.

    Two Sundays ago I was invited to a very special community event at McNabb Community Centre.

    The event was organized by former Vietnamese refugees who have since raised a generation of children in our beautiful city.

    The purpose of the event?

    To raise funds to support the sponsorship of Syrian refugees.

    To see the generosity once shown to these people come full circle many years later was truly a beautiful thing.

    And it’s one of many examples of Ottawa’s residents showing their compassion for their new neighbours:

    In Manotick, in Councillor Moffatt’s Ward, Mary Barr and her “Quilts 4 Kidz” program at the Manotick United Church are making blankets for newly arrived Syrian refugee children;

    In Old Ottawa South, barber Ali Sultan is offering free haircuts to refugees at his Opus Barbershop.

    These are stories that I am tremendously proud to see.

    Ottawa is putting its best foot forward.

    The refugees are now arriving… but we know that is only the first step.

    We need to make sure they have the opportunity to grow and participate as full members of our Ottawa family.

    I also want to thank Councillor David Chernushenko for his leadership on Lansdowne Park transportation issues.

    He has worked closely with the Glebe, Old Ottawa South, and the surrounding communities to ensure transportation to, from and within the site will continue to improve.

    According to a survey by the Glebe Community Association, a full 70% of respondents say they use Lansdowne either regularly or frequently.

    It is clear that Lansdowne is becoming a cornerstone of that great community.

    Colleagues, these are strong examples of the kind of collaboration we will continue to do in 2016.

    It is important to also recognize the past collaboration from which we have all benefited.

    Max Keeping was one of our city’s great collaborators.

    Whether as a father, friend or public figure, Max was a true bridge builder and brought people from all walks of life together.

    To recognize these contributions…

    I am announcing that I will be bringing forward a proposal to the commemorative naming committee to rename the new pedestrian and cycling bridge near Coventry Road, over the 417 as…

    The Max Keeping Bridge.

    The bridge links the wards of Councillors Nussbaum and Cloutier, and stands not far from the Cancer Survivors Park and CHEO.

    And, as you know, Max was a big supporter of baseball, and of course CHEO.

    This bridge serves RCGT Park and will soon serve thousands of people when the LRT station at Tremblay opens.

    I think this would be a perfect fit to recognize a man who gave so much to our community.

    I want to recognize the presence in the audience of several members of Max’s family who have taken time to join us today.

    I also want to announce a second recognition that will come forward in 2016.

    The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin is the longest serving Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the history of our country.

    She is also the first woman to hold the post.

    The Chief Justice has been at the center of some of the most significant legal decisions in Canada’s history.

    I am delighted to tell you that… the Chief Justice has accepted my offer to receive the Key to the City.

    She will receive our highest civic honour at a ceremony on March 22 of this year.

    And she will do so as a role model, a leader and a nation-builder who deserves to be recognized by our city.

    Looking to the year ahead…

    There will be no bigger initiative in 2016 than work to expand light rail transit in the nation’s capital.

    Let’s not forget…

    Just five years ago Ottawa did not have a clear plan for light rail.

    Before that, it seemed like it may not ever happen.

    Fast forward to today.

    Several kilometres of rail have been installed.

    The downtown tunnel is nearing completion.

    And the trains are being assembled, as we speak.

    That’s progress of which we can be very proud.

    Now, how did we get here?

    We set a plan and we stuck to it.

    We were consistent.

    And as we did this, we built confidence in our vision for LRT.

    This plan and this confidence were crucial to gaining support from the public and our partners.

    All parties at all levels of government have lined up to support Stage 2 of LRT.

    In 2015, we saw two big milestones reached.

    We signed the historic 100-Day agreement with the NCC.

    This was due to the hard work of all parties, including the City’s representatives Councillors Taylor, Blais and Egli, as well as our City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick.

    The second milestone came with our unanimous approval of the Stage 2 project by City Council.

    This year we will continue to advance this important project.

    In 2016, we will collaborate with our federal and provincial partners to secure firm funding agreements.

    We will also make the case that the Trim Road and airport extensions should be included in this project.

    If we can secure funding commitments this year…

    We can expect to move into procurement in late 2016 or early 2017.

    Working together, we will expand the benefits of LRT across our city.

    The project will bring rail as far west as Bayshore Shopping Centre, as far east as Place d’Orléans, and as far south as Riverside South.

    When we open the Confederation Line in 2018…

    We want to turn around and pick up the shovel to break ground on Stage 2 of the LRT project.

    Stage 2 will bring close to 70 percent of the city’s population within five kilometres of rail by 2023.

    LRT is the single most important step we can take as a community to enhance our quality of life for generations to come.

    Of course, our investments in light rail transit are enhanced by how we’re also building other active transportation infrastructure.

    We’ll break ground on the first part of the O’Connor Bike Lanes this year.

    This will serve as a north-south complement to the highly successful Laurier Bike Lanes – over 1.7M trips and counting.

    We’ll also begin to install bike lanes on Mackenzie Avenue near the U.S. Embassy – in partnership with the Embassy and the NCC.

    Looking in the west end…

    We’ll move forward with construction on the Bayshore-Moodie Transitway extension in 2016.

    This will be an important transit improvement for residents travelling to and from the west end.

    You will recall that this is a 100% municipally-funded project because we did not want to wait to improve transit for Kanata residents.

    We will also advance design work on a Fifth-Clegg pedestrian and cycling bridge.

    This connection has been needed for quite some time.

    This is now even more so due to the success of the revitalized Lansdowne Park.

    It is my hope that we will be able to secure a funding agreement with upper levels of government this year or next.

    Doing so would build upon the already historic investments we’ve made in transit and active transportation in recent years.

    These are the biggest contributions we can make to fighting climate change and protecting our environment.

    Speaking of which…

    In 2016, we’ll move forward on our top environmental priority with the Ottawa River Action Plan.

    We’ll break ground on the final portion of the project: the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel.

    When commissioned, this project will mean we will pass along the gift of a clean Ottawa River to the next generation.

    Also in 2016…

    We can also be excited by the steps we’ll take towards a new main library branch.

    Last year, the Ottawa Public Library released a Request for Expression of Interest for a new main facility.

    The reaction in the market and in the community was more positive than we could have ever imagined.

    Library and Archives Canada stepped forward as a potential partner.

    We have also learned yesterday that the proponents for the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats are also interested in our project.

    This is very promising.

    Under the leadership of Councillor Tim Tierney, Chair of the Ottawa Public Library board…

    We will continue to engage with the community and potential partners to make this dream a reality.

    It is my expectation that the new main library will be a truly regional facility enjoyed by residents from all parts of our city.

    It is my hope that we will be able to break ground on this new facility before the end of our term in 2018.

    We also expect to open the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards before the end of this year.

    There is no more perfect example of collaboration than this amazing facility, which will be the new home of Invest Ottawa.

    Ottawa has been recognized as the most business-friendly mid-sized city in the western hemisphere by the Financial Times.

    We’re seeing jobs and investment return to Ottawa.

    But we need to make sure that entrepreneurs and other business owners have the support they need.

    The Innovation Centre will be a one-stop shop for anyone with an idea they want to take from the drawing board to the marketplace.

    We want our businesses to launch, grow, and thrive.

    And, of course, this facility will come at just the right moment.

    Because everything we do should be looked at in front of the backdrop of the economy.

    We remain in challenging economic times.

    Locally, growth is down.

    The dollar is weak.

    Families are also seeing their personal investments, pensions funds, and savings decline in value with changes in the market.

    We must continue to stay true to our principles:

    • Keeping taxes affordable.
    • Protecting the most vulnerable.
    • Investing in community infrastructure.
    • Supporting job creators.

    When you are faced with tough times, you have two paths to take.

    One path you may have heard chatter about in the pages of certain newspapers recently.

    It’s the path of cynicism.

    Of those who are disappointed in themselves and their surroundings.

    It’s the path of grumbling.

    No matter how historic the investments we’re making.

    Or how many awards the city receives about quality of life… or business friendliness… or sustainability.

    It will never quite be good enough.

    I prefer to take the other path.

    The path that looks forward.

    That recognizes we will never leapfrog cobblestone cities that are hundreds of years older than us.

    Instead, we will focus on ensuring a high quality of life.

    On protecting our most vulnerable.

    On cutting commute times.

    On cleaning our water and air.

    That’s the path on which we should be focused.

    I will borrow a phrase from Bruce Lazenby, head of Invest Ottawa when I say:

    City BUILDING will always beat city BASHING.

    We all love this city.

    And we will do everything we can to make it an even better place to raise a family and grow a business.

    As we resolve ourselves for 2016…

    As we get ready to host the world in 2017…

    Let us take this path of optimism.

    The path of pride.

    The path to building the best city in the most blessed country in the world.

    Thank you.

  • Ottawa set to thrill in 2017 with Red Bull Crashed Ice


    Ottawa 2017 and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, in collaboration with lead partner CIBC, announced today that Red Bull Crashed Ice will make its Ottawa debut when the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship crashes and glides its way into the capital in 2017.

    Red Bull Crashed Ice events take place at unusual locations with stunning backdrops. The final showdown event in March 2017 will take place next to the Château Laurier and Major’s Hill Park at Parks Canada’s historic and picturesque Ottawa Locks, which form part of the Rideau Canal National Historic Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parks Canada is working in collaboration with Ottawa 2017 and Red Bull to ensure all measures are taken to preserve and protect the historical features of this heritage treasure.

    The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Minister responsible for Parks Canada and MP for Ottawa Centre, was in Davos, Switzerland at the time of the announcement, but reiterated her support for the event. “Parks Canada is working with partners to help the Rideau Canal be a premier tourism destination. Events like Red Bull Crashed Ice in Ottawa can help promote our country’s rich history and enable Canadians to learn more about our heritage. As we near Canada’s 150th anniversary, I invite Canadians from coast-to-coast to coast to discover and draw inspiration from our country’s breathtaking places and to find innovative ways of sharing them with one another and the world.”

    The March dates for the Ice Cross Downhill World Championship will be announced later this fall when Red Bull releases the 2016-17 race schedules.

    This extreme winter sport is a unique blend of power skating, ski cross and boarder cross. The Ottawa event will welcome some of the world’s best athletes for the culmination of the winter tour season.

    “As we host a year of celebrations to mark Canada’s 150th birthday, Red Bull Crashed Ice will be a not-to-be-missed blockbuster event in our City,” said Mayor Watson. “It’s one of a number of exciting new experiences that we’ll be presenting in 2017 which we aim to make a recurring event for future years.”

    Ice cross downhill is the fastest sport on skates where athletes hurtle down a massive ice track filled with high vertical drops and hairpin turns at speeds of more than 50km/h.

    A former racer himself, Red Bull Crashed Ice Sports Director Christian Papillon knows very well the heart-pumping exhilaration of the competition. “Ice cross downhill is fast, physical and intense. Red Bull is proud to contribute to the development of the sport worldwide and we can’t wait to showcase the action to people in Ottawa,” he said.

    Monique Giroux, Vice President, Sponsorships & Strategic Partnerships, CIBC noted that “much like sports, partnerships are about team work and reaching new heights together. We’re delighted to work with partners like Ottawa 2017 and Red Bull to create extraordinary experiences that all Canadians can enjoy.”

    “Canadians are passionate about winter sports and Red Bull Crashed Ice is a show-stopping celebration of our shared winter culture,” said Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau. “This prestigious international sporting event will showcase the capital to tens of millions of people in Canada and around the world and is a prime example of the turbo-charged events that people can expect from January to December in 2017.”

    Canada’s 150th celebrations will offer Canadians and visitors from around the world an exceptional and memorable year of high-caliber experiences while bringing a record number of visitors to Ottawa in 2017 to celebrate this important milestone for our country.

    Speaking on behalf of the Province, Marie-France Lalonde (MPP, Ottawa-Orléans) cited sport tourism events like Red Bull Crashed Ice as important to growing Ontario’s economy. “The Government of Ontario is committed to supporting events that attract visitors to the province from across the nation around and the world, boost local economies and create jobs,” she said.

    For almost a decade, Red Bull Crashed Ice has been a pinnacle event in Quebec City. It is the largest outdoor event in that city each year and attracts a global TV audience. Other cities that have previously hosted the event include Lausanne, Helsinki, Prague, Moscow, Edmonton and Niagara Falls.

    Ottawa 2017 is thrilled to present Red Bull Crashed Ice as one of its Signature Events and thanks our lead partner CIBC, the Province of Ontario, Ottawa Tourism and the Ottawa-Gatineau Hotel Association for their contributions. To make this exciting event happen in such a spectacular location, Ottawa 2017 is collaborating with the City of Ottawa, Parks Canada, Public Services and Procurement Canada, the National Capital Commission, the Fairmont Château Laurier and Stantec for engineering services.


  • Holiday Greeting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Happy holidays.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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