• City of Ottawa secures funding for Stage 2 LRT

    Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson was pleased to welcome Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the Belfast Yard Maintenance and Storage Facility today, where the Government of Canada announced its financial support for the Stage 2 LRT project.

    The federal government has pledged to contribute up to $1.09 billion in total eligible costs to Stage 2 through their long term plan, Investing in Canada. This is in addition to the over $67 million the federal government committed to Stage 2 through the first phase of the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund last year.

    Mayor Watson and Prime Minister Trudeau were also joined by Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli from the Province of Ontario, which has already promised to invest $1 billion towards Stage 2 LRT, plus 50 per cent of the cost associated with extending the O-Train system to the Ottawa airport and from Place d’Orléans to Trim.

    The remainder of the LRT costs, approximately $1 billion, will be covered by the City of Ottawa.

    In the South, the Trillium Line will be expanded to reach Bowesville Station, with a link to the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier Airport, by 2021. In the East, the Confederation Line will extend to Trim Road by 2022. In the West, it will reach Algonquin College and Moodie Drive by 2023.

    Once complete, Stage 2 will bring 70 per cent of Ottawa residents within five kilometers of efficient, clean and reliable rail service with the capability of carrying an estimated 24,000 riders per hour per direction during peak periods. The complete O-Train system will span nearly 60 kilometres and include 41 stations.

    The confirmed federal and provincial funding allows the City to move forward with its innovative procurement solution for the Stage 2 extensions, including issuing the Request for Proposals for the extensions of both the Confederation and Trillium Lines, as well as ordering the additional vehicles required to service the expanded system.


    “Today’s announcement puts the final piece in place for the funding of the Stage 2 LRT project. We can now plan to put shovels in the ground in 2019 as we continue expanding our world-class LRT system. Building Stage 2 will not only create jobs during construction, it will also give Ottawa a competitive edge to attract talent and new businesses to our city once the project is complete.”
    Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

    “Stage 2 will change the way commuters travel around the city. It will save you time and get you to work and home faster, expanding the reliability, accessibility and comfort of light rail transit. It will save residents money with reduced car costs, including fuel costs, vehicle wear and tear and even accident avoidance. It will take 14,000 vehicles off the road during rush hour and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 110,000 tonnes and air contaminants by 3,000 tonnes every year.”
    Councillor Stephen Blais, Chair, Transit Commission

    Quick Facts:

    • Confederation Line (Stage 1)
      • Length – 12.5 km
      • Downtown tunnel – 2.5 km
      • Number of stations – 13
    • Stage 2 (Confederation Line and Trillium Line)
      • 24,000 people per direction per hour at peak capacity
      • 38 km of new rail
      • 23 new stations
      • South extension
        • 11 km including a spur to the Airport
        • 7 new stations
        • Completion 2021
      • East extension
        • 5 km
        • 5 new stations
        • Completion 2022
      • West extension
        • 15 km
        • 11 new stations
        • Completion 2023


    Stage 2
    Confederation Line
    Ready for Rail
    OC Transpo


  • Kontinuum to open on July 16

    Tickets to the free underground journey through time
    available tomorrow at noon

    Sneak peek and media premiere July 15

    Ottawa – The Ottawa 2017 Bureau, in collaboration with lead partner CIBC, are excited to announce that Kontinuum: An Underground Journey Through Time will premiere the evening of Saturday, July 15 and officially open to the public on Sunday, July 16 at 10 am.

    Created and produced by the Ottawa 2017 Bureau and Moment Factory, this impressive world-first underground multimedia production, powered by Bell, will take place in the Lyon Station of the yet to be opened Light Rail Transit (LRT) system.

    The story premise for Kontinuum is that a crevice in the fabric of reality was discovered during excavation of the LRT tunnel. Since this discovery, inexplicable electromagnetic waves have been appearing in and around the tunnel, captivating the imagination of passersby. It is an immersive, dynamic and moving experience, using the full 500-metre length of the station, where participants will be exposed to the hidden frequencies of the material world.

    Using technology in creative ways to highlight the architecture in the Confederation Line’s Lyon Station, the project will give residents and visitors a first glimpse inside the LRT system, while offering them an uplifting experience like no other.

    Thanks to Bell’s world-class network technology, residents and visitors will be able to experience Kontinuum in another dimension this summer. Spectators will have the ability to capture and share their personal frequency by downloading a holographic photo of themselves on the Ottawa 2017 App or the Kontinuum webpage, developed and powered by Bell. They are also providing free WiFi hotspots at Kontinuum.

    Tickets to this subterranean world first are FREE. People will be able to reserve their tickets online beginning this Thursday, June 15, at noon. In addition to online reservations, limited tickets will be available on site daily.

    Exclusive sneak peek opportunity! People can sign up online to become Ottawa 2017 Insiders for the chance to be part of the premiere event on July 15.

    Kontinuum will run daily from July 16 to September 14, from 10 am to 10 pm. Journeys depart continuously throughout the day.

    Ottawa 2017 is thrilled to present this project as one of its Signature Events and thanks our lead partner CIBC, our premier partner Bell, the Government of Ontario (www.ontario.ca/150 #ontario150), the Government of Canada (www.canada.ca/150 #canada150), the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Tourism for their contributions.

    To make this exciting event happen in its remarkable subterranean location, Ottawa 2017 is collaborating with Moment Factory, the City of Ottawa, Brookfield Office Properties, Stantec, Bell, Rideau Transit Group and its contractor partner companies, SNC-Lavalin, Dragados and EllisDon, the consortium delivering the Confederation Line, the first stage of Ottawa’s LRT project. In addition, Ottawa 2017 is proud to welcome Ziebarth Electrical Contractors Limited as our newest program partner for Kontinuum.

    We recognize and appreciate the high degree of collaboration from all partners in enabling Kontinuum to come to life, notwithstanding the complexity of the location for the experience and the intricate technical nature of the production itself. This event will highlight this once-in-a-generation infrastructure project, its role in transforming Ottawa into a 21st century city, and will galvanize the support and anticipation of Ottawa’s residents for the LRT network in the year before it officially opens.

    Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations 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.

    To download the free Ottawa 2017 App, powered by Bell, visit: The App Store, Google Play or Ottawa2017.ca.

    About Moment Factory

    Moment Factory is a multimedia studio based in Montreal with a full range of production expertise under one roof. The team combines specializations in video, lighting, architecture, sound and special effects to create remarkable experiences. Since its inception in 2001, Moment Factory has created more than 400 unique shows and destinations. Productions span the globe and include such clients as Céline Dion, Madonna, The Walt Disney Company, Microsoft, NFL, Sony, Universal Studios, the City of Barcelona, Los Angeles Airport and Royal Caribbean.

    – 30 –

    Media information:

    Ottawa 2017
    Denise LeBlanc – Manager, Media Relations

  • Ottawa Police Chorus receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson, West Carleton-March Councillor Eli El-Chantiry, and Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award at City Council today to the Ottawa Police Chorus for their contributions to the community since 1972 and for enhancing the image of the Ottawa Police Service through song.

    Chorus Manager Barbara Duggan accepted the award on behalf of the 43 members who sing in four-part harmony, and Musical Director Geoffrey Linklater addressed the audience before the chorus performed “Go Now in Peace”.

    The Ottawa Police Chorus was the brainchild of former Police Chief Leo Seguin and began in 1972 as an all-male group of active, on-duty police officers under the direction of Craig Davidson an Ottawa school music teacher. The chorus was set up to encourage the men of the Police Force to become better acquainted with each other on a less formal level and to enhance the image of the police through song. In 1991, membership was extended to women, civilian staff and members of the community.

    This year the chorus celebrates 45 years of singing for the community in support of the Ottawa Police Service. Three of the original tenors, Wayne Barry, Paul Rochon and Jean Roger remain singing with the chorus which has performed annually since 1978 at the Canadian National Police Memorial Service.

    The chorus is privileged to stand with other police choruses from across Canada on the steps of Parliament Hill every September to honour the sacrifice of fallen officers at the National Police Memorial and also performs at the annual memorials for fallen police and peace officers held in May at Queens Park in Toronto.

    Significant events for the chorus include memorial services, Remembrance Day ceremonies, and civic events like the Mayor’s Canada Day Breakfast, that speak to the variety of repertoire needed and the scope as the chorus continues to address the objectives of its mandate. Over the years the chorus has performed abroad in Bermuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Germany and the United States. It has also welcomed police choruses from the UK and Germany as well as locations across Canada.

  • All City of Ottawa fire trucks now equipped with Naloxone

    For some time now, the City of Ottawa has been facing a serious public health crisis in relation to the misuse and overdose of opioid drugs. We have been working hard with our first responders to improve the availability of naloxone in our emergency vehicles, as we know that access to naloxone can save lives.

    Today, we marked a significant milestone in the City’s efforts to provide access to naloxone to our first responders. Firefighters at all 45 fire stations in the City of Ottawa have received training on how to administer naloxone and all City of Ottawa fire trucks now carry Naloxone on board.

    This milestone better equips us with the tools necessary in order to minimize the risk of overdose deaths and opioid misuse in our community.

  • Canada 150 Maple Groves Project ready to take root across Ottawa

    Ottawa – The Canada 150 Maple Groves project took root today with a ceremony at City Hall. Mayor Jim Watson was joined by community members and David McGuinty, M.P., Ottawa-South; Jenny Gerbasi, First Vice-President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities; Léo Duguay, Vice-Chair of Tree Canada; and Sean Finn, Executive Vice-President of CN.

    The Government of Canada, Tree Canada and CN have generously contributed to this sesquicentennial legacy project that will plant a grove of 150 native maple trees in each ward in Ottawa. The groves consist of three species of native maple trees: sugar, red and silver. Many of the groves have been planted this spring, while others will be planted in the fall, between mid-September to mid-October.

    Today’s tree-planting to mark Canada’s 150th had an added national flavour, as a large contingency of mayors and municipal officials from across the country were present. They were attending the national convention of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), which was held in Ottawa this year to mark the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. A tree is planted at each FCM meeting as part of a Legacy Program with Tree Canada.

    A full listing of the Canada 150 Maple Grove locations in each of the 23 wards can be viewed at ottawa.ca.


    “The Canada 150 Maple Groves Project is truly a living legacy of Canada’s 150th anniversary. There is no better symbol than the maple leaf to mark this milestone in our country’s history. Whether it is on the flag, your passport or stitched to your backpack, the maple leaf is the iconic symbol of our nation, and makes us uniquely proud to be Canadian, wherever we find ourselves in the world.”
    Mayor Jim Watson

    “All across the world, trees are a symbol of growth, strength, sustainability, hope, and peace. Our #Canada150 tree-planting celebrations are a perfect way to commemorate Canada’s legacy in a positive, meaningful and lasting way, all while engaging people from coast to coast to coast.”
    – Michael Rosen, President of Tree Canada

    “We are proud to be part of a program that helps make communities across Canada better places to live, work and play. In hundreds of Canadian communities, the railway has been a part of life for generations. We honour that history, and we proudly look toward our shared future with these Canada 150 celebrations.”
    – Luc Jobin, president and chief executive officer of CN. “

    “The environment is one of the major themes at the heart of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Confederation, which is why the Government of Canada is pleased to support Tree Canada. The Canada 150 project “Tree to Our Nature” will not only leave a lasting legacy for future generations, but also allow Canadians to get closer to nature and increase their environmental awareness. I would like to acknowledge everyone taking part in this inspiring and unifying project. I applaud your efforts to help build healthy, sustainable communities.”
     David McGuinty, M.P., Ottawa-South


  • Motion to introduce an equitable single fare transit option

    On October 4, 2016, Councillor Stephen Blais, Chair of the Transit Commission, and I announced the creation of a new EquiPass, to help create a more affordable city for all residents of Ottawa.

    On March 10, 2017, OC Transpo launched the EquiPass – priced at $57 per month – a 50 per cent discount from the regular adult monthly pass.  Since the EquiPass was launched in March, over 2,300 eligible residents have applied and been approved for the EquiPass.

    Today, we are calling on the Transit Commission to work closely with OC Transpo to create an equitable single fare option, as part of the 2018 budget, for residents and families who meet the low income threshold, as defined by Statistics Canada.

    In consultation with stakeholders, and given the early success in the implementation of the EquiPass, we feel providing a single fare option is the next logical step in the evolution of the EquiPass. These changes will help us reach ‎our goal of expanding inclusive and equitable fares for eligible Ottawa residents.

    We are proposing that the new single fare – to be called the “EquiFare” or “EquiTarif” – be funded through the 2018 Budget process. We are asking the Transit Commission to work with OC Transpo on an equitable single fare for implementation in 2018.

    Our goal is to continue to show that we can and will balance the competing demands of being an affordable city and a caring city.

    To this end, Councillor Blais will introduce a motion at Transit Commission on Wednesday directing staff to further develop this program and to bring forward a recommendation to be considered as part of the 2018 budget process


    Jim Watson                                                               Stephen Blais
    Mayor, City of Ottawa                                             Councillor, Cumberland Ward

  • Protecting a Woman’s Right to Choose

    Province to Introduce Bill to Help Ensure Safe Access to Women’s Health Clinics

    Ontario is taking steps to help protect women who are seeking reproductive health care.

    In fall 2017, the province plans to introduce a bill that would, if passed, create “safe access zones” at specified health care facilities that offer women’s reproductive services. The zones would help ensure the safety and privacy of women, visitors and health care workers travelling to and from these facilities.

    Over the coming months, Ontario will consult with health care, legal and advocacy groups to develop details of the new law.

    Quick Facts

    • Both British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador have legislation in place that restricts protest activities around women’s health care facilities to help keep patients and staff safe.
    • In Ontario, there are currently several court injunctions in place to protect the safety and privacy of women and health care professionals by restricting protest activities in and around specific locations in the province.
    • Abortion is funded in Ontario as an insured service under the Health Insurance Act.

    Additional Resources


    “Every woman in Ontario has the right to make decisions about her own heath care – and they deserve to do so freely, and without fear. That’s why our government is taking steps to introduce a bill that would help give women and their health care providers safe and reliable access to women’s health care facilities.”
    Yasir Naqvi
    Attorney General

    “For many years, people seeking reproductive services at clinics across Ontario have been subjected to escalating hostility and aggression — adding tremendous stress to what may be an already difficult time in their lives. I welcome any government action that could give peace of mind to these folks and the people who care for them.”
    Catherine Macnab
    Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Ottawa

    Click here to read the complete Release.

  • The Very Reverend Father Ghattas Hajal receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson, River Ward Councillor Riley Brockington, and Gloucester-South Nepean Ward Councillor Michael Qaqish presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award at City Council today to the Very Reverend Father Ghattas Hajal, the Dean and Pastor of St. Elias Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral. Father Ghattas has served at the Holy Altar for 40 years and is recognized as a City Builder for enriching the life of the Cathedral and its faithful with his pastoral experience and leadership.

    Father Ghattas was born in Lebanon and ordained to the Holy Priesthood on the Great Feast of Pentecost, May 27, 1977. In 1990, he and his family departed Lebanon to build a new life in Canada. He established Saint Mary’s Church in Montreal where he was their first priest in charge. In 1992, Father Ghattas assumed the pastorate of Saint Elias Cathedral in Ottawa. Under his leadership, the membership increased significantly to 1,800, the new church was completed, and the mortgage paid off. In addition to his pastorship, Father Ghattas holds other leadership positions in the Orthodox Church, namely: Dean of Canadian Deanery of the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada, and Upstate New York, President of the Eastern Orthodox Clergy Association of Ottawa, Spiritual Advisor of the Order of Saint Ignatius of Antioch for the Diocese of Ottawa, Eastern Canada, and Upstate New York, Chaplain of the Orthodox Christian Fellowship of Carleton University, and Member of the Interfaith Steering Committee of Ottawa.

    Father Ghattas is an active and outspoken pillar in the Ottawa Lebanese community. His passion for his Orthodox faith and Lebanese heritage are a beacon that guide the entire Lebanese community in Ottawa, not just his parishioners. Under his guidance, the Ottawa Lebanese Festival, chaired by George Hanna, has provided thousands of attendees with an opportunity to experience a glimpse into Lebanese culture and the Orthodox Cathedral. Father Ghattas always found joy in dancing, and every July at the opening ceremony of the Ottawa Lebanese Festival, he proudly and patriotically dances carrying the Lebanese flag. His impact on the Lebanese community, and all that encounter him has been extremely positive.


  • Mayor’s Rural Expo and Food Aid BBQ

    June is fast approaching, and the annual Food Aid BBQ and Mayor’s Rural Expo is right around the corner, taking place on Friday June 2 at City Hall. This year’s event will be special, as it is included as one of the FCM conference tour stops. We anticipate up to 100 municipal leaders from across the country to attend. I look forward to this unique day, which provides an opportunity to showcase all that rural Ottawa has to offer in a downtown setting.

    The event is sponsored by Bell Media (CTV, 580 CFRA and Ottawa’s New Country 94). Vendors selling and promoting rural goods and services will be on site starting at 10 a.m. The Ottawa Food Bank’s BBQ lunch, serving THE WORKS burgers will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at a cost of $10. The celebrity milking contest will begin at 12:15 p.m. and Southbound Boots, a local Ottawa band, will be performing live over the lunch hour.

    All lunch proceeds are donated to the Ottawa Food Bank for the purchase of local beef for those in need in our community. I hope to see you all there!

  • Giving Communities a Stronger Voice In Development

    Ontario to Overhaul Land Use Planning Appeals System

    Ontario is taking action to overhaul the province’s land use planning appeals system to give communities a stronger voice and ensure people have access to faster, fairer and more affordable hearings.

    In the coming weeks, legislation will be introduced to create the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, which would, if passed, replace the Ontario Municipal Board. The new tribunal would be mandated to give greater weight to the decisions of local communities, while ensuring that development and growth occurs in a way that is good for Ontario, including Ottawa, and its future.  This would be achieved by eliminating lengthy and costly “de novo” hearings for the majority of planning appeals. The term “de novo” has been used to describe how the Ontario Municipal Board deals with appeals of municipal land use planning decisions, by considering the same issue that was before the municipality as though no previous decision had been made.

    Ontario would also make planning appeals more accessible to the public by creating the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre, a new agency that would provide free information and support, which may include representation at the tribunal for citizens who want to participate in the appeal process.

    The new legislation would include additional measures to transform Ontario’s land use planning appeals system, including:

    • Exempting a broader range of major land use planning decisions from appeal, including new Official Plans, major Official Plan updates and detailed plans to support growth in major transit areas.
    • Establishing a mandatory case conference for complex hearings to encourage early settlements, which would help reduce the time and cost of appeals and create a less adversarial system.

    The proposed changes follow extensive public consultations, beginning with the release of a consultation paper in October 2016. The government received more than 1,100 written submissions and held 12 town hall meetings across the province that were attended by more than 700 people.

    Improving the land use planning system is part of Ontario’s plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.


    “We want to ensure the land use planning system is working effectively for everyone. Our proposals would empower communities and municipalities to better determine how their neighbourhoods develop in the future.”
    — Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs

    “Land use planning directly impacts Ontario families and their communities. And so, it is important that residents feel empowered and supported in the decision making process. We want to make sure that the voices of Ontarians are heard by all levels of government and that is why we will soon introduce reforms that would put people and communities first.”
    — Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General of Ontario

    “Land use planning is an important tool for the sustainable long-term growth of our city. We’re pleased to see the province of Ontario take action to ensure that the land use planning appeals system is more efficient and supportive for residents. We look forward to reviewing the proposed legislation to help ensure timely and balanced hearing outcomes in Ottawa.”
    — Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa



    • The Local Planning Appeal Tribunal would be an independent tribunal that makes decisions at arms’ length from the government. If the legislation passes, it would replace the Ontario Municipal Board, which began in 1906 as the Ontario Railway and Municipal Board.
    • In 2015-2016 (the most recent year for which data is available), 1,460 matters were referred to the Ontario Municipal Board from across the province.



    Ministry of Municipal Affairs
    Mark Cripps, Minister’s Office, 416-585-6842
    Conrad Spezowka, Communications Branch, 416-585-7066
    Ministry of Attorney General
    Clare Graham, Minister’s Office, 416-326-7071
    Emilie Smith, Communications Branch, 416-326-2210
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