• Tony Mariani receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    Mayor Jim Watson and Kanata South Ward Councillor Allan Hubley presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Tony Mariani at City Council today in recognition of his dedication to volunteerism, particularly for Ottawa’s Italian community.

    Mr. Mariani has been involved with organizing Italian Week in Ottawa since 1975, putting together a week-long program of events that celebrates the history, heritage and impact that Ottawa’s Italian community has had on the City. Mr. Mariani has been instrumental in organizing an annual gala for St. Anthony’s Church for the past decade. St. Anthony’s is the unofficial home of Ottawa’s Italian community.

    Mr. Mariani, the CEO of Mar Gard Builders Limited, is also a proud supporter of Make-A-Wish Foundation Eastern Ontario and has worked tirelessly to raise funds. He has been named an Honorary Lifetime Board Member for his continued dedication.

  • The Right Honourable David Johnston and Mrs. Sharon Johnston receive the Key to the City

    Ottawa – This evening, Mayor Jim Watson presented the Key to the City to The Right Honourable David Johnston and Mrs. Sharon Johnston, at a ceremony at City Hall.

    The Right Honourable David Johnston was recognized for an unwavering commitment to education, learning and innovation, youth, philanthropy and volunteerism, with the distinct honour of serving as Governor General of Canada from 2010 to 2017.

    Mrs. Sharon Johnston was recognized for an illustrious career in rehabilitation science with a steadfast commitment to mental health and wellness advocacy, and her dedication to supporting Indigenous youth and families.

    During their time in Ottawa, the Johnstons encouraged all Canadians to join in the building of a smarter, more caring nation.


    “It is an honour to present the City’s highest award to the Right Honourable David Johnston and Mrs. Sharon Johnston. Both have dedicated their lives to helping others and have encouraged their fellow Canadians to do the same. Their contributions through volunteering, advocacy, philanthropy and leadership have had a profound impact on Ottawa and we are a better city for it.”
    Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson

    Key Facts

    The Key to the City

    • The Key to the City is Ottawa’s most prestigious award.
    • An ornamental key is presented to esteemed residents, visitors and others whom the City of Ottawa wishes to honour. This practice has a symbolic meaning evoking medieval walled cities, the gates of which would be guarded during the day and locked at night. The key symbolizes the freedom of the recipient to enter and leave the city at will as a trusted friend of city residents.
    • Some former recipients include:
      • Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth (now, Her Majesty 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
      • Ottawa Senators former Captain Daniel Alfredsson
      • The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada
      • Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek
      • TV and radio news journalist, Michel Picard


    The Right Honourable David Johnston

    David Johnston was born in Copper Cliff, near Sudbury, Ontario on June 28, 1941, the son of Dorothy Stonehouse and Lloyd Johnston, the retail manager of a local hardware store.

    Mr. Johnston attended Harvard University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1963, twice being selected to the All American hockey team on his way to being named to Harvard’s athletic hall of fame. He later obtained Bachelor of Laws degrees from the University of Cambridge and Queen’s University.

    Mr. Johnston’s professional career began in 1966 as assistant professor in the Queen’s University law faculty. He moved on to the University of Toronto’s law faculty in 1968, and became dean of Western University’s law faculty in 1974. He was named principal and vice chancellor of McGill University in 1979, serving for fifteen years before returning to teaching as a fulltime professor in the McGill Faculty of Law.

    In June 1999, he became the fifth president and vice chancellor of the University of Waterloo, serving until 2010. He is married to Sharon Johnston, with whom he has five daughters. They are grandparents to 14 grandchildren.

    When David Johnston became governor general, he called upon all Canadians to join in the building of a smarter, more caring nation. His seven year viceregal mandate—the third longest in Canadian history— was characterized by inclusiveness, dedication, energy and ambition in quest of a smarter, more caring Canada and a better world.

    David Johnston was the 28th governor general of Canada, from October 1, 2010, to October 2, 2017.

    Mrs. Sharon Johnston

    Sharon Johnston began her working career in Kingston, Ontario, as a psychiatric occupational therapist with young adults at Kingston General Hospital, and then as a therapist at Beechgrove, a treatment centre for young children with learning and behavioural problems. When the Johnston family moved to Toronto, she worked at the Crippled Children’s Centre in Occupational Therapy.

    In 1966, Mrs. Johnston completed her studies in physical and occupational therapy at the University of Toronto. Later, she completed a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Western Ontario, a Master of Science degree at McGill University, and obtained her Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science at McGill University. She also wrote an autobiographical essay for inclusion in a collection on notable women of Montréal.

    Mrs. Johnston is an avid horse-riding enthusiast. She ran a horse-training centre for 12 years out of Chatterbox Farm, in Ontario, which she shared with her husband. She published her first novel Matrons and Madams, a fictional account of life in southwestern Alberta during a colourful, post-Great War era, based on her grandmother’s experiences. In June 2016, Mrs. Johnston was appointment Honorary Captain (Navy) for Military Personnel Command of the Canadian Armed Forces.

    Mrs. Johnston was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. She and Mr. Johnston have five adult daughters and 14 grandchildren.

  • City announces shortlist of five teams to design new central library

    Ottawa – A new milestone has been achieved in the project to create a new Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada joint facility. A City of Ottawa Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process for professional design services, initiated in May of 2017, has resulted in the selection of five shortlisted teams from 33 submissions received. The shortlisted teams have been invited to participate in the Request for Proposals (RFP) process.

    The shortlisted teams are (in alphabetical order):

    • Bing Thom Architects (Canada) – GRC Architects (Canada)
    • Diamond Schmitt Architects (Canada) – KWC Architects (Canada)
    • Mecanoo International b.v. (Holland) – NORR Architects & Engineers Ltd (Canada)
    • Patkau Architects (Canada) – MSDL Architects (Canada) – GRC Architects (Canada)
    • Schmidt/hammer/lassen/ architects (Denmark) – KPMB Architects (Canada) – Hobin Architecture Inc. (Canada)

    As outlined as a requirement in the RFQ, the shortlisted teams have demonstrated a proven track record in architectural design excellence with projects of a similar size, scope and complexity, and relevant experience in buildings of national, provincial, institutional or civic importance – including libraries, archives, cultural institutions, performing arts centres or museums. 


    “This is an exciting next step forward in realizing a longstanding vision for a new central library. We are pleased to see that the competitive procurement process has produced a shortlist of stellar architectural talent from across the region, the nation and around the globe. This is a unique opportunity to create a landmark institution in our national capital; one that will serve the needs of residents as a community library branch and city-wide resource, while offering all Canadians access to Library and Archives Canada’s public-facing services and their rich and diverse collection.”
    Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

    “The first phase of the procurement process has produced an excellent shortlist of proponents for the architectural design services.  This brings us another step closer to making an iconic Ottawa Central Library a reality. In 2015 and 2016, we heard what spaces and services our community would like in a new facility. We know residents are eager to share ideas on the design, and we look forward to engaging them.”
    Councillor Tim Tierney, Chair of the Ottawa Public Library Board

    About the Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada joint facility

    On February 8, 2017, City Council approved pursuing a joint facility between Ottawa Public Library (OPL) and Library Archives Canada (LAC) at 557 Wellington Street.

    The Government of Canada’s 2018 Budget included funding to support Library and Archives Canada’s collaboration with Ottawa Public Library for a joint facility. With this formal federal commitment for LAC’s share of the joint facility, the City of Ottawa, OPL, and LAC are moving forward to create a new facility of national significance.

    A report to City Council and the Ottawa Public Library Board on the OPL-LAC joint facility project is expected in the spring of 2018. The report will include:

    • Governance Agreement between OPL, LAC and the City of Ottawa
    • Funding Strategy for OPL and the City of Ottawa
    • Disposal of existing Main branch
    • Parking Study Recommendations


  • Using a Presto card in Ottawa just got easier

    Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson, Transit Commission Chair Stephen Blais, Garry Griffin, Shoppers Drug Mart District Manager, and Annalise Czerny, PRESTO’s Executive Vice-President, were at a Shoppers Drug Mart in Barrhaven today to announce that Presto card services will be rolling out to retailers across Ottawa.

    Transit customers will be able to purchase monthly passes, load funds, check their balance, and set age-based discounts at 66 Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws and Real Canadian Superstore locations in Ottawa. The new retail locations are currently being rolled out in a phased approach, with all stores expected to have Presto services available by the end of May. For an up-to-date listing of locations, visit octranspo.com or prestocard.ca.

    The addition of 66 new outlets will make it easier for transit riders to make Presto transactions. They include 51 Shoppers Drug Mart, 12 Loblaws and three Real Canadian Superstore locations. When customers put funds on their Presto card at one of the retailer locations, the balance will be available immediately.

    First-time Community Pass and EquiPass customers must have their discounts set at one of the four OC Transpo Customer Service Centres. Once set, these customers can then load a monthly pass or funds at any of the locations across Ottawa or online.

    Transit customers will continue to be able to use the four OC Transpo Customer Service Centres, three ServiceOttawa Client Service Centres, and ticket machines at Carling, Carleton, Mooney’s Bay, and Greenboro stations to purchase their Presto products. Presto cardholders are also able to load funds and check their balance online at prestocard.ca.

    Presto cards purchased at Shoppers, Loblaws and Superstore locations will have a new black design. However, whether cards are black or green, they will still function exactly the same way.

    For more information, please visit octranspo.com or prestocard.ca.

    For more information on City programs and services, visit ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401). You can also connect with us through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


    “The added convenience of an additional 66 new retailers in Ottawa will be a real benefit to our transit customers, who will be able to purchase OC Transpo fares when they are out for everyday errands. With store locations all across the city, people will be able to avoid the long lines at the end of each month just to load a pass onto their Presto card.”
    Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

    “Making transit more convenient is key to increasing ridership and managing congestion in our communities, and that is why we are expanding access to PRESTO and working with our municipal partners, like the City of Ottawa, to expand public transit for commuters and families across our province.”
    Kathryn McGarry, Minister of Transportation

    “We’re happy with the rollout of PRESTO to date and we know this service will be a huge time saver for our customers. Today’s announced expansion means more convenience for transit riders in the province.”
    Ken Kirkwood, Senior Director, Category Management, Shoppers Drug Mart

    We’re so pleased to be offering Ottawa transit riders more convenient options for buying and loading their PRESTO cards through our partnership with Loblaw. This is a significant expansion of the existing PRESTO retail network in Ottawa and we know it will make it easier for Ottawa transit riders to choose and use PRESTO. This also helps us move toward our goal of making transit a more convenient and accessible choice for everyone.”
    Phil Verster, President and CEO, Metrolinx

    Quick facts

    • Presto card transactions can be made online or at 77 locations across the city, including:
      • 51 Shoppers Drug Marts
      • 12 Loblaws
      • Three Real Canadian Superstores
      • Four OC Transpo Customer Service Centres
      • Three ServiceOttawa Client Service Centres
      • Four ticket machines at Carling, Carleton, Mooney’s Bay, and Greenboro stations
    • Cost to purchase a Presto card is $6
    • Using a Presto card instead of cash saves users .05 cents on every single-fare ride.

    OC Transpo

    Social media

  • Dallas Greeley receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    Mayor Jim Watson and River Ward Councillor, Riley Brockington, presented Dallas Greeley with the Mayor’s City Builder Award at today’s City Council meeting.

    Dallas Greeley first started volunteering with the Billings Estate National Historic Site tea room 12 years ago. Since then she has branched out to support City of Ottawa museums in other areas, including children’s programs, site maintenance such as painting fences and gardening, Doors Open Ottawa, as well as mentoring, training and interviewing prospective volunteers. Dallas has proven her reliability and passion for public service. She is a valuable ambassador to both the public and other volunteers.

    Contributing over two thousand hours, Dallas has been a leading example of community involvement on the front line of museums by delivering exceptional customer service and by contributing feedback, ideas, and suggestions for improving operations.

    Dallas’ record of volunteerism at the museum is unrivalled at over these twelve years. She has spent a great deal of time ensuring that visitors of all ages feel welcome and accommodated during their museum visits and many of them enquire about her on subsequent visits.


  • Mayor Watson announces the winners of the Mayor for a Day contest

    Ottawa — Mayor Jim Watson announced today the winners of the first Mayor for a Day contest. Madison Richmire, a grade 10 student from A.Y. Jackson Secondary School, and Jackson Millenor, a grade 10 student from St. Peter Catholic High School, were selected for their exceptional and innovative ideas on how to make Ottawa a better place to live.

    Madison’s active transportation and recreation suggestions of adding more OC Transpo bus routes, additional bike paths and creating more outdoor spaces and sport facilities for youth would help improve the way residents travel and move through our city. Jackson’s ideas of converting all street lights to LED technology, retrofitting City parks and outdoor public spaces and creating multipurpose gathering spaces in libraries and modernising their technology equipment would benefit the environment, help bring people together and create new community hubs.

    The two winning students have been invited to be Mayors for a Day on Wednesday, April 25, 2018. Madison and Jackson will chair the City Council meeting alongside Mayor Watson, accompany the Mayor at various community and city events and learn more about how municipal governments work.

    The Mayor for a Day contest was organized by the Ottawa Youth Engagement Committee (OYEC) in partnership with the City of Ottawa and Mayor Jim Watson’s office, as a way to promote youth engagement on municipal politics and civic issues. It took place from February 2 to 28 and was open to all Ottawa high school students in grades 9 to 12. Participants were invited to submit their ideas on how to improve the city for their chance to experience a day in the life of the Mayor. Over 90 applications with more than 250 ideas from students from high schools across the city and from all school boards were received. Submitted ideas from all participants will help inform the Ottawa Youth Engagement Committee’s Youth Action Plan (YAP), as part of OYEC’s current citywide youth consultations.

  • Jacob Baylin receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    Jacob Baylin was presented with the Mayor’s City Builder Award at today’s City Council meeting by Mayor Jim Watson and Bay Ward Councillor, Mark Taylor.

    Not many 16 year olds would think of donating their own money to a sports club. However, Jacob Baylin saw the financial challenges facing many families at the Bell Warriors Football Club and he chose to step up. Jacob was an award winning player at the Club and has continued to donate even after his playing days. He recently became the youngest person in the club’s 62-year history to be named a Friend of the Warriors sponsor.

    A key mandate of the Bell Warriors Football Club is to keep the sport “Affordable for All”. The club also aims to instill the value of setting an example through one’s actions. This idea has become a focal point in the Club’s communication efforts and has ultimately led to more than a half dozen sponsors for the non-profit youth sports club.

    True leaders strive to be part of the solution and that’s what Jacob is all about. His selfless contribution has set an example of leadership and thoughtfulness. As one of the team’s most recent alumni, he has learned by example and become a catalyst for change.


  • City recognized with Ontario Age-Friendly Community Recognition Award

    Ottawa – The Government of Ontario has presented the City of Ottawa with an Ontario Age-Friendly Community Recognition Award for its development and implementation of the Older Adult Plan. This is the first year for the Provincial government award, which recognizes communities who have taken steps to make their environments more accessible and age-friendly.

    The communities selected to receive this award are ones that have engaged and collaborated with seniors and community partners to develop plans and initiatives that make cities more welcoming and accessible for seniors.

    The City’s Older Adult Plan, originally created in 2012 and updated in 2015, contains actions items to address the needs of Ottawa’s older residents and is organized under eight age-friendly areas:

    • Outdoor spaces and City buildings
    • Transportation and mobility
    • Housing
    • Communication and information
    • Social, recreational, and cultural participation
    • Civic participation and volunteering
    • Community supports and health services
    • Respect and social inclusion

    Since the beginning, the City has worked with the Council on Aging through the Age Friendly Ottawa initiative to ensure that our mutual efforts are coordinated and go further to responding to the needs of seniors.


    “Ottawa strives to be known as a city that is respective and inclusive of its older adult population. This recognition shows that we are on the right track towards becoming more accessible and age-friendly. In the next 20 years, the population growth of older adults is expected to double in Ottawa. We will continue to invest in projects like our Older Adult Plan to ensure the city has the infrastructure and programs to support this growing population.”
    Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson

    “It’s an honour to be awarded this designation as it reinforces the great work that the City has done through its Older Adult Plan. Refreshed in 2015, staff in all departments have been involved in projects and initiatives that make Ottawa a safer, more accessible and more welcoming city for everyone. The City values its older adults and their contributions to making Ottawa such a great place to live.”
    Councillor Diane Deans, Chair, Community and Protective Services Committee

    Key Accomplishments
    Older Adult Plan 2015-2018

    Some of the key accomplishments since 2015 include:

    • 13 facilities around the City that are highly frequented by Seniors have been upgraded to include more accessibility features, including 14 power door operators, stair treads and tactile walking surface indicators, handrails, ramps, and assistive listening devices.
    • 39 accessible benches have been installed in various locations around the City that have high concentrations of older adults.
    • A total of 2,637 curb cuts have been completed to eliminate tripping hazards between sidewalk panels in the city.
    • 152 new accessible benches have been installed at 22 different Transitway Stations across Ottawa.
    • A review of crossing and signal times at intersections across the city resulted in the adjustment of crossing times at 53 intersections with a high concentration of older adults.
    • A total of 81 grit boxes are now located around the city for public use to keep sidewalks safe for walking during the winter.
    • Accessible pedestrian signals and countdown timers have been installed at 48 intersections across that City that have high concentrations of older adults.
    • Multiple affordable housing projects for seniors have been approved and are currently underway including 131 total units, 12 of which will be accessible.,
    • 104 seniors, with and without a disability, have been approved for the Ontario Renovates Program.
    • A second edition of the Guide for Programs and Services for Older Adults was developed and is available in five (5) languages: English, French, Spanish, Arabic and traditional Chinese.
    • A one-page flyer was created and distributed to older adults through the Seniors Roundtable, Ethno-Cultural Seniors’ agencies and centres, Seniors Homes, Long-term Care Homes, among others, to promote and educate older adults on 211, 311 and 911.
    • Volunteer opportunities for older adults continue to be advertised on an on-going basis and promotion is a regular part of community relations.
    • 795 (205 in French/590 in English) copies of the Mental Health Caregiver Guide  were distributed to older adult and caregiver service providers, including Anglophone, Francophone, and bilingual agencies.
    • Over 3000 Older Adult Emergency Preparedness kits have been distributed to seniors in the community. Materials are available in six languages; English, French, Somali, Arabic, Spanish and Chinese.
    • In Ottawa, there are 14 Community Health and Resource Centre locations, in collaboration with Ottawa Public Health, that offer monthly dental visits and services for older adults.
    • Seniors’ Month has been celebrated annually in June through senior social events hosted by Councillors, and a flag raising ceremony occurs yearly to celebrate the International Day of Older Persons.
    • The Senior of the Year Award is presented annually to an outstanding senior citizen at the Council meeting in June.
    • Four Community Arts Projects were initiated and completed and involved the participation of 40 seniors.
    • Older Adult appropriate fitness equipment was purchased for 17 locations across the City that are highly frequented by adults

    For more information on the Older Adult Plan, you can call 3-1-1 or email olderadults@ottawa.ca.


  • Expanded Green Bin Program would provide better service for residents

    Ottawa – The City of Ottawa’s Green Bin Program could expand under a revised contract with Orgaworld Canada Ltd., according to a report that the Environment and Climate Protection Committee will consider on Monday, March 26.

    Starting in mid-2019, plastic bags and dog waste could be included in green bins for weekly pick up, eliminating the need for special liner bags and reducing odour and pest concerns. This expanded service, would cost the City an additional $626,000 per year, working out to 15 cents a month for the average household.

    “An improved, more convenient waste-collection service, and better value for money, are significant benefits of the proposed revised contract with Orgaworld,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “I am pleased that the City is recommending in this report an improved approach to organics diversion, making it easier for residents to keep this material out of our landfills and ending an ongoing legal conflict with our contractor.”

    “Diverting organic waste from landfill sites is one of the most important things the City can do reduce its greenhouse gas emissions while also extending the life of our landfill, one of the City’s most significant assets,” said Councillor David Chernushenko, Chair of the Environment and Climate Protection Committee. “An expanded program, capable of handling plastic bags and all dog waste, will make it easier for residents to use the green bin, especially residents in multi-unit residential buildings.”

    To address potential odour issues from accepting plastic bags, Orgaworld would invest $3.9 million to upgrade the plant for enhanced service and to improve odour control, and submit a mitigation plan to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and the City. The City would also hire a third-party independent consultant to review the plan.

    The Green Bin Program has diverted more than 533,000 tonnes of organic waste since 2010, and put it to use as compost and other beneficial products. Under the revised contract, Orgaworld would continue to provide 2,000 tonnes of AA compost each year. The product derived from the organic waste could also be used in fertilizers and soil enhancers.

    The revised contract would end current arbitrations, avoiding  costly litigation.

    The remaining 12 years of the contract would provide better value to the City, thanks to proposed amendments:

    • Reducing the processing rate for plastics and dog waste from $151 to $124 per tonne
    • Lowering the minimum tonnage of organics that the City must provide to Orgaworld from 80,000 to 75,000 tonnes per year, saving $2.7 million in unnecessary costs until 2022
    • Increasing flexibility during peak seasons of leaf and yard waste by converting the daily limit of 540 tonnes to a weekly limit of 2,700 tonnes

    The revised contract would divert more waste, helping to extend the life of the Trail Road landfill and meet new provincial diversion targets. Staff will update Council on new provincial legislation for municipal waste diversion later this year.

    Following the Committee’s meeting on March 26, the City will hold a media availability about the revised contract.

    City Council will consider the report at its meeting on Wednesday, March 28.

  • International Women’s Day

    International Women’s Day is a day on which we honour all women for their accomplishments and pay tribute to inspiring women who have led – and continue to lead – the way forward towards a more equal and just society.

    It was my immense pleasure to welcome her Excellency Susan Jane le Jeune d’ Allegeershecque,  British High Commissioner, her Excellency Kareen Géraldine M.L. Rispal, Ambassador of France and her Excellency Sabine Anne Sparwasser, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany as distinguished speakers at my Annual International Women’s Day Celebration this morning at City Hall. The three women are pioneers in their field as they are the first women appointed to their diplomatic positions, and an inspiration for the next generation of leaders.


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