• Mayor’s Speech: The Annual Chairs Breakfast with the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce

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    Good morning ladies and gentlemen,

    It’s my pleasure to be here with you here today.

    Please let me convey my sincere congratulations to Dave Donaldson and Mark Sutcliffe on behalf of all of us at Ottawa City Council.

    I know these two individuals will keep the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce at the forefront of economic development and innovation in the nation’s capital.

    In the past year I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Chamber as well as with both Dave and Mark in their respective roles in the community.

    Dave continues to be instrumental in the growth and success of Algonquin College – an institution that only continues to climb higher while attracting scores of local and international students.

    And Mark continues to do things like complete marathons, host TV shows, radio shows and run a community newspaper.

    Well I’m very happy to have the opportunity to deliver some brief remarks about economic development and the year ahead.

    Let me begin with a short recap of what we were up to in 2011…setting the stage for what I think will be an exciting year of tangible, measurable progress.

    The City has put forward an ambitious economic development plan that will see $5.5 million in annual funding targeted to various economic development projects and initiatives.

    I want to thank the Chamber for their cooperative approach as we have spent many weeks working with OCRI to ensure the Chamber and Invest Ottawa complement one another – not compete with each other.

    One of the major elements of this plan is the transformation of OCRI into a more focused organization called Invest Ottawa to pursue strategic economic development in the nation’s capital.

    I can’t emphasize enough that this isn’t a simple rebranding exercise…

    It’s about a new way of thinking.

    It’s about sharper focus to achieve clear goals.

    The establishment of Invest Ottawa sends a strong signal to our stakeholders that economic development is taking a front seat at City Hall as we compete on a world stage for jobs, growth and opportunity.

    Invest Ottawa will help build confidence in our own ability to attract jobs and investment to our community.

    The job loss headlines of the last few months are more than sufficient to convince us that we need to take our economic development destiny in our own hands – the days of relying on the Government of Canada to be the primary engine of this community’s growth are behind us.

    Under the leadership of Bruce Lazenby, the focus of Invest Ottawa will be to attract investment and expand and retain existing businesses in Ottawa in key industry sectors, including green energy, aerospace and defence, photonics, life sciences, digital media and film and television.

    We have also created a Major Events Office in partnership with Ottawa Tourism to attract and support large-scale cultural and sports events that have significant positive benefits for our local economy.

    This will bring greater attention to our third largest industry in Ottawa…promoting the nation’s capital as a premiere destination for world-class events.

    • World-class events like the 2012 NHL All-Star game that Ottawa is fortunate to host in just over a week from now
    • The 2012 JUNO Awards at Scotiabank Place on April 1, 2012
    • The 2013 IIHF World Women’s Championships.
    • And The City is also in the process of bidding to host the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which would bring the world’s best female soccer players to the capital.

    The formula is simple:

    Bid more.

    Win more.

    Host more.

    Events like these not only bring a lot of tourism dollars into our city, but also put Ottawa on the world stage through media and television coverage, enticing even more people to come visit the nation’s capital.

    The addition of the stunning new Ottawa Convention Centre, which opened its doors in 2011, to Ottawa’s landscape is a significant factor in Ottawa being awarded premiere national and international events.

    Another part of our renewed focus on economic development includes upping the stakes on attracting more film, television and new media industries to Ottawa.

    In this vein, Invest Ottawa recently hired a Commissioner to lead the newly established Film, Television and Digital Media Office at Invest Ottawa where the Office will be responsible for the continued development, retention, competitiveness and enhancement of these industries.

    And with this renewed focus we can expect to see more feature films and television series shot here.

    In fact this week I, along with Deputy Mayor Steve Desroches and Councillor Bob Monette met with stars Michael Keaton and Michelle Monaghan as well as the production crew on the set of Penthouse North, which is filming throughout the City.

    These sorts of film productions bring in a lot of money, they employ our residents and we want to see more of them!

    Our city’s Economic Development Branch has also received approval for $1.5M in capital funding for a film, television and digital media studio, which is the key to the vitality and growth of the film sector here in Ottawa.

    The City has also launched a highly successful grant program to assist Business Improvement Areas.

    In 2011 alone, 16 grants were made to BIAs totalling approximately $100,000 and levering an additional $100,000 investment by the BIAS themselves.

    This renewed focus…this new energy….is how we will respond to an ever-changing and highly competitive economic climate, while creating the conditions for success and continued prosperity for our great city.

    Before I close, I’d like to take a minute and highlight a very exciting event taking place on February 9th at the brand new CE Centre.

    Through the City’s partnership with the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and the Ottawa Business Journal, we are hosting a Light Rail Trade Show to support our local businesses so they can get involved in the single biggest infrastructure project in our city’s history.

    The Light Rail project will generate $3 Billion in economic activity and create 20,000 person years of labour.

    From Construction to professional services to technology, there will be a lot of action for our local entrepreneurs and businesses.

    We want to ensure that the three shortlisted consortia, comprised of world-class firms with extensive expertise in transit infrastructure projects, have an opportunity to be exposed to the high quality goods, services and expertise that Ottawa-area contractors and suppliers can offer.

    Ottawa businesses, labour unions, and educational institutions, among other organizations are invited to participate in the trade show and to interact and engage with the project’s consortia.

    If you’re a business looking to register, you can do so through the Ottawa Chamber’s website.

    So in closing, I would like to reaffirm my desire to continued success working with the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and its members.

    As I said last year in my first speech to the Chamber as Mayor – my door is always open to you.

    Economic development in the nation’s capital is a team effort.

    It requires all of us to share ideas, to leverage resources and work together.

    I’m here for the Chamber, just as I know you’re here for the business owners and entrepreneurs of our great city.

    Thank you for allowing me some time to speak with you this morning.

    And again, congratulations to Dave Donaldson and Mark Sutcliffe.

    Thank you. Merci.

  • Ottawa Police Services Board and Mayor Watson salute departing Chief Vern White

    Ottawa – Ottawa Chief of Police Vern White was appointed to the Senate today by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. His departure will take effect on February 20, 2012.

    “I want to congratulate Chief White on his appointment and thank him for his service to our City,” said Mayor Jim Watson, who is also a member of the Police Board. “Vern has worked tirelessly to improve safety for all of our citizens and this has been reflected in declining crime rates. He is a community builder and I look forward having an Ottawa voice in the Senate of Canada.”

    “Ottawa is losing a leader who worked hard to build a better police force,” said Councillor Eli El-Chantiry, Chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board. “His efforts reached beyond traditional policing, as demonstrated by his leadership in working to expand youth drug treatment programs in our City. On behalf of the members of the Police Services Board, I wish him all the best in his role in the Government of Canada.”

    Chief White was sworn in as Chief of Police of the Ottawa Police on May 22, 2007. Before joining the Ottawa Police Service, he led the Regional Police Service in Durham, a community of approximately 600,000 immediately east of Toronto. Before becoming Chief in Durham in 2005, he spent over 20 years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

    The Ottawa Police Services Board is a seven-member civilian body established under Provincial legislation, responsible for governing the Ottawa Police Service and for recruiting the Chief of Police.

    Contact:

    Councillor Eli El-Chantiry, Chair, Ottawa Police Services Board,

    Office: (613) 580-2475

    Cell: (613) 818-0266

  • Construction milestone for the Rink of Dreams

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    Ottawa – Today, Mayor Jim Watson, Cyril Leeder, Ottawa Senators President and Danielle Robinson, President of the Sens Foundation, placed three pins in the Rink of Dreams before concrete was poured over the area. This is the next major milestone before the outdoor refrigerated rink opens at the end of January in time for the 2012 NHL All Star Game.

    The three pins – one from the City of Ottawa and two from the Ottawa Senators – signify the partnership between the two groups, who have been working in collaboration to bring Ottawa’s newest downtown attraction to life. The City will operate the rink and is contributing $250,000 towards constructions costs. The Sens Foundation along with local partners and construction companies will contribute the remainder of the design and construction budget for the Rink of Dreams project.

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    Posted on October 5, 2011

    Ottawa – The city’s newest downtown attraction is one step closer to reality today following the groundbreaking of the Rink of Dreams at City Hall by Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Diane Holmes, Cyril Leeder, Ottawa Senators President, Jim Durrell, Chair of the Hockey Canada Gala Committee, Danielle Robinson, President of the Sens Foundation and Todd Jackson, Senior Manager of Member Services for Hockey Canada.

    “The Rink of Dreams will serve as a hub and attraction for residents and tourists alike, breathing new life into Marion Dewar Plaza and our downtown core,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “It also creates new opportunities for us to collaborate with the community and host exciting events that complement the many festivals and attractions held in our city.”

    Once completed, the 12,500-square-foot refrigerated ice surface will be open for skating until March and serve as a community space during the spring and summer months. The refrigerated rink will be open again for skating in November 2012.

    “We are extremely pleased that in less than a year we have completed the fundraising, finalized design, rallied support across the community and are commencing construction,” said Cyril Leeder, Ottawa Senators President. “Every organization and individual that we approached to be involved with this project said yes and each one of them asked ‘what else can we do?’ – all evidence that the Rink of Dreams is an important project for our community.”

    “The goal of the Hockey Canada Foundation’s Gala and golf tournament held this past June was to raise funds to make the Rink of Dreams a reality,” said Jim Durrell, the chair of the Hockey Canada Gala Committee. “As a result of those events, more than $400,000 in funds will be directed to this very significant project.”

    The City will operate the rink and is contributing $250,000 towards constructions costs. The Sens Foundation along with local partners and construction companies will contribute the remainder of the design and construction budget for the Rink of Dreams project.

    For more information on the Sens Foundation, visit www.sensfoundation.com. For more information about the Hockey Canada Foundation, visit http://www.hockeycanada.ca/foundation.

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  • Public Works Department implements $1 million in savings

    Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson and Steve Kanellakos, Deputy City Manager of City Operations, along with CUPE 503 President, Brian Madden, and CIPP Executive Director, Sheila Stanislawski, are recognizing staff from the Public Works Department for their participation in ServiceOttawa’s Service Improvement Initiative.

    “The City of Ottawa is committed to improving services for our residents while staying focused on the bottom line,” said Mayor Watson. “The ideas that staff brought forward have generated an annual savings of $1 million, and speak to the innovation and skill of our employees to find greater value for taxpayers.”

    The Service Improvement Initiative was launched in May 2010, engaging staff from the Public Works Department in a process of identifying and implementing innovative management, and operating and business practices to improve performance and reduce costs.

    Through this process, more than 200 Public Works staff worked on many initiatives, including: utilizing technology such as a pavement edger used for gravel and asphalt shoulder repairs; standardizing products such as hockey nets, vehicle tires and purchasing in bulk; and purchasing automated traffic counters to replace manual traffic counts.

    “The ServiceOttawa Service Improvement Initiative is about engaging all staff to identify and implement innovative strategies and ideas that lead to safe, efficient and effective delivery of services to our residents,” said John Manconi, General Manager, Public Works Department.  “Following on the success achieved by our Public Works staff, this approach can be applied to all City departments through the ServiceOttawa Program.”

    The process was done in partnership with two of the City’s major unions CUPE 503 and CIPP.

    “This initiative improves the value added services that we deliver on the front lines.  The real experts are the staff who do the work each and every day,” said Brian Madden, President of CUPE 503. “They know how to get the jobs done in the most effective way and at the best value to the taxpayers of this city.”

    “CIPP was pleased to join with CUPE 503 and the City of Ottawa in this Service Improvement Initiative,” said CIPP Executive Director, Sheila Stanislawski.  “We believe that involving the employees of the Public Works Department and their representatives has generated invaluable ideas and produced significant results for the City.”

  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Fran Squire

    Mayor Jim Watson, with Gloucester-Southgate Ward Councillor Diane Deans, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Fran Squire for her outstanding volunteer work, fundraising and contributions to the community.

    Ms. Squire has worked with the Parkinson Society Ottawa for seven years on the Board of Directors as Chair and as Vice-Chair of Parkinson Society Canada for six years. She has also served as editor of the Parkinson’s newsletter, which is distributed across Canada and published quarterly. The Parkinson Society Ottawa helps those afflicted with the disease learn about their condition and manage how to live with it.

    Over the past 10 years, Ms. Squire has personally raised $26,200 in the Ottawa Parkinson’s SuperWalk. These funds help more than 100,000 Canadians with Parkinson’s disease through education, support services, advocacy and research funding.

    The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created by Mayor Watson to recognize an individual, group or organization that has, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements. Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by members of City Council or the public. The award is presented at the beginning of each City Council meeting.

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  • Curtains rise on bigger and better Centrepointe Theatres

    Ottawa – John Baird, Member of Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean, along with the Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure and Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean and His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of the City of Ottawa, participated in an official ceremony today to recognize the successful completion of thousands of infrastructure projects across Ontario that have received federal and provincial funding through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. The event also marked the recent expansion of the Centrepointe Theatre in Ottawa, a project that has nearly doubled the size of the world-class venue.

    “Through Canada’s Economic Action Plan, our Government delivered timely and targeted investments that created jobs and boosted the economy,” said MP Baird. “We are proud to have supported more than 2000 projects across Ontario through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. The Centrepointe Theatre expansion is great news for the entire community, and will encourage the development of local artists and the presentation of local works for many years to come.”

    “Through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, our government has made strategic investments throughout the province to support our communities, strengthen the economy, create thousands of jobs and provide sustainable, quality infrastructure that Ontarians can rely on for decades to come,” said Minister Chiarelli. “As one of many successful projects now complete in the Ottawa Region, this expansion will allow Centrepointe Theatre to enhance its position as a cultural and theatrical landmark in our community, and provide even more opportunities to serve residents, visitors and performers.”

    “Centrepointe Theatres are a vital part of Ottawa’s arts and culture scene,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “And it is great to see all three levels of government come together to invest in the future of our artists and this important element of our local economy.”

    Already the second largest performing arts theatre in the National Capital Region, Centrepointe Theatres now boast a 253 seat, state-of-the-art studio theatre behind the main stage — ideal for intimate performances, business functions, lectures, rehearsals and workshops. The expansion also saw the installation of a new production centre, with expanded loading dock, workshops, storage rooms and a stage-door reception area; a catering kitchen; two large dressing rooms; a double green room to serve both theatres; a volunteer lounge and kitchen; barrier-free washrooms; a first-aid room; public elevators and administration offices.

    The governments of Canada and Ontario each committed $4 million toward the project through the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund. The City of Ottawa matched these funds. The City’s $4-million share of the project is funded through a grant of up to $363,636 and a low-interest loan of up to $3,636,364, both from the Green Municipal Fund administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

    Combined, the governments of Canada and Ontario have committed funding to a total of more than 2000 projects in communities across Ontario. Projects have been completed in every corner of the province, creating jobs when the economy needed them most — from the rehabilitation of water infrastructure in Kingston, to upgrades of municipal roads in Sudbury, to the construction of a new transit facility in Oakville, to a new facility for the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara.

    The Infrastructure Stimulus Fund is part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan. Thanks to Canada’s Economic Action Plan and our strong economic and financial fundamentals, the Canadian economy has recovered from the global recession better than most other industrialized countries. Canada has been a leader amongst G-7 countries throughout the recovery with nearly 600,000 net new jobs created since July 2009.

    This project also supports Building Together, the Government of Ontario’s long-term infrastructure plan to repair, rebuild and renew the province’s roads and highways, bridges, public transit, schools and postsecondary institutions, hospitals and courthouses. Ontario is investing $12.8 billion in infrastructure projects in 2011-12, bringing the government’s total infrastructure investments since 2003 to $75 billion. Building modern, efficient infrastructure has created or preserved close to 100,000 jobs each year, on average, making Ontario’s economy more productive and improving quality of life, now and in the future.

    For additional information about investments in infrastructure, visit infrastructure.gc.ca.

    For further information about Canada’s Economic Action Plan, visit actionplan.gc.ca.

    To download a short broadcast-quality video highlighting a few of the many successful infrastructure projects across Canada, visit infrastructure.gc.ca/video/video-eng.html.

    For more information on how Ontario is revitalizing its infrastructure, visit ontario.ca/infrastructure.

     

  • Council approves lowest tax rate in five years

    Ottawa – City Council today approved the budget for 2012 with the lowest tax increase in five years – 2.39 per cent – in keeping with the guidelines set by Council last year.

    Budget 2012 will allow the City to proceed with much needed city-building infrastructure projects. Ottawa on the Move will see roadwork and bridge repair, sidewalk upgrades, sewer and culvert improvements and cycling infrastructure investment across the length and breadth of Ottawa. The plan will advance the work by many years and help prepare the City to host Canada’s sesquicentennial.

    “City Council set a solid fiscal framework when it assumed office last year and this budget continues on the promise of prudent financial management,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “We have listened to our residents and are delivering a predictable rate that also allows us to provide high quality services and opportunities for Ottawa families. “

    Ottawa on the Move will see improvements to all transportation networks across the city. Council made the decision to maximize transportation choices for our residents in advance of the light rail construction period and in advance of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017. Through the Ottawa on the Move program, $340 million worth of projects will be completed and a record amount of funding will go towards cycling initiatives.

    The budget includes a continued freeze on fees for City recreation programs, a transit fare increase limited to 2.5 per cent and an investment of $5.5 million in additional funding for OC Transpo to add some 66,000 service hours to address the almost six per cent growth in transit ridership on our transit system. Also, for the first time since 2004, the City is reducing the size of its workforce.

    For the owner of an average home assessed at $304,800, the 2012 budget will mean a property tax increase of $75 for the year. The rate-supported budget for the water and sewer services will be presented in January.

    After the draft budget was tabled at City Council in October, the City held four city-wide public meetings. The City also held meetings of its seven Standing Committees, the Library Board, the Board of Health, the Police Services Board and the Transit Commission. In total, there were 15 forums where the public could comment on the budget, in addition to a budget e-mail address set up by the Mayor.

    “The 2012 budget plan was carefully planned not only for today but with an eye on the City’s long-term needs,” said City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick. “This budget will build our city infrastructure more quickly than planned, while saving taxpayers money through improved operations and a prudent amount of low-cost borrowing.”

    The 2012 operating budget for the City of Ottawa is $2.5 billion and the capital budget is $850.8 million.

    The City of Ottawa is in strong financial health, with the lowest debt-per-capita among the big Canadian cities. By accelerating our investment in capital projects, at interest rates below three per cent, it is estimated the City will save $12.9 million. The City will undertake approximately 150 infrastructure projects.

    Among the many projects the City is proceeding with are:

     – Construction of major new recreation facilities in Barrhaven and Kanata North

     – Building 17 new parks

     – Redevelopment of Arts Court

     – Additional sewer system work to improve water quality in the Ottawa River

     – 200 kilometres of road construction

     – 70 kilometres of bicycle lane and road-shoulder construction

     – 20 kilometres of additional sidewalks

     – 120 road resurfacings and 27 bridge and overpass projects

     – Targeted funds for the bus transit system to meet rising demand and ease crowding

     – New systems for easy payment for transit service and to inform riders about bus arrivals

     – 75 new double-decker buses to improve transit commuter service

     – Six new trains for the highly successful O-Train service

     – Improvements to the Kanata storm sewer system

     – Changing the development approvals process to expedite approvals for projects that meet high environmental sustainability standards

     – Reorganization of City staff, operations and technology to save money and improve service to residents through the new Service Ottawa department

    Budget Documents

    – Mayor Watson’s 2012 Budget Address

    – Budget at a Glance

    – Ottawa on the Move

    – Building on Success 

    – Regional Highlights

    – City Infrastructure Funding

    – Budget 2012: Compensation & Benefits

    – 2012 Draft Operating Capital Budgets

    Highlights from Budget 2012

     – A proposed tax increase of just 2.39% – the lowest rate in 5 years.

     – Forty-seven full time equivalent positions have been eliminated in Budget 2012 contributing to savings of more than $3.4 million each and every year.

     – Transit fares held in check: This year even with fuel prices up by more than 12% and ridership up by 6%, we have once again kept fare increases to 2.5%.

     – Police, Library and Public Health tax rates at or below 2.5%.

     – $3 million in the coming year for green building retrofits and $500,000 a year to expanding our green fleet program.

     – $14 million in vital funding for housing and homelessness initiatives across the city.

     – Budget 2012 devotes an additional $3.2 million to boost service to deal with growth in OC Transpo ridership.

     – In addition to growth, Budget 2012 provides a targeted $2.3 million in funds to boost capacity on routes like the 87, 94, 95 and 96.

     – An additional $10 million over three years for cycling infrastructure.

     – We are expanding our park and ride network.

     – Ottawa on the Move, which will devote $340 million over three years in resurfacing, road reconstruction, sidewalk improvements, cycling infrastructure and rehabilitation of aging structures.

     – A plan to reform the planning process in Ottawa.

     – Creation of a Green Express Lane for development applications that meet high standards for housing, buildings and renovations.

     – More money for the Environmentally Sensitive Land Fund we created last year, dedicated to making sure the City has the resources to buy key parcels of land that make sense.

  • James Bartleman naming proposed for new Archives and Library Materials Centre

    Ottawa – The Commemorative Naming Committee is recommending that the new City of Ottawa Archives and Library building be named the James Bartleman Archives and Library Materials Centre honouring Ontario’s first aboriginal Lieutenant-Governor, noted author and lifelong public servant, James K. Bartleman.

    “I believe that naming our wonderful new building in honour of James Bartleman is a fitting tribute to an exemplary Canadian who spent much of his life in our city,” said Mayor Jim Watson, Chair of the Finance and Economic Development Committee and a member of the Commemorative Naming Committee. “Mr. Bartleman’s contributions to our community, province and country are perhaps not well enough known as he has always been very modest and low-key about his own tremendous achievements.”

    James Bartleman’s career as a diplomat spanned more than 35 years and through it all he called Ottawa home – living on St. Laurent Boulevard, Sweetland Avenue and, finally, on Dunloe Avenue in Manor Park. Mr. Bartleman served and represented Canadians around the globe in many capacities in Bangladesh, Cuba, Cyprus, Israel, South Africa, Australia and the European Union. He also served as a senior foreign affairs advisor to prime ministers and ministers.

    Mr. Bartleman was then sworn in as Ontario’s 27th Lieutenant-Governor on March 7, 2002. As the Vice Regal representative he set three priorities – to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness, to fight racism and discrimination, and to encourage aboriginal young people – all of which represent the spirit of community-building and public service that are the hallmarks of his life.

    The Lieutenant Governor’s Book Drive, which Bartleman initiated in 2004, exemplifies his commitment to people. This remarkable effort collected 1.2 million good used books for First Nations schools and Native Friendship Centres throughout Ontario. The following year Bartleman started a Twinning Program for native and non-native schools in Ontario and Nunavut, and established literacy summer camps in five northern First Nations communities. In the winter of 2007, he completed a second Book Drive, collecting another 900,000 books for aboriginal children across the north. In 2008, the Province of Ontario created the James Bartleman Aboriginal Youth Creative Writing Award as a legacy to Mr. Bartleman’s far-reaching vision and efforts in promoting literacy among aboriginal youth. It is a fitting tribute to the first aboriginal Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario.

    In addition to his many other achievements, James Bartleman has displayed his talent as an author. He has published several titles including Out of Muskoka (2002), On Six Continents (2004), Rollercoaster: My Hectic Years as Jean Chrétien’s Diplomatic Advisor (2005), Raisin Wine: A Boyhood in a Different Muskoka (2007) and, most recently, As Long as the Rivers Flow earlier this year. His writing prowess and his love of books are particularly applicable to the building being named.

    The Commemorative Naming Committee made the recommendation after considering the results of a 60-day public comment period that began on September 2, 2011. The Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO) will consider the naming of the City of Ottawa archives and library materials facility at its meeting on December 6, 2011. Following FEDCO consideration of the recommendation, the proposal would advance to Council on December 14, 2011.

     

  • Speech to the Tourism Industry Association of Canada Annual Conference

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    Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

    I would like to welcome all of the delegates from across Canada to Ottawa and thank David Goldstein and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

    As Canada’s only national organization representing the full cross-section of the country’s $74 billion tourism industry, your work on behalf of Canadian tourism businesses promotes positive measures that help the industry grow and prosper.

    As former President and CEO of the Canadian Tourism Commission, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with your organization on a number of occasions.

    And I know just how important your work is in our country.

    Tourism is a very significant industry in Canada.

    This is also true of our city.

    Tourism is the third largest industry in Ottawa after the public and high tech sectors.

    In 2007 alone, 7.8 million tourists visited the Ottawa area and spent more than $2.2 billion.

    As the nation’s capital, we start from a position of strength when it comes to tourism.

    Ottawa is home to a number of national and international cultural and heritage attractions.

    As the historic seat of our national government, we have so many gifts here left to us by previous generations of Canadians.

    This includes:

    – The Rideau Canal

    – Parliament

    – The ByWard Market

    – National Museums such as the Museum of Civilization, Canadian War Museum, and the Museum of Natur

    We also host more than 35 major festivals each year, including:

    – Canadian Tulip Festival,

    – Winterlude,

    – Canada Day,

    – Bluesfest,

    – The Jazz Festival; and

    – The Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival.

    Ottawa’s tourism industry does well.

    But this doesn’t mean that standing still is an option.

    Standing still means falling behind…

    So we must always be creating new opportunities and exploring new endeavours.

    And that means creating events that draw tourists to our region at low times of the year…initiatives like the Bell Capital Cup that attracts young hockey players and their families from around the world is one example.

    Back in May, I was pleased to join the announcement that Ottawa will host the 2013 IIHF Women’s World Championship of Hockey.

    The tournament will attract more than 200,000 fans to 21 games and inject up to $20 million into our local economy.

    And the provincial championships held at the same time will add an additional $15 million in economic activity to our City.

    This is great news for our merchants, our hotels and our restaurants.

    In January, Ottawa will host the 2012 NHL All-Star Game, and we are currently bidding to host the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in 2014 and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

    We will continue our strategy of aggressively bidding on such events because they pay dividends for our local economy.

    They also strengthen the Ottawa brand across our country and the world.

    Events like the 150th birthday of our country need to be the subject of a focused team effort to make sure Ottawa is the national and international destination of choice for a celebration to remember for the next 150 years.

    We have a lot of new tools available to us to help grow our tourism sector.

    The momentum is building and there is a lot to look forward to in the coming years.

    – The new Ottawa Convention Centre is a spectacular and cutting edge facility that will draw business visitors from across the country and around the world.

    – We are renewing Lansdowne Park…which will play host to fantastic events and will spark a whole new set of possibilities for our community.

    – We are renewing public transit with a major upgrade to a modern rapid light rail service that will reduce bus traffic on downtown streets and deal with the bottleneck in the core.

    – This past June, I was part of a tourism delegation that visited China for the Beijing International Tourism Expo 2011…renewing Ottawa’s Sister City relationship with Beijing and promoting Ottawa as a preferred destination for tourism, post-secondary education and investment.

    – We will also work closely with the Ottawa Convention Centre to secure a new 400 to 500 room marquis hotel complex in the downtown core to support the growth of our convention centre.

    Each of these projects is a powerful economic driver both in the short-term and in the long-term, as they secure tremendous benefits for the community for many decades to come.

    And those are just a few examples of the hard work the City has been doing on the tourism front.

    I am extremely committed to the tourism sector in Ottawa, and I look forward to working with many of you to capitalize on the many great things our city has to offer.

    I wish you all a very productive, successful and memorable conference.

    Thank you.

     

  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – John Higgins

    Mayor Jim Watson, with Somerset Ward Councillor Diane Holmes, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to John Higgins for his outstanding volunteer work and contributions to the community.

    Over the past 10 years, Mr. Higgins has been an active member of the Elgin Street Public School. Parent Council as Treasurer, Council Co-Chair and is currently Fundraising Chair. He is Assistant Coach of the girl’s soccer team and also the Elgin Street P.S. Accommodation Review Committee Representative for the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and Treasurer of the Ottawa Carleton Assembly of School Councils.

    Every student in the school benefits from the tireless energy that Mr. Higgins exerts in collecting books and item donations from all over the city, making the annual fundraiser a tremendous success. As a result of his efforts, students are able to attend and host many special events.

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