• Chinatown Gateway project receives prestigious award

    Ottawa – The Chinatown Gateway Arch on Somerset Street, a unique “twin-city” project with Beijing, China, was recently named Public Works 2011 Project of the Year in the Structures category by the American Public Works Association (APWA). This project was completed in October 2010 with funding from three levels of government and the strong support of the local community, individuals and the Chinatown Business Improvement Association (BIA).

    “This award is a wonderful tribute to all the exceptional people who were responsible for turning an idea into a magnificent achievement,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Visitors and residents alike are truly impressed by this imperial gateway to Chinatown and I want to thank and congratulate everyone who played a role in its creation.”

    The APWA awards are presented annually to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects, recognizing the alliance and cooperative achievement in this instance, between the City of Ottawa as the managing agency, the primary contractor, R. W. Tomlinson Limited, and the primary consultant, Delcan Corporation. The award presentation will take place in Denver Colorado during APWA 2011 International Public Works Congress & Exposition from September 18-21, 2011.

    “The Chinatown Gateway is breathtaking and already a much-loved landmark in Ottawa,” said Somerset Ward Councillor Diane Holmes. “It is a shining example of what can be achieved when the City works with other levels of government, the private sector, residents and community groups.”

    The Gateway, at the corner of Somerset Street and Cambridge Avenue just west of Bronson Avenue, was opened on October 7, 2010 in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Canada-China diplomatic relations. The City of Beijing contributed the concept design and finishing and decorative materials. A team of traditional artisans and technicians from China assembled the decorative panels, the roof sections, and painted the gateway.

    The governments of Canada and Ontario each provided $125,000 and the Chinatown BIA provided $350,000 towards the cost of the Gateway. The BIA also contributed another $80,000 in additional expenses required to complete the project and, of its total contribution, the BIA received almost $330,000 through generous corporate and private donations. The City of Ottawa provided the space required for the construction of the Gateway at no cost, as well as $290,000 in roadwork and other modifications required to accommodate and complete the structure. The City of Beijing contributed $300,000 of in-kind services, including architectural design, premium-grade materials and the expertise of Chinese tradesmen.



  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Daniel Richer

    Mayor Jim Watson today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Daniel Richer, Town Crier, for his dedication and support of many notable causes in the city over the years.

    Since 1981, Mr. Richer has proudly represented both sides of the National Capital Region. He was Ontario’s Provincial Herald from 1984 to 1993. He has refined his art into a science and given workshops on the techniques of proper breathing and projection, formed new town criers for other communities and attained an international reputation.

    Mr. Richer has worked across Canada, the U.S. and around the world and has won several Town Crier Championships at the North American and International level. He has proclaimed in more than 20 languages at a variety of events ranging from ambassador’s evenings to rock concerts.


  • Ottawa to host 2012 JUNO Awards Primary tabs

    juno-awardsOttawa – The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), along with their broadcast partner CTV, announced today that the City of Ottawa will host THE 2012 JUNO AWARDS and JUNO Week events and festivities, March 26 – April 1, 2012.

    “This is great news for our City and for our tourism and hospitality sectors in particular,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “The JUNO Awards not only bring visitors to our hotels and restaurants, they also help us to spread the word about Ottawa and enhance our reputation as a convenient and friendly host city for major events of all types.”

    Hosting the JUNOS is expected to generate $5 million in direct expenditures from out-of-town visitors; create 82 jobs and inject $5.3 million into the local economy.

    “The JUNO Awards and events like it provide the perfect backdrop for Ottawa’s entire tourism industry to stand out,” emphasized Noel Buckley, President & CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “This is a major opportunity for us to further develop the Ottawa brand that is so critical to the long-term success of destination marketing.”

    “This is great news for the local hospitality sector,” said Dick Brown, Executive Director of the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association. “Canadians from coast-to-coast will be welcomed to our Nation’s Capital with all the world-class facilities and amenities we have to offer.”

    The JUNO Awards history dates back to 1970 when the inaugural Gold Leaf Awards were held in Toronto as an industry awards event. In 1971, it became recognized as the JUNO Awards in honour of Pierre Juneau, the first chairman of the Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC). The JUNO gala was last held in Ottawa in 2003.


  • Mayor’s Address on Transit



    Today, I am very pleased to talk about the results of some dedicated work done over the last few months to deliver light rail transit in Ottawa.Putting Ottawa on a financially stable footing has been a key priority for me and our new Council since we were first elected 8 months ago. This meant ending the excessive property tax and transit fare increases that taxpayers have faced in recent years.

    We set a new course during Budget 2011 that holds tax increases to 2.5% or less. This also ensured our ability to invest in the infrastructure this city needs where it makes the most sense. We have a good plan and, if we stick to it through the budgets this term, we’ll have delivered on the predictable, prudent and responsible city government people voted for last October. An important part of that plan is the ongoing review of affordability of capital spending plans our city has built up over time.

    I came to office with a commitment to finally make light rail happen after too many delays and false starts. I am determined, with my Council colleagues, to deliver Light Rail in a financially sustainable way. To ensure this project would be affordable and managed tightly, I asked for two reviews.

    First, during Budget 2011, we initiated a detailed review of the capital and operating budgets for providing public transit in Ottawa. Were our plans affordable into the future? Would we have the money to operate the expanded system we planned to build? Would this new infrastructure continue to serve our residents for the rest of the first half of this new century?

    I wanted to be satisfied that our plans were realistic. I wanted assurances that we could build everything we planned, and operate everything we planned, without exorbitant fare increases and within the capital budget for public transit in Ottawa.

    I set a fiscally prudent challenge:

    – Live within the transit levy and adhere to our tax target of 2.5%

    – Keep fare increases at no more than a 2.5% annual increase

    – Assume no growth in provincial or federal gas tax revenues

    This challenge was also informed by my commitment that the development community be expected to pay its share. The City Treasurer, assisted by Price Waterhouse Coopers, OC Transpo, Infrastructure Services, as well as Planning and Growth Management have mapped all transit spending over the next 38 years and put forward this information in a report to be released this afternoon.

    This is the most comprehensive look at the financial sustainability of Ottawa’s public transit in our city’s history.

    These projections cover:

    – New investment;

    – Expected bus lifecycle;

    – Renewal of assets; and

    – Projected operating hours for bus and trains along with the impact of increasing population and ridership

    This study and our treasurer are crystal clear – we have the ability to fund our plans for this phase of the Ottawa Light Rail Transit project and through the other phases of bus and rail improvements in the Transportation Master Plan (TMP). We are planning ahead responsibly now and the operating model we have established not only makes sense, but is financially sustainable into the foreseeable future. We will also be positioned so that when the provincial or federal governments are able to provide additional infrastructure funds, we are ready to secure our share.

    This study shows that our plans for public transit are affordable and prudent. In fact the move to light rail is a key part of establishing a financially sustainable and efficient transit system. At the moment, we have a downtown transit bottleneck that is slowing trips, and will strangle the bus system over time if it is not fixed. Moving ahead with light rail saves money when measured against the alternative of attempting to push more buses through the downtown, while also greatly increasing capacity to accommodate projected ridership increases.

    For the second review, I asked for a reassessment from the ground up of the plans approved by the previous Council on light rail with an eye to reducing risk and ensuring we meet the budget. These large projects are prone to growing price tags. I gave clear direction that every light rail assumption should be examined again for budget implications.The project needs to work within the original budget set.I specifically asked that we revisit the so-called “cross country” route. This deep dive tunnel below the foundations of very large buildings like the Sun Life building and World Exchange Plaza is an expensive proposition with all of the risks inherent in gauging the conditions at that depth.

    As design review progressed, it became clear that the costs of this deep dive approach would have exceeded the proposed budget. Some members of Council, including Councillor Peter Clark, expressed serious concerns with the deep tunnel proposal. Councillor Clark specifically suggested that Council consider a shallower route under a city street, for several reasons including depth. It also became apparent that private bidders would not deliver a truly fixed price contract to construct this light rail project when it included a deep dive tunnel plan.

    We had to find a better way.

    The engineering teams have worked very hard over the last few months rethinking assumptions and defining a better light rail system that can be built within the initial budget. And I am very proud to tell you today that there is a better, more affordable and more reliable way to build light rail. The key improvement of all this hard work is a new and improved alignment of the downtown tunnel. This new alignment for the most part will follow the Queen and Rideau Street right-of-way through the downtown, avoiding the need for deep tunneling under buildings and limiting the amount of dollars required to acquire subterranean rights. And, there will be much more information available to bidders than geotechnical drilling that the deep routing could ever provide.

    When you are between the foundations of deeper buildings along an alignment that has already been extensively excavated, the information available is significantly increased and risk is dramatically reduced. This is how Vancouver’s Canada Line was able to achieve a fixed price in the end. A more practical tunnel route, closer to the surface, with reduced risk, will improve cost certainty significantly.

    The stations and tunnel downtown will now be more customer friendly and less expensive to build. Instead of waiting for a tunnel-boring machine that can take a year to order and assemble, construction firms can now choose from a much wider range of mining and excavation techniques. Estimators can pin down prices with more precision. Each station will be less costly to excavate. Each will also be less expensive to operate with fewer concourses, elevators and escalators.

    The plan released today has a new alignment and approach to the tunnel in the downtown core that makes a lot more sense. The resulting product is a significant improvement compared to the previous plan. Overall, the tunnel will be les than half the depth of the previous alignment. Instead of having to go 12 stories down to access the platform, riders will only have to descend 4 stories.

    Just as importantly each station will take half as long to descend into from the surface to the platform. The feeling will be far less subterranean with more potential access to natural light and a better rider experience. Dissatisfaction with the depth of the stations was the number one complaint we got back from public consultations and discussions with public advisory groups. The system will be better linked into the existing network of underground building concourses throughout the downtown. With the previous approach we would have been far below existing basements and unable to tie into as many buildings without prohibitive costs.

    This change and some exciting designs for this new solution are all outlined in the OLRT Project Cost and Design Update and I would encourage everyone who has an interest in this project to please visit our project website at www.ottawalightrail.ca and take a firsthand look at the report for themselves. As you know we have already accelerated the project by one full year – for completion in 2018. This is great news for two reasons: our residents will be riding this new system sooner than expected and we will save the City one year’s worth of inflation costs.

    So today, let me share some very good news with you and all the residents of Ottawa – I am pleased to report that with all these improvements, the Light Rail project budget remains at $2.1 billion dollars. Ottawa needs LRT and we now have plans that match our means The report released today shows that high quality light rail transit service can be delivered within the budget envelope that was set out.

    This price-tag includes inflation from 2009 through the anticipated construction and full completion in 2018. When it is complete this investment will pay dividends for years to come: It will help to keep transit affordable – by converting the most heavily used part of our bus system to LRT, OC Transpo will be more productive. Instead of busses clogging up on Albert and Slater, light rail trains will be speeding by just underneath the surface of Queen St.

    This project will generate over 20,000 person hours of employment and over $3 Billion in related economic activity during the construction period alone at a time when the Federal Government is downsizing and this city needs a boost.

    This first phase of light rail will:

    – Reduce green house gases in our city by at least 38,000 tonnes a year;

    – Reduce fuel consumption by 10 million litres a year; and

    – Eliminate 5,600 tonnes of salt per year from our winter maintenance program

    The new system with its 3 minute 15 second service, interlinked with our expansion of O-Train service to 8 minute frequency, will make a huge difference to connect our universities providing 18 minute connection from campus to campus. Students will easily be able to take courses at our two excellent universities, or use the libraries at either, without concern for parking or needing a car. This will help our city gain an advantage as we strive to reinforce the appeal of the nation’s capital as an international education destination. And thanks to LRT, people with wheel chairs or mobility problems will gain a new level of freedom.

    Instead of having to make scheduled appointments to move around between shopping centres, people can move freely between the World Exchange Plaza, the Rideau Centre, St. Laurent Shopping Centre, Gloucester Centre, and with the O-Train, South Keys Shopping Centre. Business people will be able to walk into a climate controlled light rail system connected to buildings throughout the downtown and go from the west-end of downtown to the market for a lunch appointment.

    We will finally solve the significant bottleneck of our transitway that currently has a negative impact on our entire system on Albert and Slater. Consistent with Council direction, we have also been negotiating with Infrastructure Ontario to lead the procurement process for this project. Infrastructure Ontario is a Provincial Crown Corporation with extensive experience in ensuring strong competitions that produce best value for the taxpayer.

    The City, and Council, will be in charge. But the clout and experience of Infrastructure Ontario in dealing with public-private partnerships will be a tremendous asset. Infrastructure Ontario has an exceptional record of ensuring major infrastructure projects stay on time and on budget – experience that will provide tremendous value to our project team. As you may recall, including Infrastructure Ontario in the procurement process was a key campaign commitment I made in last year’s election. And just last week, we released the request for qualifications documents and to date 71 companies have accessed the information – a good sign of how competitive this tender will be.

    In fact, we will ask bidders for proposals starting at the end of this year. With all of this in mind, I want to remind you that Council will be considering this report and its recommendations next week and, if approved, we will be moving full steam ahead to start the Request-for-Proposals this fall. Like everyone else, I am eager to see what type of ideas will come forward from the private sector competing to build this project.

    As they are preparing their bids, we will challenge the private sector to think about how this system can be built as quickly as possible while maintaining the strict and frugal cost controls that Council and I will expect. We will be inviting fixed price bids that harness private sector management and finance to deliver LRT on time and on budget. And ultimately the final price tag will be known to Council and the people of Ottawa when the bids are unsealed in late 2012.

    The City of Ottawa has come a long way on Light Rail and we are one very big step closer to seeing all of our efforts finally come to fruition. This plan makes sense, and carries with it a lot of benefits. This first light rail project will be the heart of a system that delivers financial stability. Transit Systems are not built in a day – nor in a single increment. This project is a tremendous step forward in building a transit system for Ottawa, but it is only the first step. It sets the stage for our planned future of Light Rail and rapid transit extensions to the East, West and with the O-Train to the South of our city.

    By moving forward now we enable all of the extensions and improvements to come over the next two decades as we build a modern public transit system for the next century. As stewards of this city over the next four years, we have before us a great opportunity today to get behind a project that will have benefits for our residents today and long into the future.

    The public sent a very clear signal to me and Council last October. Cancelling the last light rail project was a costly error. Get your act together and move forward with a realistic and affordable plan. Get a shovel in the ground – sooner rather than later. This Plan achieves this goal and I look forward to the public’s input and the Council debate. Together, we will help reshape our city for generations for come.

    There will always be naysayers when it comes to city building.

    We saw it in 1916 when fire destroyed the Parliament buildings and there were those who said, we can’t rebuild the same – let’s just make the building functional and less expensive – a series of bland towers. We saw it in the 80s and 90s when others said why invest in a new convention centre – let’s do with what we have. Thank goodness the naysayers and doubters were ignored and we moved forward, not backward.

    So my message today is – let’s move forward with a Transit plan we can be proud of and that we can afford. This plan puts Ottawa on the right track, now let’s get moving.

    Thank you.



  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Mohamed Sofa

    Mayor Jim Watson and Beacon Hill-Cyrville Ward Councillor Tim Tierney today presented Mohamed Sofa with the Mayor’s City Builder Award at the City Council meeting.

    Mr. Sofa is a respected community activist and community builder who has had a significant positive impact through engagement in his neighbourhood by identifying needs and seeking positive solutions. He is a strong role model for youth in the west end of Ottawa and started volunteering and helping neighbourhood youth at an early age. He helped to initiate and implement homework clubs, soccer teams, basketball leagues, sports nights, and celebrations for youth and other community members.

    He is one of the founders of Young Somali Professionals of North America-Ottawa Branch (YSPNA-OB) whose mission is to provide professional development and networking opportunities for Somali professionals and to create social and business community enhancement projects and advocacy for Somali professionals in the Ottawa area.

    Mr. Sofa is also chairperson of and helped to establish in 2003 the Somali Youth Basketball League (SYBL), a non-profit organization which aims to provide an affordable venue to help youth and young adults, especially those considered to be at risk, develop leadership, social and basketball skills and become more confident. The league serves more than 200 youth from across the city.

    He is a member of the board of directors at the Britannia Community House and the Catholic Immigration Centre and as a community youth worker at Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre, he supported the development of the Somali Youth Support Project in the west end. He has been instrumental in engaging youth and parents by developing positive relationships and building trust.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Mr. John Gooch

    Mayor Jim Watson, with Kanata South Councillor Allan Hubley, today presented Mr. John Gooch with the Mayor’s City Builder Award at the City Council meeting.

    Mr. Gooch, 86, who served in the British Army from 1942 to 1947 and emigrated to Canada in 1957, moved to Kanata in 1966 and has been deeply involved in volunteer activities for several decades. As an active member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 638 in Kanata, John was responsible for fundraising, construction and dedication of Kanata’s Cenotaph, completed in 1998. He subsequently arranged for the donation of 20 trees, each with a memorial plaque, a central stone, flagpole and commemorative plaque for the Cenotaph.

    John has remained involved in the annual poppy campaign and in 2001 was instrumental in researching names for community parks in Kanata. His research assisted in the decision to name nine parks after Canadian veterans who served overseas, including five Victoria Cross recipients.

    John has received the Kanata Volunteer award, a church volunteer award and the 1998 Mentor Award from the City of Kanata. He is also a Legionnaire, a lifetime member of the Kiwanis Club, a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs Commendation and Insignia granted by the Governor General in 2006.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Mrs. Linda Graupner

    Mayor Jim Watson presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Mrs. Linda Graupner who is a dedicated volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa.

    Over the past decade, Mrs. Graupner has been matched with two Little Sisters.

    Her association extends to past involvement on the program committee and more recently as a participant with the Holiday Hamper Program and Council for Advancement, the organization’s fundraising arm. In addition, she is currently working on a program that would provide bicycles and helmets to Littles who are unable to afford one.

    The presentation to a volunteer of Big Brothers Big Sisters Ottawa coincides with the Bring a Little to Council program. This initiative pairs each member of Council with a “Little” from the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.


  • Speech to the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association



    Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen.I would like to thank you for the kind invitation to speak with you today. As the voice of the hotel industry in our region, you represent a critical driver of our economic success and prosperity. With your 57 members, you are a respected voice at Ottawa’s economic development table. I am dedicated to joining with you to raise the tourism profile of Ottawa around the world.

    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. And hotels are the bedrock of tourism. When people visit our city the smile they leave with is due in no small part to your efforts as welcoming hosts.

    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 Nature

    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.

    At the same time, the coming reductions already signalled by the federal government represent the other side of the government coin. There is no question that Ottawa will feel the impact of cuts in a very direct way.It is more important than ever to recognize that a diverse local economy is a healthy local economy. But even if our local tourism industry is doing well, standing still isn’t 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. Just yesterday 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.

    Next year 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.

    The people in this room should expect to hear a lot more from me over the coming months on this team effort. If we are to take full advantage of the sesquicentennial, I will need your active commitment to put together a serious and sustained effort to make that happen. 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 next few years. We have a brand new cutting edge convention centre that will draw business visitors from across the country and around the world.

    We are finally renewing Lansdowne Park and creating a truly world class park that will make a spectacular addition to events like Winterlude but also spark a whole new set of possibilities for community – a vibrant every day people place. 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. Each of these projects is a powerful economic driver both in the short term as they are constructed and in the long term as they secure tremendous benefits for the community for many decades to come.

    Today, I want to make an important announcement and talk for the last few minutes about our special relationship with Beijing One of the priorities that I announced when I was running for mayor was the need to open up business links and draw new visitors to our region from around the world. Ottawa tourism has been working over the past decade to market Ottawa as a preferred Canadian destination for Chinese tourists. These efforts have been redoubled in the past year after Canada received the coveted Approved Destination Status in June 2010. This is a tremendous opportunity for Ottawa and I want to talk to you today about our efforts to make the most of this hard won accomplishment.

    Today I am announcing that I have accepted the invitation of Mr. Guo Jinlong, Mayor of Beijing, to visit his city with an Ottawa Tourism delegation in June of this year as part of the Beijing International Tourism Expo 2011. Along with a strong delegation of Ottawa’s tourism team, we will be making the most of the long sought Approved Destination Status and renewing Ottawa’s commitment to our special relationship with the City of Beijing. I am delighted to recognise some of the partners from our tourism sector who will be anchoring the China Trade Mission – including:

    – Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association

    – Ottawa Tourism

    – The Ottawa Convention Centre

    – The Ottawa Airport

    – Delta Hotel

    – The Westin Hotel; and

    – The Lord Elgin

    Other partners will be joining us in the coming days. As many of you may know, Beijing is a sister city to Ottawa. I helped to establish the Sister City Relation when I was Mayor of the City of Ottawa in 1999, prior to amalgamation. I can’t tell you how pleased I am to see that this agreement has gained importance and bloomed over the years. In addition to its important symbolic value, this growing partnership has had many practical benefits.

    For example, in July of last year Ottawa, the National Capital and the Rideau Canal were all promoted at the Great Wall in China. And during our Rideau Canal fest, we promoted Beijing and the Great Wall. Other benefits of this agreement include the building of the Ottawa Chinatown Gateway though a partnership between the City of Ottawa, the City of Beijing and the Government of Canada. This beautiful traditional Chinese Archway is both a grand entrance to a remarkable neighbourhood in our City and a portal to greater opportunity for tourism for the entire region.

    I will also be personally thanking Beijing’s Mayor as he was instrumental in providing materials and labour to build this beautiful new landmark. This visit will affirm Ottawa and Beijing’s commitment to the Sister City Relation at the most senior level of the municipal governments, and promote Ottawa as the preferred destination for tourism, post-secondary education and investment.China is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Over the next decade, it is anticipated that China will overtake the United States as the largest single economy on the planet. 31.6 million outbound Chinese tourists travelled abroad in 2009. They spent US $43.7 billion on their travels despite the economic downturn, and supported local economies by eating out, occupying hotel rooms and visiting attractions.

    By 2020, China will have 100 million international travellers, making it the largest outbound tourism market in the world, according the World Tourism Organization. The Conference Board of Canada predicts that Approved Destination Status will boost the number of Chinese tourists who visit Canada by up to 50 per cent by 2015. The Canadian Tourism Commission estimates that this will generate an additional $300 million per year in additional revenue to Canadian tourism industry by 2015.

    China travellers injected $260.6 million into the Canadian economy in 2009. Simply put, we need to get our share of this huge new market that is naturally attracted to Canada.

    As you can see, China is a critical market for our city’s future prosperity. That is why I am pleased to announce that we will work closely with key partners in our tourism sector on four specific goals between now and 2013. Three of these goals are directly tied to our Sister City Relationship with Beijing and our China Tourism Mission.

    Firstly, working with the leadership at Ottawa Tourism and many of you here today – the City will see an increase in the number of visits from China to Ottawa from 14,068 in 2009 to 25,114 in 2013. That’s an increase of over 56%.

    Secondly, we will support the Ottawa Airport’s long-term goal of strengthening its relationship with airlines serving the China-Canada market. The Ottawa Airport, working in collaboration with Ottawa Tourism, will strive to attract businesses and leisure travel groups from China, helping to increase the market and facilitate the anticipated growth in demand.

    The third goal is to increase direct foreign investment from China to Ottawa such as the increased presence in Ottawa of Huawei Technology Inc, while showcasing Ottawa-based companies that are looking to increase their business opportunities in Beijing and China.

    Finally, as a general goal, we will 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. Realizing these goals means working together to ensure we are known in China and other key markets as a great place to visit. It also means getting many little things right that make visitors feel comfortable and ensure they have a great experience here. And probably nothing is more important than the comfort a tourist enjoys in our hotels.

    So we will be there to work with you and we’ll be looking for you to come to the table for a real push on tourism in China just as we’ll need you at the table for our nations 150th birthday in 2017.

    Thank you again for inviting me here today. I look forward to years of partnership, prosperity, community and success!


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – the staff of the Lone Star Texas Grill restaurant

    Mayor Jim Watson today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to the staff of the Lone Star Texas Grill restaurant at Baseline Road and Fisher Avenue for a surprise party that they organized for a young cancer survivor.

    With Ward Councillor Keith Egli, Mayor Watson presented a framed certificate of the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Darin Aughey, General Manager of Lone Star Texas Grill Restaurant Baseline and Chris Stearns, a server at the Lone Star.

    Led by Mr. Stearns, and with the support of management, the Lone Star Restaurant organized a surprise birthday party last October for Jacob Randell, who was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer at the age of five in November 2008.

    Jacob had visited the restaurant a month earlier, in September 2010, with his mother, Liliane Hajjar, to celebrate her return to work after being off for two years during his treatment. Mr. Stearns took a shine to Jacob and his heroic battle and when Jacob expressed a wish to have his birthday party there, Mr. Stearns arranged a surprise celebration in October.


  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Michaela Noffke

    Mayor Jim Watson today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Michaela Noffke.

    Mayor Watson and Stittsville Ward Councillor Shad Qadri presented Michaela Noffke with a framed certificate of the Mayor’s City Builder Award.

    Michaela is a dedicated and accomplished dance instructor who was already winning awards for her leadership at age 16. She is currently nearing completion of her studies in Sociology and Art History at Carleton University where she volunteers as a note taker, providing detailed notes to classmates with disabilities. Michaela also gives her time to the Volunteers in Education program run by the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation and spent time reading to grade one students at Stittsville Public School. She also volunteers at the Glee Club at Goulbourn Middle School, teaching over forty children to sing, dance and work together as a team, supporting everyone regardless of their skill level.


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