Ottawa’s economic mission to the Netherlands generates tourism and business opportunities

Ottawa – Ottawa’s economic mission to the Netherlands, with Mayor Jim Watson and a delegation of 20 business and tourism leaders, forged partnerships and generated opportunities in tourism, technology, security and education. The resulting partnership agreements and strategic relationships developed between Ottawa organizations and their Dutch counterparts will generate long-term benefits in investment attraction, business development and trade.

The delegates from Ottawa included representatives from Invest Ottawa, Ottawa Tourism and local technology companies. During stops in The Hague, Eindhoven, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, the delegation met with Dutch counterparts and stakeholders, signed partnership agreements advancing Ottawa’s business and tourism interests, and built on the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship that Ottawa has shared with the Netherlands since the Second World War. The delegation focused on promoting Ottawa as a destination, facilitating business development and investment, and exchanging best practices with municipal and industry leaders.

During his meeting with Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet, Mayor Watson expressed his wish for the Princess to visit Ottawa in 2020, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands. Mayor Watson also met with his Dutch counterparts Mayor Pauline Krikke of The Hague and Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam, to grow our cities’ friendships and discuss issues of mutual interest, like affordable housing, flood mitigation and active transportation, and opportunities for greater collaboration in tourism.

The delegation hosted signature events in both The Hague and Amsterdam, inviting Dutch leaders in tourism and business to celebrate and build on our 75 years of friendship. The events highlighted how Ottawa truly represents Canada In One City, making it the ideal place to invest, visit and study. Delegates networked with industry leaders, decision-makers and government officials.

Tourism opportunities

  • Ottawa Tourism and The Hague Convention Bureau signed The Hague to Ottawa (H2O) agreement, a memorandum of understanding between the two cities to promote one another as destinations of choice to attract new international conventions and business events. The two organizations will collaborate to open new doors for both capitals, pitching each other as gateway cities to North America and Europe.
  • The business events industry in Canada generates $33 billion annually in direct spending, directly employs more than 229,000 people and generates $19.3 billion towards Canada’s gross domestic product. In 2018, 16 per cent of events held in Ottawa were from the US or overseas, representing 9,700 delegates and 16,000 room nights for Ottawa’s hospitality sector.
  • Ottawa Tourism is hoping to leverage the partnership to help attract up to four large meetings and conventions over the coming years, particularly in the sectors of technology, security, defence and life sciences. They also hope to generate new leisure travel itineraries with tour operators.
  • Ottawa Tourism, the City of Ottawa and Destination Think! signed a three-year agreement to continue their work and grow the relationship, including hosting Destination Think!’s international forum, which will bring together the world’s most innovative destination marketers in Ottawa in 2020.
  • Frank Cuypers, Senior Strategic Consultant at Destination Think! and visiting professor on City Making at Columbia University, will be this year’s guest speaker at the Ottawa’s Economic Outlook event on November 5, 2019. Visit the event page for more information.
  • Ottawa Tourism’s President and CEO Michael Crockatt presented at both signature events, inspiring guests to visit Ottawa by highlighting the ways our city represents the people, cultures and experiences of Canada. Home to so many national cultural institutions and major festivals, our welcoming city is a unique destination for visitors, as well as a perfect setting for conferences and events.
  • Based on previous experience with similar international initiatives, the connections forged on this mission will help to secure future meetings, conventions and new leisure travel itineraries, and to generate media coverage, for an estimated future economic impact of more than $2 million.

Business development

  • Invest Ottawa and The Hague Security Delta renewed an agreement to promote bilateral trade and investment, as part of their respective soft-landing program for start-ups wishing to establish themselves in the partner market. The Hague Security Delta is one of the largest and continuously growing security networks of businesses, governments and knowledge institutes in Europe. With nearly 300 partners, it is recognized as the security port to Europe.
  • This agreement ensures that Ottawa is connected with the European leaders in security and will result in knowledge sharing, promotion and partnership opportunities for Ottawa’s security sector firms, which are always seeking new opportunities to grow abroad.
  • Ottawa-based Assent Compliance, a global leader in supply chain data management, continued its worldwide expansion by officially opening its new European headquarters in Amsterdam. This new hub strengthens the longstanding bond between Ottawa and the Netherlands and establishes Assent as a true force in the modernization of global supply chains. Despite already having many clients in Europe, this first brick-and-mortar office will give Assent a full-time presence that will play a key role in growing its footprint within the European Union.
  • Accenture is a multinational professional services company that provides services in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. They are also a key partner in the Ottawa L5 testing facilities. Accenture convened many partners, including representatives from Martello and the City of Amsterdam, to a thought-leadership session to share best practices and innovation trends in mobility, innovation and smart cities.
  • Martello Technologies Group welcomed the delegation to their Amsterdam office, where they provided a client demonstration of their IT operations analytics software. The City of Ottawa uses this software to visualize and manage the performance of its IT infrastructure through simple service-oriented dashboards. Headquartered in Ottawa – with offices in Montreal, Amsterdam, Paris, Dallas and New York – Martello provides control over complex IT systems with solutions such as SD-WAN technology, network performance management software and IT analytics software.
  • Invest Ottawa held 12 foreign direct investment meetings with Dutch companies in the connected and autonomous vehicles sector to promote the advantages of doing business, research and development in Ottawa’s world-class  ecosystem for connected and autonomous vehicles and L5 testing facilities.
  • They also met to build strategic partnerships in the sector with Brainport in Eindhoven, a business and innovation district similar to Kanata North in Ottawa. Brainport is a driver of Dutch exports and houses half of the national auto sector. This cluster presents opportunities for Ottawa to grow its relationship with companies operating in the autonomous vehicles space in the Netherlands by leveraging our Ottawa L5 autonomous vehicles cluster and test-track.
  • Invest Ottawa’s Director of Autonomous Vehicles, Kelly Daize, took the stage at both signature events in The Hague and Amsterdam to showcase the many advantages of doing business in Ottawa, including our diverse technology sector, great access to talent, low cost of doing business, superb quality of life and an accessible global network. Ottawa is especially well-equipped to collaborate on innovative and future-ready technology, with the second-highest concentration of high-tech firms and talent in North America.

Education partnership

  • The City of Ottawa, the University of Ottawa and Fontys University of Applied Sciences announced a partnership to promote academic, economic and research mobility between Ottawa and the Netherlands.
  • This agreement will establish research placements that will support the development of Ottawa’s Nightlife Economy Strategy, with Dutch students finding work placements at the City of Ottawa to conduct research and provide an external perspective on how to grow Ottawa’s nighttime economy, including the musical and cultural spaces that make our city an attractive place for young professionals.

Quotes

“This has been a very successful mission, generating partnerships that are helping us grow Ottawa’s global reputation as the Canadian destination of choice, for potential Dutch visitors as well as investors. The collaborations announced on this mission represent important access to markets and networks in the Netherlands, and the first critical step in forging lasting and prosperous relationships that will bear fruit for years to come. I want to thank every member of the delegation, who all contributed to sharing our pride in Ottawa as a welcoming and innovative world-class capital and helped us build on 75 years of friendship with the Netherlands.”
Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

“The parallels between Ottawa and the Netherlands are many and our ties our strong. From a tourism perspective, the mission was a success in building relationships with tour operators, meeting planners and travel media. We’ve signed agreements to further Ottawa’s interests in the convention sphere and in the destination development world. We look forward to building on this success in the years to come.”
Michael Crockatt, President and CEO, Ottawa Tourism

“Invest Ottawa representatives were proud to take part in this strategic mission to drive investment for our great city of Ottawa, with such a dedicated and professional group of Ottawa’s business professionals and leaders. With already established strong ties between our business communities, the mission went a long way in strengthening relationships, building new connections and exploring mutually beneficial opportunities in key sectors, including autonomous vehicles, smart cities, software and defence. Invest Ottawa is excited to build off of the mission and the new opportunities that will emerge for our next 75 years of friendship with the Netherlands.”
Michael Tremblay, President and CEO, Invest Ottawa


Building on 75 years of friendship between Ottawa and the Netherlands - Day 5

Mayor Jim Watson is leading a delegation of 20 Ottawa business and tourism leaders to the Netherlands. This five-day mission will strengthen our business and tourism relations, and build on the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship that Ottawa has shared with the Netherlands since the Second World War.

Day 5 (September 19, 2019) – Amsterdam

On the last day of the mission, Mayor Watson and the Ottawa delegation covered a lot of ground in Amsterdam to launch exciting new business ventures for fast-growing companies that joined the mission as commercial delegates.

Ottawa-based Assent Compliance(link is external), a global leader in supply chain data management, continued its worldwide expansion by officially opening its new European headquarters in Amsterdam today. This new hub in Amsterdam strengthens the longstanding bond between Ottawa and the Netherlands, and establishes Assent as a true force in the modernization of global supply chains. Despite already having several clients in Europe, this first brick-and-mortar office will provide Assent with a full-time presence that will play a key role in growing its footprint within the European Union.

Assent Compliance opening

Accenture(link is external) is a multinational professional services company that provides services in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. They are also a key partner in the Ottawa L5 testing facilities(link is external). Accenture convened many partners, including representatives from the City of Amsterdam and Martello, to a Thought-Leadership Session to share best practices and innovation trends in the areas of mobility, civic innovation and smart cities.

Martello Technologies Group (link is external)welcomed the delegation to their Amsterdam office, where they provided a demonstration of their IT operations analytics software. The City of Ottawa uses this software to visualize and manage the performance of its IT infrastructure through simple service-oriented dashboards. Headquartered in Ottawa – with offices in Montreal, Amsterdam, Paris, Dallas and New York – Martello provides control over complex IT systems with solutions such as SD-WAN technology, network performance management software, and IT analytics software.

Group picture from demonstration

Mayor Watson also met with Mayor Femke Halsema, the first woman elected as Mayor of Amsterdam. They discussed opportunities to grow our cities’ relationship and issues of mutual interest, such as tourism, affordable housing and cycling infrastructure. Like Ottawa, Amsterdam is viewed as a bustling hub of commerce that welcomes visitors from around the world and immigrants from other cultures with open arms. It is also a lovely canal-side city with a rich history and wonderful green surroundings.

picture of Mayors

Over the last five days, Mayor Watson hosted signature events in The Hague and Amsterdam, inviting Dutch leaders in tourism and business to celebrate and build on over 75 years of friendship between our two countries. The Mayor highlighted how Ottawa truly represents Canada In One City, making it the ideal place to invest, visit and study. The events shared our pride in Ottawa as a world-class capital, globally recognized as a diverse metropolitan hub, with a friendly atmosphere and magnificent natural beauty, not to mention a brand new state-of-the-art light rail transit system.

Through the course of the week, Invest Ottawa’s Director of Autonomous Vehicles, Kelly Daize, took to the stage to showcase the many advantages of doing business in Ottawa, including our diverse technology sector, great access to talent, low cost of doing business, superb quality of life, and an accessible global network. Ottawa is especially well-equipped to collaborate on innovative and future-ready technology, with the second-highest concentration of high-tech firms and talent in North America.

Ottawa Tourism’s President and CEO Michael Crockatt also inspired guests to visit Ottawa by highlighting the ways our city represents the people, cultures and experiences of Canada. Home to so many national cultural institutions and major festivals, our welcoming city is a unique destination for visitors, as well as a perfect setting for conferences and events.

Picture from event
Mayor Watson speaking

Building on 75 years of friendship between Ottawa and the Netherlands - Day 4

Mayor Jim Watson is leading a delegation of 20 Ottawa business and tourism leaders to the Netherlands. This five-day mission will strengthen our business and tourism relations, and build on the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship that Ottawa has shared with the Netherlands since the Second World War.

Day 4 (September 18, 2019) – Rotterdam and Haarlem

As Ottawa prepares its new Official Plan, our focus is to build a resilient city that is adaptable, sustainable and innovative, now and for many years to come. Rotterdam’s ambitious work on climate-proofing their city makes it an ideal place to learn and experience resilience in practice, such as the City delegation’s visit to the award-winning Water Squares(link is external), multi-use public plazas that collect storm water runoff. The City of Ottawa’s General Manager of Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development, Stephen Willis, also met with Rotterdam’s Chief Resilience Officer, Arnoud Molenaar, to discuss the future of sustainable cities.

Picture of one of Rotterdam’s Water Squares

On the way to Amsterdam, Mayor Watson made a stop at the Rudolf Steiner College in Haarlem, a town roughly 20 minutes outside of Amsterdam. This special visit came about approximately two weeks ago when grade 9 teachers Nina and Maartje sent an email to Mayor Watson to let him know how much their students had been moved by the story of his coming out. At the time, Nina shared that every student in her class was in the process of writing him a letter expressing sentiments of pride and well wishes in his newfound freedom. Two weeks ago, Nina and Maartje were not aware of the Mayor’s upcoming travels to the Netherlands.

On Sunday, upon his arrival in The Hague, those letters were waiting for Mayor Watson at the hotel. Today, Mayor Watson happily visited Nina and Maartje’s class in Haarlem. Approximately 35 students were in attendance: mostly grade 8 students, and a few older students who are openly gay at the school. They were all very much looking forward to sharing their stories with Mayor Watson, and it made for an emotional and memorable visit.


Building on 75 years of friendship between Ottawa and the Netherlands - Day 3

Mayor Jim Watson is leading a delegation of 20 Ottawa business and tourism leaders to the Netherlands. This five-day mission will strengthen our business and tourism relations, and build on the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship that Ottawa has shared with the Netherlands since the Second World War.

Day 3 (September 17, 2019) – The Hague & Eindhoven

As the mission continued in The Hague and Eindhoven, several important partnership agreements were signed to help strengthen our business and tourism connections.

The Hague to Ottawa (H2O) agreement is an MOU between the destination marketing organizations (DMOs) in the two cities to promote one another as destinations of choice, in order to attract new international conventions and business events. Ottawa Tourism and The Hague Convention Bureau will collaborate to open new doors for both capitals, pitching each other as gateway cities to North America and Europe. The business events industry in Canada generates $33 billion annually in direct spending and employs over 229,000 Canadians. In 2018, 16 per cent of events held in Ottawa came from the US or overseas markets, representing 9,700 delegates and 16,000 room nights contributing to Ottawa’s economy.

Ottawa Tourism is hoping to leverage the partnership to help attract up to four large meetings and conventions over the coming years, with the sectors of technology, security, defence and life sciences being particularly promising. They also hope to generate new leisure travel itineraries with tour operators, and positive media coverage in the Dutch market throughout the mission.

Group photo from the signing.

Invest Ottawa and The Hague Security Delta renewed an agreement to promote bilateral trade and investment, as part of their respective soft-landing for program for start-ups wishing to establish themselves in the partner market. The Hague Security Delta is one of the largest and continuously growing security networks of businesses, governments and knowledge institutes in Europe. With nearly 300 partners, it is recognized as the security port to Europe. This agreement ensures that Ottawa is connected with the European leaders in security and will result in knowledge sharing, promotion and partnership opportunities for Ottawa’s security sector firms, which are always seeking new opportunities to grow abroad.

Group photo from the signing.

The City of Ottawa, the University of Ottawa and Fontys University of Applied Sciences announced a partnership that will promote academic, economic and research mobility between Ottawa and the Netherlands. As one of the largest universities of applied sciences in the Netherlands, Fontys offers more than 200 academic programs in economics, technology, health care, social work, sports and teacher training to over 44,000 students. This agreement will establish research placements that will support the development of Ottawa’s Nightlife Economy Strategy, with Dutch students finding work placements at the City of Ottawa to conduct research and provide an external perspective on how to grow Ottawa’s nighttime economy, including the musical and cultural spaces that make our city an attractive place for young professionals.

Group photo from the signing, including students.

Many delegates then headed to Brainport, an innovation and business acceleration district in Eindhoven. Brainport – a technology and innovation hub similar to Kanata North in Ottawa – is a driver of Dutch exports and houses half of the national auto sector. This cluster presents opportunities for Ottawa to grow its relationship with companies operating in the Autonomous Vehicles space in the Netherlands by leveraging our Ottawa L5 AV cluster and test-track.


Building on 75 years of friendship between Ottawa and the Netherlands - Day 2

Mayor Jim Watson is leading a delegation of 20 Ottawa business and tourism leaders to the Netherlands. This five-day mission will strengthen our business and tourism relations, and build on the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship that Ottawa has shared with the Netherlands since the Second World War.

Day 2 (September 16, 2019) – The Hague & Apeldoorn

On the mission’s second day in The Hague, the day started off at the Canadian Embassy in the Netherlands, where Ambassador Sabine Nölke and her team offered the Ottawa delegation a crash course on doing business in the Netherlands, and highlighted the opportunities this represented as a gateway to Northwestern Europe and the European Union.

Later that day, Mayor Watson had the pleasure of meeting Her Royal Highness, Princess Margriet, in the city of Apeldoorn. Mayor Watson expressed his wish for the Princess to visit Ottawa in 2020, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands. The Mayor also proposed renaming Fairmont Park, which is in proximity to the Ottawa Civic Hospital, after Princess Margriet, to commemorate her history in Ottawa. Later this fall, the park will feature a dedicated Liberation75 tulip garden, where the City will plant 1,945 tulips, marking the year of the Liberation. The Mayor will bring forward a motion to City Council for the proposal, supported by Ward Councillor Jeff Leiper, when he returns from the mission. The City will receive comments from the public for a 10-day period, starting on September 25.

Ottawa’s special relationship with the Dutch Royal Family led to the creation one of Canada’s most popular and well-known festivals: the Canadian Tulip Festival.

The Dutch Royal Family took refuge here in Ottawa during the Second World War. In 1943, the Crown Princess Juliana gave birth to Princess Margriet at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. Following the War, the Royal Family presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs as a sign of gratitude for its hospitality – and an additional 20,000 tulips in 1946 as a token of appreciation for Canada’s support and wartime efforts.

Canadian Tulip Festival

This tradition continues today, with the Netherlands sending 20,000 tulips each year to Ottawa as a symbol of friendship. Every spring, Ottawa welcomes tens of thousands of visitors from around the world to enjoy these beautiful tulips during the Canadian Tulip Festival. In 2020, the Netherlands will be marking the occasion by repeating the initial gift of 100,000 tulip bulbs to Canada.

The Mayor also laid a wreath at the statue De man met de twee hoeden, the twin to the Ottawa statue Man with Two Hats. The statues, created by Dutch artist Henk Visch, represent the strong ties between our countries and the crucial role that Canadian soldiers played in the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945. The Ottawa statue was gifted to our city by the Netherlands and unveiled by Princess Margriet during her visit to Ottawa in May of 2002.

The Mayor laying the wreath.

Beyond these ties, Mayor Watson also has a personal connection to the Netherlands, as his father, Beverley Watson, fought there during the Second World War. As a member of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Canada, he fought alongside our Canadian soldiers who led the liberation of the Netherlands in 1945. These brave young men and women played a pivotal role in Northwestern Europe. The Royal Regiment is credited with liberating the city of Assen on April 13, 1945 before participating in the clearing of Groningen until April 15, some 20 days before the Netherlands was liberated from German occupation.

For his efforts, Beverley Watson was awarded the France and Germany Star, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp, and the 1939 to 1945 War Medal.

‘’I’m very proud of my father’s service to our nation, and it is an honour for me to visit the country where he served Canada and defended our freedom during the Second World War,’’ said Mayor Watson.


Mayor Watson meets Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, proposes park renaming in her honour

Ottawa – On the second day of Ottawa’s economic mission to the Netherlands, Mayor Jim Watson had the honour of meeting with Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet.

The Princess was born at the Ottawa Civic Hospital (now known as The Ottawa Hospital’s Civic Campus) in 1943, when the Dutch Royal Family took refuge in Ottawa during the Second World War. The Government of Canada temporarily declared a maternity suite at the Ottawa Civic Hospital to be extraterritorial jurisdiction, which meant the Princess could enjoy full Dutch citizenship and remain in the line of succession. In addition, the Dutch flag flew over Parliament’s Peace Tower in Ottawa on the day of Margriet’s birth; the only time in Canadian history a foreign flag has been accorded this honour. As the birthplace of the Princess and home of the Canadian Tulip Festival, Ottawa holds a special relationship with the Netherlands and the Royal Family.

Mayor Watson expressed his wish for the Princess to visit Ottawa in 2020, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands. The Mayor also proposed renaming Fairmont Park, which is in proximity to the Ottawa Civic Hospital, after Princess Margriet, to commemorate her history in Ottawa. Later this fall, the park will feature a dedicated Liberation75 tulip garden, where the City will plant 1,945 tulips, marking the year of the Liberation. The Mayor will bring forward a motion to City Council for the proposal, supported by Ward Councillor Jeff Leiper, when he returns from the mission. The City will receive comments from the public for a 10-day period, starting on September 25.

Quote

“On behalf of the City of Ottawa, it would be an honour to welcome Princess Margriet back to her birthplace to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian forces. We hope to build on our 75 years of friendship with the people of the Netherlands by commemorating Ottawa’s special connection to the Dutch Royal Family.”
Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

“The Canadian Tulip Festival is very pleased with the renaming of the park in honour of Princess Margriet and as a symbol of our longstanding friendship with the people of the Netherlands. We look forward to seeing this magnificent bed of Liberation75 tulips paint the park orange next spring, as we mark these events that unite our two countries.”
Grant Hooker, Chair, Canadian Tulip Festival

Quick facts:

  • In 1940, Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands and the Dutch Royal Family was evacuated to London, England.
  • Her Majesty Queen Wilhelmina sent her heir, Crown Princess Juliana, and the Princess’ two daughters to Canada. They spent five years in Ottawa and became a part of the community.
  • In 1943, the Crown Princess gave birth to her third daughter, Princess Margriet, at the Ottawa Civic Hospital.
  • Immediately following the War, Crown Princess Juliana presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs in gratitude for the hospitality provided by the city. In 1946, she sent an additional 20,000 tulip bulbs as a token of appreciation for Canada’s support and wartime efforts.
  • To this day, the Netherlands continues to send a gift of tulips each year to Ottawa as a symbol of international friendship.
  • The Canadian Tulip Festival was established in 1953 to celebrate the historic gift of tulips from the Dutch Royal Family. The Festival has commemorated this gift and its history each spring for the last 68 years.
  • The Festival, which takes place in May of each year (May 8–18, 2020), commemorates the crucial role that the Canadian Armed Forces played in the Liberation of the Netherlands and Europe, as well as the birth of Princess Margriet in Ottawa—the only royal personage ever born in Canada.
  • To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands, the Canadian Tulip Festival - together with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the National Capital Commission - have launched the Liberation75 Tulip Campaign.
  • The Campaign will result in the planting of 1.1 million Liberation75 Tulips across Canada in honour of the 1.1 million Canadians who served during the Second World War.

Building on 75 years of friendship between Ottawa and the Netherlands - Day 1

September 15, 2019

Mayor Jim Watson is leading a delegation of 20 Ottawa business and tourism leaders to the Netherlands. This five-day mission will strengthen our business and tourism relations, and build on the strong bonds of cooperation and friendship that Ottawa has shared with the Netherlands since the Second World War.

Day 1 – The Hague

Mayor Watson started the mission in the Netherlands with a meeting with Mayor Pauline Krikke of The Hague, where they discussed their special bond as capital cities, and Mayor Krikke’s previous visit to Ottawa. The two mayors also exchanged best practices on transit and active transportation, and on the challenges that both cities face with respect to affordable housing.

Mayor Krikke, Mayor Watson

In The Hague, as in every city the delegation will visit, the mission’s goals are to:

  • Promote Ottawa as the ideal destination for leisure tourism, events and conventions;
  • Open doors for business partnerships in key areas like autonomous vehicles, technology and defence; and
  • Share best practices in flood prevention, affordable housing, active transportation and the nightlife economy.

Ottawa has a long history of cooperation and friendship with the Netherlands. As the birthplace of Princess Margriet of the Dutch Royal Family and home of the Canadian Tulip Festival, we enjoy a special bond that is strengthened by our economic and cultural ties. The Netherlands is Canada’s fifth largest European trading partner and second largest source of foreign direct investment. And we have much more in common, including our beautiful natural surroundings, strong innovation and technology sectors, and shared values of diversity and inclusion.

To kick off the mission, the delegation gathered for the first time in the Netherlands to learn more about each other and about their objectives throughout the mission.

Delegation

Welcome aboard the O-Train Confederation Line

Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson today marked the official opening of O-Train Line 1, the Confederation Line, with the Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation for the Province of Ontario, and special guests. They were joined by local officials, Indigenous leaders, City of Ottawa employees, members of the Rideau Transit Group and the children and youth who provided the winning train name submissions gathered at the Tunney’s Pasture Station for the occasion.

Guests were welcomed and blessed by Albert Dumont, Elder and Spiritual Advisor for the Algonquin, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg. Following the formal portion of the ceremony, officials symbolically turned on the power to the system and all participants boarded the train for a ceremonial ride along the full length of the O-Train Confederation Line.

The opening of the Confederation Line is the culmination of decades of discussion, consultation, planning and construction. Since the existing O-Train Line 2, the Trillium Line, first opened in 2001, light rail transit ridership has exceeded expectations. In 2006, the City began to create plans for an expanded light rail system that would connect Ottawa’s communities and support sustainable growth across Ottawa. Council approved the Confederation Line project in December 2012 and construction began in 2013. The Confederation Line was built by the Rideau Transit Group, which won the contract to design, build and finance the project, and to maintain it for the next 30 years.

The O-Train Confederation Line is a $2.13-billion transit project that is jointly funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Ottawa. The 12.5-kilometre line connects 13 stations from Tunney's Pasture Station in the west to Blair Station in the east. The world-class transit system also features four underground stations, including Lyon, Parliament and Rideau in the downtown core, and St-Laurent in the east. With trains arriving every five minutes or less, it is expected to carry up to 10,700 passengers per hour in each direction during weekday peak periods, making it the busiest light rail transit line in North America. With expansions to the east, west and south of Ottawa already in progress through the Stage 2 project, more and more Ottawa residents and businesses will be connected to a reliable light rail system.

The transformation of the transit system to make the light rail line its spine is the biggest transit service change in Ottawa’s history. To help customers through this period, OC Transpo will continue to operate buses on their current routes for three weeks following the opening of O-Train Line 1, giving everyone time to make the transition and the opportunity to try riding the new train. On October 6, a major bus network service change will be made to align bus routes with O-Train Line 1. Customers should use the Travel Planner at octranspo.com to find how their trip will change. More information about OC Transpo’s #reallybigservicechange will be included in the brochure that will be mailed to every household in Ottawa before October 6.

For more details, travel planning assistance, and new maps and timetables, customers should visit octranspo.com. Customers can also call OC Transpo at 613-741-4390 if needed. Customers can also visit any station on O-Train Line 1 for assistance. Real-time schedule information is available 24 hours a day by calling 613-560-1000, by texting 560560 plus the four‑digit bus stop number, or by using the OC Transpo iPhone app or one of many independent smartphone apps.

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 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Quotes

 “The Government of Ontario is proud to play a part in bringing the Confederation Line to the people of Ottawa. That’s why we are investing $600 million in the project. The new O-Train Confederation Line will provide fast, clean and reliable transit for the people of Ottawa. Our government believes in building public transit to connect people to jobs and businesses.  Through projects like the new O-Train Confederation Line, we’re getting Ontario moving.”
Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, Government of Ontario

“I am delighted to welcome everyone in Ottawa to ride the O-Train Confederation Line. Today’s opening marks the transformation of Canada’s capital into a more connected and accessible city. The Confederation Line now connects Ottawa’s residents to the places they live, learn, work, shop and play. This world-class addition to our transportation system further enhances Ottawa’s standing as one of the best places to live in Canada and in the world.”
Mayor Jim Watson


Better Para Transpo experience on the way with online services

Ottawa — A proposed plan to provide online services for Para Transpo users will mean better service for customers starting at the end of 2019.

Councillor Allan Hubley, Chair of the City’s Transit Commission, and Jean Cloutier, Vice-Chair, today announced the proposed service improvements at City Hall. The Councillors outlined a two-stage project to make booking a Para Transpo trip easier. The full proposal will be detailed in a report to Transit Commission at its meeting on November 20, 2019.

In the first stage, customers would be able to book a Para Transpo trip using an online web form. This would be available by the end of 2019.

The second stage of the project would see OC Transpo working with its software supplier to develop a full suite of online services that would, among other things, allow customers to book, confirm or cancel trips using a computer, laptop, or mobile app on a smart phone, and to track the location of their trip. This full suite of online services would be in place by the end of 2020.

The strong demand for Para Transpo service has sometimes resulted in long phone wait times for customers. Offering online services is expected to reduce call volumes and therefore shorten wait times.

Both the Transit Commission and the Community and Protective Services Committee have this year asked for online services to be introduced as a way to improve the customer experience.

Quotes

‘’I am delighted that action is being taken by the Transit Commission and OC Transpo to provide online services for Para Transpo customers starting this year. Para Transpo is essential for residents who require the service to get around our city, and improving the customer experience for them is the City’s priority. We thank our Para Transpo customers for their patience as we work to improve the service.’’
- Mayor Jim Watson

‘’Para Transpo customers have experienced long wait times on the booking phone line. Using online technology will give people a more convenient option for booking their trips, while freeing up capacity on the phone system for those who wish to continue using it. I look forward to a full discussion of this report at Transit Commission in November.’’
- Councillor Allan Hubley, Chair, Transit Commission


Sue Garvey receives Key to the City of Ottawa

Ottawa – Mayor Watson today presented the Key to the City to Sue Garvey, in recognition of her illustrious and distinguished career spent improving the lives of women who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. Ms. Garvey is being acknowledged for her steadfast commitment to improve affordable housing and community development for women in Ottawa who are living in poverty.

Ms. Garvey has lived her entire life in the Ottawa area. In 1974, she graduated from Immaculata High School. She attended Carleton University and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 1977 and a Master of Social Work in 1988.

Ms. Garvey has worked for a variety of agencies in Ottawa, including the City of Ottawa, Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa, Pinecrest Queensway Community Services Centre and West End Community Ventures. She was the founding coordinator of Centre 507, a day program for those at risk of homelessness, and the founding Executive Director of Daybreak Non-Profit Housing. Ms. Garvey recently retired after 23 years with the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa as Executive Director of Cornerstone Housing for Women.

Quote

“Sue Garvey has dedicated her entire career to community development. Sue’s mission of hope has guided her work in building supportive and compassionate housing for some of Ottawa’s most vulnerable people. A lifelong resident of our city, she has made Ottawa a better place for all residents.”
Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Key facts

  • The Key to the City is Ottawa’s most prestigious award.
  • The Key to the City was first presented in 1935 by His Worship Stanley Lewis to Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada, and his wife Lady Tweedsmuir.
  • Previous Key to the City recipients include author Margaret Atwood, photographer Yousuf Karsh, the Community Foundation of Ottawa and, more recently, actress Sandra Oh and retired hockey player Daniel Alfredsson.
  • The Key to the City was last awarded to Ron Caza.
  • The Key to the City is being presented to Ms. Garvey in recognition of an illustrious and distinguished career dedicated to improving the lives of women who are homeless or at risk of being homeless and a steadfast commitment to improve affordable housing and community development for women.