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.

 


TELUS to provide free Wi-Fi and cellular service on O-Train Confederation Line

Commuters will enjoy access to Canada’s largest and fastest mobile network

Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Allan Hubley, Chair of the Transit Commission, François Gratton, Group President TELUS and Chair TELUS Québec, and John Manconi, General Manager of Transportation Services, today announced that TELUS will provide free Wi-Fi service in the three downtown, underground Line 1 stations’ platforms, as well as door-to-door cellular service including through the downtown tunnel. The connection enables transit customers in Ottawa to access one of the most technologically advanced networks built in Canada for public transportation.

O-Train Confederation Line customers will be able to stay connected underground, as there will be a continuous cellular connection, including between stations and in the 2.5-kilometre tunnel, for all passengers.

The O-Train Confederation Line is a $2.13-billion transit project, jointly funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Ottawa. Trains will carry up to 10,700 passengers per hour in each direction, between 13 stations. Trains will arrive every five minutes or less at the busiest times.

TELUS’ investment in the O-Train project is another example of its commitment to building a superior award-winning wireless network that benefits Canadians across the country. Since 2000, TELUS has invested more than $215 billion in network investments to enhance the coverage, speed and reliability of its world-leading network, and to connect its customers right across Canada.

For more information about the O-Train Confederation Line, visit octranspo.com/ready4rail.

Quotes

“Thanks to this great partnership with TELUS, I am pleased that our transit users will have free Wi-Fi in our downtown, underground light rail transit stations, and cellular service across the entire Confederation Line. Customers will be able to stay connected during their commute on our world-class, light rail transit system.”
Mayor Jim Watson

“We are extremely proud of our partnership with the City of Ottawa and look forward to contributing to the city’s largest infrastructure project since the Rideau Canal was built. TELUS is again proving its commitment to our nation’s capital by providing an award-winning network that will allow commuters to benefit from a 5G-ready mobile broadband network. We are thankful for the opportunity to leverage our expertise to create a superior customer experience for commuters travelling on one of the most technologically advanced light rail transit systems in Canada.”
François Gratton, Group President TELUS and Chair TELUS Québec


Mayor Watson launches Liberation75 Tulip Challenge, marking the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian forces

Ottawa — Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson issued a challenge today to the residents and businesses of the National Capital Region to use their lawns and gardens this fall to help “Paint the Town Orange” next May. Mayor Watson and the Canadian Tulip Festival are challenging residents to match the National Capital Commission’s October planting of 100,000 Liberation75 tulip bulbs, set for a springtime blooming in Canada’s capital. These special Liberation75 tulips are part of a national gardening program to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian led troops in 1944 and 1945.

To launch the campaign today, Mayor Watson purchased one of the first bags of 15 Liberation75 tulip bulbs, which he will be planting at home this fall. The City of Ottawa also purchased 300 bulbs – or 75 tulips per bed, which will be planted in front of the Heritage Building at City Hall to mark the 75 years since the liberation.

The goal of the Liberation75 planting initiative is to see 1.1 million brilliant orange, exclusively named Liberation75 tulips blooming across Canada next spring. The 1.1 million figure represents one bloom for each Canadian who served in the Second World War. In May of 2020, the world will mark the 75th anniversary of the Netherlands Liberation Day, which took place on May 5, 1945.

The planting initiative is being led by the Canadian Tulip Festival, in partnership with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the National Capital Commission, the Royal Canadian Legion and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The Dutch Embassy announced last May at the Canadian Tulip Festival that the Netherlands would be honouring Canada’s role in their country’s liberation by repeating their 1945 tulip bulb gift to Canada, this time with 100,000 Liberation75 bulbs to initiate the Liberation75 program.

Also supporting the commemorative planting campaign, the National Capital Commission has announced that they are matching the Dutch gift by purchasing 100,000 commemorative bulbs and planting them throughout the National Capital Region.

Mayor Watson is now issuing a challenge to the residents of the National Capital Region to double the NCC’s anticipated 100,000 regional Liberation75 blooms by purchasing and planting an additional 100,000 bulbs in residential yards and gardens on both sides of the river. The Mayor is asking residents and businesses to help “Paint the Town Orange” by planting tulip bulbs this fall in preparation for next spring’s joint Dutch-Canadian celebration of the liberation of the Netherlands and the end of the Second World War.

“Ottawa has a special reason to be involved in the effort to plant commemorative tulips in the nation’s capital and across Canada,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Canada’s capital played host to the Dutch Royal Family during the Second World War, while our soldiers were leading the fight for their liberation. In gratitude, Canada received 100,000 tulip bulbs from the Dutch Royal Family in 1945. That original gift led to the tulip becoming the official flower of Ottawa, but also to the tulip becoming the well-recognized symbol of the nation’s capital for all Canadians.”

Mayor Watson and Ottawa’s tourism community expect that a large number of Dutch travellers will visit the National Capital Region next spring to thank Canada for its war efforts, and he hopes those visitors will be greeted by a sea of orange tulips across the region.

Information on the Liberation75 commemorative planting initiative can be found on-line at Liberation75.ca.


Bruce Campbell receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson and College Ward Councillor Rick Chiarelli presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Bruce Campbell at City Council today, in recognition of his volunteer contributions to the East Nepean Little League.

It’s safe to say that Bruce Campbell loves baseball. For the past 29 years, Mr. Campbell has served as the president of the East Nepean Little League. During his tenure, the league has hosted provincial and Canadian Little League Championship tournaments on a number of occasions, bringing tourists and teams from all over Canada and boosting the local economy. Mr. Campbell served on the Little League International Advisory Board and Little League Ontario Executive Committee, and currently serves as the treasurer of Little League Canada. He is a representative of Challenger Baseball Ontario, which provides opportunities to play baseball for children, young people and adults with cognitive and physical disabilities.

Mr. Campbell puts children and youth first, focusing his attention on building a strong house league program to teach baseball fundamentals and encourage player development. He ensures all participants have proper uniforms and works continuously with the City to improve facilities for the league and the players.

The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour, created to recognize an individual, group or organization that, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, has 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.


Mayor Watson to lead economic mission to the Netherlands

Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson announced today that he will lead a delegation of 20 Ottawa business and tourism leaders to the Netherlands. The five-day mission, taking place from Sunday, September 15 until Friday, September 20, will recognize the upcoming 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands, which was led by Canadian forces, and will strengthen business and tourism relations between Ottawa and the Netherlands.

While in the Netherlands, the delegation will meet with partners in The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, with some delegates also travelling to Eindhoven.

The mission’s goals include:

  • Promoting Ottawa as the preferred Canadian destination for Dutch leisure and business travelers;
  • Facilitating business development in the Netherlands for Ottawa-based companies operating in key sectors, including autonomous vehicles, smart cities, software and defence; and
  • Exchanging information and best practices in areas such as flood prevention, active transportation, affordable housing and the nightlife economy.

Mayor Watson will host events in The Hague and Amsterdam, participate in meetings with Dutch counterparts and stakeholders, and sign partnership agreements advancing Ottawa’s business and tourism ties with the Netherlands.

Quote

“Ottawa has a long history of cooperation and friendship with the Netherlands, as well as strong economic and cultural ties. There are opportunities for greater collaboration in many innovative and technology sectors, as well as increased activity in leisure and business travel. I look forward to leading this delegation of business community leaders and building on our 75 years of friendship.’’
Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

“From the annual Canadian Tulip Festival to skating on the Rideau Canal Skateway, Ottawa offers an intriguing mix of familiar-yet-different experiences for visitors from the Netherlands. Whether they’re in town for a meeting or convention, as part of an organized tour, or on a personal holiday, Dutch visitors will discover Canada in one city when they visit Ottawa. This mission allows us to expand our existing relationships and to forge new ones.”
Michael Crockatt, President and CEO, Ottawa Tourism

“As Canada’s capital city, Ottawa is a hotbed of disruptive technology, with decades of internationally recognized expertise, more than 1,750 world-class firms and the second-highest concentration of tech talent in North America. Many of these companies have established strong ties with the Netherlands. We look forward to strengthening these relationships, building new connections, and exploring mutually beneficial opportunities this week.”
Michael Tremblay, President and CEO, Invest Ottawa

Delegation

Mayor Watson will be leading a delegation of 20 business and tourism leaders, representing the following organizations and local companies:

Invest Ottawa
Ottawa Tourism
Canadian Tulip Festival
Assent Compliance
Martello Technologies
Accenture

Quick facts

  • As the birthplace of Princess Margriet and home of the Canadian Tulip Festival, Ottawa holds a special relationship with the Netherlands and the royal family.
  • The Dutch royal family took refuge in Ottawa during the Second World War.
  • In 1943, Princess (later Queen) Juliana gave birth to her third daughter, Princess Margriet, at the Ottawa Civic Hospital.
  • Immediately following the Second World War, the Dutch royal family presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulips in gratitude for the hospitality provided by the city and an additional 20,000 tulip bulbs in 1946 as a token of appreciation for Canada’s support and wartime efforts.
  • The Netherlands continues to send a gift of tulips each year to Ottawa as a symbol of international friendship.
  • As Canada’s fifth largest European trading partner and second largest source of foreign direct investment, the Netherlands is one of Canada’s most significant trade, investment and innovation partners.
  • Ottawa has a history of cooperation and friendship with The Hague, having furthered and strengthened mutual administrative, economic and cultural ties through agreements in 1984 and 1992.

Get Ready for Rail: O-Train Confederation Line to launch on September 14

Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson, Mona Fortier, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and Jeremy Roberts, Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa-West Nepean, today announced the opening date of the O-Train Confederation Line.

Beginning Saturday, September 14, the O-Train Confederation Line will be open for service at all 13 stations along the line, from Tunney’s Pasture Station in the west to Blair Station in the east.

Today’s announcement included a symbolic transfer of the key to the system from Rideau Transit Group to the City. The Rideau Transit Group successfully completed the 12-day trial running of the light rail transit system and is in the process of fully turning over the system to the City as part of the requirements to reach Revenue Service Availability (RSA).

The O-Train Confederation Line is a $2.13 billion transit project that is jointly funded by the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the City of Ottawa. The 12.5-km line includes 13 stations. At peak weekday operation, the system is expected to carry up to 10,700 passengers per hour in each direction, which will make it the busiest LRT line in North America.

Real-time schedule information is available 24 hours a day by calling 613-560-1000 or texting 560560 plus the four‑digit bus stop number. For more details, travel planning assistance and new timetables, customers are encouraged to visit octranspo.com for detailed information. Customers can also call OC Transpo at 613-741-4390 if needed.

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

 

Quotes

“With today’s announcement, we are weeks away from launching Ottawa’s transit future and welcoming passengers to our brand new LRT system. I look forward to joining all our partners on September 14 as we say ‘’all aboard!’’ Ottawa’s clean and efficient rail transit system.”

Mayor Jim Watson

“Today is a great day for Ottawa residents as they prepare for this new transit experience. Modern and efficient public transit is essential to move people to their jobs and activities. The Confederation Line will bring Ottawa into a new era for thousands of commuters.”
Mona Fortier, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier (or François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities)

“This is exciting news for Ottawa residents. The new O-Train Confederation Line will provide fast, clean and reliable public transit for commuters in Ottawa, and make our city more accessible for both residents and visitors alike. The Ontario government believes world class cities deserve a world class public transit system, and that’s exactly what the City of Ottawa will be getting on September 14.”
Jeremy Roberts, Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean


Rasha Yacob receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson and Gloucester-Southgate Ward Councillor Diane Deans presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Rasha Yacob at City Council today, in recognition of her efforts to make her community welcoming and safe.

Known to many in Albion-Heatherington as Auntie Rasha, Ms. Yacob has tirelessly volunteered to improve the community over the past eight years. She leads many initiatives including BBQs, potlucks, community gardens and Cuts for Kids, a program that gives youth in the community free haircuts.

Ms. Yacob’s passion for her community doesn’t stop there. She regularly translates for community members who do not speak English. Using WhatsApp, she created a group for Syrian refuges in her neighbourhood to share information, support and comfort.

Ms. Yacob has also led efforts to secure funds for local improvement projects, such as community gardens and a mural. Partnering with the City, Ms. Yacob cofacilitated consultations for the Building Better Revitalized Neighbourhoods strategy and sat on the Community Development Framework Learning Forum Planning Committee, all with the goal of making her neighbourhood more welcoming and safe.

The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, has 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.