REDBLACKS touchdowns will be converted to trees at Trim Park and Ride

As if you needed another reason to cheer on the Ottawa REDBLACKS, here is one more. For each touchdown the REDBLACKs score at TD Place Stadium this season, a tree will be planted at the OC Transpo Trim Park and Ride.

The end result will be The REDBLACKS Forest, a partnership between the City of Ottawa and the REDBLACKS parent company, Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG).

“Ottawa football fans who cheer-on the REDBLACKS can also celebrate the addition of green space, one touchdown and one tree at a time,” said Mayor Watson. “The REDBLACKS Forest is a great example of the City’s commitment to support an environmentally sustainable Ottawa.”

The trees will be planted in fall 2016 or spring 2017, weather permitting, and will be a mix of different species. They will be planted at the Trim Park and Ride in recognition of the thousands of football fans who use transit services to get to the games.

“This initiative adds a new dimension to our touchdown story and extends it to the entire community,” said Bernie Ashe, CEO of OSEG. “As fans know, we saw through a log with a chainsaw when we score a touchdown at TD Place and present those log slices (wood cookies), which are symbols of excellence, to community heroes. Now, we’re creating a forest of trees for the future and, with the exciting offence we’ve seen so far, it looks like it could be a very large forest.”

Last season, the REDBLACKS scored 35 touchdowns at TD Place (10 regular season games and one playoff).

For more information on the REDBLACKS, visit REDBLACKS.com or connect with the team via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

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North American Leaders Summit 2016

On Wednesday, June 29, 2016, I had the privilege and honour to welcome and meet United States President Barack Obama here in Ottawa, during the North American Leaders Summit. The American leader met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto. Together they discussed and developed strategies for clean energy, economic growth and collaboration between the three countries.

In the receiving line, President Obama and I talked about my tie, the Obama cookie, but most importantly, the need to continue to welcome Syrian refugees in our countries. President Obama concluded his visit by addressing the Parliament of Canada House of Commons with a powerful and compassionate message of unity and respect between our nations.

I'd like to thank Global Affairs Canada for sharing photos of the greeting.

Mayor Watson 1 Mayor Watson 2 Mayor Watson 3 Mayor Watson 4 Mayor Watson 5 Mayor Watson 6 Mayor Watson 7


#Ottawa4FortMac raised $ 128 580 for Fort McMurray relief efforts

On June 8, Mayor Jim Watson and Ottawa Senators player Chris Phillips hosted #Ottawa4FortMac, a western themed fundraiser in support of the Canadian Red Cross’s emergency appeal and the United Way’s relief efforts directed towards helping the residents of Fort McMurray rebuild their lives and their community.

Dozens of local businesses joined them in their commitment to helping those who have been affected by the devastating Fort McMurray fires, by providing the necessities needed to bring the fundraiser to life, from event production and performing artists to pizza and beer.

Together, Mayor Watson, Chris Phillips and the generous sponsors and donors raised $ 128 580.44.

Hundreds of people gathered at the Aberdeen Pavilion at Lansdowne Park and enjoyed the performances of Kira Isabella, the River Town SaintsThe AbramsJordan McIntosh and Meghan Patrick, courtesy of Ottawa’s New Country 94 and Bell Media.

Operational logistics for the evening were generously donated by Brookstreet Hotel, Avant-Garde Designs, Event Design Group, Lamarche Electric, Securitas and Mediaplus Advertising.

Food was provided by Delta Ottawa City Centre, Gabriel Pizza, Milano Pizzeria, Beneci Pizzeria, Crust & Crate Public House, Newport Restaurant, Bakery Baby, Lone Star Texas Grill, Papa Jacks and Sobey’s Barrhaven.

Samplings of beer were provided by Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co., Beyond The Pale Brewing Company, Bicycle Craft Brewery, Big Rig Kitchen & Brewery, Broadhead Brewing Company, Cassel Brewery, Clocktower Brew Pub, Dominion City Brewing Co., Kichesippi Beer Company, Lowertown Brewery, Whiprsnapr Brewing Co. and Waller Street Brewery and kept cool with ice provided by Levy Restaurants.

Mayor Watson and Chris Phillips would like to thank all the generous sponsors, donors, attendees, and supporters, and are proud of the compassion and leadership that Ottawa has expressed.


Fall for the Arts: Mayor Watson announces the Mayor's Gala for the Arts

Today, Mayor Jim Watson announced the first Mayor's Gala for the Arts, an event to celebrate, support and grow Ottawa’s artistic and cultural scene. He was joined by Ottawa Arts Council Executive Director Peter Honeywell and Ottawa Art Gallery Director and CEO Alexandra Badzak.

This unique dinner reception and artistic experience will showcase the vibrancy of Ottawa’s local arts community. It is an opportunity for the community to come together and celebrate the achievements of Ottawa’s local artists, while supporting the upcoming talent of tomorrow.

“Ottawa is a city of artists and innovators; of spectators and celebrations,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “The Gala will create a stage on which Ottawa’s artists and innovators can occupy the forefront, and elevate our City’s artistic scene. Together, let’s Fall for the Arts”.

“The Mayor’s Gala for the Arts will help to elevate our project partners by bringing broader engagement and increased resources,” said Peter Honeywell, Executive Director, Ottawa Arts Council.

“The Mayor’s support of the OAG Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment project is fundamental. Not only has the City assembled an exceptional team to lead design and construction on the project, the Mayor’s Gala will further our shared goals of building excitement and community support for the most important facility development project for the arts in Ottawa’s history- a true 2017 legacy!”, said Alexandra Badzak, Director and CEO, Ottawa Art Gallery.

Mayor Watson also announced that CF Rideau Centre and the Downtown Rideau BIA will partner as the title sponsor of the Mayor's inaugural gala for the arts.

Mayor Watson added that “This investment by CF Rideau Centre and the Downtown Rideau BIA in the Mayor’s Gala for the Arts is a major vote of confidence in the future of Downtown Rideau as the heart of Ottawa's Arts, Fashion & Theatre District”.

The inaugural Gala will take place on Saturday, October 15, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the Horticulture Building at Lansdowne Park. The proceeds will be directed to the Ottawa Art Gallery Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment Project, which is currently under construction. Click here to purchase your ticket.

Together, let's Fall for the Arts.


Downtown Ottawa is open for business with free special bus service and free two-hour parking

This weekend, Rideau-Vanier Councillor Mathieu Fleury and I encourage you to to spend some time in downtown Rideau and in the ByWard Market to support our local businesses and the people who work there. We want to make it easy to get to the core, so the the City will provide two hours of free parking on Sunday June 19 and 26, and free shuttles on those same Sundays from Trim, Eagleson and Fallowfield Park & Rides. More information is available by clicking here.

We would also like to thank the crews who have been working day and night to rebuilt Rideau Street. Thank you.

 


My message in the wake of the Orlando tragedy

It was with great sadness that I learned this morning of the horrible tragedy that happened in a nightclub in Orlando overnight, where the lives of 50 members of the LGBTQ community were taken. This was the deadliest shooting in the history of the United States. My condolences go to the families and friends of the victims, and to our American friends who are mourning this loss.
 
I have been advised that a vigil organized by Capital Pride will be held at 8 p.m. this evening at the Canadian Tribute to Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street. As a show of solidarity to those who are mourning this loss within their community, I have asked that the Pride flag be flown in front of the Heritage Building, and that the American flag be flown at Marion Dewar Plaza, both until sundown on Thursday, June 16. 
 
We are fortunate to live in a city and a country that embrace diversity, and where people are free to love who they wish to love. But this act of hate and terror reminds us that we must keep making progress until this climate of acceptance is extended to all members of the LGBTQ community around the world.
 
There is simply no reason for this senseless act of violence. We will keep those affected by this tragedy in our thoughts and prayers, and we wish them strength in their battle against hatred, discrimination and extremism.
Jim Watson
Mayor

Historic transit win for Ottawa residents

On June 3, the Province of Ontario announced an investment of $1 billion towards the City’s Stage 2 LRT initiative, plus 50 per cent of the cost associated with extending the O-Train system to the airport and from Place d’Orléans to Trim. This is a total investment of $1.16 billion. This is an historic vote of confidence in the future of the City of Ottawa.

This is also the single largest one-time infrastructure investment by the Province of Ontario in the economic transformation of our city.

My stated goal as Mayor of the City of Ottawa, working with my Council colleagues, is to ensure that we continue to expand our LRT system to meet the needs of our residents – we don’t want to put shovels away in 2018 once the Confederation Line is complete.

With the Province’s support, we can keep building on this momentum as we work to extend LRT farther west to Bayshore and Algonquin College, even farther east to Trim, and farther south to Riverside South and to the Ottawa Airport.

The Province’s investment strengthens our ability to deliver a reliable, world-class, environmentally sustainable LRT system.

By reducing traffic congestion and better connecting our city, this project will support our region’s economic success – boosting Ottawa’s competitive edge and the ability of local firms to compete with the world, while welcoming a greater number of visitors from around the globe with a modern light rail system that will enhance the visitor experience in our magnificent city.

Stage 2 will see us further expand Ottawa’s O-Train network to a system with more than 50 kilometres of rail. The reach of this investment will bring 70 per cent of the city’s population to within five kilometres of a station by 2023.

This is a game-changer for Ottawa – for our local economy, for our environment, for spurring smart growth, and for our quality of life.

It will provide fast, comfortable and convenient connections between our residential areas, our largest employment areas, major retail outlets, and key cultural and recreational destinations.

It will also support our efforts to build an education and innovation powerhouse, anchored by our four post-secondary institutions – the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Algonquin College and La Cité Collégiale.

As for improving the quality of life for our Ottawa residents – we know an hour spent in gridlock is an hour away from family and other much more productive endeavours.

Stage 2 will take more than 10,000 cars off the road, it will dramatically reduce the number of buses on our streets and roads, and will help fight gridlock in our fast-growing city.

The system will integrate stations into the urban fabric of our neighbourhoods and will improve walking and cycling, as well as providing a transit system that is accessible to all.

Friday’s funding announcement symbolizes the progress we have made as a city.

I am very proud that Council unanimously carried the proposal to build the Confederation Line, followed by the unanimous decision to build Stage2.

Without that teamwork, we would not be here today.

I am also proud of the tremendous support we have received from the people of Ottawa since launching our proposal to bring LRT to Ottawa and to build it with a downtown tunnel.

Demand for LRT is growing across our city as residents seek a sustainable alternative to the worsening gridlock.

Ottawa used to be the laughing stock of the province after north-south rail was cancelled. That is no longer the case.

We are moving forward with a bold plan with the unwavering support of the Province of Ontario. In the coming months, we will work with the Government of Canada to secure their contribution to Stage 2 LRT as well.

My commitment to the residents of Ottawa is to stay the course and pull out all the stops to see this vision through.

The Province’s funding commitment is a very important stop en route to our goal of building a world-class transit system for the residents of Ottawa.

 


Ontario Committing More Than $1 Billion for Stage 2 LRT in Ottawa

Today, the Province of Ontario announced more than $1 billion in funding towards the City of Ottawa's Stage 2 LRT expansion project. This historic investment in our City will boost our economy, connect our city and improve the quality of life of residents.

Read the official Province of Ontario News Release below


 

News Release

Ontario Committing More Than $1 Billion for Light Rail Transit in Ottawa

June 3, 2016

New LRT Will Create Jobs, Drive Growth and Improve Quality of Life

Ontario is committing more than $1 billion toward the City of Ottawa's Light Rail Transit (LRT) expansion project to help grow the economy, reduce travel times and connect people to jobs.

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced the investment in Ottawa today. The funding represents the largest provincial transit investment in Ottawa's history. New, modern light rail vehicles on tracks separated from regular traffic will offer fast, efficient service and improve travel for people across the region. The expanded LRT will also lower greenhouse gas pollution, improving air quality and fighting climate change.

The Stage 2 LRT project will add 30 kilometres of new rail and 19 new stations, extending the LRT network to the east, west and south. Ontario's funding commitment will also help support the capital costs of two additional extensions: a spur to the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport and an extension to Trim Road in Orléans. These will add 6.5 kilometres of new rail and three stations. Construction on Stage 2 is expected to start in 2018, once the Stage 1 Confederation Line is completed. Stage 2 is expected to enter service in 2023.

Ontario's funding for Stage 2 is part of the largest investment in public infrastructure in the province's history -- $160 billion over 12 years -- for projects such as roads, bridges, transit systems, schools and hospitals. The planned investments would support 110,000 jobs on average every year across the province. In 2015, Ontario announced support for more than 325 projects that will keep people and goods moving, connect communities and improve quality of life.

Investing in priority transit infrastructure is part of the government's economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario has already committed up to $600 million towards the Stage 1 LRT project, called the Confederation Line — a $2.1 billion project that is jointly funded with the Government of Canada and the City of Ottawa.
  • Stage 2 will extend the Ottawa LRT network to the east from Blair to Place-d’Orléans Station; to the west from Tunney’s Pasture to Bayshore Station and southwest to Baseline Station; and to the South from Greenboro Station to Bowesville in Riverside South.
  • Ontario’s commitment of more than $1-billion will also support two additional extensions, a two-stop spur from the Trillium Line to Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, and a one-stop extension of the Confederation Line further east from Place-d’Orléans Station to Trim Road in Orléans.
  • Construction is expected to generate nearly 24,000 person-years of employment, or nearly 1,000 full-time jobs.

Additional Resources

Quotes

"Our investment in the Ottawa LRT will make a big difference in people’s everyday lives. It’s one of a number of historic investments in infrastructure that our government is making. It will help to create jobs and grow our economy now and for years to come."
— Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario

"The province remains committed to working with the City of Ottawa as it moves forward with implementing its Stage 2 LRT project. We know how important public transit is to managing congestion, curbing emissions, creating jobs and building communities."
— Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation

"Ontario’s funding of Stage 1 and now Stage 2 of LRT is a major contribution to the economy and quality of life of Canada’s capital city; an efficient and complete transit system is a necessity for our dynamic city."
— Bob Chiarelli, MPP for Ottawa West-Nepean

"This is the largest one-time infrastructure investment‎ by the province of Ontario in the economic transformation of our city. On behalf of the City of Ottawa, I would like to thank the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, and local caucus members for this historic vote of confidence in Ottawa’s future."
— Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa


Ottawa 2017 welcomes Bell as Premier Partner, announces La Machine – a North American first coming to Ottawa

I am proud to announce that Bell is joining Ottawa 2017 at a Premier Partner and as the Official Media Partner for Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations in the nation’s capital. Together, we announced an Ottawa 2017 Signature Event. A North American first, La Machine will captivate audiences with its ambulatory urban theatre on the streets of downtown Ottawa next summer. Watch this video, courtesy of La Machine, for a glimpse of their larger than life production: https://vimeo.com/168814587

Read the complete Ottawa 2017 News Release.


Remembering Heather Crowe, Smoke-Free Ontario advocate

From time to time I’m asked, particularly by students, what one action I’m most proud of as a politician.

And I always answer that it was having the opportunity to implement the Smoke Free Ontario Act, as Ontario’s first minister of Health Promotion back in 2006.

But while I had the honour of making sure this important law was implemented, the true credit for this ground breaking piece of legislation rests with a humble, and courageous waitress named Heather Crowe.

Heather was a kind, soft spoken hospitality worker who I first got to know when she waitressed at The Newport Restaurant on Richmond Road in Westboro.

She had worked for 40 years in the restaurant industry, and never smoked a day in her life.

Yet for those four decades she was exposed to that awful blue haze known as second hand smoke.

It seems unbelievable today, but it wasn’t that long ago that you could light up a cigarette in virtually any public place such as a dining hall or a bar. How many remember that famous line when entering an eatery: “smoking or non-smoking section?”

Heather was diagnosed with stage 3B non small cell lung cancer in the upper lobe of her left lung in 2002.

Yet instead of bemoaning the fact that she had a serious health challenge, she quickly became one of the most effective advocates for a smoking ban in public places.

She traveled the country and spoke to politicians, service clubs, and anti smoking groups and eventually had the opportunity to speak with Dalton McGunity, who at the time was Leader of the Opposition and putting together his platform for the 2003 campaign.

Due to her passion and personal story, her quest for a smoke free Ontario found its way into McGuinty’s platform. The campaign promise made its way into a bill, which passed and became law on May 31, 2006.

I can still recall the outrage some restaurant and bar owners had towards the legislation, saying that it would kill their business and that thousands would lose their jobs.  Of course this did not happen, and today there are more people working in these establishments than ever before.

Sadly, Heather passed away in 2006 just a few weeks before the legislation came into effect, but thanks to her advocacy and her own personal courage and fight, Ontario lead the country with the toughest and most progressive anti smoking legislation. A decade after her passing, her voice is as strong as ever.

On May 31, we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Smoke Free Ontario Act, and I know that this one act has and will continue to save lives of both patrons and hospitality workers who are no longer subjected to the dangers of second hand smoke.

So when I have the opportunity to talk to students about what I’m most proud of, I also take the time to thank Heather for her courage and determination. Her actions have given waiters and waitresses the right to go work in a safe and healthy environment, while eliminating the risk of second-hand smoke illness and death in the workplace.