Seniors can ride OC Transpo at no-charge on Sundays!

I am proud to honour another yet campaign promise: as of July 7, OC transpo service on Sundays will be at no-charge for seniors, in addition to no-charge Wednesdays.

Rohit Saxena receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson and Gloucester-South Nepean Ward Councillor Carol Anne Meehan presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Rohit Saxena at City Council today, in recognition of his volunteer contributions to the Ottawa Humane Society.

Since 2010, Rohit Saxena has volunteered as the official photographer for the Ottawa Humane Society. Mr. Saxena’s photography brings out the personality and individuality of each sheltered animal, showcasing them to would-be adopters and helping them find their forever homes. Mr. Saxena has donated hundreds of hours for animal portraits, as well as commercial photos for publications and Ottawa Humane Society events. He helps with media pitches and loves telling stories about the animals and the value of adoption.

Mr. Saxena is also a mentor to younger photographers, showing them how to best shoot Ottawa Humane Society events and offering tips and tricks about how to take animal portraits. The organization recognized him for his tireless devotion to animals at their 2016 annual general meeting.

Mr. Saxena has donated time to his alma mater as well. Working with the Carleton Student Engineering Society, he has doubled student participation in social events and raised funds for local charities. In his honour, the society created the Rohit Saxena Award to recognize a graduating student who has made an unparalleled contribution to its vision and leadership.

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.

Flora Footbridge completed ahead of schedule, to open this weekend

Ottawa – Residents can plan for a brand-new way to walk or bike across the Rideau Canal starting this weekend, as the Flora Footbridge is set to open ahead of schedule. Later this week, this new pedestrian and cyclist bridge across the canal will be open to the public, connecting Clegg Street in Old Ottawa East to Fifth Avenue at Queen Elizabeth Drive in the Glebe.

The good news was shared today at an event with The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; and Mayor Jim Watson. The bridge was originally scheduled for completion in Fall 2019.

Along with improving safety and connectivity between mid-town neighbourhoods, the new crossing will shorten commute times and offer a dedicated active and sustainable transportation route to schools, work, entertainment and shopping sites, such as Lansdowne in the Glebe.

It will also link up with pathways connecting to Ottawa’s O-Train Confederation Line at Hurdman and Lees Transit Stations and support the City’s goals of healthy, sustainable commuting– allowing more people to walk, cycle or take transit instead of travelling by car.

This project was made possible through a funding partnership between the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, and the City of Ottawa, under the federal Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF) and the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program (OMCCP). The budget for this project is $21 million.


“By connecting our neighbourhoods and helping people get around Ottawa on foot, by bike or on transit, we are making our communities safer and healthier, supporting local businesses, and protecting our environment. After years of planning, community involvement and coordination among the city, the province and our government, it’s great to see the Flora Footbridge becoming a reality for people living near or travelling along the Rideau Canal.”

Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre

“The whole community has been eagerly anticipating the completion of the Flora Footbridge. Thanks to the great work of City staff and Pomerleau construction crews, we are able to open it ahead of schedule, providing a new way for residents and visitors to cross the canal without using a car, and making it easier for everyone to get out and experience Ottawa to the fullest.”

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Ronald F. Caza receives Key to the City of Ottawa

Mayor Jim Watson presented the Key to the City to Ronald F. Caza at a ceremony at City Hall this evening, in recognition of his illustrious and distinguished legal career and his dedication to Ottawa’s francophone community.

Born in Chelmsford Ontario, Ronald Caza came to Ottawa to study Law at the University of Ottawa. He never left, working at various firms in Ottawa throughout his career before starting his own boutique firm, Caza Saikaley s.r.l./LLP. One of Mr. Caza’s most famous cases was Lalonde v. Ontario. Defending minority language rights, Mr. Caza was able to help stop the closing of the Montfort Hospital. The landmark win brought Ottawa’s Francophone community together and kept Ontario’s only French-language teaching hospital open.

Mr. Caza has successfully argued other language rights cases and has won numerous awards for his work as a lawyer. He was awarded the Order of Ontario in 2017, the province’s highest honour, for his advocacy work for Francophone culture and language rights.

Mr. Caza has also been very active in the Ottawa community. He has chaired the boards of directors of several non-profit organizations, including United Way Ottawa, the Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la capitale nationale (RGA) and Écho d’un peuple. He currently chairs the boards of directors of the Montfort Foundation, Unique FM and the Dominican University College. He has helped raise millions of dollars for the Shenkman Arts Centre and Project STEP.

The City of Ottawa has reached one million residents!

Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson today celebrated a major milestone for the City of Ottawa. At an event with members of the community, Mayor Watson unveiled a new Welcome to Ottawa sign showing that our city has officially surpassed the one million population mark.

This milestone puts Ottawa in a different league of big North American cities. Ottawa is the fourth Canadian city to reach a population of one million, after Toronto, Montreal and Calgary. Ottawa, Gatineau and the surrounding municipalities include almost 1.5 million people, one of the six largest metropolitan areas in Canada.

In recent years, Ottawa’s population has grown by an average of about 28 people per day, including newborn babies, newcomers, students and other Canadians moving here. Overall, 70 per cent of our population growth has been from net migration – more people moving to Ottawa than moving away.

This growth is good for the strength of our local economy – one million is a critical mass in population that will allow Ottawa to generate more opportunities, both from a larger domestic market and increased investment from global stakeholders. Our growing population can also support more cultural activities, sports events and exciting projects that give us greater worldwide visibility, a more vibrant cultural and artistic presence, and a greater capacity to attract new residents and businesses.

Ottawa is now on its way to reach another significant milestone – we will reach our second million population mark much faster than our first. As our city keeps growing, we are planning what the future of Ottawa looks like. This year, the City began work on a new Official Plan, the strategic document that guides our growth and development.

The Official Plan impacts how and where the city will grow until the decades to come, affecting future generations. Our new Official Plan will ensure that we can keep pace and adapt to change in a way that makes Ottawa an inclusive, livable and globally competitive city.


“Reaching one million in population is an important milestone for Ottawa, and an opportunity to celebrate all the reasons we have to be proud of our beautiful city. While Ottawa’s status as a G7 capital signifies our role in international governance, our residents also take pride in our rich cultural mosaic, connection with nature and the many attributes that make Ottawa a quintessentially Canadian city. That we grew to one million people with so many new residents moving here shows what an outstanding place Ottawa is to live, work, play and visit.”

– Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa

Canada in One City: sharing Ottawa’s stories with the world

Brand content playbooks now available for local marketers, communicators, and storytellers

OTTAWA, June 14, 2019 — Following an event today hosted by Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson to announce that Ottawa has reached the milestone of one million residents, Ottawa Tourism launched to share a new approach toward presenting Ottawa on the world stage, and to encourage people to enter a photo contest showcasing Ottawa’s dynamism. Since 2017, Ottawa Tourism and the City of Ottawa have worked with international consultants Destination Think! to uncover Ottawa’s unique attributes—our Place DNATM—and develop Ottawa’s brand identity.

On the website, marketers, communicators, and storytellers in Canada’s capital can find resources including a presentation slide deck, video, copy for newsletters, and social media content playbooks that reflect the results of this research. The goal is to align communication from local stakeholders to create the strongest message possible and build Ottawa’s reputation with external audiences through storytelling. This research summarizes Ottawa’s place brand as Canada in One City, which fulfils the promise that “Ottawa is where you can connect with Canada’s soul.”

“This is an exciting time for Ottawa, as we unveil this new place brand,” says Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “Announcing this new approach in conjunction with Ottawa reaching 1 million residents underscores the correlation between Ottawa’s visitor economy and the residents who benefit from the spending of tourism dollars in our destination. In fact, visitors spend more than $2.2 billion each year in our community.”

The new place brand includes four broad themes which combine to create the idea of Canada in One City. The brand themes are explored at and can be found with excerpts below:

  • Canada’s Village: “Whether it is your first time visiting, or where you have spent the last semester, or the last 10 years of your life living here, Ottawa welcomes you with a friendliness and accessibility unique to G7 capital cities that wield a similar level of economic and political might.”
  • Connect with Canada: “All Canadian cities are part of the fabric of the country, but not all cities are an embodiment of the country itself. In this regard, Ottawa is distinct. This is where you can connect with Canada at any moment in time. You can see beyond the present moment into what has been and what is yet to come.”
  • Joie de vivre: “It can be found in the joy of conversation, eating, travel, or celebration; it is the joy of living. Ottawans love to enjoy life, to live better, to find and pursue happiness in the place they call home and in its people.”
  • Ottawa’s Legacy: “Both our physical and social cityscapes reflect Ottawa’s many coexisting legacies. Each generation adds a new layer to our history. This city has long been home to changemakers, pioneers and those who can see beyond what is, to what can be… From policy, economy, and trade to culture, education, healthcare and the environment, fundamental Canadian values become reality in Ottawa.”

The photography contest runs between Friday, June 14 and Friday, July 19. Canadians are encouraged to share photographs that showcase how they view Ottawa through the lens of the four brand themes above. Photographs can be submitted by tagging #MyOttawa and #CanadaInOneCity on Instagram or Twitter, or through a submission form at A weekly winner will be chosen and awarded a $50 gift card from local photography store Henry’s. At the end of the contest, four runner-up prizes of a $250 gift card from Henry’s will be awarded, along with a grand prize winner in each of the four categories, who will win a $1,000 gift card from Henry’s.

About Ottawa Tourism
Ottawa Tourism provides destination development and marketing, strategic direction, and leadership in cooperation with its members and partners, welcoming leisure travellers, business travellers, group tours, and conventions to Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region. Its goal is to support the local tourism economy, fueled by an estimated 11 million visitors per year and with $3 billion in economic output for Ottawa, generating community wealth through tourism. Ottawa Tourism’s vision is to offer the complete capital experience, tell the story of Canada, and get people talking.

For more information, please contact:
Jantine Van Kregten,Director of Communications
Ottawa Tourism 613-237-5150, ext. 1116

Declaration for the Termination of Emergency in the City of Ottawa

WHEREAS I, in response to already high-water levels and significant rainfall factors, declared a state of emergency within the City of Ottawa on April 25, 2019 under the authority of Section 4(1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act;

AND WHEREAS the City of Ottawa and volunteers deployed approximately 1.5 million sandbags as peak water levels were reached on April 30/May 01 and again on May 13/14, 2019;

AND WHEREAS recent recovery operations led by the City of Ottawa and non-governmental organizations commenced upon Ottawa River levels receding and were focused on sandbag removal and home remediation;

AND WHEREAS the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board reports water levels are now below flood thresholds and will continue to decline over the coming weeks;

THEREFORE, as Mayor of the City of Ottawa, I hereby declare that the emergency that I declared on April 25, 2019 is now terminated, under the authority of Section 4(2) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Jim Watson
Mayor of the City of Ottawa
June 12, 2019

Janet Mason receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

Mayor Jim Watson and West Carleton-March Ward Councillor Eli El-Chantiry presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Janet Mason at City Council today, in recognition of her dedication to nature conservancy.

While working over 30 years in management positions within the defence and technology industries, Janet Mason has always found time for the environment. In the last several years, she has volunteered for several environmental groups and initiatives. She helped co-found the Friends of the Carp Hill and led the development of the recreation trail system. She still chairs the volunteer organization, as she does with the Friends of the Carp River.

Her commitment to the environment does not end there. For the past five years, Ms. Mason has sat on the board of directors for the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority. She has spent the last five months as chair, representing the City of Ottawa. She has served as the Chair of the Ottawa Stewardship Council and sat on the boards of the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust and the Macnamara Field Naturalists’ Club. She remains a champion for environmental issues facing Ottawa’s west end.

Sanchit and Riya Gupta receive Mayor’s City Builder Award

Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson and Rideau-Goulbourn Ward Councillor Scott Moffatt
presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Sanchit and Riya Gupta at City
Council today, in recognition of their efforts to establish a sustainable food
system and combat food waste.

The Guptas established a chapter of MealCare, a non-profit organization
that aims to combat food waste, in Ottawa. Working with local restaurants,
university cafeterias and grocery stores, the Guptas take in surplus food, and,
with the help of fellow volunteers, redirect it to shelters and soup kitchens
where it is needed most.

Mr. Gupta founded the first MealCare chapter at McGill University in
Montreal and there are now three chapters on university campuses across Canada.
Mr. Gupta manages the MealCare national team and is a mentor for new chapters.
Since its start in 2016, MealCare has distributed more than 10,000 meals to
those in need and have saved $50,000 for partner homeless shelters.

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.

Dalton McGuinty receives the Key to the City

Mayor Jim Watson presented the Key to the City to Dalton McGuinty at a ceremony at City Hall this evening, in recognition of his staunch commitment and steadfast dedication to public service, with the distinction of being the first Member of Provincial Parliament representing Ottawa to serve as Premier of Ontario (2003-2013). During this time, he made education, health care, the environment and the economy his priorities.