Zachary Graves receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

December 14, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Knoxdale-Merivale Ward Councillor Keith Egli presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Zachary Graves at today’s City Council meeting.

Zachary Graves leads the student run non-profit organization, Tools With Impact, which originally supported the local development of Mossuril, a village in Mozambique, through the donation of hand tools and essential building equipment. Zachary is also proudly involved in the special needs community where he volunteers as a Special Olympics Ontario Swimming Coach and a RBC Bluesfest Disabled Accessibility Team member. Zachary is a lifeguard and counselor at Camp Misquah, a camp for people with developmental disabilities, and he is also a volunteer coach for 77 Ottawa Otters Special Olympics Ontario athletes.

In its first two years, Tools With Impact was able to raise over $21,000 and collect over $65,000 worth of tools. With these resources, Zachary’s non-profit organization successfully established the first “Tool-Lending Library” in Mossuril and plans to establish several more in Northern Mozambique when their second shipment arrives. This is providing locals with sustainable access to high-quality building and landscaping equipment. Having raised enough tools to sufficiently supply Mossuril and several neighbouring villages, Zachary decided to evolve Tools With Impact’s mission into supporting and equipping underprivileged students with school supplies and educational tools. So far this year, 375 students have worked together to raise $20,000 to purchase supplies for students in need in Mozambique, Mali and Ecuador.

Debbie Heuchert receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

November 23, 2016 – Deputy Mayor Mark Taylor and West Carleton-March Ward Councillor Eli El-Chantiry presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Debbie Heuchert at today’s City Council meeting.

Debbie volunteers in many areas of the community including coaching recreational soccer and helping to manage the Starlight Synchronized Skating Team. She sits on the executive boards of the West Carleton Minor Hockey Association and the West Carleton Skating Club where she takes on responsibilities above and beyond her duties. Such tasks include organizing team photos and apparel, extra training for program assistants, and helping on various committees within the organizations. For any special event like an ice show, test day, or tournament she is an invaluable asset in making sure things run smoothly.

Debbie also volunteers much of her time with Huntley Centennial Public School. She organizes the Hot Lunch and Milk program, assists with the Back to School BBQ, and organizes the Christmas Bazaar, just to name a few.  Debbie is a fantastic baker and will spend countless hours in the kitchen making treats for fundraisers or special events throughout the year.

Debbie demonstrates values that exemplify selfless generosity, support and extraordinary commitment to making our small community of Carp a better place to live, especially for our children.

Tennis Canada selects Ottawa for Davis Cup by BNP Paribas First Round Play

November 16, 2016 - Tennis Canada announced Wednesday that The Arena at TD Place at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa, Ontario will be the host site for the upcoming Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first-round tie between Canada and Great Britain. The event will take place from February 3-5, 2017.

“It’s been more than two decades since Davis Cup has been held in Ottawa and the timing is right now to bring it back,” said Gavin Ziv, vice-president, professional events, Tennis Canada. “Playing Great Britain in the nation’s capital during the Canada 150 celebration year presented a perfect opportunity and we could not be more excited about it. We are thrilled to be partnering with the City of Ottawa, Province of Ontario, Government of Canada and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) to make this event a huge success for the team and the many tennis fans in Ottawa who have been eager to see this event live.”

Matches will be played on an indoor hard court and will be the first ever tennis event held at the venue. The last Davis Cup tie contested in Ottawa was more than 20 years ago when Canada defeated Jamaica 5-0 in a Group II zonal tie at the Ottawa Athletic Club in February 1994. The last time the Canadian Davis Cup team played in Ontario was a 5-0 victory over Dominican Republic at the Aviva Centre in Toronto in 2010.

“We are thrilled to host this important Davis Cup tie at TD Place,” said Bernie Ashe, CEO of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), which manages TD Place and the surrounding Lansdowne entertainment district.  “The matchup between Great Britain and Canada is the marquee first-round tie for the competition. It’s a privilege to be able to present it to our Ottawa/Gatineau fans during Ottawa 2017 celebrations. Thanks to Tennis Canada for making it possible.”

Canada will be competing in the elite 16-team World Group for a sixth straight year after defeating Chile 5-0 in the World Group play-offs in September. They were relegated to the play-off round after a 5-0 loss to France on the road in the first round in March. Canada has experienced tremendous Davis Cup success over the past few years, reaching the semifinals for the first time in the country’s history in 2013 and returning to the quarter-finals for a second time in 2015.

Great Britain recently returned to Davis Cup glory, capturing the title for the first time in 79 years in 2015. Led by the world’s newest No. 1 player and three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray in singles, and doubles world No. 4 Jamie Murray, the team also reached the semifinals this year, losing in September to Argentina 3-2 in a fifth and deciding rubber.

Canada and Great Britain have only played once in the history of Davis Cup, with the Brits posting a 4-1 win in Bournemouth, England back in May 1967. As current defending champions, Great Britain is the No. 1 ranked Davis Cup country in the world and will be the seeded nation for this tie. Canada is currently ranked No. 12.

“We are really excited to be making a long overdue return to Ottawa for Davis Cup,” said Canadian team captain Martin Laurendeau. “We are always at our best when we play at home in front of loud, patriotic crowds and that is exactly what we will need here to defeat a strong team from Great Britain. This will be the first time many of our guys will play in this city and we are really looking forward to introducing a new generation of tennis fans to the passion and excitement that is Davis Cup.”

Laurendeau will select the four-man team to represent Canada at a later date. In 2016, Canada was represented in Davis Cup by five players – Vasek Pospisil, Frank Dancevic, Philip Bester, Adil Shamasdin and Denis Shapovalov. Due to various injury-related and personal reasons, Canada was without top singles player Milos Raonic and Davis Cup doubles stalwart Daniel Nestor for both ties in 2016. Both Nestor and Raonic have been committed team members in the past, with Raonic playing every year from 2010-2015 and Nestor only missing three ties in the last 15 seasons.

The winner of this tie in February will move on to the World Group quarter-finals and will also be assured to keep their spot in the World Group for the following year. The losing nation will be forced to play a World Group play-off tie to keep their spot in the elite level for 2018.

Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the largest annual international team competition in sport with more than 135 nations competing on annual basis. Only 16 countries entered in Davis Cup competition qualify for the World Group each year.

Tickets will go on sale to the public on November 25 and will be available online at, by phone at 1-877-489-2849 or in person at The Box Office at TD Place.

Gina LaPointe, CD receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

November 9th, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson, Orléans Ward Councillor Bob Monette and Cumberland Ward Councillor Stephen Blais presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Gina LaPointe at today’s City Council meeting.

Gina LaPointe is the President of the Orléans Community Garden which currently hosts 70 plots for gardeners from the community. Since retiring as a military police officer in 2006, Gina has donated much of her time to the community garden and was elected President in November 2010. Since then, the garden has flourished with improvements that include the installation of two sheds for the gardeners, the installation of a solar panel pump system which was a first in the City of Ottawa, and most recently, the addition of beehives on the land, which is permitted due to its agricultural zoning. On top of her role and responsibilities with the garden, Gina is also a beekeeper and has been looking after the bees since their arrival.

Gina's passion for the community garden has been an inspiration to many in the community including local ward Councillor Bob Monette, who has been involved in this project since its inception. Having been a gardener for a number of years, Councillor Monette was proud to recognize Gina at his bi-annual Volunteer Recognition Evening in 2011.

For the past three years, the Orléans Community Garden has opened its doors to members of the public as part of Ottawa Garden Day. This year, Gina was instrumental in having Mark Burleton, Head Gardener for the Governor General’s House, attend Garden Day which is an incredible accomplishment considering his limited amount of public appearances.

The Orléans Community Garden was established to provide a community space for the residents of Orléans to grow local, organic produce and to promote gardening as a healthy and cost-effective activity while educating community members on the practice and benefits of gardening. . The Orléans Community Garden gives back to the community by donating fresh produce to the Ottawa Mission which is used to prepare healthy and delicious meals for their clients. The gardeners who chose to donate food leave it in one of the sheds and Gina then cleans every item donated and delivers it personally to the Ottawa Mission every Tuesday morning.

Louise Staranczak and Frances Kane receive City Builder Award

October 12th, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Gloucester-South Nepean Ward Councillor Michael Qaqish presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Louise Staranczak and Frances Kane at today’s City Council meeting.

For the past four years, Ms. Staranczak and Ms. Kane have been the driving forces behind the rejuvenation of the gardens surrounding the Carleton Lodge Long Term Care Facility. Both these women have brought beauty and peace to the Carleton Lodge in an immeasurable way. Because of their tireless work, the immaculately kept gardens brimming with colour and life is inspiring to all who walk by.

Together they have officially logged more than 700 hours of work on the gardens this year alone. Most at the Carleton Lodge know the two spend countless more hours unofficially working on the gardens. It is also known that Ms. Staranczak and Ms. Kane are incredibly humble about their work, as they seek no praise or gratitude.

Ms. Staranczak and Ms. Kane have been instrumental in the complete reconstruction of the aviary garden at the main entrance of the Carleton Lodge. They have also added an entrance garden near the ramps gardens and completely refurbished a courtyard and chef's garden. In addition to their daily work on the gardens, Ms. Staranczak and Ms. Kane supervise and mentor a group of volunteer gardeners of all ages, from teenagers to seniors.

The duo does not rest in the winter months. They take advantage of this time to propagate plants for the next season and care for the many indoor plants. Undoubtedly, the two bring joy to the residents, staff and visitors of the Carleton Lodge year-round.

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

Underpass murals celebrate the Rideau Canal

October 6th, 2016 – New murals were officially showcased today on Queen Elizabeth Drive and Colonel By Drive under the Laurier Avenue Bridge. This is the third year of the Murals on Underpasses program intended to feature local artists and beautify the City.

 “These underpasses are key gateways to Ottawa’s downtown, and it’s only fitting that the artists have celebrated the historical and social significance of the Rideau Canal,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “These murals are fun and whimsical and yet help document Ottawa’s unique communities and their histories.”

Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney and Rideau-Vanier Ward Councillor Mathieu Fleury also participated in today’s showcase.

Queen Elizabeth Drive

Artists:  Cassandra Dickie and Dodo Ose

This mural is a surrealist approach to the evolution of the Rideau Canal, inspired by a combination of double exposure photography and watercolour technique. Large historical images and smaller detailed contemporary scenes reflect a journey down the canal, from nature to urban sprawl, summer to winter, and past to present.

Colonel By Drive

Artist:  Ryan Smeeton

 This mural highlights the significance of the Rideau Canal and reflects upon the aspects that make it so important to Canadians as a source of leisure, history and commerce. The imagery references its engineering and construction as well as its everyday function.

“These murals bring recognition to local artists, enhance our neighbourhoods and have proven to be effective in managing graffiti vandalism,” said Councillor Egli. “They give downtown visitors out for a walk or a skate even more reasons to stop, and gaze and enjoy their surroundings.”

Red-light cameras being installed at locations across the city

October 3, 2016 – Today, Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of the City’s Transportation Committee, and Orléans Councillor Bob Monette unveiled a new red-light camera at the intersection of St. Joseph Boulevard and Old Tenth Line Road, making it the first of five new red-light cameras that will be installed throughout the city in 2016 with 15 more to be installed in 2017.

These 20 new red-light cameras will be in addition to the existing 34 red-light cameras currently in operation at locations across Ottawa. The City installs cameras at intersections based on collision rates.

“Road safety is a top concern in neighbourhoods across Ottawa and as a Council we are committed to making sure that all of our road, path and sidewalk users feel safe,” said Mayor Watson. “In the 2016 budget, Council approved the expansion of the red-light camera program as another tool we can use to ensure our streets are safe for everyone.”

The program’s objective is to improve intersection safety by decreasing the number of red-light running occurrences. Collisions resulting from red-light running tend to be more severe than other intersection collisions because they usually involve at least one vehicle travelling very quickly. In 2014, there were 655 reportable angle collisions at signalized intersections in the city.

“Keeping residents safe as they travel through the city is of vital importance,” said Councillor Egli. “By implementing tools such as red-light cameras, with enforcement and education, we can improve the level of safety for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists on our roads. These cameras also allow police to focus on other enforcement needs.”

Red-light cameras take two photographs: the first is taken when a vehicle is about to enter an intersection with a red light, the second photograph shows the offending vehicle in the intersection. The fine for running a red light is $260, plus a $5 service fee and $60 victim surcharge.


Ottawa 2017 Honoured with Prestigious International Awards

September 26th, 2016 – The Ottawa 2017 Bureau and Mayor Jim Watson, in collaboration with lead partner CIBC, are thrilled to have received nine (9) awards from the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA). The awards recognize excellence and creativity in promotional materials produced by festivals and events around the world.

“This is a terrific endorsement of the excellent work that the Ottawa 2017 Bureau has done so far to prepare for our city’s celebrations of Canada’s 150th birthday,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “We thank the international festival and events industry for these accolades and look forward to welcoming Canadians and visitors from all over the world to Ottawa next year to celebrate with us.”

The prizes were awarded last night during the IFEA/Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards Ceremony, held at the IFEA’s 61st Annual Convention, Expo & Retreat, in Tucson, Arizona where Guy Laflamme was a keynote speaker and Ottawa 2017 was the main buzz.

“What an incredible boost for Ottawa 2017 to be recognized on the international stage alongside some of the world’s most reputable and longstanding events,” said Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau and 2016 Chair of the IFEA World Board of Directors. “We’re pleased to work with and highlight the ingenuity of creative Canadian organizations, such as Mediaplus, Orkestra and Moment Factory as we prepare to launch a year-long celebration in our nation’s capital for Canada’s sesquicentennial year.”

The professional competition, judged by an independent international jury, draws entries from among the world’s top festivals and events, such as the Kentucky Derby Festival (USA), VIVID Sydney (Australia) and the Rotterdam Festival (Netherlands).

Ottawa 2017 (Celebrations Ottawa Inc.) won awards in the following categories:


GOLD! Best Organization Website (Ottawa 2017’s official website:

GOLD! Best Miscellaneous Media (A high-energy video showcasing what's to come in Ottawa in 2017:

SILVER! Best Social Media Site (Ottawa 2017's official Instagram account:


GOLD! Best Company Image Pieces (Ottawa 2017's colourful, vivid and bold business cards)

GOLD! Best Single Newspaper Display Ad (An eye-catching Ottawa 2017 ad displayed in newspaper Le Droit "L’année à ne pas manquer")

GOLD! Best Single Magazine Display Ad (An eye-catching poster advertising 4 of Ottawa 2017's signature events "Be Here for Canada's Big Year")


SILVER! Best Pin or Button (Ottawa 2017's official lapel pin)


GOLD! Best Targeted Sponsor Solicitation Proposal (Ottawa 2017's proposal to CIBC, the organization's lead partner)


GOLD! Most Creative/Effective News Stunt (Ottawa 2017's innovative announcement for signature event, the Underground Multimedia Experience

Canada’s 150th celebrations will offer Canadians and visitors from around the world an exceptional and memorable year of high-caliber experiences while bringing a record number of visitors to Ottawa in 2017 to celebrate this important milestone for our country.

Ottawa 2017 thanks its lead partner CIBC, premier partner Bell, the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada for their contributions in helping to deliver twelve full months of bold events, immersive experiences and all-out celebrations.

Giuseppe Nicastro receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

September 28, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and River Ward Councillor Riley Brockington presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Giuseppe Nicastro at today’s City Council meeting.

One of Ottawa’s finest entrepreneurs, Mr. Nicastro is highly respected for both his business acumen and his community benevolence. He has strong convictions in building a robust Italian-Canadian community in Ottawa, and has become the go-to person for organizations seeking support and assistance.

As Board Director at the Villa Marconi Long-Term Care Center, Mr. Nicastro has worked hard to establish his vision for excellent care. He has even taken the time to become a volunteer committee member to improve the lives of all the residents at the facility. Mr. Nicastro also supports the St. Anthony's Church and numerous other local community associations and charities.

Mr. Nicastro is an established business person, and the success of the Nicastro Fine Foods has become a pillar in the community, offering Italian culture to all. In addition to this achievement, he has used his leadership skills and business expertise to help found both the Circolo Recreativo Cleto and the Milan Club of Ottawa. Mr. Nicastro has truly managed to build the local economy with an international sensibility.

Full year of sesquicentennial celebrations in Ottawa to kick off with the lighting of an eye-catching cauldron on New Year’s Eve

September 22nd, 2016 – With just over 100 days to go until Canada’s 150th birthday year, the Ottawa 2017 Bureau and Mayor Jim Watson, in collaboration with lead partner CIBC, are pleased to announce a New Year’s Eve event that will launch a full year of celebrations in the nation’s capital and to welcome Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. (Enbridge) as a programming partner in the creation of a focal point for the big kick-off. Also contributing to this project are: AltaGas Utilities, ATCO Gas, FortisBC, Gazifere, SaskEnergy, Union Gas Ltd. and the Canadian Gas Association.

On December 31, 2016, an event to celebrate the start of Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary will take place at Ottawa City Hall. In partnership with Enbridge and natural gas companies from across Canada, the early-evening, family-friendly celebration will include the lighting of a spectacular cauldron in Marion Dewar Plaza. The tri-sided installation an artistic adaption of the Ottawa 2017 logo measuring approximately 5 metres high (16 feet) and 4 metres wide (13 feet) will be located in the garden bed that lines the memorial fountain next to Laurier Avenue.

The sparking of this centrepiece will cue hundreds of Ottawa-area students to form a human chain, connecting young people from diverse backgrounds and weaving a line of youthful optimism through downtown Ottawa streets.

“On the eve of a year when Canadians across the country will celebrate the 150thanniversary of Confederation, our nation’s capital will be a gathering place for commemoration and celebration,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “We’re pleased to invite Canadians to visit their capital onDecember 31, and throughout 2017, to mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation.”

“We’re excited to mark the beginning of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations in Ottawa with an energizing and momentum-building New Year’s Eve event that involves the future leaders of our city,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “The partnership between Ottawa 2017, Enbridge and other Canadian natural gas companies will enable the creation of an impressive cauldron that will burn brightly on December 31st and become a lasting symbol throughout the year.”

“As our capital city prepares to welcome the world, we are happy and honoured to partner with Ottawa 2017 to build a unique cauldron that will inspire and engage Canadians in this once-in-a-lifetime celebration for Canada,” said Cynthia Hansen, President, Enbridge Gas Distribution. “Enbridge has delivered the energy its customers want and need for more than 165 years, and this is a wonderful opportunity to give back to the community and contribute to the success of our country’s sesquicentennial.”

The cauldron will be powered by clean and affordable natural gas. Earlier this year, the Ontario government announced its support for the expansion of renewable natural gas (RNG).  In recognition of this, Enbridge will purchase Canadian RNG offsets for the cauldron.  RNG is an emission neutral fuel made from organic waste that does not add new CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. It is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas and uses the same infrastructure.

A number of events and activities will be presented in the capital throughout 2017, a year that marks both Canada’s and CIBC’s 150th anniversaries.

“There couldn’t be a more appropriate time to launch our joint celebrations than on New Year’s Eve – a night to reflect on our past and look forward to the future,” said Monique Giroux, Vice-President, Sponsorship Marketing & Strategic Partnerships, CIBC. “CIBC is happy to welcome Enbridge, another longstanding Canadian business, along with a strong representation of Canadian natural gas companies, to the dynamic group of Ottawa 2017 partners that are helping to create moments that bring Canadians together with pride.”

Through a partnership with the Ottawa 2017 Bureau announced earlier this week, Ottawa’s four local school boards will recruit student participants for the human chain. Details on how to get involved will be shared with students and their families in the coming weeks.

“We are just over 100 days away from the first event of the Ottawa 2017 celebrations and we’re counting down to the start of a moving and monumental year in the nation’s capital,” said Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau. “As our country rings in 2017, we felt it important to have a visual symbol of the celebrations, where people can gather and take memorable photos on New Year’s Eve and throughout the year. We’re thrilled that Enbridge and other Canadian natural gas companies are partnering with us to build excitement and enhance the celebrations.”

The cauldron will remain a special landmark throughout the year in Marion Dewar Plaza and will be re-lit for special occasions.

Canada’s 150th celebrations will offer Canadians and visitors from around the world an exceptional and memorable year of high-caliber experiences while bringing a record number of visitors to Ottawa in 2017 to celebrate this important milestone for our country.

Ottawa 2017 thanks its lead partner CIBC, premier partner Bell, the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada for their contributions in helping to deliver twelve full months of bold events, immersive experiences and all-out celebrations.

Photos for media use, courtesy Ottawa 2017:

Stay informed on plans for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations in the capital. Visit, follow us on Twitter @2017ottawa (#Ottawa2017) and onFacebook.

About Enbridge Gas Distribution
Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. (Enbridge) has a more than 165-year history and is Canada’s largest natural gas distribution company. It is owned by Enbridge Inc., a Canadian-based leader in energy transportation and distribution. Enbridge has ranked as one of the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations for the past seven years and was also named as one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers in 2015. Enbridge Gas Distribution and its affiliates distribute natural gas to over two million customers in Ontario, Quebec, New York State and New Brunswick.

For more information on renewable natural gas (RNG) visit