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: http://ow.ly/WntCV

Stay informed on plans for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations in the capital. Visit ottawa2017.ca, 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 enbridgegas.com.

One Young World announces the participation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at 2016 Summit

One Young World announces the participation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at 2016 Summit

Ottawa – Today, One Young World organizers are very pleased to announce the participation of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the 2016 Summit taking place in Ottawa from September 28 to October 1, 2016. The Prime Minister shared the following video welcoming delegates to the Summit.

Prime Minister Trudeau joins a distinguished list of notable counsellors who will be speaking at the Summit and mentoring delegates including:

  • Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General
  • Cher, Activist and Musician
  • Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
  • Sir Bob Geldof, Activist and Musician
  • Mary Robinson, UN Special Envoy for Climate
  • Senator Murray Sinclair, Senator and former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation       Commission
  • Jon Landau, Oscar winning producer of Titanic and Avatar
  • Minister Marc Garneau, First Canadian in Space and Minister of Transport
  • Harley Finkelstein, COO, Shopify
  • Full counsellor list available at ottawatourism.ca/OYWmedia

“I'm excited to welcome One Young World to Ottawa. These young leaders exemplify the very best of our societies: diversity, leadership, and service. I look forward to meeting many of these leaders over the next few days as they exchange their ideas and their vision for a better world with their peers and communities.”  - Rt. Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

The One Young World Summit, which is considered the world’s premier global youth forum, will welcome 1,300 exceptional young leaders aged 18-30 from around the globe. The seventh annual Summit offers a unique platform for young leaders to network with peers from every country and sector, sharing ideas to develop solutions to address urgent global issues.  Plenary sessions at this year’s Summit will examine the following six themes:

  • Education – Are schools adequately preparing young people for today’s job market?
  • Global Business – How can global businesses fulfill their promises to be good global citizens?
  • Mental Health – Can we halt the rise of depression and suicide among young people?
  • Human Rights – Why are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities still being persecuted in 2016?
  • Peace and Security – Are young people the key to countering extremism?
  • Environment – Can technology save the planet?

As Co-chair of the One Young World Advisory Board, Mayor Jim Watson has been a strong supporter of the power of young leaders to affect positive social change.

“We have so many promising young leaders here in Ottawa and right across the planet,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. “They change the way we think about our future today, and they will have a profound effect on the way we act as a society tomorrow. As we get ready to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, I could not be more proud to welcome them in our capital at this juncture in our nation’s history.”

The One Young World Summit Opening Ceremony will take place on the lawn of Parliament Hill on September 28, 2016 and will provide a dramatic backdrop to showcase Canada’s diverse culture as well as the 196-nation flags representing tomorrows’ global leaders.

“Ottawa Tourism is extremely pleased to host One Young World in Canada’s capital,” said Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “We look forward to the opportunity to showcase the best of what Canada has to offer to this prestigious group of young leaders.”

Over 100 blue-chip companies have made One Young World an integral part of their development of global talent and corporate social responsibility initiatives, with companies increasing the size of their delegations each year.  With AB Inbev and Barclays as strategic partners, One Young World 2016 will also feature an A-Z of companies including Coca-Cola, Deloitte, EY, Facebook, Google, Janssen, KPMG, L’Oreal, Siemens, Telefonica, Unilever, Volkswagen and Westpac.

About One Young World

Founded by David Jones, founder of You & Mr. Jones, and Kate Robertson, former Global President, Havas Worldwide, the annual One Young World Summit is a unique event that offers international decision makers powerful insight into where our world may be heading.

Since its inception, One Young World has hosted over 7,000 delegates between the ages of 18-30. No youth-dominated event other than the Olympic Games represents as many countries as One Young World does. The reach of the event is exemplified as 8.9 million people have already been positively affected by delegate-led initiatives.

More specifically, One Young World ambassadors are directly responsible for:

  • Immunising 1-in-3 children worldwide
  • Providing 94 million meals in 63 countries
  • Catalysing the first LGBT+ movement in Iraq
  • Founding the first rape crisis centre in Somalia
  • Supporting 10,000 health workers in 23 countries
  • Delivering free healthcare to 5,000 people in Oman
  • Educating over 80,000 people during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone

The key areas of focus at the 2016 Summit in Ottawa will include:

  • Education
  • Global Business
  • Health
  • Human Rights
  • Peace and Security
  • Environment
  • Indigenous Reconciliation

To date, Summits have taken place in London (2010), Zurich (2011), Pittsburgh (2012), Johannesburg (2013), Dublin (2014) and Bangkok (2015).

For more information about the Summit, please visit: www.oneyoungworld.com or follow @OneYoungWorld or @OYWOttawa

For more information on City programs and services, visit ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-9656).  You can also connect with us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Annaka Boucher receives certificate of bravery from City

August 31, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Innes Ward Councillor Jody Mitic presented 13-year-old Annaka Boucher with a Commendation for Bravery today in recognition of her actions to protect her younger brother and sister during a July 5 kitchen fire.

Annaka was babysitting her younger siblings when she heard the smoke alarm go off and smelled smoke coming from the kitchen, where a toaster had caught fire. Annaka quickly enacted the family’s fire-escape plan and evacuated her brother and sister to a neighbour’s home.

“I encourage all residents to follow the example of Annaka and the Boucher family by establishing and practicing a home fire-escape plan,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Although the fire caused some damage, we are thankful that there were no injuries in a situation that could have been much worse”

In addition to practicing the plan, the Boucher family had discussed why it is important to get out fast and not search for the family’s two cats during an emergency. Thankfully, firefighters were able to safely locate both pets which had retreated to somewhere safe in the house.

“Annaka’s quick thinking was instrumental in this fire being stopped quickly and, most importantly, in keeping everyone safe,” said Councillor Mitic. “I also want to commend our emergency responders for their quick and professional actions that day.”

Frances and Ronald MacDonell receive Mayor’s City Builder Award

August 31, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Osgoode Councillor George Darouze presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Frances and Ronald MacDonell at today’s City Council meeting.

Mr. and Mrs. MacDonell have devoted a great deal of time and energy to their vital community charity work. They have spent over two decades collecting, cleaning and distributing an array of goods to many local charities. This they always do with admirably good humour, rain or shine.

Among their notable charitable efforts, the couple has tirelessly contributed to the Saint-Louis Residence’s twice-a-year bazaar. Over the years, with the help of the MacDonells, these bazaars have become the most significant fundraising events for the Saint-Louis Residence, with funds going directly to the improvement of the residents’ lives and comfort. The MacDonells also take the time to shop at the bazaar and encourage their granddaughters to participate.

Between Saint-Louis Residence bazaars, the MacDonells collect items such as clothing, kitchenware, food and so much more for other charitable organizations like The Ottawa Mission and The Sisters of Charity of Ottawa. Thanks to the MacDonells, newcomers have been given warm clothing to help them cope with their first long Canadian winter.

The MacDonells are known for always having a positive outlook, being good natured and having generous hearts. The community they serve is certainly improved by their hard work.

Join me in celebrating Olympic Gold Medallist Erica Wiebe

Dear Residents,

This week I had the privilege of joining countless members of our community in welcoming home Olympic gold-medal winner and Stittsville-born Erica Wiebe in her triumphant return from Rio.

Erica competed in the Women’s Freestyle 75-kilogram wrestling category, earning Canada’s fourth, and final gold medal in the Rio Summer Olympics.

In keeping with the momentum of Erica’s homecoming, I am thrilled to invite all residents to the Goulbourn Recreation Complex this Thursday, August 25 at 7 p.m. for a reception in Erica’s honour.

The Goulbourn Recreation Complex, or GRC, is located at 1500 Shea Road, just beside Sacred Heart High School where Erica’s road to podium began through developing her skill and passion for wrestling. The gym is a second home to many aspiring Olympians who have spent countless hours honing their skills to one day share in Erica’s success.

I hope you are able to join me on Thursday evening to celebrate Erica’s outstanding achievement and express the pride we as a community feel for her representing Canada and Ottawa so proudly.


Jim Watson


City of Ottawa

Councillor Mark Taylor to serve as Mayor’s Special Liaison on Housing and Homelessness


August 24th, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson has designated Councillor Mark Taylor to serve as Special Liaison on Housing and Homelessness issues in addition to his current role as Deputy Mayor.

In 2013, City Council established a 10-year plan to eliminate homelessness and to ensure that everyone in our community has access to appropriate and affordable housing.

Given that this issue involves a number of committees and agencies, Mayor Watson has asked Councillor Taylor to work closely with the Chair of the Community Protective Services Committee (CPSC), Councillor Diane Deans, the Chair of the Planning Committee, Councillor Jan Harder and the Chair of Ottawa Community Housing Councillor Mathieu Fleury to see how the City can accelerate its progress on the 10 year plan.

"This is an opportune time to give our efforts a fresh start - now that we have the benefit of working with willing partners at both the provincial and federal levels" said Mayor Jim Watson.

Councillor Taylor’s key role will be to work with the three chairs, community agencies and funding partners with a focus on breaking down silos and accelerating the City’s progress on housing and homelessness issues.

In addition to coordinating the City’s housing and homelessness efforts, Mayor Watson has asked Councillor Taylor to specifically review the City’s progress in reducing its reliance on emergency shelter stays, a key commitment he made two years ago.

Councillor Taylor will be providing a progress report to CPSC in 2017 and 2018, or more frequently – or as deemed appropriate in collaboration with the Chair of CPSC.

“I believe that Mark is in a strong position to foster collaboration, dialogue and progress on these issues”, said Mayor Jim Watson. “His current mandate as a member of the AMO Task Force on Housing and Homelessness, his role on the Board of Ottawa Public Health and Ottawa Community Housing - as well as his current involvement on the Board of the United Way position him as the right lead on this important issue”.

Mayor Watson also thanked Ottawa residents, members of Council and community agencies that partner with the City for their ongoing support of the City’s housing and homelessness plan, as the City strives to fast-track collaborative efforts over the course of the next two years.

For more information on the Housing and Homelessness 10 year plan, visit: http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/social-services/housing/our-ten-year-plan.


For more information:

Livia Belcea
Press Secretary
Office of Mayor Jim Watson
613-580-2424, ext. 21526

Baseball fans remember Max Keeping’s legacy at bridge naming

July 16, 2016 – Baseball fans who came to RCGT Park this evening to watch the Ottawa Champions host the Rockland Boulders first joined Mayor Jim Watson, president of the Ottawa Champions David Gourlay and Mr. Keeping’s family to remember popular local community builder Max Keeping.

The game was preceded by a short ceremony on the pitcher’s mound, renaming the Coventry Pedestrian and Cycling Bridge over Highway 417 the Max Keeping Bridge in honour of the late broadcaster, longtime booster of baseball in our city, and tireless advocate and fundraiser for vulnerable and sick children and youth in Ottawa.

“Max personified the spirit of giving and caring, and his legacy continues to inspire us to be generous and kind, and to help others,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Naming this bridge in his honour is a fitting tribute because he was a great fan and advocate for baseball in Ottawa, and because he brought people together and helped build a strong and caring community.”

Mr. Keeping helped raise more than $100 million for organizations such as the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Roger’s House, the United Way, the Boys and Girls Club, Operation Come Home and the Cancer Foundation. His own battle with cancer ended his broadcasting career in 2003, but he continued to be an ambassador for his television station and an enthusiastic volunteer for local charities in the decade that followed. He passed away on October 1, 2015 at age 73.

In recognition of his generosity, the Ottawa Champions will donate $1 to CHEO from each ticket to the game purchased in advance.

Mr. Gourlay said: “Max will always be remembered as a local hero who changed countless lives for the better. We are all better people for having known him.”

The Max Keeping Bridge connects the Overbrook community, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park (baseball stadium), the Via Rail station and the future Tremblay Station of the O-Train Confederation Line.

Girls+ Skate 613 receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

July 13, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to skateboarding organization Girls+ Skate 613 at today’s City Council meeting.

Girls+ Skate 613 builds community, diversity and inclusion by providing a safe space for individuals of all ages, abilities and genders to skateboard in a comfortable, encouraging environment.

The organization began as Girls Only Sessions at the McNabb Community Centre in 2006. Girls+ Skate 613 is now a permanent initiative supported by the Ottawa Skateboard Community Association (OSCA), and membership has doubled each year since 2013.

Recognizing that girls, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized groups do not have the same opportunities in sports, OSCA and Girls+ Skate 613 are dedicated to empowering individuals who might not have other opportunities to participate in this sport. Girls+ Skate 613 and OSCA work together to support barrier-free skateboarding by providing equipment, facilitating spaces for skating, hosting events, providing resources and education, and fundraising.

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.

For additional information, visit ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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Three men receive Commendations for Bravery for their role in fire rescue

July 13, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Cumberland Ward Councillor Stephen Blais presented City of Ottawa Commendations for Bravery to realtor Geoff Walker and asphalting workers Owen Cole and Alex Deschamps at today’s City Council meeting. The three honorees helped to rescue two men from a house fire on Melette Crescent in the Avalon community of Orléans on June 18.

Mr. Walker, Mr. Cole and Mr. Deschamps happened to be driving by when they heard a dog barking and saw smoke coming from a townhouse. Mr. Walker broke a window and they entered to look for people inside who might be incapacitated. They found and evacuated two men, one of whom was unconscious.

The fire destroyed four of the six homes in a row of townhouses and significantly damaged the other two, as well as another house behind the row. At least 20 people were displaced because of the fire.



The 150th Anniversary of Confederation in 2017: A Year of Celebrations You Won’t Want to Miss!

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, today announced funding of $5 million to Ottawa 2017 (Celebrations Ottawa Inc.). Minister Joly was accompanied by Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa, and Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau.

Through this investment, Ottawa 2017 will offer a diverse range of activities to highlight the 150th anniversary of Confederation in Canada’s Capital Region. Residents and visitors are invited to show their pride in being Canadian and participate in 12 full months of bold, immersive and inspirational experiences.

Ottawa 2017 events will include the celebration of foreign national days, performing arts presentations highlighting Canada’s provinces and territories, an underground multimedia experience projected in one of Ottawa’s future light rail transit stations, a Canadian videogame competition projected in monumental proportions onto buildings across the city, and a host of activities related to the 125th anniversary of the Stanley Cup®, a national treasure.

The 150th anniversary of Confederation gives Canadians the opportunity to get involved in their communities and to celebrate together our shared values, our achievements, our majestic environment and our country’s place in the world.

To make 2017 a memorable year of celebrations for all Canadians, the Government of Canada will continue to invest in Canada-wide, regional and local projects to increase Canadians’ awareness and invite them to participate in the many events taking place throughout the year.

Divya Massilamani, outstanding youth volunteer, receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

Mayor Jim Watson and Innes Ward Councillor Jody Mitic presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Divya Massilamani at today’s City Council meeting.

Ms. Massilamani is currently a third-year Bachelor of Science student at the University of Ottawa. She has known for most of her life that she wants to be a physician, but her volunteer work with children at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in the Oncology and Hematology department since 2011 has inspired her to work towards becoming a pediatrician specializing in oncology.

Her wide-ranging volunteer work includes:

  • Assisting residents of the Leisureworld Caregiving Centre Madonna long-term care community in Orléans with activities, meals and transportation
  • Helping young patients in the Oncology and Hematology unit at CHEO
  • Helping children with special needs at the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre preschool and summer school programs
  • Offering her help as an English as a Second Language (ESL) tutor to students at Carine Wilson Secondary School through the Literacy Partners program, specifically helping high-school students to prepare for the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test, a requirement for graduation
  • At UOttawa, working as the treasurer of the World Vision Club and the treasurer/secretary of The Abhiladasha Project, both non-profit associations that help families and children. World Vision battles poverty, while the Abhiladasha Project helps provide education to children with special needs. She also volunteers at the Piano Pedagogy Research Laboratory.

She has received many awards for her hard work, dedication and hundreds of hours of volunteering. Notably, last year she received the United Way Community Builder Award for her work with older adults at the Leisureworld Caregiving Centre Madonna, and her name has recently been added to the United Way Wall of Inspiration at City Hall. She also received the 2015 Hospital Auxiliary Association of Ontario Student Award for her service at CHEO.