Mayor Jim Watson hosts Princess Margriet of the Netherlands to mark the 77th anniversary of the Liberation

Today, Mayor Jim Watson hosted Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and her husband, Professor Pieter van Vollenhoven, at City Hall. The day included the unveiling of a plaque for the newly renamed Princess Margriet Park, a private tour of a City of Ottawa Archives exhibit tracking the Dutch Royal Family’s connection with Ottawa, and a luncheon with veterans and residents of Dutch heritage.

 In 1940, after Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands, Queen Wilhelmina sent her heir, Crown Princess Juliana, and her two daughters to Canada. In 1943, Crown Princess Juliana gave birth to her third daughter, Princess Margriet, at the Ottawa Civic Hospital (now known as The Ottawa Hospital’s Civic Campus). The family spent five years in Ottawa and became a part of the community.

After the War, Crown Princess Juliana presented Ottawa with 100,000 tulip bulbs in gratitude for the city’s hospitality and for the important role Canadian forces played in liberating the Netherlands from Nazi occupation in 1945. To this day, the Netherlands continues to send a gift of tulip bulbs to Ottawa each year as a symbol of the ongoing friendship between the two countries. The Canadian Tulip Festival was established in 1953 to celebrate the historic gift from the Dutch Royal Family.

The City Archives exhibitEnduring Bonds: The Story of the Dutch Royal Family in Ottawa, showcases reproductions of the Yousuf Karsh photograph series of the Dutch Royal Family, as well as a historic display outlining events during the war abroad, on the home front, and about the haven that Ottawa provided. Additionally, the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame has a display titled The Netherlands: A Sports Nation.

During an economic development mission to the Netherlands in 2019, Mayor Watson invited Princess Margriet to visit Ottawa in 2020, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands. The Mayor also proposed renaming Fairmont Park, near The Ottawa Hospital’s Civic Campus, in her honour. In October 2019, City Council approved the renaming of the park. The Princess’ visit was unfortunately delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Ottawa’s deep connection to the Dutch Royal Family and the shared history of our two countries is incredibly special.  We share a unique bond that has only deepened over the 77 years since Canadians liberated the Netherlands during World War ll. Her Royal Highness’ presence at City Hall today marks another step forward in our collective journey as nations with a shared past, present and future.”

Ines Coppoolse, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Canada

“It is an honour to welcome Princess Margriet back to her birthplace to celebrate the 77th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian forces, a mission in which my father took part. Our two countries enjoy a unique friendship spanning decades, and I’m proud that we continue to build opportunities together in culture, education, tourism and economic development.”

Mayor Jim Watson

Dave Kalil and Grace Thrasher receive Mayor’s City Builder Award

Mayor Jim Watson, with Councillors Jeff Leiper and Scott Moffatt, recognized Dave Kalil and Grace Thrasher’s dedication to the community at today’s City Council meeting by presenting them with the Mayor’s City Builder Award. 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dave Kalil, also known as Ottawa’s Piano Man, has been holding weekly livestream concerts to connect with his audiences far and wide. Lockdowns had left Mr. Kalil, a musician with more than 40 years of experience, unable to play at his regular venues but he was determined to continue performing and sharing his passion for music.

The popular 90-minute shows, called Take a Break, came to include a charity component, focusing on raising money for a different non-profit organization every week. Since the concerts began, Mr. Kalil has raised over $115,000 for local charities. Beneficiaries of his fundraising efforts include Shelter Moves, Youth Services Bureau, The Ottawa Mission, Shepherds of Good Hope and numerous others.


For over a decade, Grace Thrasher has been volunteering her time in numerous capacities in support of the Manotick community. Early in her volunteering journey, Ms. Thrasher assisted with fundraising and annual events like Shiverfest, the summer picnic and soap box derby. From 2012 to 2017, Ms. Thrasher served as the Treasurer for the Manotick Community Association and was elected President of the Board in 2017, where she still serves.

Ms. Thrasher has had many accomplishments throughout her time in civic leadership and community-building. This includes leading Manotick’s Task Force on Village Core Revitalization, which resulted in extensive improvements in the community, and advocating for the Manotick community to committees and government representatives on topics like the Manotick Secondary Plan, Transportation Master Plan and the Ward Boundary Review.

Ms. Thrasher is a loyal community ambassador. She has sat on numerous local committees, championed letters of support for local businesses, organizations and charities, helped create the local David Bartlett Park Dogwalkers’ Association and led numerous initiatives that have had measurable impacts on the community.


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 Council or the public.

Council approves framework for request to help fund new Civic campus

Council approved a financial framework and guiding principles today for developing a response to The Ottawa Hospital’s request for a one-time City contribution of up to $150 million, to support development of the new Civic campus.

Many Ontario municipalities have made such voluntary contributions to the local cost shares of their community hospitals and staff will report back in the next term of Council with options for the City’s portion. That report will include a background study and a proposal for a special area development charge to fund future services required for the new campus.

Council approved measures to help conserve and commemorate the heritage of a Carlington North community. The City will establish the Veterans’ Housing Character Area to protect the heritage character and built form of the neighbourhood south of Carling Avenue, between Fisher Avenue and Merivale Road, built at the end of the Second World War to house war workers and veterans. The designation recognizes the collective value of the area and comes with a set of design guidelines to help guide new construction or renovations.

Council also approved a motion to recapitalize the Better Homes Ottawa loan program with an additional $30 million in loan capital. The program offers loans for home energy efficiency retrofits and supports residents seeking to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions through long-term loans that are tied to the property. The initial pilot was so successful that all allocated funding has been used.

Parking availability and restrictions during Rolling Thunder event

As announced Tuesday, the Ottawa Police Service, with the support of the City of Ottawa, has created a motor vehicle exclusion zone in the downtown area, as shown on the attached map. This zone and other measures coming into effect Thursday April 28 at 8 pm are intended to maintain business continuity and ease the flow of traffic while ensuring public safety and security above all.


What does ‘motor vehicle exclusion zone’ mean?

  • At this time, the only exclusions to this area are motor vehicles taking part in a demonstration, event, protest or rally.Barricades, heavy equipment or police officers and vehicles will be at various access points surrounding the exclusion zone to filter lawful traffic onto those streets.The roads are not closed - normal traffic circulation is permitted. Motor vehicles not participating in a demonstration, event, protest or rally, and pedestrians and cyclists will be able to enter and exit the zone.
  • There is no on-street parking or stopping anywhere on roads in the zone area coloured purple (see map), ensuring roadways remain clear for all traffic.
  • On-street parking is available in the zone area coloured yellow (see map) for vehicles not participating in a demonstration, event, rally or protest, such as for business patrons and local residents.
  • Any motor vehicles failing to observe road signs will be ticketed and/or towed.


Where is parking permitted downtown?

  • Parking within the zone is available in parking lots and garages. These may be busy, so plan your travel times appropriately.
  • On-street parking is available in the zone area coloured yellow (see map) for vehicles not participating in a demonstration, event, rally or protest, such as for business patrons and local residents.
  • Public transit is an excellent choice for travel into and out of the core April 29 through May 1.


Are there parking restrictions outside the exclusion zone?

  • There may be temporary no-parking and no-stopping areas marked with signage, mostly in neighbourhoods surrounding the downtown core and where congestion is anticipated.
  • By-law and Regulatory Officers will be patrolling streets to enforce parking regulations.
  • Any motor vehicles failing to observe road signs may be ticketed and/or towed.
  • On all other roads, the regular signed parking bylaws will be enforced. For example, any motor vehicle parked for longer than two hours in a two-hour zone may be ticketed.


The City of Ottawa is committed to ensuring business continuity; however, public safety and security are its top priority.


Please keep in mind that delays should be expected and that regulations may need to change over the coming days. For the latest updates and status on the City’s event management on April 29 and 30, visit this webpage and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Residents can check our online traffic map and the City of Ottawa’s traffic Twitter account for up-to-date information on traffic delays and disruptions.


OC Transpo plans to operate on its regular schedules. Stay up to date on the latest transit information by visiting, calling 613-560-5000 or following OC Transpo’s Twitter account.

Council makes organic waste diversion mandatory for multi-residential properties

Council approved a strategy to get more multi-residential properties to divert organic waste. The strategy will make organic waste diversion mandatory for all multi-residential properties that receive City waste collection services. Staff will continue to introduce green bins on a voluntary basis for the remainder of 2022, and will require all new multi-residential properties beginning City collection service as of June 1, 2022 to participate in the program. Staff will bring forward a plan in 2023 to onboard all remaining multi-residential properties.  

In addition to mandatory organics diversion, the City will increase promotion and education, pilot new waste technologies, incorporate building design best practices to encourage participation in recycling and organics diversion programs, and update its collections contracts. This is one of several City projects designed to support the City’s new Solid Waste Master Plan, to be completed in 2023. It also aligns with the Province’s Food and Organic Waste Policy Statement to reduce food waste from multi-residential properties by 50 per cent by 2025 and require those properties to provide food and organic waste collection to their residents. 

Council received an update on the status and next steps for the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan, including its new governance structure. The new structure includes community leadership action teams to develop and implement detailed plans for each priority, an advisory committee to provide strategic direction, a Councillor sponsors group to champion the plan and to guide strategy, and staff to support the entire initiative and coordinate with participating agencies.

The City will begin recruiting for these bodies in Q2 2022, and will include a broad range of community agencies, institutions, businesses, and individuals with lived experience of the priorities being addressed. A financial strategy and performance measurement and evaluation plan will be brought forward in Q1 2023.

Council approved a zoning amendment that would help the National Capital Commission to revitalize Westboro Beach. This amendment allows construction of a new pavilion that would permit a variety of new uses to help revitalize the beach, including restaurant, bar, patio, farmers’ market and recreational facility. Parking will move east of the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway and the existing lot will be turned into park space. To facilitate construction, Westboro Beach will remain closed for the 2022 season. 

Ottawa Police Service and City staff updated Council on preparations to ensure public safety during the Rolling Thunder event this coming weekend.

City marks progress on Stage 2 East Extension with start of track installation

Today, Mayor Jim Watson and Transit Commission Chair Allan Hubley joined the Honourable Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, and Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and Member of Parliament for Orléans, representing the Government of Canada, to celebrate the start of track installation on the O-Train East Extension. This is a significant progress milestone for Stage 2 LRT.

The O-Train East Extension will travel mainly within the OR 174 median, between Blair Road and Trim Road, adding 12.5 kilometres of new rail and five new stations. The extension connects 95 percent of residents in the communities of Orléans, Blackburn Hamlet and Beacon Hill within five kilometres of rail.

Construction on the O-Train East Extension is well underway, and all 25 kilometres of track installation will be complete by the end of 2022. A 240-metre test track west of Jeanne d’Arc was installed in December 2021, and the main line track installation began in April, near the future Jeanne d’Arc Station. Construction of all O-Train East Extension stations are in progress.

Stage 2 LRT will transform travel in Ottawa as it expands the reach, comfort and convenience of light rail transit. It will connect communities, as well as Ottawa’s major employment centres, postsecondary institutions, shopping and recreation destinations, and arts and culture hot spots. When Stage 2 is complete, LRT will ultimately be capable of carrying 24,000 people per direction per hour at peak capacity. The O-Train network will relieve congestion, reducing approximately one sixth of Ottawa’s total vehicle kilometres travelled and save commuters time and money. The project will also reduce greenhouse gases by 110,000 tonnes and contaminants such as carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides and sulphur oxides by 3,000 tonnes over a 25-year period.

The Stage 2 Light Rail Transit Project is a $4.66 billion project, jointly funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Ottawa. Stage 2 supports healthy transportation, gives residents more options for how they move around, including biking to destinations. Ottawa is integrating the city’s pathway network with all light rail developments in support of mixed-mode travel.

O-Train East Extension quick facts:

  • Approximately 32,000 concrete ties across 12.5 kms of the O-Train East Extension will be installed.
  • Concrete ties are installed as they get delivered. Each tie weighs 600 pounds.
  • Approximately 90,000 tonnes of ballast will be installed. Ballast is composed of granite rock that comes from Wakefield, Quebec.
  • Steel clips are set in place by specialized temper machinery.
  • Crews will begin installation between Montréal and Jeanne d’Arc stations and continue west. Final installation will be from Blair Station to Montréal Station.



Ensuring Canadians have access to safe and efficient public transit is a priority for our Government. The O-Train East Extension will cut pollution and transform transit service for thousands of residents in Ottawa’s east end, making their trips to work, to school and across the city easier, greener and faster.

The Honourable Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities.

Stage 2 LRT will forever change the way we move around Ottawa by extending the benefits of the O-Train network farther south, east and west. The new O-Train East Extension will be a simple and convenient travel option for residents in Ottawa’s rapidly growing eastern communities. It will also provide transit improvements to major centres of employment, shopping and education and improve connectivity to encourage more active transportation.

Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa

Council approves cultural protocol with Anishinabe Algonquin Nation

Council approved a new protocol to frame the City’s relationship on cultural matters with the Anishinabe Algonquin Host Nation. The protocol will guide partnerships and shared action in the areas of arts, heritage and culture.

An Anishinabe Algonquin Nation Consultative Culture Circle will be established in 2022, with representatives of the 11 federally recognized Anishinabe Algonquin First Nations. The Circle will gather two to three times per year to monitor implementation of the civic cultural protocol and implementation plan and to respond to specific questions from various City of Ottawa departments.  

Council also approved a plan to ensure respite and physical distancing centres continue to operate. The centres were established as part of the COVID-19 emergency response. The City will also continue supporting agencies that provide day programing and related services. The estimated cost to continue these services for the rest of the year is $13.6 million.

Council approved a plan to establish a High-Performance Development Standard for new Ottawa developments, to further curb greenhouse gas emissions from buildings in Ottawa. Using a series of metrics to help determine how effective new building projects are at advancing sustainable and resilient design, the new standard will ensure all Ottawa builders are meeting the same minimum targets for projects that require a site plan control application or a plan of subdivision application.

Council approved a new secondary plan to guide proposed development in Manor Park. The plan sets area-specific policies, land-use designations and maximum building heights for lands that will eventually house about 3,800 residential units along with commercial and park space. The applicant has also signed a memorandum of understanding that commits them not to displace current residents of 650 townhouses proposed for redevelopment.

Council approved updates to the Rain Ready Ottawa pilot program, which encourages property owners to reduce the harmful impacts of rainwater runoff on our streams and rivers. A new online course will help residents assess eligibility for the existing rebate program and will provide an alternative to that popular home assessment program, which currently has a long wait list. This would help residents qualify sooner for rebates to start their own yard improvement projects.

Council also approved phasing out the use of City-owned gas-powered lawn and yard equipment, to be replaced with electric alternatives where operationally feasible. The aim is to reduce air and noise pollution generated by gas-powered equipment, such as leaf blowers. The phase-out will begin this summer and staff will report back with a detailed plan to reduce emissions and the environmental impacts of equipment later this year.

Council also appointed Councillor Catherine Kitts to the Ottawa Public Library Board.

Ottawa stands with Ukraine

I know that the people of Ottawa and Canadians from across the country are horrified by the atrocities we are witnessing in Ukraine, as Russia continues to show a blatant disregard for the international rule of law, destroying peace and security in the region.

Millions of Ukrainians have been forced to flee their homes, while others stay and fight against the Russian occupation of their communities.

Ukrainian society is defined by a love of freedom and democracy, and I know we have all been inspired by the bravery of the citizens, the soldiers, and the leaders of Ukraine.

I’m proud that Canada is home to the world's third largest Ukrainian diaspora, with almost 1.4 million citizens of Ukrainian descent.

Canadians stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, and we continue to do what we can to support those impacted by this growing humanitarian crisis.

Just a few weeks ago, I met with Mr. Andrii Bukvych, the Chargé d’Affaires at the Ukrainian Embassy in Canada, outside of the Russian Embassy at the corner of Charlotte Street and Laurier Avenue, to put up street blades that read “Free Ukraine Libre” as a symbolic gesture of support for its people and as a daily reminder to those living at the Embassy that Ottawa stands with Ukraine.

That same day, I wrote to The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, to advise that the City of Ottawa is prepared to help out in welcoming the eventual influx of refugees from across Ukraine.

Work and dialogue on this front are ongoing and I want to thank the federal government for their collaboration to date.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank Ottawa residents and businesses for their support from the very beginning.

While struggling to recover from the pandemic, residents and businesses in Ottawa are raising funds and donating proceeds from sales to the Canadian Red Cross and other organizations helping Ukrainians on the ground.

That’s the Canadian way – and I’m so proud of it.

A great example of the community coming together to support Ukrainian relief efforts is Atlético Ottawa’s “Pay What You Can” initiative at their April 9th home opener in the Canadian Premier Soccer League against Cavalry FC.

Last week, I joined Mr. Bukvych and Jeff Hunt from the team to unveil Atleti’s special jerseys ahead of the match and to promote this generous initiative that will support Ukrainian humanitarian aid via the Canada-Ukraine Foundation.

Funds will be raised through ticket sales and a province-wide 50/50 draw. Tickets can now be purchased at this link.

I look forward to seeing the people of Ottawa at TD Place for this exciting match!

Let’s go Atleti!

Special Statement from Dr. Vera Etches

"We continue to see evidence that the level of COVID-19 in Ottawa is rising. The COVID-19 wastewater viral signal is very high and increasing, as is Ottawa’s test per cent positivity. Hospitalizations and outbreaks are currently stable however we know these are lagging indicators and wastewater levels can provide an early signal of trends to follow. Today, Ottawa Public Health posted on social media a snapshot of the trends we are seeing in Ottawa.

The pandemic is not over and we are currently experiencing another resurgence.

Ottawa Public Health has informed the office of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health of the concerning levels of COVID-19 in Ottawa and the province is carefully monitoring the impact on health system capacity.  Ottawa Public Health is also reaching out directly to people over 50 who could benefit from another vaccine dose.

We highly recommend Ottawa residents to get vaccinated with all the doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that you are eligible for as soon as possible. Compared to two doses, a third dose provides stronger protection against hospitalization, as well as symptomatic infection. For some at higher risk, a fourth dose is needed. Visit our website regularly for the latest information on vaccine eligibility and to stay up to date.

We also highly recommend individuals to continue wearing a mask indoors especially when physical distancing may not be possible or proves to be challenging in crowded areas.

If you become unwell or have any symptoms, stay home. Do not attend work or go to school when you are sick, and have a plan in the event you or someone in your household needs to isolate.

Some people experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, feeling increasingly unwell or suspect they have COVID-19 may be eligible for clinical assessment and antiviral treatment. Visit the Province of Ontario’s website or speak to your primary care provider for more information about COVID-19 antiviral treatment.

We will continue to monitor these indicators and keep you informed. Visit our website often and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram."

Council approves tax on vacant residences

City Council today approved a residential vacant unit tax to be charged on non-principal residences left vacant for more than 184 days in a year. Requiring owners to pay one per cent of the assessed value of such units is meant to encourage them to occupy, sell or rent their properties to help increase housing supply in Ottawa.

About 330,000 residential property owners across Ottawa will need to make an annual declaration of vacancy between January 1 and mid-March or be charged a $250 late declaration fee. The fee will only be imposed in the second declaration year, 2024, to provide residents ample time to adjust to the new system. The tax would be added to the final property tax bill each year, and net revenues from the tax would fund affordable housing. It is anticipated to generate about $6.6 million per year. The City needs to seek provincial approval to designate Ottawa to levy the tax. The tax would be implemented in 2022, with the first annual declaration and billing starting in 2023.

Council approved continuing the Electric Kick Scooter Pilot in 2022, with some changes to improve the program and address complaints. Demand for e-scooters increased last year, both in total trips taken and average daily trips. Changes for 2022 will address the most common complaints of sidewalk riding and improper parking, and will improve reporting, monitoring and enforcement. Staff will report back at the end of the 2022 pilot with recommendations for the future of the program. 

Council approved continuing the Patio Innovation Program in 2022. Measures include temporarily closing sections of roads for patio expansions, removing capacity restrictions for café seating, permitting pop-up retail vending in the right of way, and setting a closing time of 2 am for all patios and café seating. Staff will review the 2022 season and report back on the potential for permanent amendments to the relevant by-laws.

Council also approved the functional design of the Brian Coburn Boulevard extension and the planned Cumberland Transitway between Navan and Blair roads. The extended roadway and bus rapid transitway would improve transit travel times and reliability, and address travel demand between Orléans South and the south urban area as well as Highway 417. New multi-use pathways would connect pedestrians and cyclists to Blackburn Hamlet, the Chapel Hill Park and Ride, the Bradley Estates community, the Prescott Russell Trail and NCC pathways. 

Council approved a 2022 Convoy Occupation Property Tax Deferral Program for retail and commercial property owners in the impacted areas. The program allows eligible properties to defer their interim tax bill due on March 17, 2022, and final bill taxes due on June 16, 2022, to September 15, 2022. This deferral will be retroactive to March 17, 2022. The program’s application form will be available on on March 24, 2022.

Council appointed Councillor Cathy Curry to the Ottawa Police Services Board.